Kentucky’s “Creation Museum”

Everyone who knows me knows that I have a long history with creation “scientists”. Creationism is a fundamentalist Christian political movement that asserts both the literal historical and scientific truth of the Bible and also asserts that the USA should be a “Christian nation” ruled by strict Bible-based law (as they interpret it). Quite simply, they are the American version of the Taliban. Among other idiocies, they assert that all of modern science is an atheist conspiracy against them, the Earth is only 6,000 years old, fossils come from Noah’s Flood, and humans and dinosaurs lived together in the Garden of Eden.

Although none of this laughable crap has been taken seriously by science since the founding days of geology, astronomy, and paleontology in the 1700s, fundamentalist Christians in the Religious Right have political influence all out of proportion to their numbers, and have managed to find a welcoming home inside one of the major American political parties—where science denial on everything from global warming to vaccines to evolution has been openly embraced by the party. Using this power base, creationists have attempted to pass a number of laws forcing public schools to teach their “alternative science”. Back in 1981, I helped form a local political coalition to fight against creationist attempts to introduce an “equal time” law in a Pennsylvania school district. I also founded the Creation “Science” Debunked website, which was at the time one of the largest anti-creationism resources on the Web, and also ran the accompanying email list. I’ve been fighting against these morons for most of my adult life. So, while I was in Cincinnati, I had to visit the “Creation Museum” just over the river in Kentucky.

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: the “Creation Museum” is not actually a museum, at least not in the sense that normal people understand it. Even though it has dinosaur skeletons on display and pretends to be a science museum, there is not a drop of “science” anywhere in it, and it has no “educational” purpose or goal whatsoever. It is really just a church, which uses slick 21st century technology to present a fundamentalist religious message that drags people back to the 15th century. It actively makes people dumber. Brain cells die just from being inside this place. “The Stupid” permeates everything here like the sulfurous odors of the Hell they think everyone is going to (except, of course, for themselves—they take “holier-than-thou” to a thermonuclear level of arrogance).

The “museum” is the brainchild of Ken Ham, an Australian who runs a fundamentalist Christian organization called “Answers in Genesis”. AiG, as it is known, was formed in Australia with heavy funding and support from American creationist groups such as the “Institute for Creation Research”. There followed a long and comical split in the organization which revolved around fundraising and personalities and lots of lawsuits, and involved, among other things, accusations of “necrophilia” and “witchcraft” (I kid you not). In 1994, Ham moved to Kentucky and began running the US-based portion of AiG. In effect, the organization split into two, with the American half, still run by Ham, disowning itself from the Australians.

Ham, meanwhile, conceived the idea of a “creation museum” which would allow him to spread his religious message and, perhaps more importantly, wring money out of his faithful flock. He managed to convince authorities in Kentucky that his “museum” would be a tourist attraction and would also provide jobs for local citizens, so they agreed to change some zoning laws and gave the go-ahead. With each year, Ham’s vision grew grander, and by 2004 he had raised some $27 million from donors (presumably people who still pine away for the good ole days of the Dark Ages) to pay for a 70,000 square foot “museum”. It opened in 2007, and plans for another expansion followed in 2016. In the meantime, Ham also opened a second “museum” at another location in Kentucky—called “Ark Encounter”, this was a “life-sized reproduction” of Noah’s Ark. Ham claims over 300,000 visitors a year to his “museums”.

There have been some legal issues. When local school districts began running sponsored field trips to the “museum”, several church/state groups filed lawsuits. (I did not see any school groups there, but all the buses in the parking lot had church names on the side.) Controversy also arose when Ham debated TV educator Bill Nye “The Science Guy” in the “museum” auditorium, and when the “museum” refused to allow entry by a married same-sex couple to one of its events.

Some photos from a visit to … what shall I call it? Fantasyland for Fanatics?  Funland for Fundies? Disneyland for Dolts?

An armed guard at the entrance gate. Watching for Muslims or secular humanists…?

