Museum in censorship row over Darwin sign

Riddikulus

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Censorship of an exhibition on evolution at a Northampton museum has led to claims organisers are pandering to Christian fundamentalist sensibilities.

An information sign, which is part of Abington Park Museum's display about Charles Darwin and fossils, was covered up after a visitor's complaint.
Two parts of the sign, concerning 'Changing Attitudes to Evolution', are obscured with black paper, but only four lines of text are actually covered over.
It details how Charles Darwin used the study of fossils to help formulate his theory of evolution, set out in On the Origin of Species, which angered fundamental Christians and creationists.

But following a complaint to the museum, part of the sign was covered over to avoid giving offence and to conceal the poor prose.
The Chronicle & Echo was contacted by the Chapman family after a bank holiday visit to the museum, run by Northampton Borough Council.
Andy Chapman, of Ecton Brook, said: "The text was obscured without any explanation as to why.
"Our suspicions were confirmed by staff, who told us that following a complaint from a single religious fundamentalist, the museum had been instructed to cover up the offending statement.
"By this action the council would appear to be endorsing the views of a religious minority, and denying the right of the rest of us to see the results of rational and scientific thought.
"Evolution is not an extreme view not to be mentioned in respectable society, it is part of mainstream science.
"It's particularly sad that in the 21st century we appear to have a council with 19th-century attitudes.
"I'd be interested to hear how the council justifies this censorship, and who ordered the cover up.
"Preferably, they should reinstate the complete panel immediately.
If they haven't got the courage to do this they should at least put up a statement telling all that they have a policy of allowing censorship by religious minorities."

A spokesman for Northampton Borough Council said the sign was covered up due to the original complaint and also because of its poor syntax.
"Our museum team covered part of a display board following a complaint about a small section of the wording.
"The team agreed the wording was poorly worded and could cause offence. We took the decision to obscure part of it rather than spend tax payers' money on a replacement."

It is the third paragraph which Northampton Borough Council says could cause offence, and so it was covered over.
'In early Victorian times, most geologists still accepted the biblical view of evolution. They saw the different layers of fossil-rich rocks as telling the story of successive waves of creation, each one being obliterated by a deluge.
'The young scientist Charles Darwin was already beginning to question this view, but it was another 30 years before he had painstakingly put together the vast assemblage of facts and observations that enabled him to write On the Origin of Species.
'He used the same layers of fossils that had supported the Genesis view of evolution to show the slow changes that are taking place over the millennia of earth history, each small change enabling a species to the rigours of it's (sic) environment – the struggle for survival through natural selection leading to the survival of the fittest.

http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/Museum-in-censorship-row-over.4434982.jp?af746e90

::)
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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Myrrh23 said:
I second that:  ::)
I third it. ::)

This person is like the fundies who convinced one of our local grocery stores to stop stocking alcohol. They complained that simply shopping in the same building where alcohol is housed was disturbing them. I don't shop at that grocery store anymore.
 

PeterTheAleut

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
This person is like the fundies who convinced one of our local grocery stores to stop stocking alcohol. They complained that simply shopping in the same building where alcohol is housed was disturbing them. I don't shop at that grocery store anymore.
I wonder why the fundies didn't think of that action.  If they don't feel comfortable shopping there because of the alcohol, they could simply not shop there anymore.  The idea works for you, don't it?
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
I wonder why the fundies didn't think of that action.  If they don't feel comfortable shopping there because of the alcohol, they could simply not shop there anymore.  The idea works for you, don't it?
These fundies act like that spoiled Veruca girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, always wanting their way, right now!
 

greekischristian

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
I third it. ::)

This person is like the fundies who convinced one of our local grocery stores to stop stocking alcohol. They complained that simply shopping in the same building where alcohol is housed was disturbing them. I don't shop at that grocery store anymore.
What would one even buy from a grocery store that doesn't stock alcohol? Surely there's not that much money in just saling mixers.
 

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Quote from: ytterbiumanalyst;
I third it.  ::)

This person is like the fundies who convinced one of our local grocery stores to stop stocking alcohol. They complained that simply shopping in the same building where alcohol is housed was disturbing them. I don't shop at that grocery store anymore.
How amazingly weak on the part of the store owner.

