Recently, a correspondent for the Guardian newspaper in the UK visited the Creation Museum. We gave him the privileges and respect we normally give to media representatives, and we also allowed him to interview one of AiG’s PhD scientists, Dr. Andrew Snelling. His piece was published on the Guardian newspaper website. As of the writing of this blog post, it has not appeared in the print edition of the Guardian.
As we have come to expect from the largely anti-God media in the United Kingdom, the reporter misrepresented the Creation Museum in his mocking piece. I have always maintained that many of these reporters, especially from the UK, have basically written their article before they come—they just visit to add what they believe is some authenticity to their intended slam against Christianity. He is an admitted atheist, which we knew before he visited.
I have reprinted the article below and made comments throughout.
‘We don’t have to be afraid of the real evidence’—Creation Museum
A trip to the Creation Museum seems like harmless fun until you see the eager schoolchildren streaming through its doors
The secularists really hate to see children being influenced by biblical creationists. There are many blogs and twitter posts by atheists who are really upset anytime they hear about children being taught the truth of God’s Word in Genesis. It is interesting that this journalist, in the title, wrote about “schoolchildren streaming through its doors.” To many people, this would seem to imply great groups of kids from public schools streaming into the Creation Museum—we wish that were so. On the contrary, we receive virtually no visits by public school groups (but they all visit the secular museums). There are some youth groups from churches that come to the Creation Museum, and Christian schools will bring their students from time to time—but lots of families with their children do visit.
I’ve talked to a number of theoretical physicists during my tour of America, and often the subject of parallel universes has come up. This week I actually got to visit one, when I spent a disorientating afternoon in Petersburg, Kentucky, at the Creation Museum.
The Creation Museum bills itself as a natural history museum, but it’s one from a world in which we are certain that God created the Earth and everything in it, roughly 6,000 years ago, and all in six days. Anything that looks older—fossilised dinosaur bones, multiple strata of sedimentary rock, signs of ancient water erosion and the moving of the continents—were all caused by one catastrophic event, the flood that Noah and his family so adroitly survived by building a massive floating menagerie.
Well, God certainly created the original world and its life about six thousand years ago according to the Bible’s history. It is important to understand that everything in the world today was not as it was originally. Before sin, there was no death! Sin and the Curse have changed the world. The Flood of Noah’s day also changed the world. In addition, the Tower of Babel changed the history of the human race in many ways. We certainly believe that most (not all) of the sedimentary layers containing fossils were laid down by the Flood of Noah’s day about 4,300 years ago. However, there has also been post-Flood catastrophism, associated with the Ice Age and also other local catastrophic events.
This is nothing you wouldn’t see or hear in your average fundamentalist church, but what makes the Creation Museum different, and controversial, is that it promotes the idea that not only is everything stated in Genesis chapters 1–11 true, but it can be proved … with science.
Nowhere at the Creation Museum do we say that we can “prove” the Genesis account by science. We certainly illustrate how observational science confirms the Bible’s account of history. And we also help people understand the difference between observational science (which we rely on to build our technology, for example, and which we all agree on), and historical science (beliefs concerning the past). One cannot “prove” historical science because it has to do with the past when we were not there. This correspondent has certainly misrepresented what is taught at the Creation Museum.
And the museum has teams of qualified palaeontologists, geologists, biologists and historians working on this. Oh, and baraminologists too. You haven’t heard of them? Neither had I.
I wish we did have “teams” of qualified scientists! We have a few PhD scientists working full time at Answers in Genesis, and we do work with other PhD scientists who have secular jobs and help us in our research, but we have only a fraction of scientists working on research compared to the secular world. However, even with this small group of scientists, they have accomplished a tremendous amount—particularly when one realizes how worried the secularists are about this one Creation Museum compared to the thousands of secular museums that push evolution and millions of years as fact.
For anyone not familiar with the early parts of the Bible, these be the facts: God created everything in six 24-hour days; Adam and Eve were the first humans; all the bad stuff in the world, from murder to animals eating other animals, is a result of Eve’s choice of afternoon snack; Noah built an ark to house two of every kind of land-dwelling animal (including dinosaurs) and his extended family, while God wiped everything clean with a worldwide flood; then God linguistically confused Noah’s descendants and dispersed them around the world with the Tower of Babel incident.
Well, the journalist used a mocking tone, as any reader can tell. But again, he either deliberately misrepresented or did not understand or did not take the time to understand the account in Genesis correctly. For instance, the “bad stuff in the world” did not result from “Eve’s choice of afternoon snack” (note his mocking, sarcastic tone). The Bible makes it clear that Adam took the fruit from the forbidden tree, then sin entered the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12). The Bible tells us that Eve was deceived, but Adam sinned. Adam was the head of the human race, and it was Adam who was instructed not to eat the fruit (as a test of obedience).
The Creation Museum was founded by the organisation Answers in Genesis, led by the Australian fundamentalist Ken Ham.
