Sunday, May 27, 2007

Creation Museum Opens Amid Criticism

The venerable Los Angeles Times has already pronounced the effort, “Yabba-dabba science” in a May 24 editorial. Condemned as a “60,000-square-foot menace to 21st century scientific advancement” by critics, Answers in Genesis unveils its $27 million Creation Museum this weekend in the Cincinnati suburb of Petersburg, KY.

Designed to present a “young earth” creationist model of human origins, the facility was designed to incorporate the latest in high-tech sensory experience. It even boasts recreations of Noah’s ark, animatronic dinosaurs, and a movie theater with seats that shake, all designed by some of the same people behind the attractions at Universal Studios in Florida.

The museum has drawn objections from a coalition of scientists and organizations, including the Campaign to Defend the Constitution ( , or DEFCON, a Washington-based group that says it seeks to combat the political influence of religious conservatives. In a May 24 conference call with reporters, those opponents said the museum is presenting a distorted view of evolution and the earth’s history.

In an ABC interview, Eugenie C. Scott, the executive director of the National Center for Science Education (, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that supports the teaching of evolution, called the museum a “creationist’s Disneyland.”

Even Christian authors have weighed in, decrying the project. One of the Baptist blog sites (dominated by seminary educated clergy) was full of naysayers and skeptics. “Don't know that I'd call it a ‘Christian’ museum any more than I'd call Left Behind ‘Christian’ fiction." “I had no idea there were so many people out there to who actually believe in and accept such a strange cosmology--enough to completely pay for a place like that!” “It's astonishing to me that people believe this stuff, but P.T. Barnum's axiom still holds true.”

Despite criticism that the Creation Museum will put Christianity back a hundred years (or at least until the Scopes trial of 1925), AIG founder Ken Ham sees it differently. Answers in Genesis claims:

"The Creation Museum will be upfront that the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice, and in every area it touches upon.

We’ll begin the Museum experience by showing that “facts” don’t speak for themselves. There aren’t separate sets of “evidences” for evolution and creation—we all deal with the same evidence (we all live on the same earth, have the same fossils, observe the same animals, etc.). The difference lies in how we interpret what we study. We’ll then explore why the Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things.

After that, we'll take guests on a journey through a visual presentation of the history of the world, based on the “7 C’s of History”: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation. Throughout this family-friendly experience, guests will learn how to answer the attacks on the Bible’s authority in geology, biology, anthropology, cosmology, etc., and they will discover how science actually confirms biblical history."


According to an ABC News poll, 60 percent of Americans believe God created the world in six days. So do theologians Al Mohler and R.C. Sproul. Before dismissing it out-of-hand, visit the AIG web site for yourself ( Browse around in the articles and online books and see if the arguments and evidence challenge some of your own ideas about cosmology and the Bible.


roy said...

interesting Dennis...

Here's a quote from B.B. Warfield, one of the heroes of fundamentalism and one of the first to defend inerrancy in its modern interpretation...

“I do not think that there is any general statement in the Bible or any part of the account of creation, either as given in Genesis 1 and 2 or elsewhere alluded to, that need be opposed to evolution.”

Evidently Charles Hodge (1797-1878), who was Warfield’s teacher, Scottish theologian James Orr (1844-1913), Baptist giant Augustus Hopkins Strong (1836-1921), and R.A. Torrey held similar views.

All of this and more is laid out in a book originally published in 1984 written by David Livingstone, Darwin's Forgotten Defenders: The Encounter Between Evangelical Theology and Evolutionary Thought

Dennis E. McFadden said...

I was aware of the Princeton divines and their position on evolution. Actually, I believe that evangelical embrace of the antiquity of the earth came long before Darwin's 1859 bombshell.

In the second decade of the century, Thomas Chalmers provided the gap theory as a way of accommodating the creation narratives with the emerging consensus within geology. Lyell's geological uniformitarianism was wildly influential on Darwin's biological evolution. If memory serves me, he carried a copy of Lyell with him on the Beagle.

Dennis E. McFadden said...

BTW, Roy, while Hodge saw Darwinism as "rank atheism," he was the one who argued for concordist approaches to Genesis and science . . .

"It is of course admitted that, taking this account [Genesis] by itself, it would be most natural to understand the word [day] in its ordinary sense; but if that sense brings the Mosaic account into conflict with facts, [millions of years] and another sense avoids such conflict, then it is obligatory on us to adopt that other."

Hodge initially favored the gap theory but switched to the day-age view later in his life.