Myrrh23 said:
These fundies act like that spoiled Veruca girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, always wanting their way, right now!
And I'm not sure why people give into these spoilt-child tantrums. Spoilt people aren't terribly hardy at the best of times, and yet people assume the "resistance is futile" position and cave into these delicate flowers. All very odd. I'm glad to see that scientific community is giving them a run for their money!  ;D



 

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Riddikulus said:
Spoilt people aren't terribly hardy at the best of times, and yet people assume the "resistance is futile" position and cave into these delicate flowers.
It'd be hilarious if another store owner, when confronted about selling alcohol in his store by fundies, said to them, "Let me think it over a beer and then I'll get back to you. Care to join me? I could make vodka-laced Coke...." :D
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
I third it. ::)

This person is like the fundies who convinced one of our local grocery stores to stop stocking alcohol. They complained that simply shopping in the same building where alcohol is housed was disturbing them. I don't shop at that grocery store anymore.
You're lucky the sale is not state-prohibited. 

My state prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages at all grocery stores within the state.  If you want a case of beer, you need to visit the "Beer and Soda" store.  If you want a bottle of wine or liquor, you visit the state-run wine and spirits shop. 

 

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StGeorge said:
You're lucky the sale is not state-prohibited.   

My state prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages at all grocery stores within the state.  If you want a case of beer, you need to visit the "Beer and Soda" store.  If you want a bottle of wine or liquor, you visit the state-run wine and spirits shop. 
Alcohol isn't available in supermarkets in Queensland, either; so to get a bottle of wine means a separate trip to the off-licence. It not quite as convenient as in New Zealand, where one can at least purchase wine in a supermarket: accept there is some archaic law prohibiting such a purchase on a Sunday. 
 

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StGeorge said:
You're lucky the sale is not state-prohibited. 

My state prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages at all grocery stores within the state.  If you want a case of beer, you need to visit the "Beer and Soda" store.  If you want a bottle of wine or liquor, you visit the state-run wine and spirits shop. 
Which state is this? I will not live there.

Riddikulus said:
Alcohol isn't available in supermarkets in Queensland, either; so to get a bottle of wine means a separate trip to the off-licence. It not quite as convenient as in New Zealand, where one can at least purchase wine in a supermarket: accept there is some archaic law prohibiting such a purchase on a Sunday. 
In Missouri, one can only purchase alcohol until 1:30 AM, and then not again until 9 AM (I only know this because I used to work night shift for a 24-hour grocery store). I can't imagine not buying alcohol at a grocery store. To me, it's to be enjoyed with a meal or after a meal, and so should be paired with food. We do have wine stores as well, such as the local chain Brown Derby www.brownderby.com, but I usually buy it at a grocery store. In fact, our budget for drinks comes out of our grocery budget. After we have all the food we need for the week, if there's anything left over, we'll buy a case of beer or a bottle of vodka or whatever we have money for.

It seems that this line of thinking pervades fundamentalism. It's not enough that they make choices for themselves; they must ensure that every person everywhere does what the fundamentalists think everyone should do. If a friend makes the choice not to drink, I can respect that. I won't serve them (though if others are drinking, I usually offer just to be polite--my Shirley Temple has quite a reputation, and can help the non-drinkers to fit in at a party). With issues like alcohol and evolution, the fundamentalists just can't stand to have anyone disagree with them. It seems they're quite insecure about their own beliefs.
 

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Riddikulus said:
Quote from: ytterbiumanalyst;
How amazingly weak on the part of the store owner.

And I'm not sure why people give into these spoilt-child tantrums. Spoilt people aren't terribly hardy at the best of times, and yet people assume the "resistance is futile" position and cave into these delicate flowers. All very odd. I'm glad to see that scientific community is giving them a run for their money!  ;D
The scientific community or the scientific establishment?
 

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StGeorge said:
You're lucky the sale is not state-prohibited.   

My state prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages at all grocery stores within the state.  If you want a case of beer, you need to visit the "Beer and Soda" store.  If you want a bottle of wine or liquor, you visit the state-run wine and spirits shop. 
Not a fundy specialty: the Scandinavian countries have similar set ups, and fundamentalist they are not.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Which state is this? I will not live there.
In Missouri, one can only purchase alcohol until 1:30 AM, and then not again until 9 AM (I only know this because I used to work night shift for a 24-hour grocery store). I can't imagine not buying alcohol at a grocery store. To me, it's to be enjoyed with a meal or after a meal, and so should be paired with food. We do have wine stores as well, such as the local chain Brown Derby www.brownderby.com, but I usually buy it at a grocery store. In fact, our budget for drinks comes out of our grocery budget. After we have all the food we need for the week, if there's anything left over, we'll buy a case of beer or a bottle of vodka or whatever we have money for.

It seems that this line of thinking pervades fundamentalism. It's not enough that they make choices for themselves; they must ensure that every person everywhere does what the fundamentalists think everyone should do. If a friend makes the choice not to drink, I can respect that. I won't serve them (though if others are drinking, I usually offer just to be polite--my Shirley Temple has quite a reputation, and can help the non-drinkers to fit in at a party). With issues like alcohol and evolution, the fundamentalists just can't stand to have anyone disagree with them. It seems they're quite insecure about their own beliefs.
Oh, please. The secular liberals are quite intent on living everyone's life for them.  I'm in the blue state across the river from you (though that part is quite red, I admit).
 

