Posted by Dan on Sep 17, 2009 in Creation Museum | 2 comments
At the end of the Creation Museum’s “Walk Through History,” they show a video, The Last Adam, that encompasses their final three C’s of History… Christ, Cross, and Consummation. If you’ve read my six-part write-up of the museum, you’ll understand that, by this time, I was worn out from keeping myself from bursting out with ridiculing laughter or derisive criticisms of the museums disturbingly shoddy “science.” So, in a way, it was nice to just sit in a dark room to passively watch a video instead of walking the halls and reading ridiculous plaques that bastardized science.
Sadly, I didn’t get much respite from the shenanigans.
The Last Adam talks about Jesus, his crucifixion, and his resurrection… sort of. It talks about a lot of other stuff, too. It starts off with the paleontologist (who we’d seen in other videos) holding a T-Rex tooth, “a relic now,” he says. But it reminds him of “something real… something powerful.” He then picks up a bible and says (predictably)…
Now this book some people think it’s just an old relic, too. Tales and stories from another time and place. Not to me. This is written by someone who was actually there.
I’m not sure what being written by someone “who was actually there” has to do with it… or why that makes the book more important to him. He doesn’t elaborate. The video does, however, by quoting from 2 Timothy 3:16.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
It’s the classic “the bible is true because it says so” ploy and the paleontologist says that he believes all of it.
The video is structured so that it brings up things that were seen earlier in the museum… the paleontologist, the dinosaurs, Adam, sin, death, etc. Bible verses are displayed and quoted throughout as the narration continues. The main point of the video is, of course, that Jesus came to Earth to die for our sins, cleaning up the unholy mess the “first” Adam created 4,000 years before… when T-Rexes were vegetarians.
There’s an segment where Mary speaks of her childhood and the sacrificing of lambs… and how the angels came and told her that God was going to get her pregnant… and that her son would be Jesus… and would be called a lamb. Nice sacrificial circle. She seemed a bit bitter about it.
There’s also a testimony of a Roman Centurion who was there when Jesus was crucified (“Actual Footage” as Penn and Teller would say) talking about how Jesus said, “Forgive them father. They don’t know what they’re doing” and then said “It is finished” and then died. Strangely, there was no mention of Matthew and Mark saying that Jesus also said, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” I guess that didn’t fit into the whole “God’s Plan” scenario they were trying to convey.
What is really striking about this video is the blood. From the sacrificial lambs to the scenes of Jesus being beaten and hung on the cross, it’s a mini Christian gore-fest. There are multiple scenes of a hammer coming down to pound the spikes through Jesus’ hands.
Now, I’m not squeamish, but this is a “family museum” and there are little kids watching this. It’s appalling. Not only is the blood and gore inappropriate for young children. It’s a horrifying thing to show this to children and then tell them that they must worship this god and revere this religion that so glorifies blood and death.
If the museum is trying to show the greatness of the Christian religion, they’re failing. What they do with this video, however, is portray the death cult mentality that this religion so vehemently embraces. It’s a very high production value synopsis of Christianity: create a problem and then offer a solution, but make sure there’s lots of blood, suffering, and death.
The end consists of a summary by the paleontologist where he delivers the message that God’s gift is eternal life through JesusÂ (Christians have an odd definition for “gift” but perhaps that’s a topic for another post).
Here are some of his lines.
The power and plan of God were demonstrated when Jesus conquered death. He rose from the dead. His resurrection was witnessed by over 500 people.
Strangely enough, the only place we hear about the resurrection being witnessed by 500 people is in the bible. Self-referential evidence is no evidence at all, I’m afraid.
But in Jesus we can find life and live forever with him in a new world that God is preparing where there will be no more sin or suffering or death.
I find it odd that God wasn’t able to create that kind of world the first time. If he can do it now, why couldn’t he do it then?
In the Garden of Eden in the dawn of creation, God looked upon all he made and said it was very good… perfect… but the first Adam polluted it and because of him all things were broken. The world’s still reeling from that first act of rebellion. But in the last Adam, Jesus, all things will be made new. The first Adam brought sin and death into the world, but the last Adam, Jesus Christ, brings life to the world.
That sounds like scapegoating to me. In the bible, God created everything and set Adam up to fail, knowing that he would fail and “screw up” this “perfect” creation. That’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination unless you’re a pulp crime fiction author. The whole paragraph is just absurd when you consider Christian theology.
The final verse is one of the most dogmatically horrible verses in the bible, in my opinion.
If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. – Romans 10:9
This is the verse that negates any worthwhile concept of morality that the bible has to offer. This one verse is what gives Christians a free pass to sin their entire lives away with, in their theology, no consequences. No matter what they do, no matter how horrible their crimes, no matter how depraved their actions, no matter how many people they hurt, no matter the harm they do in the world… all they have to do is confess and believe in Jesus, and Christian theology teaches that they are saved and going to Heaven.
That is abominable.
