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Bronze-level articleCreation Museum

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I went to the Creation Museum and all I got was stupider
—Bumper sticker slogan[1]

The Creation Museum (if you can call it a "museum") is a $27 million amusement park located in Kentucky just a few miles from Cincinnati.[2] It was founded by Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis.[3] It is devoted to the young earth creationist idea that "The Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation!"[3][4] — that is, in complete opposition to the scientific consensus.[5]

The unaccredited[6] "museum" promotes the idea that "the Bible is the history book of the universe". This is somehow supposed to be in line with their idea that "facts don't speak for themselves" and that the Bible contains the "correct" way to interpret any and all evidence available in the physical world.


[edit] Creation Museum "science"

Lawrence Krauss, director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) (note: currently of Arizona State University) has stated publicly that the museum is both a "fraud" and "hypocritical" because:

It repeatedly misrepresents the process and results of science and distorts the scientific record. Yet in every case it takes advantage of the technical wizardry of science to get its point across, with a series of dazzling animatronic displays and explanations" [7]

Krauss debated AiG president Ken Ham in May 2007 on Fox News Channel’s popular program The O’Reilly Factor.[8]

On the BBC Radio programme Today (May 31st 2007), Ken Ham was interviewed about the museum. He provided an example of the "scientific evidence" that dinosaurs and humans had at one time lived together — it was a drawing on a cave wall which showed humans hunting what appeared to be dinosaurs. Apparently, humans in the past were incapable of making stuff up so the cave paintings had to be accurate.

[edit] Dinosaurs

PZ Myers on his Aug 09 visit to the Cretin Museum.
A 40-foot-long animatronic sauropod dinosaur

Dinosaurs are common in the Creation Museum: after all, the kiddies love 'em, and they are therefore a depressingly effective tool for indoctrination. The museum contains numerous displays of dinosaurs coexisting peacefully with humans[9] despite the overwhelming evidence that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first humans.[10] The Creation Museum supports the view that all dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden were herbivores,[11] and when asked why T. rex had six inch long serrated teeth the guide will explain that those were for opening coconuts.[12]

The evidence that the Creation Museum presents for the co-existence of dinosaurs and humans is a verse in the book of Job mentioning a behemoth[13], whose description creationists claim fits that of a sauropod dinosaur. This has been demonstrated to be false, but they still insist on spreading the falsehood.[14] It does not bother them that the same book that talks about the behemoth also talks about dragons[15] and how the behemoth and the leviathan will fight a mighty battle at the end of the world.[16]

The museum was given an authentic allosaur specimen which lived and died during the Jurassic period roughly 150 million years ago died during Noah's flood a few thousand years ago and proved the flood really happened. [17] The allosaur will teach children and adults young earth creationism. [18]

[edit] Creation Museum conspecifics

I think they should rename the museum — not the Creation Museum, but the Confusion Museum ... As a Christian, I was dismayed.
—Lisa E. Park, Professor of paleontology [19]
The "museum".

The Creation Museum is just the latest microevolutionary development in the creation museum kind. While no one has ever observed one creation museum kind giving birth to another creation museum kind, there is plenty of variation within the kind (micro only, of course). The closest extant relative of Ken Ham's creation is the Creation & Earth History Museum (formerly called the Museum of Creation and Earth History), endemic to California, and created by the Institute for Creation Research.

The 7 Wonders Creation Museum occupies a completely different ecological niche. Located as a missionary somewhere near Mt. St. Helens this spacious double-wide trailer offers guided tours of the monument to Creation by a loving God that all volcanoes represent, but particularly this one. For a mere $10 you can send your kids to a summer camp where they can learn all about how Noah's Ark dealt with lava.

Speaking of double-wide trailers, Patriot Bible University alumnus and federal prisoner Kent Hovind has been offering children of all ages an adventure of a lifetime at Dinosaur Adventure Land. This Florida landmark has fallen upon tough times; it seems to have been built without a permit. But it is still up and running, and for your tax deductible donation gift of $7 all the wonders of Dr. Dino can be yours.

While Ken Ham is getting all the big press, another major creation museum opened in 2008. Big Valley Creation Science Museum up in Canada offers all the wonders one comes to expect from a converted garage.

As can be seen, there is a wide variety of trailers, garages, backyards, and abandoned warehouses vying for the money of Creation Science devotees. The question is whether Ken Ham's fully animated pumpkin-eating T. rex will be enough to overcome his competitors?

