Friday, May 25, 2007

Creation Museum to open

The world’s first museum devoted to showing the biblical creation myth as fact will be opening on Memorial Day in Northern Kentucky near Cincinnati. It includes displays of those pesky dinosaurs bones that keep showing up all over the world. In fact, there are dinosaurs shown along humans in the world’s 6000-year existence. And, of course, Adam and Eve are positioned in such ways as to maintain their modesty – just the way God intended. They also have computer animation of how all those animals actually fitted in Noah’s Arc.

The Creation Museum, a project of the Answers in Genesis Ministry, $27 million project designed to promote as fact an odd jumble of biblical myths intermixed dinosaurs and fossils. According to the New York Times:
It … serves as a vivid introduction to the sheer weirdness and daring of this museum created by the Answers in Genesis ministry that combines displays of extraordinary nautilus shell fossils and biblical tableaus, celebrations of natural wonders and allusions to human sin. Evolution gets its continual comeuppance, while biblical revelations are treated as gospel.

Outside the museum scientists may assert that the universe is billions of years old, that fossils are the remains of animals living hundreds of millions of years ago, and that life’s diversity is the result of evolution by natural selection. But inside the museum the Earth is barely 6,000 years old, dinosaurs were created on the sixth day, and Jesus is the savior who will one day repair the trauma of man’s fall.

It is a measure of the museum’s daring that dinosaurs and fossils — once considered major challenges to belief in the Bible’s creation story — are here so central, appearing not as tests of faith, as one religious authority once surmised, but as creatures no different from the giraffes and cats that still walk the earth. Fossils, the museum teaches, are no older than Noah’s flood; in fact dinosaurs were on the ark.
The backers of the museum and Answers in Genesis are people who do not read the Bible for the truths it may tell but as factual evidence of real events – in other words, all biblical stories are literally true. At the same time these people are products of their time and are enamored with scientific methods and the illusion of science. They have merged the two to come up with something on the level of the Flintstones – the 1960’s cartoon series about prehistoric people living in prehistoric suburbs along side dinosaurs. That there are people who will undoubtedly take this sham of a museum serious is rather sad, if not frightening.

This is how the L.A. Times sees it:
The Creation Museum, a $27-million tourist attraction promoting earth science theories that were popular when Columbus set sail, opens near Cincinnati on Memorial Day. So before the first visitor risks succumbing to the museum's animatronic balderdash — dinosaurs and humans actually coexisted! the Grand Canyon was carved by the great flood described in Genesis! — we'd like to clear up a few things: "The Flintstones" is a cartoon, not a documentary. Fred and Wilma? Those woolly mammoth vacuum cleaners? All make-believe.

Science is under assault, and that calls for bold truths. Here's another: The Earth is round.

The museum, a 60,000-square-foot menace to 21st century scientific advancement, is the handiwork of Answers in Genesis, a leader in the "young Earth" movement. Young Earthers believe the world is about 6,000 years old, as opposed to the 4.5 billion years estimated by the world's credible scientific community. This would be risible if anti-evolution forces were confined to a lunatic fringe, but they are not. Witness the recent revelation that three of the Republican candidates for president do not believe in evolution. Three men seeking to lead the last superpower on Earth reject the scientific consensus on cosmology, thermonuclear dynamics, geology and biology, believing instead that Bamm-Bamm and Dino played together.

Religion and science can coexist. That the Earth is billions of years old is a fact. How the universe came into being and whether it operates by design are matters of faith. The problem is that people who deny science in one realm are unlikely to embrace it in another. Those who cannot accept that climate change may have caused the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago probably don't put much stock in the fact that today it poses grave peril to the Earth as we know it.

Last year, the White House attempted to muzzle NASA's top climatologist after he called for urgent action on global warming, and a presidential appointee in the agency's press office chastised a contractor for mentioning the Big Bang without including the word "theory." The press liaison reportedly wrote in an e-mail: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA."

With the opening of the Creation Museum, young people will be getting another side of the story. Too bad it starts with "Yabba-dabba-doo!"
If local Virginia readers have an interest, Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis and prime mover behind the museum, is doing a conference for the Home Educators Association of Virginia in Richmond on June 8th. (This says a lot about the quality of education home educators are providing to the children of Virginia. Perhaps they should try Chesterfield County schools.)

And in case you have any doubts or questions pertaining to scientific analysis of evolution versus the malarkey promoted by the so-called creationists, Scientific American has just published “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense.” (Thanks to Waldo for the tip.)


Chris said...

Nowhere in the Bible does it state how long the earth has been around. Faith is a belief based on things that science can't explain.

Intelligent design is a theory that has holes just as Darwinism does.

It really is sad that within any conversation on issues these days, it seems that people have to throw in some type of jab or barb at the person on the other side of the issue.

Cal Frye said...

The difference is that Natural Selection is about as tested a theory now as Newtonian Gravitation. Einstein succeeded in establishing his theory of Universal Gravitation by encompassing everything Newton had already demonstrated and extending the theory.

Intelligent Design, on the other hand, is neither testable nor a scientific theory at all. The two are nowhere near equal, it's only the "pro vs. con" format of news reporting that fosters the idea there is a controversy in the first place.
Otherwise, it's like suggesting the Flat Earth Society has a chance...

Jim said...

This museum is an oxymoron. It is not a museum. Nothing that puts forth Noah's Ark (the Arc is supposedly the rainbow after the flood) and intelligent design as science can call itself a museum.

Unknown said...

Sorry, Cal, but your litany of errors is profound. 1) Go read about Usher's Chronology of Creation, the first Biblically-based work placing the earth's age at approximately 6,000 years. The Bible directly states geneologies and other historical choreographies that add up to this figure.

2) While Intelligent design is a theory in progress, to be sure, its adherents do not command public dollars nor demand its acceptance as fact as Darwinians do. I would direct you to solve the Ontological issue of the watch and the watchmaker (Careful, Thomas Aquinas himself posited on this one) as well as the reality of irreducible complexity (google them, do some reading)

3) If, by "Natural Selection" you refer to 'Survival of the Fittest', you get some prize, to be sure. However, Natural Selection NEVER results in the ADDITION of information to the gene pool, or at least, it has never been shown to do so. Thus, you defence of Natural Selection is irrelevent to Evolution as it is only a subset thereof and not foundational; defending a secondary component is not an adequate defense of the core idea, sorry (Logic & Critical Thinking, good class, take it some time).

4) Assuming you mean Evolution when you say Natural Selection, the fact is that NOT ONE single piece of evidence exists that has been scientifically validated as confirming the core concepts proposed by Darwin, sorry: no transitional forms in the HUGE fossile record; no laboratory or field observation of the core processes either. In other words Darwinian Evolution = interesting idea with zero evidence and lots of faith required.