Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Creation Museum Part 9

I found Hemant again, who was just outside the room, and we decided that we wanted to try to go see the "Ultimate Proof of Creation" presentation that was supposed to start in about fifteen minutes. Because of that I didn't really pay much attention to the last bit of the exhibit, since we were trying to hurry. A guard with a dog popped around the corner (trying to sniff out the brown people, we said). My friends (who had abandoned me at the antibiotics display) pulled me aside to point out one last bit of hilarity, which I got on video. Mark is Jewish (well, and an atheist, you know how that works) and had a bone to pick about some of the museum's Hebrew:



Apparently it's a little more complicated than that, and Mark has a more in depth explanation at the end of his post about the Creation Museum. There are also people at Pharyngula saying all of the other languages are messed up, too. Good quality control, Ken Ham!

You pop out into the gift store (how strategic) but I didn't look around much because we wanted to get in line - a giant freaking line. Hemant and I knew we probably weren't going to get in, but we felt obligated as bloggers to try, especially since PZ was even farther behind us. We snaked around the museum and saw some random nice exhibits about different gem stones and rocks and fossils, and I just enjoyed them without reading the signs telling me they were only thousands of years old. Then the entrance to the theater was in sight, but they closed the doors with only about 25 people in front of us...so no Ultimate Proof of Creation for us. I'm sure I would have converted if only I had seen it.

Having failed, my group of friends went to eat in Noah's Cafe. I brought a bagged lunch because I couldn't bare to spend a penny more on the place. The napkin holders here had this delightful advertisement for some sort of toy/game/thing:Apologetics for kids. Barf. I almost lost my lunch.

After lunch I wanted to go check out the petting zoo with some people in the group. On the way out, we happened to walk by right when the only incident of the trip happened. PZ has the full story at his blog - the part I saw was Derek getting a stern talking to by a Creation Museum staff member. I agree that Derek was being peaceful and really just trying to defend himself from this guy accusing him of doing bad things. There was another guy who was shooting film for a documentary the entire trip, and he tried to film their discussion. When they asked him to stop and he didn't, they asked him to leave and he peacefully did. That's all. I was going to stick around, but then I saw Pastor Tom again (still lurking around the entrance!) so we decided to leave and go to the petting zoo.

The petting zoo was alright. It made me sad because I knew the whole point they had one was yet another reason to attract kids. What little kids don't like a petting zoo? Hell, I was flailing gleefully about going there. It was pretty typical except for two animals. One, they had a camel:And two, they had a Zorse:Wtf is a Zorse, you ask? Apparently it's a cross between a Zebra and a Horse - and yes, this isn't just another lie from the Creation Museum, they have a Wikipedia article that confirms their existence. Why the hell did they have a Zorse, you ask? Well, it's supposed to be proof of their "Kinds" idea I talked about earlier. They claimed that Horses and Zebras aren't really different species because they can breed, which is utter bull crap for multiple reasons. Now what defines a species is a complicated topic in biology, but they violate even the most basic of definitions, so let's just go with that right now.
"A common definition [for a species] is that of a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring, and separated from other such groups with which interbreeding does not (normally) happen."
I instantly guessed that Zorses were sterile, but the keeper was busy talking to someone else, so I didn't ask. But yep, they are. When two species mate and produce a sterile hybrid, that's means that they're two different species. Also, Zorses do not occur naturally in the wild, which is a major part of the definition. They only occur when humans forcibly breed a Horse and a Zebra - this is an example of interbreeding not normally happening. Often times the barrier between reproduction isn't so much incompatible sperm and eggs, but incompatible behavior. Honestly, the whole species concept thing is so much more complicated than that, but it's annoying how the Creation Museum just lies about it (again).

At this point Mark called me to tell me to come join him and Hemant again (they were busy in the gift shop instead of the petting zoo). When we got back they were following a crowd of atheists including PZ, and not wanting to miss any potential excitement, I followed. It was during this time where three older atheists in the group informed me that they had been watching the parking lot, and that security guards were going around photographing the license plates of all the cars with liberal bumper stickers. That almost certainly included mine since I have a Darwin Fish, an Obama sticker, and a Republicans for Voldemort sticker (though they may not have understood that last one). I didn't see it myself, but I don't see why they'd lie about it. Not quite sure if anything will come out of that, who knows.

