Creationists protest National Museums of Kenya

1 minute read

OK, I have to take a moment off from Just Science week, to note this AP article about creationist protests of the National Museums of Kenya:

"I did not evolve from Turkana Boy or anything like it," says Bishop Boniface Adoyo, head of Kenya's 35 evangelical denominations, which he claims have 10 million followers. "These sorts of silly views are killing our faith."
He's calling on his flock to boycott the exhibition and has demanded the museum relegate the fossil collection to a back room -- along with some kind of notice saying evolution is not a fact but merely one of a number of theories.

It is hard to tell how much trouble this actually is. I tend to think cranks like this are usually just publicity-seeking, and the real danger is when they get some influence in the government. But that may be where things are at. I've seen more local reports on the issue, so I'm glad the AP has picked up the story and more people will see it.

According to the article, the museum is worried about people wrecking the exhibit:

The museum, which attracts around 100,000 visitors a year, is taking no chances.
Turkana Boy will be displayed in a private room, with limited access and behind a glass screen with 24-hour closed-circuit TV. Security guards will be at the entrance.
"There are issues about the security," said Dr. Emma Mbua, the head of paleontology at the museum. "These fossils are irreplaceable and we wouldn't want anything to happen to them."
Insurance coverage could run into millions of dollars, she added.

This seems to me like the most dangerous part -- protests or threats increase the costs of exhibiting and make it harder to conduct the museum's education work. It's an asymmetrical strategy -- the museum has priceless things in a fixed place, and I hope it's a strategy that gets stopped in its tracks.