Rationality Now Rotating Header Image

Creation Museum

Poor Ken Ham still doesn’t get it

I just got the latest Answers In Genesis newsletter today. I’m on the list because I ordered some of their videos on their site (one of which I reviewed here). This is the first one I’ve received and I can tell it’s going to be a monthly source of amusement and bewilderment.

The lead story in this month’s newsletter is titled “The Emotional Age Issue.” The gist of Ham’s point is that secular folks who obviously don’t have a scientific leg to stand on when it comes to the age of the Earth, get all angry and emotional about the issue when the AiG folks “prove” that the Earth is only about 6,000 years old. I kid you not. There are some wonderful quotes in here that I’d like to share with you (with comments, of course!).

Ken says that, in his years of ministry, he’s found that the age of the Earth and the universe is an “extremely emotional topic for secularists.” For biblical creationists, of course, it’s issue that should lead Christians to a “real zeal for the authority and accuracy of the Word of God.” It’s an amazing twist… and one that Ham and other creationists make on a constant basis… trying to make scientific data into an emotional issue while portraying biblical mythology as scientific fact.

Ham says…


AiG Videos: Four Power Questions

Answers in Genesis Answers in Genesis, the ministry organization founded by Ken Ham, is fairly well known for its apologetics outreach programs such as the Creation Museum, which Craig and I have already reviewed in detail. AiG also produces a large number of audio, video, and print materials to promote their biblical literalist view of the world.

I recently purchased some of their downloadable videos and Craig and I are going to watch them as time permits. Not having the patience to wait for a joint viewing, however, I went ahead and watched Four Power Questions to Ask an Evolutionist, a talk given by Mike Riddle, a somewhat prolific contributor to the AiG collection of misinformation.

Mike Riddle Riddle starts by explaining that apologetics is not only knowing how to answer questions, but also knowing how to ask the right questions and how to take the discussion “back to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ where it should be.” His topic for this talk, of course, is what questions to ask an evolutionist. Now, the AiG folks have always had a problem when it comes to understanding the theory of evolution and Riddle is no exception.

His list of topics to cover in the talk are as follows:

  • The Bible has answers
  • The origin of the universe
  • The origin of life
  • The fossil record
  • Origin of dinosaurs

Of those five topics, only two have anything to do with evolution. The “bible” item obviously has nothing to do with evolution, but Riddle, like many of his AiG colleagues, doesn’t seem to understand that evolution also has nothing to do with the origin of the universe or the origin of life. It only deals with how life developed after it appeared… much like the Big Bang Theory only deals with the development of the universe after it existed (Riddle doesn’t understand that, either, by the way).

So right from the start, Riddle shows that he doesn’t even have a basic understanding of the topic on which he is talking. Interestingly enough, that’s a pretty good foreshadowing of what is to come in this talk.

I don’t want to quote everything he says in his talk, but I’ll quote some of it. A common tactic Riddle uses (as well as most other creationists and deniers of other stripes) is to cherry pick quotes, use them out of context, and hold them up as evidence backing up his position.

To start, he quotes Cornell Professor William Provine as saying…

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind.

Riddle presents this quote saying, “Here’s where we send our children to be educated and this is what they’re taught,” implying that this is part of the classroom curriculum. However, the quote in question was made during a debate about whether Darwinism is a science or a natural philsophy between Provine and Phillip Johnson in 1994.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Provine’s statement is completely acceptable and would be fine with it being a point in his teaching curriculum, but it was just a quote from a debate… presented by Riddle as if it were in the collegiate educational mandate. After the quote, Riddle says, “Now is that a true statement?” followed by “Well let’s take a look at what the bible does have to teach.”

This leads him into presenting the biblical “rock solid foundation to stand on.” His “evidence” for this foundation, of course, is the bible itself. He lays it out as follows:

  • Who created? God
  • What was created? All things
  • How was it created? By His power
  • When was it created? In the beginning
  • How long did it take to create? 6 days

He naturally goes into far more detail about each point, pronouncing each item as undeniably true, including that the six days of creation were a six literal days, even showing a “partial list” of (nineteen) scientists who believe that the creation days were six literal days. His points are somewhat absurd in that they say nothing specific or useful. In explaining that we know how “all things” were created, he points to bible verses that state “God said” and “word of God” and concludes, “so the bible clearly tells us how God created and it is not open to anybody’s opinion.” That’s hardly specific or useful.

