For years it seems like much of the news about Intelligent Design was coming out of Kansas, especially since ID was kicked out of Dover. This is probably because I lived in Kansas at the time, but I've heard it mocked so many times I believe it is safe to say that Kansas had a national, if not international, reputation for being ID-friendly. But now the winds of change have arrived, and Dorothy and her little dog Toto have been picked up and dropped into Kentucky. And as with the travelers to Oz, what they found there was quite a different reality.
Yep, Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis are opening the Creation Museum to the public today. Or, as I've also heard it called, the Fred and Wilma Flintstone Memorial Museum. PZ has collected a good selection of quotes from various newspapers about the opening. Zachary Lynn got a sneap peek and posted his photographs of the museum in a guided online tour that's interesting to look through, if only to see the Robo-Adam and Robo-Eve. (does anyone else think that Eve looks a bit like Alanis Morissette?)
We've probably all heard stories about the museum by now, like images of a Tyrannasaurus Rex grazing in a meadow and eating leafy greens and opening coconuts with six-inch razor sharp teeth, but now there are pictures in the flesh -- and when I say in the 'flesh' I'm talking about the two skinned and bloody goats in a diorama about sacrifice. And Cain standing woefully over the inert Abel, lying bloody on the ground with a bashed in head. I think these gory shock-value images are only peppered here and there to make the 'science' seem more adult and less elementary-school level. In the same way that a producer might insert a few especially brutal or graphic scenes in order to bump a movie into an 'R' rating. Also in the same way that teenagers think that ridiculous amounts of cursing will somehow make them seem more grown up.
Fortunately there is a four-page primer by Lawrence Krauss called "Top 10 Reasons Why the Universe, the Sun, Earth, and Life are NOT 6000 years old". Something I find interesting -- and sad -- is that old-earth people calmly gather facts, data, and arguments that easily blow the young-earth view out of the water. They let the facts choose the truth. But the young-earthers simply make up stories that suit their beliefs, and let the belief choose the truth. I've read Genesis, and there was nothing in there about dinosaurs eating coconuts.
Maybe religious people would be easier to debate with if they actually knew more about their own religion! Stephen Prothero has a book called "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know -- and Doesn't" (A book that made my wish list on Amazon as soon as I heard about it.) Did you know that less than half of the people polled could identify Genesis as the first book in the bible? More than 10 percent think that Noah's wife as Joan of Arc. And evangelicals don't know a whole lot more about the bible than non-evangelicals. Right or wrong, spreading the word is the important part, eh?
I think that about sums of the Creation Museum, too. All $27 million dollars of it.