Smithsonian to open Human Origins Hall

| 24 Comments

In spite of the Disco ‘Tute’s recent efforts to imply that the Smithsonian Institution is somehow sympathetic to anti-evolutionist films, the stodgy old place persists in being a place where evolution education is important. Most recently it has announced (pdf of press release) the upcoming opening of a new exhibition hall devoted to human origins:

A new exhibition hall dedicated to the discovery and understanding of human origins will open next year at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Based on decades of cutting-edge research by Smithsonian scientists, the David H. Koch (pronounced “coke”) Hall of Human Origins will premiere March 17, 2010, which also marks the 100-year anniversary of the museum’s official opening on the National Mall.

The $20.7 million exhibition hall will be complemented by ongoing human origins research and education programs, which are all key components of the museum’s broader initiative, “Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human?” The initiative focuses on the epic story of human evolution and how the defining characteristics of the species have evolved over 6 million years as its ancestors adapted to a changing world. The museum will launch a compelling new Smithsonian Human Origins Web site and a revolutionary virtual experience hosted on the Blue Mars 2150 virtual Web site. It will include a complete reproduction of the physical exhibition plus additional features visitors can only experience on the Web.

It’s noteworthy that the main funding is coming from two people with science and engineering backgrounds, the eponymous David H. Koch, a chemical engineer and executive vice president of Koch Industries, and Peter Buck, a physicist and co-founder of Subway restaurants. It’s good to see there’s significant science philanthropy to offset the likes of Howard Ahmanson, a major funder of the Disco ‘Tute.

24 Comments

David H. Koch is not eponymous; it is Koch Industries that is eponymous, unless David was named after the company and not the other way around.

Bill Gascoyne said:

David H. Koch is not eponymous; it is Koch Industries that is eponymous, unless David was named after the company and not the other way around.

You evilutionists and your pathetic level of detail!

I think it’s the hall that’s eponymous, not Mr. Koch, who is a fortiori named after himself. That said, I appreciate his contribution.

This looks so cool!!! I wonder how it will compare to the hall of human origins at the AMNH? I want to point out the following From the Smithsonian press release:

On Oct. 29, the museum will host the premiere of an exciting PBS NOVA three-part series developed in conjunction with WGBH-TV Boston, “Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors,” featuring Potts and airing in November.

You can read more about this upcoming NOVA special here

cervantes said:

I think it’s the hall that’s eponymous, not Mr. Koch, who is a fortiori named after himself. That said, I appreciate his contribution.

And you’re right. Sorry about that, pedants. :)

(Hm. “a fortiori,” huh? Wonder if there’s a way to sneak “mutatis mutandis” in here? I’ve always liked the sound of that phrase.)

David H. Koch is not eponymous; it is Koch Industries that is eponymous, unless David was named after the company and not the other way around.

Is this a case of correlation not proving causation? ;)

and Peter Buck, a physicist and co-founder of Subway restaurants.

Always loved Subway. One reliable place to get a quick vegetarian lunch. Now I love it even more. Will make it a point to visit their website and leave a note appreciating the donation.

Unfortunately, David H Koch is funding PR against science on the global warming issue.

t_p_hamilton said:

Unfortunately, David H Koch is funding PR against science on the global warming issue.

Yeah, and Koch Industries, as I recall from somewhere or other, is not a paragon of corporate rectitude. But it’s still neat that a good deal of Koch money went to the Smithsonian for the Hall.

The hall is good news. I’m glad some small proportion of Koch’s money is going for something beneficial. It’s is quite critical that constant DI machinations to imply that the Smithsonian or other prominent museums support ID/creationism be slapped down hard.

Unfortunately, David H Koch is funding PR against science on the global warming issue.

Unfortunately, this is another frustrating example of the apparent massive correlation between the current “conservative” side of American politics and various forms of science denial.

Koch should be regarded as no different than a creationist who accepts the evidence on human contribution to climate change, and funds a museum exhibit to educate the public on that issue, but denies biological evolution.

Certainly, denying some sound science is better than denying all sound science - but not much better. One out of two is not very impressive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_H._Koch

harold Wrote:

Certainly, denying some sound science is better than denying all sound science - but not much better.

Is it? I have to wonder. There’s a certain ironic consistency in Flat-Earth-Last-Thursdayists that YECs, OECs and especially IDers lack. The latter’s habit of picking-and-choosing only those data and arguments that they think they can get away with that makes me suspicious. Especially when they look the other way when someone else picks-and-chooses an alternate “explanation” that contradicts theirs, but otherwise misrepresents mainstream science.

I’m not as up on the details of anthropogenic global warming as I am on evolution, but I recall Sarah Palin and a few others on the fundamentalist-far-right grudgingly conceding that it’s likely. If so, there’s probably as much internal disagreement on that issue, and if so, just as much effort to cover it up for the sake of the big tent.

t_p_hamilton said:

Unfortunately, David H Koch is funding PR against science on the global warming issue.

