Happy Birthday!

Today is the first birthday of… the Creation Museum!

(Which, by Creationist math, makes it approximately 1/6000th the age of the universe…)

It was only a year ago today when atheists and theists joined forces to denounce the museum as utterly void of science. Our hope was that people would recognize that this museum was purely religious and not-at-all based on fact.

We still have ways to go.

For creationists, the heart of the issue is defending their faith in a world where evolution is taught in public schools and everything from natural history museums to television shows back it up.

“The secularists are out there, and they’re pushing all sorts of information to children – they’re going to hear enough about evolution over the years,” [Answers in Genesis founder Ken] Ham said.

“All sorts of information”? Yes. It’s called “education.” Which is more than the museum offers anyone.

Sadly, more than 400,000 people visited in the past year.

I’m curious how many of those people will be repeat customers. It’s not like you’re going to see any new or updated information if you go back next year. Creation Science doesn’t exactly evolve… (pun very intended).

The museum needs 200,000 to 250,000 visitors a year to stay financially stable, but if it sees lower attendance figures in the next year, Ham said the museum might make cuts to seasonal or part-time employees or cut back on plans for new exhibits.

Still, Ham and [spokesman Mark] Looy are optimistic that the museum’s second year will also be successful.

“The museum right now is successful, but other museums and other zoos will tell you you have to go through the second and third years to see what you’re going to expect,” Looy said. “We’re not going to say we’re going to have 400,000 (visitors) every year.”

Looy said he’s hopeful that at least 300,000 visitors will come to the museum in the next year. His estimate is based on an increasing number of tour groups – large groups of tourists, often church groups – that have made reservations to visit already.

I’m also curious — though I know numbers for this are not available — how many people went to the museum simply to see what trash they were peddling…

(via EvolutionBlog)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://www.matsonwaggs.wordpress.com Kelly

    I’m in Cincinnati, and there was a big article about it last week (which annoyed me-I can think of few other businesses in the area that keep getting huge spreads in the newspaper.)

    How the Creation Museum’s first-year attendance stacks up against other local and state attractions (number of visitors in 2007):

    118,350 – National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green

    236,688 – Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park

    400,000 – Creation Museum, Petersburg

    920,000 – Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington

    1,207,540 Cincinnati Museum Center

    *Total attendance from May 28, 2007, to May 21, 2008

    Sources: The attractions

    The Cincinnati Museum Center is home to our Natural History Museum, Children’s Museum, IMAX theater and Cincinnati History Museum. I also thought it interesting that more people like horsies than care for men who rode dinosaurs…

    Here is the article.

  • ubi dubius

    Last summer, we went to a family reunion in Northern Kentucky. A very big event was a Saturday trip to the brand new Creation Museum, proudly sponsored by my brother. We, um, had promised (yeah, promised, that’s it!) to take the ubi dubikids to the aquarium. As the trip came closer and closer, more and more of our relatives decided to join us on the aquarium trip. Even my brother’s son wanted to go with us (I’ve been to the creation museum, I’ve never been to the aquarium!). No dice though.

    The ubi dubikids bought stuffed snakes at the aquarium gift shop. My niece and nephews dismissed them as “satan’s creatures”. Oh well.

  • Siamang

    I’m curious how many of those people will be repeat customers. It’s not like you’re going to see any new or updated information if you go back next year.

    Like any carnie or amusement operator, Ken Ham is, first and last, a showman. He knows this. Hell, I’d argue that he knows this far more than the curators of various science museums around the world. As I’ve written before.

    He’ll do what many actual science museums don’t do… which is build new attractions. I mean, face it, it’s not like the science museums have new stuff in them every year either.

    I predict that soon they’ll announce a “Noah’s Ark” simulator ride, or a dinosaur boat ride through Eden, complete with waterfall splashdown upon being expelled. A literal FALL of man!

  • BoxerShorts

    I propose that we stop using the word “museum” altogether in reference to this abomination. A museum is something very specific and very special: A repository of knowledge in which items of scientific, historical, or cultural significance are made accessible to the public.

