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Creation Museum

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The divine comedy
Creationism
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] Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis (AIG) founded it[3] and 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 museum[6] 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 ass, which is probably why it's so full of crap.

Ironically, the Creation Museum is located very close to the Big Bone Lick State ParkWikipedia's W.svg, "The Birthplace of American Paleontology" and one of the largest fossil finds in North America.[7]

Creation Museum "science"[edit]

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

Lawrence Krauss,[note 1] director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University (Ohio), has stated publicly that the Creation 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]

The Creation Museum shows a heliocentric solar system and a spherical Earth though the Bible suggests geocentrism and a Flat Earth. Ken Ham is inconsistent as he insists theoretically on Biblical literalism but in practise accepts scientific accounts of the nature of the Earth, the Solar System and the Universe. Still these conflict with the Bible.[11]

Touring his "museum" is an exercise in chronic irritation, as every exhibit is a dishonest mess, all justified with that pathetic excuse of "One world, two views", and hey, this is just our opinion, and it’s just as valid as everyone else’s. Only it’s not. AiG doesn’t get to have their own facts. But this is also their weakness, and how we’ll win, eventually. Their big, expensive projects are monuments to the fact that prayers and the Bible are not enough, and they know it.
PZ Myers[12]

Dinosaurs[edit]

PZ Myers riding the 'missionary lizard' on his August 2009 visit to the Creation Museum.
The wrecking ball
We are taking dinosaurs back — they are our 'missionary lizards'[note 2] that help make clear that Genesis and the whole Bible is true.
—Bob Gillespie of AiG[13]:204
Humans and ancient dinosaurs did not live at the same time. It's completely unreasonable. (…) [Science shows the earth existed for billions of years and no worldwide flood happened during the last 6,000 years.] We're going to raise a generation of kids who are scientifically illiterate.”
Bill Nye the Science Guy[14]

Dinosaurs are common in the Creation Museum: after all, the kiddies love 'em, and they are therefore a depressingly effective tool for indoctrination. The Creation Museum contains numerous displays of dinosaurs coexisting peacefully with humans[15] despite the overwhelming evidence that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first humans,[16] 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. The Creation Museum supports the view that all dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden were herbivores,[17] and when asked why T. rex had six-inch-long serrated teeth the guide will explain that those were for opening coconuts.[18]

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[19], 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.[20] It does not bother them that the same book that talks about the behemoth also talks about dragons[21] and how the behemoth and the leviathan will fight a mighty battle at the end of the world.[22]

On the BBC Radio programme Today (May 31st 2007), Ken Ham was interviewed about the Creation 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, and
  • never found fossil dinosaurs and could never have developed painting from what they knew about the fossils.

The Creation 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.[23] The allosaur will teach children and adults young earth creationism. [24]

Blatant errors[edit]

A Tyrannosaurus rex with among other errors, an incorrectly proportioned chest and forelimbs that are too distant from each other
As I head for the exit I have mixed feelings about the place. Sure, I think, it's wacky, but each to their own delusion, and at least the government isn't funding this. Then another party of wide-eyed, eager-to-learn schoolchildren is ushered past.
Guardian writer visiting the Creation Museum[25]

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)[26][27] 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 is a cycad plant reconstructed as little more than a completely unrelated giant pineapple.[26]

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),[28] 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".[29]

What the heck is "the Bible"?[edit]

The 7 C's
As soon as you surrender the Bible's authority in one area, you "unlock a door" to do the same thing in other areas. Once the door of compromise is open, even if ajar just a little, subsequent generations push the door open wider. Ultimately, this compromise has been a major contributing factor in the loss of biblical authority in our Western world.
The church should heed the warning of Proverbs 30:6, "Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."
—Ken Ham[30]

Despite being founded on the principles of biblical literalism, the Museum has a rather odd relationship with text from the Bible, as displayed in the museum, specifically:[31][13]

For a Museum that explicitly encourages children to attend (only $16 for a child in 2017 vs. $30 for an adult[32]), there's an oddly creepy obsession with defending incest. Specifically, the Museum defends incest during the first third of the 6000-year biblical history, but argues that it hasn't been OK in the second third.[13]:177-179

As such, the two authors — who had initially expected a place like Ken Ham's Pleasure Paradise the Creation Museum to remain "loyal" to the word of the Bible — soon recognized the deeply absurd nature of the entire installation, reflecting that:

Over time we realized that this really is not surprising. More than presenting the Bible itself, the Creation Museum seeks to present a very particular young-earth creationist interpretation of the Bible as the truth. And the effort to make the case for this very particular interpretation overwhelms any effort to attend to the details and the idiosyncrasies of the biblical text.
—Susan L. Trollinger & William Vance Trollinger Jr.[31]

Notably, the idiosyncratic view of the Bible presented at the Creation Museum leads to an almost Jesus-free Christianity as displayed in the Museum.[31] Keeping in mind that it's supposed to be Jesus who even puts the Christ in "Christianity" to begin with.