Interestingly I first misread that as Koch funding science that refutes (anthropogenic) global warming. But I guess almost no one does that because they don’t expect it to be successful. But they can try. If the data do not match their expectations they can always whine about being “expelled.”

“In spite of the Disco ‘Tute’s recent efforts to imply that the Smithsonian Institution is somehow sympathetic to anti-evolutionist films”

You’ve either A) got to be kidding, or B) made a typo. DI would never imply such a thing. After all, they accused the Smithsonian of putting pressure on the Science Center to cancel the premiere of the film.

Alex said:

“In spite of the Disco ‘Tute’s recent efforts to imply that the Smithsonian Institution is somehow sympathetic to anti-evolutionist films”

You’ve either A) got to be kidding, or B) made a typo. DI would never imply such a thing. After all, they accused the Smithsonian of putting pressure on the Science Center to cancel the premiere of the film.

Do also remember that consistency is not a strong suit of people and organizations that make a living off of denying evolution and trying to wreck scientific education in order to please God.

Stanton, couldn’t you have just addressed my comment without generalization?

Stanton said:

Alex said:

“In spite of the Disco ‘Tute’s recent efforts to imply that the Smithsonian Institution is somehow sympathetic to anti-evolutionist films”

You’ve either A) got to be kidding, or B) made a typo. DI would never imply such a thing. After all, they accused the Smithsonian of putting pressure on the Science Center to cancel the premiere of the film.

Do also remember that consistency is not a strong suit of people and organizations that make a living off of denying evolution and trying to wreck scientific education in order to please God.

Alex said:

“In spite of the Disco ‘Tute’s recent efforts to imply that the Smithsonian Institution is somehow sympathetic to anti-evolutionist films”

You’ve either A) got to be kidding, or B) made a typo. DI would never imply such a thing. After all, they accused the Smithsonian of putting pressure on the Science Center to cancel the premiere of the film.

You’re putting the horse before the cart. First they attempted to wedge the Smithsonian name into the film premiere: Link.
Later, when the Smithsonian affiliate pulled out for arguably good contractual reasons, the DI accused them of trying to cancel it just because it’s ID.

Believe it or not, I agree with the “inflationary credentialism” charge. However, some of the blame goes to the Smithsonian for being open to hosting the film. Were they out to lunch when they learned who wrote the film?

Alex -

This is at least the third attempt by the DI to create a false impression that the Smithsonian is favorable to their output.

They used machinations in an attempt to have the film “The Privileged Planet” shown at the Washington, DC Smithsonian in 2005.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_pr[…]leged_planet

Richard Sternberg used his position to sneak an irrelevant ID paper into a Smithsonian journal at around the same time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Sternberg

Now they are trying a similar trick with another film at another location.

Of course, after they are caught, they accuse the Smithsonian of bias against them.

It’s a no-lose situation. If you can rent a room at the Smithsonian and show a creationist film, you can subsequently imply that “the Smithsonian” showed it. If you get caught, you can accuse the Smithsonian of “expelling” you.

Alex said:

Believe it or not, I agree with the “inflationary credentialism” charge. However, some of the blame goes to the Smithsonian for being open to hosting the film. Were they out to lunch when they learned who wrote the film?

It doesn’t matter who’s film it is, if they rent the space for the time they can show whatever they want. The reason the science center was able to oust them was because of a contract violation.

@Wheels: Here you say it was because of a contract violation. Earlier, you said it was because of “arguably good contractual reasons.” Which one is it? (After all, “arguably good” means the same thing as “arguably bad.”)

Alex said:

@Wheels: Here you say it was because of a contract violation. Earlier, you said it was because of “arguably good contractual reasons.” Which one is it? (After all, “arguably good” means the same thing as “arguably bad.”)

It means that -I- think the reasons for dropping them are valid contractual violations, i.e. they made it look like the Smithsonian had a hand in this beyond being associated with the science center that took the DI’s proxy’s money.
However, what -I- think doesn’t always line up with what lawyers manage to successfully argue, so…

Alex said:

“In spite of the Disco ‘Tute’s recent efforts to imply that the Smithsonian Institution is somehow sympathetic to anti-evolutionist films”

You’ve either A) got to be kidding, or B) made a typo. DI would never imply such a thing. After all, they accused the Smithsonian of putting pressure on the Science Center to cancel the premiere of the film.

So I take it you completely forgot the press release they issued, in flagrant violation of their contract, that implied the Smithsonian was endorsing them? Or are you just lying about it? Isn’t that imagainary god of yorus supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness?

Boy, phantomreader, you don’t know me at all, yet make all sorts of assumptions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoqUwyHseg4

Alex said:

Boy, phantomreader, you don’t know me at all, yet make all sorts of assumptions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoqUwyHseg4

Of track but: I have used that line for years with my (better) students! love it!

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on October 22, 2009 12:22 PM.

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