Posted by Dan on Sep 13, 2009 in Creation Museum | 7 comments
One of the special presentations that Craig and I attended was called “Microscarium,” which required the purchase of a separate ticket and took place in one of the museum’s “classrooms.” The ticket indicated that this was part of the museum’s “Discover the Truth” series of workshops. I was rather dubious of that title.
The museum’s website describes the presentation with these words.
Welcome to the Microscarium! Enter the world of the microscopic with our intrepid Dr. Menton on a journey through a landscape filled with ferocious looking creatures that move rapidly through the dense jungle of the living world that is their home, hunting for something to eat. From single celled protozoa that accomplish many of the same functions that humans do with 30 trillion cells, to the more complicated creatures sucking in anything that comes near them, you will be thrilled with this trip through the wondrous [and sometimes a bit scary] micro-world created by our awesome Creator God.
Interesting, if not hyperbolic.
The presentation was being done by a Doctor David Menton, who gave us a bit of background about himself. He’s gotÂ quite a list of credentials, which you can read about here and here if you’re interested. If not, suffice it to say that he he holds a PhD in cell biology from Brown University and the Washington University School of Medicine seems to think highly of him. It seemed somewhat encouraging.
He appeared in a white lab coat… very sciencey-looking until I noticed the “Creation Museum” logo embroidered on the front of it. Then it was just amusing.
The presentation was going to talk about all the life you could find in a drop of pond water and there was a very impressive phase-contrast microscope hooked up to a large-screen display so everyone in the room (about 30 of us) could easily see it. When we got there, we saw a pink image on the screen which turned out to be a very thin slice of rabbit tongue. While Dr. Menton was waiting for everyone to arrive, he was chatting about it. He seemed very personable, sometimes funny, and definitely happy to be there.
He talked about the tongue, pointing out the barb-like structures (mini versions of a cat’s barbs) and said that humans have them, too, which is why we can lick ice cream cones and actually get ice cream instead of having our tongues just slide off. He contrasted that by moving the slide to show the underside of the tongue which was very smooth. He also showed how the muscle cells in the tongue go every which way instead of in parallel like many muscles… because we can move our tongues all over in every direction. It was all pretty cool and his presentation was entertaining.
Then it suddenly want down the tubes. When talking about the barbs again, he said, “Can you imagine if they went the other way?” Everyone chuckled, and then he followed it up with, “That’s why I can’t be an evolutionist.” Almost everyone laughed. Craig and I were stunned. He then went on to make the same comment in relation to the tongue being upside down.
So after an introduction to some really cool material about the tongue, he lost all his credibility by showing that he had not the slightest notion of evolutionary theory… yet was quite content to dismiss it for reasons that anyone with a basic education in evolutionary biology should know are preposterous.
Craig left shortly after that (he wasn’t feeling well anyway… flu), but I stuck it out for the majority of the presentation and heard some gems.
Dr. Menton spoke about cells for a bit and said that the human placenta was a single, giant cell… the largest cell in the human body. I had never heard that before and he mentioned that he’s told that to other biologists and doctors who didn’t know that, either.
*skeptic bells go off*
Then he said (about the single-celled placenta), “You won’t hear that anywhere but here.”
*skeptic klaxon alarm blares*
Doing a bit of googling seems to indicate that the placenta is not a single cell, by the way.
That’s when what had been a somewhat interesting biology lesson turned into a high-alert bullshit-detection exercise.
He went on to show some slides of different single-cell (or thereabouts) organisms that we might see in the pond water (new pond water each time, so he never knows what he will see) such as amoebas and parameciums and the like. He got to one organism with a flagellum and my hackles went up in anticipation of a comment relating to bacterial flagellum, but no such comment materialized.
What did materialize was much worse.
He showed a diagram of the internal workings of a flagellum similar to the one on the left. His diagram was a bit more detailed but showed how it worked and how each internal piece interacted with others to create the whip-like motion that caused propulsion. It was a cool diagram and interesting information.
Then he said, “Can you imagine that just all happening by chance?”
He added, “There’s just so much that I know is going on there. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I know too much to be an evolutionist.”
*strike two* … *strike three* … You are SOOOO outta here.
“I know too much to be an evolutionist.”
Seriously? How can someone seriously make a statement like that with a straight face? How can someone with any sort of ethical values make that authoritative claim to an audience so anxious to hear real scientific information? The audience ate it up, though. They laughed and nodded and thought this fraud’s information was all true and accurate. After all, he was a doctor!
To give you an idea of the crowd, however, I offer this anecdote. I can’t say if this example is indicative of the entire audience, but it struck me as interesting.
When Dr. Menton asked the audience how many cells were in the entire human body, one man called out, “thousands.” Yes, he said thousands. Not even millions. Not billions. Nobody said trillions. The real answer is trillions (about 50 – 100 trillion, depending upon who you ask). “Thousands” isn’t even on the continent, much less in the ball park. Much like 6,000 isn’t close to 13.5 billion.
Dr. Mention said one trillion, by the way.
At that point, I was done. I watched detachedly as he put the drop of water under the microscope and panned around to find a couple swimming organisms, but after a couple minutes of that, I got up and left.