These deficiencies allow for the Museum to gloss over Biblical contradictions within Genesis, ignores the Documentary hypothesis which posits that there are multiple contradictory literary sources of Genesis, and show the hypocrisy of the Museum by claiming literalness but not actually presenting it.[13]

Though not explicitly stated,[33] the Creation Museum is based on a simplified version of a rather narrow division of Christianity, or even of fundamentalism, that of dispensational pre-millennialism. This can be inferred from the exhibit titled "7 C's in God's Eternal Plan" (Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation), which is particular to dispensational pre-millennialism.[13]

Evolution, slavery and the Holocaust[edit]

The Museum attempt to paint a Biblical harmony among races, while implying that Darwin's theory of evolution supported slavery and led to the Holocaust. Towards the end of Bible Walkthrough Experience section is a large signboard that state, "According to God's Word… We're All One Race — 'One Blood.'", and quoting the beginning of Acts 17:26 "God has made of one blood all nations."[13]:179 The Museum's argument on Darwin influencing Hitler is basically a guilt-by-association fallacy (Darwin-eugenics-Hitler) combined with taking a Stephen Jay Gould quote out of context.[13]:179-184 The argument that evolutionary theory supported racism is also supported in the Museum by misquoting Gould, but nowhere is the Bible quoted regarding slavery. This is because if anything, the Bible supports slavery and even racial segregation.[13]:184-191 The Museum has rewritten the history of Acts 17:26 by quote-mining the Bible and ignoring the fact that the full text of Acts 17:26 was in fact used by white Biblical literalists to justify racial segregation in both the United States[34][35]:83 and South Africa:[36]

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Less literal than thou[edit]

The Creation Museum shows a heliocentric solar system and a spherical Earth though the Bible suggests geocentrism and a flat Earth. Ken Ham is pretty inconsistent, considering the man insists theoretically on Biblical literalism, but practically accepts a select few scientific accounts of the nature of Earth, the solar system and the Universe — despite these findings conflicting with the nonsensical word of the Bible.[37] Ham must have realized that to accept the ancient cosmology of the Bible would make him a laughingstock, but the consequence of accepting what amounts to biblical semi-literalism is the necessity of cherry picking from the Bible for the Museum, particularly by not quoting the complete Genesis 1-11, specifically the troublesome passages of Genesis 1:6-7, Genesis 7:11, and Genesis 1:16-17.[13]

Being more literal than the next preacher to win debates is a time-honored tradition,[13] but for all the failures of the Museum to keep to biblical literalism, it even fails when confronted by other biblical literalists. The Museum does not support geocentrism, and as geocentrist Gerardus Bouw points out in response to Danny Faulkner of Answers in Genesis, geocentrism is a more literal interpretation of the Bible.[38][39][13] For those keeping score, geocentrist parts of the Bible are: Joshua 10:12-13, 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 19:6, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Psalm 104:5, and Ecclesiastes 1:5.

Spiritual antecendents[edit]

Given that the Museum is not faithful to the Bible despite being founded on Biblical literalism, it should not be surprising that the Museum is also not faithful to its spiritual antecedents in the Biblical Authority room:

  • Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, is portrayed, not posting to his famous 95 Theses, but rather posting a quote from "a character named Fritz in a nineteenth-century historical novel by Elizabeth Rundle Charles"; at least the novel is about Luther.[13]:139[40]
  • The Scofield Reference Bible, the most important document in dispensationalism and biblical inerrancy, is not accurately represented.[13]:137-138 In the display of Scofield's Bible showing Genesis 1:1-2, the explanatory notes have been partly-excised and replaced.[13]:140-141

Science, as it appears[edit]

The Creation Museum presents a superficially fair presentation of YEC vs. evolution, presenting them side-by-side in many parts of the museum. The Museum, like Ham's debate with Bill Nye, uses a false dichotomy of "observational" (or "operational") versus "historical" science.[13]:67-71 AIG defines it as "Operational science uses observable, repeatable experiments to try to discover truth."[41]

This dichotomy does not exist in actual science, but even ignoring this fallacy, the Museum's "observational" science is problematic. Unlike actual natural history museums, the Creation Museum consists almost entirely of synthetic objects.[42][13] So, the beginning of the analysis, the evidence, is mostly not real.

