I went to two New York City churches on the last Sunday morning of May: First a Christian one, then the American Museum of Natural History, a towering steeple within the Church of Darwin.
My first stopping point: The Spitzer Hall of Human Origins on the lower level, a dark and crowded chapel with hairy figures created to show man's purported hominid ancestry over several million years. Some parents were catechizing their young children: "Look, those are our relatives." (As I listened, one unbelieving girl, staring at the private parts of the hirsute mannequins, laughed, "We didn't come from them." A well-trained little girl said, "Mommy, they look like us.")
How definitive were the exhibits? One, titled "Interpreting the footprints," depicted two ancient, hairy hominids walking together. The larger male had his arm around the smaller female. The explanation in small print explained, "To create the scene in front of you, experts interpreted footprints left behind.?... Here a male and a female walk together. Was it a mother and child instead? Possibly. We'll never know for sure, but this scene is consistent with the evidence."
Maybe we should be grateful for this defense of traditional marriage, but dozens of other scenes could also be consistent with the evidence. It was encouraging to see the small print on many of the display cases admitting uncertainty—"Perhaps?... perhaps?...?may have been?...?may well have been?... seems?...?seems?...?seems?...?appears to be?...?suggests?... suggests." But a video screen showed a continuous loop of genotype pioneer Francis Collins, the National Center for Science Education's Eugenie Scott, and Brown professor Kenneth Miller expressing Darwinian certainty. Miller insisted that disbelievers in evolution want to turn biology into "little more than stamp collecting."
With apologies to philatelists—the Hall of Human Origins exhibits are little more than stamp collecting, because the evidence for humans arising from animals is insufficient. While a big sign proclaimed "Our family tree," small print on one exhibit acknowledged, "Unfortunately, hominid fossils from the crucial period between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago are quite rare." Unfortunate for those who claim the evolution vs. creation argument is over, when recent discoveries of cell complexity mean that it's just begun.