Saturday, March 15, 2008

UC Observer mag and Humanists step into the breach to sponsor Darwin show

As hard as it may be to imagine, the cadre of usual corporate backers of Royal Ontario Museum exhibits shied away from sponsoring an exhibit celebrating Charles Darwin, the author of Origin of the Species and coiner of the term "survival of the fittest". However, according to a story in the Toronto Star, the show goes on with a couple of unlikely sponsors: The United Church Observer magazine and the Humanist Association of Canada.

"We've never seen a need that was so clear," said Observer editor and publisher David Wilson. The magazine provided $40,000 in cash and advertising space to the show. “We were dismayed to learn that the exhibit had been unable to secure corporate sponsorship in Toronto or in any of the other North American cities where it has been mounted,” he said in a press release. “Our support is modest but symbolic. If a small church-based operation such as The Observer doesn’t fear a backlash from those who oppose Darwin’s theory of evolution, then secular corporate entities with much greater resources shouldn’t fear it either.” (The support comes from the resources of the separately incorporated magazine, not from the United Church itself.)

The Humanist Association provided $50,000 in support of the touring exhibition. Pat O’Brien, President of HAC said: "The ROM’s Director & CEO, William Thorsell opined on CBC Radio that while evolution and Darwinism may be controversial topics in the United States, he did not expect the same to be true in Canada. As the use of the scientific method is advocated as one of the principles of Humanism...we strongly felt that this wonderful exhibition deserves our best support."

Darwin: The Evolution Revolution explores the life and work of Charles Darwin, whose work nearly 150 years ago fundamentally altered views of the origin and nature of all species, including our own. The exhibition is on display until Monday, August 4, 2008 in the ROM's Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. The ROM is the first Canadian venue to host the show during its international tour.

“There is nothing in the exhibit that threatens or diminishes religion or people of faith in any way,” Mr. Wilson said. “If anything, it shines a light on the inherent beauty and wonder of a creation that is constantly and eternally evolving.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us pause to laugh at the silly people. What's next, the return of the flat earth society? Or will it become controversial to suggest that it is food and water, rather than (say) shampoo, which nourishes us?

Ha ha ha. Now can we all go back to ignoring the silly people and get on with reality? If they boycott the product of sponsors of shows about Darwin and evolution, let us guffaw, not buckle. Yeesh.

7:51 am  

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