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Back to the Beginning

The origin of life is a mystery. The best guess was given by a Soviet biochemist, Aleksandr Oparin: he hypothesized that lightning strikes and volcanic eruptions sparked life in “primordial soup.” The 1950s Miller-Urey Experiment lent substantial credence to his theory, but it remains speculative. Esoteric debate continues between the proponents of phospholipids, RNA molecules, and panspermia (the seeding of Earth by comets) as the causes of life. Then, of course, there are the God people: the Intelligent Designers and Creationists.

“Designing Intelligence?” is an art exhibit about the controversy over Intelligent Design, Creationism, and Evolution. The gallery is like the headspace of a schizophrenic, canvassed from wall-to-ceiling in multimedia art. Some visitors stop at the door and walk away; others lose themselves in fascination. The exhibit passes no judgment on the theories. It’ll be accompanied on March 6 by a symposium of Buddhist, Seminole, Islamic and other religious leaders. But it should be said that Creationism is pure fairytale and Intelligent Design is completely unverifiable (good luck proving God). These theories feed off the holes in scientific knowledge a la the methane-based organisms around undersea volcanic vents – where, a new theory says, life originated.

"Designing Intelligence?" is at the Schmidt Gallery at Florida Atlantic University, at 777 Glades Road in Boca Raton, through April 3. Admission is free. Call 561-297-2966, or visit
Feb. 19-April 3, 2009

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Penn Bullock

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