Kenneth Chang of The New York Times has now weighed in with an article about the big trip to the Creation Museum. A couple of interesting tidbits:

Arnold I. Miller, a professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati and head of the meeting’s organizing committee, suggested the trip. “Too often, academics tend to ignore what’s going on around them,” Dr. Miller said. “I feel at least it would be valuable for my colleagues to become aware not only of how creationists are portraying their own message, but how they’re portraying the paleontological message and the evolutionary message.”

Quite right. It can be pretty galling to plunk down money at the museum, but every scientist needs to be aware of what is going on.

Of course, my favorite part of the article was this:

But even some who disagree with the information and message concede that the museum has an obvious appeal. “I hate that it exists,” said Jason D. Rosenhouse, a mathematician at James Madison University in Virginia and a blogger on evolution issues, “but given that it exists, you can have a good time here. They put on a very good show if you can handle the suspension of disbelief.”

Goodness! My middle initial and everything. Go read the rest of the article! Mostly old hat for people steeped in this issue, but worth a look nevertheless.

Comments

  1. #1 Crandaddy
    June 30, 2009

    Goodness! My middle initial and everything.

    That ‘D’ doesn’t stand for David, does it? (Not that that particular name has any special significance or anything ;-) )

    Anyway, I’ve never been to that creation museum, but I’ve been to one similar (I suppose) in Eureka Springs, AR. As I recall, one of the justifications for supposing their model is a citation of Jesus from one of the gospels–the reason being that if Jesus believed it (as the bible evidently states), it has to be literally true. This, of course, is to assume that the incarnation of God, himself, had no concept of metaphor–one who evidently preferred to proclaim his messages by means of parable, and who routinely broke the Mosaic law in order to fulfill the “law.”

    True faith is comprehensible by the light that it alone emits, and whatsoever it does not illumine is itself the very absence of the reason that it alone provides. Subsequently, holding to any version of “creationism” simply for the arbitrary reason that “the bible says so” is absolutely untenable.

  2. #2 Jason A.
    June 30, 2009

    Crandaddy: Hey, I’ve been to that same museum in Eureka Springs! They supposedly have the largest collection of fossils in Arkansas. Sad.

  3. #3 tyaddow
    June 30, 2009

    Nice press! I thought it was nice that they did not equivocate in the article over the age of the Cincinnatian rocks. How sad that I would be surprised by the NYT reporting real science as such, instead of just presenting it as one ‘side’.

  4. #4 bad Jim
    June 30, 2009

    There must also have been an AFP reporter on that trip. Yahoo has the article.

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    June 30, 2009

    I suppose they could put on a good show, but frankly it sounds like a boring preachy place from the reports I’ve seen.

    As a sideshow of freaks and their bizarre beliefs, I can see how it might be entertaining.

    I would guess that on the other side, confirmation bias is the primary motivator.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  6. #6 tomh
    June 30, 2009

    Crandaddy wrote: True faith is comprehensible by the light that it alone emits, and whatsoever it does not illumine is itself the very absence of the reason that it alone provides.

    Does that actually mean something? Or is it just what it sounds like, more religio-babble passed off a True Wisdom.

  7. #7 Crandaddy
    June 30, 2009

    tomh,

    I’m saying that divine revelation is recognizable as that which is supremely good, and if Christianity is to be true, the highest conceivable good must be the incarnation and sacrificial atonement of Christ. Thus if Christianity is true, then divine revelation would be recognizable as such by virtue of its representation of this supremely good event.

    Now, certain creationists hold to their beliefs because they believe that they have been divinely revealed. But it’s difficult to see how, say, belief in a six thousand year old earth helps to reveal the mystery of perfect divine Love. Most often it seems that they believe such things because the bible says it, and they’re committed to a literal interpretation. But why be committed to literalism or even inerrancy? I can see no good reason. To be sure, whatever God reveals is recognizable as such by its perfection, but why does it follow that every single word of the collection of ancient documents that makes up the bible is revealed, or of what is revealed, that it should be taken literally?

    Under the light of divine Goodness, everything falls into its proper place, and what is truly revealed is seen as such by virtue of its own nature. Whatever is not clearly seen as good of itself is not revealed, and to so call it is arbitrary and false.

  8. #8 Tony
    July 1, 2009

    I’m not sure what crandaddy is trying to say, but I think it’s along the lines of Paul, who wrote in his epistle to the Hebrews: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1)

    Dissecting this phrase in high school was the beginning of the unraveling of my faith in sky wizards. I remember discussing this with my grandmother (a devout Catholic), if that is what faith is, then how could I possibly, as a rational, questioning human, have faith?

  9. #9 Crandaddy
    July 2, 2009

    Tony,

    [I]f that is what faith is, then how could I possibly, as a rational, questioning human, have faith?

    Well, I don’t think that’s fundamentally what faith is; I think faith centers on what is intrinsically good and invests in a metaphysical source of that intrinsic goodness. Now if you’re to be convinced of the intrinsic goodness of the central doctrines of Christianity–that it’s more than just another dying-and-rising god myth, for example–then I can’t convince you all by myself by sheer force of rational argumentation. I can’t convince you of something’s basic goodness unless we have a common understanding of the measure whereby something is called “good.” This, I maintain, is something that must be divinely revealed.

  10. #10 spleeness
    July 9, 2009

    What you said – about them putting on a good show – is exactly what my husband said in his searing review (at http://spleen-me.com/blog/?p=869 ) which troubled the museum’s founder so much that he actually responded with his own defensive blog post.

    My take was basically that I could boil their entire belief system down to a single song lyric: “If lovin’ you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.”

    And also that anyone can throw enough money at something and make it look good.

    Now if we could only find someone to erect a tooth fairy museum!

    Thanks for your post, I enjoyed it. :)