It was an appalling display of ignorance and abuse of authority.
Posted by Craig on Sep 9, 2009 in Creation Museum | 14 comments
A truly disappointing waste of theatrical technology and flair. As with most of the museum, this “show” was wellÂ produced (totally batÂ s%&t Â crazy) but well done. The Men In White were the angels Michael and Gabriel. By putting a “hip” spin on an old story for the sake of youngsters, teachers and scientists are comically portrayed as villainous and silly.
The show starts with a young animatronic girl named Wendy sitting at a campfire pondering her existence and the meaning of life. During her moment of lost contemplation and doubt, Michael & Gabriel show up to raise her spirits. The implication is that without a purpose from God, Wendy is lost, alone and miserable. The angels show up to persuade Wendy that God exists and cares for her and they begin to show her “proof” of his existence.Â It is here that the angels begin with, ” …if you use the bible as your starting point Wendy, then everything makes sense!” ANGEL SAYS WHAT?? Imagine if your science teacher started your first class with, ” …if you just take everything I say as fact, then everything makes sense!” From the very beginning this presentation insults the human intellect. Science doesn’t require blind faith and it never suggests a “starting” point.Â This is where the “machine gunning” ofÂ “facts” begins.
When you start with the bible everything makes sense like:
1. Marine fossils found on mountain tops? Those mountains were once covered in water from the great flood.
2.Volcanic dust found in ice cores? Just think of all that volcanic ash in the atmosphere after the flood.
3. Similarities in DNA found in the cells of every living thing? Since God created DNA he made it so that all living things could live and eat in the same world.
If you believe in evolution or as the angels call it “goo to you” then none of this makes sense. According to the angels, “…evolution makes no sense without billions of years!”
-Next we move on to discredit radioisotope dating.Â This form of dating is flawed because there are too many assumptions required to be accurate, say the angels. Zircon crystals have been found with helium gas in them. This suggests that they are not nearly as old as man believes because the helium gas is escaping to quickly to be millions of years old. This is refuted on the following CHRISTIAN website http://www.answersincreation.org/RATE_critique_he-zr.htm . I highly suggest you read this article. It gets all “sciencey” but it is fascinating and alot more accurate than two white overall clad buffoon like angels.
-Next we learn from the angels that the earth can’t be millions let alone billions of years old because of the salt content in the oceans. The angels (portraying high school students in a science class) smugglyÂ challenge a teacher about the age of the earth due to the lower than they expected salt content in the oceans. This is called EPIC FAIL. This moronic notion that if the earth were millions of years old there would be higher concentrations of salt in all of the world’s oceans is wrong. Wrong for several reasons but once again I would direct you to the following CHRISTIAN website to read the refutation of this quackery. http://www.answersincreation.org/argument/G336_creation_science.htm This article explains that creationist’s salt theories are misguided and fail to account for several factors involving the mechanisms for the removal of salt from the oceans.
-Next up, the crazy dinosaur theory. Our smug little angels tell their professor that in 2005 a T-Rex leg bone was found with blood cells intact and un-fossilized. This obviously means that the leg bone could not be millions of years old, right? WRONG! Again the answers to the BS claim come from a CHRISTIAN website. http://www.answersincreation.org/rebuttal/magazines/Creation/1997/trexblood.htm . In this excerpt there is an email log from the actual paleontologist, Jack Horner, who was chiefly involved in this discovery. He goes on to explain that it is not true and that creationist are grasping at half truths and no facts.
-The angels just can’t quit. Next we find out from these twoÂ brainiacs that the earth’s decaying magnetic field would indicate that life could not have survived millions of years ago. This is again refuted at http://www.answersincreation.org/argument/G811_creation_science.htm . The angels are referring to a scientific article written by Thomas Barnes. It has been all but publically laughed at by theoretical scientists and bears no scientific weight.
-Next…lack of super nova remnants proves a young earth, say the angels. No, it doesn’t. http://www.answersincreation.org/malone_supernova.htm . I hate to keep linking after every point but since the creation museum didn’t use any real science to make their point, I figured I should.
With aboutÂ thirty minutes of research on the Internet I have found tons of articles scientifically refuting everything said in this absurd display of purposeful ignorance. The men in White should be taken away and locked up by …men in white jackets. The most disheartening part of this “program” was the fact that children were in the audience being “taught”. Shame on the creation museum and shame on the parents who made their children sit through this glaring display ofÂ stupidity.
Posted by Dan on Sep 8, 2009 in Creation Museum | 40 comments
(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 5)
Tucked away inside the post-flood pseudo-science was a small room containing information about natural selection and evolution. As promising as that sounds (out of context), it fit snugly alongside all the other ignorance-perpetuating exhibits at the museum. Just the title of exhibit hinted at what was to come… “Natural Selection is Not Evolution.” No, of course it isn’t. It’s the primary method by which evolution occurs, but the Creation Museum draws a false distinction between the two in its sad attempt to discredit evolutionary theory.
