Monday, March 26, 2007

Report on the Creationist Museum

Truthdig has a report on the construction of the Creationism museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. This museum, the brainchild of Ken Ham, the Australian creationist, is described thus:

It has the appearance of a real science museum, complete with a planetarium, a gift shop and plaques on the wall with quotes from creationist “scientists” who have the title doctor conspicuously before their names. It has charts, timelines and graphs with facts and figures. It is meant to be interactive, to create, like Universal Studios, a contrived reality with an array of costly animatronic men and women as well as moving dinosaurs.

The writer reports the following:

Only 13 percent of Americans in a 2004 Gallup poll, when asked for their views on human origins, said life arose from the strictly natural process of evolution. More than 38 percent said they believed God guided evolution, and 45 percent said the Genesis account of creation was a true story.2 Courses on intelligent design have been taught at Minnesota, Georgia, New Mexico and Iowa State universities, along with Wake Forest and Carnegie Mellon, not to mention Christian universities that teach all science through the prism of the Bible.

Aside from the inaccurate conflation of recent earth creationism and Intelligent Design, it is not clear that if either of the first two 83% were correct, that we could tell the difference. It seems more interesting to me that 45% of those polled thought that the Genesis account was a true story. One wonders what those polled thought that "true story" meant. I think it is a true story also, just not a literal one. Truth comes in all shapes and sizes and is both literal and figurative. The Primeval History teaches spiritual and religious truth. To paraphrase Conrad Hyers, we don't need to ask any more of it. This doesn't mean that Ken Ham isn't misguided.

Having said that, the tone of the article is condescending, calling YECs "Christo-fascists" Hence the following paragraph:

They pump out articles in self-published journals to provide “evidence” that homosexuals can be cured, that global warming is a myth, that abortion can cause breast cancer, that something they call “post-abortion syndrome” leads to deep depression and suicide and that abstinence-only education is an effective form of birth control.

This has nothing to do with the evolution/creation debate and is insulting to a wide range of people who, like me, are social conservatives, but take evolution seriously. I would encourage reading the comments, as well. They range from supportive to very caustic.

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