Footprints examines the roles of Darwin and Darwinism
By ASI GAL
The 14-year-old kid hiding from the school bully knows it. The 38-year-old woman considering plastic surgery so she can find a mate and re-produce knows it too. Darwin was right. It really is about survival of the fittest.
Yona Leshed Rubinstein, curator of the Footprints exhibition, which marks Darwin's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of his book Origin of the Species, says that he is "more than a basis for scientific thought. He's also a cultural icon."
Origin of the Species "is the bread and butter of secular beliefs," says Dr. Sarah Shwartz from the Open University's Biological Thought program. "It seems that secular and religious people do not argue whether or not there is a God. They argue whether or not Darwin was right."
At the Footprints exhibition, at the Open University's Ra'anana campus, designers from the university's publishing house present their artistic interpretations of Darwinism. "The works show the delicate intricacy in the relationship between the mechanism of natural selection and its representation to those who object to the theory," says Rubinstein, the exhibition's curator.
"The social fall-out following the publication of Origin is still an issue today," says Rubinstein. Just last month the boards of education in Texas and Louisiana entertained scientific dissenters, debating how to teach the theory of evolution. This past July, the Hebrew University canceled a meeting with Muslim clergy because they were anti-Darwinists. This issue was given a huge public forum in 1960 with the movie Inherit the Wind that depicts the infamous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, in which an American science teacher was arrested for teaching Darwin's theory.
"The works," Rubinstein says, "also represent the human struggle to accept the now 150-year-old altered meanings of the terms 'the creation of man' and 'in the image of God'."
Additionally, the exhibition presents over 150 covers of Darwin's book through the ages and around the world. "This book's importance goes way beyond the scientific realm," says Dr. Shwartz. "Through the different covers, we wish to examine the iconic process that Darwin's ideas have undergone."
Footprints, at the Open University's Ra'anana campus, runs until March 27 and is open from Sun. to Thurs. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entrance is free. 1 University Way, (09) 778-0778
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