The first plaque gives an accurate description at the beginning, but speaks of natural selection dismissively and then starts the real silliness in the last sentence. Here’s the beginning part (emphasis mine to highlight the dismissive tone).
Natural selection is the name Charles Darwin gave to an observable process, which results in small changes in the plant and animal world, such as fur color or plant height.
A common perception popularized by many scientists is that natural selection is a primary mechanism for evolution. […]
That last sentence would be more accurate if it stated, “Scientists agree that natural selection is the primary mechanism for evolution.” It’s not so much a “common perception” as it is a concept confirmed by an overwhelming body of evidence… an inextricable part of evolutionary theory.
Then we get to the last bit (see the image to the left) where they start with the bizarre distinction between the two terms. Saying that natural selection and evolution are different concepts is like saying that wheels and bicycles are two separate concepts. They also claim that “many mistakenly interchange the two.” I don’t know where they get that notion, but anyone who has even a small amount of knowledge about evolution would not interchange the two. Perhaps it’s the creationists who make the mistake?
The “What is” plaque is the first time they bring up the phrase “molecules-to-man evolution,” which they use throughout the exhibit. In the “What’s the difference?” plaque, they use the term and then lay down the foundation for their future deceit with the description of evolution.
Inherent in this process is the requirement for the origination of new genetic information as organisms evolve from simple to complex.
This is classic creationist text. It sounds scientific, but is nonsense. There is plenty of evidence, conveniently ignored by creationists, showing that “information” can increase during the evolutionary process. Some examples and explanations can be found here, here, and here.
The next plaque was, perhaps, the one I found most amusing. Not because of horribly botched science, but because of its accuracy. The first two paragraphs give an accurate, coherent summary of the role natural selection plays in the evolutionary process. Why my amusement, then?
It seems they felt the need to add the last sentence because it was improper to have a plaque that had nothing but valid scientific information. The last sentence reads…
Although natural selection results in the death of some organisms, it exhibits the care of God for His creation through a mechanism that preserves populations of organisms in a sin-cursed, post-Fall world.
It’s inaccurate (natural selection doesn’t result in death… just the opposite) and it tacks on a bit of woo-based silliness to an otherwise accurate plaque.
Moving on, we find the “Common Misconceptions About Natural Selection” plaque, which returns us to scientific-sounding malarkey. The term “molecules-to-man” is brought up again in the claim that evolution is directional… which is blatantly false and evolutionary theory says no such thing. The claim is again made that natural selection causes a decrease in genetic information… it doesn’t (see links above). The bottom of the plaque shows “Evolution’s Tree” and the “Creation Orchard” again as well, which was shown way back at the beginning of the tour (see Creation Museum Part 2) when the dichotomy was being set up between human reason and “God’s Word.”
Further “misconceptions” are brought up on a plaque showing the variations in canidae family… wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, etc. The first claim is that speciation has never occurred with a follow-up statement that speciation has occurred (go figure). The second basically claiming that all canids are the same species and also brings up the “molecules-to-man” term again.
In the first case, the word “species” is a man-made term. So is every other word in every spoken language in the world. It’s farcical to put it in quotes as if it’s an irrelevant or incorrect term. Next, speciation definitely has occurred, both unobserved and observed. One species has definitely evolved into another, innumerable times, in Earth’s history… and a perfect example is reptiles to birds, which they try to use as a refutation. Then the plaque says that speciation probably did occur after the flood. This is either a case of incoherent babbling (likely) or a complete misuse of the word speciation (also likely).
The second plaque about dogs is just as disingenuous. Wolves and foxes, for instance, are completely separate species… as are Chihuahuas and jackals. Yes, they are all members of the order Carnivora in the exact same way that apes and humans are members of the order Primate… but it’s doubtful that you’ll hear a creationist agreeing that humans and apes are the same species. Their plaque is blatantly misleading.
An exhibit on antibiotic resistance is another futile attempt to show that mutations always cause a loss of information and are harmful. Then they again make the point of explaining how natural selection is not evolution.
This entire display refutes their own previous points about natural selection occurring and making species more fit for their environments. In one case, natural selection acts on beneficial mutations, but in this case, the claim is that mutations are harmful. Depending upon their examples, they waffle back and forth between the two points.
Two other mini-exhibits demonstrate the waffling. The Blind Cavefish exhibit explains how natural selection produced sightless fish for living in caves with no light. The claim is that natural selection resulted in a “decrease in genetic information (loss of eyes and pigmentation) not an increase as required for molecules-to-man evolution.”
It’s an absurd statement. The mutations didn’t cause a loss of information. They caused a change. Whenever natural selection acts in a way that’s acceptable to creationists, it is acting on “existing genetic information.” When they want to refute something, however, they say the mutation causes a loss of genetic information. It’s the exact same process, but they twist the words in a despicable attempt to support their ludicrous positions.
The “Three Blind Mice” mini-exhibit is another perfect example. The claim is that “mutations = loss of information.” However, for an ancient canid to turn into a fox, it’s simply natural selection acting on existing genetic information. The inconsistency is mind-boggling, but the sad part is that it’s couched in scientific-sounding language, so the average Creation Museum patron is going to swallow it hook, line, and sinker… and will walk away feeling proud of their new “knowledge.”
