A Faithful Museum
For anyone who's ever been fortunate enough to visit the Museum of Natural History in New York City, you've probably been awestruck by the vast array of exhibits and scientific knowledge (leaving aside the Margaret Meade wing). Well, there's going to be a new kid in town (proverbially speaking), who intends to compete with that knowledge. The telegraph has the story
(hat tip: Pharyngula
With its towering dinosaurs and a model of the Grand Canyon, America's newest tourist attraction might look like the ideal destination for fans of the film Jurassic Park.
The new multi-million-dollar Museum of Creation, which will open this spring in Kentucky, will, however, be aimed not at film buffs, but at the growing ranks of fundamentalist Christians in the United States.
It aims to promote the view that man was created in his present shape by God, as the Bible states, rather than by a Darwinian process of evolution, as scientists insist.
My, my, how quaint. That such a "museum" can find the funding, let alone the market
, is a very gloomy development, and yet a growing sign of the increasing influence of religiosity in the American culture. Here's some more from the story:
The centrepiece of the museum is a series of huge model dinosaurs, built by the former head of design at Universal Studios, which are portrayed as existing alongside man, contrary to received scientific opinion that they lived millions of years apart.
Other exhibits include images of Adam and Eve, a model of Noah's Ark and a planetarium demonstrating how God made the Earth in six days.
The museum, which has cost a mighty $25 million (£13 million) will be the world's first significant natural history collection devoted to creationist theory. It has been set up by Ken Ham, an Australian evangelist, who runs Answers in Genesis, one of America's most prominent creationist organisations. He said that his aim was to use tourism, and the theme park's striking exhibits, to convert more people to the view that the world and its creatures, including dinosaurs, were created by God 6,000 years ago.
And don't think that this museum will be sticking strictly to science, it has a whole biblical explanation for all kinds of disasters, along the lines of Jerry Falwell's explanation of 9/11:
More controversial exhibits deal with diseases and famine, which are portrayed not as random disasters, but as the result of mankind's sin. Mr Ham's Answers in Genesis movement blames the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, in which two teenagers killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves, on evolutionist teaching, claiming that the perpetrators believed in Darwin's survival of the fittest.
Other exhibits in the museum will blame homosexuals for Aids. In a "Bible Authority Room" visitors are warned: "Everyone who rejects his history – including six-day creation and Noah's flood – is `wilfully' ignorant."
I'm sorry, but this is almost too ridiculous to bear. I find literally unbelievable that we live in a modern world where enough people actually believe this kind of nonsense. It is the closest thing I can think of to living in the time of Ancient Egypt, where priests regularly sold amulets, charms and scrolls that would help you in the afterlife. This strikes me as a very ominous development culturally. I know many Objectivists who have noted that Biology is one of the better sciences, that has not been tainted as Physics has. But if something like this can come about, without any huge uproar on the part of scientists, where is Biology going?
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:22 AM