Creation in Covington

May 22, 2007 | By | 23 Replies More

A friend from Kentucky recently sent me this local newspaper column about the soon-to-be-opened Creation Museum in Covington, Kentucky (just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio). This museum aims to counteract the secular lies about how old the Earth really is, and to show that only the Bible has a reasonable description of how we came to be.

The article is critical of the museum, as one might expect from the elitist liberal media. Science museums have been trying for decades to make science interesting through flashy displays and the ever-popular dinosaurs. This new museum is just doing the same thing. Its founder even claims that they use “real science” to bolster their claims.

I’ve been watching this story with interest for a few years. I visit Covington every March for a folk dance, so I plan to visit this edifice of alternative illumination next year. I’ve perused the founder’s web site AnswersInGenesis several times. One of their tricks is to use long-superseded scientific theories and methods in two distinct and convincing ways: First to show how wrong scientists are, and second to support their own conclusions through “real science”.

As to the reliability of scientists: Faith is based on the principle of authority. If an authority changes his tunes, he loses credibility. The unspoken assumption in these circles is that scientific theories are good because of the credentials of the authority, not because of the evidence and reproducibility of the tests. They show how evolutionists change their story, depending on what evidence is discovered. They even show scientists contradicting their own conclusions (generally from different ends of their careers). They are very fond of showing contradictory quotes from Darwin, often neglecting to distinguish between Erasmus and his grandson, Charles.

The second misuse is exemplified by the way they show how unreliable dating techniques are. They use known-bad procedures to show how dates can vary in a single sample (like whole-rock potassium analysis).
My favorite repudiation of carbon dating is where they demonstrate how an uncorrected carbon-14 date from a modern sample comes out to be thousands of years old. This happens because fossil-fuel carbon is depleted of carbon-14, so carbon-dating anything that grew since the mid-19th century needs to be corrected by the known percentage of fossil fuel carbon in the environment. This ties to global warming apologists, but I won’t wander that far from the mark.

Anyway, this museum is a threat to science because it uses the same techniques that have been used to popularize science to claim that anti-science is merely a different and equally valid view. Science is too often taught as a list of conclusions made by a list of authorities. As such, this museum is citing the noblest conclusions (Biblical verses) made by the best authority (God the Creator). I suspect that this museum will be a marvelous anchor for the whole Young Earth Creationism movement.

What needs to happen (and probably won’t) is to change the teaching of science from the easily tested list-of-conclusions format to teaching that science is a methodology, a filter for determining which explanations are correct. Until this happens, pseudo-science and faith-based alternatives will always find fertile ground, and ample funding.

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Category: Communication, Current Events, Education, Environment, Evolution, global warming, Religion, Science

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (23)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    I've previously written about the teachings of Ken Ham, the founder of this museum. He has certainly been exposed to enough science to know better. He has dedicated his life to trying not to understand the way science works. See here and here.

  2. Catana says:

    "Faith is based on the principle of authority. If an authority changes his tunes, he loses credibility. The unspoken assumption in these circles is that scientific theories are good because of the credentials of the authority, not because of the evidence and reproducibility of the tests."

    One of the great weaknesses in the fight of science and rationality against religious dogmatism and its inventions is the failure to understand how these people think. The principle of authority may be one of the more important insights.

  3. grumpypilgrim says:

    Catana's comment anticipates my own. I have in mind teenage creationists who say they wish to pursue Ph.D.s in science, so (they say) they will have the credentials that are needed to attack evolution…as if their credentials will carry more weight than their ludicrous ideas. The principle of authority nicely explains their bizarre thinking.

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    Creation Museum Opens to public outcry (Newspaper Article)

    If you read this article, be sure to follow the comments, too.

  5. Dan Klarmann says:

    Ohio group dedicated to teaching that Cowboys killed off the last dinosaurs!

    Here's the story

  6. Dan Klarmann says:

    Here's another good article about the AIG museum:

    http://leoweekly.com/?q=node/4874

  7. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's a blogger's tour of the new Creation Museum. Equal parts sad and funny. http://crazytalk.typepad.com/bluegrassroots/2007/

  8. Ben says:

    And once you have seen the museum, come to the tractor pull / intelligent design conference, really, I will see you there…

    http://www.dumbening.com/Sub_Directory/Lead_Stori

    "Yeah, when you ask an evolution scientist to explain how people evolved, they start talking numbers and equations. Intelligent Design explains things in ways that smart folks understand: God done it."

    "As the forum wound down, it was clear that major strides had been made to expand the public's knowledge of Intelligent Design. However, the real fun began as the crowds made their way to the dirt arena for the evening's entertainment, a tractor pull."

  9. Dan Klarmann says:

    What to drop on Kentucky, according to this Huffington Post by J. F. Garner, is an exhibit about Darwin, the man.

    This year is the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, which airlifted supplies to a starving eastern Europe dominated by the USSR after World War II. Can't we think of some way to airlift exhibits like "Darwin" to the parts of Kansas, Kentucky and the rest of the nation that so desperately need intellectual nourishment?

    But even if you airlift water to a horse, you can't make him drink!

  10. Dan Klarmann says:

    "This expensive frolic through a sinister fairy tale was made for the young … to arm and arouse the next generation of Christianists in the ongoing war against secular and scientific America"

    Read this New Yorker Article by George Packer

  11. Erich Vieth says:

    Folks are trying to raise money to put a Unicorn Museum billboard near the Creationism Museum. After all, the King James Bible mentions unicorns three times:

    Job 39:9-12: "Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the unicorn with band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him? Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?"

