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Darwin's Reluctant Evolution at The Field

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 13, 2007 5:55PM

darwinape_2007_06.jpgHead 300 miles south to The Creation Museum and you may be dazzled by their Because The Bible Said So, That’s Why! explanation of life’s origins. That prospect is too much for The Field Museum. On Friday they open Darwin, a new traveling exhibition focused on the man and scientist considered the creationists’ biggest gadfly. Now a household name, Charles Darwin is remembered primarily for publishing Origin of Species and Descent of Man, the most compelling challenges to the dominant faith-based thinking of his era.

Looks like this era’s not too sold on Darwin’s theories either. Respondents to a poll USA Today published last week favored creationism over evolutionary theory, 66% to 53%, with 25% of respondents endorsing both. Before you cringe at or crow over these results, keep in mind this poll holds about as much weight as a presidential poll held a year and a half before the election. It’s about perception, which side is more effectively marketing their ideas and institutions to non-experts likely more concerned with Paris Hilton’s incarceration than biology and philosophy.

That’s where The Field comes in, displaying an extensive collection of Darwin’s manuscripts and artifacts along with personal mementos from his family life and leisure pursuits showing a less curmudgeonly side. Read his carefully considered analysis of why marriage is better than dog ownership. See the remains of the animals that captivated a young Darwin and see how Charles outdid his grandfather in evolutionary scholarship. Gaze at a recreation of the man’s study and see how he wrote proficiently without an iMac. And, if the exhibition so moves you, understand how his observations on species variation have advanced science and medicine.

Darwin opens June 15 and runs through January 1, 2008, at The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Drive. More information at

Image via Wiki Commons