It’s time to rally against the Creation Museum 5

Fred and Dino puzzlePopular cartoons and movies may say humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, but the idea is just plain wrong. The dinos were dead long before our hominid ancestors evolved. The fossil record leaves little room for argument.

The Bible says nothing about dinosaurs. To reconcile Scripture with the fossil evidence, creationists have to perform some fantastic mental and logical gymnastics to explain how Genesis somehow omits mention of such obviously big creatures.

On Memorial Day, believers in these convoluted arguments will celebrate the opening of the Creation Museum in Boone County, near Covington, Ky. The Museum, a project of Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, was built with $27 million in donations, so there are either a lot of very gullible donors or just a few very rich, gullible donors.

Excuse me, I mean faithful donors.

To counteract this monument to misguided generosity, a group calling itself Rally for Reason will hold a peaceful protest outside the museum’s gate beginning at 9 am that Monday. Although an atheist organization has spearheaded the rally, churchgoers will be there, too. If any of you out there will be in the area that day, I hope you will join in the protest.

It’s a free country and creationists can believe whatever they like, even if it’s just plain wrong. The danger in this museum is that it gives the uninitiated the impression that creationism is somehow “science.” Creationism is religious thought, and the museum is really just a church in disguise. [If you doubt the Sunday-school nature of the Museum, check out this walk-through
from the AiG site. I'm seeing more religion there than science.]

Face it. Most folks in Kentucky, teachers included I’m sad to say, are not good at critical thinking. Call a building a museum and they will assume that anything inside must be correct. After all, lots of museums have skeletons of T. rex and no argues whether T. rex existed. Right?

There’s one major difference between most natural history museums and the Creation Museum, which I will wager a lot of non-savvy teachers, vacation Bible schools and church youth group leaders organizing field trips will gloss over. Natural history museums base their displays and exhibits on almost two centuries’ worth of scientific investigation — evidence accepted by the majority of the world’s scientists and even many churches.

The Creation Museum, conversely, bases its displays on the belief that God created the universe in just a week, taking time off to rest on the last day. Constrained by their literal interpretation of Genesis, they bend (or more politely, reinterpret) the scientific evidence to support the concept that Creation occurred just 6,000 years ago. [Biblical scholars count the generations -- all those "begats" -- to arrive at a creation year of about 4004 BCE.] With so short an available time, the CM puts the dinosaurs and ancient humans alongside each other in terrestrial history. Noah’s Flood washed most of the dinosaurs off the face of the earth, leaving just the survivors on the Ark.

It’s a subtle ploy on the part of AiG to slip religion into the secular venue. Despite many challenges, the courts have upheld the idea that the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prevents public school teachers from legally teaching creationism (though I suspect there are some in Kentucky who do it successfully, with no legal challenges). The courts recognize that creationism — and its kissing cousin, Intelligent Design — are really religious ideas, not scientific theories.

Now, such frustrated teachers have a convenient “museum” for their science classes to visit. The AiG has made it possible for creationist- and ID-believing teachers to take their students on a “science” field trip. You know AiG will be sending out mailers to schools in time for fall classes, if the AiG hasn’t done so already.

We have just recently begun the 21st century. At a time when science education is slowly gaining momentum after years of neglect, the opening of the Creation Museum is a giant step backward into pre-Darwinian, 19th century science. That most of its visitors will never once question the validity of the beliefs on which creationism is based is a leap back into the Dark Ages.

Show up on the 28th and encourage museum-goers to join the rest of us in the modern era.

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5 thoughts on “It’s time to rally against the Creation Museum

  1. Reply edith nichols Jun 19,2007 10:02 pm

    I don’t understand the whole idea of the museum. I believe in the bible version of creation. To me each “day” mentioned in the bible represents an age. We don’t know how long each age is. An age could be thousands upon thousands of years, which would fit the scientific knowledge. I find no problem with it.

    Not everything that has happened in creation is written. It would fill up books upon books. Only the specific information we need to know about is revealed to us. That information, and the Holy Spirit works upon our hearts to bring us a closer relationship to our God. To rule out God entirely, as this museum would do, would leave us a godless country. It seems we’re already on our way.

    God help us.

