Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Visit To The Creation Museum

My friend Joe worked at a science museum and his idea of hell on earth was on the days when the home-schoolers would show up. He'd be midway through his standard, science-based presentation, when some fundy in a housedress would shout "Joe, Joe!" (The written word is simply not capable of replicating his hysterical impersonation of a midwestern, Christ-crazed, self-appointed educator shouting the phonetic equivalent of "Jow! Jow!" but I'll try.)

"I think there's another approach here you're not considering!"

Joe, having undergone this horrid scene so many times before, in the interest in keeping a job, played ignorant. "Which one is that?"

"The Holy Bible speaks of a seven day creation. Never mind your fossils and carbon-14 dating; the lord God created the earth in seven days."

Joe did his best to be diplomatic. "Yes. Another viewpoint. Yes. But as scientists..."

"Jow! Jow! You know that scientists are godless!"

Then why the hell would you bring your kids to a science museum, Joe invariably thought, each and every time.

In 2007, Australian non-scientist (a dingo ate your facts) Ken Ham opened the Creationist Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Because, really, where the hell else would this thing ever play?

Jow, I mean, Joe, told me we had to go and see this thing. I told him I grew up with this line of crap and didn't need to explore it further. He said he would buy me some waffles on the way back so I signed on for the trip to the Creation Museum.

We arrived and the parking lot was full of church busses instead of research scientists. There's a surprise.

The line to pay your way in was ghastly. It took forever. The place is an absolute cash cow, as there are no small numbers of people who want their faith to be validated like parking tickets.

Joe and I finally made it in to, not the museum proper, but yet another holding area which featured animatronic dinosaurs and people cohabitating together:

Because man roamed the earth with the dinosaurs at precisely the moment they discovered cotton-polyster blends. But still, all this seemed familiar, and it suddenly hit me just where Ken Ham got his facts:

After an hour wait, Joe and I made our way in and were herded into a multimedia show in sensurround (some thirty years after Earthquake) but The Creation Museum insisted this was state-of-the-art, where two angels prattled on about godless science while watery mist sprayed in our faces. Then we were free to check out the museum.

Pretty much what you'd expect. Exhibit after exhibit proclaiming the long-disproven moth argument, the usual carbon-14 is crap because it doesn't work on living things line of thinking (never mind that it was never designed for that purpose in the first place) and the usual fundy evolution-is-a-lie-despite-all-evidence-and-scientific-consensus claptrap. This is what I was expecting. This is what I could have lived with.

But then suddenly, this so-called 'museum' turned into something else entirely. You go into this cavern, and come out the other side in a mock-up of a residential neighborhood. You're invited to peer in the windows and see the sins of the neighbors played out before you. A man is drinking. A woman is cheating on her husband. Teenagers are looking at porn on the internet.

"Let me get this straight," I said aloud among the Christians.

Joe bolted. He knew what was coming and didn't want to be around for it.

I continued to bray, loudly, surrounded by the Evangelical Right. "So it's absolutely wrong for these boys to be looking at internet porn, but as long as we're here to point the finger and go shame, shame, it's perfectly okay for us to be taking on the Peeping Tom role and staring through their windows. So I can go back home and stalk my neighbors as long as I am morally superior. That's fine, right?"

The people in this particular exhibit wanted to see more sin and did not care for my calling them on it. "I'll pray for you!" one of them shouted.

"No, you're staring in strangers' windows and feeling better about yourself for it," I said. "I don't really think Christ died on the cross so you can do that without guilt."

There was some loudly spoken talk about calling security, so I left the sin exhibit and managed to find Joe taking pictures of "proof" the earth was only six thousand years old.

"We probably ought to leave soon," I said.

He did buy me some waffles on the way home. I love Jow.



  1. At it's most basic, "Creationism" is an unholy alliance between false witness and willful ignorance. I'm happy to see that you were aware of the limits of carbon 14 testing. You're ahead of the curve. :-) Todd

  2. I remember a Jewish friend of mine saying once, "You know, there are Christians out there who think the Earth is only 6000 years old."

    I told him he was nuts. But... that night I called a friend of mine, a friend who was a recovering Baptist, and asked her how old she thought the Earth was. She said, "Oh, five, six-thousand years?" When she heard me gasp she quickly went on, "At least that's what they told us in Sunday school!"