Springtime for Darwin
[Editor's Note: This is crossposted at Discovery Blog]
Schools are in recess this time of year, so busloads of girls using "like" as a verbal crutch and wise cracking, baggy pants boys are wending their way through the cherry blossoms of America's capital. In these security-conscious times it is harder than ever to get a tour of the White House or Capitol, so parents and chaperones are quick to steer the young to the Mall.
A traditional favorite is the National Museum of Natural History, where for several years now Darwinian fairytales have been presented in an exhibit on mammals that encourages our offspring to have a family reunion with their "relatives", including chimps, dogs, and mice. Here are strange just-so stories proposed as fact, telling the gullible, for example, how the giraffe evolved its neck. Presto-change-o. At the core of the exhibit is a tiny rodent whom the adorable, if naÃ¯ve, teens are supposed to venerate as their direct ancestor. It cost a lot of money to bamboozle the folks this way. And you taxpayers paid for it.
Yes, this is the same Natural History museum where an affiliated scientist
bragged in one of the emails the House of Representatives found a couple of years ago that her own son uses "under dog" instead of "under God" when saying the
Pledge of Allegiance.
For the more discerning visitors, a trip to Mt. Vernon is recommended. Thank goodness for old-fashioned philanthropy and a non-ironic perspective. George Washington's home boasts a lavish new visitors' center and education program that puts government museums to shame. The heroic history of the Revolution is evoked in a stirring orientation film written by Lionel Chetwynd.
Mt. Vernon is not hesitant to hail our true ancestor-in-patriotism as the hero he was, the flesh-and-blood Father of his Country. It's a lot easier for a kid to look up to George than down to a rodent.