[Originally posted on April 2, 2008 at AmericanFreethought.com.]
Yes, I blew $20 at the Creation Museum, brainchild of Answers in Genesis front-man Ken Ham. It’s located in northern Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. On the drive up along I-75 I didn’t see any billboards advertising it, but there was one of those brown attraction signs on I-275 just before the Museum’s exit. I’m not sure who pays for those signs, but I’m sure it’s either the Commonwealth of Kentucky or some branch of the federal government – maybe the Department of Transportation? At any rate, you could probably make a case that that sign is unconstitutional, since the courts have already ruled that Creationism is religion and not science. (Apologies for the quality of the photography.)
#1: So… here we are at the main gate. They’re big on stegosaurus-es-es at the Creation Museum. Note the remnants of Noah’s Flood at the bottom of the picture.
#2: Nice big parking lot. It’s a beautiful facility, I’ll give them that. Note the security guard who’s there to “direct traffic.”
I arrived shortly after they opened (10 a.m.) and waited in line for over 30 minutes. Lots of families there. Lots. Of families. The impressive-looking rock wall on the left is actually fiberglass or something.
#4: $21.15 poorer (season passes and family rates available!) I’m at the entrance.
#5: Here’s Ken Ham’s 7-pointed drumbeat, which gets played a lot in the museum. “Corruption” claims that once Adam and Eve sinned, not only did it ruin human morality, it corrupted nature itself. Apparently, ALL animals were vegetarians before Eve fed Adam that apple, but afterwards carnivorism came into the world. There’s no attempt, of course, to make a scientific link between human error and the order of nature. Just one example of the phoney baloney spoon-fed to museumgoers.
#6: Here, a velociraptor takes a crap on a cavechild. Okay, I’m not sure if that’s a velociraptor, but I’m damn sure that’s a cavechild.
#7: Ahhh, the Different Starting Points diorama. Here a short (five-minute or so) video plays over and over. The guy in the denim jacket is supposed to be an honest-to-goodness paleontologist who believes this fossil is 75 million years old (what a rube!), while baldie in the khaki jacket thinks the fossil is about 6,000 years old, ’cause, you know, it can’t be any older than that – the Bible sez. After all, it’s just a matter of opinion, and these are two opinions we get to choose from, and we want to be fair and balanced. Right? (For a more accurate depiction, there’d be 10,000 paleontologists talking about this dinosaur and one Creationist marching around outside holding a sign.)
#8: The Creation Museum repeats the mantra “Different views because of different starting points,” which is misleading at best and a lie at worst. Paleontologists don’t sit around and say, “I want this fossil to be 75 million years old and I’ve got to find a way to jigger the data to prove that’s the case.” But that’s absolutely what the creationists (I can’t bring myself to call them paleontologists) do – the Bible says the earth is six-grand-and-some-change and By Gum that’s the way it’s gotta be.
#9: Here it is again. One thing they do have right: it IS human reason vs. “God’s” word. We can look at the facts on the ground and reach logical conclusions, or we can swallow the claims of Bronze Age shepherds and launch ourselves into a world of pretzel-logic in which facts are the first casualty.
#10: More phoney baloney about human reason vs. God’s word.
#11: Kids, the universe began in 4004 BC. (That’s the year for Creation that James Ussher “calculated,” back around 1650. It’s a thoroughly discredited chronology, and I find it no small irony that Ussher once held the title “Primate of All Ireland.”)
#12: Here’s the first open appeal to emotion. The truth is what we WANT it to be, kids! If we want there to be a God, if we want the Bible to be true, that’s great. Never mind the facts. We’ll cherry-pick you some facts and put ‘em in a “museum.”
#13: Oh, I almost forgot. The conspiracy theory. The reason you never heard all this creationist stuff, kids, is because the conspiracy extends into the government schools.
