Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PZ Myers does the Creation Museum

Characters of the Wild Web Number 17: PZ Myers' Raiders Visit the Creation Museum

PZ Myers, along with some 300 hundred other “raiders”, recently converged on Ken Ham’s creation museum. For Myers’ perspective on the event see here, here here and here. Interesting is Myers' link to this blogging Christian minister. The latter notes the dualism that is the founding philosophy of Ham’s museum – a common philosophy of thought that I have often found in the unselfconscious evangelical and fundamentalist mindset.

Myers account of the visit reveals what is essentially a glitzy and superficial Disneyland style “museum” that will no doubt provide comfort and solace for the converted masses easily persuaded by special effects and science qualifications, but which will cut no ice with those looking for rigorous science and philosophy. (Those who are looking for some rigorous science are likely to find themselves on the receiving end of some spiritual intimidation; such as being accused of looking to inferior human reason rather than obeying sublime revelation – this is what we mean by “dualism”)

Now, it might be validly pointed out that one shouldn’t just go to PZ Myers alone for a view on the museum. However, I have to say that Myers’ account gave me such profound feelings of reminiscence and vivid flashbacks to my own experience of fundamentalist creationism that I suspect that he is close to the mark. This brand of creationism is less about science than it is a PR exercise in securing a following of spiritual rednecks who will then cough up the finance to keep the whole creationist show on the road, thus generating a self perpetuating travesty of science. Summing up, the museum, like so much Christian fundamentalism, appears to tap into yearnings for a Kincadian cozy living room version of reality that promotes feelings of warmth and well being. And to think of the number of prayer meetings that must have offered up prayers in support of the museum, assured that God was on their side and His Spirit guiding them.

I wonder what William Dembski thinks of this museum? Would he dare vocalize his true thoughts? Is he now too much in the pockets of the YEC’s to do that?

Following the raid a fight broke out on Larry Moran’s blog involving PZ Myers and one of Ken Ham’s staff about the culpabilities and facts surrounding the ejection of one of the raiders from the museum. Frankly, the whole incident now seems to have pathologically degenerated and become bound up with the trivial, rather than with the profound mysteries of our cosmic setting. But why is it I can't stop laughing? Schadenfreude?

Characters of the Wild Web Number 16: PZ rides in at the head of his raiders proving once and for all that man coexisted with dinosaurs.

Stop Press 13/8/9
For anyone wanting to know the circumstances surrounding the above surreal picture, then see the account below. The following is part of an incongruously sober report prepared by one of the creation museum staff and marked for Ken Ham’s attention. It appears on Ken Ham’s blog. (Note: SSA = Student Secular Alliance)

But there were still some incidents, but most were minor. For example, despite our clear sign next to the Triceratops model downstairs (which is not in the museum exhibit area), where it stated this was a photo op and that children under 12 could get on (see photo attached), some SSA members hopped on anyway. Our head of security went downstairs to stop that activity when he heard of it. The prof (PZ Myers) got on, too, but insisted that he only saw the children’s sign after he got on! Here is a photo of the sign which is easy to see and read:

Indeed, that much-mocked Triceratops model of ours—with the saddle on it, and which has been mistakenly taken by our opponents as a museum exhibit rather than a photo op area for families with children—was a center of much attention today. The model had just been patched up Thursday (it had taken a lot of beating over the past two years by children climbing on board ) to be back just in time for today. We did not want to be accused of hiding something so “infamous.” It was clearly placed in a non-exhibit part of the museum and marked with a sign that stated that this was for children to get on and for photos to be taken. Of course, we are not embarrassed by our teaching that dinosaurs and humans co-existed, but the atheists have been implying that this photo-op spot in the museum was our “evidence” of dino-human co-existence. To use a photo op area for kids, no different to what one finds at many secular venues, shows how much these opponents clutch at straws and will twist anything to try to mock us.

It’s rich. Imagine the scene. Amidst a rowdy group of laughing, joking and mocking students (who were no doubt delighted to find and abuse this legendary “exhibit"), a well known university professor joins the fun and does a stint on the children’s toy. He then gives the stern head of security the corny story that he didn’t see the sign!

No comments: