Thursday, January 22, 2009

Darwin's Bicentennial, Evolution Tauted by Houston Museums, Libraries and Schools

In the University of St. Thomas library this morning, I came across a bookmark-size flyer for Darwin2009Houston, a website publicizing local events to celebrate the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth, the sesquicentennial of the publication of On the Origin of Species, and "the importance of the science of evolution."

The website is hosted by the Houston Academy of Medicine - Texas Medical Center Library. Other institutions participating in and promoting the website include: Houston Public Library, Brazoria County Library System, Montgomery County Memorial Library Systems, Science Teachers Association of Texas, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo, Rice University's Fondren Library, University of Houston Libraries, and University of St. Thomas' Doherty Library. Other religious institutions supporting the website include Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church and Live Oak Friends Meeting.

The group's Advisory Board includes professionals from several of the institutions, including Donald R. Frohlich, PhD, professor of biology at the University of St. Thomas. The website also includes a blog that has postings on the importance of evolution going back to April 2008.

At a time when religious conservatives are trying once again to water down the statewide curriculum on evolution, it is gratifying that Darwin2009Houston is contributing to efforts to keep creationism, intelligent design and related religious claims out of the science classroom. It is also heartening that the library and the biology department of a Catholic university are continuing to uphold the Catholic tradition that there is no conflict between Genesis and Darwin's description of evolution.

The participants invite other institutions to join them. Here's hoping that many will!

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