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November 13, 2006

Ken’s kingdom

The Guardian on the creation of Ken Ham’s Crazy Creation Museum:

Just off the interstate, a couple of junctions down from Cincinnati’s international airport, over the state line in rural Kentucky, the finishing touches are being put to an impressive-
looking building. When it is finished and open to the public next summer, it may, quite possibly, be one of the weirdest museums in the world.
The Creation Museum—motto: “Prepare to Believe!”—will be the first institution in the world whose contents, with the exception of a few turtles swimming in an artificial pond, are entirely fake. It is dedicated to the proposition that the account of the creation of the world in the Book of Genesis is completely correct, and its mission is to convince visitors through a mixture of animatronic models, tableaux and a strangely Disneyfied version of the Bible story.
… [T]his is the Bible story, as truth. Apart from the dinosaurs, that is. As you stand in the museum’s lobby—the only part of the building approaching completion—you are surrounded by life-size dinosaur models, some moving and occasionally grunting as they chew the cud.Beside the turtle pool, two animatronic, brown-complexioned children, demurely dressed in Hiawatha-like buckskin, gravely flutter with movement. Behind them lurk two small Tyrannosaurus Rexes. This scene is meant to date from before the Fall of Man and, apparently, dinosaurs.
Theological scholars may have noticed that there are, in fact, no dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible—and here lies the Creationists’ first problem. Since there are undoubtedly dinosaur bones and since, according to the Creationists, the world is only 6,000 years old—a calculation devised by the 17th-century Bishop Ussher, counting back through the Bible to the Creation, a formula more or less accepted by the museum—dinosaurs must be shoehorned in somewhere, along with the Babylonians, Egyptians and the other ancient civilisations.
But what, I ask wonderingly, about those fossilised remains of early man-like creatures? Marsh knows all about that: “There are no such things. Humans are basically as you see them today. Those skeletons they’ve found, what’s the word? ... they could have been deformed, diseased or something. I’ve seen people like that running round the streets of New York.”

Makes sense. Particularly if this is your worldview.

… The museum’s research scientist, Dr Jason Lisle, has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He realised he was a Christian while he was an undergraduate, but didn’t spread it around: “People get very emotional about the issue. I don’t believe we should ever be obnoxious about our faith. I just kept quiet.” And how did he pass the exams? “I never lied, but if I was asked a question about the age of the universe, I answered from my knowledge of the topic, not my beliefs.”

Think about that one for a moment. George Orwell would have been proud.

Now, we are taken to meet Ken Ham, the museum’s director and its inspiration. Ham is an Australian, a former science teacher—though not, he is at pains to say, a scientist—and he has been working on the project for much of the past 20 years since moving to the US. “You’d never find something like this in Australia,” he says. “If you want to get the message out, it has to be here.”
… On the shelf behind Ham’s desk lie several surprising books, including Richard Dawkins’ latest. “I’ve skipped through it. The thing is, Dawkins does not have infinite knowledge or understanding himself. He’s got a position, too, it’s just a different one from ours. The Bible makes sense and is overwhelmingly confirmed by observable science. It does not confirm the belief in evolution. […] Nothing contradicts the Bible’s account of the origins.”

And there you have it: proof positive that science is bunk.

If only I hadn’t skipped theology class.

Posted by Stephen at 1:56 PM in Religion + cults | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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