Hypocrisy in Science

It seems lots of big name folks are up in arms over a display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science over a new display.

HMNS is exhibiting “Lucy,” the supposed early human ancestor found in Ethiopia. The critics accuse the museum of sensationalism and of “prostituting” the fossils. A decade old UN policy says it is OK to take fossils out of a country for scientists to study them in labs, but not for people to see them. Said Richard Leakey: “It’s a form of prostitution. It’s gross exploitation of the ancestors of humanity, and it should not be permitted.”

“Advance ticket sales, about 3,000 so far, are on par with Body Worlds 3, the museum’s most popular exhibit ever. The Lucy exhibit costs $20 for adults.”

And that brings me to my point about hypocrisy. Did any of these scientists criticize Body Worlds? That was the macabre exhibit of partially dissected human bodies arranged in surreal poses (riding a horse, playing cards, etc.). No, none of them uttered a word. And while European Catholics unanimously condemned it, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, in the voice of Msgr. Frank Rossi, said that was a perfectly fine use of a human body. (Fr. Daniel Callam of UST gave a very good sermon blasting this desecration of human bodies, but his was a lonely voice crying in the wilderness).

2 thoughts on “Hypocrisy in Science

  1. Mr. Cork,

    You might be encouraged to know there are a few other lone voices in the wilderness. As for the science community, Elaine Catz recently quit the job she loved for eleven years as Science Education Coordinator at the Carnegie Science Center over the bodies exhbits. Part of her responsibility at the center was to professionally research and assess the scientific validity of educational material at the center. Based on two years of rigorous research her assessment was that these exhibits are ‘highly suspicious’. If you would like to read more, you can read the article she wrote for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (one in a series of three that they published): http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07175/796418-109.stm

    I especially like what Elaine says about ‘what are we teaching millions’.

    Also, you might find what a Texas educator, Thomas Hibbs from Baylor University, had to say about the exhibits in his article titled “Dead Body Porn”

    Here are some websites with strong opinions AGAINST these exhibits. The Boston site and the Durham NC site both have petitions you can sign if you think these exhibits should, at the very least, be regulated. Today there are no regulations for importation of bodies for commercial display. Not even a stamp from the CDC. Its just all about the money.


    Keep up the good work!

  2. Bill,

    As a Seventh Day Adventist, what do you think of the Florida Hospital partnering with Gerhard Perner and his “Universe Within” exhibits to create a new exhibit “From Behind the Doctor’s Eyes”? Florida Hospital is owned by the Seventh Day Adventists. Do you think the church knows that its managing company, Adventist Health, has made this (sure to be lucrative) deal? I bet they’re not aware of all the controversy. See wikipedia and links above.
    Press Release of the partnership. http://www.genengnews.com/news/bnitem.aspx?name=22115428

    I find the idea that all this is happening within eyesight of Disney World reprehensible.

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