The word “fundamentalist” today is used in a derogatory way by anti-Christians. Yes, I believe in the fundamentals of the Christian faith, but we all know the journalist used this term to imply something negative. I deliberately don’t use the term “fundamentalist” when talking about myself or others associated with AiG because it has become a loaded term (although decades ago that was not the case).
It first opened in May 2007, and on the day I was visiting it was celebrating its 5th anniversary. In those five years over a million people have been through its doors, many, if my visit was anything to go by, on school trips. The site is huge, housing both the museum and the headquarters of Answers in Genesis, and provides employment for over 300 people. The museum is entirely privately funded.
Despite the erroneous claim to be a natural history museum, the displays of fossils, including casts of many famous examples such as anarchaeopteryx and Lucy the Australopithecine soon give way to expensively mounted dioramas telling the biblical story of creation. There’s also a section where a world that has abandoned God is depicted—picture a Disneyfied crack den where vulnerable teenagers watch porn and consider abortions.
It is interesting to see how he portrayed the exhibit we call the “Culture in Crisis” room. We show a church with a wrecking ball called “millions of years” hitting the foundation of the church. Inside the church, a family is listening to a pastor preach that Christians can believe in millions of years and evolution and add them to the Bible. The point we make is that the pastor is undermining the authority of the Word of God and that this really does affect how the next generation views Scripture. Then we depict teenagers of this family inside their home. A girl is on the phone wanting to line up an abortion, and the guys are looking at a computer to find pornography and are also using drugs. It is all very tastefully done. In the context of the exhibit, museum guests understand the point—that when young people no longer believe the authority of God’s Word, they will begin to become just like world, where everyone does what is right in their own eyes.
Any actual attempts to present “science” inevitably have a creationist slant. A display on evolution suggests that “Although often viewed as an icon of evolution, Darwin’s finches serve as a perfect model of variation within a created kind Genesis 1:21 we learn that God created ‘every winged bird according to its kind’.” Those baraminologists interpret “kind” to mean “species”.
Actually, in most instances, based on the research creation biologists have done, we would say that “kind” is more at the “family” level of classification. In the “Starting Points” room, near the beginning of the Creation Museum walk through, we explain that there are two starting points (God’s Word and man’s word) that people use to develop their worldview, and that is then used to interpret the evidence of the present in relation to the past. Certainly, we admit right at the start of the museum that we unashamedly build our thinking on God’s Word. Then we also show how observational science confirms over and over again that this is the correct starting point.
While at the museum I spent some time talking to geologist Andrew Snelling. Another Australian, Snelling has a PhD in geology from theUniversity of Sydney and worked in various capacities for the Australian mining industry before getting into “creation science” full time, first for the Texas-based Institute for Creation Research, and then since 2007 for Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum.
I mention to Andrew that I’m surprised to see animatronic models and fossils of dinosaurs around the museum. “They were real, we have their bones … in fact the Bible even potentially describes creatures that were dinosaurs. We don’t have to be afraid of the real evidence,” he says. “We’re looking at the fossil record—instead of being the order of creatures living and dying and evolving over millions of years—as the burial order during the flood. In other words, dinosaurs were alive during the pre-flood Earth. So were trilobites, so were people.”
When I ask him how his background in geology is being used here, he tells me of his fieldwork at the Grand Canyon. “In my research I’ve been involved in sampling rocks, sending them to laboratories, where analysis is done on radio isotopes,” he says. “What we always emphasise is this: we all have the same rocks, the same fossils, the same evidence … We all have the same geological maps … As we emphasise in the museum it’s your starting point.”
This is a point that’s made over and over, to the extent that it begins to sound reasonable. Their mantra is, “Hey, we’re all doing science here, there’s just a disagreement about the age.”
His first sentence makes me wonder if even for a moment the man started to realize the difference between observational science and historical science. He quoted Andrew discussing the two different starting points, but then his sentence about our supposed “mantra” went against what he stated above. It’s not just a matter of “age”—it’s a matter of starting points!
Creation science has a big problem with orthodox radiometric dating and carbon dating. They also use the example of the 1980 Mount St Helens eruption and subsequent pyroclastic flow to show how both the formation of the Grand Canyon and the tectonic shift of the continents could have happened in seconds during the flood, rather than over millions of years.
We believe that the formation of layers of sedimentary rock and the formation of the Grand Canyon happened quickly (not slowly over millions of years), but it certainly didn’t happen in “seconds!”
As I head for the exit I have mixed feelings about the place. Sure, I think, it’s wacky, but each to their own delusion, and at least the government isn’t funding this. Then another party of wide-eyed, eager-to-learn schoolchildren is ushered past.
He really doesn’t like the fact we are influencing children because he wants secularists to indoctrinate young people in their anti-God philosophy.
To me, this article clearly illustrates that the writer came to visit the Creation Museum wanting to mock us, and so, as he went through the exhibits, he just grabbed a few bits and pieces to try to justify his mocking article.
You can read his article online.
Should we really expect anything else from a secular journalist? After all, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). But at least he came, and he did hear the Word of God—it is God’s Word that convicts. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Let’s pray for him.
To read another commentary on the Guardian piece, see Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell’s News to Note feature that was posted over the weekend.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,