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ialmisry said:
Oh, please. The secular liberals are quite intent on living everyone's life for them.  I'm in the blue state across the river from you (though that part is quite red, I admit).
I wasn't talking about politics. I wouldn't have done that except in the Politics forum.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
I wasn't talking about politics. I wouldn't have done that except in the Politics forum.
I was talking about liberalism as a lifestyle choice.  It's only enforced through politics, but the disease is deeper.
 

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ialmisry said:
Not a fundy specialty: the Scandinavian countries have similar set ups, and fundamentalist they are not.
That is how it is in Ontario too.  You have to purchase everything from either the "Liquor Control Board of Ontario" or "The Beer Store".  I know there are exceptions though with local wines, etc.  It has nothing to do with fundies, and everything to do with money for the Province.  
 

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ialmisry said:
I was talking about liberalism as a lifestyle choice.  It's only enforced through politics, but the disease is deeper.
The disease is that people try to break everything down into liberal v. conservative. I can talk about fundamentalists without bringing up liberals at all. And I did.
 

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Friul said:
That is how it is in Ontario too.  You have to purchase everything from either the "Liquor Control Board of Ontario" or "The Beer Store".  I know there are exceptions though with local wines, etc.  It has nothing to do with fundies, and everything to do with money for the Province.  
Ah yes, but liberals can't admit that.
 

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ialmisry said:
Ah yes, but liberals can't admit that.
The case I brought up was about fundamentalists forcing their beliefs on other people by complaining to management, which was very similar to the situation brought up in the OP. This had nothing to do with economics or state-run liquor stores. And it certainly had nothing to do with liberal or conservative philosophy or politics.
 

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Some day it may be conclusively proven that Darwin had it all wrong. However, that proof won't come through covering up signs and arguing for "creationism"- it will come through investigating the question of evolution by the rules laid out by science.
 

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Bogoliubtsy said:
Some day it may be conclusively proven that Darwin had it all wrong. However, that proof won't come through covering up signs and arguing for "creationism"- it will come through investigating the question of evolution by the rules laid out by science.
Absolutely. Repressing information never leads to greater knowledge.
 

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I will say that the title was poor "Changing Attitudes to Evolution"... They probably should have chosen "Changing Attitudes about Evolution" or something... Saying "to" or "towards" implies trying to convince people. Even if that isn't their intention.

Personally, I think Science needs to avoid commonly accepting theories. Theories aren't true, only laws are. Just because Evolution is commonly accepted doesn't mean it is true and will be proven. However I do think we need to do more research.
However the scientific research we perform SHOULD NOT be using evolution as a base, especially since it is only a theory.

(Personally I don't care how God created us, it really isn't for us to know, all that I care to believe is that which is in the Creed and taught by the Church and her Saints.)
 

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88Devin12 said:
I will say that the title was poor "Changing Attitudes to Evolution"... They probably should have chosen "Changing Attitudes about Evolution" or something... Saying "to" or "towards" implies trying to convince people. Even if that isn't their intention.
Yeah, what I've read of the sign indicates it was very poorly written.

Personally, I think Science needs to avoid commonly accepting theories. Theories aren't true, only laws are. Just because Evolution is commonly accepted doesn't mean it is true and will be proven. However I do think we need to do more research.
However the scientific research we perform SHOULD NOT be using evolution as a base, especially since it is only a theory.
This idea of "only a theory" is a common misconception. Theories are an explanation for facts, and therefore are above facts in the scientific world.

Strictly speaking, laws aren't absolutely true either. Theories (and laws are really just theories that have been around a long time) are simply our best guess based on the evidence presented to us. We do need to do more research; we always need more research. However, evolution has been proven, by virtue of its being a theory. Had it been disproven, we would not be using it in our current research, just as we do not use heliocentrism. Since evolution is a valid scientific theory, it can and should be used in research.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
The case I brought up was about fundamentalists forcing their beliefs on other people by complaining to management, which was very similar to the situation brought up in the OP. This had nothing to do with economics or state-run liquor stores. And it certainly had nothing to do with liberal or conservative philosophy or politics.
Sure it doesn't. ::)
 

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Bogoliubtsy said:
Some day it may be conclusively proven that Darwin had it all wrong. However, that proof won't come through covering up signs and arguing for "creationism"- it will come through investigating the question of evolution by the rules laid out by science.
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Absolutely. Repressing information never leads to greater knowledge.
AGREED.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Yeah, what I've read of the sign indicates it was very poorly written.
What did some one say about under educated and red neck. Ooops, that was about Palin.