In his argument that the creation days were six literal days, he uses a weak example of the Ten Commandments being simple to understand in plain language (“Thou shalt not steal… Thou shalt not murder”) meaning that the rest of the bible is simple to understand in plain language, too. So when the bible says “six days,” it means six literal days. This is important because, as emphasized repeatedly by AiG speakers, if you don’t believe Genesis is real, then the rest of the bible falls apart.

After going over his six points, Riddle then authoritatively claims that “we have a firm, rock solid foundation. We have answers.” I don’t know if I even have the words to describe how absurd his claim is. How do a few quips from the bible create a “firm, rock solid foundation?” They don’t, and since they don’t, the rest of his talk is made even more absurd, knowing that his initial premise is completely flawed.

After laying his “foundation,” Riddle gets on with the heart of his topic, making claims about “evolutionists” that really show off his ignorance of the topic… to the point of being bizarre. He starts by asking what evolution is and then makes this claim (sic).

You know the sad thing about this is? I can go out and ask ten different evolutionists to give me a definition of evolution. I’ll get ten different answers. Isn’t that sad? No wonder our children are in such confusion. There’s no set standard or definition of evolution.

Wait, what?!

There’s no set standard or definition of evolution? That will come as a complete shock to thousands of biologists, paleontologists, geneticists, and anthropologists. Not that Riddle’s rhetorical coffin needed any more nails in it, but that statement would certainly qualify as the “final nail.” However, not to be deterred by reality, Riddle confidently strides on, explaining what evolution really is, since no “evolutionists” seem to know (sic).

Evolution is based on something called materialism. That is the ideology that all that exists in this universe is mass and energy. It is the ideology that there is no creator god. Folks if there is no creator god, there is no Jesus Christ which the bible clearly teaches Jesus Christ was the creator. In other words, if evolution therefore is true, then the bible has to be wrong or if the bible is true, then evolution has to be wrong.

I just want to point out that he didn’t define evolution even a little bit. Again, however, Riddle is not deterred by his shortcomings. Reiterating that he already has a foundation and has answers (from the bible), he asks if evolutionists have a foundation. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but he concludes they don’t… as he finally gets into his “power questions,” the first of which has to do with the origin of the universe, something about which evolution says absolutely nothing. Actually, Riddle spends the vast majority of his talk arguing about things irrelevant to evolution.

His first question, after giving a mocking explanation of the big bang, is “Where did the matter come from to create the big bang?” After a few more mocking comments about supposed answers he gets to this question, he states that this is a perfectly legitimate scientific question.

Shockingly, I agree with him. It is a perfectly legitimate scientific question… one that cannot be answered by a simple, dismissive “God did it” response… and one that has absolutely nothing to do with evolution.

Riddle then proceeds to cherry pick some other quotes in an attempt to show how ridiculous this whole “big bang” idea is. He quotes from the April 2002 edition of Discover magazine, falsely attributing the quote to an article about Alan Guth’s ideas regarding the Big Bang theory:

The universe burst into something from absolute nothing – zero, nada. And as it got bigger, it became filled with even more stuff that came from absolutely nowhere.

The main problem with this quote is that it appears nowhere in the Discover Magazine article. It appeared on the cover of the magazine, but not as a quote from Guth. If Riddle would have actually read the article, he would have gotten the actual explanations, but that wouldn’t have suited his purpose, which seems to be mocking science and misleading his audience. He further displays his ignorance about the science, offering more cherry-picked, out-of-context quotes and pretending to understand quantum physics.

Of course, he claims, the counter-question will be “Who created God?” He has an answer, of course, and quotes a couple bible verses.

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:
Exodus 3:14

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Revelations 22:13

Of course, he concludes that (sic)…

In other words, the bible teaches very clearly god is a self eternal being and has no beginning no end.

He says that the reason he uses the bible is that it’s “the most powerful tool we have.” I’ll leave the snarky response to that statement to my readers.

Riddle continues on for quite a while about the question of the origin of the universe, but I want to move on… but only after saying that I always find it interesting when creationists like Riddle ridicule science on one hand, but want to use science to support their creationist claims on the other hand. The same science they mock is okay with them if they can use it to back up their claims (which is a common denialist trait in general).

So on to power question number two, which is “How did life originate?”

That’s a good question. It has nothing to do with the theory of Evolution, but it’s a good question. However, Riddle clearly doesn’t understand even the question, much less the answers, because he immediately sets up not only a false dichotomy, but an invalid false dichotomy (is there such a thing?). He says there are only two possible options for the origin of life.

