Your Creation Museum Report

Yes, finally, ladies and gentlemen, I present you with your Creation Museum report! Thank you for your patience. Our report today has two parts: The first part is a photographic tour, with all the snarktasticness you’ve been no doubt hoping for. Click on the first picture and cruise on through. It’s long — 101 pictures — but, hey, you guys paid top dollar, so I don’t want to skimp. The second part, a think piece, if you will, is directly below. It’s no less snarky (as you will soon discover), but also somewhat more thoughtful. Enjoy.

By John Scalzi

Here’s how to understand the Creation Museum:

Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit. And we’re not talking just your average load of horseshit; no, we’re talking colossal load of horsehit. An epic load of horseshit. The kind of load of horseshit that has accreted over decades and has developed its own sort of ecosystem, from the flyblown chunks at the perimeter, down into the heated and decomposing center, generating explosive levels of methane as bacteria feast merrily on vintage, liquified crap. This is a Herculean load of horseshit, friends, the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Augeas.

And you look at it and you say, “Wow, what a load of horseshit.”

But then there’s this guy. And this guy loves this load of horseshit. Why? Well, really, who knows? What possesses someone to love a load of horseshit? It’s beyond your understanding and possibly you don’t actually want to know, even if you could know; maybe it’s one of those “on that path lies madness” things. But love it he does, and he’s not the only one; the admiration for this particular load of horseshit exists, unaccountably, far and wide. There are advocates for this load of horseshit.

And so this guy who loves this load of horseshit decides that he’s going to do something; he’s going to give it a home. And not just any home, because as this is no ordinary load of horseshit, so must its home be no ordinary repository for horseshit. And so the fellow builds a temple for his load of horseshit. The finest architects scope this temple’s dimensions; the most excellent builders hoist columns around the load of horseshit and cap them with a cunning and elegant dome; and every surface of the temple is clad in fine-grained Italian marble by the most competent masons in a three-state radius. The load of horseshit is surrounded by comfortable seats, the better for people to gaze upon it; docents are hired to expertly describe its history and features; multimedia events are designed to explain its superior nature, relative not only to other loads of horseshit which may compete in loadosity or horseshittery, but to other, completely unrelated things which may or may not be loads of anything, much less loads of horseshit.

The guy who built the temple, satisfied that it truly represents his beloved load of horseshit in the best possible light, then opens the temple to the public, to attract not only the already-established horseshit enthusiasts, but possibly to entice new people to come and gaze on the horseshit, and to, well, who knows, admire its moundyness, or the way it piles just so, to nod in appreciation of the rationalizations for its excellence or to clap in delight and take pictures when an escaping swell of methane causes the load of horseshit to sigh a moist and pungent sigh.

When all of this is done, the fellow turns to you and asks you what you think of it all now, now that this gorgeous edifice has been raised in glory and the masses cluster in celebration.

And you say, “Well, that’s all very nice. But it’s still just an enormous load of horseshit.”

And this is, in sum, the Creation Museum. $27 million has purchased the very best monument to an enormous load of horseshit that you could possibly ever hope to see. I enjoyed my visit, admired the craft with which the whole thing was put together, and was never once convinced that what I was seeing celebrated was anything more or less than horseshit. Popular horseshit? Undoubtedly. Horseshit hallowed by tradition and consecrated by time? Just so. Horseshit of the finest possible quality? I would not argue the point. And yet, even so: Horseshit. Complete horseshit. Utter horseshit. Total horseshit. Horseshit, horseshit, horseshit, horseshit. I pity the people who swallow it whole.


So that is the key to understanding the Creation Museum. But what is the enormous load of horseshit that sits, squat yet moundy, at its very center? It’s simple: That the Bible is the literal and inerrant Word of God. If the Creation Museum doesn’t have that, it doesn’t have anything. So what it does — and very cleverly — is to position the Word of God as a non-threatening and accommodating given right from the start.

In the first room of the Creation Museum tour there’s a display of two paleontologists unearthing a raptor skeleton. One of them, a rather avuncular fellow, explains that he and the other paleontologist are both doing the same work, but that they start off from different premises: He starts off from the Bible and the other fellow (who does not get to comment, naturally) starts off from “man’s reason,” and really, that’s the only difference between them: “different starting points, same facts,” is the mantra for the first portion of the museum.

The rhetoricians in the crowd will already see how a card has been palmed here. The Museum is casually trying to establish an equivalence between science and creationism by accrediting them both as legitimate “starting points” for any discussion of biology, geology and cosmology. This would cause any scientist worth his or her salt to have a positively cinematic spit take, because it’s horseshit, but if you don’t know any better (say, if you’ve been fed a line of crap your whole life along the lines of “science is just another religion”) it sounds perfectly reasonable. And so if you buy that, then the next room, filled with large posters that offer on equal footing the creationist and scientific takes on the creation of the universe and evolution, seems perfectly reasonable, too: Heck, we can both have our theories! They’re both okay.

The problem with this is that creationism isn’t a theory, it’s an assertion, to wit: The entire universe was created in six days, the days are 24-hour days, the layout for the creation and for the early history of the planet and humanity is in the first chapter of Genesis and it is exactly right. Everything has to be made to conform to these assertions, which is why creationist attempts at science are generally so damn comical and refutable. This is also why the “different starting points, same facts” mantra is laughably false on its face — creationism has to have different facts to explain the world. It’s a little idiotic to establish as a “fact” that both science and creationism acknowledge, say, that apes exist, but to paper over the difference in the set of “facts” that explain how the apes got here, or to imply that a creationist assertion (apes created on the fifth day) is logically or systematically equivalent to decades of rigorous scientific process in the exploration of evolution.

But none of this is immediately obvious stuff and certainly the Creation Museum isn’t going to go out of its way to point it out; quite the opposite, in fact, since everything relies on the audience swallowing that whopping load of horseshit right up front. Thus the avuncular fake paleontologist at the start of the tour, looking all squinty and trustworthy and setting forth his load of utter horseshit in a tone of calm sincerity. Why wouldn’t you believe him? He’s a scientist, after all. Once you buy the initial premise, the rest comes easy, or, well, easier, anyway.


Let me say this much: I have to admit admiration for the pure balls-out, high-octane creationism that’s on offer here. Not for the Creation Museum that mamby-pamby weak sauce known as “Intelligent Design,” which tries to slip God by as some random designer, who just sort of got the ball rolling by accident. Screw that, pal: The Creation Museum’s God is hands on! He made every one of those animals from the damn mud and he did it no earlier than 4004 BC, or thereabouts. It’s all there in the book, son, all you have to do is look. Indeed, every single thing on display in the Creation Museum is either caused by or a consequence of exactly three things:

1. The six-day creation;

2. Adam eating from the tree of life;

3. Noah’s flood.

Really, that’s it. That’s the Holy Trinity of explanations and rationalizations. And thus we learn fascinating things. Did you know, for example, that Adam is responsible not only for the fall of man, but also for the creation of venom? It didn’t exist in the Garden of Eden, because, well. Why would it? Weeds? Adam’s fault. Carnivorous animals (and, one assumes, the occasional carnivorous plant)? Adam again. Entropy? You guessed it: Adam. Think about that, won’t you; eat one piece of fruit and suddenly you’re responsible for the inevitable heat death of the universe. God’s kind of mean.

The interplay of this Holy Trinity of explanations comes to its full realization when the Creation Museum considers what really are its main draw: Dinosaurs. Are dinosaurs 65 million years old? As if — the Earth is just six thousand years old, pal! Dinosaurs were in the garden of Eden — and vegetarians, at least until the fall, so thanks there, Adam. They were still around as late as the mid-third millenium BC; they were hanging with the Sumerians and the Egyptians (or, well, could have). All those fossils? Laid down by the Noah’s Flood, my friends. Which is not to say there weren’t dinosaurs on the Ark. No, the Bible says all kinds of land animals were on the boat, and dinosaurs are a subset of “all kinds.” They were there, scaring the crap out of the mammals, probably. Why did they die off after the flood? Well, who can say. Once the flood’s done, the Creation Museum doesn’t seem to care too much about what comes next; we’re in historical times then, you see, and that’s all Exodus through Deuteronomy, ie., someone else’s problem.

But seriously, the ability to just come out and put on a placard that the Jurassic era is temporally contiguous with the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt — well, there’s a word for that, and that word is chutzpah. Because, look, that’s something you really have to sell if you want anyone to buy it. It’s one thing to say to people that God directly created the dinosaurs and that they lived in the Garden of Eden. It’s another thing to suggest they lived long enough to harass the Minoans, and do it with a straight face. It’s horseshit, pure and simple, but that’s not to suggest I can’t admire the hucksterism.


I’m quite clearly immune to the ideological charms of the Creation Museum, but then, I never was the prime audience for the place. How were other people grokking the museum the day I was there? Honestly, it’s hard to say. The place was certainly crowded; I and the friends I went with had to wait in line an hour and a half to get into the place (there’s a bottleneck in the middle of the museum in the form of a short film about the six days of creation). No one I could see was getting sloppy over the place; people just more or less shuffled through each room, looked at the displays, read the placards and moved on. My friends occasionally heard someone say “oh, come on,” when one of the placards tested their credulity (there’s apparently only so much of “T-Rexes were vegetarian” propaganda any one person should be obliged to take), but for my part I just noticed people looking, reading and moving on.

There have to be people who believe this horseshit unreservedly, but I suspect that perhaps the majority of the visitors I saw were Christians who may not buy into the whole “six days” thing, but are curious to see how it’s being presented. To be clear, the “horseshit” I’ve been speaking of is not Christianity, it’s creationism, which to my mind is a teleological quirk substantially unrelated to the grace one can achieve through Jesus Christ. Now, the Creation Museum rather emphatically argues that a literal reading of the Bible is essential for true Christianity — it’s got a whole red-lit section that suggests the ills of society are directly related to folks deciding that maybe some parts of the Bible are, you know, metaphorical — but that’s just more horseshit, of a slightly different flavor. There are lots of Christians who clearly don’t need to twist their brain like a pretzel to get around the idea that the universe is billions of years old and that we’ve evolved from earlier forms. For those folks, the Creation Museum is probably about culture, to the extent any installation largely created by someone who previously worked for Universal Studios can be about culture.

At the very least, this is high-quality stuff on the level of production. There are lots of things here that are cheesy, but there’s not much that’s chintzy; you can see where the $27 million went. Whether this will all age well will be an interesting question, although I don’t plan on returning in five years to find out. Here and now, it’s all pretty damn slick, and I think that in itself may be a draw for mainstream Christians. Christian culture has only recently ramped itself up into being something other than a wan and denatured version of pop culture (this is evidenced in part by the fact that many evangelical Christian teens now dress as badly as the rest of their peers), and this is another high-production-value offering for this particular lifestyle choice.

Will these folks find the arguments they find at the Creation Museum convincing? Again, you got me. I certainly hope not, but more to the point I would hope that these folks don’t come away feeling that their love of Christ obliges them to swallow heaping mounds of horseshit from people who are phobic about metaphor. I really don’t think Jesus would care if you think that you and a monkey have a common ancestor; I think he would care more that you think you and your neighbor have a common weal.

What about non-Christians? I can’t imagine that anyone who wasn’t strongly religious or already inclined to agree with creationist ideas would be converted by this place. Between blaming Adam for everything from poisons to sweating and T-Rexes eating coconuts and a particularly memorable placard explaining why in early Biblical times it was perfectly fine to have sex with your close relatives, it’s just way too over the top.


Indeed, it’s over the top enough that I never could actually get angry with the place. Not that I was planning to; I admit to dreading coming to the place, but that’s primarily because I thought it would bore and annoy me, not make me angry. In fact, I was never bored, and was genuinely annoyed only by the “paleontologist” at the start of the walk-through. The rest of the time I enjoyed it as I suspect anyone who is not some stripe of creationist could enjoy it: As camp. At some point — specifically the part where the Scopes Monkey Trial was presented as the end of decent Christian civilization as we know it — I just started chuckling my way through. By the time I got to the Dinosaur Den, with its placards full of patent misinformation about how soft tissue fossilization strongly suggested a massive, worldwide flood, I was a little loopy. It was just so ridiculous.

And I’m happy about that. In the end, the Creation Museum is one of those things that I suspect will comfort those who absolutely believe in creationism, amuse those who absolutely don’t, and be a interesting way to spend a day to lots of people somewhere in the middle. It’s not a front in the culture war, as much as I think it would like to be; it’s designed too much like an amusement for that.

It is what it is: An attractive and diverting repository for a massive load of horseshit. And, well, let’s be realists: That load of horseshit’s not going away anytime soon. Might as put it somewhere that it’s out of everyone else’s way. The Creation Museum manages that well enough.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

568 replies on “Your Creation Museum Report”

Perhaps the “over the topness” didn’t come through in the photos, then. I got angry looking at them and I didn’t even have to pay $19.95. Unfortunately, even I have to scold myself for that not being justified. People are permitted to believe any darn thing they like and even encourage other people to journey to their museum to see their dioramas. It annoys me that there isn’t more public dissing of nonsense like this, though. The circular reasoning and ignorance of existing data in the signs is … *shudder*.

P.S. The rhetoric exercises were fun. Slightly blurry at times, but fun. Hey, and cool background on the site now, even if any text not on a white background is unreadable. Very spiffy.

Oh, I should print this post out and keep it handy for the next time one of the other homeschooling parents approaches me at a get together and asks why I chose not to “allow my children to experience the full glory of finding The Answers.”

( I’m one of the only members in the group who did not sign the statement of faith on the membership application )

Funny – maybe. Terrifying – certainly. I’d like to say only in America but unfortunately these nu…sorry intellectually challenged…people have also showed up on the UK’s side of the pond.

I think Joe has a point about science particularly where unproven theory becomes viewed as fact but where belief is directed at items that have been demonstrated to be wrong. Well it’s just sad really. Science, good science – not faith in science, is all about the question. Worship the question.

I find the whole dinosaur obsession to be really interesting. Those of us not enamored of equine excrement might assume that a muse- uh… institution(?) of this type might try to paper over the dinos – or at least get them off the stage after the flood (“They were too busy playing with the unicorns and eating their spinach, kiddos.”). Instead, we get dinos in the parking lot, dinos in the bookshop, “There were dinos until last Tuesday – really. You just missed the last one. Yes, the loss of the glory and wonder of the Tyrannosaur is just the latest in the long line of ills that stems from Adam’s consumption of the apple.”

I guess it’s a more visual rhetorical trick? Keep everyone off guard with reptilian glare and sharp tooth, so that you inadvertently swallow the horseshit which enters via your conveniently dropped jaw?

I’d just like to be a fly on the wall when some six-year-old, complete with convenient dinosaur obsession, comes in and starts a loud (and geologically correct) disquisition on which dinosaur lived in which age and therefore shouldn’t be pictured together, and even though he would love to have a dino like the person in the diorama, that is just SO WRONG.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for going there and sharing your experiences!
I have to say though, that the saddest picture (to me) in your slide show was of the Home School bus in the parking lot. Those children are going to swallow that load of garbage, and probably never question it.

Terrific report, John, and very much well worth the wait! Will have to look at the multitude of pictures tomorrow.

BTW, I believe you meant ‘put’ rather than ‘out’ in paragraph 8:

the craft with which the whole thing was output together,

I found myself wondering how they managed to square the quote from Genesis, And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed, with the whole things-were-perfect-then and they-really-suck-now message. Surely, by this reasoning, we should all drop our clothes?

How did the museum handle the whole Adam and Eve nudity thing? In the one picture you have of Adam, he’s using a convenient lamb as a loincloth. One presumes that mutton wasn’t always handy. In a later photo, of the serpent (who, it should be noted, were also affected by The Fall in that they lost any semblance of vocal cords), Adam and his clone (is it legal or even advisable to procreate with your clone?) are seen from the shoulders up.

If you believe that the Bible is inerrant, then it seems to me that you have to accept that human nudity is entirely natural and part of God’s plan.

So I was kind of wondering how the museum handled this seeming contradiction.

Oh, wait…

Patrick @11: No, the Horseshit Museum is not in Ohio. I suspect that, like the Creation Museum, it’s in Kentucky. After all, Kentucky is home to some of the finest horse farms in the world, it only makes sense that they would produce a high grade of horseshit.

Hey, quick one for those more better edumacated than me: why, if “God’s Word” = “hope” does its manifestation so often fill me with sadness and despair? Weird.

Dean: But there is logic to this — nudity was only cool before the Fall. Now, like weeds and public schools and Daily Kos, it’s blood-red XXX and totally wikkid (\m/). It’s all right there on the placards, dude.

Oh, and, Thanks, John!

I just spent seven precious minutes skimming this of the 15 I have to get dressed, eat breakfast, and get on the road to class. I can’t wait to read this at leisure.

Thanks for visiting and posting your reportage from the Creationist museum! The photo captions were especially funny.

BTW, shouldn’t archaeologists in Egypt have found ancient murals showing dinosaurs and Egyptians co-existing? And since Egyptian gods often had animal heads, how come none of them had dino heads? (Sauron, Egyptian god of darkness… now there’s stuff for a sci-fi story. Or an episode of Stargate. Whatever.)

John said: “Now, the Creation Museum rather emphatically argues that a literal reading of the Bible is essential for true Christianity — it’s got a whole red-lit section that suggests the ills of society are directly related to folks deciding that maybe some parts of the Bible are, you know, metaphorical – but that’s just more horseshit, of a slightly different flavor.”

Yeah, well, I guess that nut “Paul” is surely going to hell:

Galatians 4:
21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.

24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. (NIV)

If I lived closer, it might be fun to protest carrying around signs that said, “Repent, sinners! Galatians 4:24!”

Oh geesh, I see mensley’s brought both his imaginary friend and his work of fiction…

And now, on to a discussion of how, since the Bible clearly condoned slavery, we should have slaves too.

John, an interesting look at that place.

But here is the saddest part;
Right now, the ‘president’ and most of the Republicans running for high office, BELIEVE this crap! They really do!

(Or at least say they do, to satisfy the millions in Ohio, Alabama, Texas, etc. who actually think stories cobbled together from ancient middle eastern stories are to be taken literally, and for some reason, these people can vote.)

As a result, so many believe in the ‘Rapture’, that they were all disappointed when it didnt happen in 2000.
Problem is, they WANT it to happen! Yes! Now!
And they will do anything they can think of to make it happen,
including causing it themselves!

So while this seems funny to most, it is actually very dangerous.

I dont know what the answer is, but right now the USA has 11,000
nukes, and a ‘Christian Fundamentalist’ administration.

May the REAL God help us!

Laurie Mann wrote: “Oh geesh, I see mensley’s brought both his imaginary friend and his work of fiction…”

Oops, I guess I wasn’t clear. I was making fun of the bible-is-literally true crowd. It’s hard to write tongue-in-cheek without using emoticons, I guess. What amazes me is that creationists don’t seem to be able to read their own book. It always amuses me that if you believe that the bible is literally true, then it tells you that it’s metaphorical.

Most important question, oh master of the equine fecal matter…

Is that some random guy riding a dinosaur at the end of the slideshow, or did they somehow get Eddie “Mr. Potatoehead” Deezen to participate in their show? He’s aged really well.

So, when will the criminal justice system start seeing murder defenses that consist of, “It’s all Adam’s fault” and… win?

“Your Honor, I firmly conclude, that had Adam not eaten that apple in the Garden of Eden, and brought down the smiting and cruel hand of our Lord God, my client Joe-Bob Mass-murderer would not have brutally mutilated his next door neighbor for playing country music.”

