The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is a collections-based research and educational institution that relies on science to enhance our knowledge of the natural world.
The goal of science is to acquire ever-increasing understanding of the objects and events we encounter. Such understanding is obtained through the continual critical evaluation of testable hypotheses and theories.
Evolution is a central concept in modern science. Evolutionary theories are supported by evidence from such diverse fields as genetics, paleontology, chemistry, and physics. The use of evolutionary biology as a means of acquiring understanding is consistent with the overall goal of science, as the theories involved are available to critical evaluation. Evolutionary biology allows us to explain the amazing diversity of life on Earth today and how diversity has changed over time.
Because understanding evolution is important for both scientists and the public, the Natural History Museum emphasizes that evolutionary biology belongs in school curricula and textbooks as well as in public museums. Although the topic is sometimes portrayed as controversial, it is no more controversial among scientists than are the theories explaining gravity, light, sound, or electricity.
The Natural History Museum, with its mission to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility, recognizes that evolutionary biology is fundamental to understanding biological diversity and is critical for both scientific research and museums. The Museum welcomes people of all beliefs and backgrounds to join us as we explore, through science, the wonders of the natural world.
Good starting places for finding additional information about evolution and its relation to other concepts and issues include:
- Science, Evolution, and Creationism (a publication of the National Academy of Sciences) http://decapoda.nhm.org/pdfs/27680/27680.pdf
- Evolution 101 (Museum of Paleontology, University of California Berkeley) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_01
- National Center for Science Education http://www.ncseweb.org
- The Clergy Letter Project http://www.theclergyletterproject.org/Christian_Clergy/ChrClergyLtr.htm