[edit] Mistakes

Apart from the obvious, there are several mistakes that have been made with the models. Example models include a Tyrannosaurus rex dragging its tail on the floor in an upright position that would have broken its spine, an Iguanadon with skin completely different from fossilised imprints and a Utahraptor sporting anatomically incorrect pronated forearms (its hands facing forwards instead of towards each other). The same Utahraptor model is also shown without any feathers, despite evidence that Dromaeosaurs in general had them.[20][21] It's possible that these mistakes derive from them watching a little too much Walking With Dinosaurs, which also depicted the Utahraptor with these same inaccuracies.[22] Not content with displaying ignorance of just dinosaurs, there are several incorrect reconstructions of Mesozoic flora, one example being a cycad plant reconstructed as little more than a giant pineapple.[20]

[edit] Attendance

One of the museum's guests having the time of his life on the back of a triceratops statue.

By August 1st 2008, a little more than 500 days after opening, the Creation Museum announced it had admitted 500,000 visitors.[23] In the same amount of time, Disneyland had almost 21 million (21,000,000) visitors, although this is in almost no way relevant.[24] One month away from its third anniversary, the Creation Museum had its 1,000,000th guest.[25] In response, President and Co-Founder of the museum, Ken Ham, stated, "We are excited to welcome our one millionth guest today, and we are grateful that God continues to bless this ministry with such strong attendance in a challenging economy."[25]

A never ending steadily reducing stream of True Believers are attending the madhouse museum. Attendance has fallen steadily over the four years that the 'museum' has been open and dropped by 10% in 2012.[26] [27] As of 2013 the 'museum' is in financial trouble. [28] Still there are plans to tempt visitors back by building extensions with even more silly junk religiously inspired "education material." [29]

[edit] Ark Encounter

Why does God need so much taxpayer help?

Really, has God been so lame spreading the good news that AIG must "counter the myths floating around about the Bible-upholding Ark Encounter," on a digital video board in New York's Times Square?

Does God need to be defended with the demagogic language AIG and its founder Ken Ham use in the holy war against "intolerant liberal friends," "secularists," "Bible-scoffers," and, the most telling, "agitators outside the state?"
—Lexington, Kentucky Herald-Leader editorial[30]

In 2010, Answers in Genesis started a new project about 40 miles from the Creation Museum called the "Ark Encounter" for which the plan is to build a life sized ark.[31] The attraction, a for-profit venture part-owned by AIG subsidiary Crosswater Canyon Inc., who will supposedly be providing the day-to-day management of the park as well as maintaining at least a 20% stake in the business. Other, unnamed private investors are said to be providing the other 80% of the funding required.[32] Another $150 million[33] dollars well spent! Plans dictate that the ark will be built precisely to the specifications described in the Bible, down to the cubit. The result of this is that Creationist families will marvel in awe at the size of the boat, before a sudden, startling realization that it couldn't fit two of every animal.

The Ark Encounter stirred controversy when it applied for and was granted tax breaks to the tune of $43 millions from the Kentucky state government.[34] The state government asserted they had no right to deny the Ark Encounter tax incentives they would offer to any other for-profit tourist venture of comparable size in the state, while secular organisations such as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State see it as a clear violation of the First Amendment to the US constitution. Due to delays in beginning construction and difficulties securing funding, the Ark Encounter missed deadlines tied to tax incentives they applied for and was forced to refile to secure them again. The plans for the Ark Encounter have been scaled down considerably since their initial application.[35] In 2014, tax subsidies for the Ark Park received preliminary approval from Kentucky’s state tourism board.[36] In December, it was announced that the project lost the incentives from the state because of their explicit intention to discriminate on religious grounds.[37] as one commenter put it, "There very well may be dinosaurs on Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter boat in Grant County at some point in the future, but much like 'Noah,' he will now have to build this with his own money."[37]

Set to open in 2014, the Ark Encounter was to feature a petting zoo, a replica Tower of Babel, and the "historical" biblical journey from Abraham to the parting of the Red Sea.[33] Due to difficulties securing funding, this has since been scaled back to a "first phase" consisting of just the Ark itself and a smaller petting zoo. Even this smaller petting zoo risks serious animal health and animal welfare problems which the organizers apparently did not consider. [38] Other attractions are said to be scheduled for "future phases." With its super accurate account of history, the project is aimed mainly at being an educational experience for its soon-to-be-enightened visitors (of which they expect 1.6 million a year).[33] Unfortunately, fundraising has stalled at half the $24 millions to start the first phase of the project, construction of the ark itself.[26] As of 2013, ground has yet to be broken on the project.