    Psalms 29:6: "He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn."

    Numbers 24:8: " . . . he hath as it were the strength of a unicorn."

    See http://www.unicornmuseum.org/ and http://www.unicornmuseum.org/wp/about

  12. Dan Klarmann says:

    Here's the direct opposite of our site: <a href="http://www.crosswalk.com” target=”_blank”>www.crosswalk.com. I found it during my regular survey of articles about the Creationism Museum. Here is theirs. This Ken Ham museum article makes it sound as though even the protesters grant the museum its truth.

    I looked at the root of the site (linked above) and found that it is also warning of the Dangerous Intersection of Faith and Life, from the point of view that one without the other is dangerous.

  13. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's a cartoon from Gary Trudeau. Topic: creationism. Here's the link.

  14. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's a slide show tour of the Creation Museum. I notice that the museum isn't called the Creation Science Museum, presumably due to the lack of real science. http://www.thesmartset.com/files/flash/Reportage/

  15. Erich Vieth says:

    For a detailed description of what one "learns" at the Creation Museum, consider this account: http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article0806070

  16. Dan Klarmann says:

    This detailed Sep '07 review of the AiG Creationism Museum in Kentucky makes some great sociological points:

    Not even the museum's fiercest detractors argue that the museum shouldn't be allowed to exist. They say that upfront; it was, after all, built with private money. But they will also tell you they wish it hadn't been built.

    and

    "The scientists have this ludicrous idea that it's (a debate) not worthy of any kind of consideration; we should just leave it alone," he [Edwin Kagin] said. "Well, that's not working. When no one disagrees, people think it must be true."

    To ignore the Creation Museum is to give silent consent or acquiescence. It is a strategy, Kagin suggested, that allows stealth candidates with those beliefs to get elected to school boards.

    also

    "You can't prove faith," Kritsky began. "If you've got a problem with your faith, if you've got to distort science in order to prop up your reasons for believing, you need to talk to your rabbi, your priest, your minister, and then talk to yourself and look at yourself on the inside. Because if that's what you have to do, distort science, then your faith's not there. And that's what this museum ultimately says."

  17. Dan Klarmann says:

    Creation Museum inspired and emboldened another to build

    a museum to disprove the age of dinosaurs in Wisconsin.

    I expect escalating displays of convincing hand-waving at hearsay "facts" to disprove other sciences as this goes on.

  18. Dan Klarmann says:

    Kentucky and Indiana now have Interstate signs for the Creationism Museum:

    Cincinnati Post Article

    Kentucky Post Article

  19. grumpypilgrim says:

    Further to Dan's mention of the Interstate signs, I don't see a problem as long as the museum meets applicable state and federal guidelines — it's a tourist attraction just like any other. Indeed, were the government to reject the signs, this might also be seen as a violation of the separation of church and state.

  20. Dan Klarmann says:

    Here's a wicked account of the Grand Opening of the Creationism Museum:

    http://buffalobeast.com/117/let_there_be_retards….

    Now I don't approve of their hijinks, but it makes an interesting story. After all, Ham worked hard to produce this theme park. I respect the effort, if not the result.

  21. Erich Vieth says:

    Perhaps someone can explain to me why Forbes Magazine decided to feature a written commentary by know-nothing Ken Hamm? Hamm's opinion piece asserts, without any evidence, that teaching evolution is responsible for racism and widespread violence and moral degeneracy. Hamm is also terrified of the thought that humans are animals. Here's a sample:

    "I would submit that if we continue to subject generations of students to an educational system that teaches them they are just animals and the result of natural process–a 1995 Scientific American article stated: "We are all animals, descendants of a vast lineage of replicators sprung from primordial pond scum"–we will continue to see a growing moral collapse in society as this worldview is applied to life."

  22. I suppose the problem with his phrasing and the phrasing of most of those who think like Hamm is the single word "just." Just animals, as if that is somehow a lesser thing.

    Humans have decided on our own moral foundations but because such decision-making has been dressed up in religious metaphor with the source shifted to an ineffable Other we have a hard time understanding on a gut level how this can be—and if we are indeed "just animals" then we need to backtrack down ten millennia to try to figure out where our moral grounding came from. It is easier to rely on the judgment of others than to make our own, especially if that Other is supposedly All Powerful and utterly unaccountable. After all, you can't subpoena god to answer for crimes against humanity.

  23. William B. Keith says:

    There is no God, there is no heaven, there is no Devil, there is no hell, there is no soul, there is no life after death, there is no damnation or salvation.

    The Bible and all other religious books are fiction. All religion is nonsense. What we need inj this world is not freedom of religion but freedom from religion.

    In 1 Thess. 5:21 Paul says to prove all things.You can't prove God exists. if you know your own mind and you say God exists then you are a liar. Rev. 21:8 says all liars will go to hell. If you are a believer then you had better tread very carefully.

    According to Exodus 30:11-15 God told Moses at least some of the Israelites could ransom their souls, have atonement for their souls, for 1/2 a shekel.

    Eccl. 3:18-19 says mankind is himself a beast, that is an animal, a mammal. And has no pre-eminence above the beasts.

    And Eccl. 10:19 says money answers all things. If salvation is a real thing then money answers salvation.

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