What in Creation?
If you took any high school science classes, you were introduced to the concept of the scientific method. It goes like this:
Beginning without preconceptions, you observe nature, ask questions, form hypotheses, test them, and attempt to construct a logical system that explains the world around us. It’s a good system, which has served scientists for hundreds of years as they have striven to unlock the secrets of our world.
There is another method, one used by certain fundamentalist Christians, but it can’t really be considered scientific. Read a book written 2-4000 years ago by a variety of people, none of whom had any scientific training. Apply an arcane and illogical interpretation to this book, then attempt to squeeze all modern human knowledge into that framework. It isn’t much of a system, but it’s what they use at the Creation Museum.
Situated in Petersburg, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati, the Creation Museum is a $27 million dollar monument to the triumph of faith over reason and science. It is run by a ministry known as Answers in Genesis, a fundamentalist group who contend that the Bible “proves” that the world is only 6000 years old, and that evolution is a myth.
Last week, after 6 desultory days of mediocre bridge, Toby (Gail’s 21 year old son) and I drove from Louisville to Petersburg to see for myself just how they would manage to shoehorn all of geologic history into 6 millenia. The answer is: professionally, if not convincingly.
The Creation Museum is very well done–a gorgeous modern building filled with excellent exhibits and displays. If you want to believe that man coexisted with the dinosaurs and Methuselah lived to be 900 years old, this is the place for you. Bring money, it isn’t cheap. Adult admission was $24.95, I got the seniors rate of $19.95. Planetarium show is extra, and don’t forget to stop in the gift store on your way out.
In attempting to prove the validity of their creationist theories, the sponsors of the museum have twisted and tortured logic until it cries. They use their hypothesis, that the earth is only 6000 years old, as proof that the earth is only 6000 years old. It hurts less if you say it faster.
Some things are stated that are simply, demonstrably, logically untrue. “Hundreds of Bible Prophecies have been fulfilled and none has failed”? It’s easy to define the question when you already know the answer. But this isn’t about convincing anyone–it is all preaching to the choir.
An important diorama shows two “scientists” carefully digging out a dinosaur skeleton. The kindly, bearded white guy explains that the remains are less than 6,000 years old, and the result of some fast process of death, covering with soil (perhaps from the great flood) and decay. His colleague explains that he believes that the skeleton is 15,000,000 years old, or more. It was not surprising to me that the “modern” scientist was short, dark and Asian–named Mr. Kim. Those who do not believe are invariably cast as the “other”.
Some of the gaping holes in this theology are simply ignored–supposedly, man co-existed with the dinosaurs, and even took them on the Ark during the great flood. What has happened to them in the ensuing 4 milennia is not explained or addressed in any way. There were dinosaurs, now there aren’t. You got a problem with that?
Another display features Methuselah, who talks about how his life overlapped Adam’s for 200 years (Adam living to be 500) and then seeing his grandson, Noah, build the Ark. I guess Methuselah got washed away in the flood. Noah lived to be 600 or so. There is no explanation of why men used to live so long and now we don’t. Maybe it’s that darned Obamacare.
Although we were there on a Thursday, the museum was busy. Many of the guests are families with small children.
The front door has a sign encouraging respect and courtesy from all visitors–they know that they attract plenty of scoffers. Toby and I were indeed quiet and polite, as people should be allowed to believe anything they want. I believe that someday I’ll learn how to play bridge, which I think is more likely than Noah sailing the Ark down the Colorado river as it cut the Grand Canyon. We enjoyed our trip, and if we were not quite convinced of the “young earth” theory of Biblical interpretation, at least we know understand the viewpoint. If you are near Cincinnati, you should give it a try.