#14: The Bible is the complete, inerrant Word of God??? Not hardly. As we’ve pointed out numerous times in the “Holey Scripture” segment of the American Freethought podcast, the Bible is a rat’s nest of contradictions, inadequacies, and errors. Not to mention the various problems in translating from one language to another.
#15: Whoops! Buried God along with Truth, Justice, and the American Way. My bad.
#16: Huddle close, kids, we’re going into the modern world, with its urbanization, fat graffiti, police lights and walkie talkies. (There were more black families at the museum than I would have expected – I wonder what they thought of this?)
#17: It’s a battlefield out there, folks! There are people who disagree with us, and for this they are to be feared.
#18: Newsflash: Man has always decided truth. Some seek it by looking at the facts and making rational conclusions. Others read a book that’s outdated by about 3,000 years and run with that. Whatever, indeed.
#19: This reminds me of Kent “Now in Jail” Hovind’s little mantra about how Time is the god of the evolutionists. Hovind claimed that scientists would wave away anything they didn’t understand by saying, “It just takes a long time for it to happen!” Well, there’s some truth to this little wrecking-ball-demolishes-a-church diorama – if people begin to accept the rational conclusions of science, they can no longer accept the antiquated claims of people like Ken Ham.
#20: Ah, but there’s hope! (Although the Creation Museum didn’t intend it that way.)
#21: Gather ’round, kids. Dinosaurs ate armored pineapples!
#22: Oh, sorry, they ate green herbs. All this time I thought it was armored pineapples.
#23: Here’s Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (That’s their pet velociraptor Sparky hiding in the bushes to the right.)
#24: As Adam strokes Eve’s hair (yet again), Satan lurks in a nearby tree.
#25: Satan was a big red snake with a dragon’s head.
#26: What species of snake is this? Is there a fossil record? Do we have any scientific evidence that this thing ever existed? Oh, never mind.
#27: This is supposed to represent the fear and distrust in the modern world caused by the rejection of God. It’s also symbolic of the Creationist mindset.
#28: Atheism causes starvation, ravening wolves, and mushroom clouds…
#29: …and piles of skulls and screaming Mexicans and tornadoes!
#30: I honestly can’t remember what this was supposed to be. But they were big on man-sized dinos at the Creation Museum.
#31: Methuselah lived to be nearly 1,000 years old, ’cause the Bible says so. What the Bible doesn’t say is he owed it all to fresh fruit and wholesome grains.
#32: Here’s a life-sized mock-up of PART of Noah’s Ark.
#33: And here’s a scale model.
#34: And yet another model. At this point I started thinking, “Do people really fall for this shit?”
#35: A scientific depiction of the Flood of Noah. Notice the clock in the corner. I’m not sure what the timeframe was supposed to be, but I guess this was meant to make it look all scientificky.
#36: Creationist humor.
#37: Remember, everything bad is our fault. Everything good is to God’s credit.
#38: Racism? Weren’t the most vociferous proponents of slavery Christians? Genocide? Didn’t God order the Israelites to slaughter whole cities, down to the last man, woman, and (presumably innocent) child? Abortion? Where is abortion in the Bible?
And so on. There was also the “Six Days of Creation Theater” which goes w-a-a-a-y back to the beginning of time, all the way back to 4004 BC (actually it was a dramatic reading from Genesis accompanied by pretty pictures).
Finally, to the gift shop. I thought about asking if they had a copy of
On the Origin of Species but decided it would be pointless. They’re also working on a creation garden just outside the Museum, a parklike space with walking trails and lots of dino statues.
It took me about an hour to an hour and a half to navigate the place. At no time did I hear anybody scoff at the material; at the same time, I didn’t hear any “amens” or any other indications of agreement from museumgoers. Honestly, I don’t think people quite knew what to expect. In the end, it was a bit disappointing. Superficial even for a museum based on religion. At any rate, I blew my hard-earned dollars so you don’t have to. I visited in order to understand exactly what they were up to, and now I know. I felt thoroughly disheartened by the time I made it back to the car.