  • Life evolved by natural processes
  • Life was created

Wait, what?

Point one has to do with evolution, which can only happen after life originated! Since I’ve come this far, however, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he really meant “Life originated by natural processes.” Then, at least, it’s a valid false dichotomy.

As the ignorance continues to manifest itself, Riddle states (sic):

The “model of evolution” teaches that about 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth formed all by naturalistic processes. This is their foundation for how life got started. Then, over long periods of time, chemicals began to form in a pool where they nicknamed the primordial soup. Then, over more long periods of time, these chemicals bonded together to make molecules, and finally, over more long periods of time, these molecules bonded together to make the first living cell and we have our formula “time plus chance equals life.” Does that make you feel pretty good about yourself? Something exploded, formed a pool of chemicals, and here you are. That gives you some self worth there.

That almost makes my head explode. What he has mockingly described is “abiogenesis,” the hypothesis that life originated by chance from inanimate matter (except for the “and here you are” part, which could factor in evolution). What is even more telling about this quote, however, are the statements about feeling good and giving self worth… as if having a healthy sense of self worth has any bearing on the validity of scientific facts. It’s an argument that I do hear from creationists regarding evolution… that evolution makes life pointless and makes humans “just another animal.” They seem to think that science is invalidated if it makes claims they don’t like (again, another classic denialist trait).

Miller-Urey Experiment Riddle follows this up with more bible quotes that say that God created everything, of course, but he again follows that up with simple science, defining atoms, molecules, amino acids, and proteins… sounding very authoritative and knowledgeable. He uses this information to lead into a discussion of the Miller Experiment (more technically known as the Miller-Urey Experiment) which was done back in 1953 and which he claims is in “just about every biology textbook in this country.”

The Miller-Urey Experiment was groundbreaking, but that was 57 years ago and scientific knowledge has progressed a long way since then, so using it as a refutation of abiogenesis seems disingenuous at best. Riddle tries to make the experiment sound very dramatic and adds how horrible it is that students are then taught that we don’t need a creator because we can do it ourselves. It’s a long part of the talk and it’s essentially pointless, but he goes there anyway.

Amusingly, he follows it up with a demonstration of… something… where he asks the sum of three plus one… but the answer is not allowed to be four. He then accepts answers of seven, thirteen, and six. He summarizes the point of his little demonstration by saying…

If you rule the truth out, if you cannot accept the truth, you have to accept anything in its place and that is what evolution is.

It’s ironic, isn’t it? The irony immediately grows when he continues with this (sic)…

What we are observing today out of our universities and high schools is our students are coming out of those schools repeating the same mistakes we did 30 years ago because we’re unwilling to teach all the scientific evidence.

The irony, of course, is that the same statement would apply to Christian apologetics, but instead of a thirty year time span, it would be a 2,000 year time span because of an unwillingness to teach any of the scientific evidence. Creationists like Riddle are making every attempt to move science and our corresponding understanding of our world back to the bronze age.

At this point, the fifty minute video is thirty-six minutes complete. That means that the final twelve minutes will be used for the final two power questions. Amusingly, the final two questions are the only questions that actually address evolution.

The lead up to power question number three is tedious and reiterates many of the fallacies that Riddle has already perpetrated earlier in the talk. Basically, it’s “Where are the transitional fossils?” Predictably, his objection to the fossil record is based on the “Cambrian Explosion.” This is such a tired, old creationist cliché that it’s tiresome just to think about addressing it yet again. Riddle displays not only ignorance of the fossil record, but ignorance of the Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian periods. To get the facts, go here and here as starting points. Both links provide plenty of references and follow-up links. Perhaps email some of them to Riddle.

I don’t think Riddle would be satisfied, however. He asserts that he won’t settle for three or four “alleged” (yes, he says “alleged”) transitional fossils, but, showing his boundless ignorance about the process of fossilization, says he needs millions of transitional fossils. Laughably, he explains…

I need to see the observable evidence. Why? Because great claims require real evidence.

Biblical claims, of course, need no such scrutiny in his mind.

I really want to say that his statements are born of ignorance, but Riddle (and many of his creationist colleagues) seem to maintain a willful ignorance that really approaches stupidity or unassailable stubbornness to accept reality.

