Monday, January 10, 2011

Jan 15 WASH DC: Fred Edwords Retrospective on the 2010 Museum of Natural History Human Origins Exhibit

Saturday, January 15th, 2:00 p.m. 
Chevy Chase Library, 5625 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, DC
Speaker: Fred Edwords 
Topic: Human Origins: When Religion Makes Science Museums Nervous

As the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC opened its new David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins in March 2010, the science staff braced itself for a possible onslaught of criticism from religious conservatives. After all, the fossil evidence for human evolution has grown stunningly robust over the past few decades; so any honest presentation is bound to upset certain sensibilities. In a preemptive move anticipating such criticism, the Human Origins Initiative associated with the new exhibit launched the Broader Social Impacts Committee. Its purpose was to address the social implications, including those affecting religion. And on this committee were placed representatives of all the major world religions. Fred Edwords was invited to represent humanism and, in accepting, participated in a public panel discussion at the museum right after the exhibit opened.

In his talk for WASH MDC, Fred will tell of his adventures on the committee and give some of the historic background of creationist interference with American museum exhibits on evolution and the responses that have been necessary. Fred is a long-time defender of evolutionary science against the onslaughts of creationists. In 1980 he founded the Creation/Evolution journal to answer creationist arguments and went on the debate circuit. He served 15 years as executive director of the American Humanist Association, 12 years as editor of the Humanist magazine, and is now national director of the United Coalition of Reason. He continues his work with the Broader Social Impacts Committee at the museum.