We went outside the gates, and that's where PZ underwent a debaptism by Edwin Kagin (legal director for American Atheists) and was then made a Kentucky Colonel! Good thing I tagged along!After that, a lot of people started to go home. I could have gone back and poked around the gift shop and probably found tons more to laugh and cry about, but by that point I had had enough. In the parking lot I formally introduced myself to PZ ("the crazy person who drew that cartoon") and got a photo before heading home:
All of the Creation Museum staff and guards were very nice (even with the tasers and glocks and dogs...). I was oddly surprised that they never really talked about Jesus, but I guess they were focused on Creation, not really modern Christianity. Honestly, typing this up and thinking about everything with a clear mind was more horrible than walking through the museum. When I was there I treated it like Disneyland - all fantasy, nothing true, just something to giggle about. But now that I can take a step back and think about it, it depresses and horrifies me. These people are blatantly anti-science and anti-reason, and their sole purpose is to brainwash children (well, and to make money). The Creation Museum was literally mind numbingly stupid: it took nearly two hours of philosophical and scientific discussion in the car ride to Columbus until I could form grammatically correct sentences again.

Hopefully my recount of the trip was detailed enough that you guys won't feel the need to go there and suffer through it. However, I am glad I went. People were criticizing our decision, but I think hearing about this craziness is just what people need. This isn't just some private belief system. These people are out to convert, to warp the minds of children, to slander scientists and spread lies about the world, to instill archaic morals into the minds of many. These religious extremists may be a minority, but they are a vocal minority. We need to step up, be activist atheists, and keep working hard to make sure this rubbish doesn't get spread around anymore.

And that was an incredibly depressing ending. Here, have a photo of us before we went in, back before we had died a little inside:

(Thanks to Vanessa and Josh for extra photos)

Part1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

43 comments:

  1. What a lot of angst that stuff can cause. Really great write ups, including the factual details with the (rational) human responses. Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This series of posts has inspired me to be more active in denouncing this kind of thing more than any other event I've experienced. You did a great job with these, Jen, and - although this kind of phrase is tossed around a lot - you've done a great service for atheists everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Jen. Thanks for the sacrifice you undertook on behalf of all us faceless blog-followers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you guys liked this, please upvote it at reddit so more people can see it: http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/99r9o/detailed_9_part_review_of_the_creation_museum/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Now that, Jen, is a shameless plug. I'll upvote if I can get my internets to work.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, yes it is. That took a lot of time, I deserve a shameless plug ;P

    ReplyDelete
  7. Among many other things!

    By which I *clearly* only mean beer.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this. I gave the link to my 13 year old. He also appreciates that you took one for the team, if you will.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks, everyone. And Mina, hope your 13 year old doesn't mind my occasional bouts of swearing. It was hard to control =P

    ReplyDelete
  10. Are you kidding? 13 year olds are tops at swearing. It's like their favourite passtime, after texting lols to their friends and wondering what the tingly feeling is when the good looking classmates of the preferred sex get too close.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Veritas, that last line nearly made me gush out the nonexistent beer I wasn't drinking. XP

    ReplyDelete
  12. What is wrong with you, man! Get yourself a beer!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nope – any and all alcohol and fizzy drinks ... all taste like rat piss to me. -_-

    *Free and sober on water, juice and milk since 1991*

    ReplyDelete
  14. What is wrong with you, man! Get yourself a juice!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Holy heck, you're fast. Give 'em fingers some time to whirr down and cool off, man!

    And I ain't thirsty – at the moment. Though it's a bad idea to drink (or have anything in one's mouth) whilst reading that horrid crap.* For obvious reasons.

    *Note that I refer to the subject, not the writing itself.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yeah, I'm subscribed to the topic. So I suppose I am fast. I promise, I'm doing other things.

    And yes, I was at work reading most of it with one of my co-workers. We kept having to mute or hold customers to laugh and be sad.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Am I the only one who read that stuff and just remained stony-faced throughout, neither laughing nor feeling the urge to break down crying and suckling my thumb?

    (Understandable urges, though.)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Probably. I think most of us were turning to alcohol as a method of release. I don't know...it was one of those laugh or cry things. And then I read the bit about venom. Then it was a laugh and cry thing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. So there was a stupefied pause in between the two segments of "laugh and cry" during which you read (or tried to read) the venom thing with your neurons apoptosing*?

