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.