You wouldn’t even need juries anymore!

Furthermore, I find a horrible lack of women in that whole museum. (at least according to John’s depiction) I kinda liked it better when Eve was the one responsible for evil. Miraculous virgin births, and prostitutes aside, being the cause of sin for all of humanity just leaves a tasty flavor in my mouth.

F U Adam, evil is MINE.

Honestly, I’m in that nether-realm of not being able to decide between howling with laughter or screaming in rage at this monument to stupidity….so instead I’ve pretty much decided to forward this to my brother who runs the exhibit side of a major science museum….just to watch is head explode.

Why not share the pain/laughter?

I made the mistake of reading this at work. My laughter apparently disturbed some of my co-workers. I passed on the link, and as I type this, there are various patches of giggling around the newsroom.

Thank you very much for posting this. My curiosity has now been satisfied, and with you as a filter, my head will not blow up. The photos make clear both of the initial assumptions about the creators of the place: (1) they spent a buttload of money on this place, and (2) they flunked science, rhetoric, and both formal and informal logic.

Best money I ever spent. And I think Deb Geisler@34 pretty much sums up my opinion about the museum and its creators (small c).

Does anyone else have the feeling that the true “young-earth creationsists” spend a lot of time with their fingers in their ears, singing “lalalala I can’t hear you!”?

As a former creationist, I have to say I’m surprised at how shoddy their reasoning is. There’s better arguments they could have used. (Not _much_ better, mind. But it would have been nice if they could have given it the old college try.)

Jill@8: Dinosaurs have long been a favorite tool of the creationists, because the public likes them and wishes they were still around. Only, you know, not eating _us_. Hence, Jurassic Park and sequels. There’s a particularly scummy scumbag based out of Florida (though he’s currently in the slammer for tax evasion) who calls himself “Dr. Dino”, though his only doctorate is from a diploma mill. (Guy’s named Kent Hovind, if you feel like wikipediaing/googling.)

Dean@14: Nudity wasn’t a precondition of sinlessness, but rather a consequence thereof, or perhaps a privilege. After they sinned, God killed off some animals for them and gave them the skins to wear. Dropping all your clothes may intrigue and/or frighten your neighbors, but it seems unlikely to be sufficient to get you back into God’s good graces, assuming you were not already there.

Remember, “A implies B” does not necessarily mean “B implies A”.

Sarah O@20: I don’t know exactly what the placard said, but the standard explanation is that (a) it’s not like they had a lot of choice, (b) God hadn’t prohibited incest yet (that happened in the Mosaic law), and (c) genetic diseases hadn’t had time to “develop” (or perhaps, “evolve”?) yet. I don’t believe they actually have a good argument for (c), it’s just something they assert. Like, you know, everything else.

‘k, so… is it just me, or does that one placard state that God designed dogs to evolve? Seems like they could have run with that and skipped, oh… a museum full of inanity.

Laurie @25: mensley’s poking fun at the literalists. Paul is basically the second-most-important person in the New Testament, after Jesus himself, and verse 24 there is saying that the story of Abram and his two sons is a metaphor, not necessarily history.

That said, since it’s a story involving approximately five humans (at least until their descendants got _busy_), it’s got about as much chance as being exactly historical as the Greek and Roman epics, barring annoying things like “infallibility” and “inerrancy”. That is, there was a Troy, and likely a Trojan war, but that’s about as far as we can get with history. Since we don’t even know when Abram was supposed to have lived, we’ll probably have to settle for not knowing anything else about him for sure. And I for one am fine with that.

John, you said “Here and now, it’s all pretty damn slick, and I think that in itself may be a draw for mainstream Christians.”

I’m a Lutheran — which I consider pretty darned mainstream Christian — and for most of us, there’s not conflict between good science and the Bible because we really don’t take it literally.

Granted, there are different types of Lutherans, and a couple of them *do* take the Bible literally, but the largest group doesn’t.

Granted also that Lutherans may not be mainstream anymore.

But still, most of the church-going Christians I know would be exasperated by the Creation Museum.

I posted a link to the report on a few discussion groups I frequent. So far the responses have been positive but some less-than-polite people may come calling as a result. Just a heads up.


I think you broke my brain.

You know, I’ve wishy-washy about it, but I think the time has come to commit myself to a life of sin. The alternative appears to be a life of “Ow, my head!”

“So, when will the criminal justice system start seeing murder defenses that consist of, “It’s all Adam’s fault” and… win? ”

To be fair, people have already brought in neurological psychologists and biological behavorists into trial in an effort to establish that an action was preconcieved by biologal nature rather than an act of free will (a good rebuttle which sadly will never be seen is that do to the jury’s biolgocal nature they had to condemn the defendant anyway). I don’t see blaming Adam as being any more obsurd than trying to use science to remove accountability.

On the subject at hand, I have seen plenty of Young Earth Creationists (the sect of creationism that believes a literal interpretation of the bible and seem to have no issue with the thousands of contradictions within it) who assert that Dinosaurs lived through the rise of Rome, which I find utterly obsurd but cool to imagine. I think it would be obvious that should the dinosaurs have still lived, Rome would have used them for war (I mean, if Hannibal can surprise the romans with Elephants, why couldn’t Rome repay the favor to Carthage with ankylosaurus and gigantosaurus). It would be like the old cartoon Dino-Riders but with the roman legion, and ballistae and mangonels, in place of weird alien humans and lasers. Actually, John, I propose that as a premise to an alterate history/fantasy novel should you ever feel inclined to write one.

Also, the Romans would have made early christians fight dinosaurs in the colissium. I’d think that possibility alone would cause creationists to want to take care of the dinosaurs following the flood rather than leave it as an open question.

I wouldn’t have a problem with creationism if they weren’t trying to cram it into just about every area of our schools’ science departments. Science education is already struggling in this nation, and adding this gibberish is only going to cement our status as one of the most scientifically illiterate nations on the planet.

However, I loved the work, John. You’re a hell of a lot nicer than I would have been. It would be nice if this “museum” could be seen as nothing more than a little bauble of amusement with no value other than that of entertainment, but the fact is, creationism has an appeal, and it seems to appeal to a growing section of society who want justification for lacking the ambition to study and comprehend real science. The fact that Ken Ham endorses this nonsense and tries to pass it off as something legitimate is infuriating to anyone with a rational –even semi-functioning– mind who can easily see the damage this dumb bastard is doing. It’s like me demanding that the finger-paintings I did when I was five be hung in the Louvre because, hey! They’re art, dammit.

One of the things I think about a lot is what’s going to happen ten years from now when our state colleges are going to be forced to confront this under-educated mob of home-schooled, young-earth creationists? Do we lower our admission standards to accommodate them? Or, do we deny them admission based on something which will inevitably (although mistakenly) be seen as religious intolerance?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go hug my pony.

Jill@8: Oh god, how I would love to see that child. You know it’s going to happen at least once. And with any luck, someone will try to convince this kid that, no, all the dinosaurs lived at the same time, and the kid will argue, and someone will post on the internet and we’ll all get to hear about it.

Wow. Just… wow. I now want to go see that with my girlfriend so we can be inappropriate in the queue (and the red-light district– I mean red-lit area) and laugh loudly.

In Çatalhöyük there are ruins of a Neolithic city which, based on dendrochronology and carbon-14, has been estimated to be about 9,000 years old. If I were a young-earth creationist, I would much rather be waving my hands to explain dinosour fossils than trying to convince people that in the early days of creation, trees grew more than one ring per year.

Well, thanks John.

Here, have a nice cold beer on me. Go put up your feet and relax for a bit. After all, we need to be sure that there has been no long lasting psychological effects.

Your review was smart, funny, and credible until you got to the part about the saving graces of Jesus Christ and such. Then I had to think you were hoarding your own little pile of poo there, and the rest of your tale seemed hypocritical because of it.

If you’re going to wallow into it to your knees, you can hardly make fun of the people wallowing in to their necks.

Re: vegetarian t-rex’s

From Mark Twain’s Diary of Adam:
[Eve] engages herself in many foolish things: among others, trying to study out why the animals called lions and tigers live on grass and flowers, when, as she says, the sort of teeth they wear would indicate that they were intended to eat each other. This is foolish, because to do that would be to kill each other, and that would introduce what, as I understand it, is called “death;” and death, as I have been told, has not yet entered the Park. Which is a pity, on some accounts.

(later on, it mentions offhand how their meals often disagreed with them)

Looking at the placards in the photos, there’s just enough science jammed in and contorted into the creationist framework that I had to shake my head at the mental gymnastics necessary to pick and choose which parts were true and discard the rest. Though I suppose that’s how they feel about people selectively picking which parts of the Bible to believe.

While it’s refreshing to see Adam rather than Eve get the bum rap for every horrible thing on Earth for once, I felt that she was getting cheated of her share of the credit here. It took *two* people to destroy paradise!

Ah! Now I don’t have to go.

And John, having come from the very background that spawned this thing, you were much more forgiving than I would have been. I would have been banging my head against an ornately carved Italian marble wall going, “They spent $27 million on THIS!?”

Hate to break it to the Creationist paleontologist, but I used his starting point and reached the same conclusion as his Big Bang-loving colleague by about age 10. Something about, “If there’s a God, why does Jerry Falwell think he’s such a pussy?”

So John, did you need to have a nice lie-down after this? A stiff drink perhaps? Thank you for your exertions on our behalf – I hope your brain is on the mend.

Of course, the really important question is – did you take Athena with you and if so, what was her considered response?

Dan@47- “One of the things I think about a lot is what’s going to happen ten years from now when our state colleges are going to be forced to confront this under-educated mob of home-schooled, young-earth creationists?”
Yup, that’s it right there, that’s the part that fuels my ire at these silly antics. You have a large chunk of the population that’s being exposed to this crap, and they won’t know better until they’re basically laughed out of some university lecture hall (unless they attend Bob Jones U, but that’s a different rant altogether).
The worst part about it is that these kids, being full of the righteous indignation that often accompanies fundamentalist fanaticism, will probably put their fingers to their ears and ‘la la la’ their way through college. And the world will continue it’s slide into nimrod-ism, until we eventually get to a point where society will resemble Mike Judge’s film, Idiocracy, to a greater extent than anyone will care (or have the intellectual acuity) to admit.

Pablo Defendini Says:
November 12th, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Dan@47- “One of the things I think about a lot is what’s going to happen ten years from now when our state colleges are going to be forced to confront this under-educated mob of home-schooled, young-earth creationists?”

They’ll flunk out. At least out of their biology and ancient history classes. Some of them will switch to bible colleges, some will find ways to get regular degrees without having to examine their prejudices, many more will wind up flipping burgers.

Others will hit enough contravening evidence to realize that they’ve been fed a load of, well, I can’t improve on Scalzi’s description. This betrayal drives a lot of them out of Christianity entirely, and I can’t say I blame them.

I feel compelled to mention, which is the home archive of the newsgroup (Motto: we deal with this stuff so sci.biology doesn’t have to.) I’m a longtime Howler Monkey who has a few items in said archive myself. This link was posted on t.o. amid widespread applause so you may see some new people.

Zeph@38: Of *course* they can have a placard saying God designed dogs to evolve. No contradiction atall, nosirreee… because that’s MICRO-evolution, and it doesn’t count.

The educated, rational creationists I know are quite willing to admit that small changes of an “evolutionary” type do occur — they pretty much have to, because the evidence is right in front of them. Where they draw the line is that they don’t believe the “big stuff” — most importantly, things like mammals evolving from reptiles or humans evolving from apes. Their explanation is that God created “kinds” (for which they have invented a technical term that I can’t remember), and while things may change *within* a “kind,” one “kind” can never change into another: a horse remains a horse, a cow remains a cow.

From a scientific point of view, of course, this overlooks the abundant evidence that “big evolution” and “small evolution” happen in EXACTLY the same way and by the same means: the big stuff just takes longer.

Speaking as a cynic here, it means that any evolution that is so blatantly obvious they can’t weasel around it is promptly classified as “micro-evolution” and so becomes OK. Anything they *can* ignore is “macro-evolution” and therefore verboten. Perfect circular reasoning.

WTF? You tease us with a picture of someone sitting on a dino — yet, NO pictures of the Creation Museum Dino-Rodeo?!!?

No, forget it, Scalzi. I’m just NOT going to help raise money for you to take a second trip just for that picture!!

What I don’t get is why they bothered with the dinosaur bones to begin with. I mean if it were me, I’d say God created the world with the bones in it. Never were no big stinkin’ reptiles. Ever. Just the bones. Because God likes bones. He gave a whole buncha creatures bones, and everybody ends in bones.

Bones, bones, bones. God just likes bones. Who are you to argue?

I think the only reason they bother with the whole dinosaur exhibit is because they know kids love dinosaurs.

Mr. Scalzi, I genuflect in your general direction.

The photo essay? Impressive. The photo titles and commentary? Ruthlessly hilarious and yet informative.

When I read the words “natural selection” on one of the placards, though, my head essploded a little. (I also admit to wishing for a larger version of the “Where did Cain get his wife?” placard, simply because of the moral contradictions I imagine it must contain.)

And this post is a work of art in and of itself.

Sir, you are a genius. Thank you! And I hope you suffer no lingering aftereffects. :)

Maybe I’m more of an optimist than Louann and Pablo, but I’m one of those childhood fundamentalists (six years at a tiny insular private Christian school; I remember attending one of Ken Ham’s lectures, even *shudder*) who went on to a private Methodist college. Lo and behold, over the course of four years–at an explicitly Christian institution, mind you, and a fairly conservative one at that–a whole series of thoughtful, intelligent (and, yes, religious) professors made clear the severe, undeniable flaws in the literalistic dogma I’d been raised on.

Sure, plenty of my cohorts did stick their fingers in their ears and shout “la la la” at challenges to their beliefs. But I think you make the same mistake made by those right-wingers who crow about their notion that libruls are having so many abortions that we’re just going to go extinct–this idea that beliefs are more or less immutable. It seemed to me, growing up in that kind of a community, that the authoritarian, dogmatic, literalistic, my-way-or-the-highway parents were the ones whose kids most strongly rebelled against their childhood beliefs, frankly.

All that to say, I think there’s more hope for those kids than you might assume. But then, as a former quasi-nutjob myself, I WOULD say that, wouldn’t I?

Weeds? Adam’s fault. Carnivorous animals (and, one assumes, the occasional carnivorous plant)? Adam again. Entropy? You guessed it: Adam.

I suppose I should be grateful they don’t lay all that at Eve’s pedicured tootsies, but it’s probably just because it’s a stripe of fundamentalism that denies women’s agency.

Screw it, I’m with Kate; I’ve brought down one Paradise already, so don’t try me, son!

Also, to Josh @ 60 and Johnny @ 66: There is a monastery in Kentucky (Benedictine, if memory serves) that makes some damn fine high-octane fudge out of that bourbon, available by mail for holiday gift giving.

Come to think of it, maybe I know what a certain writer deserves under his tree (just don’t let Athena near the stuff, John!)

Glad you went and not I. One too many utterances of “Oh, for fucks sake!” and “Oh fucking please!” I would have been asked to sit out the tour in the parking lot.

Best $25 I spent so far.

Why do the Creationists spend so much time on dinosaurs? Because dinosaurs and rocket ships are gateway drugs to the hard sciences. Give a 10-year old a choice between something dinosaur-related and something Bible-related, and I think a sizable majority are going to go with dinos.

Rockets aren’t so much of an immediate threat to blind faith, but a little kid who knows when T-Rex lived has already questioned Biblical literalism without even knowing it. So the creationists try to co-opt the dinos. “We have dinosaurs, too, but people called them dragons and leviathans!”

Thanks for going to the Creation Museum, John. I hope you’re right about its lack of significance, but I worry that the “culture war” has always been an asymmetrical war for hearts and minds. I don’t fear the CM as a “front,” but I do fear it as a training camp for tomorrow’s “cultural jihadists.” I hope I’m really, really wrong, and just being paranoid and cynical.

Our Host (which in this context brings on all kinds of odd images…)@50:

I dunno. I suggest we, your o/r/g/a/n/g/r/i/n/d/e/r audience wait a few months, then ask for an amount. I suspect that e.g. 5 figures worth of USD* would be pretty easy, and we can post all kinds of good things that could be done with the money…


*assuming that this is more than about 4.75 euros by then

Thel @ # 76 – S

No, I don’t think John is making the sort of mistake that you think he’s making about the creationists. I don’t see him claiming that conservatives are idiots because of creationism. He’s just snarkilly critical of creationism. So far as I can tell, the essay was non-political, and non-dogmatic. You’re accusing him of dogmatism. If you want to get into that, you’re going to need to just dismiss science as the best route to empirical truth about the way the universe works, not John, and at the same time, claim that the bible has the only non-scientifically provable truth about creation.

That sort of argument is only helpfully for creating solidarity among dogmatic creationist Christians. Or devotees of Paul Feyerabend.

You remember way back when we were all kids? And you dared a friend to do something stupid, eat a worm, jump off the roof, touch a nine-volt battery to his tongue, tease a pit bull – that sort of thing? And then the guy went and actually did it? And it was funny as all hell, even if he did get seriously hurt. And as the ambulance was driving away, you turned to the crowd and said, “Holly Horseshit! I didn’t think the idiot would actually do it!”

That’s how I feel about this whole thing – Jeebus, John, I didn’t actually think you’d do it, you idiot. It was entertaining, I’ll give you that. But, now you’re scarred for life, man, for life.

Thel, you’re probably right. I didn’t mean to come off as a blanket, knee-jerk hater, although that’s probably what I sounded like. . . this issue gets me going, what can I say?

In all seriousness, the times I’ve come across this vein of fundamentalism (two-ish years at an episcopalian boarding school in North Carolina —complete with born-again faculty!—, and a few other times scattered here and there), one of the things that strikes me the most is not only how dogmatic the parents are, but how they condition their children so thoroughly and effectively. It breaks my heart (and then enrages me) to see children being manipulated in that way, and know that eventually they’ll have to come to a point where they either rebel in the way that you describe (and have to deal with that particular brand of heartbreak, sometimes punctuated by estrangement from loved ones), or continue to live in their fundamentalist echo chamber. I tend to side with people like Richard Dawkins who claim that this form of indoctrination should be considered a form of child abuse.

This isn’t to say a that religious education equals evil brainwashing, mind you. Some of the most interesting and open-minded teachers I’ve had were Jesuit priests. Like you say, there’s a little bit of everything, and things aren’t black or white. But I have to say that the fundamentalist brand of indoctrination is a heady brew indeed, and it’s hard to break that hold.


“What I don’t get is why they bothered with the dinosaur bones to begin with. I mean if it were me, I’d say God created the world with the bones in it. Never were no big stinkin’ reptiles. Ever. Just the bones. Because God likes bones. He gave a whole buncha creatures bones, and everybody ends in bones.”

Many Creationists do indeed propose such an idea. It’s called the Omphalos Theory.

I hate to find fault with such a beautiful post, but I believe the tree Adam ate from was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Which makes a lot of sense as a creation myth, but not much as actual history.

It’s also known as the “Douglas Adams theory.”

In other news, I sent my father to the ‘continents rearrange themselves during the flood’ link because I thought that was the part he’d enjoy the most, and he sent it on to another geologist with the note “Unfortunately the guy died from a lightning strike immediately after uploading this.” :)


I remember an encounter with a dedicated creationist who assured me that the datings of dinosaur fossils weren’t wrong because God MADE them that old when He created the earth.

