Your Pseudoscience Beach Read: Creationist Infighting Edition

As Joe Laycock noted here on RD, another creation museum called the “Northwest Science Museum” recently opened in Boise. That’s right, the Northwest Science Museum. Guess it’s time to trademark the word “science.” As a friend quipped on Twitter, “next the Westboro Baptist Church will be opening a Museum of Tolerance.”

But it’s not quite as bad as all that. The “Northwest Science Museum” is really a small group of creationists who have opened an admission-free “Vision Center,” in a small building next to a video-game supply store. They’re hoping to use the outpost and their website as a way to raise the money to build an actual, larger, admission-charging “museum.”

Well, good luck with that.

Even the brand-name Creation Museum, run by Ken Ham and his Answers in Genesis organization, has had trouble fundraising for its next project, the Ark Encounter. The folks in Idaho might have better luck pursuing a smaller-scale strategy. There are in fact dozens of “creation museums” around the country, as Michael Schulson chronicled in Killing the Buddha last year. Some of them, he notes, are in the back of people’s homes. In this economy, could be a good way to cut costs.

Why, you may well ask, am I offering these science-deniers advice? I say, if we’re going to have one “creation museum,” let’s have as many as possible. Because consider this: these outposts of biblical literalism can’t even come to agreement amongst themselves.

Take the dinosaurs. Ken Ham’s blog contends that Noah brought two of every “kind” of dinosaur onto the Ark to escape the Flood, and their extinction happened later. How did they all fit, you ask? Well, “kind” doesn’t mean every single species, but, maybe, every genus. And maybe some of them were younger. Kent Hovind, former proprietor of the creationist Dinosaur Adventure Land now incarcerated for tax offenses, believed that the dinosaurs did get on the Ark, but to escape a meteor, not a Flood. On the other hand, the folks behind the “Northwest Science Museum” state, according to Salon, that only baby dinosaurs made it onto the Ark.

For how long will it be possible for young-earth creationism to hold on to a shred of unanimity, with all the creative contortions necessary to get billions of years of geologic history shoehorned into 6,000 years? The savvier, more “intelligent design”-inclined creationists may be able to spin such quibbles into pseudoscientific debate, but the fact that there’s no evidence for any hypothesis makes it feel more like homegrown theology—sprouting up, in countless mutations, for billions of years to come.

Brook Wilensky-Lanford is the author of Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden (Grove Press, 2011) and an editor of the online literary magazine Killing the Buddha.

  • Jim Reed

    I don’t think they need unanimity. In fact that would work to their disadvantage. It would mean they all fall together. If they are fragmented, they can follow the traditional religious technique of saying the others are wrong, and convincing their own little flock that they are superior. That is the easiest part of religion because people naturally like to hear they are superior. Let the others fall where they may.

  • DKeane123

    If they really do think the bible is correct, then I would suggest they start encouraging their followers/kids to go into geology/archaeology. All they would have to do is find a human fossil next to a dinosaur or show how geologic radiometric dating is horribly flawed, and that alone would convince a whole lot of people. Unless the international conspiracy of geologists suppresses their findings. I’ve said too much already.

    Of course this doesn’t necessarily give positive proof for biblical literal-ism, just that science got it wrong. Good luck with that.

  • Jim Reed

    It is actually much better than what you say because whoever finds that fossil or shows that flaw will also probably win a Nobel Prize.

  • DKeane123

    And then they can fund the “museum”. It is a win-win.