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Creation Museum

Creation Museum Part 2

(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 1)

After passing through the Paleontologist room where the idea of “Same Facts – Different Views” was introduced, the Museum creators felt the need to dwell on the point for a bit. The next room contained a series of large wall plaques that portrayed the differences between “Human Reason” and “God’s Word” for a few different subjects.

The creation of the universe, the evolution of life, and the evolution of humans were among those subjects.

Same Universe Same Plants and Animals Same Apes and Humans

Up to this point, no reason is really given why we should trust God’s word more than human reason. I’m fairly sure that this display room was set up just to hammer home the notion that there can be different views because of different starting points, not to proclaim which starting point constituted the “correct” view.

We were led down the comparison path just a bit more with a summary of two perspectives on history.

The present is the key to the past God's Word is the key to... everything

If you enlarge the first picture (that’d be the “Human Reason” one), you’ll notice a fairly standard timeline of time and space, starting with the Big Bang and progressing through the evolution of humans. Very sensible. That, of course, is contrasted with a history timeline based on a literal reading of the book of Genesis… a full 6,000 years since the creation of the universe. It lists the “Seven C’s of History” with a brief description of each.

09a_ShowMeMore From what I’d seen so far, I came down pretty firmly on the side of human reason. But we were approaching the area that began the explanation of why God’s Word was clearly superior to human reason.

The kids pointed the way…

Oh… Billy, there’s a darn good reason why you never heard this before in school… especially in a science class.

(Hint: because it’s not science.)

Why start with God's Word? The next section begins with the posing of a simple question. Why start with God’s Word? It seems an innocuous enough question, doesn’t it? I wondered how they were going to answer that question.

Here’s how… “God’s Word is True.” Ta-dah.

The justifications for this claim are as follows (from the plaque):

  • 40 authors, writing over 2,000 years, spoke the SAME MESSAGE.
  • Scrolls, discovered in the last century, confirm that the ORIGINAL WORDS have been preserved.
  • Archaeology has repeatedly confirmed that the Bible’s HISTORICAL DETAILS are accurate.
  • Hundreds of BIBLE PROPHECIES have been fulfilled, and none has failed.

With the liberal use of bold and ALL CAPS, I found myself thinking that maybe I’d stumbled upon an internet message board.

Though I would refute all four points above in varying degrees, they are all secondary to the main reason why God’s Word is true… at least according to the Creation Museum creators.

09_GodsWordIsTrueIf you haven’t read it already, the main reason why we should trust God’s Word is that “ABOVE ALL, the GOD of TRUTH, the CREATOR of heaven and earth, inspired the men who penned the words.”

That’s it. We got four easily refutable bullet points and a statement based on circular reasoning (the bible is the inspired word of God because it says so). Even I was a little disappointed in that. There was one additional plaque that made the claim that the church has survived every attack ever made on it (evolution, The DaVinci Code, etc), but it wasn’t so much an argument for why we should trust God’s Word so much as a self-serving resume of dubious achievements.

The next room was a smaller room that showed stages of biblical history from a people perspective. The prophets (Isaiah, Moses, and King David) were followed by the empty tomb of Jesus and the apostles. The only apostle they showed was Paul, who looked suspiciously like Ray Comfort.

The Prophets of the Old Testament Where's Jesus? The Apostle Paul... or Ray Comfort?

At this point, I was still incredibly impressed with the physical quality of all the exhibits, but found the substance of the arguments lacking… which really wasn’t surprising. There isn’t really an argument of any substance for a creationist viewpoint. I had just expected a little more creativity.

As it turns out, we just hadn’t gotten to the “good stuff” yet. That came after the story of Noah. But first we got to go through the story of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, the Fall, and Noah’s Flood… all of which had some special gems.

I’ll cover those in the next posts.

(The tour will continue in part 3)

Creation Museum Part 1

Petersburg, Kentucky On August 28th, Craig and I took an early flight (way too early) to the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky airport to visit the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, about 7 miles from the airport. Having heard quite a bit about the museum, we were anxious to learn more about it in a way that only a first-hand visit could provide.

The result was an oddly enjoyable combination of admiration, amazement, bewilderment, amusement, aggravation, and sadness.

Museum Parking Lot Entrance I can’t speak for Craig, but when the cab driver dropped us off in front of the museum and drove away, I felt just a twinge of intimidation. The guards in the parking lot were dressed like state troopers, complete with official-looking arm patches and even more official looking firearms. I didn’t remember seeing armed guards when I visited the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. I felt somewhat like an interloper, or, if I wanted to add a more masculine adventure flair to my description, a spy.

Creation Museum Entrance We had decided that we were going to remain “undercover,” so to speak… at least for the first day, in order to avoid any out-of-the-ordinary treatment. I gave a big smile to the guard and commented on the beautiful weather. He responded in kind, and seemed very friendly. We found that to be the case throughout the museum. The staff was very pleasant and helpful (with only a few un-noteworthy exceptions) and were quick to return my smiles and engage in light chit-chat.

04_Notice Posted on the front door was a notice stating that the Creation Museum was private property, a Christian environment, and an outreach of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham’s ministry that teaches a literal interpretation of the bible, including a six 24-hour day creation and a 6,000 year old Earth. The notice was fairly worded and I didn’t find it offensive or inappropriate, even for a secular museum (other than the first sentence, of course). Be nice, be polite, etc. Good advice in a museum.

