Our visit to the +Creation Museum
turned out rather anti-climactically. It's entirely pleasant, the staff are charming, the dinosaurs are great and the park grounds are lovely. There's even a petting zoo.
It isn't precisely what comes to mind when thinking of a museum, of course. The layout is less Smithsonian and more Ikea, an unguided single-track path winding through the building, with shortcuts between sections to be found behind discreet doors. There's stern warnings about behaving respectfully and not wearing inappropriate clothing. And the maximum age for straddling the photo-staged triceratops is 12. But it was still a lot of fun (and they definitely earn extra credit for giving the displayed human figures a reasonable tan).
There's a fabulous section on Noah's ark (this started as a parenthetical reference here, but I got all enthusiastic). There's all the necessary explanations of biblical kinds, including that all modern and fossil canines (for example) could be produced from only one breeding pair of pups. My favourite part was how all dinosaurs were saved from the Flood by Noah's bringing only a pair of eggs aboard the ark, thereby needing much less space than you might naively expect (I presume that reptilian parthenogenesis is seen as somewhat scandalous, for all that it could have saved even more space).
Surprised that there were dinosaurs aboard the ark? So was I! But it turns out to be necessary in order to correctly interpret not only the references to Behemoth and Leviathan in the Book of Job (post-flood, y'see), but also human myths and tales of dragons, as all being depictions of dinosaurs living concurrently with humans (sadly, they didn't go into the details of which dinosaurs might have inspired the fire-breathing bits of legend).
Possibly my favourite section of all came soon thereafter, which was all about the downfall of society being brought about by scientific relativism. The general thesis, IIRC, is that science and human reason are arbitrary, and therefore lead to social ills like violence, gossip, drug use, teen pregnancy, fidgeting in church and street art. Some of the street art was awesome
. I wish they sold posters.
The exhibits themselves don't merely attempt to explain the biblical creation myth, but rather are pitched directly in opposition to the scientific story. They run the gamut: from the science-based paleontologists working with reasonable bible-based paleontologists who see the same "facts" but have a different "approach"; to the eruption of Mt St Helens carving deep canyons in both soft and hard rock in a matter of hours or months, therefore showing that all weathering on Earth could have happened in the last 6,000 years (ooh, also Pangaea broke up under the weight of the Flood's waters!); through to some other eruption (?) documented to deposit thick stratified layers of stuff within days or years that radio-carbon date to 350k years old, therefore disproving radiation dating; through to Darwin was racist, therefore evolution is evil.
And this, in summary, was what I found most interesting about the Creation Museum. It isn't really a museum about the Bible, nor about Christianity, nor even the biblical creation story. It's a museum of creationist rhetoric
. And the particularly interesting thing about that is that a lot of it is based on techniques that come from fast-paced, aggressive, personality-driven, oral
forms. When you see them in printed form on posters or stelae, with the freedom to disassemble the syllogisms, and back-reference claims to arguments, you have a rather different experience. And this experience is, ultimately, really quite educational.