    * Fancy-schmancy medical term for neurons that literally kill themselves. Nothing like neuronal suicide to indicate what you're reading ... shouldn't be read by any moderately intelligent entities.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yeah, it was kinda like..."I get what they're trying to say, I think. But it's so completely wrong. Utterly and truly false in every possible sense."

    ReplyDelete
  21. A Herculean effort, indeed. Thanks for the whole story with all tne gritty details. Now I just have to hope it won't give me nightmares...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Jen,

    I read your series with interest. I happen to believe very differently and I believe with at least as much credible evidence. I won't however defend the museum.

    Just wanted to pass along a site where you may find a bit more scientific and well reasoned thought. This comes from a National Science Foundation Fellow with a PhD from MIT. He was a evolutionist however after studying the evidence, he decidedly reasoned that the evolutionary theory was not supported.

    He has challenged evolutionists over many years to debate with the stipulation that religion and the Bible be excluded from the debate. Only scientific evidence can be discussed. Very few will take him up on the challenge.

    You can read his book online. The topics are brief and assume you will think them through but they are also supported by significant references. There is no need to check your mind at the door and reason is encouraged. The link for both his website and the book are here. http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/index.html

    Just as you found Creationists to have preconceived notions and biases, I have found evolutionists to have the same. Just check it out with an open mind and see what you think. I believe it will be more intellectually stimulating than your other experience. Also no animatronics.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Brilliant series, and I'm kind of reading backwards. I only wish I could have a memory like yours to recount events I've attended and reflect on them at length later on. So glad you went, and I wish I'd been there.

    ReplyDelete
  24. TimL, I know you are well meaning, but I clicked through the first couple pages of his online book and found the same old creationist arguments that have been refuted over and over again.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Apparently it's a little more complicated than that, and Mark has a more in depth explanation at the end of his post about the Creation Museum. There are also people at Pharyngula saying all of the other languages are messed up, too. Good quality control, Ken Ham!

    Jen, it's not just the Chinese and the Hebrew that's fucked; I took a shot of the Greek that Paul was writing because it was, as far as I can tell, at least partially nonsense. Some of the words were words and then some were...something else.

    Once I get around to translating it, we'll find out. Hopefully I'm right. As screwed as all the other languages are, I figure I am.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Why would these people give a damn about other languages? As far as they're concerned, the ultimate and true translation of the Bible is the KJV, a Bible politically motivated 400 years ago. The various other languages there are just to add to the "mystery" of the thing. I bet they can count on one hand the amount of people who actually read ancient Greek who've passed through there.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I can't believe you made it through all that -- not to mention all these blog posts. I think I'd have exploded after 5 mins or flattened my face from continuous facepalming!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I made it into the talk by Lisle. All you missed was some more opportunities to pound your head against a wall. Things like him pointing out that Appeal to Authority is fallacious, then immediately making an appeal to authority.

    ReplyDelete
  29. The video on Pharyngula very nicely demonstrated that. They didn't take any video of the talk but the main guy interviewed the speaker afterwards, who was completely smiling when they said that an argument from god is an argument from authority. I wanted to punch him (the speaker) through the internet.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Veritas, that is because they didn't allow any pictures during his speech. He didn't support anything he said about creation just attacked evolution. Tried to say that evolutionists borrowed from creationists when it comes to morals, logic and uniformity of nature (induction). It was normal presuppositionalist crap.

    ReplyDelete
  31. It was worse than just using the Bible as an authority figure, granting his presupposition the Bible would be fine to use, but he never proved why we should grant him that. Instead he just asserted that the Bible was inerrant and the word of God.

    When I say he used appeal to authority, he actually quoted creationists "scientists" to lend authority to his argument. Philosophers talking about science.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh the thing that really pissed me off was his claim that Secular scientists and Creationists both started with what they were trying to confirm then looked for data to fit it. That is what creationists do, but not how science works as I am sure everyone here knows.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm almost positive that creature is a donkey-zebra cross, not a horse-zebra. Similar, in that they don't occur in the wild (and are difficult to breed in captivity) and are sterile hybrids. Yet another example of the creators of the museum not bothering with the details.

    PS, why didn't anyone TELL me they had a petting zoo??

