Due to some conflicts between MapQuest’s directions and my map of Kentucky, I was nervous during the final leg of my drive to The Creation Museum. After all those hours of driving, the only thing that would have been worse than actually having to walk through that pathetic monument to human ignorance and credulity would have been not getting to see it at all. I needn’t have worried, however. There were clear signs to the museum along I-275.
Those signs eventually led me into a field in the middle of nowhere. The entrance bore a nondescript sign in front of a large metal gate fitting for an English country manor, but out of place in a field in Northern Kentucky, It was 11:50 as I drove through the gate. The museum did not officially open for another ten minutes. Two unhappy things struck me as I found a place to park. First, at least from the outside the museum was physically attractive and professional looking. And second, there were an awful lot of cars in the parking lot.
I emerged from my car into the stifling Kentucky heat and allowed my eyes to adjust to the brightness. I had nebulous plans to meet some of my fellow Panda’s Thumbers before entering the museum, but never having met most of them I was not entirely sure how I would recognize them. Once again, I needn’t have worried. Off to one side of the main entrance was a group of people who looked less than thrilled to be there. Finding it unlikely that they were “of the body”, I took a chance and approached them. They were, indeed, the people I sought.
Before long the rest of the crew showed up. Having traded e-mail with these folks for several years, it was nice to confirm they were real people, and not just names that showed up periodically in my inbox from time to time. In the end I had the pleasure of meeting Thumbers Wesley Elsberry, Tara Smith, Art Hunt, Richard Hoppe and Andrea Bottaro. Also there was journalist extraordinaire Laurie Lebo, whose excellent reporting for a local newspaper during the big Dover trial was one of the few bright spots in that sadly necessary spectacle. And, of course, Professor Steve Steve was there as well.
After the requisite introductions and picture taking, we took a deep breath and entered the museum. Tara had cleverly brought with her forms that entitled us to five dollars off admission if we allowed our names to be placed on the Answers in Genesis (AiG) mailing list. Initially I was reluctant to do so. But upon further consideration it dawned on me that every penny AiG wastes on mailings to me is one penny less they have for the corruption of America’s youth. Seen that way, it would have been selfish of me not to claim my five dollar discount.
We meandered slowly around the maze of line-control poles, but I was quickly beginning to despair of ever getting to the guts of the museum. Eventually a pleasant museum employee invited us to move to the “members” line. No members were there, you see, meaning they simply used that line for general admission. As things unfolded, this proved to be a trap. The members line turned out to be even slower than the one we had been on previously.
I was reminded of a lecture I heard in an undergraduate psychology course. The professor was discussing cognitive dissonance. He suggested that the point of fraternity initiations, among other examples, was that making the pledges go through some truly unpleasant experience made them all the more appreciative of their eventual membership in the frat. This must be really important, they reason, otherwise why would I be going through all this unpleasantness.
On the other hand, my time on line did give me a chance to survey the lobby. Off to my right were models of a giraffe, a triceratops (bearing a saddle, no less) and a rhinoceros. Beyond that was a line of large windows overlooking a lovely park area where people could have picnics and whatnot. There was a small lake on the grounds as well. Swimming in the lake, for some incomprehensible reason, was a model of a Loch Ness Monster. I guess the same dogmatic, closed-minded, atheistic scientific establishment that promotes evolution is also striving to keep knowledge of Nessie’s existence from the general public.
After purchasing our tickets for the museum and the accompanying planetarium show, we moved into the museum’s anteroom. To my left: the Dragon’s Lair Bookstore, a depressing homage to countless trees who died in vain. To my right: the foul-smelling Noah’s Cafe. Straight ahead, various animatronic dinosaurs, some of whom made bizarre squealing noises that I think were intended as roars.
Also present were a variety of appetizers, little vignettes of creation if you will, intended to warm us up for the main course that lay beyond. Living fossils pose a grave threat to evolution, but are easily explained under the model of Biblical creation. Evolutionists can’t explain the astonishing variety of finch species, but creationists find it trivial to do so. “In the beginning of time six thousand years ago God created every kind of bird including the finch kind and gave them the ability to multiply upon the Earth.” God loves variety. No way you get such variety by small steps over millions of years. Chameleons are tripped out with a variety of complex gadgets. Must have been designed!
My favorite among these exhibits was one entitled, “Why is Creation So Deadly?” It was the lead-in to a learned discussion of South American poison dart frogs. After noting the extreme toxicity of these lovely animals, the display went on to explain the surprising benefits to be had from this venom. Hundreds of useful chemicals have been derived from it. From the phantasmal poison dart frog, for example, we can derive a painkiller far more effective than morphine, and nonaddictive to boot. It also noted that when raised in captivity these frogs do not develop their toxicity; rather, the venom appears to be the result of the frog’s diet in the wild. This is unsurprising. Prior to Adam’s sin, all of creation was very good. The frogs in captivity represent a throwback to this primordial state, when frogs would have had no reason for such toxicity. At least, I think that was the point. Creationist logic is sometimes unfathomable even for me.
I was visiting on a Sunday afternoon, and the place was awfully crowded. Many of the people had either come straight from church, or else routinely got dressed up for a trip to the museum. Much of the crowd was made up of little kids, I regret to say. Before entering the museum proper, visitors are invited to watch a twenty minute movie entitled Men in White. Hard to resist that! So, after walking past a further display declaring that beautiful minerals provided further evidence of God’s glory, I entered the theater.
Coming Up: Flummoxing the Evolutionists; Same Facts, Different World Views..