Friday, August 14, 2009

Visit to the Creation "Museum"

As someone who will perhaps forever be intrigued by reality-deniers, I would love, love, love to visit the Creation Museum. This "Museum," according to Wikipedia (you can easily find its website via the Google if you so wish), "presents an account of the origins of the universe, life, mankind, and man's early history according to a literal reading of the Book of Genesis."

Although I haven't been there (yet!) I imagine it is as sort of the institutional embodiment of people sticking their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes, and singing karaoke to Celine Dion under the mistaken impression that their version of the "Power of Love" and is just like the Real Thing.

By that I only only mean that creationists tend to have an odd love-hate relationship with Real Science. On the one hand, they reject it and fail to understand it, but on the other hand they sometimes try to pretend that creationism is, actually, Real Science. And now, a Real Science with a Real Museum and Everything!

Fortunately for me, because I won't be in the vicinity of the "Museum" anytime soon, ScienceBlogger and biologist PZ Myers recently visited and recounted his experience at the Creation Museum. He recounts why creationists just don't get it. In a nutshell, their core premise is that scientists and creationists are engaged in pretty much the same fact-finding conclusion-drawing endeavor. They believe that scientists and biblical literalists look at the "same facts" and, by merely interpreting these facts differently, come to hold "different views" sort of like how sometimes Real Scientists hold different views from one another. Myers writes:

"Their first big exhibit is a perfect example of the principle in action. It's a model of a dinosaur dig, with two men working away at excavating the bones. There is a video accompanying it in which the two views are presented. The younger Asian fellow in front says, and I paraphrase, 'This animal died about a hundred million years ago. Its body dried in the sun for several days before being slowly buried under layers of sediment in a local flood.' Then the avuncular creationist says, 'I see the same bones, but I believe this dinosaur was killed suddenly about 4400 years ago in a huge global flood, which buried it deeply all at once.' And then he goes on to explain that see, they have the very same evidence, but he understands it in the light of God's word.

It is a profoundly dishonest display. No, they are not using the same evidence: the creationist is ignoring all but the most superficial appearances. The scientist says a few details about this particular dinosaur, but what Ken Ham hides is that every statement would have a large body of evidence in its support. This isn't two guys stating their mere beliefs in a's one guy, the creationist, closing his eyes to the evidence and spouting Biblical gibberish, and one scientist stating the conclusions of substantial investigations."

Logically, a museum devoted to creationism just doesn't make much sense given that the worldview is Reality Challenged. It rejects tangible evidence that exists in the reality-based world in favor of the so-called Word of God. Given that "God's Word" is the only "evidence" creationists have to support their worldview, this museum seems to really be a Life-Size Diorama of the Bible.

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