Ken Ham’s latest monument to his beliefs has opened in Kentucky. The Ark Encounter is about an hour from his Creation Museum. Both are operated by Answers in Genesis, which is operated by the Australian immigrant. They both seek to cash in on a small subgroup’s faith in the early 17th-century translation of a 1,700-year-old collection of tales inscribed from 3,000-year-old legends recited for generations by a nomadic desert tribe. These tales explain cosmology and the origin of the universe. Got a modern scientific query? Look for the Answers in Genesis. Is King James too ponderous to read? Come see the Creation Museum where dinosaurs and humans frolic in dioramas – or take a thrill ride beside the freshly painted 510-foot Ark of Noah at the Ark Encounter.
Or come to the Canadian Creation Science Museum in Big Valley, Alberta, Canada (as I did!). There you can wonder about and wander among the assorted relics that prove evolution never happened. Marvel at the huge genealogy tree that shows all 6,000 years of human history – from Adam’s creation to his direct descendants – King James and Prince Charles! Gaze at the fossilized leg in a cowboy boot and the iron pot discovered in coal. See books with Hitler on the cover. Marvel at DNA models. It’s all there – and not much more – at the Creation Science Museum.
Admission is just $5. (I think Ham charges more.) Only $3 per kid. And there’s a special family discount – available to families that the museum’s website describe as “A Father, Mother and children”. No pesky gay couples with kids shall be given the family discount at Big Valley’s wonder-filled Creation Science Museum. The discrimination isn’t legal, but it certainly reflects the above-the-law sentiments of these faith-driven sorts.
Before you head off to the Creation Science Museum, you may want to take a look at Trip Advisor. Only 7 reviews, but they are dandy. Two reviewers gave the place top marks – they write in glowing terms about the depth of science presented. The other five reviewers graded the place as “Terrible”, the lowest mark possible. There are no in-between scores. If you aren’t visiting the tiny museum seeking validation for the stories you heard as a child, if your common sense and critical evaluation skills have matured, then you’ll see the museum as a one-room curio shop of dubious merit designed to shimmy up a crumbling shanty of religiosity. Here are some of Trip Advisor’s warnings:
This is basically a small room full of nonsense… “behold, these dinosaur track fossils all go in the same direction so they MUST have been running away from a global flood, right?”
Unfortunately, this is a curio shop of archaic biblical nonsense. Visit only if you are interested in seeing how those who refuse to educate themselves on true science operate.
It’s basically a shack full of crazy proofs for creationism.
I am sorry they put this [museum] here – does not reflect how good the rest of the town is. What a bunch of nonsense.
The Canadian province of Alberta is rich in fossils. We have 45 major dinosaur groups (including Ankylosaurus, Stegoceras, Triceratops, Ichthyosaurus, and various close relatives of the T-rex), mostly unearthed in Mesozoic-age rocks exposed in Alberta’s badlands. A world-class research station at Dinosaur Provincial Park and a major showcase museum at Drumheller draw millions of visitors. Undoubtedly, the people who built the Creation Science Museum in nearby Big Valley expected thousands of truth-seeking guests, folks looking for the non-mainstream-science explanation for dinosaur fossils. I’ll bet that they thought their tiny one-room museum would soon occupy a quonset or two to hold the capacity crowds. The day I showed up with my two sons, we were the only customers for the day.
It was a pathetic little museum. I imagine that there were high hopes at the planning stage. Western Canada has ten million souls. If just one-percent would visit every year, the place would quickly expand. The instigators likely believed that people visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, just a few dozen kilometres down the road, would feel compelled to get the facts about evolution right. If one in a hundred cars headed north from the devil’s museum to the one built upon the Bible, this would be a success. But alas, the lonely woman taking our money at the door had hosted only us – just three people the entire Saturday that we visited. When we left, she put our $13 in the till and locked the door. Her day was over.
Meanwhile in Kentucky, Ken Ham’s new $100 milion Noah adventure opened with just 8,000 visitors. That will probably be their best day of the year. The Creation Museum had 450,000 guests the first year but is down to half the number now. Their daily take is about $25,000 – but they have a big property to maintain and 300 employees to pay. Part of Kentucky Ham’s problem relates to the quality of the museum and the fact that Creationists unfortunately correlate with poor education which correlates with poverty. Not many believers can afford over $100 (plus fuel, lodging, food) to visit the museum. It would go bankrupt and close, but Answers in Genesis is adapt at sucking taxpayers money out of the Kentucky government coffers. Fortunately for Canadians, the Alberta Creation Science Museum isn’t likely to receive tax breaks and subsidies. But its overhead is nearly zero, so it will limp along, like a cowpoke with a single fossilized leg in a boot.
Tomorrow I’ll write more about the museum and that fossilized cowboy boot. And we’ll enter the one-room curio cabinet and look around.