    The Creation “Museum” does not meet that criteria. It’s not a museum at all, it’s a theme park.

  • Siamang

    Those attendance figures are not good for Ham. But they make their money from people donating to them as a religion, and so they have sources for funding that go way beyond ticket sales. They may be operating at a loss, and make it up in people tithing.

    But really, there SHOULD be more people visiting him, for the size and expense of that attraction. Our local park has a railroad museum called “Travel Town”. It has a bunch of old train cars, and a kiddie train that goes around it, and some park benches, and THAT THING gets 350,000 visitors annually, according to the city of Los Angeles.

  • Polly

    Creation Science doesn’t exactly evolve…

    But it does devolve.

  • Alycia

    The Husband and I are really curious since we’re in Columbus and just a short road trip away, but I really, really, REALLY do not want to give them any of our hard earned money, nor pay for the gas to get down there.

    The Husband’s work friend, however, went several months ago. Work Friend is very much an atheist, and curiosity got the better of him. He said he laughed his ass off the entire time.

    That’s what I would do, but laugh very loudly and probably point as well. But I still don’t want to pay $20 just to point and laugh when I can do it for free elsewhere.

  • http://www.evolvedrational.com Evolved Rationalist

    Well, if I were in the area curiosity may get the better of me and I’d be tempted to go.

    However, giving them $20 just to mock their theistarded stupidity might make me think twice.

  • Lewis Meyer

    Hello Hemant,
    I’ve just completed your book “I Sold My Soul On Ebay”. I guess I’m a little disappointed in your comment about the museum as it seems to contradict with the expectations you have of Christians, but shouldn’t they be the same coming from an Athiest (respect, assumptions, etc.).

    In your blog you said: “Our hope was that people would recognize that this museum was purely religious and not-at-all based on fact.”

    Are you saying that this museum is “not at all based on fact” (at all)? I’ve never visited it, but I find this hard to believe. (I’m just simply asking you to choose words that are a little more actual/evident. By the way, have you visited the museum? This is a question you would ask of Christians who comment on Atheist organizations)

    In your book, you say that it is important for people to give reasons for their faith, and how important it is for Christians to maybe give more than one perspective on the information that is out there. Granted the information at the museum is sure to have very little information (if any) about evolution, but I don’t think it claims to… it is called “Creation Museum”. I don’t see any deception or tricky language here.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think the Secular club often includes talking about one’s own faith in God, or inviting Christian speakers (do they?) I imagine you focus your time on the Secular, I haven’t been to a meeting, but plan to in my area.

    It seems you are doing on “Friendly Athiest” forum what you are expect churches not to do… Bash the other side. Yet, this is what you are doing by calling the museum “Trash”, “Void of Science”, etc.

    I write all of this after being on your website for less than 5 minutes (not including writing this response). I just expected more from you, unless you no longer agree with what you wrote in the book (I do still see the banner you selling it though). I’m just giving a perspective of a person of faith who visited your website.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    In your blog you said: “Our hope was that people would recognize that this museum was purely religious and not-at-all based on fact.”

    Are you saying that this museum is “not at all based on fact” (at all)? I’ve never visited it, but I find this hard to believe. (I’m just simply asking you to choose words that are a little more actual/evident. By the way, have you visited the museum? This is a question you would ask of Christians who comment on Atheist organizations)

    Lewis — Thanks for the comments about the book.

    I am indeed saying the museum is not at all based on fact. I know this. I visited it. The links about my visit are provided in the post. I took pictures. Scientist friends visited as well. They agree. This is an entirely Biblical view of the world (and I’m sure even many Christians would disagree with that) and not a scientific view.

    At all.

    The problem with the museum is not that this point of view is being shown — they have a right to their beliefs. The problem is it is presented as a valid alternative to evolution. It’s not valid. It’s deceiving the children who visit. By promoting Creation, they are trying to discredit evolution — without using scientific methods to do so.

    As for secular groups, I have heard plenty of debates where Christians were allowed to present their views. I’ve been to meetings of atheist groups where people who believed in the afterlife presented their reasons for believing so — we questioned those reasons afterwards, of course, during the Q&A. So it does happen more often that you think.

    I’m not sure if you’ll visit this site again, but I’ll email this comment to you…

  • Kate

    Bashing creationism is NOT bashing Christianity or religion. Not even CLOSE.

    Creationism is an abuse of science.

  • Siamang

    Shorter Lewis:

    Creation Museum can say “science is wrong”, but if Hemant says “Creation Museum is wrong” then that’s bashing.

    Got it.

  • Lewis Meyer

    Hello Hemant (and others),
    Thanks for your response. I’m not that easily “offended” to the point of no return :-) – Actually I wasn’t offended at all.

    I stand corrected, as you have visited the museum, and I have not. I’ll take a closer look on your pictures, etc.

    I have seen far greater minds than my own debate this topic. There was a debate (not sure if the “far greater minds” applied), when I was attending college in Joplin, MO. I was somewhat disappointed at the results of both, I guess I expected more. What was good is that dialog was created.

    I’m always up for good discussion, and I’m a theist who follows the teachings of Jesus (Christ). I’m not an evolutionist.

    As far as Christianity and Evolution are concerned, it would need a discussion on “Historical Christianity”, and whether historically Christians believed in creationism. With the term “christian” being thrown around to apply to almost anything, it would need to be better defined. I believe that Atheists have some of the same difficulties.

    I have not seen the museum if they had posted: “Science is Wrong”, Hemant would be able to better comment on this.

    I think the Live Preview is an excellent idea!!

  • Siamang

    The Creation Museum says the National Academies of Science, all the scientists at Harvard, all the scientists at Duke, all the scientists Cambridge, at Oxford, at UCLA, at Princeton, at Yale, at every university in the word, and every scientist and paleontologist at the Smithsonian, at the American Museum of Natural History, at the Field Museum, at the Museum of Natural History in London, and at every scientific institution on the planet, all of them are wrong wrong wrong when they conclude, based on mountains of fossil evidence that non-avian Dinosaurs became extinct roughly 65 million years before man walked the earth.

    The Creation Museum says that is incorrect. The Creation Museum says that “Man’s Reason” is at fault, and the true answer is that T-Rex was a vegetarian who ate coconuts and was a docile creature that lived with man. They actually say that T-rex’s razor-sharp, serrated, dagger-length teeth were for cracking coconuts.

    If you believe that, I’ve got some nice land in Florida I can sell you.

    So yes, they do say that science is wrong. If you have a science teacher who tells you that T-rex did NOT eat coconuts, she ate meat, then the Creation Museum says that’s wrong.

    If you learned what all geologists working for Exxon and Shell and Mobil know: that coal and oil are from decayed plant matter layed down about 300 million years ago, then the Creation Museum says they’re wrong. Never mind that Exxon and Shell and Mobil shouldn’t be able to find these deposits under the earth without knowledge of plate tectonics, deep time, and all of the science and conclusions that science makes. If the oil companies had to toss away the science of deep geological time, they’d be lost!

    They’d go broke trying to find oil and coal and natural gas reserves. Don’t you think, for a SECOND, that if Ken Ham was right, and science was wrong, that these money-grubbing oil companies would abandon old-earth, deep-time geology in a heartbeat and embrace “flood geology”?

    I mean, really, wouldn’t they?

  • http://www.matsonwaggs.wordpress.com Kelly

    Siamang-best.post.ever.

  • Siamang

    Thanks, Kelly.

  • http://www.talkrational.org RBH

    Lewis wrote

    Are you saying that this museum is “not at all based on fact” (at all)? I’ve never visited it, but I find this hard to believe. (I’m just simply asking you to choose words that are a little more actual/evident. By the way, have you visited the museum? This is a question you would ask of Christians who comment on Atheist organizations)

    I (a real Ph.D. scientist with more than 40 years of working experience in science and technology) spent a day at Ham’s “museum” along with half a dozen of my colleagues, all real Ph.D.s in various fields ranging from biology to mathematics, and four non-scientists. I saw no reliable or accurate science anywhere in the place. Neither did any of my colleagues. We saw lots of distortions, misrepresentations, and caricatures of science and a fair number of plain false claims, but no actual accurate science.

