There is a new twenty-five million dollar museum in Kentucky, the Museum of Creation. If you want to be one of the estimated three hundred thousand annual visitors, you need to wait until this Spring for the formal opening. But it's worth the wait:
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.
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 idea is to make it all seem real, as real as the initiator of the project, the Australian creationist Ken Ham can make it. You might be able to step inside Noah's ark, feel it swaying with the floods and you might even hear the screams of those drowning outside. Afterwards, you can watch tyrannosaurus rex chasing Adam and Eve after their eviction from the garden of Eden. For the museum explicitly presents human beings and dinosaurs as coexisting, just as it depicts the world as created only six thousand years ago.
And there's more:
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.''
Where did I read about Jesus as the Prince of Peace and Christianity as the religion of love? It must have been in some other context. The fundamentalist Christianity in this country seems to have veered far away from the idea of turning the other cheek to something that Jesus surely would not recognize. Plus the whole thing is totally ridiculous.
But we do need a museum of wingnuttery, that's true. Otherwise nobody in the far future will believe that we actually once lived in Wingnuttia. I can't quite believe it myself, and I have the evidence right here.
Thanks to Lance for the original link.