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for the review, I wanted to go along but since I live in England it was a bit difficult ;)

    ReplyDelete
  35. The irony is? After the biblical number of "mistakes" that those anti-reality idiots placed in their museum, their cartoonist, Dan Lietha (an apt name if ever I've heard one), has the nerve to make this cartoon.

    You know what news report we'd like to see Dan? One that asks just how so many "PhD"s could make so many errors in that place. How many "PhD"s who had PhD's in the relevent fields actually did work in that place, I wonder?

    Too bad for the brainless fool that 300 people actually did go to that place...since they're the ones that have picked out all those mistakes.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you for great coverage! Originally I thought your trip would be just a waste of money, but it seems to have been a genuinely weird experience, also for us readers:)

    (Hi, I'm a new one. I write from Helsinki, Finland. Much like southern Alaska, tough not quite as wild.)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Very good write-up. I have only been here a few times as I just discoverd it recently, but I really enjoy your writing and humor and plan on coming back often. I'm from Indiana as well and it's nice to know that there are some other skeptics here, it can get kinda lonely sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  38. That's a commonly used definition of species, but like all definitions of the word, it is problematic. For one thing, it makes no room for organisms that do not reproduce sexually (which if you count microbes, is the vast majority of all species). And even for sexually reproducing organisms, that definition creates a paradox when trying to describe ring species. I like to call it the horse's ass's definition of species because it seems like it was specifically designed so that horses and asses would be separate species. This being the case because mules are sterile ... except when they're not. I've not heard of a pregnant zorse, but I feel safe in asserting that it's not that they're sterile, but rather that there's a very high probability that individuals will be sterile.

    ReplyDelete
  39. The problems with Hebrew and the other languages seem to fit well with the whole "baramin" thing being wrong. Probably the best argument against the existence of the God of the Old Testament is lightning hasn't come down and struck Ken Ham for his incompetence and disrespect.

    ReplyDelete
  40. The Chinese/Kanji on the bottom left says "Rain, Moon, Night". Since Chinese operates with morpheme instead of alphabets, each character has inherent meanings. But together, they make no recognisable meaning, as far as I can tell. Others on Pharyngula have commented that they used old fonts to make some of the characters look less like Latin alphabets.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Re quality control, I am given to understand that somewhere in the USA there is a monument made of paper-clips to commemorate the way the Norwegians saved their Jews in the war. Idiotic story goes like this: The Nazis said that Jews had to wear paper-clips on their lapels, so the King said he was going to wear one and so should all loyal subjects, with the result that no one could find the Jews, who all lived happily ever after.

    Five minutes' research would have revealed the fact that this story was a muddled hybrid of two or three different stories from two different countries. Fact: Norwegians wore paper-clips to indicate allegiance to the Government-in-Exile; nothing to do with Jews though. Urban legend: the king of DENMARK (different, you know, country thingie) himself wore the yellow star and encouraged his subjects to do likewise. Fact: the Danes smuggled their Jews to safety, as many as they could. Fact: the Norwegians didn't even try, and the Norwegian Jews mostly died in the camps.

    Now, what kind of mind goes to all the trouble of creating a labour-intensive monument, without checking the story or being clear on the difference between Denmark and Norway? It is as if I were to spend ten years building a statue of that famous Mexican, Thomas Jefferson, out of matchsticks, bet that 20-foot sombrero would be difficult......

    Back to the Creation Museum: Just as this paperclip fuckwit wasn't clear on the difference between countries, I expect that these people are monolinguals who have only the haziest notion of what other languages and writing systems are, and even less interest in them. The displays are thus almost an example of "printer's Latin" -- just throw in something that will look cool and "stand for" the human languages. Most of the marks won't know the difference or care.

    May they go to Thailand and get a tattoo that says "I am a stupid farang".

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thank you for going there and post about it, so others don't have to...  when I saw the picture you took of Adam,Eve and the cuddly velociraptor I died a little inside.
    Like you, I simply don't get how anybody can NOT realise all the obvious flaws and contradictions exhibited in this place, and I do pity the kids of parents who believe in these myths.

    ReplyDelete
  43. No wonder Americans suffer from scientific illiteracy!

    I'm not an atheist (I'm a Thelemite), but I agree with you 100%.

    ReplyDelete