  • Lewis Meyer

    Hello Siamang,
    I am interested in dialog, but you’ve made some lofty statements that I don’t think hold true, and others that require more explanation. I wish after reading the books I’ve read on both sides of the fence, a few paragraphs could convince me back to the faith of Evolution.

    By Evolution I mean that life spontaneously appeared, then in the process of time became all living creatures as we see them today.

    You Said:
    “The Creation Museum says… all the scientists, at…(named universities), (scientists) at every university in the word (I think you meant world), (are all wrong)”

    First you should probably say “Secular Universities”, as I know there are some Non-Secular universities that support Creationism. Although I haven’t visited the museum, I am a theist.

    I wasn’t there when T-Rex was eating, so I cannot comment on that, and neither can you. We don’t know what the diet of T-Rex contained. I don’t think he was a vegetarian though. I wouldn’t try to defend the T-Rex eating coconuts.

    Lastly, I really don’t think any of the oil companies really care how old the oil is they are pumping, do they? It’s oil. It’s what they want. Looking at tectonics does not require being an Evolutionist, or believing that the world is Billions of years old. We see tectonics happening all around us. You are right in saying that we use science – observed phenomenon.

    You said:
    “If you learned what all geologists working for Exxon and Shell and Mobil know: that coal and oil are from decayed plant matter layed down about 300 million years ago”

    I honestly don’t know how to date carbon based items like oil or coal. So that would be a good item to discuss. I don’t think it’s possible though.

    I have a bigger problem with uranium isotope dating in current geology. If a person could convince me that there is a closed system somewhere on earth that could be tested (a closed system is required for accurate dating), I would be willing to take a look at it.

    Isotope dating would be an area worthy of discussing concerning the age of the Earth. Could we open a blog to this discussion? (I haven’t checked to see if this has been discussed already.

    Sincerely,
    Lewis.

  • http://www.talkrational.org RBH

    Lewis wrote

    I have a bigger problem with uranium isotope dating in current geology. If a person could convince me that there is a closed system somewhere on earth that could be tested (a closed system is required for accurate dating), I would be willing to take a look at it.

    Isotope dating would be an area worthy of discussing concerning the age of the Earth. Could we open a blog to this discussion? (I haven’t checked to see if this has been discussed already.

    I’ll just whisper isochron, and also refer Lewis to Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective. No need to re-invent those wheels here.

  • Siamang

    a few paragraphs could convince me back to the faith of Evolution.

    I think you’re starting from the wrong place. “Evolution” isn’t a faith, any more than “gravity” is a faith. Evolution is merely a natural process, not a religion. Do you have the faith of photosynthesis? How about the faith of erosion?

    By Evolution I mean that life spontaneously appeared, then in the process of time became all living creatures as we see them today.

    Then I think you’ve got an incorrect idea of what science knows about evolution. “Spontaneous Appearance” is not part of evolutionary theory.

    What we know about early life on earth tells us that life did not spontaneously appear.

    First you should probably say “Secular Universities”

    By all means no. I’m counting religious universities among the ranks of evolutionary science supporters. I’m talking about Notre Dame, Baylor, Wheaton, Pepperdine, Texas Christian University… religious universities all over the world which have biology departments. If they’re not diploma mills, and they’re not Divinity Schools… if they have biology departments, then they’re doing evolutionary biology.

    I wasn’t there when T-Rex was eating, so I cannot comment on that, and neither can you.

    Well now, that’s a combative thing to say, and I think an anti-intellectual argument. Of course we can know what T-Rex was eating. For instance, we can do this by examining what was in her stomach when she died.

