While driving cross-country recently, I made a stop at the Creation Museum (not far from Cincinnati), which I’ve always wanted to see for funsies. In the past, I’ve gone deep on both sides of the evolution vs creation debate. That’s because learning about the science of evolution was one of the earlier steps for me in moving away from the wacky religious views I was raised with.
But yeah, funsies were had. I was already very familiar with the claims of young-earth creationists (since I was raised as one), but there were still some great moments. For example:
- Seeing life-size recreations of Adam and Eve in
Jurassic Park… I mean the Garden of Eden, with dinosaurs around them.
- Learning that the universe only started aging after Adam’s sin. I’m guessing it triggered a reworking of the laws of physics (perhaps the introduction of particle decay and the second law of thermodynamics), but I can’t be sure since they didn’t elaborate.
- Admiring models of Noah’s Ark under construction. Apparently, people had the technology for wooden cranes operating via fossil fuels in ~4,000 BC, which is pretty dope. I think the research papers were subsequently lost in the flood.
- Savoring the cognitive dissonance of how they boldly combined (1) framing the entire museum as showing how they’ve come to different scientific conclusions by using the same evidence but starting from a different worldview, and (2) their counterarguments to mainstream science that were often just “this really old book says so.”
They also repeatedly came out strongly against racism (which was nice) and tried to portray evolution as inherently racist. I think they might have only skimmed the part of the Bible where Noah’s black son named Ham (the father of all black people according to the story) and his descendants were cursed in perpetuity because Ham got his dad drunk and saw him naked. (I think it would be pretty fun to get boozed up and try making a spinoff of Drunk History called Drunk Bible Stories.)
So I’d say I learned a lot but still have some questions.
Anyhow, here are some photos.
By the way, this museum is not cheap. The base price is $40 + $10 for parking + tax. That’s already starkly higher than for other museums in the region, but after all their add-ons for additional exhibits, etc. it could run you well over $100 per person, and that’s before getting any food or hitting up their huge gift shop.
In their defense, the museum and park’s production values are reasonably high—e.g., they’ve built an impressive full-scale replica of their interpretation of Noah’s Ark (which, alas, is not seaworthy). But that costs another $40/person + parking to visit. So maybe not see-worthy, either? Alas, I’ve heard the museum has consistently lost money and underperformed its forecasts, but nevertheless, it definitely felt like a money-making enterprise rather than primarily being about spreading the good word of the lord.
Another thing I found interesting was that in the museum’s largest theater hall they were playing a video of Creation Museum founder Ken Ham in an extended debate with Bill Nye the Science Guy, during Bill’s visit. This was interesting because Bill Nye was incredibly impressive in the video and able to articulately answer all kinds of questions thrown at him that were trying to cast doubt on many of the fields of science (and there are a lot) that contradict creation theory and the Noah’s Ark flood story. Ken barely even tried to muster counter-responses except to grill Bill on why anything in life mattered if we weren’t going to live forever in heaven after we die. The fact that this video was a major, permanent exhibit must mean they think it makes Ken Ham look good and makes the museum’s case seem credible.
It couldn’t have had a stronger opposite effect on me.