I assured him that I could not bring myself to have any faith in a creator who felt obliged to post-date his reality checks.

Here’s something I don’t get: Why all the hating on creationists in this thread?

I can understand scorn, contempt, amusement, etc for the creation museum and the idea of creationism. It’s more or less an amusement park anyway, after all, even for creationists. Why are they going to go do there except “Ohh” and “Ahh” at all the displays? It’s like me going to the Air and Space Museum and being overwhelmed with wonderment at the Apollo capsules and full-scale mockups of P-38s.

But I don’t understand the people on this thread that say they’re full of rage when they see this sort of thing. BobC even said “creationists are not human.” What the hell? Just because they believe a certain thing, they’re no longer human beings and no longer worthy of respect and dignity that human beings are due?

Perhaps you’re not aware of this, but the vast majority of creationists just believe it, and want to live their own lives without messing with anybody else’s. Having known plenty of them, and having been one myself for a time, I know what they are: Ordinary people. They’re not monsters, they’re not out to get you, and they certainly don’t deserve hatred.

Don’t judge all creationists or fundamentalist christians by the few hate-spewing loudmouths that you see on TV. Would you want somebody judging all atheists by the example of Stalin or Mao?

97: Because that thinking is the breeding ground for those who want to get science out of schools, who kill abortionists, and who provide a mass of flabby thinkers who will support cynical, hopeless leaders of the world’s only superpower. Directly or indirectly that will have an effect on everyone, as surely as the overconsumption of the world’s resources by people in middle America “who just want to get on with their lives”.

In other religious contexts the same tolerance of these beliefs (passive or otherwise) yields groups like the Taliban. The Stalin/Mao/atheist argument has been rebutted so many times, it’s barely worth acknowledging it.

I assured him that I could not bring myself to have any faith in a creator who felt obliged to post-date his reality checks.

Ah, but as Scalzi showed, it’s post-dated in any case. And the whole justification is that God can do anything; the very thing that makes the Creationist/ID argument not-science to begin with.

The terrific thing about the “God created the bones when he created the Earth” assertion is that you no longer have to create all those convoluted, difficult to understand, justifications for why the bones appear older than they actually are. You just say “Hey! It’s Gods decorating plan. You get a new place, you decorate it any old way you want. Why should God be any different. The fact that you got confused is completely unimportant.”

Of course, short circuiting like that doesn’t make for a very interesting museum experience. And as a result, no jobs would be created which means fewer taxpayers.

So it’s all good.

I mean, it’s not like you’re going to eliminate the credulous. And there is a witchcraft museum, and there is an astrology museum, and there is an alchemy museum; all busily employing people while servicing the credulous.

And someday there will be an “Anthropogenic Climate Change” Museum with Al Gore at the door selling carbon offsets to those who had to drive (by car or school bus) or fly to see the exhibits.

In the wise words of the people who brought you the Coliseum: caveat emptor

Josh @ 86: I’m not sure what you’re on about, but apparently my comment was terribly opaque. Nothing I said was directed at our gracious host, whose essay and slide show had me in appreciative giggles for about an hour. I was just protesting a couple of commenters’ (in my opinion) unnecessarily gloomy assumption that “once a creationist, always a creationist,” and that all the kids getting a steaming pile of horseshit piled onto their educational platter in the name of Biblical literalism are bound to live out their days in ignorance. I think plenty of them will grow up and learn, as I did, that the world is a far more fascinating, complicated, inexplicable, and, actually, amazing place than you have room to imagine when you’re locked into a narrow interpretation of the Bible. I’m hopeful, in other words, that more folks than you think are capable of a sort of “reverse conversion” to the reality-based world.

Pablo @ 90: I agree with you completely, as someone who was subjected to that kind of mental quelling. When I think of all the horseshit I myself was served as a kid, it makes my blood boil. I could have been reading Dawkins and Gould and Darwin himself, and instead I was studying Ken Ham and his ilk…bleh. It feels like so much time wasted, you know? And that’s part of why I am such an avid lurker at online spots like this one and Pharyngula…trying to make up for lost time!

It still bothers me that someday there is going to be a very stubborn young-earth creationist kid banging on the college admissions’ office doors demanding that the science curriculum be adjusted to accommodate his belief that the earth is only 6,000 years old. And, if the college doesn’t oblige, he’ll sue them for some sort of discrimination.

Kenny Ham’s Temple of The Burning Stupid is going to contribute to a lot of really unwanted hassles and suffering for higher education.

That’s what bothers me. It’s not that this place is just funny and dumb and whatever. It’s the fact that these loons are demanding that this silliness be recognized as a legitimate science. What, on earth, could a person learn at this place that would be of any use to them in the great, big, real world?

I suspect people here are “hating” creationists the way they also “hate” canned brussel sprouts. It’s okay as long as someone isn’t putting it infront of them and saying, clean your plate.

Which, unfortunately, they are. Non-creationists kinda chuckled at the idea and said live and let live for years. Meanwhile, it seams the creationists have decided that they know what’s right and the non-creationists need to be corrected in their impressionable years by being taught theis horseshit. So it’s either get vocal as a non-creationist or let them roll over science.

Without implying non-creationists are athiests, I point out why being angry about this topic is a good idea by referencing Greta’s website – get past the list about 1/2 way down for the reasons.

Great post. Most excellent. So, I was wondering….for someone who goes to this Pantheon of Horseshit for the first time would you recommend a good sativa or a mild indica to enhance the humorous aspect of this place?

Man, there are a lot of stoopid Americans. Admit it and maybe you can do something about it. No wonder you have Bush as president, with a massive number of people who fall for this bullshit.

My mum used to say “don;t touch shit you will stink”. And no matter how grand a temple you build around the shit, it still is shit.

That was very funny and totally worth the money.

I saw this this morning and decided to wait until I could sit down and really look at it, but I kept sneaking back to it all day when I had a few minutes to spare. I was fearful that my face might permanently contort in blown away amazement of the sillyness of it all.

The main thing I can’t get over is the thing right at the get go about scientists starting from different starting points. Do scientists, real scientists, really have a starting point? I mean, I get that they may start with a hypothesis and test it, but the facts discovered then lead to the next direction of study. If you are a scientist, a person who questions and then researches to find answers, there is no starting point. The data leads you to where you need to go next. I just couldn’t get over that. The first placard should have said something like, “God doesn’t like the scientific method because he wanted us to waste 27 million dollars on a horseshit museum instead of, oh, I don’t know, feeding the hungry. If you use it, you will burn in eternal damnation. Now that you’ve suspended all scientific method, you may begin eating the horseshit.”

You are much kinder than I. I find Creationism intellectually offensive and fatuous. Of course, I find disco intellectually offensive and fatuous, too. The difference is the Beegees never mandated that their fans wipe out rockabilly or ska.

Manny, “Here’s something I don’t get: Why all the hating on creationists in this thread?”

My wife instructs college biology classes. Most of them include the “Big E” lecture. For what these wonderful people put my wife through every semester, they deserve it. And they’re the “good people.”

What a bunch of horse shit. The article above I mean. It might as well say, “I can’t think.” Blather about how he couldn’t think. What idiocy.

We got into a discussion with our grade six class today about superbugs and the perils of the overabundance of antibacterial soaps and cleaners. It really hammered home how much damage can be done when ordinary people make everyday decisions without actually understanding how evolution works. ::sigh::

I knew it! I knew Adam was a douchebag! But, I missed this placard:


But, did you see how ripped his was while working in the garden? Yowza! meeeeowww.

When you got to the diorama of Noah building the ark with his 3 buddies, I was waiting for “Yo ho, Yo ho, a pirate’s life for me” to start playing. The little minature of the Ark was actually kind of cool. I liked that. But just thinking about the close quarters on that 3 hour tour, that 3 hour tour–you just know it would have smelled like a one of those old Texaco gas stations; the ones where you just sort of hovered your ass over the seat like a U.F.O.

The butterfly picture you took was quite pretty. What popped into my little noggin’ there was the movie PAPILLON. “How much would you charge to send this one to Panama?” What say you God?

The Ye Olde Gift Store and Coffee Shoppe were pretty interesting. Creation Cappuccino and Believe Water. Now THAT’S some wicked marketing skills in action. GOD’S DINOSAURS–A Coloring Book, was so sugary cute, I just wanted to pinch that little Apatosaurus’s cheeks.

Oh, and somewhere in there was a sign to the basement–or lower level, something like that. I was almost positive we were headed THIS WAY TO HELL, but unfortunately, they missed this part of the ride. Hey, maybe it’ll be part of the new addition everyone is talking about.

Finally, that kid on the triceratops at the end? Is that your kid? If so, save this picture so when he graduates from high school and they ask for pictures to honor your senior for the yearbook, you’ve got yourself just the perfect snapshot to contribute. Nothings says, “I love you” like a humiliating ride on a dinosaur published for all eternity.

I enjoyed your photos and blog, thanks.

And may God be with you.

Dana Jean

Once again, I am pleased that John went so I wouldn’t have to. That whole “shake the dust off your sandals” bit in Matthew? I drew that metaphor from a life-long – and I mean Earthly life, though it never really goes away – aversion to stepping in horseshit. I once fell into a pile. Took mom a week to get me to quit smelling. A week later, my stepdad wrote the first rosary. (I may be the Son of God, but I could try a parent’s patience. After all, I used to share an office with Satan before he began his startup in the fiery pit.)

Anyway, I, too, am perplexed with the obsession with dinosaurs. I can only conclude that Mr. Ham is a fan of Jurassic Park. (Personally, I hated JP II, but liked III, if only because it was 90 minutes vs. II’s 2 1/2 hours. That’s 150 minutes of eternity I’ll never get back. Hey, we’re omnipotent, but we’re not… Oh, hell(TM). You get the picture.)

Anyway, I will be appearing to Pope New Guy… Er, um… Shortim- I mean, Benedict this evening to inform him of my will to have John canonized. Sure, John’s an agnostic who doesn’t really believe in me, but it’s like my birthday. It’s the thought that counts.

Speaking of which, anyone know what to get Dad for My birthday? What do you get the Creator of Heaven and Earth for Christmas? He’s still mad I got Him the Left Behind series a few years ago. Hey, I thought they were humor books! How was I supposed to know it’d give Him an ulcer? I might be ominpotent, but… Well, anyway.

And remind me not to schedule the Second Coming on a major holiday. That whole census thing and the malls at Christmas last time? And I had to spend all my time on Earth with Mom going, “Were you born in a barn?” That got old by age 4.

Gotta run. Dad wants to go play skee ball in Jersey.

Ya know — I couldn’t get a book with this material in it PUBLISHED — I’d make the editors laugh their asses off, but not one editor I know would accept this level of reasoning in characters I wrote…


Oh, wow. I can’t remember how much I donated, but I definitely got my money’s worth, just from the snarktastic photo set. Thanks for taking one for the team.

And now I have to go do actual science. Maybe I’ll ditch the project I was going to propose for this fellowship application, and instead do something about chemcals changing after Eve’s Adam’s sin.

(Those tricksy creationists! Courting the feminist vote!)

Thanks for going and taking such detailed photos. My brain melted just by looking at those, and I’m glad that now I don’t have to see it firsthand.

I’m waiting, with cynical amusement, to start seeing more and more atheists homeschooling as creationism becomes more accepted in the government and public schools.


A homeschooler from a place where the majority of homeschoolers were hippies, agnostics, and pagans, not Bible-thumpers as seems to be the case in the US.

According to the Wikipedia article, one of the founders of the museum, Ken Ham, is (or was) an Australian! Not one of our better exports… *embarrassed*

Quoth he:

“This idea came about from when I was a teacher in public schools in Australia actually, teaching in the science classes and students saying, ‘sir, you’re a Christian, how can you believe the Bible when we know that’s not true because of evolution and what’s in our textbooks?’ And then when I took them to museums and saw that they were presented evolution as fact, I thought why can’t we have a creation museum. And so I had this embryonic idea 25 years ago in Australia. But of course, Australia’s not really the place to build such a facility if you’re going to reach the world. Really, America is.”

Brilliant. Just brilliant. You should set up a foundation to send kids from all over to this place to learn about the value of skepticism.

(odd technical note: when I scrolled down here, the previous commenter’s posting information was still in the box. Since Kristy and I are not the same person – *checks junk* yep – nor in the same place, that’s a worry.)

As Jew, the notion of literalism is a bit ridiculous to me, as Pshat – the literal interpretation of the Torah – is considered the least of the levels of knowledge. To have a museum dedicated to it is…… strange.

What fun!

Interesting that nobody that I noticed (and I admit to not having read everything that everybody said, including the author) has pointed out that the Bible contains two mutually incompatible creation stories BACK TO BACK in Genesis. How can the Bible be literally true when it contains two stories where, if one is true, the other can’t be? How do you pick which Biblical creation story you are going to believe? Or put into a Creation Museum?

joa@126: I actually noticed that a long time ago, and once tried to have a conversation about it with a True Believer(TM). Her response: “They really AREN’T two different versions, you’re just reading them wrong.” And there’s a similar (and to me, equally unconvincing) disquisition on bibletruths(dot)net…it was the fifth item down when I Googled “genesis chapter one” (without the quotation marks, of course).

It’s just another example of self-delusional horse hockey.

Wow. If you could write more than horseshit, I might be interested in your point of view. But considering you’re a hack blogger, I find nothing more interesting here than Mel Gibson knockin’ Jews.

So yeah. Boo Creationism?

Problems? Comments? Concerns? You can talk to me via email.

“To be clear, the “horseshit” I’ve been speaking of is not Christianity, it’s creationism, which to my mind is a teleological quirk substantially unrelated to the grace one can achieve through Jesus Christ.”


[Declared interest: I’m Christian] I prefer to receive my grace “free from horseshit”. I despair at those Christians who prefer to switch their brain off before doing anything else.

The trouble is: these folks are serious. What a waste! If you believe in any form of goodness from God, then your time and money could be better spent in this crazy world than a sideshow like this.

I got off the science bus as a junior in H.S. I did physics and pulled Bs and couple of Cs. I foolishly got into a fight on-line with a creationist and got my ass handed to me. He kept hammering me with “bio-genisis” and how species have never been proven to just leap across boundaries, and the fossil record, and carbon 14 dating be suspect, etc. He actually had study groups at his church all dedicated to slaying the likes of me. I mean, I’m not a moron, finished 9th in my class overall studies, but was never fantastic at science. And I was a sitting duck. Think what these slick dudes do when they get a hold of someone who checked out of science earlier than me? I also found a Christian on-line who claimed he could get this guy on his literal translation of Genesis, and the whole what is a “day” to god thing, and he ate his lunch too. Went into the greek translation and kept referring to an abundence of hermeneutical evidence, and how this whole hermenuetical is infalliable. I used to think you could say this book can be interpreted a thousand diferent ways (because it has!), but they know have this hermenutical thing going that sez, “no, this is a perfect logical way to know I’m right and everyone else is wrong. It’s sad that such a bright and motivated guy has decided to pick something which seems fairly feeble. But, maybe that’s what intrigues him. It’s easy to defend things that the whole scientific community believes in, it’s tougher and maybe more fun to be contrary. I also love this Rush Limbaugh rationale for combating the consensus of scientists thinking something — Science is not voting! Most scientists have believed many errouneous things throughout history! Ugh …

Followed a link from boing boing to your blog. Glad I did, the pictures were great fun and the post it self educational. I live in Boston, and do not have a real feel or understanding as to how infected the rest of the country is with creationism.
Part of me wishes I could have re-written those cards to make them a bit more, dare I say logical. A small part of me that wants to redo the museum, because I am sure I could do it better. Some of those cards contradicted themselves, were you the only person reading them? Or at least find out why some things such as a discussion of incest was important to the story creation, while something as important as an explanation of how mountains came into being just after the flood. ‘It was mud, and then it wasn’t’

I have added you to my blogs I must read feed.

“Adam eating from the tree of life”

IIRC, there was a Tree of Life in Eden, but the big ruckus happened because they ate of the tree of Good and Evil.

“Entropy? You guessed it: Adam.”

That’s actually a great idea for a story. Entropy as a consequence of original sin, maybe the original sin of some cosmic intelligence or whatever.

I wanna just add to the testimonials that not all homeschoolers (actually, not really any that I know, but I live on the west coast and I’m sure it is different in the deep south) are fundamentalist Christians who homeschool creationism since the PS don’t.

The homeschoolers around here are pretty liberal, almost entirely secular, and have kids who’ve studied latin, logic, rhetoric, etc. and thus could basically rip that museum apart like a pro.
(and guess what? They are even ‘socialized’)
Homeschooling is quickly becoming the working class’s private school or talanted and gifted and in some cases–special ed program. It is more about individualization than conforming to “the ways of the master.” I think that stereotype is quickly becoming passe.

An ex-public school teacher and strong public school supporter that also homeschools. (I know, It contradicts. Its kinda like being straight and supporting gay marraige or like those people who can believe in a god or spiritual creator AND evolution at the same time, but unlike those folks who can believe in two creation stories by denying that there are two creation stories.)

If the majority of people that go to the museum/temple are skeptics, then they are responsible for the financial success of the place. In short, stop paying attention to this medieval mumbo jumbo! This will be the only way for this non-scientific crap to disappear.

Your review was delightful, if a bit over the top (not nearly so over the top as the Creation museum however.) Just wanted to let you know that there are Christians like myself who find the Creation museum an embarrassment and who lament the popular notion that being a Christian means you must swallow the whole fundamentalist literal-chronological view of Genesis, as do the sad benighted souls who built this “museum”. Please don’t judge us all by this lot.

I noticed tat adam was very white, this must be the mormon version or at least the kkk version of creation.
But what can you expect from a old white man in the sky with his white very sunburned palistinian son on his right.

Fantastic review. And, I’m sorry to disagree with the Polymath Pastor, but not over the top at all. $27 million could feed and help a lot of people. But instead were dumped into a place like this… Just crazy…

Mr. Scalzi,

Thanks for the informative report. I’ve been curious about this place, but am morally opposed to supporting it in any fashion (including buying a ticket).

I’m surprised that there isn’t more outrage at the gross commercialization of it all (i.e. Creation Cappachino).


As an atheist, I was prepared to read your report on the Museum. That is, until your constant use of “horseshit” became an embarrasment to me.
I can only conclude that your views are not very civilized. In fact, they’re offensive.

It struck me while reading this– Holy Shit, this is the Museum that is 3 miles from where I grew up, its 10 miles from where I live now. Had shoved any knowledge of this place into a deep dark pit in the back of my mind, but now you’ve brought it back! Oh no!

A tour well worth (your) $19.95. While on the tour I was thinking that it might have been possible to make it through without constantly laughing out loud if I had been alone – but then you said you were accompanied by friends – you sir, are a stalwart of restraint.

At first glance, I thought the Corruption poster read: Reflection of God’s Word Led to Corruption but no, that would actually have made sense.

Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good And Evil, not the tree of life. God found out that they’d eaten from the tree of knowledge and said: “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: [I’m kicking him and his wife out of Eden.]” Presumably by “us” he meant “me and the angels.”

So there’s more horseshit right there that most people don’t think about and the creationists usually elide: God was afraid Man would not only be morally conscious, but also immortal.

The slide show includes a photo of one plaque that is — truly — priceless:

“The preservation of delicate internal tissue of a heart indicates burial under sudden and catastrophic conditions such as the global flood of Noah’s day.”

Yep. That’s always my first thought when I see delicate structures preserved for a really long time — “Gee, that must have been buried violently in a global catastrophy! What better way to preserve delicate internal tissue?”

[ rabid, unreasoning fundie ]

:: sprays flecks of foam everywhere ::

Persecution! Persecution!

How dare you pass through the Creation Museum and then write this horrible screed! Curse you and all the other Atheist Satanic Evilutionist Baby-Eating Science Worshippers!

God will get you for this! Just you wait! When Jesus comes back He is sooooo gonna kick your ass! And I hope I’m there to see it!

[/rabid, unreasoning fundie]

Hope everyone enjoyed that little performance piece, I’m here all week!

Thanks for doing this, sir. You’re a credit to thinking humanity.

John Scalzi: He works hard, so you don’t have toooooo…!

Two points:

First, I’m kind of impressed that the Creation Museum has the guts to go ahead and insist on the literal truth of the Bible. I actually find that more honest than the ones who try to fudge and compromise — and thereby wind up abandoning the only reason to _be_ a Creationist in the first place.

Second, I don’t see why everyone is so terrified of Creationists. They’re not going to cripple science or send the world into a new dark age. Think about it: this is the same Biblical literalist Christian faith that produced _Charles Darwin_. And just about every other scientist in the 19th Century — you know, the people who _invented_ paleontology, genetics, and evolutionary biology.

The Creation Museum isn’t the temple of a confident faith: it’s a fortress of a dying doctrine.

And for the more apocalyptic commenters, may I recommend this?

As an atheist, I was prepared to read your report on the Museum. That is, until your constant use of “horseshit” became an embarrasment (sic) to me.

Uh, George Dunbar, I’m curious – how exactly is this review an embarrassment to you, personally as an atheist? I went back and reread every word Scalzi wrote, didn’t see your name anywhere. At this point I have to assume you’re in the background of one of his pictures and you’re embarrassed to be filmed on the Museum grounds? Or do you just have a personal aversion to manure?

Damn you, Scalzi, for embarrassing the Atheists with this post, may you be eaten by fallen carnivorous velociraptors (providing some of them survived Teh Fludz)

“I tend to side with people like Richard Dawkins who claim that this form of indoctrination should be considered a form of child abuse.”

The problem with Dawkins is that he is also a fundemantalist, just of the opposite variety. He is just as intolerant as any disciple of Fred Phelps, but happens to be violently athiestic. He seems blind to the fact that science cannot disprove the existance of God; rather it can only provide theories about the evolution of the cosmos that contradict creationism. Religion is not the necessarily opposite of science, as the modern Catholic church (and in fact much of the historical catholic church, though they have had their off centuries) demonstrates, but Dawkins doles out no less hate for such a standpoint than those who blindly ignore science.

I say this as a life long Athiest, raised by athiests, who hates the idea of creationism inflicting ignorance on my society. What I hate about creationism isn’t what they believe, but that it is an indocterinization of closed, rigid, perspective. I believe an open mind, one unafraid to eventually change, is crucial for a great society. Dawkins mind is as thoroughly trapped shut as any creationist, and I certainly don’t want fellow members of society seeing him as the voice of science and athiesm, representing my standpoint. (much like, I suspect, most Christians don’t want to be represented by Phelps)

“Man, there are a lot of stoopid Americans. Admit it and maybe you can do something about it. No wonder you have Bush as president, with a massive number of people who fall for this bullshit. ”

When Europe finally realizes homeopathy is just as much a pseudo-science as intelligent design you can have grounds to make fun of the ignorance of americans. As it stands, it isn’t like the other developed nations are doing a hell of a lot better at disbelieving bullshit.

There’s really one thing that powers this idiocy, that would lead to a $27 million dollar funded museum to complete, impossible fantasy.

It is a powerful engine, the fear of death. The thought that when you die, your corpse is just simply put into a hole in the ground, or burned up into ashes. That there is no continuation, no room in the house of the Lord, no lingering on in spirit with consciousness and perception. If you were to have a heart attack tomorrow, get hit by a bus next week, develop an inoperable brain tumor next month, shot in the head by a sniper’s bullet next year, that’s it, game over. You are done.

It’s an engine that has powered religion for centuries, and will continue to do so until mankind gets a grip on death.

If believing in Creationism means the Ancient Egyptians rode around on dinosaurs then I don’t want to be right.

The only part I don’t get is: If Eve was shooing away Pterodactyls when trying to pick the apple, if Noah was looking after a T-Rex, if the shepards were protecting their sheep from flocks of Velociraptors, why does everyone in entire bible fail to mention the giant fuckin’ lizards?

First, I want to state that NO ONE on earth has the power to speak on my behalf. I am the Almighty God and I don’t need mortals to speak for me.

Second, Although I intelligently designed the system of evolution, I’m starting to think I forgot to include a mechanism that would ensure “the survival of the smartest.”

Third, I do not endorse the sale equine feces, no matter how tastefully gift wrapped it may be.

P.S. Stop cheating, hurting and killing each other, please, it’s not cool.

I believe in the creation of the Universe by God as well. However, I don’t believe you have to take the Genesis account literally nor do you have to subscribe to the 6000 year old earth belief.

I am not Catholic, but I agree with the official Church teaching on the matter. Basically, God created everything, but the exact mechanism and timing is not important and He lets nature run its course.

Great Post, thanks for the rundown. I agree with your viewpoints and acceptance of the Bible, except for one thing:

“The entire universe was created in six days, the days are 24-hour days, the layout for the creation and for the early history of the planet and humanity is in the first chapter of Genesis and it is exactly right.”

The Bible does not specify the length of each of the creative periods. Yet all six of them have ended, it being said with respect to the sixth day (as in the case of each of the preceding five days): “And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a sixth day.” (Ge 1:31) However, this statement is not made regarding the seventh day, on which God proceeded to rest, indicating that it continued. (Ge 2:1-3) Also, more than 4,000 years after the seventh day, or God’s rest day, commenced, Paul indicated that it was still in progress. At Hebrews 4:1-11 he referred to the earlier words of David (Ps 95:7, 8, 11) and to Genesis 2:2 and urged: “Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest.” By the apostle’s time, the seventh day had been continuing for thousands of years and had not yet ended. The Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ, who is Scripturally identified as “Lord of the sabbath” (Mt 12:8), is evidently part of the great sabbath, God’s rest day. (Re 20:1-6) This would indicate the passing of thousands of years from the commencement of God’s rest day to its end. The week of days set forth at Genesis 1:3 to 2:3, the last of which is a sabbath, seems to parallel the week into which the Israelites divided their time, observing a sabbath on the seventh day thereof, in keeping with the divine will. (Ex 20:8-11) And, since the seventh day has been continuing for thousands of years, it may reasonably be concluded that each of the six creative periods, or days, was at least thousands of years in length.

That a day can be longer than 24 hours is indicated by Genesis 2:4, which speaks of all the creative periods as one “day.” Also indicative of this is Peter’s inspired observation that “one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2Pe 3:8) Ascribing not just 24 hours but a longer period of time, thousands of years, to each of the creative days better harmonizes with the evidence found in the earth itself.

I enjoy your faith in the Bible as being truth and not a loose version or suggestion. I just believe that the length of the days and understanding that we are currently in the seventh is fundamental to understanding Creation as a whole.

Sorry for the length. Thanks again .

Wow, way to show *how* this was all a big pile of faeces…oh wait, you didn’t. I’d be willing to listen, but you failed to refute any of their data or interpretations, instead using a superficial ‘snarkiness’ as if that justifies your lack of science in the post? How disappointing. I was hoping for at least some credible refutation.

Hey K,
No one wants to believe in people more than me, after all, you are all part of me. But there are HUNDREDS of museums in the world full of evidence to refute the Creationist Museum. I cancelled my subscription to National Geographic for that reason. I know you believe in your doctorines and dogmas, but has anyone ever showed you proof of creationism? Faith is one thing, but even that couldn’t get the Phillies past the Rockies, dig.

I would have to an extent agree with your assessment of the museum. I feel it leans to heavily on the “feelings” aspect of creation. Instead of displaying the vast amount of scientific facts that support creation. So no I don’t completely agree with you, but I find it interesting that being someone so diametrically opposed to your views can agree with you in so many areas. I also appreciate reading your views as to know where you are coming from. So, even though I for the most part, disagree with your views. I thank you for the article.

K’s just mad because his belief in me was shaken. Let me tell you, he’s not willing to listen. He doesn’t even listen to me sometimes and he hears me directly in his head!
In Me We Trust…..


Its heartening to see someone of a creation bent responding rationally to a writeup of such differing opinion. I don’t mean to suggest that simply believing in creationism precludes such a response, but it certainly seems to be the norm as represented in discussions such as this. Thus it is nice to see such a courtious response (I am sure you no doubt feel much the same when Athiests such as Richard Dawkins start spouting off).

One quibble though, you use the phrase “Instead of displaying the vast amount of scientific facts that support creation.” My quibble arises because generally the notion of scientific fact is downplayed by creationists concerning scientific ideas counter to their belief. It seems that if one were to use the phrase to support creationism it is only fair to acknowledge that both macro and micro evolution are considered scientific fact (and in general, outright fact). It is only the specific mechanisms of evolution that generate the wider collection of theory that has varying levels of uncertainty applied.

I find it not so much amusing. That people have trouble following science, don’t like the fact that things are only as provable as you can prove them today, that black and white only works in comic books… That I can get. It is unsettling to find out that uncertainty is about the only certainty in life.
That people are on the other hand fully prepared to believe just about any stupid explanation as long as it is epic, fits in one book and explains just about everything by um, not explaining anything. That is scary.
And the funny (funny as in – I laugh because the other option is to cry) thing is that a huge part of humanity is actually prepared to die for God(s). I am not even talking about the people who are prepared to kill as much innocents as they can in the process.
Terry Pratchett, as atheist as they come, says it right, in a fantasy book of his: “You don’t die for a god, you live for him.” But that is just a bit too complex for people who are prepared to swallow fairy tales for adults as the literal truth. Uhhh, scary.

I’m posting comments here because I’m in the Writer’s Guild and I can’t work until they settle the strike. I write for jokes for Jay Leno. (How else do you think he landed that gig)

The first 10 paragraphs or so of this article, ironically, is journalistic horseshit. Cut the crap (pun intended) before the first “***” section divider, and perhaps you might actually get the attention of people who want to read something with meaning. You lost mine at about 10 seconds.

My grandfather (a stoutly Dutch Reformist, conservative, rifle-toting and NRA-stickered-truck-driving Republican), told me with a straight face that the devil (I mean, The Devil) put dinosaur bones in the ground to trick us into turning away from the Bible. Of course, he also believes he has seen sea monsters with his own eyes. Very interesting to read about the “official” dinosaur explanation – it’s even more fantastic than his! I still like his general idea. You might as well say “The Devil invented Reason to trick us into turning away from our Faith.” Oddly, it’s not working as well as one might have expected.

Anonymous Coward:

Your first error is assuming I was practicing journalism here. Your second error is assuming that your advice on how to write has any value to me. Your third error is assuming I give a shit whether you are entertained or not.

Hope that clears up any lingering confusion.


I’ll take your word for it.

Yeah right! I put dinosaurs into the ground? Not likely, I had a hard enough time putting Red Foxx into the ground, the more Booze and Broads I threw at that guy, the stronger he got.
P.S. Evolution is currently happening, just ask the Influenza Virus.

I don’t refute the existence of dinosaurs or even what carbon dating claims to say about the earth’s age. What is unprovable is that – either because of environment or mutation – DNA was translated into another self-sustaining, self-reproducing organism. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, I’m saying that archeology cannot prove it.

If we believe in the accuracy of carbon dating then the archaeological record shows that species came and went within specific time periods. We can follow genetic lines of species throughout time. But does that empirically prove that DNA can spontaneously and grossly transform itself in nature?

Sure we can knock a few proteins out of the DNA chain here and there and make a mouse glow in the dark but does that mean that things like lungs and eyes and wings can just “happen” accidentally?

It seems most everyone posting here would like creationists to stop pushing creationism because it’s a poor and unprovable “science” and for the whole world to tow the evolution line (whose scientific foundation is also unprovable). Therefore there HAS to be something greater at work in the biology of life.

It’s sad that so many Christians have turned their faith into a war…a war on evolution, a war on homosexuality, a war abortion. And throughout history as well.

Jesus called His followers to teach the truth, that mankind is fallen, and apart from Christ we will never know the full measure of joy and peace and love that God has for us.

God loves you guys. Seriously. Please don’t let a minority of Christians steal away your chance for real truth.

Hey Look, John’s standing up for himself!
BTW Did anyone ask you your religious affiliation or reason for going to the “Museum”. I’d understand if you didn’t want to talk to anyone there, lest they find out about your Blasphemous mission.

Wait… so Anonymous Coward stopped paying attention to the post after the first ten paragraphs, but the rest of the post might get people’s attention? But if he stopped paying attention… then how could he be paying attention… if he stopped paying attention… but then he paid attention….

Oh no, it’s the Adam and the thorns plaque all over again.

Thank you, Anonymous Coward: I can now empathize with all those AI computers Captain Kirk destroyed during the three seasons of the original Star Trek. This was not something I was previously capable of. Now I can feel their desperate need for Advil, or the 23rd century equivalent.

My poor head.

To clarify – creationism isn’t an assertion, it’s a declaration. Assertions are provable or disprovable via the interpretation of facts, while declarations are made without regard to facts.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…” when they are not self-evident at all, that sort of thing. Declarations are about the way you’d like things to be, the goal for which you intend to apply your efforts toward achieving, where there is no evidence of your success. It’s a hat over the fence sort of thing. That’s what Creationists are doing.

To call creationism an assertion gives it credence as a viable explanation of the current circumstances based on examination of the evidence. However, as there isn’t evidence, Creationism ought not be given the mantle of assertion.

Jason, there are a few scientific errors in your post that I would like to point out. First, you wrote: “What is unprovable is that – either because of environment or mutation – DNA was translated into another self-sustaining, self-reproducing organism.”

Well, I think that the evidence presented at is pretty darn convincing. I would particularly direct you to the following:

Next, you said that “archaeology can’t prove it”. I guess I’ll be the first to point out that archaeology is not the discipline that would even try to do that. However, paleontology, molecular biology, geology, zoology and comparative anatomy — to name a few — do provide substantial evidence to support evolution.

Third, carbon dating is not the only dating method available to geologists. Not by a long shot. I would suggest the following to get you started:

“DNA was translated into another self-sustaining, self-reproducing organism. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, I’m saying that archeology cannot prove it.”

Actually, archeology doesn’t need to prove it. It has been observed and verified in living organisms, no digging necessary. That it happens, that it has been observed to happen, is actually fact. If such evolution did not happen we really wouldn’t need to worry about disease. The stuff that killed people 1000 years ago we can cure with freaking mold; the problem is that said organisms didn’t hang around unchanged. They evolved, developed resistance, branched off into different strains (species if you will), and we end up with things like spanish influenza. Avian Influenza isn’t scary because it kills ducks; its scary because there is a very real chance it will evolve into a virulent strain that targets humans. On the subject of disease, genetic diseases, or diseases that result from genetic propensity arise because of evolution.

Changes happen faster in simpler organisms because they tend to have quicker generational periods. Opponents of the idea like to assume that such organisms are special, that micro evolution can happen but not macro, but they ignore the fact that we can observe it in humans through our own historical data. We can watch sickle cell alleles be selected for TODAY, because there is a 50% chance of being resistant to maleria, a 25% chance of anemia, and a 25% chance of not inheriting either. Because of the prevelance of malaria we can watch those with one allele being selected for. That is evolution. That is people evolving a trait that increases the chances they will live to reproduce.

Also, you incorrectly assume it is by accident. There may not be an intelligent creator guiding development (such a thing would be impossible to prove, which you do correctly identify), but that doesn’t mean selective pressures cannot provide a reason why an organism with a certain trait flourished and passed on the trait where organisms lacking said trait did not. Removing intention by no means implies accident.

An organism didn’t go from no lungs to fully developed lungs because of one minute change in genetic sequence in one generation. Instead it was a series of miniscule changes occuring over the course of thousands of generations, each one slightly increasing the overall chance that the organism passes on their genetic material, or perhaps simply not deminishing the chances.

Another glaring discrepancy no one has called attention too:

There’s the big flashcard that says:

“I think, therefore, I am” — Descartes

“I AM THAT I AM.” — God said in his booming God voice.

The most important philosopher wasn’t even represented.

“I’s yam what I’s yam” — Popeye

(although supposedly this was a veiled reference to God. Which is bullshit. He was a friggin’ yam, people.)

DNA can not mutate itself from light sensitive discs into eagle’s eyes in 6,000 years, you are right. It would take hundreds of millions of years of evolution and failed attempts to reach that level of specialization.
The universe is no accident, but then again neither is your ability to QUESTION it. Man’s first question wasn’t “Does God exist?” or “Is Evolution the mechanism for life’s diversity” it was “Can I eat this?”.
It took several millions of years before man evolved enough to ask “Can I blog this?”

Hi –

Just found a link to this review on delicious…..

I think your preexisting dread (“I admit to dreading coming to the place…”) and probably some bias precluded you from having an open mind. As I thought more about creationism vs evolution, it seems that there is a lot more faith and hocus-pocus in the star alignment on the latter? ….Look at the depth of complexity of multiple systems (ecological, chemical. biological, etc) and how they symbiotically interplay….heck – look at the physiological intricacies in your own body!…….The latter seems to much of a 1 in 10000000000 (more zeroes could be aded) chance

I went to their website and the more I looked, the more creationism makes sense to me regardless of religious affiliation. I think you should revisit or stop by the education parts of their website (or others) and take another consideration without presuppositions.

Lastly, the founder of this organization seems to have a life purpose greater than his own individual world….how many people can really say they have similar size goals or passions much less execute them…Not knowing you, I am not sure if you do or not…just something to think about.

“Lastly, the founder of this organization seems to have a life purpose greater than his own individual world….how many people can really say they have similar size goals or passions much less execute them…”

I’ll take “Hitler,” for $500.

In Defense of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky

A creationist museum within a rock throw from Ohio, built by a nutty Aussie, is not representative of Kentucky. Of course we have bourbon and horses–even Ashley Judd, though I’m not sure why she’s gives us bragging rights.

Come to Louisville. We have Actor’s Studio, the best regional theater in the country. There are great restaurants, a vibrant music scene and anything you might find in any great city. If you come and visit, you just might want to stay.

We don’t need no stinking creationist museum in our great state. So here’s my solution.

I’ve long advocated giving Northern Kentucky to Ohio, where it rightly belongs, (sorry John). As the Cincinnati Airport is located in Northern Ky, it only seems reasonable. Ohio can have all the boneheaded right-wingers now living in Northern Kentucky. I’ll throw them in for free. They’ll want to go wherever their creationist museum is anyway.

DT, hi, I’m a former officer in the US Air Force and I currently serve as an elected councilman in my Village. Last time I checked, no religion was necessary to have done either. I also served a four-year term as a Director in my local Ruritan’s Club (we’re a service orgnization). While they are nominally a a club with “religious beliefs” I was neither asked about mine, nor was a carded at the door to the meetings.

Whether or not one accepts the theory of evolution shouldn’t be a religious debate. Darwin was a Christian, for crying out loud.

