Fightin’ Fundies, Part 3: The Creation Museum

Fightin’ Fundies, Part 3: The Creation Museum

Sorry, I know this post arrived late in the day, but it’s still May 28…

Our last action-packed episode ended with mention of a major event today (May 28, 2007) that, in my humble opinion, will not help promote nuanced discourse about the origins of life. That event would be the grand opening of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Sporting a $27 million budget, this multi-media walk-through extravaganza, designed by a former exhibit director at Universal Studies Florida (as in “King Kong” and “Jurassic Park” rides), will function as a showcase (I use the word advisedly) for the organization Answers in Genesis and will also serve as the group’s administrative and ministry headquarters. Both Answers in Genesis and The Creation Museum are dedicated to advancing an unapologetic and uncompromising “young earth” interpretation of the contents of the Bible overall and Genesis in particular. Specifically, they insist that the earth and apparently the entire universe were created about 6,000 years ago, over the course of six literal 24-hour days – and much more.

The Creation Museum website speaks for itself, but I would direct your attention to a couple of representative entries. A description for the Bible Authority Room on the virtual walk-through tour announces, “The Bible is true. No doubt about it! Paul explains God’s authoritative Word, and everyone who rejects His history — including six-day creation and Noah’s Flood — is ‘willfully’ ignorant.” The descriptive text for the Creation area declares, “…the Bible’s clear—heaven and earth in six 24-hour days, earth before sun, birds before lizards. Adam and apes share the same birthday. The first man walked with dinosaurs and named them all! God’s Word is true, or evolution is true. No millions of years. There’s no room for compromise.”

Now I have no doubt as to the sincerity and commitment of those involved in this project, but I still cannot rejoice in the debut of this particular enterprise. For one thing, it would appear to be one of the biggest, most irresistible targets for media ridicule of Christians in many months. Watch for unflattering attention on SNL or MAD TV or the Daily Show, for starters. (I’m surprised no one picked it up for Phreaky Friday this week, but I suspect the 3-day weekend was a distraction.) No doubt the staff of Answers in Genesis is prepared for this, and will probably consider comedic persecution to be part of the cost of taking their particular stand.

But more bothersome is the fact that those who won’t give an inch in their opposition to the idea that life might have a designer will have another glorious opportunity to lump everyone who questions naturalistic evolution into the six-day, young earth camp. This of course is not at all the case, but it’s certainly a convenient rhetorical device, somewhat like tarring all followers of Islam as terrorists or pro-lifers as clinic bombers. For example, a May 24 LA Times editorial dealing with the Creation Museum (mischievously titled “Yabba-Dabba Science”), notes with some alarm 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.” In fact, the question “Do you believe in evolution?” was asked of John McCain at the 10-candidate Republican debate on May 3. He said, “Yes” and then a moment later noted that he “sees the hand of God” in a sunset or at the Grand Canyon. The moderator then asked for a show of hands of anyone on the platform who doesn’t believe in evolution. Three hands went up, prompting considerable ridicule in the press during the ensuing weeks. I don’t know if the three dissenting candidates are young-earth Creationists or people who (like me) are comfortable with a 4.5 billion year old earth and a 15 billion year old universe, but question the “we are the product of random, meaningless biochemical reactions” party line. There’s a big difference, but I doubt that we’ll hear much about it in the media.

I have one other concern about the thinking represented in the Creation Museum, and, believe it or not, it is actually well-stated in the aforementioned LA Times piece.

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.

Okay, the last sentence is a little stretchy, but the point is worth pondering. In my own field I have repeatedly seen a disturbing tendency among some evangelicals to distrust scientific inquiry, and in particular to blow off a well-established body of knowledge about how the human body works in order to embrace eccentric or even bizarre therapies. I suppose I could be accused of doing the same with respect to evolutionary biology, but I see a major difference between understanding how cells work (and, for example, that they’re not influenced by “invisible energies” supposedly manipulated by someone waving their hands over the body) and claiming to understand how all of these intricate mechanisms assembled themselves randomly out of primordial soup.

I have to confess that I haven’t probed in depth to see how people who believe the planet must be 6,000 years old explain all of the evidence that suggests otherwise, but in this regard I find them in a similar position as the evolutionary fundamentalists, with a hard-core bottom line and a lot of ‘splainin’ to do about information that doesn’t readily conform to their doctrine. Put another way, I’m equally impatient with Christians who insist that a six 24-hour-day creation is the only way to understand Genesis 1 and with evolutionists who insist that they know that life has no designer.

To both I would say, “Really??…”

20 thoughts on “Fightin’ Fundies, Part 3: The Creation Museum

  1. Simone

    You Americans have it all! First the “Holy Land Experience”, now a creation museum. Why do I live in Australia?

  2. michael lee

    It can only be the result of some personal failing on your part.

    My wife and I visited Oz a few years ago, and would love to go back some day. The country is beautiful, and the people were warm and gracious. The wine and seafood weren’t bad either!

  3. Herman Cummings

    Moses Didn’t Write About Creation!!

    Previously, an article was written about “The Pending Marriage of Science and Genesis”. That, and the article even previous to that (The Divorce of Science From Humanism) were forerunners to this culmination. After more than fifteen years of rejections by other publishers, the revelation of the truth of Genesis will now be available for all to examine.

