“Are they making a monkey out of you?”
This is the question being asked by a Minn.-based Christian organization that just launched a billboard campaign attempting to point to holes in evolutionary thought.
The non-profit group, Who Is Your Creator, is running advertisements that show four panels depicting a man “evolving” into a “monkey” (actually an ape). The organization hopes the billboards will draw in visitors to their website to learn more information about the issue.
"It's kind of funny because the theory of evolution is based on chance mutations and natural selection," explained Julie Haberle, founder of the Who Is Your Creator, in Cybercast News Service. "[Thus] the process can go either way."
Alongside the billboards, the group also launched a “Let's See How Evolution Works” game in its forums on Monday. The game explores and critiques the hypothetical stages of specific evolutionary transitions, which is commonly used as proof for evolution.
"If evolution is true, it still must be occurring around us as random mutations would continue to occur," quoted the first posting in the forum. "So, aside from simple speciation, where are all the living transitional forms that are evolving into other forms?"
As a major point to the campaign, the organizers hope to start discussion about evolutionary theory, and how it is not completely justifiable. The founders are worried that children who learn about evolution in school are only taught that it is undeniable fact. But Who Is Your Creator employees disagree.
As a main goal, they would like to see other subjects, such as creation, taught alongside evolution and for students to see more than one side of the argument. Organizers have also realized teaching creation is largely improbable at the time, however, but would at least like schools to teach about the flaws inside evolution.
"Evolution needs to be assessed by empirical scientific standards,” said Haberle in a statement, “not by the current philosophical standards based on 'naturalism.'"
Currently, the billboards are being displayed in six locations in Oregon and Georgia through space donated by Revelation Outdoor Management. More billboards are expected to move into “controversial legislative states” such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri after fundraising.
A retired attorney has also donated a $5,000 prize for a contest that Who Is Your Creator is running. Applicants will submit a four-part legal opinion that will present the scientific and legal repercussions of teaching evolution and creation within the public school system.
Evolution scientists, however, have commented that the scientific community has more than enough supported the position of evolution. They note that the campaign is negatively disturbing a theory that has helped mankind and have labeled the Who Is Your Creator organization as a threat. The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has even put the group on their list of "Threats to Evolution Education" in Minnesota.
"Indeed, scientists, students, educators and policymakers recently gathered in Washington, D.C., to hear leading doctors and researchers explain how their studies of evolution have led to critical advancements in medicine and the development of treatments for diseases like cancer," said Dr. Holly Menninger of the AIBS Public Policy Office to Cybercast News Service.
According to an August 2005 Pew Research Center survey, Americans believe in creation over evolution by a 60 percent to 26 percent margin and "nearly two-thirds of Americans say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools."
"How silly that they would think we are a threat unless they don't what the public to know the truth," concluded Haberle in his statement.