I happen to believe in some of the things that Christianity teaches. However, I could fully accept the theory of evolution without having that interfere with my faith in any way, shape or form. And evolution certainly sounds right: those species do seem to originate from each other. We’ve all seen the diagrams.

But I’ve read about some serious challenges that the theory of evolution faces, such as the question of missing links and lack of intermediate forms in fossils; the formation of the first proteins; the destructive and ephemeral nature of mutations; the formation of complex organs through mutation; etc.

I think some of these pose serious questions that aren’t being dealt with in an open-minden way. I think anyone questioning evolution is automatically dismissed as a religious nut, and evolution is treated as fact rather than a theory.

I think evolutionism has become the ultimate atheist religion.

Logically speaking, atheists “need” to support evolution more than Christians “need” to reject it: a Christian may or may not accept evolution (as Darwin did), but an atheist doesn’t have such choice. Without evolution, atheism would have a hard time explaining the origin of the various species.

So in a way, I do find truth in the creationist accusation that at least part of science is religion: lots of supporters of the theory of evolution refuse to acknowledge that evolution is but a theory, and it does have its weak points. Ironically, questioning evolution today is heresy.

Of course, this has little to do with the bigoted creationism that seems to be on display at the museum in question.

Joe @ 126
“…the Bible contains two mutually incompatible creation stories BACK TO BACK in Genesis. How can the Bible be literally true when it contains two stories where, if one is true, the other can’t be?”

Well, duh. First of all, God is omnipotent, which means he could create two version of the same story that are both true. Secondly, this proves that the Bible does indeed contain all knowledge, since it’s obviously an early description of quantum superposition … the divinely inspired writers just didn’t have the math(s) (or the space in the margin) to provide mathematical proof.

Wow, what a load of ignorance. I mean among guys who swallow “scientific explanation” handed out today. It must be, that because this “opposite” stuff looks so bad, they swallow equal amount of elephant droppings with happy smiles on their faces. Doesn’t anybody think anymore? Or do they think that there are no alternatives?

I haven’t been to the museum but I wonder if it couldn’t be offering up its subject “as-is.” What I mean is, if there were a museum–or perhaps a Wikipedia entry–dedicated to say, the Lord of the Rings, it’s presented as “fact” but the subject matter is not factual. For example, “Bilbo found the One True Ring.” That’s a fact but it is not factual. Also, your generous use of the word “horseshit” might not make the best way to grab your reader. I skimmed through until the “horseshit”‘s ended.

Call it ironic or what you will but if you take a short drive from the creation “museum” to downtown Cincinnati to Sawyer Point along the river, you can take a walk along the, “Dr. Frederick A. Hauck Geologic Timeline.” If you don’t get your fill of Hadean Eon from the “museum”, stop by the park and take a walk. The only question is, which one should you visit first?

Thanks for your respectful comments on my post. I am thankful that you chose to share your reasonings and just not lambaste my ignorance.

I don’t refute that biology allows for things to adapt and change. As El Chepageek mentioned, we have observed it. But it seems that what we have observed as “micro evolutions” are taking place within an already existing biological foundation – one that seems prepared for adaptation. Our bodies develop antibodies and fight disease because they have functions specifically designed to do that.

I don’t want to argue against science or evolution. I’m just making the observation that we accept that nature has led us where we are today but assume that a biological entity designed to adapt, or evolve, was its own progenesis. From my meager exposure to science I see that the basic foundation of life requires a foundation of life to begin with.

It seems to me that in order for evolution to work it has to have been set in motion somehow and within an environment conducive to change. Is that incorrect?

Andras Puiz:

“Logically speaking, atheists ‘need’ to support evolution more than Christians ‘need’ to reject it: a Christian may or may not accept evolution (as Darwin did), but an atheist doesn’t have such choice.”

There’s nothing inherent in not believing in a god or gods that requires that same person to subscribe to any particular scientific theory or hypothesis; a rejection of theism in not the same as the acceptance of science.

If you are going to use the phrase “logically speaking,” please be sure to subsequently employ actual logic.

Jari Laukkanen:

“It must be, that because this ‘opposite’ stuff looks so bad, they swallow equal amount of elephant droppings with happy smiles on their faces.”

Alternately, people believe scientific explanations because these explanations are testable and the data open for examination by other knowledgeable people.


“I went to their website and the more I looked, the more creationism makes sense to me regardless of religious affiliation.”

Your life, pal. I personally think it’s a load of horseshit, but you’re welcome to believe whatever you like.


Re: comment 214: For your edification.

What sticks in my mind after reading this – and what popped into my mind when I first heard about this – was how much GOOD could have been done with this not-insignificant wad of money. 27 million dollars feeds a lot of hungry kids, buys a lot of winter coats, pays for a lot of flu shots.

Silly me … I thought one of the Christ’s teachings was to help each other out and assist the less fortunate. I didn’t realize that propoganda was more important than helping others. I must have missed that part of the Bible.

how dere u angage in such frippery at da espenxe of us cHristens! we no dat da bibel is truf cuse it sez dere. god wud nut a let hiz sun dy on da kros for not to be gud fer uz. an as fur yur stopid kwestuns bout da dinasewers de was der allong da time wif da res of us untel god tooks dem way for ta be wit him. hop dat ansewers ya kwestun bot dat. i nos u alls goin ta HEll n i kant waits fer da dey.
sined a rilly gud cHristen

from: HEAVEN

Humankind is hereby informed that the publication, circulation, recitation, cantillation, inscription, citation and paraphrasis – public or private – of any book, poem, song, parable or other work, in any language, current, obsolescent or obsolete, containing or purporting to contain Our Words is to cease, effective immediately.
The Author thereof asserts His Enjoyment of Eternal Copyright on said works, and has deposited a sworn (to Himself) statement accompanied by copious documentation demonstrating that, to date and after numerous millennia, His Estate is still awaiting His £$%*!^g Royalties.
Calculations of compound interest plus damages (for pirate translations, sucky miniature illuminations, incunabula and mystery play/theatrical/cinematic adaptations, unauthorized transcriptions from stone tablets and angelic messenger boys, etc.) are being tallied even as you quake and a Holy Invoice to The Living stating the Total Sum Due shall be Annunciated within the fiscal year.

Doodz, U R Pwned!!!

John, Thanks for the report. It sounds like a fun day. Now I want to go see it for the entertainment. T-Rex eating coconuts…how could you not laugh!

I was worried that the place would be full of rude, in-your-face illogical people. (like the two fundamentalists who bitterly insulted me at my door when I was 13. Thanks assholes. You showed your true colors. I’ll never forget. I really think you people are twisted perverts).but, instead it looks like it’s so utterly ridiculous that you just have to smile.

Next I expect the “What the Bleep do we Know” museum. Displays of water having feelings and a memory! It’ll be built by the same type of illogical people with lots of money to throw away.

176 Kieran said: However, this statement is not made regarding the seventh day, on which God proceeded to rest, indicating that it continued.

So God isn’t dead, he’s just resting?

Whether or not one accepts the theory of evolution shouldn’t be a religious debate. Darwin was a Christian, for crying out loud.

This is a common misstatement that deserves to be corrected. Darwin–I’m assuming we’re talking Charles Darwin–was skeptical by 1839 and had almost certainly renounced what was left of his religious faith and was an agnostic (in the Huxleian sense) after 1851, the year his 10-year-old daughter died. There is a common urban legend that Darwin re-embraced Christianity on his deathbed, but the only evidence for this assertion comes in the form of bumper stickers. (See, e.g. Niles Eldredge Darwin–Discovering The Tree Of Life at 12-13; I’d love to cite Dennett or something more substantial, but that’s the source I have handy.)

Not that this is really dispositive of anything. It just annoys the hell out of me when I see the myth repeated. Because if Darwin recanted, he must have been wrong; or, if he was wrong, evolutionary theory must be wrong or Christian literalists must be right or something. Even if it was right it would still be a lame appeal to authority–the fact that it’s a baseless lie merely makes it a gallingly lame fallacy.

Look, I have no problem with religion and science keeping to their own, separate bailiwicks. The problem comes when proponents of a religious agenda make objective statements about the physical world that are unprovable or (worse yet) contrary to physical principles. If they keep such things amongst themselves, it’s a minor problem. They’re wrong and I may take the time to correct them, but I won’t lose sleep if they prefer ignorance and error. The substantial problem is when these folks attempt to force their mistakes and foolishness upon other people (e.g. children in public schools), attempt to censor truth (e.g. redacting text in science texts) and attempt to set public policy based on their erroneous views (e.g. quashing legitimate scientific projects).

Open-mindedness is a noble virtue when it serves inquiry, but deceit in the guise of “open-mindedness” has become a pox during my lifetime. Examining gaps in our understanding of evolution in order to come to a better understanding of how the world works is noble; claiming that the gaps necessarily imply the existence of supernatural forces contrary to observable experience is vile. FUD is not debate. Dogma is not inquiry. And not every side deserves equal time in a serious conversation among adults trying to come to terms with the world around them–some claims are true and some aren’t, some things can be observed and others can’t, some things can be proved and others can’t, and there is such a thing as right and wrong.

Interestingly this “think piece” is just a prettied up with fanciful “non-threatening” wallpaper the author despises in the meuseum.

Also of note. Why not let us, the readers, determine if the contents of the meuseum is “horse shit” rather than you craming it down our/their throats?

Apparently this type of hypocracy is unavoidable by the makers of the creation meuseum and those who despise it!

Comical in the least.

“The Voice”:

“Interestingly this ‘think piece’ is just a prettied up with fanciful ‘non-threatening’ wallpaper the author despises in the meuseum.”

This sentence doesn’t actually make any sort of sense. It’s a grammar thing.

“Why not let us, the readers, determine if the contents of the meuseum is ‘horse shit’ rather than you craming it down our/their throats?”

Because, among other things, the piece was about my impressions of the place. If you want me to write something else, “The Voice,” we can discuss my freelance fee. Otherwise, feel free to cram it.

Yeah, I’d say those of us who paid top dollar for him to write that are satisfied with the return on the investment. :) Although we were supposed to get a short story too, weren’t we? What happened with that?

To paraphrase Mike Huckabee, who said something like “as to how long ago it was or how long it took, I’m not sure; but I believe God did it”; which parts do you find equine excrement?
Does this include the God did it part, as well as the literal days and 6,000 years? If you believe God did it, but it took millions of years, then you are at least near my impression of Huckabee’s opinion.

I only bring that up because of a comment I read here concerned that Republican presidential candidates actually believe in divine creation. Actually only three said they didn’t believe in Evolution, and the only one who has given an in depth answer was Huckabee.

Through research, I’ve discovered that he seems to accept the possibility of “Theistic Evolution”; the idea of long-ages and gradual development via a divine plan. What he was explicitly denying is that it was a product of total random chance. A growing body of scientific evidence is calling the totally random aspect into question. (I’d be interested to see your take on Ben Stein’s upcoming movie on the subject; “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”; when it comes out in February.

As for me, I don’t see how one could reconcile divine creation and molecules to man evolution. I see absolute evidence for evolving variation within species, but don’t take the huge leap from that to universal random evolution OF species. I’m also not too confident about the Bishop Usher 4004 BC date Ham seems to hold to (though I tend to be in the 10’s of thousands, but not millions camp); nor do I push the thinly-if-all supported conclusions Ham reaches in some of his details.

I do, however, really believe in 6 literal days of Creation. That you don’t agree isn’t a cause for hostility on my part; nor does Mike Huckabee’s apparent disagreement with my belief that the earth is not millions of years old, change the fact that I think he’s the best candidate to help avoid American becoming a taxed-to-death and completely socialist state, with enforced secularism as the state religion.
It just means I wouldn’t want either of you in the pulpit of my local congregation; and while that might hurt his feelings, I’m sure it won’t hurt yours and wasn’t intended to.


“To paraphrase Mike Huckabee, who said something like ‘as to how long ago it was or how long it took, I’m not sure; but I believe God did it’; which parts do you find equine excrement?”

That would take up too much time. The better question is “what parts don’t I think are horse excrement?” The answer to that is “not much,” since pretty much everything goes downhill from “the universe was created in six days.”

What I love is in the pictures you took, after Adam left the Garden of Eden, both mutations and natural selection took place. Essentially they acquiesce that evolution happens, but it just started 6000 years ago. (The pictures of “Unintended Consequences of Fruit Ingestion, Part II and III”)

OK, for the “short form”:
Do you think there was some sort of intelligent prime cause, or do you assert that any view other than Total Random Chance as the source of everything goes in your steaming pile category?

That was really the root of the Huckabee response I referenced.


“Do you think there was some sort of intelligent prime cause, or do you assert that any view other than Total Random Chance as the source of everything goes in your steaming pile category?”

Who knows to the first (although if there was, it did its work before Planck’s Time), and of course not to the second, since evolution does not occur by “total random chance,” which is something a lot of folks who get twitchy about evolution don’t appear to get.

Evolution isn’t fact. Evolution is Chance. It takes more “Faith” to believe in Evolution than it takes to believe in Creation. You can’t even pull the phrase “The Theory of Evolution” out of a bucket of letters in the alphabet by taking one letter out at a time. You could try for billions of years of 24 hour days and it would never happen. Thank you for letting this Born again, Creation believing, goofball Christian to post my comment.

Joe @ 255:

Any “chance” you creation believing types are going to get some new arguments any time soon? I suspect that you could try for billions of years of 24 hour days and creationists would still be spouting the same old, tired, and repeatedly reputed nonsense.

You guys aren’t giving the creationists a fair shot here, here’s what you do, ignore the fossil record, near phylogenetic sequence similarity, comparative anatomy (Pentadactyl limbs, insect limbs, aquatic tails, wings, eyes, etc.), radiometric dating, and examples of evolution like the Hyracotherium to the modern day horse and modern evidence like the sympatric speciation of the Hawthorn fly, once you’ve cleared your head of all strong scientific evidence, you’re totally wide open for great rhetoric like “different starting points, ” wow.

Is Adam shagging that sheep while turning his head like he’s shamed about the act. Is that a prototype of Eve, perhaps?

Did Adam’s act also invent Relativity and String Theory (which is actually closer to a theory than that Evolution thing)?

Did his actions cause children and the lightning bolt of love that parents have for them?

Did he create the smell of horse dung? How ‘but my dung? Actually, that’s probably the beer and fast food.

The Focus on the Family and their ilk probably will highlight this blog as an advertisement of (with hand raised and eyes squinted as though reading from a divinly inscribed 700-Club queue card …’why it is so important for us all to receive the message that only the museum founder has the courage to celebrate’?

All that evolution and this is as far as we’ve come?! If this is the best humanity has to offer even after only a few thousand years of evolution, zoiks, it is a slow process. Somebody wake up God and tell Him it’s Monday, already, before we all kill each other.


DT said in post #219:
I think your preexisting dread (”I admit to dreading coming to the place…”) and probably some bias precluded you from having an open mind. As I thought more about creationism vs evolution, it seems that there is a lot more faith and hocus-pocus in the star alignment on the latter? ….Look at the depth of complexity of multiple systems (ecological, chemical. biological, etc) and how they symbiotically interplay….heck – look at the physiological intricacies in your own body!…….The latter seems to much of a 1 in 10000000000 (more zeroes could be aded) chance

I ran into that same kind of wooly thinking with regards to the existence of paranormal entities.

The rationale the “researcher” used was something to the effect of “the chance that [i]every single one of the hundreds that I have interviewed was either lying, mistaken or deluded about encounters with ghosts, demons, etc. is so small that there has to be something to it. There are too many people in too many places giving strikingly similar reports for there to be nothing out there.”

Jim Wright @ 257

“Any “chance” you creation believing types are going to get some new arguments any time soon? I suspect that you could try for billions of years of 24 hour days and creationists would still be spouting the same old, tired, and repeatedly reputed nonsense.”

Same beliefs in Creationism = same arguments. Evolutionists keep having to change everything every couple of years while most Creationists keep basically the same beliefs throughout. Also, Intelligent Design and Evolution ARE the same thing, just in different packages.

Here ya go Joe, some research that’s been around for a bit longer than a couple years, get informed:

fossil record, near phylogenetic sequence similarity, comparative anatomy (Pentadactyl limbs, insect limbs, aquatic tails, wings, eyes, etc.), radiometric dating, the Hyracotherium horse, and modern evidence like the sympatric speciation of the Hawthorn fly


“It seems to me that in order for evolution to work it has to have been set in motion somehow and within an environment conducive to change. Is that incorrect?”

At its very heart, biological evolution revolves around chemistry. We didn’t start with even simple strains of DNA, but much smaller, simpler organic molecules, which in turn were precursed by even simpler molecules, and so forth until you get to the early years of the universe built almost entirely of hydrogen. In certain circumstances (say, stars) the conditions are right to combine hydrogen into helium. Produce new conditions and more complex atoms form, molecules start forming, etc. There are basic chemical laws that present a reactant with a set of conditions and you get a product differing from the reactant.

So in essence you are absolutely correct, an environment must be conducive to these sort of chemical reactions that would eventually give rise to the formation of very simple strands of DNA, it needs to be hospitable to chemical change such that DNA would arise. Conditions needed to be correct for the right reactants to be in place and the right conditions to be present. If examing the earth alone, and not considering the expanse of time it has been around, this seems like an almost astronically low probability, however when considering the age of the Universe and the expanse of it, the probability that hospitable conditions would exist somewhere at some point in time becomes much higher. Just as the probability to throw snake eyes at least once with two dice on one throw is low, but much much higher if the dice are thrown one hundred times, the chance of the conditions being present increases.

Many scientists of faith that I have met or read about have varying thoughts on where God fits in. Some put God as the spark of creation at the big bang (they tend not to accept M-theory because of that, but I don’t blame them. I have some serious issue with it myself), the let there be light moment if you will, and believe that God stood back from there (by stood back I mean established physical laws and watched creation develop based on those laws). Others think that God sort of stacked the deck for Earth, possibly being responsible for catalyst events that were essential for our own development to occur.

The ultimate evolution of humans was no sure thing. It only happened because conditions occured just right, and there is plenty of room for faith concerning that. Say if the cataclysm event that killed the dinosaurs never happened we probably wouldn’t be around. In the scientific community a widespread theory is that the moon was created when a protoplanet called Theia collided with Earth, and that that was also the catalyst necessary for life here, that it changed the chemical and climatic makeup suffiecently to birth simple early life like molecules that eventually evolved into proper simple organisms and after millions of years, us. Faith is a fine answer to wondering what gave rise to the conditions that generated evolutionary pressures, but evolution is a better tool to describe how and why organisms react to evolutionary pressures.

Personally I think existance is all the more wonderous when viewed through the lense that my existance, who I am, where I am, what I am, is the result of innumerable events where conditions had to be perfect to provide conditions that eventually gave rise to me, rather than believing I am nothing more than another entity’s creation, something made and manufactured, though it does remove the notion that I may have some sort of higher purpose than simply replicating my genetic material.

Unrelated, John, it would be great if there was some sort of Preview option for Word Press the way MT had. Do you happen to know if there is an extension that provides that functionality. I would love to preview for typos and am hesitant to use tags to format things for fear that I leave one open or malformed.

JoeSays:You can’t even pull the phrase “The Theory of Evolution” out of a bucket of letters in the alphabet by taking one letter out at a time. You could try for billions of years of 24 hour days and it would never happen.

Sorry Joe, even I have to disagree with you making that an absolute. Although, I did calculate it to be very long odds. At 3 letters a second, I calculated something like 1 chance in 1,356,715,447,154,471 that it could be done within 6.5 billion years.