That’s how this entire museum works. It presents fallacious information in authoritative terms. Visitors who are already believers have their “faith strengthened,” but visitors who are curious and want to know about the science behind the exhibits are spoon-fed intellectually vapid garbage… with panache. The incredibly high visual quality of all these displays could easily make someone think, “If they went to all this trouble, it must be true!” …but it’s not. It’s false. It’s horribly false.
Then to hammer home all the scientific-sounding hogwash, they conclude with this plaque. It asks, “Do we view natural selection using God’s Word or man’s opinion as our foundation?” Man’s opinion? Not only do they twist natural selection to fit varying bogus claims, but now they twist the idea of science when it suits their purposes.
So how do we view natural selection? That depends entirely on whether you want the truth… and the truth doesn’t come from a 2,000 year old book written by sheep herders. It comes from the scientific study of the evidence. It doesn’t come from the distortion of the evidence… or the cherry-picking of the evidence… or the ignorance of the evidence… or the denial of the evidence. Creationists do all of that. The Creation Museum does it with style.
The entire “Walk Through History” was a treat for the eyes and a violent assault on the mind. I was constantly moving from a sense of admiration for the craftsmanship and a sense of disgust at the content. At times, there was sadness, especially when I’d see a family coming through the exhibits with children. The idea that those kids were going to be indoctrinated into this scientifically inept, anti-intellectual world where ignorance and faith are glorified was and is sickening and horribly, horribly sad.
I have some hope that those kids, at least some of them, will escape that world and step into the light. Perhaps they’ll see a real science program that will start the wheels of intellectual curiosity rolling away from their fundamentalist holding pens and allow them to see the true wonder of our world and all its glorious, intricate workings. Perhaps a doubting friend will ask the right questions to dislodge the petrified accumulations of so many dogmatically uncompromising sermons and let them see how life is lighter and more beautiful without the chains of religion.
But perhaps not. Some of those kids will be stuck in that world for their entire lives. They’ll be raised that way and protected from any alternate viewpoints or ideas. They’ll be shuttered away from any kind of real, intellectually challenging science. They’ll be constantly given misleading or incorrect information about our world. Their parents will steep them in dogma, ritual, and ancient scripture for as long as they can manage… and the Creation Museum will be right there to back them up with pretty lights, bells, and whistles.
The museum is loathsome and its creators should be very, very ashamed.
Posted by Dan on Sep 6, 2009 in Creation Museum | 18 comments
(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 4 )
To clean up the shenanigans that occurred after God screwed things up in the Garden of Eden, the story says that God decided to wipe the Earth clean except for Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives… and of course two (or seven) of every “kind” of animal (not counting sea animals).
The Creation Museum has quite a bit about the ark and there’s a definite dividing line that separates the two main parts. The first part shows how the ark could have been created and has incredibly detailed dioramas of different stages of the ark’s progress. The second part contains all the tortured, pseudo-scientific rationale for the flood’s being real. The first part was fun (if unbelievable). The second part was painful.
The room pictured above showed animatronic workers helping build the ark… and complaining about all the hard work. The plaque on the scaffolding explains that this section represents only about one percent of the size of the “actual” ark. The design of the ark is explained in one of the Creation Museum videos and is definitely not the stereotypical “box” form that is frequently shown.
Another sign explains how the ark is a technological marvel, the building of which was completely independent of any financial concerns… and the hull could have been made “incredibly strong using ordinary wood and simple tools.”
A smaller model shows another cross-sectioned segment of the ark, clearly showing multiple decks. It’s actually a little bigger than what God commanded Noah to build, but it’s an impressive model nonetheless. Great pains are taken to explain how the ark could have been built large enough to hold all the animals, sturdy enough to withstand all the raging floodwaters, and technologically advanced enough that it wouldn’t fall apart or tip over after floating aimlessly on the water for about a year… even though it was built by folks who weren’t shipwrights.
In the bible, God tells Noah to build the ark and about that, it only says, “And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.” The Creation Museum takes a few liberties with the details, since they’re not spelled out in the bible.
The first plaque explains how, though it’s perfectly reasonable to think that Noah and his family built the ark by themselves (!), because he lived righteously for centuries (!), he may have been wealthy enough to hire shipbuilders… which evidently would have been cool, because then Noah could preach to them about the coming judgment (or so the plaque says).
The second plaque says that, because the ark was built far inland (where there probably weren’t many shipbuilders) and was of such a massive scale, it “would likely have been known the world over.” Somehow, I tend to doubt that the Chinese folks knew of it.
The ark dioramas were one of my favorite sections of the museum because they were spectacular. The ark in the first diorama was probably close to four feet long and the level of detail (in all of them) was just astounding. In fact, the Creation Museum DVD about the ark uses close-ups of these dioramas in their footage and it looks real… like full-sized real. It’s very impressive.
