At the Lawrence Hall of Science, at the University of California –
Berkeley, there is a children’s playground. On the playground,
theere is a whimsical sculture based on DNA. Lots of people like
it. Indeed, Dr. Stemwedel wrote a
post inspired by an experience her kids had there. That’s
where this photo comes from. (More here.)
So what’s the big deal? Why are people protesting to the county,
about this very sculpture?
Unfortunately, the site with the info is down (probably overwhelmed by
Fark and Reddit hits), but the Google cache
Sculpture is “Vile and Offensive”
DNA Sculpture exhibit at UC Berkeley playground turning
heads, sparking complaints
PTA president asks school’s parents to file complaints with the
By Richard Vernon, P.O.E.
State of Protest
July 27, 2009
EAST BERKELEY – Think of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man . . . zoomed in to an
The large, plastic and metallic sculpture parked outside UC Berkeley’s
Lawrence Hall of Science, is stoking the angry fires of parents of
children who attend nearby Claremont Park Elementary School.
“My daughter suggested that it was funny,” said John Copeland, whose
7-year-old daughter attends summer camp there. “She shouldn’t be
talking to me about this. Now I’m forced to explain genetics to her,
and why the Bible doesn’t say anything about it.”
The genetically correct structure is part of an ongoing exhibit titled
“DNA Sculpture,” created by acclaimed artist Ashe Kutchya, which
represents “genetic material from an enzyme,” according to Lawrence
Hall of Science’s website.
It depicts a DNA double helix — two congruent helices with the same
axis, differing by a translation along the axis. The structure is
larger than life, and elongated. Its genetic analogy to human life is
This is even weirder than people complaining about breastfeeding, or
any other natural phenomenon.
Although DNA Sculpture has been on display in various
public parks and playgrounds, Jenny Garrotte, Claremont Park PTA
president, said she found it distasteful and verging on obscene, and
e-mailed parents Wednesday morning, asking them to file complaints with
Pegro and with Alameda County Code Enforcement.
“Everybody is entitled to their own opinion regarding what art is,”
said Garrotte. “If this piece weren’t visible to passersby and
available for children to play on, I would not have a problem with it.”
“Verging on obscene” !!! Not only that, it is not in the
Bible!!! And you have to explain to kids why it is not in the
Bible!!! Try this: they didn’t have x-ray
crystallography back then.
Cars are not in the Bible. Are they obscene? (Well, some
are obscene) Really, how many kids asked about this?
Still, Terence Lythma, a teacher in the school’s summer
program, said he has not heard any of the children talking about the
“It’s the parents who have been talking about it,” he said. “The
children don’t really make an issue of it.”
So where’s the vile and offensive part? Saved the best for last:
“There are 1000 kids in the school that are going to be
exposed to it,” he said. “It’s vile and offensive, and kids have no
business seeing what God thought fit to hide from our eyes.”
So I guess we should censor all images taken by Hubble,
and remove all microscopes from schools. Tell me, this is even
more “hidden” (it took longer to figure out how to see it.) Is it
obscene? Is it vile?
The worst part of all of this, is the fact that it is a disingenuously
contrived argument; that is, it is a lie. Kids do not care about
the DNA. To them, it is a toy: a colorful, visually appealing
thing they can play on. So to press some kind of pseudoreligous
agenda, they make stuff up. What would Jesus lie about?