Sad. Sad is the singular word that kept popping into my head as I made my way around the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky this past Saturday. While I would normally reject supporting such an institution monetarily, my sister and I were on a road trip to Indiana to visit our uncle, and the “museum” was directly off our route. Morbid curiosity got the best of me.
The Creation Museum should not be called a “museum,” at all. The typical use of that word implies that some scientific method was at some time employed to offer an understanding about the objects held within said museum. No such methodology of science was employed at the Creation “Museum.” Instead, the establishment used a system of understanding that luckily was abandoned by the scientific community centuries ago, along with the Inquisition and the burning of witches at the stake.
In science, nothing is assumed. Natural “laws,” like Newton’s law of gravity, are arrived at through endless repetition and experimentation, yet even when the same result is achieved at every interval, such laws continue to be falsifiable. Nothing is etched in stone or scroll. Science knows no tyranny of text. More can always be learned and even the most paramount of laws are subject to change.
The entire Creation “Museum” is based on perversion of science. As a basic premise, creationists assume that the Bible is inerrant “word of God” and deductively draw conclusions based on that assumption. The problem is that the basic premise from which they draw their conclusions is inherently flawed. There is no scientific data to support the claim that the Bible is literally true. In fact, substantial data suggests the contrary premise: The Bible is a collection of stories, most definitely written by men who had only a Bronze Age understanding of the world.
Sad. And ironic. Throughout the “museum” the creationists have gone out of their way to try and prove that their restricted view of reality is the correct one. Displays contrast “man’s reason” to “God’s word.” Sadly, the “museum’s” developers must have been immune to the reality that the Biblical “God’s word” interpretation of the world pales in comparison to the “man’s reason” version they are contrasting it to. Furthermore, what they are referring to as “God’s word” is also man’s reason, albeit a 2000-3000 year-old version.
On one side of a display, man’s reason recounts the Big Bang, an expanding universe of infinite possibilities, and the phenomenon of life, ever-evolving into unique and diverse forms. On the other side, God’s word confines the miracle of creation to the static imaginings of a tyrannical patriarch on a hierarchical throne, created in six, 24-hour days, unchanging and limited for eternity by a dull, unscientific simplicity.
Here the fossil record decoded by man’s reason reveals a tree of life and a history of myriad organisms springing forth from primordial brine, evolving and entering into extinction in perpetuity. There, all that exists was placed upon an impossibly small ark, leaving the rest to drown in a single, cataclysmic flood. Nothing new will ever be made. The earth, in this view, creates nothing new, ever. Sad.
Children dragged to this “museum” are taught that the world and all its mystery can be explained within the pages of a single book, a book with words penned by men, who had no knowledge of the earth orbiting the sun, of a vast universe or of a spherical earth, 2000 years ago. In the bookstore attached to the “museum,” one can find entire curriculums that reinforce the narrow creationist view and an entire series of books entitled “Kid Answers” which provides scripted responses for those pesky children who insist on questioning everything, lest they actually develop open and inquiring minds.
|I really wondered about this display. Why didn't the pterodactyls perch on the ark? And what about the dinosaurs that lived in water? Why didn't they survive?|
If they are lucky, these children will learn in public school that the earth and the universe are in fact, much more miraculous than the imaginings of the minds of Bronze Age tribal, desert-dwelling patriarchs. Hopefully these children will learn that the greatest reality humans can enjoy is to seek knowledge, unlimited knowledge that is only constrained by the depth and reach of the human imagination.