[asa] Creation Museum

From: Keith Miller <kbmill@ksu.edu>
Date: Sat Jun 09 2007 - 21:55:55 EDT

Posted for interest without comment.



PETERSBURG, Ky. (BP)--Ten-year-old Rachael Mosley smiled as she
walked out of
the newly opened Creation Museum, equipped with the answers about the
evolution and science she had been seeking.Her parents had brought
her and her
two siblings to the museum located just outside of Cincinnati on
opening week.
On this particular day, the Mosleys, from Bloomington, Ind., were
part of the
1,000-plus people who passed through the gates of the museum that
sets forth a
literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account. It opened
Memorial Day
with more than 4,000 visitors and cars from more than 30 states in
the parking
lot and is the largest museum of its kind in the world."We thought it
fantastic," her mother, Chere, said. "[Rachael's] going into the
sixth grade
and there's a lot of talk about evolution.  She gets mad when she
watches the
videos and they say 'millions of years ago.' She wanted to have more
facts."It's that type of reaction museum officials are wanting. The $27
million, 60,000-square-foot museum -- located in Petersburg, Ky.,
just a few
miles south of the Ohio border and a quick drive from the Cincinnati/
Kentucky airport -- is a high tech answer to other natural history
where evolution is viewed as, well, gospel. A product of the apologetics
ministry Answers in Genesis, the museum doesn't ridicule evolutionary
although it does punch enough holes in it that visitors, it is hoped,
are left
at least scratching their heads. A few exhibits even explain evolution,
comparing it side by side with creationism. Museum officials have
made every
effort to achieve a world-class museum, and it shows. There are roaring
animatronic dinosaurs, more than 50 educational videos, a planetarium
and what
likely is the highlight for many visitors: a special effects theater
boasts three screens, vibrating seats, simulated wind and mist. Along
the way,
visitors hear a few things they won't learn at other museums: -- The
earth is
thousands, and not millions, of years old.-- Dinosaurs once walked
the earth
alongside humans, were on Noah's Ark and are found in the Bible
("behemoth" in
Job 40 and "leviathan" in Job 41).-- A flood once covered the entire
resulting in dramatic changes to the landscape -- including the
carving of the
Grand Canyon.-- The teaching of Darwinian evolution in schools, and in
particular the idea that life evolved from nothing, has had a
negative impact on society's morality.Science, the museum asserts,
affirms a
literal reading of Genesis. Although many secular scientists scoff at
such a
notion, the museum's beliefs are more mainstream than evolutionists
wish was the case. A March Newsweek poll found that 48 percent of
adults believe God made humans "pretty much in the present form at
one time
within the last 10,000 years or so."The museum is the culmination of a
lifelong dream of Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham, who was born in
Australia and taught in its public schools before moving to the
United States
in 1987. In 1993 he and two men, Mark Looy and Mike Zovath, launched the
ministry, which now has approximately 300 employees."[The idea for a
really started when I was a high school teacher in Australia, and
kids would
say, 'How can you believe the Bible, when it says God made Adam and
Eve? We
know that's not true in light of what we're taught in textbooks
evolution,'" Ham said. "So, I saw evolution as being a stumbling
block to
these kids even thinking they could trust the Bible. And as I took
them to
museums I saw evolution presented as fact and millions of years
presented as
fact. I thought, why can't somebody present a biblical view to them
and show
them that you can use mainstream science to confirm that view?"Ham
and other
creationists view all science through a biblical lens -- a point that
is made
throughout the museum. One exhibit focuses solely on the history and
of the Bible. Another exhibit shows two paleontologists, side by
side, digging
for dinosaur bones. They look at the same evidence, visitors are
told, but
interpret their findings differently. The creationist views his findings
through the Genesis account; the other paleontologist does not.The
argument by
Ham and other creationists is fairly simple: Genesis is to be trusted
it was written by God, an eyewitness and the sole participant in
creation. A
man in one of the museum's videos makes that point: "This [Bible] was
by someone who was actually there." Several museum displays assert
that the
debate over the origins of man comes down to a choice between human
reason and
God's Word. Some museum exhibits make mostly scientific arguments (for
instance, visitors are told that most dinosaur fossils today are a
result of a
sudden burial, explained by the worldwide flood). Other exhibits,
though, make
purely theological ones (for example, one exhibit asserts that since
teaches death entered the world through Adam, dinosaurs could not
have died
out before Adam existed)."What I say to evolutionists is, 'Come on, be
honest," Ham said. "Their starting point is that there is no God.
