Fuel up the R.V., pull the kids out of that Godless public school and head on down to Petersburg, KY where the first Creation Museum has just opened. The New York Times explains how a group called the Answers in Genesis put together a new museum to prove to the public that the creation story is scientifically accurate.
PETERSBURG, Ky. ? The entrance gates here are topped with metallic Stegosauruses. The grounds include a giant tyrannosaur standing amid the trees, and a stone-lined lobby sports varied sauropods. It could be like any other natural history museum, luring families with the promise of immense fossils and dinosaur adventures.
But step a little farther into the entrance hall, and you come upon a pastoral scene undreamt of by any natural history museum. Two prehistoric children play near a burbling waterfall, thoroughly at home in the natural world. Dinosaurs cavort nearby, their animatronic mechanisms turning them into alluring companions, their gaping mouths seeming not threatening, but almost welcoming, as an Apatosaurus munches on leaves a few yards away.
What is this, then? A reproduction of a childhood fantasy in which dinosaurs are friends of inquisitive youngsters? The kind of fantasy that doesn?t care that human beings and these prefossilized thunder-lizards are usually thought to have been separated by millions of years? No, this really is meant to be more like one of those literal dioramas of the traditional natural history museum, an imagining of a real habitat, with plant life and landscape reproduced in meticulous detail.
For here at the $27 million Creation Museum, which opens on May 28 (just a short drive from the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport), this pastoral scene is a glimpse of the world just after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, in which dinosaurs are still apparently as herbivorous as humans, and all are enjoying a little calm in the days after the fall.
It also serves as a vivid introduction to the sheer weirdness and daring of this museum created by the Answers in Genesis ministry that combines displays of extraordinary nautilus shell fossils and biblical tableaus, celebrations of natural wonders and allusions to human sin. Evolution gets its continual comeuppance, while biblical revelations are treated as gospel.
While I am all for explaining spiritual views, this Creation Museum’s web site lost me with the dinosaur animatronics. The museum has depictions of Adam and Eve with full-sized dinosaurs scampering around. Having read at least three separate versions of the Bible, I am fairly confident that there was no mention of dinosaurs in Genesis. You would have thought 100-foot lizards stomping through the biblical environment would have made at least a line or two especially when Noah would have waved them off.
P.T. Barnum himself would have been wiping tears of joy and admiration as he stepped across the threshold of this sanctimonious flea circus. While the Answers in Genesis group may have had the best of intentions when building this museum, it has obviously turned into a religious tourist trap making money off of the gullible and fanatical.