The Descent of Man
A national debate over the teaching of evolution versus creationism in our schools has raged ever since Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859 and the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, which was the first court case to challenge the teaching of evolution in public schools. Today, the battle lives on in popular culture, including the recent debate between Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and Christian author Ken Ham at the Creationist Museum. I feel that the public conversation has been overtaken by the debate's extremists and I instead champion the view that science and God are two sides of the same beautiful coin. As an artist, I want to create a public conversation in which the vast swath of people stuck in between creationists (and a science-averse thinking due to a literal reading of Genesis) and scientists (and a belief that any spirituality beyond atheism will undermine their craft) can have a voice and feel secure in their belief in the co-existence of both. I believe science provides a framework from which we can discover and expand our understanding of the universe, and spiritual truths and experiences outside our understanding of science can be equally impactful on our lives. I feel that both science and spirituality can each be embraced completely without discrediting the other.
So, our team is creating an art project, The Descent of Man. The project depicts the ramifications of Jesus teaching this contentious topic to elementary school children. It's a nine-image photography project due out in the spring of 2014. Here is a preview of the project showing the first image in the series:
The following eight images showcase The Descent of Man that has occurred throughout the public discourse on this topic. Included in the forthcoming visuals: chimps, rioting, devolution, protests, a silverback gorilla, Jesus on the witness stand, and a naked man. I look forward to sharing the final project with you soon!
Why Call the Project "The Descent of Man"?
Darwin's second book was titled The Descent of Man, which discusses theories on human evolution.
Many Christians believe man descended from grace (the free and unmerited favor of God).
The public debate of creationism vs. science is a textbook definition of descent:
descent - /diˈsent/ - noun - a moral, social, or psychological decline into a specified undesirable state.