This idea of "only a theory" is a common misconception. Theories are an explanation for facts, and therefore are above facts in the scientific world.
And that's not begging the questin how?

Strictly speaking, laws aren't absolutely true either. Theories (and laws are really just theories that have been around a long time) are simply our best guess based on the evidence presented to us. We do need to do more research; we always need more research. However, evolution has been proven, by virtue of its being a theory. Had it been disproven, we would not be using it in our current research, just as we do not use heliocentrism. Since evolution is a valid scientific theory, it can and should be used in research.
And if it is not?
 

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Ialmisry---

Concerning both Conservatives and Liberals, those who claim to be of either camp will often accuse those who disagree with them as being a part of the "Enemy Camp" when, in fact, they are not. I consider myself a Moderate, but I have been accused of being a Liberal and of being a Conservative.
Ytter is right when he says this:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
The disease is that people try to break everything down into liberal v. conservative.
Perhaps it is best to think that there are some die-hard adherents to both camps, but that most of us are Moderates, in that we wish to have something from the Conservatives and something from the Liberals. For example, except in rare medical cases, I think partial-birth abortion should largely be banned, but I disagree with having prayer in public schools.
 

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88Devin12 said:
However the scientific research we perform SHOULD NOT be using evolution as a base, especially since it is only a theory.
Personally, I'm quite fond of modern medical research...you and your witch doctors can do research not assuming evolution...but you still have to take the vaccines we develop, we're not going to let you serve as petri dishes for evolving viruses that could eventually infect normal people.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Can someone please explain to me what "liberalism as a lifestyle choice" is?
Good question, I'm guessing things like not holding slaves, electing one's leaders rather than giving them their position by virtue of their birth, and engaging in free commerce without regard to whether or not the person you're doing business with is a Jew.
 

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greekischristian said:
Personally, I'm quite fond of modern medical research...you and your witch doctors can do research not assuming evolution...but you still have to take the vaccines we develop, we're not going to let you serve as petri dishes for evolving viruses that could eventually infect normal people.
Actually, GiC is correct. A lot of western medical practices (especially infection control) are based on evolution. For instance, bacteria develop resistances to antibiotics through a form of micro-evolution, and new approaches and antibiotics need to be used to control them.  
 

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ialmisry said:
What did some one say about under educated and red neck. Ooops, that was about Palin.
And that's not begging the questin how?
Heorhij had a very good way of explaining it. Check out the longest evolution thread; it's in there somewhere.

And if it is not?
If it's not true? A scientific theory can only be disproven by another, more valid scientific theory. Therefore, if Darwin's theory of evolution is ever disproven, we will have a better theory to go by.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
greekischristian said:
Good question, I'm guessing things like not holding slaves, electing one's leaders rather than giving them their position by virtue of their birth, and engaging in free commerce without regard to whether or not the person you're doing business with is a Jew.
Good Heavens! I didn't realize they were that liberal!

 

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PeterTheAleut said:
I wonder why the fundies didn't think of that action.  If they don't feel comfortable shopping there because of the alcohol, they could simply not shop there anymore.  The idea works for you, don't it?
If I had been the shop proprietor I would have told them that I had appreciated their custom and wished them well for the future, but I certainly wouldn't have caved into their manipulation.
 

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Friul said:
That is how it is in Ontario too.  You have to purchase everything from either the "Liquor Control Board of Ontario" or "The Beer Store".  I know there are exceptions though with local wines, etc.  It has nothing to do with fundies, and everything to do with money for the Province.
In countries like New Zealand regulations concerning alcohol were inbedded in the country's original Protestant law system. It's only just recently, within the past ten years if memory serves me correctly, that wine has been availabe in supermarkets. There also used to be laws against working on a Sunday, (and all sorts of accompanying "Sabbath prohibitions", but that was all finally overthrown about twenty years ago because it was clearly selective and unfair. One example off the top of my head would be that one could pay to go to a swimming pool (were people clearly were involved in paid work) on a Sunday, but not a cinema. Anyway, these days most everything is open 7 days a week; unless the store owner wishes to do otherwise. Liquor stores remain closed and I imagine that the regulation against them being open on Sunday will be the next to go. Progressively these archaic laws are being modified. 
 

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greekischristian said:
Good question, I'm guessing things like not holding slaves, electing one's leaders rather than giving them their position by virtue of their birth, and engaging in free commerce without regard to whether or not the person you're doing business with is a Jew.
Those pesky liberals; they simply won't leave people be!
 
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