Friday, February 14, 2014

Ars Technica: A visual tour of the Creation Museum

Cheers to Ars Technica for doing something I am not willing to do: pony up the entrance fee to the Creation Museum.  Their diligence in doing this has resulted in a visual tour of the museum that can be found here

In his comments, Eric Bangeman makes no secret of the fact that the exhibits have no support in modern science, whatsoever.  If nothing else, they reinforce the flatness of the biblical interpretation.  For example, there are several panels that have two columns which are headed "Man's Word" and "God's Word" as if biblical interpretation were monolithic in its understanding of these issues.  As one goes through the museum, one is treated to a view from 35,000 feet.  There are blanket statements that are only partly true or simply not true at all.  For example

  • One of the panels reads: "Archaeology has repeatedly confirmed that the Bible's historical details are accurate."  This is only partly true.  While the Bible has confirmed the existence and historicity of many of the Biblical accounts, absolutely none of Genesis 1-11 has been confirmed and there is boundless archaeological evidence showing human existence back millions of years.  This statement glosses over that.
  • Under a breathtaking picture of the Grand Canyon, there is a plaque that reads:
    Secular scientists say the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years by the normal slow geological processes we see today.  But the catastrophe at Mount St. Helens shows that similar features can form very quickly.
    This is a straw man view of modern geology.  While there is evidence for catastrophic events in the history of the earth, what is not said on this plaque is that there is also considerable evidence (more so) for slow deposition that could not have happened quickly—salt diapers, buried coral reefs, compressed aeolian deposits, folded or tilted rock formations—and which contradict the idea that a world-wide flood created the stratigraphic column.  The plaque also states that the local recent catastrophes are the key to understanding the entire geological column.  That is absolutely untrue and whoever wrote this knows nothing of modern geology.  
  • On the "What Do We Know About Dinosaurs" plaque, we find the following statement:
    Dinosaur fossils don't come with tags on them telling us how old they are, where they lived, what they ate, or how they died.  We have to figure that out from a few clues we find.  But because we can never have all the evidence, different scientists can reach very different conclusions, depending on their starting assumptions.
    There are no practicing palaeontologists dealing with dinosaur remains who think they were created six thousand years ago.  Scour the palaeontological journals.  You will not find a single article that provides that conclusion.  There simply is no evidence for it.  Who are these “different scientists?” The plaque doesn't say.
  • There is a "Did You Know?" plaque that reads:
    Over four thousand years ago, God sent a flood that covered the whole world—even the highest mountains at that time—for almost a year.  That is why we find billions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth.
    First, there is a good deal of geological material in the rock record that was NOT laid down by water.  This is not explained.  Second, a world-wide flood (especially that envisioned by Whitcomb and Morris) would scramble everything up and yet fossils are never found out of place.  Bill Nye made this point in the debate.  Trilobites are perfectly sorted by the number of compound eye segments.  Dinosaurs are three-quarters of the way up the column and sorted by species, when hydrodynamics would have them sinking to the bottom.  Pterosaurs mysteriously die at the same time the last dinosaurs did, despite the fact that they would have been able to fly to the top of the column.  There are no human structures of any kind to be found at the bottom of the column, which is where they should be.  Where is Cain's city?  The evidence would seem to suggest that all humans lived in open-air environments.
  • The plaque on Archaeopteryx is remarkably self-contradictory.  First, it reads:
    Besides typical bird features (feathers, light bone structure, wishbone, and reduced fingers), Archaeopteryx also had teeth, three claws on each wing, abdominal ribs, a long bony tail, and a flat sternum.  Archaeopteryx was about the size of a crow and appears to have been a good flyer.
    Then it reads:
    Archaeopteryx does not support the current false belief that dinosaurs evolved into birds.  Through much research, even most evolutionists now consider Archaeopteryx to be a true bird.  Archaeopteryx: a true, perching bird!
    Which is it?  Is it a true bird, or does it have teeth, three claws, abdominal ribs, a long bony tail and a flat sternum?  Those are dinosaurian characteristics that no self-respecting bird would have.  Furthermore, the part about evolutionists thinking that Archaeopteryx is a true bird is pure fabrication. A check of articles written in the last thirty years on Archaeopteryx reveals that workers in the field, despite being variable in their taxonomic interpretations of where it fits, are uniform in their understanding that this was, at best, a primitive bird and probably a derivative of theropod dinosaurs.  As Mdr remarked in Science Buzz
    For many years some Archaeopteryx specimens languished in collection drawers because they had been initially misidentified as another creature entirely. In 1970, Yale paleontologist John Ostrom was investigating a so-called pteradactyl fossil at a museum in the Netherlands, when he realized it had been misidentified and was actually an Archaeopteryx.  
These points only scratch the surface but if this tour of the Creation Museum is representative of all that is there (and I have no reason to believe otherwise, given what I know of Mr. Ham's message),  the museum is a testament to just how badly evidence can be misinterpreted and how bad creation science can be.  While I am sure that Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis are trying to adhere to what they believe to be a correct interpretation of God's word, there is a frightening level of obfuscation and misdirection in the exhibits.   Massive amounts of evidence that do not support the young earth position are ignored in favor of positions that cannot be independently supported.

That strikes me as deceitful, if not mendacious. As Christians, we cannot afford to be dishonest.  It is a bad witness to non-believers and denigrates the word of God.  Christians need to find a way to honestly deal with the geological and palaeontological evidence that does not involve sweeping it under the rug or twisting it to say something it does not.  Ken Ham's Creation Museum does both. 


    1. Anonymous3:12 PM

      If you do not believe God and take secular science's lies over God's word then I highly doubt you are a Christian.

      You are a promoter of false teaching which is spoken against often in the Bible.

    2. An Anonymous bigot speaks!

    3. "If you do not believe God and take secular science's lies over God's word then I highly doubt you are a Christian."

      The cultification of creation science continues apace.

    4. Anonymous9:02 PM

      Thanks for this. If ever I get a chance to visit the US again, visiting the Creation Museum will not be on my list of things to do.

      I have a copy of The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV) and I find it extremely interesting that in the notes for Genesis 7, it says, "Though many world traditions speak of floods, there is no geological evidence of a global flood of the sort described here."