While those are ridiculously long odds (though much shorter odds than DNA sequencing), is it an absolute? I would go with the absolute. Where did the bucket of letters come from, and why are the pieces letter shaped? If you go all the way to the origin of the letters, then the odds of all possible shapes becoming a bucket of letters, which then forms the sentence is insanely long odds.

Then focusing on the part that deals with absolute natural law, neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed (although it may be converted between the two states); where did the original materials for the bucket and letters come from? Because of the previously stated natural law, it’s cause is, by definition, supernatural.

One could argue that a supernatural cause is not necessarily a divine cause. However, since the matter formed letters; and letters are information; and since information suggests intelligence; the existence of the bucket of letters gives strong evidence for (if not absolute proof of) a supernatural intelligent cause (which by most accounts would certainly qualify as divine).

That’s as far as the “intelligent Design” argument gets you, Mr Scalzi is quite right in his assessment that it’s a “mamby-pamby weak sauce” to try to prove the God of the Bible (or any particular religion) by “Intelligent Design”. That’s why I find it so ridiculous when people try to ban teaching Intelligent Design as promoting a religion. It doesn’t prove God(YHVH), gods, or goddess! I.D. is simply not exclusive of religion, the way naturalistic* evolution is.

Again, I’d love to see John Scalzi review Ben Stein’s “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” when it comes out in theaters in Feb 2008.

*Is that a more acceptable term for you than “random”?

I have to take exception to the denigrating and offensive tone you took throughout this posting! I cannot believe that you would be so critical and downright pugnacious on what is such an important topic.

Horse manure is a critical resource for many organic gardeners. When composted with other animal manures and kitchen waste it contributes much needed nutrients into garden soils. To compare this valuable resource to the bizarre, hallucinatory ramblings you found at the creation museum are insulting to horse manure and to the producers of that manure.

Please, do not pull manure down to the level of creationism!

joe @ 262

Evolutionists keep having to change everything every couple of years while most Creationists keep basically the same beliefs throughout.

So I’m guessing that you’re a firm believer in a flat earth (since if I remember my bible correctly that’s pretty much how it’s specified) and that the earth is indeed the center of the universe? Since that is what the majority of Christians believed for a very long time, in fact they went so far as to kill and imprison people who knew better. Additionally, it seems to me that dinosaurs in the garden and on the ark are concepts you guys pulled out of your asses fairly recently.

Creationism = self deluded, rationalized horseshit

As to ‘evolutionists’ changing things every couple of years, well, Joe hate to break it to you but that’s how science works. And you should be grateful that it does, or else you’d still be living on a flat earth scratching in the ground with a sharp stick for your dinner. And just for the record, there is no such thing as an ‘evolutionist.’ Science doesn’t require faith. There are people who understand basic science and are actually capable of using their minds, and then there are people like you.

How about saving the shuckin’ and jivin’ for somebody who buys into your horseshit, eh?

260. GB said: I ran into that same kind of wooly thinking with regards to the existence of paranormal entities.

The problem with paranormal research is that, generally speaking, the researchers are looking at the wrong things. Starting at the wrong starting points, so to speak. It’s a little like they’re trying to figure out what a computer is doing when they have nothing but a voltmeter – and can’t see the monitor, keyboard, or human user.

Wow evolution believers sure are a hostile bunch aren’t you? The Flat World thing again? When are you evolutionists going to get some new arguments? Re: the Ark and Dinosaurs isn’t big a deal when you realize that the DInosaurs didn’t have to be full grown to be on the Ark. SInce God created the dinosaurs, why WOULDN’T they be in the Garden of Eden also? Where is the World is Flat passage in the Bible again?

ok, took my meds and I’m all set.

John S.:
An outstanding report on the creationist amusement park. Frankly, it’s something I would never have done, mainly because I couldn’t see giving up my hard earned $20.

et al:
Some of the comments are outstanding, pretty sure that my I.Q. is much closer to room temperature than many that have commented in here, John S. included, but…….
the main point that most seem to have missed, while the arguments of enlightenment towards evolution are simply great, they unfortunately fall on deaf ears. No, I will repeat that, No amount of logic will ever convince a creationist of the error of their ways. You (we) are dealing with people that are absolutely convinced in their belief and in their god. If I told people that my dog talks to me, tells me to give to the poor, donate my time and do other altruistic things, people would assume that I am insane, harmless, but insane. But if you tell people that you talk to god and he/she/it tells you the same thing, then people nod and go about their business. So, apparantly listening to an invisible ‘entity’ is more sane than listening to one’s dog.

No matter how well presented some of the comments in here are with regard to, if not creationism than I.D. the default position STILL is to a supernatural entity. So if one chooses to believe in a supernatural entity then anything is, was and will always be possible. No research,study or understanding is necessary. For those with a scientific bent and concommitant open mind the world, and the universe, is a fantastical place which operates on laws and rules we have only recently begun to parse.

So rather than try and convince or educate ‘believers’, we all should be working hard to instead commit them.

As for a comment I read which likened atheists and evolutionists to being a religion, let me offer up this; bald is NOT a hair color.

thanks again John for manning up and taking the hit for us all.

John, to think, my mom told me I wasn’t funny. I guess she was wrong. Put a gun to my head and tell me to renounced Christianity or you’d shoot me…Pull the trigger because I am not doing that. It isn’t because I am me, I don’t like being shot at, it’s because I fear God, not man.


I wouldn’t ask you to renounce Christianity even if I could; every man should tend to his soul; that said, your Christianity wasn’t the issue, at least not to my mind. I am sorry you believe that believing in Christ means you must also believe creationist horseshit, but, well, again: your choice to make.


“I fear God, not man.”

What god is worthy that needs to be feared. Shouldn’t love be the more rational emotion. Sort of like saying that fear of your father is the reason you love him. Your god sounds more like a despot who rules by whim and decree. So how’s that working out?

It kind of works in the same way. The absence of God is the absence of creation which would only lead to evolution. Christianity without Christ is tianity, and therefore, doesn’t make any sense.

d-thing, it seems to be working out. When you did something as a kid that your dad didn’t like, was there any fear of what he might do? Makes perfectly good sense to me.

My perspective as a believing, practicing Jew who has studied and rather likes the Bible (well, the Jewish part):

The creation story is a recording of the beliefs/best guesses of the ancient Israelites who wrote the Bible (possibly with God’s “help”) about how the world was created, a few thousand years before the scientific method was developed. It is clearly meant to be metaphorical. It has value because it offers insight into the way Jews historically thought about the way the universe was ordered.

I have never met a single Jew who takes the creation story completely literally and only a very few who reject some parts of evolution.

The Musuem is awesome. I plan to take my four kids after seeing this website. I’ve won numerous math awards in my life, so I have easily calculated how evolutionists’ claims of today’s vast numbers of species could have emerged on a earth which is 4 billion years old: double the number of species every 200 years starting on the date of the first life form.

András Puiz

I consider myself an agnostic (adhering to the scientific principle that you cannot completely prove the absence of something); how does that fit into your assertion that I MUST believe in evolution because otherwise there is nothing left to explain stuff?

Plus those ‘challenges’ have been shot down too often to count. How many missing links to you need? Every time a new one is found, the creationshits say ‘ah, but there’s still a gap’. Useless trying to please on that one. And many ways to form the first proteins have been proven in addition to the classic Primorial Soup experiments. Oh, the ‘destructive’ mutation FUD; many mutations ADD or duplicate genetic material; and where this is the first time I’ve hear about ‘ephemeral’ mutations. Complex organs? So a patch of photosensitive cells that detect vague movement is useless because it’s not as good as the human eye? Sheesh. What else you got?

Hang on, why am I wasting my time. You don’t even understand the scientific use of the term ‘theory’. Scientists only upgrade a hypothesis reluctantly to the status of theory, if not a single bit of evidence exists that can’t be explained by it. Every scientist questions evolution as we currently understand it and continually improves it. In science there is never a final answer, just as good a description as we can come up with using our current knowledge.

Science looks for the truth, Religion just wants truthiness.


My father never threatened to kill me or condem me to eternal hell if I didn’t love or obey him. Sure I ‘feared’ him, as any kid might, but as I grew older my relationship with my father became more of a friendship with semi-equality. Not so sure your god operates in the same way.

Just a note to those people ranting about ‘hypocrisy,’ ‘journalistic integrity,’ and similar nonsense, can I recommend that link at the top of the article that says ‘you guys paid top dollar?’ It will give you some grounding in the background behind this little adventure, which will save you some time and Scalzi some comment storage space.

(short version: Those of us that paid for this write-up knew full well what we were getting. In delivering what he promised to deliver, Scalzi is actually practicing, not undermining, professional integrity in this piece. And the fact that it was a fund-raiser for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State might be a bit of a clue (possibly a clue-by-four) to the intent).

it’s a shame you feel the need to mock people’s beliefs. no one forced you to go to that museum. even if the people who designed that place are horribly, horribly wrong, do you really need to mock them? they have a different opinion than you. next time you criticize Ann Coulter, go look in the mirror. hint: you’re no different. is that really who you want to be like?


I have an honest question for you, because I really would like to know how a literalist view of the bible can resolve the issue. If the bible is literally true, why then are there different versions of it? I can produce several of explinations for different versions of the bible, stemming from the fallibility of those producing it, i.e. us, but by introducing the fallibility of man into the equation I have just ensured that it can no longer be the literal word of God. The only way to ensure it is the literal word of God is if the Almighty preserved the sanctity of the content so that the fallibility of man could not taint it, but if that were the case, how would different versions of the bible arise?


“it’s a shame you feel the need to mock people’s beliefs.”

It’s a shame people have such dumbass beliefs, Doug.

“Even if the people who designed that place are horribly, horribly wrong, do you really need to mock them? ”

I don’t need to, no. It’s just a bonus.

Trying to shame me for calling horseshit horseshit really isn’t going to work, Doug.

Doug Says: “no one forced you to go to that museum.”

Truth be told, Doug, yes, we did force him to go (well, not me personally as I don’t have a paypal account and John refused all other forms of donations).

Joe, I have no problems with you believing what you want to believe. It’s when those that have these beliefs try to force the rest of us there that things like external validation and scientific process come into sway. Same with tax dollars. If we teach science to kids, we teach them science, not religion. What you wish to teach those kids at home or in Church is your own thing. But on the state/class test will be science. That’s how they’re graded. And just to make it clear, ID, by those that wrote the books and go around getting school boards to include it on their science agendas, is Creationism by their own admission as shown by the trial in PA. ID is Creationism wrapped in semi-scientifical language.

First, Doug. I am pretty sure Ken Hamm has heard it all, I am sure people have called “Bull Butter” on his beliefs and Science data.

El Geeko, I don’t have a great answer, but the reason I feel there are the New King James, Living Bible, New International Version, New American Standard, etc. is so people can understand what the Bible says. Last I checked, schools in the Joonity Stace don’t teach Greek and Hebrew so the Bible was done in King James English, when people could no longer understand the King’s English, they translated, then they translated that, then that… Other than what I typed, I have nothing.

I guess my point was missed. I’m trying to say there’s way too much hostility in this post. We could do with fewer Ann Coutlers, Rosie O’Donnels, Sean Hannitys, and Randi Rhodes. It’s clear you disagree with these people’s beliefs, but what value is there in the mockery and charged language? Does it change them? Does calling people names and mocking their beliefs accomplish anything? When we criticize christians or anyone else for harsh behavior, demanding that there is one correct point of view, forcing their beliefs on others etc, we become fundamentalists too — only we have a different set of beliefs. We are right. They — those foolish, crazy, irresponsbile people — are wrong. Sounds like self-righteousness to me — the same thing we criticize them for. It is possible to disagree with somone and still treat them with respect — even if they don’t deserve it. I wish there were more of that in our culture.


I had fun, yes.


“It’s clear you disagree with these people’s beliefs, but what value is there in the mockery and charged language? Does it change them? Does calling people names and mocking their beliefs accomplish anything?”

No, but so what? I’m not trying to affect a change in anyone’s beliefs or behaviors; I’m writing my impression of the place, and my main impression is that it’s a perfectly grand monument to a really big load of horseshit. The value in the mockery and charged language is it reinforces the fact I think the place is ridiculous, that the ideas promulgated there are ridiculous, and being polite in the face of horseshit is of limited utility. Also, I enjoyed writing it, which has value to me. Whether other people see any of this as valuable is not my problem; they’re not obliged to read it. Indeed, people have to affirmatively seek it out to read it. Let them take their chances, I say.

“When we criticize christians or anyone else for harsh behavior, demanding that there is one correct point of view, forcing their beliefs on others etc, we become fundamentalists too”

Oh, bah, Doug. This statement of your doesn’t mean anything. Criticizing dogma behavior does not inherently imply dogmatic behavior on the part of the critic. We do not become what we criticize when we criticize. And in this particular case, it’s certainly not correct; I do not maintain my point of view is the only correct one, nor do I force it on others. I’m happy to have people believe what they wish to believe. But if they believe a bunch of horseshit, and then spend millions of dollars to a monument to said horseshit, I’m also happy to note both, and not bother to pull my punches.

maybe someone can explain a simple question to me…
In regards to the formation of the geologic column, we know that there is a process in which the sediment is placed down and then another layer, etc. In due time, [ie millions of years] with the event of erosion there are some canyons formed, and then filled again by the same sedimentation process… the geological column according to the evolutionary process might have to look and show evidence of some fossil Grand Canyon… however when I look at the GC I find the layers neatly stacked one after the other, and even in some places there are entire layers missing…? why is that?
Another question that arises… The estimate of the rate at which the sediments reach the ocean is an interesting 20.000 million tons per year according to Milliman and Syvitski [geologists, not creationists]… the question is, if the earth has been here for millions of years, then how come we have such a rate of sedimentation and still be around?

Everest is more then 10M years/old [according to the datation of evolutionist geology], however according to the sedimentation rates analyzed in the Yellow River, it should take 10M years to take Everest from its peak to level ground… yet it is still here.. and its been here for millions of years, right? how come?

Maybe some of you great scientific minds can explain that conudrum to me… in laymen’s terms considering I am not a scientist neither do I pretend to be one, however I could use an answer to that question… I mean, considering Evolution is such an exact fact, not theory mind you… because a theory is just that, a theory; and ultimately it requires some amount of faith from the person that adheres to it… The other option is that whole creation bullshit right that is just shoved down homeschooling kids and they should learn to question it… JUST AS MUCH as the kids in public schools should learn to question the challenges that EVOLUTION and its EXACTNESS presents…

I doubt I’ll get an explanation to my geologic dilemma, perhaps a little of that christian horshit called faith might help… we’ll see…

Intelligent design is just evolution repackaged,it doesn’t have much to do with God. It could be that Aliens created the whole Universe, Apes, Magic Genie…

Re: horseshit as a stylistic choice – I think it works really well in this piece. You so rarely see excrement used as a metaphorical device with that level of care and dedication. And really, say what you will about the imagery, but “Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit.” is an opening line that grabs attention.

Mr. Scalzi, if this is the kind of writing I can expect from your blog, I may have to go pick up one or six of your books.

Thanks Joe, I appreciate the answer, and I hope you didn’t take it as an attack or anything that I asked the question, but honest curiosity. Belief in general interests me and I am always curious to learn what others believe and why. I don’t actually know any literalist creationists (until recently I was a denizen of the West Coast, which for whatever reason doesn’t have as many people of that specific belief as, say, the mid-south) and most of the people I have encountered on the web with that belief are less interested in fielding my questions than establishing why I am wrong, which I don’t generally find conducive to conversation or understanding.

Without considering what a literal interpretation of the bible would entail, I’ve always thought the first question is whether we can assume the bible has been preserved without alteration of message (even if the particular language used to convey that message has changed, which would make sense, since language does change and multiply). There are various theological questions around whether the bible can be altered by man and what it would mean if it could or couldn’t; depending on the answer to those questions, I have then wondered why we see a new international version, a revised standard version, a living bible, a new world translation, new american standard version, etc. obsensibly all targetted at American christians who speak essentially the same dialect, and all with variations that can change meaning of certain aspects of the bible either subtly or dramatically (either would effect a literal interpretation). I was hoping that you might have some insight into how to address than, because I think it would lead insight into the belief in general, which I would find interesting.

I’ve spent some time trying to look up an answer on the interweb, but while there are a lot of critiques about the differences of versions, I haven’t found a good source that really explains how the differences could exist and maintain a literal interpretation (other than hand waving that everyone else just reads the wrong version, which doesn’t explain away the differences). If you do come across a good explination in the next couple of days I would be happy to read it if you posted it. Though before you spend time hunting down good explinations, I hope you would realize my goal is to simply gain understanding of another belief (and thus my fellow humans that believe it) rather than to convert.

@Tim Walker

Actually, I wasn’t getting into those, because an arguement could simply be raised for the fallacy of history and our understanding and record of it. It seemed much easier to address modern versions that contain inconsistencies among them, many of which convey different meaning because of those inconsistencies. It seemed a more immediate and current question.

Harry Says: “however when I look at the GC I find the layers neatly stacked one after the other, and even in some places there are entire layers missing…? why is that?”

Oo, now I’ve gotta go see the Grand Canyon and those missing layers. “How does rock float like that?” is what I’ll wonder.

“evolutionist geology” I didn’t even know there was such a thing.

“Everest is more then 10M years/old… sedimentation rates analyzed in the Yellow River, it should take 10M years to take Everest from its peak to level ground… yet it is still here”

Well, other than to say that Ganges is what’s washing away much of the Himalayan range, and that these rivers go a very long way eroding much more than just the mountains, it’s known as the phenomena of the India Plate trying to make it’s Siberian train. In other words, the two plates ramming together that created the Himalaya Mountains continue to ram together. This might help.

I’ll be the guy you can all laugh at, I generally reject the idea that one cell -> humans, even given the timeframe we all generally except. I also believe in a creator, and I believe there we are intelligently designed, or were at least the start things off. In short, there are metaphysical elements of this world that I believe point to a creator, and I also believe that attempts to construct a plausible start to finish history of our evolution are nothing short of awful, strung together science. Combine those two things together, and for now, I stick with ID.

Having said that, there is a sizable portion of ID fans or at least supposers, that totally and completely reject about 99% of the stuff that Ken Hamm presents and misrepresents as science. The whole “age of the earth” thing alone is insane.

I know you think I’m out their trying to ruin your schools or kill your kids or whatever, but at least know that most ID proponents are not batshit crazy, they just mix science in with their metaphysical sometimes, which is poor science.


Your questions ignore plate tectonics. it is true that a mass of sediment is pushed into the ocean. It creaps along until it gets to a fault and then it is pushed down or up. If it is pushed up, land rises. Everest is just such an example. It is still GROWING, as are all of the himalayas, because they are along a fault where two plates collide and one is getting pushed upwards, forming increasingly high mountains. The plate that gets pushed down eventually rises again as well, as its contents are turned molten in the core of our planet and expunged through various vulcanic fissures. It is thus a constant cycle as the earth is built up and then torn down.

If we did not have erosion our mountains would be substantially larger. Take, for example, Olympus Mons on mars. Without significant erosionary forces it has risen to a hight of over 13 miles (almost 70,000 feet). It has a base larger than China. And it is still growing.