If you look closely in the picture to the right, which is just a close-up of the loading ramp, you’ll notice something interesting following just behind the giraffes. Dinosaurs! The Creation Museum makes it very clear that Noah took dinosaurs onto the ark. They’re very clear that dinosaurs lived with humans. They’re very clear that they really have no concept whatsoever of science… or reality. They are, however, exquisite craftsmen who make awesome dioramas.
A plaque explains about the animals that were loaded onto the ark. They included, of course, dinosaurs, but most of the animals were likely young adults because “Being smaller, they would also be easier to care for.” That would only apply briefly because, since the ark was to be afloat for about a year, most animals would have matured to full size during that time. That bit isn’t mentioned, though.
The next diorama showed the ark seaborne as the water rose higher and people were desperate to get on board. Again, the detail was extraordinary… and somewhat disturbing. In the third picture, you can see some competition going on for the top spot (the man holding the rock over his head) and another guy who looks like he’s become the target of a bear’s attention.
After that, however, once all the sinners drowned, things must have gotten somewhat more peaceful.
Noah and his family (a total of eight) got to hang out in the ark, seemingly in a bit of luxury with fine clothes and plenty of food. It must have been a pleasant cruise from the looks of it. Never mind that eight people had to care for (according to Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum’s parent company) about 16,000 animals. Never mind that they had to deal with (again, according to AiG) about 12 tons of animal waste each day. Never mind that the ammonia from the rabbit urine alone would be enough to choke a rhino.
The thing is, if you explain the whole ark story by claiming supernatural intervention by God, then there’s really no arguing (other than the whole “God” thing). However, the Creation Museum doesn’t make that claim.
From the AiG page linked above:
While it is possible that God made miraculous provisions for the daily care of these animals, it is not necessary or required by Scripture to appeal to miracles.
They try to show how it’s entirely possible that the flood story was literally true without any significant divine intervention. It’s an absurdist notion.
Finally, the ark came to rest and the floodwaters began to drain away to… somewhere. This was the final diorama in the ark room, showing the happy ending for Noah and his family. All they had to do from this point is to wait for things to dry out and then go repopulate the planet. Piece of cake.
This is also the demarcation point I mentioned at the beginning. The museum was done with the story of the flood and now turned its focus to the aftereffects of the flood. This is where the pseudo-scientific hogwash really takes wing.
Here’s the sign that sets the stage for what’s to come. The flood caused natural catastrophes like erosion and earthquakes… perhaps the greatest earthquake ever known (sorry… Land of the Lost grabbed hold of me there). They make it clear again that God’s Word, not the past, is the key to everything. Then they go on, ad nauseum, with a vain and scientifically ludicrous attempt to prove their case.
Starting with the laughable idea that the world’s continents changed from Rodinia to Pangea to their current form in about a year, they show case after case of scientific ignorance. Just for the record, Rodinia is thought to have existed 1,100 and 750 million years ago. Pangea is thought to have existed roughly 300 million years ago. Not so for the Creation Museum. Their claim is that the global flood caused well over 500 million years of plate tectonic shift in about a year… and they’re just getting started.
They try to show how receding floodwaters account for the different geological layers, the corresponding fossil layers, coal deposits, canyons, deserts, mountains, and various other geological features. They fail.
After showing geological features, they make an attempt to explain how biological development took place. From the evolution of animals (within their “kind,” of course) to the distribution of the animals across all the continents of the world (since Rodinia and Pangea were broken up underwater into separate continents), the explanations are far-fetched at times and hysterically childish at others. Starting with the development of the horse, implying that the “horse” on the ark was just a little guy, it continues with a completely incomprehensible claim about marsupials.
There are aÂ number of other claims as well, including that Noah only had to have one pair of dogs on board the ark which would have then evolved into all the different canids that we have today, including foxes, wolves, and domestic dogs. That’s a pretty big stretch for a museum that claims to refute the notion of Darwinian Evolution, especially considering that foxes and wolves are completely different species, sharing only a distant common ancestor (as do we all).
One has to wonder, however, how all these different animals spread across the globe so rapidly, especially considering there were so few of them and they supposedly landed high on Mount Ararat. No worries. The Creation Museum folks have got that all figured out, too.
Their explanation is called “rafting.” Here’s the description.
When the flood destroyed the world’s forests, it must have left billions of trees floating for centuries on the ocean. These log mats served as ready-made rafts for animals to cross oceans. The paths of ocean currents, carrying these rafts, would explain: similar animals and plants on opposite sides of the oceans, places of high diversity (probably landing sites), and the distribution of Geochelone tortoises.
I can’t make that kind of stuff up, but evidently someone has a vivid enough imagination and a low enough self-respect to offer that up as a legitimate hypothesis for the distribution of land animals.
You can read it yourself by enlarging this image to the left.
There’s also a mention of a post-flood ice age, ice cores, the thickening of the Earth’s crust, super volcanoes, super quakes (see! I knew Land of the Lost would factor in here!) and super rapid fossilization due to all the flood-induced catastrophes. It’s worded to sound very science-like, but to anyone with a decent high school education in science, it’s pretty delusional.
