Bronze-level articleCreation Museum

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The divine comedy


Icon creationism.svg
Running gags
Jokes aside
Blooper reel
The Creation Museum - you will never find a more wretched hive of dumb and villainy.
Obi Wan Kenobi Atheist visiting the Creation Museum[1]

The Cretin Creation "Museum" (if you can call it a "museum") is a $27 million amusement park located in Kentucky, USA 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 and basic logic.[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. A lot of the things they say are not even found in the Bible itself, and seem to be the product of people trying to think of ways to explain things further to make sense (if they can possibly make sense at all). They seem to be pulling most of it out of their butt, which is probably why it's so full of crap.

Ironically, the museum is located very close to the Big Bone Lick State Park[wp], "The Birthplace of American Paleontology" and one of the largest fossil finds in North America.[7]


[edit] Creation "Museum" "science"

I went to the Creation Museum and all I got was stupider
—Bumper sticker slogan[8]

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" [9]

Krauss debated AiG president Ken Ham in May 2007 on Fox News Channel’s popular program The O’Reilly Factor.[10]

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[11] despite the overwhelming evidence that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first humans,[12] and in case that discrepancy comes up the place also has an exhibit showing a wrecking ball labeled "MILLIONS OF YEARS" striking the foundation of a church to reinforce the false dilemma that one must believe either all the Bible (except of course those parts the fundamentalists choose to ignore) or none of it at all.[1] The Creation "Museum" supports the view that all dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden were herbivores,[13] and when asked why T. rex had six-inch-long serrated teeth the guide will explain that those were for opening coconuts.[14]

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[15], 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.[16] It does not bother them that the same book that talks about the behemoth also talks about dragons[17] and how the behemoth and the leviathan will fight a mighty battle at the end of the world.[18]

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. [19] The allosaur will teach children and adults young earth creationism. [20]

[edit] Mistakes

Apart from the obvious, the place makes several mistakes 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 and an Iguanadon with skin completely different from fossilised imprints. Other mistakes stem from the fact that some models are clearly copied from Stan Winston's dinosaur designs from the Jurassic Park series rather than from actual fossil finds. Examples include a featherless Utahraptor sporting anatomically incorrect pronated forearms (its hands facing forwards instead of towards each other)[21][22] and a baby T. rex with oversized eyes and a short snout like the one in The Lost World. 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.[21]

There is some indication that the dinosaur designs featured in the Ark Encounter will incorporate more scientifically approved dinosaur designs, or that at least Ark staff are acknowledging that perhaps the designs from Jurassic Park aren't entirely accurate: Spinosaurus is described in an official blog post as having heavily reduced back legs (reflecting 2014 discoveries),[23] and a video showing the construction of juvenile Tyrannosaurus models shows them with unpronated forearms and elongated skulls, in stark contrast to the broken-wristed, pug-nosed Lost World ripoff in the main museum.[24]

[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 [25]
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 ex-con 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 and the expert consultancy of Ian Juby.

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] 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.[26] In the same amount of time, Disneyland had almost 21 million (21,000,000) visitors, although this is in almost no way relevant.[27] One month away from its third anniversary, the Creation "Museum" had its 1,000,000th guest.[28] 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."[28]

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.[29] [30] As of 2013 the 'museum' is in financial trouble. [31] Still there are plans to tempt visitors back by building extensions with even more silly junk religiously inspired "education material." [32]

[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[33]

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.[34] 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.[35] Another $150 million[36] 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 million from the Kentucky state government.[37] 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.[38] In 2014, tax subsidies for the Ark Park received preliminary approval from Kentucky’s state tourism board.[39] In December, it was announced that the project lost the incentives from the state because of their explicit intention to discriminate on religious grounds.[40] 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."[40]

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.[36] 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. [41] 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-enlightened visitors (of which they expect 1.6 million a year).[36] Unfortunately, fundraising has stalled at half the $24 million to start the first phase of the project, construction of the ark itself.[29] As of 2013, ground had 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.[42] 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 million, 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 million 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 continues to use the original estimates of annual visitor numbers from when the project was announced, pegged at 1.6 million or up to 2 million 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.". [43]

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.[44]

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled in in favor of Answers in Genesis in January 2016, and this appears to be the end of the dispute (unless Ark Park still manages to go bankrupt) because the case will not be appealed by the new Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, who has been in favor of taxpayer support of the Christian religion.[45][46] Ken Ham stated deceitfully for an Australian television program that the funding was entirely from private donations. Australian television aparently missed out on fact checking.[47]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links/blogsnark

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

[edit] Footnotes

  2. MSNBC:High-tech museum brings creationism to life
  3. 3.0 3.1 CreationMuseaum:About
  4. "Police and Thieves", Murvin/Perry
  6. "List of Accredited Museums". American Alliance of Museums. April 2013 (last update). Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  8. Bumper sticker quoted by amunptah777 on 9/24/2007 8:52:22 PM at
  9. Kraus, L, 2007 quoted in "Museum of Misinformation", New Scientist, May 26th 2007, p24
  10. Source:Answers in Genesis this has to be a first: accurate information at AiG!!!
  11. NYtimes:Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs
  12. University of California
  13. Fish feet:T-Rex are coconuts
  14. Science blogs:Pharyngula
  15. Abnormal Interests
  16. The truth about behemoth
  17. Accuracy in genesis
  18. The Franz Neumann Project
  19. Creation Museum Fossil Claimed as Proof of Noah’s Flood
  20. Something Big is Almost Here
  21. 21.0 21.1 National Center for Science Education - Anti-Museum overview
  22. Gregory S. Paul, Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds
  23. Forgotten Fauna: Spinosaurs, Ark Encounter (Dec 12, 2014)
  24. Forming the Second T. rex, YouTube (Jul 31, 2015)
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Millionth Guest Visits Creation Museum"
  29. 29.0 29.1 Stern, Mark Joseph. "Darwin, dinosaurs and the devil.", February 13, 2013.
  30. Creation Museum Attendance Drops for Fourth Straight Year
  31. Kentucky’s ‘Creation Museum’ in Financial Trouble Due to Declining Attendance (VIDEO)
  32. After Three Years Creation Museum Is Evolving (But Not In That Way)
  33. Herald-Leader editorial: Few questions for Answers in Genesis
  35. Investors of the lost ark - Leo Weekly
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 The Ark Encounter website's "Frequently" Asked Questions
  37. $43 million tax break approved for Ark Encounter theme park - Lexington Herald-Leader
  38. 'Ark Encounter', Noah's Ark Theme Park, Hopes To Show Biblical Flood Was 'Plausible' - Huffington Post
  39. Ark Park In Kentucky Receives Approval For Tax Breaks
  40. 40.0 40.1
  41. Noah’s Extremely Bad Animal Husbandry Advice
  42. Answers in Genesis - Bond issue letter
  43. Ark Encounter, a creationist theme park, is selling junk bonds.
  44. Ark Encounter Sues State
  45. Noah's Ark Park wins battle for tax incentives by Dylan Lovan (7:34 a.m. EST January 26, 2016) Courier-Journal
  46. [ Ky. ‘Ark Park’ Wins Legal Case Securing Tax Incentive Package] (March 2016) American's United Church & State.
  47. Australian News Report on Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is More Fluff than Facts
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