It’s rather terrifying to see how many people believe in Creationism, an unscientific Christian idea of how the Universe evolved. A Polling Report survey has found that 18% of the American public believe in evolution, compared with 39% that believe in Creationism! Nearly 50% believe that human beings were created in their present form in the last 10,000 years or so. I wonder what a similar poll would find in my country. Over 50% of Indians are unlikely to have heard of either theory, I’m sure.
The Creationists actually have a museum on Creationism. And they’re quite clear that reason has no place in their exhibits, which place dinosaurs and Man side by side in the same era. The sole “visitor’s review” on the site states:
The Creation Museum goes far beyond mere science. It doesn’t elevate man’s intellect by using science to “prove” Scripture. Instead, God’s Word is placed first and human reason is last.
This review, written by teen apologist David MacMillan III goes on to give a nod to reason, but with less than satisfactory results:
Secular scientists claim that the geological strata show less complex organisms at the bottom and more complex ones as you go up, attributing this to the evolutionary process over millions and millions of years. But if we consider the order of burial during the cataclysmic activity of the Flood, it makes perfect sense that sea creatures would be buried first, followed by invertebrates and finally by mammals and other vertebrates.
Others have been less impressed. Some excerpts from the LA Times review here:
Before the first visitor risks succumbing to the museum’s animatronic balderdash… we’d like to clear up a few things: “The Flintstones” is a cartoon, not a documentary. Fred and Wilma? Those woolly mammoth vacuum cleaners? All make-believe.
Last year, a presidential appointee in the agency’s press office chastised a contractor for mentioning the Big Bang without including the word “theory.” The press liaison reportedly wrote in an e-mail: “This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA.”
With the opening of the Creation Museum, young people will be getting another side of the story. Too bad it starts with “Yabba-dabba-doo!”
This Week in Science (TWIS) has also apparently followed the (unfalsifiable) theory that ridicule is the best form of defence and created a parody of the Creation Museum, the Unicorn Museum, based, they say, on the fact that unicorns are mentioned nine times in the Bible. The introduction to this wholly mythical musuem says:
This website has been published as an act of protest by the Brotherhood of Fantasy Creatures in response to the injurious actions of the Creation Museum. The Creation Museum is a new $27 Million facility designed to teach the ‘truth’ of Creationism and the Christian Bible. We of the BFC feel that this group represents a threat to continued belief in other fantasy creatures/BFC signatory members and have constructed this website as a protest against their monopolistic and anti-competitive practices.
In particular it pains us to witness the conduct of our brethren the Angels and Demons. For over 2000 years, these members have acted in defiance of the BFC’s Code of Conduct through ongoing fraternization with the human special interest group Christianity. BFC members agree to conduct themselves at all times in the best interests of every BFC members, yet these scabs have consistently acted in their own self-interest, creating an enduring belief system that not only inflates their own importance in the realm of human affairs, but systematically oppresses belief in other fantasy creatures including Elves, Gnomes, Naiads, and our Brothers Hippogriffs.
If the Inklings were alive today, I’d give much to overhear Tolkein and Lewis debate this point.