In Q3 2013 AiG finally gave up on trying to raise the necessary funds to build the Ark Encounter from their flock. The new plan is to do a bond issue in conjunction with the city of Williamstown to raise funds for the project.[39] Interestingly, the official bond issue site describes Ark Encounter LLC. as wholly owned by Crosswater Canyon Inc., the AiG subsidiary. This suggests AiG's partners in the enterprise have now bailed out, forcing the project to be entirely debt financed. According to the project summary, the "first phase" of the project is projected to cost $73 millions, of which AiG is providing the $13mm already raised from their credulous supporters in donations, the whole of the remaining $60mm is to come from the bonds. They project the "future phases", i.e. everything other than the ark, to cost $52.6 millions which is to be paid for from the profits of the park over the first decade of its operation. Considering the project is to be 80% debt financed, that would seem ridiculously optimistic. AiG continue to use the original estimates of annual visitor numbers from when the project was announced, pegged at 1.6 millions or up to 2 millions if some elect for a two day visit. Jie Yang, a professor of finance at Georgetown University notes, "Should the project be unsuccessful, AiG holds no responsibility in meeting the interest payments of these bonds and the bonds may default..". [40]

Kentucky denied the Ark Park its state-based funding, sparking a lawsuit, because, according to AiG, when the State of Kentucky is not actively financing a religious organisation (i.e. Ham's nonsensical creation circus) this amounts to "religious persecution", or at least interferes with "religious freedom". This AiG version of "religious freedom" includes the right to discriminate based on religious affiliation (or lack thereof) when recruiting its staff.[41]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links/blogsnark

The following are various reports on the Creation Museum, usually based on actual visits:

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Bumper sticker quoted by amunptah777 on 9/24/2007 8:52:22 PM at Belief.net
  2. MSNBC:High-tech museum brings creationism to life
  3. 3.0 3.1 CreationMuseaum:About
  4. "Police and Thieves", Murvin/Perry
  5. About.com:Geology
  6. "List of Accredited Museums". American Alliance of Museums. April 2013 (last update). http://www.aam-us.org/docs/accreditation/list-of-accredited-museums.pdf. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  7. Kraus, L, 2007 quoted in "Museum of Misinformation", New Scientist, May 26th 2007, p24
  8. Source:Answers in Genesis this has to be a first: accurate information at AiG!!!
  9. NYtimes:Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs
  10. University of California
  11. Fish feet:T-Rex are coconuts
  12. Science blogs:Pharyngula
  13. Abnormal Interests
  14. The truth about behemoth
  15. Accuracy in genesis
  16. The Franz Neumann Project
  17. Creation Museum Fossil Claimed as Proof of Noah’s Flood
  18. Something Big is Almost Here
  19. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/30/science/30muse.html?_r=1
  20. 20.0 20.1 National Center for Science Education - Anti-Museum overview
  21. Gregory S. Paul, Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds
  22. See the Wikipedia article on Utahraptor.
  23. http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/aroundtheworld/2008/08/01/500000th-visitor-at-the-creation-museum/
  24. http://thedisneyblog.com/2008/03/14/disney-themepar/
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Millionth Guest Visits Creation Museum"
  26. 26.0 26.1 Stern, Mark Joseph. "Darwin, dinosaurs and the devil." watoday.co.au, February 13, 2013.
  27. Creation Museum Attendance Drops for Fourth Straight Year
  28. Kentucky’s ‘Creation Museum’ in Financial Trouble Due to Declining Attendance (VIDEO)
  29. After Three Years Creation Museum Is Evolving (But Not In That Way)
  30. Herald-Leader editorial: Few questions for Answers in Genesis
  31. http://arkencounter.com/
  32. Investors of the lost ark - Leo Weekly
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 The Ark Encounter website's "Frequently" Asked Questions
  34. $43 million tax break approved for Ark Encounter theme park - Lexington Herald-Leader
  35. 'Ark Encounter', Noah's Ark Theme Park, Hopes To Show Biblical Flood Was 'Plausible' - Huffington Post
  36. Ark Park In Kentucky Receives Approval For Tax Breaks
  37. 37.0 37.1 http://insiderlouisville.com/metro/lost-ark-kentucky-will-not-grant-tax-incentives-ark-encounter/
  38. Noah’s Extremely Bad Animal Husbandry Advice
  39. Answers in Genesis - Bond issue letter
  40. Ark Encounter, a creationist theme park, is selling junk bonds.
  41. Ark Encounter Sues State
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