The analysis that is presented consists of large amounts of scientific facts, many not germane to an argument for or against YEC (e.g. the sizes of celestial bodies). At least one presented fact, that the M4 globular cluster is "40 million billion" miles away,[13]:73 would cause a curious person some doubt about the validity of YEC. Conveniently for the Museum, they presented the distance in miles rather than the standard astronomical unit of light years, which is would be 7200. This means to a scientist, that the light traveling from M4 has taken 1200 years longer to reach the Earth than YEC's proposed length of existence of the Universe of 6000 years. This is known as the starlight problem, which YEC proponents have tried various unscientific tricks to explain away. Ken Ham claims to "love science"[13] but does not want to bother your little head with this problem.

Despite claiming that "observational" science is verifiable but historical science is not, the Museum relies heavily on historical models in the Flood Geology room to get its point across on the flood geology aspect of YEC (15 of 38 placards in the room).[13] Displays in the room reference events in the past that occurred in prehistoric times (e.g., floods and volcanic eruptions), which by Ham's own definition of observational science would not meet his criteria.[13]

Another logical fallacy is evident in the Flood Geology room. The fallacy comes from the Museum's reliance on presuppositionalism,[13] a reliance is also evident in Ham's rewriting of the scientific method to fit his needs.[13]

We can take what the Bible says about history and see if the evidence of the present does fit. If we take the book of Genesis, which is a detailed account of our origins, we can see what it says concerning how the world was created and what subsequently happened. We can decide what we would expect to find if the Bible is true (this is our worldview, or model, built on the creation account). Then we can look at the world to see if what we observe confirms the account of God's Word (and it does over and over again).
—Ken Ham[43]

Presuppositionalism has lead to the bastardization of the scientific method, and in turn has lead to conscious confirmation bias in the Flood Geology room. For example, Flood Geology room makes assumptions about post-Flood sediment deposition and crustal folding just because it is YEC, not because of evidence or "observational" science.[13]

The Museum's arguments for YEC also rely on informal fallacies: the argument from beauty, the argument from design, and the appeal to ancient wisdom (i.e., the Bible says so). These are particularly evident in the The Stargazer's Planetarium and The Wonders of Creation Room.[13] So, even by the standards of "observational" science, the Creation Museum does not make anything close to a convincing case for YEC.

A basic problem with the Museum in rejecting "historical" science is that it is unable to unequivocally make claims about the past in support of YEC, therefore forcing a false dilemma: even if the Earth is not ~4 billion years old that does not mean that the only other choice is YEC. Even just within the realm of creationism there are many competing views.

Creation Museum conspecifics[edit]

The "museum".
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[44]

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[45] (formerly called the Museum of Creation[46] and Earth History]), endemic to California, and created by the Institute for Creation Research.

The Mount St Helens Creation Center (previously the 7 Wonders Creation Museum)[47] occupies a completely different ecological niche. Located as a missionary somewhere near Mt. St. Helens this spacious double-wide trailer[48] 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.[49] 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[50] 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?

Attendance[edit]

One of the Craetion 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.[51] In the same amount of time, Disneyland had almost 21 million (21,000,000) visitors, although this is in almost no way relevant.[52] One month away from its third anniversary, the Creation Museum had its 1,000,000th guest.[53] In response, President and Co-Founder 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."[53]

A never ending steadily reducing stream of True Believers have been attending the theme park. Attendance fell steadily over its first four years of operation and dropped by 10% in 2012.[54][55] As of 2013 the Creation Museum was in financial trouble.[56] Still there are plans to tempt visitors back by building extensions with even more silly junk religiously inspired "education material."[57] Many attendees are public school kids on school trips.

school groups get an “educational group rate” and only pay $12.95 per adult ticket (chaperones and students older than 13 years old) as long as the group includes 15 people. Also, “once the requirement of 15 tickets purchased has been reached, we will provide one complimentary chaperone general admission (...) No matter how steep the discount, public schools can’t afford to miseducate our kids with religious pseudoscience like creationism.
Slate writer researching the Creation Museum[58]

The Freedom From Religion Foundation warned school districts that school trips to the Creation Musuem or to Ark Encounter are illegal due to Separation of church and state but it is feared not all will heed the warning.[59]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

External links/blogsnark[edit]

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

Notes[edit]