So far, so good. We got in line to get our tickets and purchased a two-day pass along with a few special tickets for the Planetarium shows and a presentation called “Microscarium” which was to show all the life that can be in a single drop of water (more on those shows in later posts). The two-day pass was only about $7.00 more than a single day pass, so we opted for that so we could come back and get any pictures or video footage that we missed on our first day.

05_Lobby Finally we got to the lobby and our first real taste of the kind of quality production values that were consistent throughout the entire museum. Every display, structure, statue, and facility was top-notch. To quote John Hammond, they “spared no expense” when they built this place… and it showed. Had I not known what the museum contained, I would have been filled with admiration and excitement rather than a sense of dread.

Walking past the mammoth skeleton in the front of the lobby, we got our first glimpse of where we were truly headed. A young girl and boy played in a stream while a pair of raptors (no, not the birds… the dinosaurs) stood together behind them. It was like The Flintstones, only presented with animatronic realism… and presented as actual history.

06_DinoGirl 07_DinoKids

The idea of dinosaurs living at the same time as humans is presented, even emphasized, throughout the museum’s exhibits. A literal reading of Genesis demands it and the Creation Museum revels in it, as Craig and I were about to find out.

We wandered around the lobby for a bit to take a look at the exhibits outside the main “Walk Through History” exhibit. There was plenty to see and we checked it out before heading into the staff-recommended Men in White video presentation in the special effects theater. We got a bit more of a taste of what we would be seeing later that day when we ventured deeper into the museum, including the Seven C’s in God’s Eternal Plan (the overarching theme throughout the museum) and an anti-scientific declaration mixed with worship.

7 C's in God's Eternal Plan Our Back Yard - So Much Difference

The Men in White video, like the rest of the museum, had extremely high production values and was very entertaining, though riddled with long-debunked creationist propaganda and absurdly caricaturized science teachers. It was easy to see how viewers who are not well-versed in basic science would be pulled into the descriptions and then walk out of the theater thinking that maybe there was something to the whole “6,000 year old Earth” thing. It was like listening to a fast-talking carnie who was also good-looking, charming, and gave you free candy… so you wouldn’t notice that the live, two-headed snake woman was neither alive nor two-headed.

Creationist Paleontologist We then headed into the “Walk Through History” exhibit, which was designed to guide the viewer along the biblical explanation for life on earth. It starts with the paleontologist room. Two men are digging up a dinosaur fossil. The television screens in the room explain that the two men are finding the same fossils, but they come up with different views depending upon their starting point.

What do we know about Dinosaurs? This is another key point that is hammered into the viewer repeatedly throughout the museum. A dichotomy is set up between “Human Reason” and “God’s Word” (with “God’s Word” portrayed as the ultimate truth, of course).

“Dinosaur fossils don’t come with tags on them telling us how old they are,” the sign proclaims. “We have to figure that out from a few clues we find.” That’s true, of course, but what the museum consistently ignores throughout its halls is that we have an overwhelming number of “clues” from numerous branches of science… and they all tell us that dinosaur fossils are millions of years old. Different Views... Different Starting Points It’s not a matter of interpreting the clues differently. It’s a matter of creationists ignoring clues that don’t meet their biblical requirements.

It’s the same with the “different starting points” claim, except this claim is more accurate, though probably not in the way the museum means it to be. Scientists do have a different starting point than creationists. Scientists start with the evidence and examine it to see where it leads. Creationists start with the bible and examine it to see how they can make the evidence fit. Scientists will change their ideas and theories based on new evidence. Creationists will never change their theories in the face of new evidence because, in their view, the bible trumps all evidence.

Same Facts, but Different Views… Why?

09_Why

Why, indeed.

(The tour will continue in part 2)

Almost Unbearable Irony

Craig and I just returned from a trip to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The museum is an attempt to show that the bible is scientifically accurate when you read the book of Genesis in a completely literal way. Though the museum is physically amazing (clean, well built, very high quality, etc), it pretty much fails from the science aspect.

So it was to my great amusement that I found this t-shirt available… though I heard it was discontinued and this was on clearance for $9.00…

Creation Museum T-shirt - Science is Awesome!!!

Detailed write-ups (with pics!) will be forthcoming.

Heading to the Creation Museum

Tomorrow morning, Craig and I will be taking off to head to Ken Ham’s Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. We’ve had our trip planned since before the Secular Student Alliance made their huge visit, but their visit just made us more enthusiastic about experiencing the exhibits in person.

We’ll be loaded with video cameras, still cameras, and plenty of note-taking apparatus so we hope to have some decent reports when we return.

Secular Student Alliance at the Creation Museum Today

Many folks with the Secular Student Alliance group (283?) are visiting the Creation Museum today and are using Twitter to inform those of us who can’t make it today. If you’ve got a Twitter account, you can follow their tweets using the hashtag “#CreoZerg”. I’ll be following it today and am really looking forward to reading all the writeups tomorrow.

One person posted an Urban Dictionary link to the origin of the “Zerg” part of the hashtag.

Here’s the scoop [sic]:

Originates from Blizzard’s game Starcraft where zerg were one of 3 playable races, aliens like appearance, zerg were characterized by using large numbers of weak units to swarm the enemy, also another characteristic of zerg were that everything was organic, ie, zerg didn’t used machines or any artifacts, they would mutate their own buildings from special kind of larvae and advanced units were created by mutating basic ones. Units were cheap to make and it was possible to make extreme numbers in short period of time.

Nowadays term zerg is used in mmo games to describe force consisted of large group of lower level players (often with only basic equipment) who use numbers rather then strategy to defeat the enemy, therefore requiring no skill. This tactics is commonly known as “zerging.”

Too funny.