Take a Trip to a Creation Museum

How do creationists do it?

How, that is, do creationists manage to maintain a belief in a 6,000-year-old earth and a real global flood?  How do they get their children to believe that all of humanity sprang from two people in Mesopotamia a few thousand years ago?

To outsiders like me, such beliefs seem so far outside the mainstream that I have a hard time understanding how creationists manage to stay convinced.

One thing that must help is an array of institutions to support young-earth creationist ideas.  It is easy enough for a family to raise children in that tradition, attending schools, reading books, and going to museums all safely within the intellectual boundaries of young earth-ism.

Science-education guru Randy Moore took a trip to a creation museum to describe one way this can work.  In the just-released issue of Reports of the National Center for Science Education, Moore describes his trip to the Creation and Earth History Museum, just outside of San Diego.

Image Source: Creation and Earth History Museum

Image Source: Creation and Earth History Museum

The museum was founded in 1992 by the Institute for Creation Research.  It has since been sold, but its new owners continue to operate it according to ICR beliefs.  Don’t confuse it, by the way, with the much larger and more lavish Creation Museum just outside of Cincinnati.  The young-earth beliefs of the two may be very similar, but Answers In Genesis’ Cincinnati museum looks and feels much more like mainstream science museums.

Still, for those who can’t make it all the way to Cincinnati, this San Diego attraction might achieve many of the same goals.

Moore walks readers through those beliefs in an even-handed and explanatory way.  Moore does not try to critique the science or religion on display.  Instead, he offers a much more useful blow-by-blow description of the kinds of ideas museum-goers will encounter.

What does this group of young-earth creationists believe?  The museum demonstrates the unreliability of radiometric dating and the voluminous evidence for a real catastrophic global flood.  Believers might find reassurance that the best scientific evidence supports their beliefs, regardless of rumors they may have heard to the contrary.

If you’re looking for mockery and witty barbs about the bad science on display, you’ll need to go elsewhere.  Moore has a different aim: to inform other science educators of the kinds of information young-earth creationists might be exposed to.

As always, Moore’s approach is the right one.  Mainstream science educators don’t need to hear another attack on the scientific demerits of young-earth creationism.  What evolution educators do need to receive, in massive doses, are unbiased glimpses of the worlds outside of mainstream science.

Without understanding creationism and creationists, mainstream science and mainstream science education will make little headway.  For those who can’t afford a trip to a creation museum themselves, Moore’s travelogue will be a handy introduction.


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  1. I wanted to share an article I just published with you. I hope you do not mind me plugging it hear. It’s called “Speed of light not a constant” – http://onesquarelight.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/speed-of-light-not-a-constant/

    You often post about evolution and science so I thought you might find this article interesting. If you do read it, let me know what you think.

    • OSL,
      Thanks for sharing. With breakthrough ideas like this, I always wonder about the nature of scientific progress. In some measure, folks like Dr. Setterfield to whom you refer in this article would seem to take solace in a notion that the next phase of scientific knowledge can be frozen out by contemporary scientific convention. In a Kuhnian model, true science can be ridiculed when it doesn’t fit within the accepted paradigm. But on the other hand, nothing would please today’s scientists more than to discover a hugely important new idea about the variation in the speed of light. With that being the case, I wonder why a huge new idea such as Dr. Setterfield’s wouldn’t be embraced by more members of the mainstream scientific community if it had convincing evidence. In other words, I have faith in today’s scientific community. Faith that ambitious scientists are always hoping to find flaws in our current models, holes in our current understandings. If there are indeed big problems of the sort that Dr. Setterfield points out, I get suspicious when no mainstream scientists seem interested.

  2. Don’t you think the reason Seterfields research has meet such hostility is due to the implications of a young cosmos? It seems as though his evidence would have at least sparked a heated debate among the scientific community at some point over the last 30 years if it were not for deeply ingrained theories that those who reject a creator God want so desperately to protect. Google “speed of light not a constant”. I was amazed at the mass of coverage this idea is attracting now that someone has tied it to the notion of an infinate universe. It seems to me that its not the premise or the evidence that the scientific community takes issue with in Setterfields case, but rather, the conclusions. Thanks for your feedback I do appreciate it.

  3. As a result of your feedback, I did some more reading on Setterfield. I found the following most interested in light of your inclination to dismiss his research on the grounds that it has not been well received by the scientific community at large.

    “Setterfield and Trevor Norman have produced an invited report for the prestigious Stanford Research Institute International in 1987 [1].

    This gives much of the background material upon which Setterfield bases his claim of “c” decay (= CDK). This is 90 pages long and contains 377 references.

    The invitation to give this report came from Lambert T. Dolphin, (who was skeptical at first), a member of SRI, where it was given peer revue and also vetted by outside laboratories – all of them approving its publication. Dolphin also gave a lecture on the subject in 1988 to the Batelle Institute where it was well received. The SRI hierarchy tried to rescind the report on an administrative technicality when they realized its implications. Dolphin and his manager were made redundant. (THEY WERE FIRED FOR ATTEMPTING TO PUBLISH SETTERFIELDS WORK BECAUSE OF THE IMPLICATIONS!! )

    Setterfield is still being criticized for “not publishing his results in a reputable journal”. What critics do not realize is that no journal is prepared to publish such a revolutionary concept, no matter how well researched it is. We then have the “catch 22″ situation:- i) No ‘scientist’ will examine the paper unless it has been published. ii) Publishers reject it because their referees do not like the implications and fail it for trivial reasons such as no other journal has published it; iii) Therefore no scientist reads of it in a ‘reputable journal’, etc. etc.”

    “Quite independently of Setterfield, a Russian scientist, Troitskii, has proposed [9] that “c” was very much higher than it is today by an amount of 10^10 faster. This is within the order of the original change of speed that Setterfield had proposed which was between 10^7 to 10^11. Troitskii had based this entirely upon his examination of astronomical data, red shifts, superluminal jets etc., and not upon any direct measurements of “c” with laboratory instruments. The publication of this result in a professional journal is excellent confirmation of Setterfield’s thesis.”

    by Malcolm Bowden

  4. You can also read Lambert Dolphin’s defense of the Setterfield findings in this article: http://www.ldolphin.org/cdkgal.html

  1. Take a Trip to a Science Museum with a Creationist | I Love You but You're Going to Hell

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