Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Creation Museum: A Brief Tour

Recently, I visited my hometown of Cincinnati. While there, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit the Creation Museum run by Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis.

I realize this is somewhat belated, given that there was a huge spike of interest right after it opened at the beginning of the summer. But just as I wanted to see the Discovery Institute Road Show for myself, I also wanted to see the Ken Ham Crowd personally.

Obviously, the pseudoscience of this place has been well-documented, and there's very little I can add in that regard. What I can provide is my impression of the place- without a doubt, this is no "Creation Museum," is is a "Christian Museum."

The entirety of the media on display is not really scientific in nature- sure, there are 25-cent words here and there, and authoritative-looking illustrations, but the real message throughout the museum hung like a droning voice throughout the halls... "The Bible is true... God exists... Jesus will save you..." It was, essentially, a subconscious mantra that pounded incessantly and (for the Christians, anyway) comfortingly into the ears of those present.

Which were substantial, by the way. I showed up before it opened on a weekday, and already there were people lined up, both in large church/school groups, as well as families and individuals. The whole time I was there, the place seemed filled to capacity. And this supports my appraisal of the place as a distinctly Christian attraction- AiG is well known as a young-Earth organization, a minority position within Creationism at large. Several of the Christians that I talked with afterwards admitted that there were many facts presented there that were inaccurate, but felt that the overall message was important enough to overlook them. One notable example of this is the way they portrayed Noah's flood- as caused by a giant tsunami, similarly to that seen in Evan Almighty, but not as written in Genesis.

Ultimately, I see this museum as a defensive move on the part of Creationism. It's the product of a mindset that wants to preserve a particular worldview that can gain no traction in real scientific museums, and builds a monument to it lest it be lost altogether. And that really does seem to be the appeal- there aren't any good shrines to Christianity here in the New World, but this museum comes about as close as you can get.

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At 8/29/2007 10:47 PM, Blogger BlackSun declaimed...

I've been thinking about the issue of parody sites vs. real ones today. Sometimes it's very hard to tell the difference.

Since the Creation Museum is essentially little more than a bad Disneyland ride, is it a form of entertainment? Is it a bible class exhibit? Or is it self-parody, a museum of Christian lunacy in the early 21st century? How would anyone know the difference? After all, a perfect parody is nearly indistinguishable from the original.

If all the Christians stopped believing tomorrow, Ken Ham could probably make just as much money from atheists coming to make fun of "those crazy christians."

No matter who goes to it or what they believe, it will forever be a museum of kitsch.

At 8/30/2007 12:15 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

That's an interesting question- how many of the people there were present out of prurient interest?

Ken Ham seems to think there's some kind of threat- there were a number of large, burly security guards visible around the complex, and a K-9 unit was close at hand.

It was pretty amusing to see a large security truck done up with tactical gear and sporting the Answers in Genesis logo.



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