US museums are going where schoolteachers are increasingly wary to tread, with a series of exhibitions championing evolution at a time when Charles Darwin's theory is under fire from creationists.You Lose Some :
The exhibits include "Evolving Planet" at Chicago's Field Museum, "Darwin" at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and "Explore Evolution" which is being shown simultaneously at university museums in six midwest and southern states.
Judy Diamond, professor and curator of the Nebraska University State Museum which developed the "Explore Evolution" project, said the idea was very much a product of the current environment.
"We conceived of it as a response to the fact that evolution was not being taught in schools and that museums now have to take up the banner," Mr Diamond said.
Mr Diamond believes a gradual slide in teaching evolution over the past 30 years has led to the current state of affairs where some school districts are "systematically" seeking to reduce the emphasis on Darwin's theories.
Many other schools, she says, are simply reducing the amount of time spent on teaching evolution as a way of avoiding controversy.
"It's not that they don't want to teach it, it's just that they feel unsure of the amount of community support," she said.
In a Gallup poll released last month, 53 per cent of American adults agreed with the statement that God created humans in their present form exactly the way the Bible describes it.
Meanwhile 34 per cent stood by the intelligent design stance that humans evolved over millions of years from other forms of life and God guided the process, while 12 percent said humans have evolved from other forms of life and "God has no part."
Diamond said her project was aimed at addressing the apparent lack of a coherent education about evolution for both children and adults.
"They often don't have a clue what they are arguing about, or what they supporting and not supporting," she said.
While response to the exhibit has been overwhelmingly positive, around 10 per cent of feedback cards provided by the Nebraska museum have taken a critical stance.
"The theory of evolution should not be shown as it is not the truth," read one.
"That God created the world will be proved to evolutionists at the end of their life."
Revisiting a topic that exposed Kansas to nationwide ridicule six years ago, the state Board of Education approved science standards for public schools Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.
The board's 6-4 vote, expected for months, was a victory for intelligent design advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher powe