Author of The Year of Living Biblically on the Creation Museum

A. J. Jacobs writes about his visit to the Creation Museum in The Year of Living Biblically.

I’ll have more on that when I post my interview with him soon.

But he did write a post today for Mental Floss where he shared the five things he learned from the visit:

1. Creationists are not idiots

2. The ark had baby dinosaurs?

3. Moderation is a relative term

4. There is an unexpected beauty and dignity in the creationist worldview

5. Inherit the Wind is kinda unfair to creationists

He elaborates on each point in the article.

Before attacking him for being nice — especially on numbers 1 and 4 — keep in mind he strongly accepts evolution. And in the book, he was partly looking to find an understanding of how and why firmly religious people live their life the way they do. Hell, he uses the word “distort” to describe what the Creationists do. He doesn’t let them off the hook, but the book isn’t about them being wrong.

That said, here’s his explanation of the “beauty and dignity” of Creationism:

Most notably, I felt more connected. If everyone on earth is descended from two identifiable people – Adam and Eve – then the “family of man” isn’t just a vague cliche. It’s true. The guy who sells me bananas at the deli on 81st street – he’s my cousin. The creationist mindset made me feel closer to my fellow humans. It made me want to invite strangers over to dinner.

Oddly enough, that’s how I felt when I first learned about evolution — how we are all interconnected and how we all share common ancestors at some level.

And believe it or not, the Creationists have fringe groups of their own:

Consider this: When I was at the Creation Museum, I met their resident astrophysicist.

He told me about a group of people called Biblical Astronomers whom he considers an embarrassment to the creationist movement.

The Biblical Astronomers believe the earth is the center of the universe and remains stationary because it says in Psalm 93:1 that the earth “shall never be moved.” The mainstream creationists believe the earth is young – but it does revolve around the sun.

I didn’t know you could have black sheep among a family of black sheep.


[tags]atheist, atheism, religion, Christian, Bible[/tags]

  • Aj

    Calling someone nice used to be a huge insult, perhaps it should still be.

    I don’t think point 1. should be controversial. You don’t have to be an idiot to ignore evidence or believe stupid shit. Although I think there’s a relation to IQ and level of education, and level of education to acception of evolution. So I’d be surprised if creationists had the same average IQ. It’s not the case that a creationist can’t be incredibly intelligent.

    Jacobs’s idea of beauty and dignity is slightly questionable. I think the story of Adam and Eve is distastful and silly on many levels. I also think there’s beauty in truth. Where the hell did Cain and Abel’s wives come from? It’s funny, because pornography, that’s specifically banned by the commandments, is one of the few places where incest with twin sisters is considered beautiful.

    Descending from two people from thousands of years back doesn’t seem like a great basis for kinship. I find the truth beautiful in itself compared to a falsehood, truth and beauty are connected. Given how I understand how DNA is inherited, in a healthy society (less of the twin sister incest), you’re likely to have as much in common with your neighbour as your distant cousins with a link five generations back.

    Creationism also severs our connection with all known life on this planet through common descent. Is that connection not important to Jacobs? Creationists I’ve heard, talk about animals as if they don’t matter, they were put on the earth to be our food or amusement. If you’re not descended from Adam and Eve, you’re worthless compared to man. It’s not a biosphere anymore, it’s an antfarm, a plaything.

  • http://thatatheistguysblog.blogspot.com NYCatheist

    I was going to comment, but I see AJ said it better than I would have in his last paragraph. Yeah, so this is a “me too” post. All living things are cousins, which I judge to be a more beautiful and moving concept.

  • http://www.conversationattheedge.com/ Helen

    I didn’t know you could have black sheep among a family of black sheep.

    Actually this concept has come up before on your blog, when you interviewed Mike Jones and he said other gay people despised him because of his job. When I read that I thought “wow, black sheep have their own black sheep”.