Riddle claims to have gone through Ernst Mayr’s entire book, What Evolution Is, and offers up another great cherry-picked quote.

Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series.

Amazon.com - What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr Fortunately, in this case, I own the book, so I went and checked the quote. Sure enough, there it is just as attributed. Riddle says that, in the entire book, Mayr could only come up with about half a dozen “alleged” transitional fossils. Riddle says, “That is not evolution. That is supporting that there had to be a creator.”

Wait, what?!

After the above quote from Mayr’s book, the text goes on to explain why fossils are, indeed, rare and says that some fossil lines are incredibly complete. The facing page of the book shows about sixteen transitional fossils leading from reptiles to early mammals. Riddle’s summarization of Mayr’s book is not only misleading, but is a bald-faced lie.

Power question number four is basically an extension of question three. It’s “Where did the dinosaurs come from?” His premise for this question is that he goes to museums and sees dinosaurs… but he’s not seeing “thousands or millions” of transitions that lead up to the dinosaurs. He says…

Why are these transitions not in the museum? How about a thought here? Just a thought. They never existed. If those transitions were readily available, I believe they would be in the museum, but we don’t see them.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Riddle has never actually read a book about paleontology… or evolution… because if he had, he would have seen plenty of smaller forms all leading up to the larger forms of the dinosaurs. He again makes the statement that “Great claims require real evidence” and follows it up with more cherry picked, out of context quotes from dinosaur books.

Riddle seems to pile more and more ignorance-born absurdities on top of his “rock solid” biblical foundation. He says, of course, that dinosaurs were created on day six according to Genesis.

His conclusion is always that he has a reasonable and rational faith… a logical faith, not a blind faith. He says that, since evolution can’t be defended scientifically, it must be a faith-based belief system with no foundation.

Misunderstanding Evolution How anyone who claims to understand evolution can say that with a straight face is almost unfathomable to me. Willful ignorance? Outright deceit? Simple stupidity? I don’t know, but the hypocrisy and misinformation that overloads Riddle’s talk is outrageous and inexcusable.

The sad part is that the audiences that hear Riddle’s talk will walk away thinking that the nonsense that he spewed so authoritatively is somehow true. They’ll continue to not understand what the theory of evolution states, continue to think there is no fossil evidence, continue to be ignorant of other biological evidence for evolution, and generally feel that Riddle’s presentation was sensible, logical, factual, and genuine. Talks like Riddle’s spread ignorance like the plague and Answers in Genesis helps carry that plague all over the world.

It’s harmful. It’s contemptible. It’s deceitful.

Evolutionary Shenanigans

Here’s another snippet about Palin’s newly-verified creationist beliefs from The Daily Beast.

In her new book…

…[Palin] finally comes out of the closet as a creationist—or as she puts it, “the C-word.” In doing so, however, she manages to obscure the extent of those creationist beliefs by citing her acceptance of “microevolution.”

Oh, microevolution! It’s the favorite “concession” by creationists, used so they can sound accepting of science and therefore feel more credulous when they dismiss Darwinian evolution.

Biologists use the phrase “microevolution” to refer to changes within a group of organisms over a relatively short period of time. The most-famous example is the peppered moth of England, which became darker over generations in response to pollution from a local factory that blackened the trees it relied on for camouflage, encouraging the survival of similarly colored moths. Because these changes are so easily observed, creationists tend to concede their existence. But only to a point: They do not acknowledge that over time, natural selection will lead to radically different new types of organisms, the process known as “macroevolution,” responsible for bigger leaps like birds evolving from dinosaurs.

What caught my eye about this article were two points. First, the author quotes Dr. David Menton, who, if you read my Creation Museum writeup, was the speaker for the Microscarium presentation at the museum. He’s a “scientist” (sarcasm quotes intentional) who, in his presentation, showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has almost zero understanding of evolution. Here’s the part with Menton.

The basis for this distinction is rooted in Christian doctrine, not science. According to Dr. David Menton, a staff scientist at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, microevolution is acceptable only if species vary within the same “kind,” a translation of a Hebrew phrase from the Old Testament describing the original sets of species that traveled on Noah’s ark.

“The point is you get a lot of different kinds of dogs but dogs remain dogs,” Menton said. “They don’t become cats.”

I find it interesting that he seems to admit his scientific claim isn’t based on science. The biblical “kind” argument is used constantly by creationists and figures prominently in the Creation Museum. There is no definition of “kind,” however, and it’s intentionally kept vague and nebulous so it can be used to support their arguments in whatever manner required.

