Jump to content

A Museum Like No Other


Jun
 Share

Recommended Posts

A museum like no other

Here at Ars Technica we've written about the US creationist movement and its attack on science quite regularly. From attempts to alter the way science is taught in different states across the US to statements from potential presidents, there's no denying that creationists garner a lot of column inches. So when I found out that they were building their answer to a science museum about an hour's drive away, I knew that I'd have to go and take a look.

 

Editor's note: Inevitably, a story on a sensitive topic such as this invites speculation as to our motives. Let it be known that Ars Technica's staff represents a wide range of religious backgrounds, political views, and opinions, (though we must admit that none of us are young-earth creationists).

 

526893118_74806276c4.jpg

The entrance to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY Last weekend was the first weekend the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, (near Cincinnati) has been open to the public, and I, your intrepid reporter, braved the crowds to see what the fuss was about. Built at a cost of $27 million, it's an imposing building—not a particularly attractive one, though—with 60,000 square feet of space inside. With a budget as large as theirs, I'd have sent some of that money to Frank Gehry or Richard Meier, but then I'd not be building a creationist museum in the first place. That 60,000 square feet also managed to swallow the attendees quite easily; the parking lot may have been full, but there was never a scrum.

 

First off, I must confess that I found the place very slick. They evidently got a good graphic design team to put together the displays, and the animatronics and vignettes were well done. The museum boasts that it had an ex-Universal Studios executive work on the presentation, and it's on a par with the better modern museums I've been to.

 

startingpoints2-1.jpg The message, on the other hand, I can't agree with. Designed for a fundamentalist Christian crowd, the Creation Museum is no friend to those who do not hold to its creationist tenets. Presumably to avoid labels of anti-Semitism, the museum takes it easy on Judaism. So far, no surprises. But then we get to its handling of the science and truly step through the looking glass.

 

To begin with, the museum presents real science alongside its version; an aviary containing finches is the first thing to greet you as you began your tour. The finches were a profound influence on Darwin and his theory of natural selection and are still studied by evolutionary biologists today. Another display contained poison frogs. This was of particular interest to me, since they claim the reason poison frogs aren't poisonous in captivity is due to the Almighty. I'm fairly sure it's due to the lack of poisonous mites in their diet, but there you go.

 

There were posters explaining just how coal could be formed in a few weeks as opposed to over millions of years and how rapidly the Biblical flood would cover the earth, drowning all but a handful of living creatures. The flood plays a big part in the museum's attempt to explain away what we see as millions of years of natural processes. There was also an explanation as to why, with only one progenitor family, it wasn't considered incest for Adam and Eve's children to marry each other. Apparently there was less sin back then, and therefore fewer mutations in their DNA. Evidently sin, not two copies of the same recessive trait, gives rise to congenital birth defects.

 

horses.jpg As you walk through the museum, the contorted reasoning to explain the formation of the Grand Canyon in hours or the rapid creation of thousands of breeds of dogs in a matter of weeks is augmented by what can only be described as a house of horrors about the dangers of abortion and drugs and the devil's music. A wall is covered in articles from newspapers and magazines showing what happens when society lives without the museum's brand of fundamentalist Christianity as its guiding light. Stem cell research, abortion, and homosexuality are center stage. Their representation of the modern world consists of a a seedy-looking alley, replete with rats, trash, and a church being demolished. It might have worked better if they'd set it to Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones, but I'm not sure Mick and boys would have gone for that.

 

526991145_a29508b0af.jpg

"No Heaven. No Hell. Just Science.

Inside the crusade against religion."

Surprisingly, I didn't get much of a Flintstones vibe. I was expecting many more displays with Adam and Eve and T. Rex, whom we learn was a vegetarian in the days of yore, but with a couple of exceptions, dinosaurs and humans were separated by at least a few feet. There also didn't seem to be that many dinosaurs in general. They may have been outdoors in the park, but it was raining by this point and there was only so much more I could take. There was, however, a saddled dinosaur at the exit for small children to ride. Other exhibits included a take on Noah's Ark, including how all the animals got peacefully onto the boat two by two. Noah gathered them together, it seems, but the Lord made them walk the gangplank.

 

eve.jpg

Notice how the vegetarian velociraptors ignore Eve It was certainly an eye-opening way to spend an afternoon, but not one I could recommend to anyone in good conscience, if for no other reason than I can think of many better ways to spend $20. If anyone wants to see more, I've put a virtual tour up on Flickr.

 

 

526893292_e95eb57c10.jpg

What every little kid wants—a triceratops with a saddle. Meanwhile, the founder of the museum, Australian Ken Ham, is being investigated by a former Chief Magistrate in his home country for deceptive conduct and other wrongdoings in relation to the Australian church organization he was once affiliated with. This is hot on the heels of the incarceration of that other leading light of the creationist movement, Kent Hovind, who was recently sentenced to a decade in prison for tax evasion.

 

 

http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/ar...tion-museum.ars

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What an embarrassment. And to think that some of the people responsible for this "museum" must be proud of what they have done. I wonder if they can even fathom that I am embarrassed for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What an embarrassment. And to think that some of the people responsible for this "museum" must be proud of what they have done. I wonder if they can even fathom that I am embarrassed for them.

 

They've managed to embarass themselves in front of pretty much anyone who is not a fundy.

 

:ugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's pics of Noah's ark! I didn't know the plans were still extant?

post-2047-1181406062_thumb.jpg

post-2047-1181406083_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's just one thing missing in the display of the ark... the drowning mothers with their children, and all animals, especially kittens and cute bunnies. We know all of them drowned. Oh, where are the Nephilim giants? I want a display to see how tall and big they were, and if they had angel wings or not. And the unicorns and leviathans. And want to see how they look like too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's just one thing missing in the display of the ark... the drowning mothers with their children, and all animals, especially kittens and cute bunnies. We know all of them drowned.

Now Hans, you of all people should know that Cute Bunnies don't die. Cute Bunnies are forever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dhampir, you were doing some art thingy, right? So maybe you have some ideas to use there. :)

 

Legion, Oh, didn't think of that. ... I thought that was diamonds...

 

I know, there are the natural bunnies, and then we have the supernatural, angel like, cute bunnies, also called Bhunilims, with ears as wings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would go see it if I lived around there. I hear it was designed by the creator of the king kong and jaws exhibits at universal studios so it should be interesting, besides...where else do you get to see people walking with dinosaurs.

 

I feel bad for the normal Christians. <_<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest BradtheImpaler
Here's pics of Noah's ark! I didn't know the plans were still extant?

 

Amazing! Which level of the ark, according to that cut-a-way model, held all the shit?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.