redesigned science.  Everybody has a starting point, and everyone
needs to
admit their starting point, and their starting points determine how they
interpret the evidence."The museum doesn't ignore tough questions
that critics
of creationism have long been asking: Where did Cain get his wife?
How did
dinosaurs fit on the ark? If dinosaurs did survive the flood, then
why aren't
they still around today?Although the museum cost approximately $27
the price tag would have been much higher if not for the assistance of
hundreds of volunteers and the aid of likeminded companies who either
items or sold them at a reduced rate. The project also was blessed
with the
services of Patrick Marsh, who was the scenic designer for the Jaws
and King
Kong rides at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. A creationist
himself, Marsh
joined Answers in Genesis in 2001 and designed the museum, which
recreations of the Garden of Eden and a section of Noah's Ark. Ham
calls it a
"walk through" biblical history."If you were to build it just by
everything out, it probably would have cost you around $100 million,"
he said.
"But this is unique. It's the first of its kind in the world. People
wanted to
be a part of this. Someone would sell us equipment that would have
cost us $2
million for $1.5 million. It was that sort of thing."Frank Monroe, who
traveled from West Chester, Ohio, to visit the museum, was
very well done. It's very high caliber," he said. "The quality is as
you would
find at any major amusement park or museum -- the artwork, the
signage, the
displays, the sculptures are all top-notch. I'm a graphic artist, so
I really
appreciate the quality of the artwork."It takes a full day to visit
the museum
at a leisurely pace, and museum officials apparently had that in
mind. The
premises include a cafeteria (dubbed "Noah's Cafi") as well as two
miles of
nature trails -- with a few life-size dinosaur figures along the way --
surrounding a three-acre lake. In the coming months officials hope to
open an
indoor children's play area.Critics already are calling the museum
anti-science -- an objection Ham dismisses. He is quick to note that
Ph.D. scientists are on staff."The point we make to people is [that] the
origins issue is different from empirical science that built Space
Shuttles or
put man on the moon," he said. "The origins issue is an issue regarding
history -- and you don't have the history; you only have the present.
We want
people to distinguish those two things. If I wanted to illustrate
gravity, I
stand here, I hold a pen, and you watch it drop. You can't deny that
happens. But if said to you, 'Show me that hundreds of millions of
years ago
life arose from non-life,' you can't show me that. All you can do is
look at
the evidence in the present and try to interpret it in relation to the
past."Contrary to what some have assumed, Ham believes an
evolutionist can be
a Christian and vice versa. But he also asserts that evolution
can hinder a person's faith. One of the museum's highlights -- a film
in the
special effects theater called "Men in White" -- follows the story of a
teenage girl who is struggling with her belief in God in view of what
she is
taught about evolution at school. The museum also recounts the story of
Charles Templeton, a former evangelist and friend of Billy Graham who
Christianity and became a self-described agnostic in part because he
science had disproved Genesis. Ham says the Answers in Genesis
ministry has
"files full" of similar stories."I remember one time I was in the
second floor
of the London Natural History Museum and saw a man with his son
looking at the
ape ancestor display of man," Ham said. "He was saying to his son,
'That was
your ancestor. You were just an animal.' When kids are taught they
are just an
animal, who determines right and wrong? Who determines good and
bad?"Ham hopes
the museum serves to equip Christians and to evangelize unbelievers. The
"Dragon Hall Bookstore" has dozens of creationism DVDs and books --
as well as
a number of dinosaur toys. But creationism -- which is different from
Intelligent Design, which leaves the designer unnamed -- isn't the
sole focus
of the museum. A film at the end of the museum tour focuses less on
creationism than on Christ, and ends with a Gospel invitation."What
we've lost
from this culture is biblical authority," Ham said. "We want to
engage the
culture and engage the church to make a statement. We can do it in a
way in
which we use the latest technology, professional exhibits and good
We see [the museum] as a place to equip the church with answers and to
challenge the non-Christians concerning the Gospel message and the
of God's Word."--30--For more information, visit
www.creationmuseum.org or
www.answersingenesis.org. Admission is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for
$9.95 for children 5-12 and free for children under 5. Adults can
receive $5
off an adult ticket by filling out a coupon on the museum's website.
Planetarium admission is $5 additional. Group rates, annual passes and
lifetime memberships are available.

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Received on Sat Jun 9 22:01:13 2007

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