  2. Reply wheatdogg Jun 19,2007 11:56 pm

    To an extent, Edith, I agree with you. A literal reading of Scripture demeans the lessons it contains, and removes our own free will (and wisdom) from its consideration. My vision of a Creator is one who would not expect us to be automatons, but who gives us the abilities and intelligence to find our own way to Him. This has been the traditional approach of the Religious Society of Friends, who use the Bible as only one foundation of our faith, not the only one. (Though, there are Friends who do …)

    I object to this “museum” on both theological and scientific grounds. It’s a travesty that anyone would have the audacity to pass this off as a “science museum,” much less a representation of the Christian faith. It is neither, and I hope as more people visit it, they will see the truth, and this $27 million boondoggle will just fade away.

  3. Reply Webster Jun 27,2007 9:09 pm

    Because Genesis 1 uses “evening”, “morning”, “night”, and numbers with the word “day, it’s pretty difficult to make the case, based on the text, that the word “day” means anything besides the conventional, roughly 24-hour version.

    And no one is pretending this is anything other than a ministry. Public schools will probably not be taking any students there, and if they do, it will be voluntary and fully disclosed, lest they get hit with a lawsuit. Christian schools will probably visit, but they’re a different story altogether.

  4. Reply Torrey L. Peterson Nov 10,2007 9:01 pm

    As a creationist, I am curious as to why you are so vehemently opposed to this museum. If our view is so utterly unscientific, ignorant and totally without a basis, what are you afraid of? Your point of view owns the public schools, universities and probably every other museum in the country. Why can’t you just leave us poor demented souls to enjoy our little fantasy in peace? We certainly are not out picketing your museum. So what’s the fuss? I think the true answer, is that evolution is in fact, the theory of origins that is scientifically ridiculous – and you know it. The laws of Thermodynamics and the science of genetics, to name but two, are totally in agreement with the declarations of Scripture and totally antithetical to the claims of evolution.

    Sincerely,
    Torrey L. Peterson

  5. Reply wheatdogg Nov 12,2007 11:13 am

    Torrey –

    Thanks for visiting. It’s been a while since anyone commented on this post.

    You need to study some more biology and physics before you make statements such as your last one. Genetics and evolution are co-dependent theories; in other words, they complement each other. Genetics provides us evidence of evolution at work. Evolution allows us to understand how and why genes are passed from one generation to another. I am curious how you could make a statement to the contrary.

    Anti-evolutionists claim evolution violates the laws of thermodynamics, but they fundamentally misinterpret or misunderstand what the laws in fact state. Principally, they contend that life could not have developed and that more complex systems could not have developed from simpler ones without violating the second law of thermodynamics. It says, briefly, that in a closed system, entropy will increase, not decrease. Or to put it more simply, order will tend to disorder without some energy being expended to maintain the order.

    The misunderstanding involves the idea of a closed system. The Earth is not a closed system. It receives a continuous stream of energy from the Sun and other cosmic sources, and a continuous barrage of extraterrestrial matter in the forms of meteorites and comets since its formation. Thus, evolution does not violate the laws of thermodynamics.

    You should read a much more detailed explanation here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/thermo/probability.html. Then come back and ask me questions.

    Whether thermo and genetics are in agreement with Scripture I cannot say. I do know, however, that the Bible makes a poor science text. It was written as a document of faith and God’s words to his people, not to explain the workings of the physical world.

    As for the Creation Museum, I am not opposed to its existence. I am opposed to it being described as a science museum. It is not. The Creation Museum is a religious monument, as it were. The exhibits are heavy on Biblical stories and weak on even so-called “creation science,” offering only scriptural references to argue that God created Heaven and Earth exactly as described in Genesis.

    Creationists and other religious folks have most certainly picketed natural history and science museums, and have been known to hand out creationist literature to museum patrons. So, do not act all innocent here.

    Frankly, I am tired of the constant fundamentalist arguments that modern science and religion contradict each other. Most scientists and many religious persons understand that these two pursuits of human endeavor explain the world in different ways, and can complement each other if one is willing to accept the boundaries each has. Science cannot support or refute whether God exists, or whether He had a son born of a virgin. Religion cannot explain how automobile engines work or how we can aim space probes toward Saturn.

    Many of the world’s greatest scientists were and are deeply religious men and women. For them science is a way to explore their world in a more detailed way than mere study of Scripture would allow. Einstein wanted to see if God had any choice in making the world, for example.

    Being deeply religious does not require one to read Scripture literally. If you have been taught otherwise, then your definition of faith is unnecessarily narrow and legalistic. Jesus taught his disciples to see the underlying principles of the Jewish faith, and not get caught up in religious legalities. Jesus himself would have argued that literal readings of the Torah “killeth the spirit” of the Scriptures. In other words, is it more important to believe God created the universe in exactly six days, or that He just created it?

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