After showing all this “evidence” about the post-flood world, this sign makes the claim that everything is in agreement with the bible. “The more we learn about the Flood and its place in earth history, the more we understand God’s world.” The claim is that the flood explains fossils, rocks, and the “pattern of life.”
No. No. No.
It explains none of these things. Every single one of those things is actually a stunning refutation of a biblical global flood. Everything we know about fossils, everything we know about geology, everything we know about the evolution of life… it all shows that our Earth is billions of years old. It does not show, by any rational argument, that the biblical story of Genesis is anything more than a fanciful tale written 2,000 years ago by primitive, tribal humans.
The next sign, I found to be somewhat ironic. It’s a bible verse from 2 Peter claiming that, in the last days, there will be scoffers. It calls them “willingly ignorant.” If ever there was a better fitting label for creationists in general, and this Creation Museum in particular, I have not heard it. The whole museum screams of willful ignorance… from simple scientific principles to common sense history.
In the next (and last) section, we got to the fourth “C” of “Confusion” which goes into Babel and the splitting of human languages and related issues. I was far too weary at that point to deal with it. At the end, however, it showed a sign telling how human religion came to be when people starting “worshipping the creation rather than the Creator… blah, blah, blah.”
For people who believe all this, the end of the tour probably leaves them feeling inspired and feeling as though their faith has been strengthened. For me, since I have enough science knowledge to know that it’s all bunk, it left me feeling tired… battered… assaulted… profaned… contaminated… and sad.
It’s sad that so many people maintain that incredibly high level of willful ignorance. It’s sad that they let their lives be governed by ancient folklore. It’s very sad that they indoctrinate their children with the same baseless beliefs… and the same horribly detrimental misunderstanding of basic science and our world.
The final three “C’s” were jammed together at the end with a video titled The Last Adam… about Jesus and his death on the cross and resurrection. It was a somewhat bloody video and, like the rest of the museum videos, was of an extremely high production value. Also like the rest of the museum, it put in the information that supported its case and left out the information that didn’t.
I omitted a special exhibit in an earlier post that I’ll touch on in the next post. It was titled “Natural Selection is Not Evolution” and was packed full of creationist claims that have been debunked and disproven for years and years… just more intellectual dishonesty.
But that, it seems, is what the Creation Museum is all about.
(the tour will continue in part 6)
Posted by Dan on Sep 5, 2009 in Creation Museum | 22 comments
(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 3)
After the despair of Graffiti Alley, we headed into the Garden of Eden and the biblical creation story. It’s worth noting here that the Garden of Eden room was absolutely incredible from a quality standpoint. Like much of the rest of the museum, the craftsmanship that went into these displays was tremendous.
The path winds through the garden and touches upon different aspects of the creation story… Adam and Eve, Adam naming the animals, the serpent watching them bathe, etc. There are actual waterfalls, amazingly realistic plants, a “Tree of Life” that had spectacular detail, and (of course) dinosaurs. Before we get to those, however, let’s take a look at the displays and the accompanying plaques that explain them.
God didn’t want Adam to be alone, evidently, because “It is not good for the man to be alone.” It seems his desire to “dwell with humans for eternity” (see Part 3) didn’t include keeping Adam company himself. He needed to do that by proxy.
This is where the bible starts off with sexism, which it continues to promote with abandon in both the old and new testaments, not the least of which in 1 Timothy. Adam was created from dust, according to Genesis, but Eve was made from one of Adam’s ribs… as a helper.
Here are the plaques pertaining to Adam and Eve at the museum.
This is also where the the arguments for “traditional” marriage come from… not from any sense of logic or reason, but directly from the bible. It’s the only basis for denying marriage rights to homosexuals, which is sad. And it’s sad that this notion of using the bible as a guide to morality continues to be perpetuated in our society. To anyone who’s actually read the bible, it should seem an absurdity of the highest order. Two thousand year old dogma does not make for a genuinely enlightened society.
The tour continues with a scene portraying Adam naming the animals. According to one of the plaques (not pictured), Adam only named “birds, cattle, and beasts of the field – probably only animals closely associated with man […]” It seems “beasts of the earth” and “creeping things” were not included (based on the scene at the museum, however, Adam did name penguins… go figure).
Then the plaque’s text starts in with pretending to be scientific with this statement.
If the created kinds correspond to modern families, as many creation biologists believe, then Adam named fewer than two hundred animals. Naming all these animals would require only a few hours, at most.
This argument of “kinds” is used throughout the “Noah’s Ark” displays as well, in an attempt to argue that all the animal “kinds” could easily have fit on the ark. I’ll get to that later, but this is where the museum first brings it up, if I recall correctly.
Of course, Adam would be naming goats and sheep and other common herbivores. Perhaps he would name common carnivores as well, but that posed no danger to him, since before the Fall, all the animals, including the dinosaurs, were vegetarians. The idea that, before the Fall, there was no death, doesn’t seem to apply to plant life. Across the path from Adam naming the animals, we get our glimpse of one of the vegetarian dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden who seems to have a fondness for pineapples. In the background, the gentle, herbivorous brachiosaurus is seen as well. Another dinosaur in the Garden is shown to have a greater fondness for apples.