When you enter the park, you are in the “Eden Botanical Garden”.

Somewhat surprisingly, this area is actually very nice—the landscaping is gorgeous, and there aren’t very many idiot propaganda signs.

If you are able to hop the fence and get in without paying, the garden is actually a very nice place to walk around.

A playground for the kids. Since the average age of a visitor seems to be around 70, AiG does all they can to lure in more kids and families.

A zipline for the older kids.

The petting zoo. Real Biblical asses on display. (Pardon my pun.) Though unlike the human employees, the non-human asses don’t have to sign a pledge swearing that they agree with all of AiG’s religious opinions.

Oh, and a pair of zebra-horse hybrids. Because “hybrids” prove that evolution is wrong, something something.

And then we reach the, uh, “museum” ….

The Stupid begins immediately, as we see the “Fred Flintstone” theory of history. According to creationist drivel, humans and dinosaurs lived together on Earth 6,000 years ago. This “depiction” of the “pre-Flood world” proves it. See? That non-evolved dinosaur is definitely living alongside that non-evolved little girl.

What did the dinosaurs eat?, Why, they were all vegetarians, silly. Fortunately AiG had enough sense to try to argue this with the figure of a hadrosaur, a plant-eating dinosaur. If they had a T-rex eating a pineapple instead, every ten year old kid in the world would recognize how idiotic their argument is.

Proof positive: here is Adam and Eve (notice they are good American white people, not those dark-skinned Middle Easterners that we don’t like) in the Garden of Eden, and a T rex watching them and definitely NOT trying to eat them and definitely sniffing those delicious tree fruits instead (which he presumably peeled with his eight-inch long dagger teeth which you can’t see here because that would be too obviously Stupid).

And all the “dragon” myths from all over the world? They were all those dinosaurs that lived alongside Fred Flintstone—uh, I mean “pre-Flood humans”–silly.

And now for some Bible stories. Adam and Eve make clothing because they are naked. The beginning of that fundamentalist obsession with nekkid wee-wees and what people do with them.

AiG’s explanation for the age-old question: “where did Cain get his wife”? Yep, it’s easy to see we’re in Kentucky …

Methusaleh, who looks more like Merlin

Noah builds the Ark

Fossils—which definitely did not evolve over millions of years and were definitely the drowned dead bodies from Noah’s Flood 4000 years ago.

Ebenezer the Allosaurus. Probably the only real thing in the entire museum, Ebenezer was donated to AiG by an anonymous benefactor. Poor dude drowned in Noah’s Flood, ya know. Apparently no room in the Ark for him.

There are a lot of dinosaurs in the museum.

Really, there are a lot of dinosaurs here. A LOT. AiG knows that kids won’t come here to listen to a boring-ass religious lecture, but they WILL come here to look at dinosaurs during their boring-ass religious lecture.

An American flag from a military camp in Iraq. Because, ya know, God loves Americans more than any other country.

My head still hurts from the mass overdose of “The Stupid”.

6 thoughts on “Kentucky’s “Creation Museum”

  1. It seems to me they’re missing a ministry opportunity in that petting zoo, though. The O.T. tells the tale of Balaam’s talking (non-human) ass, and I saw a ventriloquist on TV once who came up with rig to make it look like his bulldog could talk (using some method that seemed way less uncomfortable than Mr. Ed’s wired gums or whatever), so it could be done without much trouble.

    Think Ken would give me credit if I suggested it?

  2. It amazes me that an idiot place like this can even survive in the 21st century. But apparently there are enough morons in the world to keep them going. It kills my hope for Western Civilization.

  3. Sometime during the course of almost every day, I have a Hudsonesque “this can’t be happening, man” moment.

  4. While you were at Creation Museum, I was touring the Ark Encounter and seeing that same strange picture of dinosaurs reacting with humans before and after the flood. But you and I know that the church people will be drawn here like flies to honey. They will believe whatever they are told. Strange encounter!

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