May 12, 2008

Monday Night Mailbag

An anonymous reader writes: "You should get caught up in your knowledge of human origin. May I suggest that you visit the New Creation Science Museum in Ohio? One of their directors was a top evolution scientist that finally openly admitted the flaws of the theory. Perhaps, you could also be open minded."

Dear Anonymous, Petersburg, KY isn't anywhere near the top of my list of places to visit before I die and I doubt I could be persuaded to patronize the said "museum." Not without the assistance of organic hallucinogens, at any rate. Besides, I've already seen everything they've got a hundred times or more. But thanks just the same.

The Creation Museum is the stillborn brainchild of a supercilious nincompoop from Australia called Ken Ham, who, amongst a miscellany of other slapsticks, insists the universe is 6,000 years old. Ken Ham makes you long for the days when they used to send the criminals to Australia.

But Ken Ham is at least consistent. He thinks every word in the Bible is literally true, and that if even one word of the Bible isn't literally true, then not one other word of the Bible is literally true either. It's a compelling logic for millions of Americans, it is said. It's also an extravagantly risible fallacy, but never mind.

Apparently it would also crush Ken Ham's otherwise indomitable Faith to learn that the sun didn't "stand still" in the sky, pi is greater than three, or the mustard plant does not bear the smallest of seeds.

Ken Ham claims that if you add up the generations of the Old Testament (which include a number of mythic heroes and longsuffering heroines alleged to have lived for several hundred years) then you arrive at the Biblically correct age of the universe.

W3 is a star formation region in the constellation Perseus (a mere) 7,500 light years from Earth. A light year is the distance it takes light to travel in one year at about 59 million feet per minute. If the universe is only 6,000 years old, then the light from W3 wouldn't have reached us yet, and we couldn't see it. Yet, there it is.

So much for Ken Ham. But still, hundreds of thousands of dupes flock to his Kentucky carnival. That would be two feet every minute, in P.T. Barnumese, albeit slower than the speed of light, or even the short bus in third gear on its way to the Creation Museum.

Here's the manner of rigorously scientific installation you'll encounter at "the creationist Disneyland":
A male teenager is shown sitting at a computer looking at internet pornography and a female teenager speaks with Planned Parenthood about having an abortion; both acts are blamed on their belief that the Earth is "millions of years" old. The climax of the tour is the life of Jesus Christ, with a three-dimensional depiction of the crucifixion.
Let's hope they got that much right. By the way, why is it that they never seem to tire of killing him? We get it; enough already.

While the godless may — and not a few do — point and laugh, professional theologians are genuinely concerned:
The Rev. Mendle Adams, pastor of St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, said, "My brothers and sisters in the faith who embrace [the creationist] understanding call into question the whole Christian concept" and "make us a laughingstock." Roman Catholic theologian John Haught [said] it will cause an "impoverishment" of religion." Michael Patrick Leahy, editor of the magazine Christian Faith and Reason, says that by replacing the scientific method with biblical literalism, the museum undermines the credibility of all Christians and makes it easy to represent Christians as irrational.
I wouldn't go that far, but a subset for certain includes at least Ken Ham and his nitwit apostles. Anyway, they present their own selves as irrational. There are a few comical tours of the Creation Museum online. These two are pretty funny, as well as lavishly illustrated:

Incest, child abuse feature at Creation Museum — BlueGrassRoots
Not just your average load of horseshit — John Scalzi / Whatever

5 comments:

Heraldblog said...

The tree ring record goes back farther than 6,000 years.

Brett said...

How 'bout antibiotic-proof strep and ever emerging mutant strains of HIV? Is that the product of the intelligent design anti-architect? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

TomJoe said...

I wouldn't go that far ...

I would. If ScienceBlogs is any indication, the people there (Dr. Myers included) use the rantings and ravings of creationists as a reason to mock and ridicule all people of religious persuasion. I was taught evolution in my Biology class my freshman year in high school, and I've always understood it as scientific fact. It never dawned on me to adopt a "creationist point of view". Actually, my first run-in with a creationist was during my doctorate when I was teaching a Bible study class on Genesis at my church. Funnily enough, only the converts from Protestantism (of the Baptist persuasion) objected heavily to my commentary on the two creation stories. *sigh*

gnarlytrombone said...

you could also be open minded

And you'll need to be, because you'll forget how to breathe.

Super Id said...

IT:

You correctly note:

"3 is a star formation region in the constellation Perseus (a mere) 7,500 light years from Earth. A light year is the distance it takes light to travel in one year at about 59 million feet per minute. If the universe is only 6,000 years old, then the light from W3 wouldn't have reached us yet, and we couldn't see it. Yet, there it is."

However, creationists believe that the speed of light has slowed down over the last 6000 years. Also, its been explained to me that the existence of dinosaurs fossils was the devil's work to fool mankind into disbelieving the word of God.

The lengths that people go to so that they can still believe is amazing.

cheers.