On May 28, the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky will officially open. The museum co-opts the frozen-in-time, diorama style of actual factual natural history museums to portray cohabitation of prehistoric humans and “thunder-lizards,” according to an article in today’s New York Times. But that may be the least excruciating distortion of reality this museum showcases. According to the article, the exhibits portray a timeline of events succeeding Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden of Eden, including modern-day catastrophes that have resulted from increasing secularization. The message is pretty clear:
Start accepting evolution or an ancient Earth, and the result is like the giant wrecking ball, labeled “Millions of Years,” that is shown smashing the ground at the foundation of a church, the cracks reaching across the gallery to a model of a home in which videos demonstrate the imminence of moral dissolution. A teenager is shown sitting at a computer; he is, we are told, looking at pornography.
The Times article shows little restraint in discrediting the museum and describing its efforts as a troubling departure from reason. But I can’t resist criticizing one niggling detail: journalist Edward Rothstein writes that, contrary to the biblical creationism story exhibited by the museum, scientists assert “that life’s diversity is the result of evolution by natural selection.” Well, yes, many scientists do assert that life’s diversity is the result of natural selection. But that’s a problem in its own right, addressed in my most recent post about Michael Lynch’s recent PNAS paper. Lynch explains that biologists too often attribute phenomena like genome complexity—or taxonomic diversity—to natural selection, and overlook the importance of stochastic processes in evolution. It may seem too fine-grain a point among evolutionists who agree that the larger battle is over whether evolution is accepted at all. But misunderstanding the knowledge that science research provides is dangerous in itself, especially in an intellectual battle for hearts and minds.