  1. Currently of Arizona State University.
  2. Dinosaurs are reptiles, but are not lizards.

References[edit]

  1. Atheists at the Creation Museum by TheThinkingAtheist (Jun 22, 2013) YouTube.
  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, March 2014 American Alliance of Museums (archived from August 1, 2016). See "American Alliance of Museums: Accreditation" for current status.
  7. Atheists at the Creation Museum by TheThinkingAtheist (Jun 22, 2013) YouTube.
  8. Bumper sticker quoted by amunptah777 on 9/24/2007 8:52:22 PM at Belief.net
  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. The “Science” in the Creation Museum
  12. Smug and delusional
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 13.15 13.16 13.17 13.18 13.19 13.20 13.21 13.22 13.23 Righting America at the Creation Museum by Susan L. Trollinger & William Vance Trollinger Jr. (2016) Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 1421419513.
  14. A Noah's Ark in Kentucky, Dinosaurs Included
  15. NYtimes:Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs
  16. University of California
  17. Fish feet:T-Rex are coconuts
  18. Science blogs:Pharyngula
  19. Abnormal Interests
  20. The truth about behemoth
  21. Accuracy in genesis
  22. The Franz Neumann Project
  23. Creation Museum Fossil Claimed as Proof of Noah’s Flood
  24. Something Big is Almost Here
  25. 'We don't have to be afraid of the real evidence' – Creation Museum
  26. 26.0 26.1 National Center for Science Education - Anti-Museum overview
  27. Gregory S. Paul, Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds
  28. Forgotten Fauna: Spinosaurs, Ark Encounter (Dec 12, 2014)
  29. Forming the Second T. rex, YouTube (Jul 31, 2015)
  30. Does the Gospel Depend on a Young Earth? by Ken Ham (November 10, 2013) Answers Magazine.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Creating A Christian Nation? Academic Duo Examines Ken Ham’s Creation Museum In New Book by Liz Hayes (April 2017) Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
  32. Creation Museum Tickets
  33. Why Don’t Christians Follow All the Old Testament Laws? by Bodie Hodge (May 6, 2013) Answers in Genesis.
  34. People of God: Segregation September 21, 2012 Central Seminary.
  35. Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975 by Carolyn Renée Dupont (2013) New York University Press. ISBN 1479823511.
  36. The theology of apartheid by Ned Temko (June 12, 1986) The Christian Science Monitor.
  37. The "Science" in the Creation Museum
  38. Geocentrism and Creation by Danny R. Faulkner (August 1, 2001) Answers in Genesis.
  39. Geocentricity: The Biblical Cosmology by Gerardus Bouw (1992) Association for Biblical Astronomy.
  40. Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family, By Two of Themselves by Elizabeth Rundle Charles (1868) Dodd, Mead.
  41. What Is Science? Answers In Genesis
  42. Genesis In Hyperreality: Legitimizing Disingenuous Controversy At The Creation Museum by Case Ryan Kelly & Kristen E. Hoerl (2012) Argumentation and Advocacy 48:123-141.
  43. The Lie: Evolution (2012) Master Books, revised edition. ISBN 0890516863.
  44. Paleontology and Creationism Meet but Don’t Mesh by Kenneth Chang (June 29, 2009) The New York Times.
  45. Creation & Earth History Museum
  46. Creation and Earth History Museum Creation Wiki.
  47. Mount St Helens Creation Center
  48. About 7 Wonders Northwest Creation Network.
  49. Dinosaur Adventure Land (archived from January 24, 2007)
  50. Big Valley Creation Science Museum
  51. 500,000th Visitor at the Creation Museum (August 1st, 2008) Answers in Genesis (archived from August 16, 2008).
  52. Disney Themepark Attendance – The Numbers Game by John Frost (03/14/2008) The Disney Blog.
  53. 53.0 53.1 "Millionth Guest Visits Creation Museum"
  54. Stern, Mark Joseph. "Darwin, dinosaurs and the devil." watoday.co.au, February 13, 2013.
  55. Creation Museum Attendance Drops for Fourth Straight Year
  56. Kentucky’s ‘Creation Museum’ in Financial Trouble Due to Declining Attendance (VIDEO)
  57. After Three Years Creation Museum Is Evolving (But Not In That Way)
  58. A Day With Ken Ham
  59. Atheist Group Warns 1,000+ Public School Districts: Don’t Plan Field Trips to Ark Encounter
  60. Controversial T. Rex Soft Tissue Find Finally Explained by Stephanie Pappas (November 26, 2013 07:01pm ET) Live Science.