Saturday, August 8, 2009

Creation Museum Trip

Since I could not go to yesterday's creation museum trip, I've decided to write a post about a news article about the trip. I'm doing my part to fight against weak "science", no matter how minor it may be. However, just in case you didn't know, PZ Myers (along with the Secular Student Alliance) decided to pay the creation museum (the one owned by Ken Ham) a visit. There was an incident in which one student, Derek, was removed from the premises. Although, the allegations seemed weak.
The article begins:
A group of scientists, students and secularists -- 304 in all -- visited Petersburg, Kentucky on Friday to tour exhibits on display at the Creation Museum.
The visitors are in town attending a conference of the Secular Student Alliance, a group formed "to organize, unite, educate and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human based ethics."
Exhibits in the Creation Museum, which cost $27 million to build and opened in May, 2007, present a history of the world based on literal interpretations of the Book of Genesis. Adam and Eve share the Garden of Eden with dinosaurs; the beaks of Darwin's finches are explained by God's will, not evolution; and mankind spread from continent to continent by walking across the floating trunks of trees knocked down during the Biblical Flood. The museum has made a specific effort to reach out to students and families.
$27 Million wasted on anti-science tripe. Apparently, dinosaurs were all vegetarians (even the dinosaurs with the sharp teeth) before the fall of man. Re-read where I added my bold emphasis- now, it is alright to ridicule at the explanation these people give for how people crossed the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. However, you have to give it to them for the ability to fabricate an excuse for anything.
William Watkin, a chemist living in Indiana, challenged one exhibit's suggestion that the Grand Canyon could have been carved in hours by a process similar to how volcanic mudslides can rapidly create canyons in softer rocks. "Everything they said about sediment deposition, about Mount St. Helens … anyone in first year geology would say 'wrong from top to bottom,'" said Watkin.
Anybody with even a basic understanding of science will understand these people are wrong from the top to the bottom. The problem is, these people aren't as interested in having their science correct as much as they are interested in spreading their gospel message. Here is a snapshot of their mission statement.

As you can see, these people first lay the foundations of their "research" with what the bible states (or at least, their interpretation). Then anything that does not fit their worldview gets thrown out. Sound science is what a real museum strives for- these people are a sham.
In the singular moment of noticeable conflict, Derek Rogers, a computer science major at Dalhouise University in Nova Scotia, Canada, was detained by guards for wearing a shirt with a slogan recently plastered on buses by activist groups that read "there's probably no God, so get over it." He was escorted to the bathroom and ordered to flip the shirt inside-out.
"One family of religious people told me that I had ruined their trip, and they drove all the way from Virginia," said Rogers.
A museum that orders somebody with a shirt that isn't very offensive (though this is my opinion, it did not have any explicit language or imagery) surely is not open to the exchange of ideas. This is truly disheartening, we'd expect a place that sets forth to "educate" to tolerate an opposing view. PZ Myers, famed biologist blogger, wrote about it on his blog (there is even video footage of the conversation between Derek, Myers, and a couple of other atheists). What I found amusing was that a family from Virginia stated this ruined their trip. I'm sure their trip would have been worse were they to have been thrown out. What these people should be worried about is the distasteful attitude this museum has towards any form of minor criticism.
But at least one conversation between religious believers and members of the group found common ground. Beneath a poster that presented the creationist interpretation of fossils, two students from North Carolina and a man who became religious after being diagnosed with cancer engaged in a polite dialogue about helping others and tolerating differences that drew a crowd.

"Regardless of religion, we both live our lives for the same reasons," said one of the students. "The big thing we have a problem with here is the faulty science."
This is the ending paragraph in the article. And I agree that my first quirk against these fundamentalist types isn't their religiosity, it's their misunderstanding of basic science (and promotion of pseudoscience).


  1. You hit the nail on the head with your last statement. I fully support the right of these people to believe in these claims. However, I do not support their right to purport their beliefs as science.

    There is a line between truth and non-truth, and reason and science are the most reliably consistent means that humans utilize to understand that. When your claims are not supported by scientific evidence or reason, you are not allowed to posit it as such.