    The book promotes “Biblical Reality”, which states that Genesis, written by Moses, was never about Creation (Week). Moses had written down (perhaps by one or more designated scribes) what God had revealed to him while he was with God on Mt. Sinai in 1598 BC. Creationism and theology have mistakenly believed that Moses was writing about how our Earth & universe were created, but not so. God revealed to Moses seven defined geological ages of the historical past to Moses. Even Moses didn’t understand what he saw, but he just had it written down for later generations to learn and perhaps someday understand. That final understanding would not occur until December 1993, being about 3,604 years later. How timeless is the Word of God?

    Unfortunately, creationism and theology have not done their homework, and continue to teach false doctrines, namely “young Earth” beliefs (Creation Science), theistic evolution (“Reasons to Believe”), long creation days (“Day-Age” theories), and Ruin & Restoration (“Gap” theories) doctrines. Every single one of them are in error, including “progressive creationism”, and are a misrepresentation of the Genesis text. The “Bible believing community” can either jump on board with the truth of Genesis, or stand on the sidelines, and continue promoting their own proven false teachings.

    However, there is another “front” that this book is doing battle against, which is the insanity of secular science concerning our origins and prehistoric history of our Earth and universe. Our creation occurred 4.57 billion years ago (according to the science of geology), completing in six days (Exodus 20:11), with God “resting” on the seventh day of a 168 hour week. But God did not reveal that week to Moses. God revealed only one day from Creation Week, and one day each from the first week of the six following geological ages of mankind. The seven days which were revealed to Moses (aka “the Observations of Moses”) were not revealed in chronological order, but in what’s called “Biblical Order”, which any theologian or “bible scholar” worth their salt should be able to ascertain. Here is where the current ignorance of mainstream theology will be made known for all to see.

    To preview what the book (“Moses Didn’t Write About Creation!!”) shall convey, go here. There, it will keep you abreast of when the book will be available, and how to obtain a copy. In the book, the true “Origin of Satan” is revealed. Also, comprehensive coverage of the “Extra-Celestial Civil War” (aka “the war in Heaven”) is given, what brought it about, when it ended, and why Satan was allowed to do his evil deeds in this universe.

    It is a given that secular science shall at first criticize the work, calling it “a new attempt to harmonize science with religious literature”. Afterwards, they may try to call it “a convenient coincidence”. But what will the worlds of current creationism and theology do? Close ranks, “get on board” and accept the truth, or remain defiant and criticize from the sidelines, as the Sanhedrin did in 27 AD?

    Herman Cummings

  4. Morphea

    It seems, as with many other things, that the answer may lie somewhere in the middle between crazies and crazies. This is the perfect cap to your brilliant trilogy, Paul. Another shining example about how the religious (and otherwise) moderates either need to get a louder voice (though that may be a paradoxical concept, who knows) or the people on either fringe of the spectrum could maybe shaddap for a bit. This means you, Herman.


  5. Chad

    I’m militant about my moderation. It’s moderation or nothing.

    Ya know… I kind of think Herman’s interesting, and, to his credit, has thus far managed to not post any pictures featuring exposed, hairless testicles.

    So… that’s something.

  6. Karen

    This has been a fantastic series Paul. I have enjoyed reading it very much.

    Why are all ya’ll picking on Herman he only says in his bio “I am the only person I know or ever heard of presently on
    this Earth that is qualified to teach Biblical Creation.”

  7. Morphea

    Yeah, but am I the last person on the Tubes who still expects new blog posters to do some sort of “Hi. Hey – new to this blog. Hi, everybody. Here’s my opinion:…” You know? Instead of swooping in, running their mouth off (glares at RT), and swooping out again. Thass all I’m saying.

  8. Chad

    You know what, Morphie…

    You make an excellent point, and put that together with the fact that I missed the line Karen quoted, which sort of leads me to say something more like this…

    Hey Herman & RT, welcome to The Road House. Beer’s in the fridge, steaks go on the grille. Don’t say anything else until you meet the folks.

  9. Nick

    Amen Morphea for the 11:31 comment. What is interesting to me is that some people leave hit-and-run comments. Have we seen further comments from either of these people?

    BTW, is Herman a spammer? His post seems like a cut and paste speech. He probably left that same rant on 100 other blogs advertising his book.

    And way to keep it real Chad. Any chance I can man the grill?

  10. Chad

    I confess that I am guilty of, “Hey! I’m Chad, and here’s my friggen opinion!” style comments on other blogs, but I am always drawn back to see if there’s been any reaction.

    We’ve never had a hit and runner come back for more, not even TBN American Idol Girl.

    Nick, you may man the grill, but you need to know that Roadies like to keep it interesting. Monday afternoon, we had steak, ahi tuna, bratwurst, cucumbers, and all other sorts of concoctions going at once.

    Ok, so… just for recap: Morphea’s the bouncer, Nick’s on the grill, and Zack is still in charge of making sure that no one falls asleep.

  11. Karen

    Sorry, the quote was from his self promoting website. I think I am with Nick on the comment being a cut and paste speech.

  12. michael lee

    [quote comment="89727"]BTW, is Herman a spammer? His post seems like a cut and paste speech. He probably left that same rant on 100 other blogs advertising his book.[/quote]

    Yeah, he’s right on the line. His comment went to moderation for me to preview before approving it. I figured it was close enough to the topic at hand to let it through.

    Also, I figured it would lead to some amusing comments from the peanut gallery, which in my opinions is reason enough to approve the comment.

    Rock on, crazy old man Herman!

  13. Morphea

    For the record, Karen, I thought you were being brilliantly ironic.

    I don’t think I should be the bouncer, on second thought, unless being the bouncer around here consists solely of glaring and complaining about the hit-and-runners’ manners. I can’t actually bounce anyone, you know. That is Michael’s province, big nasty Daddy-Badass that he is.

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