Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Creation Museum emerges as a learning institution

Transcript of today's show:

Six months after its opening, the controversial Creation Museum has attracted over one quarter of a million visitors, double the number predicted. The largest audiences are home-school families and Christian school students, who come to learn the creation-based science that the museum so vividly portrays. Museum founder Evangelist Ken Ham, who has focused his ministry extensively on education, has added afternoon lectures and plans several children's workshops.
[source: Northern Kentucky News]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Comment on this story.

Sound Off: What is being said about this story from around the blogging and opinion world.

from an editorial by James K. Willmot, appearing in the Louisville Courier-Journal:
There is a great educational injustice being inflicted upon thousands of children in this country, a large percentage of whom come from the Kentucky, Ohio and, Indiana areas…. If adults want to believe in a 6,000-year-old Earth, that dinosaurs and humans lived together in harmony (all dinosaurs were vegetarians, you see) and that Noah saved all of the Earth's animal species by placing them on his ark, then they have the right to do so. What I object to is that thousands of children, particularly the growing number of Christian home-schooled children in this country, are visiting the museum in droves, much to the delight of the museum's founder, Ken Hamm….

The obstruction of scientific information is nothing new in the history of fundamentalist theology. What is new is the way this organization is using the power of radio (AIG is broadcast over 850 radio stations), the Internet and, now, a pseudo-natural history museum to convince well-meaning, hard-working people that science is not to be trusted, that the theory of evolution is evil and that belief in scientific theories of our creation leads to barbaric behaviors…. Unfortunately, the creation museum in Northern Kentucky has been very successful at encouraging their non-thinking, anti-reasoning philosophy, especially among young, dinosaur-loving children. Inaction in this matter may come back to haunt us in the future. [read full story]

from Evolution Blog:
The issue is not that someone knowledgeable about science will go in understanding the evidence for evolution and come out a fire-breathing creationist. Rather, it is the people who have never really thought carefully about the subject, who go out of curiosity or because a friend roped them in, we have to worry about. Such people rarely consider the possibility that such slick and expensive propaganda could possibly be wall-to-wall nonsense. Where there's smoke, there's fire, right?

Furthermore, the success of the creation museum leads to favorable press coverage…. That leads to young-Earthism being a ubiquitous and accepted part of the social discourse. If the polls are to be believed, fully half the country is already in thrall to this garbage. Add in a lot of neutral to favorable press coverage and you bet people are going to start being persuaded. If not of full-blown YEC, at least of the idea that this is something that needs to be presented in science classes….

The fact is that if the courts ever step out of the way we will have some sort of creationism taught in virtually every school-district in the country. Frame your way out of that. We're one Supreme Court justice (and the right case, of course) away from having it found constitutional to teach this dreck in public schools. If, as seems a distinct possibility, we have President Giulliani in January of 2009, I'm afraid I see little hope for keeping the forces of darkness and ignorance from finally getting what they want. [read full blog post]

excerpt from an article in Answers Magazine, published by the Answers In Genesis ministry, which funded the Creation Museum:

Most parents who take their children to church on Sunday also send them off to a secular school the rest of the week. This is the case in approximately 88% of U.S. households with school-age children. If the teacher teaches from secular textbooks, the child’s Christian education is challenged.

At church they are taught that they are special in God’s eyes; in fact, they are created in His image. In most secular schools they hear the philosophy of naturalism, the idea that mass and energy are all that exist and that the universe and life all arose by natural processes. There is no supernatural Creator God.

In a key 1995 statement, the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) affirmed that naturalism is a fundamental tenet of science education:

The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments.

“Unsupervised” means no Creator God. “Impersonal” means life has no special meaning. “Unpredictable” means we are a product of blind chance. “Natural process” means processes inherent in matter. It should be noted that in 1997, the NABT removed the words, “unsupervised” and “impersonal” when they realized they were distancing themselves from religious people, but the words “unpredictable” and “natural processes” remain. [read complete article]

Signed statement from concerned scientists in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana

"We, the undersigned scientists at universities and colleges in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, are concerned about scientifically inaccurate materials at the Answers in Genesis museum. Students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level. These students will need remedial instruction in the nature of science, as well as in the specific areas of science misrepresented by Answers in Genesis." [see full statement]