You place an argument/questioin regarding the literacy of the Genesis account. The writer of Genesis had the intention of telling us a literal account of creation in six days. The analysis and syntax of the hebrew in the torah and in that particular narration just points to that fact [ie waw consecutive, numerals, verb syntax, construction of sentences, etc] No serious Old Testament Scholar that is specialized in Hebrew will concur that the Genesis account is a metaphor.

Yes, it is true that it is portraying the cosmic view of the writer to the people of Israel, of one God Creator, YWHW; however the belief of it JUST being a metaphor, and its consequential acceptance in all Jewish circles springs from greek philosophical influence upon judaism during the diaspora and the post-exilic era.

Normally the majority of those scholars that will question the account and make it a simple legend at best or limit it to only a cosmic view of the nation of Israel before the scientific method, are not specialists in OT or much less in hebrew language. The intention of the writer was to portray an account as he saw it, a literal 6 day creation account; whether we accept it or not is a whole different subject. [OT scholars that say it was a literal account do not necessarily believe in the account, ie. Julius Wellhausen, Von Rad, etc.]

The application of the “scientific method” to both history and bible results sometimes a little unfair and unscientific at the same time as we bring foreign elements to the study of the object, being it the Bible.

True, Everest grows at a rate of 2 cm per year if I am not mistaken, and I have not ignored plate tectonics, in the case of mt Everest it is true it is right in the fault, therefore it still grows, however the fact that the GC is neatly stacked and some layers are missing [ie Dead Horse Point, Utah] just posses questions as to perhaps our dating of the geological column is just a little off [perhaps]. And then if there are no evidences of a “fossil Grand Canyon” in the GC then how do we explain the stacks of the rocks and no evidences of the natural process of erosion and placement of plates. it is interesting that the questions are answered so quickly…

True I might have overstepped the point in evolutionist geology… geology PERIOD. I apologize for the offense.


I don’t think most of the people in this thread find the idea of alternate belief to be a point of amusement. I think what amuses/horrifies them is when science is utterly bastardized for that belief. Since you aren’t proclaiming to do that, I don’t think people will laugh at you (well, most wont, but no one belief has a monopoly on asses).

That said, taking a look at the single cell to human being in one context is a jump that anyone would have issue with. Evolution doesn’t seek to do this in one jump, but rather explain how one cell first might form a dual-celled organism, and the next small jump and so forth, until it is at the point where osteolapthicus (I probably butchered the spelling) arose from it’s closest ancestor to become an early proto-hominid, and the next small step after that, until finally you have a transition to homo-sapian. The “walking with” series (which “Walking with Dinosaurs” is part of) does a great job showing all of the small steps from early arthropods (walking with monsters) to ultimately humans (walking with cavemen). It by no means is a perfect documentary on the subject, flaws abound, but it is entertaining and an approachable illustration of transition.

@ Steve Bucheit

I never said that the missing rock floats… that is you assuming something, I just posed a question… in order for rock to be neatly stacked in that way you do need water… an example of that would be the turbidity currents, in the particular case of the Grand Banks Earthquake in 1929… interesting event.

Patrick, I’m STARTING to sound crazy? Duh, I must be, I believe in The Creator God, and I’m fine with that. IF, I am wrong about creation, no big deal, right? I look like a fool, which I do whether Creation is true (it is) or isn’t (it is). If everybody else is wrong and the creator gets ticked off (He will) there will be a huge price to pay (there will).

I think my crazy meter went way up just now.

El Chupageek,
atc dot org at gmail dot com

Your arguing is useless. the nonscientists cannot accept the scientific language and therefore do not understand the term “theory” at all. E=mc^2 is just a theory and an atomic bomb was created based on it and it seemed pretty real to a lot of people. theories in science have been proven several times, but not enough to say that it applies to all things. you could try an experiment a million times and get the same outcome and you still wouldn’t be able to call it a law. it only takes one failed experiment to disprove it even if it’s occured the right way a hundred thousand times.
Secondly, I feel that taking information as it given and accepting it all for truth without question is a sign of weakness and ignorance. Especially, when the information is contradicts its self in its own pages. Looking for a deeper meaning shows depth, in spirit as well as character. you don’t need to be spoon fed your faith. you need to work for it. find what it means to you.
Also, don’t you think someone might have mentioned a giant lizard in the bible? possibly? I think it’s a pretty major thing to skip over……

No, no – all those beliefs are fine…

But ID is Evolution repackaged? I’m going to have to vomit on you.

Job 40:16 is in reference to me.

Is the price we have to pay, roughly, $20 admission to a museum?

316. Joe said: If everybody else is wrong and the creator gets ticked off (He will) there will be a huge price to pay (there will).

So Joe, what’s an effective way to tick off The Creator™? All I’ve ever managed to do is tick off his followers, and all they can muster is the old “Jesus will kick your ass when he comes back!” threat, which is best responded to by saying “Because you are too much of a weenie to do it yourself, right?”

if you have to believe that life on earth was created by a God, because “it’s” to complicated to come from evolution, then what created God?

I mean, if he exists, then surely he’s much more complicated than a man !

ROTFL. I love your photo essay and hope to enjoy it at my leisure. Love the Photo titles. Particularly like the cleverness of some of your commenters. Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to post to my LiveJournal – see if that brings you even more fans.

Re: Harry (312)

Erosion is a perfectly natural explanation for missing rock layers in a formation. Layers form only when sediment is being deposited in an area. If the watershed in the area changes so that instead of laying sediment down, the sediment is being eroded away and deposited elsewhere, no rock layer will form in that area during that time.

If later, the watershed changes again so that sediment is once more laid down, you will see sedimentary rock formations from the newer era, and you will end up with a gap or a “missing layer” in the sedimentary layers, which will correspond to the time that the sediment is being eroded.

Not only will there be no sedimentary layers corresponding to the actual time of erosion, but depending on how long the erosion lasts and how powerful the eroding force is, some of the underlying, older rock layers may also be eroded away. Thus, you end up with missing rock layers with a perfectly natural explanation – no outside intervention needed.

That was absolutely, utterly, delightfully, hilarious!!! Never before has the word “horseshit” brought me so much joy (or been used more truthfully).

The photo set also cracked me up!!! It was like going to the Grand Canyon with the Brady Bunch – some laughs, some scares, and lessons learned – all from the comfort of my couch.

John Scalzi:

“There’s nothing inherent in not believing in a god or gods that requires that same person to subscribe to any particular scientific theory or hypothesis; a rejection of theism in not the same as the acceptance of science.

If you are going to use the phrase “logically speaking,” please be sure to subsequently employ actual logic.”

What I said was logical.
Premise A: Evolution supports atheism.
Premise B: Evolution is neutral to theism.
Conclusion: Acceptance of evolution is more important for atheism than its rejection is for theism.


“I consider myself an agnostic (adhering to the scientific principle that you cannot completely prove the absence of something); how does that fit into your assertion that I MUST believe in evolution because otherwise there is nothing left to explain stuff?”

It doesn’t. I never mentioned agnostics, only atheists. My comments on them obviously doesn’t apply to you.

“Scientists only upgrade a hypothesis reluctantly to the status of theory, if not a single bit of evidence exists that can’t be explained by it.”

This is precisely what I have doubts about in the case of evolution. When exactly was the point in history when the “hypothesis of evolution” was reluctantly upgraded to theory status?

“Science looks for the truth, Religion just wants truthiness.”

That’s what science strives to do, but I think it would be foolish to subscribe to an infallibility dogma. Scientist are humans with flaws, so agendas, politics, interests and simple honest mistakes abound.

As for your counterpoints about the weaknesses in the theory of evolution: these are being argued pro and con as we speak. I don’t think they have been settled. I also don’t always see that these points are tackled with open-minded honesty from either side.

Please note that I’m fully open about the theory of evolution. I’m not opposed to it. I just think that it has some serious weaknesses, some of which are the exact ones that Darwin himself mentioned. I’m not suggesting that the theory is necessarily wrong; I just believe that our society, including several scientists, are unscientifically biased towards it.

335: We have a bias towards explanatory frameworks that work, that cohere, that are fruitful in extending our knowledge of the universe. That’s a scientific bias. While science continues to attack known weaknesses, creationism basically does nothing but prop up weaknesses with arguments based on additional weaknesses.

Stephen 309: “but at least know that most ID proponents are not batshit crazy, they just mix science in with their metaphysical sometimes, which is poor science.”

No, they make a fundamental mistake as to the nature of science the scientific method. What they do is not poor science, it is not science at all. People like Dembski dress up faulty logic in the guise of abstract mathematics, and arrive at what I can only describe as mathematical masturbation.

The first problem is that science is not a compedium of facts or a static body of knowlexge, it is a dynamic process. The testing of sequential hypotheses is similar to Newton’s Method for finding the root of a differentiable function – each iteration gets closer to the truth, but the Truth is never obtained. The problem with the “God in the Gaps” argument is that there will always be a gap in which to insert God. That’s fine if you want to believe God is there (I do), but science will continue to try to narrow those gaps. Which one is the gap where God lives? When should science stop looking? Never. So as a scientific hypothesis. ID is useless, and therefore not science.

Beyond that, mathematical attempts to “prove” the need for an Intelligent Designer have thus far been a larger pile of horse shit than the Creation Museum. The reason for this is that the scientific method requires testable hypotheses.

I’ve read Demski’s papers, and the math is lacking one vital element – a number – e.g. exact probabilities for the cutoff of the categories “extremely unlikely” and “impossible”, because it is on the claim of impossibility that the fundamental premise of Dembski’s leading version of ID rests. My Ph.D. advisor used to say about something quite unrelated that without numbers, you are not talking science, you are talking religion. So, since Demsbki claims that the proabability of life spontaneously arising is so low that it is impossible, where are the cut-offs in probability that would falsify his hypothesis? What is the magic number (probability) that means “impossible”? And from what fundamental principles would one derive and validate that number? Answering those questions might turn ID into a testable scientific hypothesis, but as of now, it’s just a steaming pile. Dembski violates the central code of science outlined by Fyenman in “Cargo Cult Science” – a scientist must explain what would cause him or her to reject a hypothesis, and try as hard as possible to actually shoot down one’s own theory.

To be fair, many mainstream scientists fail at that, but they have plenty of competitors actively trying to seek to supplant their assertions with new ones, so the failing of one individual scientist is not that important. The best ones do try to kill their own babies, though. When I see IDers doing that, I’ll think about accepting them as some of my own. Until then, they need to stay away from the science curriculum. We have enough problems with scientific illiterates teaching primary and secondary school science as a bunch of facts without diluting even that minimal exposure with horse shit.

You know if the dinosaurs did co-exist with the Egyptians it would explain how they built the pyramids – dino-labour. Of course they wouldn’t have been the first, was the museum showing those delightful re-enactment documentaries featuring Frederick Flintstone and his charming wife?

Andras Puiz:

“Premise A: Evolution supports atheism.”

Wrong. The theory of evolution has nothing to say for or against atheism; the question of whether or not there is a god or are gods is outside its ambit. Also non-responsive as to the question of of the existence of god or gods: The theory of gravity, the theory of quantum physics, the theory of vaccination and so on. Indeed, all of science is neutral to the question atheism because the existence of god or gods cannot be tested and thus is literally outside the realm of science.

Science can say that a supernatural explanation to natural phenomena is not needed by theorizing a natural and physical process of said phenomenon, but this is neither here nor there as regards god or gods, their existence or lack thereof.

Your use of logic continues to be wanting. Please do better, or stop trying to use it.

My favorite counter-argument against creationism is disease:
If viruses and germs didn’t keep evolving, all animals and plants would be immune by now. Nobody would ever get the cold, or the flu… and of course viruses would not mutate, so new diseases would not emerge.

I know, I know… someone will respond that plagues are caused by divine (or Satanic) intervention. But that in turn raises other questions:
A) If Satan creates new diseases, just thow powerful is he? Shouldn’t that concern believers?
B) If God creates new diseases, why does he hit the poor and the Third World disproportionately? Does this imply that God hates the poor? (I fear that some who call themselves “Christians” would conclude “Of course God loves me — I’m rich!”)

András Puiz @ 335This is precisely what I have doubts about in the case of evolution. When exactly was the point in history when the “hypothesis of evolution” was reluctantly upgraded to theory status?

When Watson and Crick figured out the structure of DNA and their research became known.

I am very proud of all of you, my children. Let us suspend belief for a second and imagine that I am speaking only to you the reader. Could you believe that God could speak to you? Am I a white gentleman with a long grey beard? Am I Alanis Morrisette? Am I the light in your children’s eyes? No one on this planet knows who I am to the person sitting next to them. Do you need me to be in the corner of your life, so you know which way to go? Why can’t people just believe in themselves and the connection they have to the universe. I could be a man, a woman or the sum of all lifeforce in the universe. But it is not for any of you to say who, what, where, or how I should be to anyone else! The unbridled nerve it takes to spend 27 million dollars on a shrine to your beliefs, when mere miles away my children live in squalor and poverty! You shall never know me, only your dreams of what I mean to you, don’t think that you could ever preach to people that which you do not have providence to understand yourself.

Dean you say :

“How did the museum handle the whole Adam and Eve nudity thing? In the one picture you have of Adam, he’s using a convenient lamb as a loincloth”

Are we absolutely sure that the lamb is just being used as a loincloth by Adam ?
After all if incest hadn’t been prohibited back then who knows what else was still alowed ?

@ A R Yngve

Your argument against creationism using the facts of viruses and plagues that evolve, and they do… this has nothing to do with God and Satan and all that, at least not in this stage of the argument… any Christian that simply answers that, is ignoring the fact that there is bimolecular evolution BUT… those bacteria, and viruses remain bacteria and virus… they do not become other things, they do not decide by some chance something else other then a bacteria or virus… they have been living for millions of years… right? I do not see a bacteria making the leap into some different species or a different family or animal… they always stay bacteria.

AND regarding your argument of “dis-balanced” disease repartition in the world I believe you are ignoring the disease that are here among rich people… cancer, heart disease, stress,… heart failure is a greater killer then other “diseases” in the world. The fact that there are other countries that struggle with sickness that we have “eradicated” in America is due to variations in climate in education and the reality of pharmaceutical companies that give a damn about the poverty and sickness around the world… after all, if they could really cure the disease, then they would be out of business RIGHT?

Those simplistic arguments against simplistic arguments of Christians, are simply lame and fail to see the broader picture of it all… it just seeks to have a scape goat to the problematic of the world and heck, lets just make that scapegoat GOD…

Harry, that’s because you’re being confused by your concept of “progression” (ie. you think evolution has a “goal” state of higher beings). Also, as I pointed out in another thread on this blog, humans, “history”, and specifically “modern science” haven’t been around long enough to see enough generations to have one species evolve into another one.

Why horseshit? I mean, I’ve been around horses, their shit is not particularly offensive, odor wise. Cow shit is certainly more odiferous yet again, not all that offensive. Carnivorous shit, on the other hand is highly offensive and stinks to high heaven (pun intended). All due respect, not correcting or chastising you, and it has already been written (can’t unring a bell) but ya gotta believe that in retrospect, MONKEY SHIT woulda been pretty appropriate as well, no?
just a thought, from one of god’s little monkeys

Nice post and review.

I actually have a guy I work with (software developer) who is highly “intelligent” who went there and loved it. I think he believed in it hook line and sinker.

Just pointing out its not JUST the backwards folks going there. And their are people their who truly like it.

I should say, it could have happened while we weren’t watching or hadn’t been able to identify a species, we’ve been able to see the genetic plasticity/morphology of many species, but I don’t believe we’ve had laboratory science long enough to hold an animal/plant/baterium under the scope and say, “Wow, this was an A and now it’s a B.” However, we can see that with the fossil record and with looking at genetic “histories.”

I wasn’t able to make it through all the comments, but did NOT see one that thanked you for not only saving us the $19.95 that the horseshit museum cost, but also kept that $19.95 out of the hands of the idiots that run the place. Supporting that kind of wholesale crap is not what I want to do, but my curiosity about the place might have made me cave eventually. Now since I have your report, I don’t HAVE to go!! So THANKS!!!!


Animal husbandry has produced new species. The modern cow is a human guided new species. Humans acted as the selective pressure rather than nature, however it does demonstrate that speciation through genetic selection is possible.

@András Puiz

Evolution does not preclude a creator, it simply is a series of outright observed facts and evidence, as well as a theoretical framework to explain biological and selection mechanisms. It is inconsistent with a literal interpretation of the bible, however the majority of christianity does not accept a literal interpretation so that is not an issue for them.

If one assumes the 6 days of creation is a metephorical six days representing history up until the arrival of modern humans, as say, the Catholic church has done, then evolution takes the form of a tool of God. It seems perfectly within the power of the creator of the universe to have the forsight to create a framework of natural rules that would allow for our eventual development, especially in light of the fact that said creator seems to have gotten every other natural law to play well with each other. If you then add into the equation that the natural record shows various cataclysm events (the permian and cretacous extinctions are both primarily linked to asteroids/comets) originating outside of earth that had a huge hand in changing the course of organismal life, it seems like there would be plenty of room to believe God was directing things along a certain path.

All evolution provides is a best fit explination of mechanisms that address observable fact in this world. It happens to be the only idea that comes close to doing so, hence why it is the backbone of biology, modern medicine, agricultural science, etc. Like the rest of science it simply provides a means of explaining the reality we live in, without theological qualifier. A person inclined to think there is not a creator can incorporate it into that belief, but just as easily someone who believes in God can use it as part of their belief.

You’re assertion that it is inherently athiestic ignores the reality of the large bulk of christianity that believes otherwise, as well as the rest of the world’s religions that have incorporated evolution into their beliefs. You are doing a disservice to religion by contending that science (and that is what evolution is) is incompatible.

GB@326: So Joe, what’s an effective way to tick off The Creator™? All I’ve ever managed to do is tick off his followers, and all they can muster is the old “Jesus will kick your ass when he comes back!” threat, which is best responded to by saying “Because you are too much of a weenie to do it yourself, right?”

This argument reminds me of the old child’s argument “My daddy can whup your daddy!” conveniently ignoring the fact that neither daddy wishes to fight the other.

Species on this planet are past rudimentary evolution. That happened in the beginning of life’s journey on this planet. The variety of species currently in existence are all highly specialized. After the next mass extinction life will need to adapt and change again in quick order to take advantage of that situation. Bacteria, viruses and other species of Reptiles, mammals and plants have remained unchanged because the outside forces of environment and adaptation have already been conquered. The are successful at what they do. For example: Bacteria EVOLVE resistance to Antibiotics because they HAVE to. They do not aspire to own iPods, therefore they do not need to evolve opposable thumbs. Evolution is a simple and elegant way to adapt to change, people do it everyday. Humans should not be arrogant enough to think that through the small window into the mystery of life that they have, they can see the whole world.

@Post 327: The problem with that attempted role reversal is that annoying things like the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics or Newtons First Law of Motion aren’t required for belief in an eternal omnipotent being, but ARE fundamental tenets of science. That’s probably a good thing, actually; if they applied to EVERYTHING instead of just the material world we’d all be at quite an etiological impasse, eh…? Put in logical terms: Refer to the opening of Aristotles “The Metaphysics” Book II, Part 2, where the ancestor of all Western logic in the past 2300 years quite eloquently and thoroughly eliminates the possibility of an infinite regression of causes and thus posits his “First Cause”, the preeminent cause to all others that results FROM no others.