Menton displays immense ignorance of evolution when he says that “dogs remain dogs… they don’t become cats.” Evolutionary theory doesn’t say that dogs become cats… or that chickens become horses… or that monkeys become people. What it does say is that minute changes build up gradually over a tremendous amount of time and eventually lead to speciation. Menton can’t accept this because, according to the bible, the universe is only about 6,000 years old, which doesn’t leave nearly enough time for evolution to occur.

The second point in the article that caught my eye was that Palin (and Menton) was refuted by an actual evolutionary scientist, Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True.

University of Chicago ecology and evolution professor at Jerry Coyne calls the passage in Palin’s book a “typical creationist ploy” easily refuted by fossil evidence suggesting transitions between animals as fish and amphibians or land animals and whales.

“Her stand is basically a biblically oriented stand…that has no basis in fact,” Coyne told The Daily Beast in an e-mail. “It is a ridiculous ploy of the ‘duck kind,’ i.e. a canard.”

Score one for Jerry Coyne.

Creation Museum – The Last Adam

The Paleontologist 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.

Sacrificing lambs for the children 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.

Jesus suffering 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.

Pounding spikes 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.

More blood! More blood! 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 Jesus  (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.

Jesus on the cross 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.

Creation Museum – Microscarium

MicroscariumTicket 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.

DavidMenton01 The presentation was being done by a Doctor David Menton, who gave us a bit of background about himself. He’s got  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.

flagellum 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?”

*strike one*

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.

Creation Museum – Men In White

men-in-whiteA truly disappointing waste of theatrical technology and flair. As with most of the museum, this “show” was well produced (totally bat s%&t  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.  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.  This is where the “machine gunning” of  “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.  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) smuggly 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 two 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 about 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 of  stupidity.

Creation Museum Part 6

(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 5)

Natural Selection is Not Evolution 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.

What Is Natural Selection? 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.

Natural Selection and Evolution 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?

What's the difference between natural selection and evolution? 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.

How does natural selection work? 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.

Common Misconceptions About Natural Selection 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.

Common Misconceptions - No speciation Common Misconceptions - All canids are the same species

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.

Antibiotic Resistance 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.

Antibiotic Resistance - Detail 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.

Blind Cavefish 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.

Three Blind Mice 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.

Conclusion 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.

Creation Museum Part 5

(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 4 )

Ark Section 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.

Scale of the ark room 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.

22_HowToBuildAnArk 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.”

23_ArkSectionModel 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.

Noah may have had help? The World-Famous Ark!

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.

Loading the Ark 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.

Loading the Ark - Detail 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.

Dinosaurs and young adults 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.

Screw you, sinners! Screw you, sinners! Screw you, sinners!

After that, however, once all the sinners drowned, things must have gotten somewhat more peaceful.

Dinner time 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.

The ark comes to rest 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.

God's Word is the key to post-flood catastrophes 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.

Plate tectonics in three easy steps 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.

33_FloatingForests 34_HotWaterReefs 35_TheFloodRecedes

36_FloodBuriesLife 37_CanyonsErode 38_TheWorldDries

Ark Equid?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. Marsupials what?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 a  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.

Rafting... be amazed. 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.

Rafting... are you serious?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.

God's World and God's Word Agree... ? 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.

Willfully ignorant? I would say so. 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.

Human Religions 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.

Christ Cross Consummation

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)

Creation Museum Part 4

(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 3)

God Plants a Garden 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.

Adam and Eve hanging out in the Garden of EdenGod 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.

God Forms Eve From Adam's Side Male and Female One Flesh - Doctrine of Marriage

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.

Adam names the animals 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.

02a_NoCarnivores 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.

Pineapple Dinosaur and Brachiosaurs Apple-loving Dinosaur

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).

Adam and Eve bathing while the serpent spies on them

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.

Bath time for Adam and Eve No Knowledge for you! The Serpent

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.

We are so screwedThe 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.

Cosmic Pain! 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!

We're having beef AGAIN?! Carniverous Velociraptor Why did I eat the damned fruit!?

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:

Carnivores Scavengers Weeds

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)

Creation Museum Part 3

(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 2)

Modern World Abandons the Bible Before we got to head into the Garden of Eden to see the biblical creation story played out, we first needed to see (evidently) what the consequences are for  failing to agree with biblical teachings. If I recall correctly, the next section was called “Graffiti Alley.” The intent, I’m assuming, is to show how degraded society can (and has) become when the scripture is abandoned.

