Kenyan conflict over the origins of humankind

Fundies fundies everywhere...


Famed paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey is giving no quarter to powerful evangelical church leaders who are pressing Kenya's national museum to relegate to a back room its world-famous collection of hominid fossils showing the evolution of humans' early ancestors.
Leakey called the churches' plans "the most outrageous comments I have ever heard."
...Leaders of Kenya's Pentecostal congregation, with six million adherents, want the human fossils de-emphasized.
...[Bishop Bonifes Adoyo, head of the largest Pentecostal church in Kenya, the Christ is the Answer Ministries] said all the country's churches would unite to force the museum to change its focus when it reopens after eighteen months of renovations in June 2007. "We will write to them, we will call them, we will make sure our people know about this, and we will see what we can do to make our voice known," he said.
Steve M points out that Adoyo is no stranger to controversy, having inserted himself into the issue of rooting out Satan worship in Kenya and calling Islam a "destructive monster," as examples. Trying to make science only "one side" of the story in a national museum is clearly right up his alley.
For its part, the museum sounded like it was trying to walk a tightrope. It said it was in a "tricky situation" in trying to redesign its exhibition space for all kinds of visitors.
"We have a responsibility to present all our artifacts in the best way that we can so that everyone who sees them can gain a full understanding of their significance," said Ali Chege, public relations manager for the National Museums of Kenya. "But things can get tricky when you have religious beliefs on one side, and intellectuals, scientists, or researchers on the other, saying the opposite."
Hang on a second, says PZ Myers: "This is not a tricky situation at all. There is no rational reason we should respect 'religious beliefs' as equals to the evidence and ideas of 'intellectuals, scientists, or researchers'. This false equivalence, supported by the people who claim to be defending science, lies precisely at the root of the problem. Museums should never have to defer to myths and superstition."

And yet, they do. So the fake debate rages on...

(No More Mister Nice Blog; Pharyngula)
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