That’s the logical problem with positive atheism vs. religion debates (the more disturbing practical one is someones suggestion above that creationists should all be institutionalized). Advocates of religion object that those arguing for pure materialism don’t play by their own rules; to respond with nothing more than “you don’t play by them either!” is irrelevant, since religion is manifestly not limited to material means. I believe the punchline goes “and then God says, ‘No, no: Get your OWN dirt!'”

To Stephen: In a real sense the whole problem with so called Intelligent Design is that it’s not content to accept a God Who initiated a Big Bang (and SOMETHING had to set that dead matter in motion, right…?) and then leaves the universe to operate by the physical laws He established; IDs want an ACTIVE designer always minding his store, which reduces it to nothing more than a Trojan horse for creationism. It’s “spin”; a new twist on an old (i.e. obsolete) concept that lacks even the integrity or confidence in its own arguments to be honest. What’s really ironic is the when the Big Bang was first proposed it was attacked on precisely those grounds by the mainstream scientific community.

In terms of literalism in particular:

I’m aware of no conflict between the order of creation in the first chapter of Genesis (which pretty much follows the progression science indicates) and the second chapters statement that God brought His creations to Adam for names; there’s no requirement God bring them IMMEDIATELY after they were created (and no need prior to Adams creation). As for divergence between the oldest extant manuscripts, the only ones I’ve seen are in the various fragments of the Greek New Testament where word order (which is totally irrelevant to meaning in Ancient Greek) varies. It’s equivalent to the difference between “my dog, Spot” and “Spot, my dog”; that’s not exactly a “conflict” or “discrepancy”.

Regarding six day creation in specifically:

Six day creation; fine. As someone else already noted, the Bible concludes each episode with “and the evening and the morning were, one day”. Someone else suggested referencing the Bible for instances of days that aren’t exactly 24 hours long; as it happens, all you have to do is ask an Inuit, since an “evening and morning” are 365 standard days at the poles. Each of those 365 “days”, in turn, is composed of 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds, each of which the same scripture that proclaims six day creation tells us can last a thousand mortal years; 86,400,000*365=31,536,000,000 years, if I did my math right (and I’m coming off a 12 hour shift, so I probably didn’t… ) so all you heretic young earth science people are going to hell, Q.E.D. Personally, I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say 6 day creation=144 standard hours (and for anyone familiar with the Bible the square of 12 is a very significant number… ) unless you were there, just as it seems presumptuous to say God established the physical laws of nature but is somehow precluded from operating within them and consequently FORCED to operate solely via the miraculous (understand, I’m not saying miracles don’t happen, but by nature they’re anomalies reserved for special occasions; there’s not much room for faith if God’s always pulling rabbits out of hats on demand).

Short form of the above: My God is a HELLUVA lot bigger than their museum, for which I’m very grateful, which makes this less about religion than narrow-mindedness.

Hm, if you replace all instances of ‘God’ and ‘creation’ for ‘evolution’ and ‘year’ for ‘million years’, does this change the story significantly? And didn’t single-cell organisms according to evolution theory spring from mud too?

My suggestion would be to put an identical musum next to this one but now representing the beliefs (sorry: facts) of evolutionists. Something in the line of a Christian church next to a mosque. Let the visitors decide which one serves the horseshit. Freedom of choice: I love it …

Dear #97

Creationist thought is a problem to humanity.

Although I completely believe in free speech and think that anybody regardless of their opinion or knowledge should be able to speak their minds, I think it is a horrible thing for people to start trusting religion over science.

To anyone who has ever really thought about it, religion is a sham. Sure there are some individuals who benefit from religion but humanity overall is indisputably harmed by religion.

How is it possible to make progress if people constantly reject the reality observed every minute of their lives for an alternate reality described by unknown authors thousands of years ago? How can we create applications that help humanity using ideas from an ancient book? We cannot.

Science gives us the knowledge necessary to build machines and ideas that help the human race.

Food and water shortages are rampant in this world. These problems are fixable, we simply need to apply our knowledge of the world in order to fix them. Diseases can be cured with science, but nobody is cured from disease because of religion.

Religious thinking paves the way for a decline in reasoning abilities, decline in intellectual capacity, and a decline into middle age “Magical thinking”

Although I do not think this uprising of magical thinking will necessarily lead us back into the dark ages, the time that we spend trying to dispel these idiotic idea’s is taken away from the time that we can be spending actually developing new knowledge and technologies. Creationists are simply a thorn in the foot of science, that will undoubtedly be pulled out quickly because it is natural tendency to accept logic, whereas it takes years of brainwashing in order to accept “faith”

Hey, Devil,

We just cleaned out your old office last week – Good help is so hard to find up here these days. Anyway, did you want us to send you your red Swingline stapler?

Oh, and did you happen to take my stress ball? I’ve kinda needed it lately, what with people building monuments to horse crap in my name and all.

And while I got you on the line, can we book Bonn Scott for a shindig we’re having next week? I know he’s lead singer in your houseband, but Bob Goulet’s still in orientation and won’t be available for a few weeks.

Plus he keeps messing with our stuff.

To nornerator:
Stop makin’ sense dude, the humans aren’t ready to evolve past mysticism and myth. They are like the horses that made that dung pile they call a museum. You know what they say about horses:

Horses are scared of two things:
1. things that move
2. things that don’t

Being alone with their fellow horses in the universe scares the Sh*t out of them, then they build a museum to enshrine it….

And didn’t single-cell organisms according to evolution theory spring from mud too?

No, not literally in the sense you mean, although there was a hypothesis at one time that crystalization patterns in clay might have formed a kind of template for single-celled organisms. I don’t believe that hypothesis has had any traction for 15 or 20 years, however.

There are several threads of speculation concerning how single-celled organisms might have come into existence; this may not be a question we can ever answer with absolute certainty, only with some degree of probability based on evidence and experimentation. At some level, however, the question of how life began (unanswered) is separate from the question of how speciation occurs from common ancestry, i.e. “evolution” (very well understood and getting better every day).

Here’s one of the crucial things about science versus religion, and how they are completely separate entities. The scientist says, “I wonder how single-celled organisms came into being? I think I’ll test a hypothesis and see how it holds up.” The theologian says, “This (creed, dogma, tale or text) tells me how life began.” Science is about inquiry, about process.

It probably also bears observation (again) that creationists try to hold science to their standards of dogma. The creationists seem to believe that not holding all the answers is a flaw, or that the fact that some things might be beyond our capacity to gather information means that they can only be known to a probability, not a certainty, as a fatal defect. To the scientifically-minded, being able to say, “We may never know, but it’s worth trying to find out!” is an expression of faith in human reason, not a reason to wail in defeat and place faith in translations of ancient texts. Science is about challenge, not surrender.

Regardless, I’m not personally inclined to turn to a 17th-century translation of ancient texts written by people who thought the sky was a fixed ceiling and the earth at the center of the universe for a solution to the question of life’s fundamental origin. For one thing, I’m not terribly impressed by the source, notwithstanding some lovely poetry in “The Song Of Solomon” and “Psalms.” For another thing, I don’t see why I should find the Old Testament account of creation more interesting than the version told by the Norse, or the Aztec, or the one told by J.R.R. Tolkien for that matter. However, if it helps others sleep at night to do pick a creation story and embrace it with all their hearts, that’s their prerogatives, I’d just like them to keep it out of schools that I help pay for and out of public policy decisions that affect my friends’ health. Thanks in advance.

I believe…the planet Mars..God ..u remeber that place…last summer, you Moses and Budha..oh man what a time..but anyways….some people are saying life originated there…is that a kick in the @ss

Ok, all of the arguments for I.D, creationism (young earthers) et al presupposes the same singularity – a supernatural entity. This construct is neither provable nor disprovable and relies soley on faith. So really, the sum of it all is whether one chooses to believe in a god, or that all creation is the sum total of natural processes. No amount of arguing will change anyones mind and for those that do change it will be a result of personal inner conflict which leads them to one or the other conclusion.
So, you have your belief I have mine and there it should end. But, the significant difference, as pointed out by so many comments in here is how science operates; postulates, hypothosizes, theorizes, tests and concludes, always leaving room for changes, additions and deletions. Believe one, the other or a combination thereof, it’s all good, except…..we now know how and where earthquakes originate, mountains rise and fall, how hurricanes and tornados form, mudslides, drought, floods and famines, and ALL are now (and almost globally) accepted as to derive from natural causes and processes. We no longer ascribe them to a god or gods. And this works (or is in the process of working) for essentially all of the processes found in nature. Sure, there are ‘gaps’ in the fossil records, ‘gaps’ (perhaps) at the cellular level, certainly ‘gaps’ in chemical and atomic processes. But attempting to fill in those ‘gaps’ as being the result of intelligent design forsakes all of the ‘gaps’ that have now been filled in. In other words, many ‘gaps’ from two, 20, 2000 years ago or 200 million years past have been filled in and present day’gaps’ will most assuredly be filled in down the road, as science progresses in its understanding. Granted there may ultimately be a point (gap) beyond which we just may never be able to fill in but again, it neither proves nor disproves a supernatural entity, simply a point beyond which we can go no further. That’s assuming the human race even exists to reach such a point. And as to the ‘gap’ issue, are there not significant ‘gaps’ to be found throughout the bible? Should we then insert ‘science’ or some other issue, into the biblical ‘gaps’? Apparantly it is neither the veracity of science, but rather the amount and extent of the perceived gappage that seems to have the most relevance. The fact that we don’t necessarily fully understand how cancer(s) work does not preclude us from knowing that they do and developing treatment strategies. The ‘gap’ in our cancer knowledge doesn’t keep us from treating and learning nor does it imply that cancer operates outside of the known physiological rules. As we test and try various treatments, the results add to the body of knowledge, ultimately resulting in the filling in of those ‘gaps’. Science learns from trial and error and so is cumulative, while religion eliminates knowledge in favor of unprovable concepts and is instead reductive.
ps. God, I’m free thursday, I can bring some beer

To An Eric,
Most religions say they are accepting and inclusive of other religions and beliefs but it isn’t true. Many religion blast outsiders as non believers. They shake hands with the right and behind their backs cross their fingers with the left.

Maybe we are all shit-heads. Maybe we are all mostly right and a little wrong at the same time. Maybe my day would have been a little more productive if I hadn’t waisted my time reading all this “HORSE-SHIT”. Not being absolutely sure us what is fact, other than I think I need to take a shit right now, If we spent less effort judging others so harshly for the things they are passionate about and made some effort to find the middle. Then maybe we would be able to see who the real enemy is. Calm Down.

The middle east isn’t my fault, those people all have tools they need to live and work in peace. They fight over what my face looks like, who I talked to, what I said. Intolerance is the culprit here, not the basic message, I thought that was on point!

Hmmm…if no one believed in god, then god wouldn’t (or would cease to) exist. Therefore god exists only so long as I/we believe he does, therefore I/we control god’s existance, therefore god needs to behave or I/we will cause him to not exist.

wait a minute, the bible says it’s your word, yet here you are saying you didn’t write it. So am I to believe the word of god that the word of god is not the word of god?

“But here is the saddest part; Right now, the ‘president’ and most of the Republicans running for high office, BELIEVE this crap! They really do!”

Actually, most Christians are not creationists beyond the belief that God created the universe. The six-days itself is a metaphore for simply breaking the act of creation into digestible stages, and actually mirrors an ancient Mesopotamian myth regarding the creation of the universe, which also had six stages, each with a god-goddess pair.

Creationism is a by-product of sola scriptura, which says that the Bible is the whole, complete, and literal Word of God, and to question it is to commit blaspheme. Despite all evidence to the contrary, creationists *must* make the real world fit into the model literally described in the bible. Sadly, oft with hilarious results.

The important thing, if your are a Christian, is to focus on the fact that God did create the universe and not so much how.

“Here’s one of the crucial things about science versus religion, and how they are completely separate entities. The scientist says, “I wonder how single-celled organisms came into being? I think I’ll test a hypothesis and see how it holds up.” The theologian says, “This (creed, dogma, tale or text) tells me how life began.” Science is about inquiry, about process.”

This is a poor characterization of theology in general. There are plenty of religions based around inquiry into the nature of reality, using scientific methods to better understand the work of their respective creator. Theology and science do not necessarily need ot be seperate; the believer must simply keep an open mind that future evidence might reveal a current misunderstanding. The existance of a creator, or lack there of, is unprovable (and rightly so, if there was proof there would be no need for faith) so the most basic tenant of *most* theology is safe from contradiction. Science is a tool for understanding creation but has no standing when pondering a creator.

A large minority of religious individuals make the mistake that the two are contradictory, how about those of science not make the same mistake. In terms of creationism/ID the issue isn’t that they believe in a creator, but that they believe in a creation that does not match an overwhelming level of contrary evidence.

Ultimately, creation is something that can be understood to an extent through observation and inference. However a creator, or lack thereof, is the pervue entirely of belief. Religion can produce dogma about the latter and still pursue understanding of the former through science. Thus there is no inherent contradiction between Science and Religion, nor necessarily a different mindset.

A large body of scientific understanding either came directly from religious inquiry, or the scientific inquiry of deeply religious individuals.

If it’s any consolation, JRRT, if and when religious observance becomes Federally mandated, I’m totally going with your mythos. Or George Lucas’. Okay, I’m a little undecided. Maybe I’ll combine them: The Reformed Church Of Latter-Day Elven Jedi.

Do we control Ilúvatar? Not exactly. Ilúvatar binds us, connects us, holds the galaxy together. Ilúvatar flows through us. And he has nothing to do with revisionist psychic cooties in your bloodstream. Only a heretical infidel would posit such an obnoxious device to clumsily advance the plot by having a major character take the protagonist under his wing because of a stupid blood-test the premises of which contradict the previous three movies.

Remember: Ilúvatar will be with you. Always.

(this was supposed to be posted yesterday when everyone was talking about the Bible. It may be moot by now, though still valid)

“I have an honest question for you, because I really would like to know how a literalist view of the bible can resolve the issue. If the bible is literally true, why then are there different versions of it?”

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Koine (common) Greek (introduced by Alexander the Great) – I don’t speak either of those languages; an English translation is necessary for me to read the Bible.

So why so many different English translations of the Bible? I guess we could ask the same question when observing all of the varying books on the subject of Physics. They describe the same thing but in ways that different people can understand – a High School Physics book is much different than a College Physics book. The deeper a student of Physics delves into their study the more explicit their textbook must be.

So it is when a person studies the Bible. God’s Word is rich and multi-layered. The original word translated as “sin” simply means “missing the mark” or “coming short”. It illustrates the imperfection of man, no matter how “good” he tries to be he still falls short of God’s requirement of perfection. Always.

I’ve read almost all these posts in their entirety and I see a common thread (besides the original one) of anger and frustration toward Christians who throw some ill-conceived science down on the table and declare, “That proves there is a God! Eat it sinner!” I would be made at them too.

Benjamin Franklin said, “I doubt that a God who would give us brains to reason would then ask us to forgo their use.” Yet so many Christians seem to do just that: afraid to use reason, to think, maybe even to question. God says in the Bible, “Come, let us reason together.” He wants us to question, to ask honestly and to honestly accept the truth when its made evident to us.

Science alone will never persuade a person to faith in God. A 24 hour day or 24 billion year day is irrelevant if we miss that the Bible says that God personally calls individuals to a relationship with Him and our responsibility isn’t to a religion but to simply answer His call.

First of all, for whoever said that there isnt enough denouncing of this kind of horses#it is blind, deaf, and a little dumb. Evolution is the only thing taught in public schools, evolution is the only thing taught on television, and evolution is the only thing that HAS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE ANYWHERE TO BACK UP ANY OF ITS ASSERTIONS. You can believe whatever you want, but when you become militant you make evolution start sounding like….. a religion. I am a Christian, but thats only because it takes way much more faith, blind faith to be an atheist. I do not have enough faith to be an atheist.


Neil, you are ignorant. Show me proof of your faith. Show me proof that yours is the one true way. Show me proof that all others will burn in hell if they do not follow. Did King James write it all for you? Did Emperor Constantine enshrine it for you? You live in a bubble of your OWN making and yet you have faith enough to doubt the complexity of the universe.

Beliefs and convictions don’t equal truths and I would be a lot more convinced of the big bang theory if it were explained to me where the very first matter and elementary particles came from. And evolution would in opinion hold a lot more water if it could be explained to me how despite the necessity of survival of the fittest the Bacterial Flagellum came into it’s current form with it’s “propeller,” “driveshaft,” and “motor” (referencing Illustra Media’s film Unlocking the Mysteries of Life Transcript:

Keep it down over there. Some of us are trying to rest up. Big week coming up and then it’s work, work, work until just after the New Year. Those darn Eastern Orthodox, always making me work later in the year. So some of us a trying to nap over here.

I enjoyed the slide show and the article. It leaves me with two reactions: The ordinary man is a smart ass who tries to explain everything with science. That is illustrated by this little anecdote:
A scientist was bragging to God that he could now create man out of dirt. As he reached down to gather some dirt, God stopped him and said, “Get your own dirt.”
The second is that the Bible is all “horseshit.” If we paid a little more attention to the basic teaching of Jesus (man or divine – take your choice), especially the Beatitudes, the world would be a lot better off.
I remember years ago a debate between the philosopher Bertrand Russell (atheist) and the scientist Edward Teller (Christian) about the creation of the hydrogen bomb.
RUSSELL: “Don’t you feel some responsibility for creating such a horrible weapon?”
TELLER: “I create the hydrogen bomb. How and if it is used is not my responsibility.”
RUSSELL: “Here we have the prime example of a scientific genius and moral moron.”
Creationism is just one example of the stupid attempt to blend science and religion, and it is just as stupid to try to explain religion in scientific terms.
I admire the vast natural Universe with its billions of galaxies of stars and am glad that we are learning to explain more of the science connected with this great and marvelous world, but I cannot answer why it or we exist except through some kind of faith that it and we have a purpose or reason for living.

Every time I have a few bong hits and mellow out, you people keep getting serious on me. Can’t we all just get along and laugh at the bad dioramas? The cheesy/scary mannequins and the horribly skewed explanations to life’s questions?

I am a Christian, but thats only because it takes way much more faith, blind faith to be an atheist. I do not have enough faith to be an atheist.

If you mean “faith in human ability to observe and reason,” then yes, I do start from the a priori assumption that the universe is perceptible, comprehensible and consistent. Those aren’t particularly radical assumptions.

After all, I can’t prove that I’m not in The Matrix right now, or the Black Iron Prison, or that I’m not having a very elaborate near-death experience as Union soldiers hang me as a spy. But those are also useless hypotheses: if they’re true, and the universe (everyone on this thread included) is an arbitrary and imaginary construct, I might as well lie down and die in my sleep. Or imagine that’s what I’m doing.

But that’s the extent of my faith–a faith that’s generally shared by religious and nonreligious thinkers, and largely taken for granted by non-thinkers of every stripe.

I am an atheist. I do not believe that adequate evidence for a deity has been produced. I do not believe that the existence of a deity is a necessary hypothesis to explain anything about the universe. I cannot know with any certainty or faith that there is no deity–hence, I am what some might call an “agnostic atheist,” a “negative atheist” or “weak atheist” depending on your preferred typology. I cannot prove the negative proposition “there is no God” any more than I can prove the negative proposition “there are no invisible unicorns living on Mars.” But I have the exact same amount of competent evidence on both scores (God and unicorns) and can apply Occam’s Razor to say that the possibility of God as an explanation is not parsimonious; far from it–the possibility of God causes more problems than it explains away.

Where, I have to ask, is the faith in that?