Computer mediated creationism

G. Thomas Sharp with Albertosaurus Photo
© Blue Channel Media, LLC,
courtesy Museum of Earth History

The Museum of Earth History is the newest entry into the normalization of creation science. The well-funded museum brings to creationism modern techniques of museumology and computer mediated communication. It certainly is popular. The museum, which open last month in Eureka, Arkansas has already seen thousands of visitors. An adjacent area, The Great Passion Play, has seen 7.5 million visitors.

The museum forms part of a Bible-based theme park in Eureka Springs. The parking lot is full of cars and coaches from all over the country. To enter the museum is to explore a surrealistic parallel world. Biblical quotes appear on displays. The first has dinosaurs, alongside Adam and Eve, living in harmony. The ferociously fanged T. rex is likely to be a vegetarian. Then comes the “Fall of Man” and an ugly world where dinosaurs prey on one another and the first extinctions occur. The destruction of the dinosaurs is explained, not by a comet striking the Earth 65 million years ago, but by the Flood. This, the museum says, wiped out most of the dinosaurs still alive and created the Grand Canyon and huge layers of sedimentary rock seen around the world.

Some dinosaurs survived on Noah’s Ark. One poster explains that Noah would have chosen juvenile dinosaurs to save space. An illustration shows two green sauropods in the ark alongside more conventional elephants and lions. The final exhibit depicts the Ice Age, where the last dinosaurs existed with woolly mammoths until the cold and hunting by cavemen caused them to die out.

MOEH has a very professional web site. If I didn’t know what the museum offered, the picture of the T. rex on the home page would suggest a museum of natural history. The computer mediated communication offered on the site is on par with other museums. Check out this movie that describes (or rather poses the question) how 1000 years of natural phenomenon could be created in one day.

Unfortunately, the novelty of the blending of science and creationism receives great play in the mainstream media, for example here and here. Even our modest blog is participating in the diffusion of information. That adds to the normalization of creation science. This paragraph perfectly captures the leading edge of normalization:

That wellspring of popular belief [that 45 percent of Americans believe the Earth was created by God within the past 10,000 years], and the political clout that comes with it, are the inspiration behind the museum. It is not interested in debating with mainstream science. It simply wants to represent the view of a significant slice of America. “We want people to see that finally they have something that addresses their beliefs, to show that we do have a voice,” said Thomas Sharp, business director of Creation Truth, the religious group that co-founded the museum.

As the ideas blend into the mainstream, you don’t need to debate science. Just present an alternate view. Because isn’t that what an egalitarian science is all about? Accepting alternative hypotheses? (As long as they can be tested, of course. But if you also can create your own methodologies then you can confirm your hypotheses.)

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