Creation “Museum”, also known as Ham’s Folly.


I have been putting off these posts for too long. I still haven’t got my pictures, but I will just have to add those later.

The trip was hilarious and sad and fun and upsetting and insulting and uplifting all at once.

That sentence didn’t make sense on the face of it, so let me explain:

The exhibits were hilarious in a horrifying, “they can’t really believe this, right- but if they didn’t, they wouldn’t build it, so they must believe it- but it is insane” sort of way. My favorite examples? 1)Believing that the earth contained enough water to flood the entirety of its surface to a height topping the tallest mountains and 2) Their epic fail with dinosaurs. Apparently Ham thinks that Noah saved all of the dinosaurs from drowning on the Ark, but the flood killed off every single plant the dinosaurs ate while leaving alive all of the plants eaten by humans and every other type of animal. The death of all of the carnivorous dinosaurs? I must have missed that part. Thankfully and helpfully, the other SSA members had apparently brought extra reserves of wit and humor and plain snark with them, which intensified the humor while mitigating the horror.

The trip was sad because I looked around this joke of a “museum” while small children became further insulated against science under the eyes of their already insulated parents. Really and truly, if anybody wants to bemoan the lack of scientific understanding in this country, I challenge them to tour the Creation “Museum” and come to the conclusion that religion is harmless in this regard. I’m looking at you, Mooney and Kirshenbaum.

It was fun because I met many great people who I was able to hang around with during the tour. If only we had more time, I’m sure just the handful of people I roamed with could have punched holes in every claim made in that Temple to Unreason.

The exhibits were upsetting in the sheer lack of regard for fact and reality. If any of the individuals making those exhibits had the smallest concern with truth, the results would have been far different. Of course, if they limited themselves to the truth, it would either not exist, or it would be a real museum.

The theme running through the tour was insulting to the entire species, pitting “Human Reason” against “God’s Word” and implying strongly that Human Reason was nothing to trust or be proud to possess. In addition, I felt resentful of the scare tactics they used about the big bad atheist. I was wearing my name tag which said Secular Student Alliance and my name, and I did my usual when interacting with people in customer service: said thank you to all of the staff who scanned my ticket or opened a door or helped me in any way- and although some of the staff said “You’re welcome” sincerely, two shied back from me. Did they think that talking with me would endanger their souls? Did they think I was going to lunge at them and rip out their throats? Maybe is my best answer to both questions. I frequently get mistaken as a Christian by Christians, (“Oh, you’re such a nice Christian boy.” “Well, you are partly right…”) and even with my experience with that, I was bothered by how much my group membership shaped perception of me.

Finally, the members of the SSA were uplifting in their humor, their curiosity, their respect for rational thought, and the way in which everyone treated everyone else with respect and civility, even when debating economics or politics while shuttling between Columbus, Ohio and Kentucky. It was great talking with you all. After this trip I am convinced that if everyone met an out atheist, we would be one of the most highly regarded groups in America, rather than second to worst, right above Scientology.

My next post will be about the Secular Student Alliance Conference and after that I will post about Timothy Keller’s humorously titled book “The Reason For God”.

con group 09 squid-y

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6 Responses to “Creation “Museum”, also known as Ham’s Folly.”

  1. Carole Says:

    I don’t think I could keep a straight face if I was in this museum. I would get to frustrated at the ignorance demonstrated, and the fact that people push their beliefs on others. Amazing.

    • libraryatheist Says:

      Trust me, frustration was not an uncommon reaction.

      If there hadn’t been a group to make jokes with, I’m sure the sheer depths would have caused some tears amongst our group.

  2. fitofhysterics Says:

    “and although some of the staff said “You’re welcome” sincerely, two shied back from me. Did they think that talking with me would endanger their souls? Did they think I was going to lunge at them and rip out their throats?”

    not snarking, but perhaps they just caught onto the fact that you were there to mock. ive never experienced the “BIG BAD ATHEIST” effect that you talk about. might be because i dont identify as an atheist but you would think that in my fundamentalist, young earth creationist upbringing, i might have at least run across it.

    this is allie, btw.

    • libraryatheist Says:

      I’m sure that was part of it. But if that was the entirety, I would have expected mere silence or grunts or curt comments- not physically flinching when seeing my nametag.

      Also, since we had arranged everything with the Creation “Museum” well ahead of the trip, it wasn’t as though we were catching them unawares. They had time to increase the number of guards, and make sure their dogs were out and visible. The dogs and guards actually didn’t seem fearsome to me- they were just doing their jobs- but the guards seemed well armed.

      I suppose my take on it as the big bad atheist effect does have a lot to do with point of view. But I’d ask that you try thinking about it this way:
      How often is following scripture bandied about as the way to live a good and righteous life?

      Even without going into the verses about killing nonbelievers and everyone who lives in their town and how it is completely justified, I’m sure you will see that belief that scripture is needed to be good will have consequences along the lines of believing that those without belief in scripture will behave immorally. I think that was the root of their calling the local police office before the day of the event to ask for backup, I think it was the root of them increasing their security forces and I think it was the root of them making sure the guard dogs were visible.

      And thank you for commenting on my post. I’d look upon it as a service if you continue to read my posts and let me know what you disagree with- of course, if you ever feel moved to agree with me, please let me know that as well.

  3. EnsignRose Says:

    I work in a library rather close to this museum and absolutely hated missing out on this trip (reference desk… damnit!) I’m glad you and so many others are posting about the experience!
    It sounds Terrible/Crazy/Wonderful!

    • libraryatheist Says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you were on desk duty.

      I think that for many of us, we feel like we have to write or talk about it or explode. It was just such a critical mass of ignorance, of science illiteracy, of faith against all evidence…

      If we had not been going as a group, I think it would have been much more terrible. But crazy pegs it, and the group made it wonderful, in a strange way.

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