Saturday, 11 May 2013

Paleontologists brought to tears, laughter by Creation Museum

By Britt Kennerly (AFP) – Jun 30, 2009 

PETERSBURG, Kentucky (AFP) — For a group of paleontologists, a tour of the Creation Museum seemed like a great tongue-in-cheek way to cap off a serious conference.

But while there were a few laughs and some clowning for the camera, most left more offended than amused by the frightening way in which evolution -- and their life's work -- was attacked.

"It's sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn't it?" said Jerry Lipps, professor of geology, paleontology and evolution at University of California, Berkeley.

"Like Sunday school with statues... this is a special brand of religion here. I don't think even most mainstream Christians would believe in this interpretation of Earth's history."

The 27 million dollar, 70,000-square-foot (6,500-square-metre) museum which has been dubbed a "creationist Disneyland" has attracted 715,000 visitors since it opened in mid-2007 with a vow to "bring the pages of the Bible to life."

Its presents a literal interpretation of the Bible and argues that believing otherwise leads to moral relativism and the destruction of social values.

Creationism is a theory not supported by most mainstream Christian churches.

Lisa Park of the University of Akron cried at one point as she walked a hallway full of flashing images of war, famine and natural disasters which the museum blames on belief in evolution.

"I think it's very bad science and even worse theology -- and the theology is far more offensive to me," said Park, a professor of paleontology who is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

"I think there's a lot of focus on fear, and I don't think that's a very Christian message... I find it a malicious manipulation of the public."


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