Strangely enough, there are no examples shown of tyrannosaurus rexes or velociraptors in the Garden.
There are plenty of examples further along the tour that show before-and-after consequences of the Fall, such as poison, venom, scavengers, etc… but I’m getting ahead of myself. At this point, the Garden of Eden is all pure and death-free (except for plants).
Here is the first hint in the display that things are about to go horribly, horribly wrong. This scene was pretty spectacular, with real waterfalls and extremely detailed rocks, trees, and plants. Adam and Eve are innocently hanging out in a pool while the decidedly sinister-looking serpent rests coiled in the tree above… plotting his evil deeds, no doubt.
There’s no mention of how the serpent got into God’s perfect garden in the first place… or why he chose to manifest himself as a serpent instead of something more innocuous… like a vegetarian kitten or something.
Here are some close-ups of the scene with the accompanying plaque.
If you enlarge the photos, you can easily see the amount of work that was put into these displays to get the terrific level of detail. Regardless of whether you buy into the story or not, the displays were sincerely impressive.
The plaque in the middle is a good example of a problem with a literal interpretation of Genesis. The Creation Museum (and its parent, Answers in Genesis), is very clear about its literal interpretation of the bible. Yet the verse depicted here makes the statement that, if you eat the fruit of this one tree, you will surely die… that day. But that didn’t happen. Apologists will try to say that the verse means that Adam and Eve will die “spiritually,” not physically (and some later translations removed the temporal restriction)… but that’s not what the verse says. This is a common tactic among people who claim a literal reading. It’s literal when it suits them, but metaphorical when it doesn’t.
The serpent lures Eve into chomping on the knowledgey fruit (by telling her the truth, by the way), and she gets Adam to do the same (yet another biblical reason for sexism… it was all Eve’s fault)… and that’s where things go all to Hell… so to speak.
God’s gloriously perfect creation (except for the deliberate setup for failure and the presence of a supposedly evil serpent) was all wrecked because Adam chose to disobey God, choosing instead to listen to his only companion in the world and eat a bit of fruit.
This led to a whole host of consequences. As the Creation Museum puts it in the sign to the right…
With Adam’s sin, death and suffering entered the creation for the first time. Disease and natural catastrophes also began at this time. The creation is no longer perfect, as God originally designed it, because in Adam, we committed high treason against the God of creation.
Whoa there! WE committed high treason? I think not. I also think that in this story, the creation was extremely far from perfect. And if this biblical god decided that, because Adam ate some fruit that he wasn’t supposed to eat, an appropriate punishment was to create disease, natural catastrophes, suffering, and all kinds of other nastiness… pretty much forever… then I think that this story is about as far as you can get from an acceptable moral teaching. It’s reprehensible.
After the Fall, all kinds of “bad” things supposedly happened. The first blood sacrifices happened (pictured below), carnivores and death appeared (pictured below… but now with velociraptors which were noticeably absent from the Garden of Eden), and (gasp!) hard work appeared!
There is an entire section of plaques explaining things that happened after the Fall. I mentioned them earlier; venom, death, disease, carnivores, “Red Tooth and Claw,” scavengers, cosmic aging (seriously), conflict, poisons, weeds, burdensome work, etc. Here are a few examples of the plaques:
The plaque on carnivores states, “We do not know how meat eating first entered the world” but it’s possible that “the diet of some animals merely changed.” Actually, we do have a pretty good idea of how meat eating first entered the world. It’s pretty well explained by evolutionary theory. The plaque is absurd. The plaque on scavengers says pretty much the same thing, thereby descending to the same level of absurdity.
The plaque on weeds is the funniest, however. It basically says that, because God screwed up the original design, allowing things to get out of hand, he had to then step in and introduce the “overproduction of plants” to compensate for all the extra animals that would be around eating them. So plants had to “struggle against other plants for survival” (OMG natural selection!) and they grew where they weren’t wanted, hence becoming weeds.
The fact that some people can actually believe this story and these explanations are factual just boggles my mind. When read as an allegory, it works just fine, much like Aesop’s Fables. But nobody seriously believes that a talking fox tried to get some grapes, failed, and then walked away, muttering that the grapes were probably sour. It’s a story. That’s all.
That’s what the biblical creation story is, but the Creation Museum is alarmingly deceitful in its attempt to portray the entire story as true and scientifically accurate. More worrisome is the fact that many people agree with the museum’s viewpoint… and those people are indoctrinating their children to believe the same anti-intellectual nonsense that they themselves believe. It’s a recipe for societal disaster. When ignorance is promulgated as a virtue, as it is within the walls of this museum, civilization is harmed in an insidious way. When we stop seeking answers about our world, instead relying solely on ancient religious dogma, we take a grand step backward on the evolutionary ladder.
…and that is a bigger fall than the biblical authors could ever have imagined.
(the tour will continue in part 5)