Friday, June 14, 2013

Strange Things Afoot in Kentucky: The Creation Museum and Disappearing Comments

A few days ago I ran a story on the new zip lines at the Creation Museum that was somewhat disparaging.  Apparently, I missed one of the comments, made by an assistant manager of the Cincinnati Museum Center, which went like this:
This is not a museum, and this is further proof of that. Please stop referring to it as such. They are not an accredited museum by any association of museums. It is a theme park that misleads the public and it is a pockmark on our region. The fact that someone profits by misrepresenting their faith as science to children and families is shameful. When we wonder why America is falling behind in science education, it is because places like this are allowed to exist. I’m glad to see that their attendance is declining despite generous handouts from the state of Kentucky at the expense of their university funding.
Ken Ham responded to this comment directly on the Answers in Genesis site. He wrote, in part:
It’s interesting that an assistant manager at the Cincinnati Museum Center took the time to attack the Creation Museum. Now, we realize he’s not one of the top people at the museum center and has nothing to do with content, but Percy’s comments reflect on the entire museum center. While we at Answers in Genesis do not agree with the teaching of evolution and millions of years at the Cincinnati Museum Center (e.g., in the Museum of Natural History and Science), nevertheless we don’t discourage people from visiting there and we don’t publicly attack them in such a manner as Percy has done to the Creation Museum.
Aside from the contradiction present in the second sentence, Ham's statements ring hollow.  He has publicly attacked other organizations and individuals that promote an OEC model, and has been blackballed by Christian organizations because of it.  Ham also writes:
Perhaps Percy needs to look up the definition of museum. The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary states that a museum is “an institution devoted to the procurement, care, study, and display of objects of lasting interest or value; also: a place where objects are exhibited.”
Well, PZ Myers hopped all over this one:
So, is Disneyland a museum? A jewelry store? A church? Because you could claim that all of those fit his dictionary definition. A dictionary is a rough guide to common usage, not a definitive explanation of meaning.

Then Ham obliviously makes it worse. He cites other summaries of what constitutes a museum, in particular the American Alliance of Museums Accreditation, and notes that the Cincinnati Museum Center is accredited.

The Creation “Museum” is not. It’s not ever going to be accredited by any legitimate agency. Percy was exactly right: it’s a theme park, equivalent to a Halloween haunted house on a bloated budget, and it is little more than a colossal joke.
No response from Ham on that one yet. deserves a black eye for their handling of this, though, because the original comment that created the ruckus to begin with is no longer on the article page. It has been removed. It is legitimate free speech and should have remained.

To wrap things up, a story appeared yesterday indicating that there was now peace between the two "museums":
“Leaders representing both museums spoke on Sunday. The Creation Museum was assured that the assistant manager in question at the Cincinnati Museum Center is a front-line staff person and is not in a CMC leadership role, and his opinions were his alone and not CMC’s.”
Okay, fine. But if you are going to go through the trouble to make this statement, why remove the comment?  I left the following one on the newer story:
It is ironic that this story exists because of a comment that was made in the original story about the zip lines at the Creation Museum and yet, if you go to the original story, the comment that created the ruckus has been removed. That's free speech for ya.
Update: it seems that all of the comments on the original story have been removed except two that are of no value to anyone.  Not a good day for the First Amendment


  1. I agree that it was lame of to remove the comment. However, I don't see how this is free speech issue or has anything to do with the first amendment. is a private organization and therefore under no legal obligation to host anyone's comments on their website.

  2. Perhaps you are right. In hindsight, I overreacted in that sense. I do however, stand by my contention that it is morally challenged of the newspaper to remove the comments, because I suspect (but do not know) that the only reason they did so was at the request of the Rev. Ham.