    To suggest that personally witnessing a thing is the ONLY valid way we can know something is frankly a breathtaking statement. Perhaps we should close our nation’s crime labs and history departments.

    At this point, it sounds like your mind is made up. You’ve got the conclusion that you want, and you’re going to twist the rules of evidence until you can’t be proven wrong. You’ve made a safe little argumentation trick where the weight of evidence means nothing at all, because “well, were YOU there?”

    Your use of the “well, were you there?” trick leads me to believe that you’ve got no open mind in this area. And anyway, if you really think this way, no evidence can possibly matter at all… so I should just save my breath with you.

    I wasn’t there. Ken Ham wasn’t there. You weren’t there. But the EVIDENCE was there, and is here now.

    I base my views on the evidence. I look at fossils to know what T-rex ate, and if I don’t know, I don’t say I DO know. Since we indeed have fossilized Edmontosauruses inside T-Rex stomach chambers, I don’t say the opposite just to suit my religious views.

    I look inside the stomach of a fossilized T-rex to get my answer to the question “what did T-Rex eat.” Any other answer is an assertion made without evidence. Assertions made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Lastly, I really don’t think any of the oil companies really care how old the oil is they are pumping, do they?

    If they want to find it, then they have to know geology. They’ve got to be able to read the signs of deep time, and puzzle out the code of the early earth. You think there’s a big map of “where the oil is”? Nope. There isn’t. But there IS a map of how the earth has changed over the last 300MY. If “flood geology” was true, the oil companies would be using THAT to find the oil.

    Funny they don’t, huh?

    Looking at tectonics does not require being an Evolutionist, or believing that the world is Billions of years old. We see tectonics happening all around us.

    In the last 6000 years, the pacific tectonic plate has moved a whole 590 yards. It’s a slow, slow process measured in centimeters per year. If you believe the 6000 year-old-earth thing, then my question is: WHAT plate tectonics? It’s barely moving at all. Just a couple of football-fields over. But is that what we see Exxon doing? Nope. They know that the earth was a very different place 300MYA. Vast carbon-forests covered wide green belts in the tropics. And then the earth changed… the continental plates moved and drifted. They need to know where the tropical lands of old have moved to. Without plate tectonics, they should just drill 600 yards north of the tropics! If we have a young earth, that’s where Exxon would be drilling. Not ALASKA!

    But beyond this… if “Flood Geology” was an accurate, predictive theory for understanding the makeup and physical nature of the earth, SURELY the oil companies would have embraced it as the way to best find the world’s oil. Why haven’t they?

    I honestly don’t know how to date carbon based items like oil or coal. So that would be a good item to discuss. I don’t think it’s possible though.

    I think what you’re asking is: how can we be sure that dating methods are reliable? Ever ask a geologist that question?

    Knowledge requires research. There’s an answer to this question… can you find it without visiting a creationist website? I won’t spoon feed you.

    Knowledge is worth something. It’s worth a lot in fact… it’s worth the effort. If you really want to know, you can visit the library and open some books yourself, and do some reading. The answers are there, on the bookshelves of all the libraries in the world. The knowledge is there, free for the asking. It is EXTREMELY worth it.

    If you won’t expend that effort, then you don’t really want to know, you just want it handed to you. Nobody handed it to me, I had to learn it myself.

    Go visit a natural history museum, and ask questions. Lots and lots and lots of questions. Take a class or two at the local university offering extension courses. Read some textbooks not sold at religious bookstores. Talk to real geologists, real biologists, real paleontologists.

    But start with the reading. Books, not websites. And real university science books, not creationist books.

    If you don’t, then you didn’t really want to know badly enough anyway.

  • http://www.talkrational.org RBH

    Siamang, I bow to your eloquence. Very well said.

  • Siamang

    Thanks RBH. I bow to your brevity. I had some time to kill sitting at the computer tonight. Normally I don’t have the time for such lengthy replies, and really, yours is in the end probably vastly superior to mine!

  • Darryl

    Holy Moses! Another Attack of the Sci-Mangler. Thank God I believe in Evolution. Damn!