Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fundamentalism's Tombstone?

I'm absolutely reeling from a recent post by Echidne, who discusses this article about the "Museum of Creation" that will open in Kentucky this spring.

It sounds as though it'll be the ne plus ultra of hallucinatory, high-camp Christofascist freak shows, and it will undoubtedly give America's ever-dwindling population of sane people yet another reason to hang their heads in shame:

[C]ontroversial exhibits deal with diseases and famine, which are portrayed not as random disasters, but as the result of mankind's sin. Mr Ham's Answers in Genesis movement blames the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, in which two teenagers killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves, on evolutionist teaching, claiming that the perpetrators believed in Darwin's survival of the fittest.
If this is true, all I can say is that they apparently took a rather dim view of their own fitness to survive, since they shot themselves dead.

This next tidbit is so predictable that it's barely worth mentioning:
Other exhibits in the museum will blame homosexuals for Aids.
I must say, the wheels of God's wrath grind very slowly indeed if it took Him centuries to invent a fatal disease with which to punish homosexuals. But maybe He was exhausted after conjuring up dinosaurs with which to terrorize Adam and Eve:
[V]isitors will see a tyrannosaurus rex pursuing Adam and Eve after their fall from grace. "That's the real terror that Adam's sin unleashed," visitors will be warned.
One always wishes to be tolerant of other people's beliefs. But I have to draw the line at people who think that Adam and Eve were not only real, but were chased from Eden by the Giant Lizards of the Lord. To put it bluntly, it strains my credulity.

This museum is further evidence that for all its sound and fury, conservative American Christianity is in utter psychic disarray, having broken not only with reality itself, but with anything remotely resembling its supposed beliefs. Garish monuments to dogma are exactly what you'd expect from a sickly faith that has replaced agape with triumphalist pomp and circumstance. One can only hope that the Museum of Creation ends up being Christian fundamentalism's tombstone.

(This post originally appeared on January 11, 2005.)


olvlzl said...

Looking at this picture, it dawns that if you did an estimate of the sheer mass of the animals who would have had to have been living, all at once, for the fossil record to match the creationist fantasy there probably wouldn't have been enough of anything to have sustained it. Maybe I'm wrong but that's a heck of a lot of nutrition required. I can't believe the plants would have been able to support it. And that doesn't even get to the land mass and continental shelf required for those to have squeezed in their existence.

If I wasn't taking the rest of the week off I'd go and look.

Some liberal religious ridicule would probably be more effective than outrage. This could become a kitschy coup for anti-creationism with a little good nature humor and some intelligent PR work.

Phila said...

Some liberal religious ridicule would probably be more effective than outrage. This could become a kitschy coup for anti-creationism with a little good nature humor and some intelligent PR work.

My default position is that creationism fails as much as religion as it does as science. I don't even think one needs to ridicule it, so much as to point out that it's materialistic in the worst, most abject sense of the word.

Outrage seems like a waste of time to me, particularly coming from secular folks. Or worse than a waste of time, counterproductive: the whole goddamn racket is set up to breed and exploit outrage, and it'd be foolish to buy into it.

olvlzl said...

It's a good point that the rage of the secularists is pretty useless. Nevermind the mockery, that's been entirely counterproductive.

What I had in mind was more good natured, appealing to what those on the boundary could reasonably be expected to understand. Liberal religious believers would be a lot more effective in that than those carrying an agenda that sees everything as an opportunity to strike at the heart of religious belief. That is the very definition of baggage that science shouldn't have to carry, a burden that is counterproductive to the effort of saving science in the United States.

I have been offering the advice that scientists should read Ogilvy on Advertising, not Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. Ogilvy knew how to convince people, the Dawkinsites can only reinforce the prejudices of those who are already like minded. It might make them feel good about themselves and let them look down on other people but that's not what science needs.