Artwork fuses science, religion

Alan Detrich’s dinosaur-inspired religious icons add an interesting twist to the current debate on the teaching of evolution and “intelligent design” in Kansas public schools, according to a Kansas University geology professor who has written and spoken out on the issue.

“I really do think that the most interesting part of this is not so much what he’s (Detrich’s) making, but rather the fusion of science and religion – especially the kind of science that shows that the world, evolution and life on earth is a lot older than is written in (the biblical account of creation in) Genesis,” says Leonard Krishtalka, director of KU’s Biodiversity Institute.

Krishtalka says he has not seen Detrich’s dinosaur-fossil religious icons, nor has he met Detrich.

But he’s interested in the message of Detrich’s artwork – whether it’s intended or not.

“Given the current debate about evolution and creationism in the science classroom, his jewelry seems to be a fusion that captures that tension, that dynamic,” Krishtalka says.

“I would like to think that his message is, ‘Hey, we can have science, as represented by dinosaur bones, and religion exist happily, side by side, even in a religious context.'”

And what does the artist himself say?

“I believe in God. That’s all I have to believe in. And how we got here, that’s his makings,” Detrich says. “Why don’t we believe in God first and talk about how he did it later?”