Today Man Decides... WhateverNews clippings, graffiti, and very clever video all gave examples of societal decline. The video was shown as looking through a window and listening to conversations of teens on the phone or talking to their friends. One moodily-lit wall portrayed various news clippings in a collage.

News Clippings Along with some walls of graffiti, there were a number of signs declaring what happens when scripture is abandoned or compromised.

“Scripture abandoned in the culture leads to… relative morality, hopelessness, and meaninglessness.”

“Scripture abandoned in the home leads to… a generation no different than the world.”

“Scripture compromised in the church leads to… scripture abandoned in the home.”

Scripture Abandoned in the CultureScripture Abandoned in the Home Scripture Compromised in the Church

There’s no reason or evidence given for these conclusions, however, and the notion that abandoning scripture in the culture leads to hopelessness and meaninglessness is just patently absurd. My life is filled with hope and meaning and none of it has anything to do with religious doctrines.

No more church in 40 years?! They do have a sign posted that is probably meant to shock, but had the opposite effect on both Craig and me. If something in this museum was a cause for hope, this sign was it. Somehow, I doubt that the prediction will come true, however… but it’s not a bad thought.

The world's not safe anymore. Graffiti Alley was lit in a dark, sinister way in stark contrast to the rest of the museum, presumably to help set the mood of hopelessness and despair. The decor is that of a city’s back alley with crumbling brickwork and broken windows to complement the graffiti and proclamations of societal decay due to the abandonment of scriptures.

It is in this alley that we were introduced to the idea that one of the greatest secular threats to a biblical worldview is the idea that the world is millions of years old (Curse you, science!)… vividly portrayed by a giant wrecking ball which has smashed into the side of a church.

Millions of Years Wrecking Ball From that point on in the museum, the idea that the universe is more than 6,000 years old is bad… and wrong… and unbiblical. They, of course, even go so far as to say that it is unscientific (see the idea of “Different views because of different starting points” in part 1). It’s patently absurd, of course, to say that the universe is only 6,000 years old, but that doesn’t stop the museum creators from doing everything they can to justify their position, no matter how ludicrous it is.

Undermining biblical doctrine But a television monitor in the next room showed just why they have to do it. I caught it at just the right time to snap this picture.

“‘Millions of Years’ undermines every major doctrine of the bible,” it says. The caption reads “Long ages would undermine the basic teachings of Christianity.”

I, along with millions of other folks, including Christians, don’t think so. It may undermine the literal reading of Genesis, but there are plenty of Christian teachings that don’t rely on a timeline at all. Love thy neighbor, do unto others, etc… I don’t think there’s any shortage of beneficial advice in the bible that is free from the restrictions of such a timeline. But perhaps the folks at the Creation Museum don’t consider them to be “major” doctrines.

10_ThereIsStillHopeSo after the “horrors” of the scripturally bankrupt Graffiti Alley showing how society is in a horrible state, we were shown that there was still hope… and the place to find that hope is at the beginning… a mere 6,000 years ago.

11_EternalPlan Here’s “The Creator’s Eternal Plan” as stated by the Creation Museum…

The six days of creation set the stage for the fulfillment of God’s great eternal plan. He created humans in His likeness, desiring to dwell with them for eternity. Knowing they would rebel, God, in eternity, had already planned for the Son of God to step into history to provide the  free gift of salvation.

I pondered this statement for a bit. It says that God created humans because he wanted to hang out with them. That seems a bit un-godlike… to attribute a simple emotion like loneliness to God. Why else would he want to dwell with humans? That aside, he created them knowing they would rebel. Why do that? Why not make humans that wouldn’t rebel?

That hardly seems like a perfect creation, especially when it states that he knew beforehand that they would rebel! That’s intentionally creating a failure. But before he even created them, he planned to fix them by sending the “Son of God” into history (that’s himself, by the way) to give the “free gift of salvation”… to the humans that he created in such a way that they would screw things up and need salvation. It’s hardly a “free” gift, anyway, now is it?

It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and the only way that it can possibly be explained is with the cop-out answer of “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

I had hoped to get to the Garden of Eden in this post, but I forgot about Graffiti Alley. Coming up next, though are the Garden of Eden and the Fall.

…with dinosaurs.

(The tour will continue in part 4)