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Natural History Museum Has Been Purged Of Any Reference To God

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Natural History Museum (Photo by Dave & Anna Douglass via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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This weekend the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History has officially been scrubbed of an errant reference to a higher being.

The Nature Lab is a place for the young'uns to explore the scientific method with a hands-on exhibit, but it's also where an anonymous donor asked the museum to place the following inscription:

"The Nature Lab is a gift to Los Angeles to celebrate all of God's creatures and enable NHM to broaden our understanding of the natural world through the process of scientific discovery.' Anonymous Donor - 2013"

That didn't sit well with University of Chicago Department of Ecology and Evolution professor Jerry Coyne, who wrote that the reference to a fictional being marred the exhibit:

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First of all, it misleads the public in two ways: by giving a scientific imprimatur to the idea that animals are “God’s creatures,” and second, by not really making it plain that the quote was insisted on by the anonymous donor—if that’s the case. I myself didn’t get that when I first saw the sign, so how many people will understand? The lesson they will take away is that creatures were the product of God, and that the Museum endorses that.

The museum decided to take the quote down over the weekend and released a statement to KPCC explaining their decision: "Upon further reflection and after discussion with our staff, and in conversation with the donor, the Museum has determined that acknowledging donors by including personal statements in such a manner has the potential to cause confusion."