Is was intrigued by this letter to the editor in the Sun-Sentinel:
Re the June 7 letter, “What is museum exhibit teaching?” stating that the scientific dissection of frogs would cause children to go out and start cutting up small animals: Quite the leap from “budding scientist” to “crazed animal mutilator,” solely because the museum included frog dissection in its exhibit.
The letter writer should keep in mind that scientists and innovators like Richard Lower, who discovered the methods of modern blood transfusion in the mid-17th century, or Leonardo DaVinci, whose anatomical sketches revolutionized the 15th century’s medical world, both used human and animal dissection to reach their incredible conclusions. The Museum of Discovery and Science, by including frog dissection as part of its exhibit, is simply living up to its name and reputation of bringing “discovery” and “science” to children and adults alike.
It’s such a shame to see that even positive and incredibly interesting aspects of our children’s education are going to be scrutinized, criticized and, in some cases, attempted to be stopped. Instead of concerning ourselves with our children learning about science and the inner workings of such fascinating creatures, why not focus our energies on safeguarding and supporting these museums and their programs in order to ensure that the children who inherit this Earth are the innovators and scientists of the future?
Here is the original letter:
Why is the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale dissecting frogs?
The museum is touting “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors” as a special exhibit. It would seem that they believe that the correct way to celebrate frogs is by dissecting them.
I spoke to a museum representative. Her response was “dissecting frogs is science.” I told her that I didn’t believe dissecting frogs in front of children the smartest thing the museum could do. She told me to look at “Bodies”: It’s drawing huge crowds. One assumes that means that drawing crowds is what the museum is after, not science.
Many high schools and colleges use computer programs like “Virtual Frog Dissection.” But I guess that wouldn’t turn any of those impressionable children into budding scientists.
I wonder how many kids will leave the museum and then decide it’s OK to start taking small creatures apart?
The museum exhibit in question is Frogs, a chorus of colors. Personally, I don’t think a frog dissection on display at a museum will cause kids to go out and start mutilating critters. What do you think?