Poster sessions for SfAA 1995

William Adams (adamsw@UCS.ORST.EDU)
Fri, 9 Sep 1994 15:56:53 -0700

The following was posted to MUSEUM-L and I think would be of interest to ANTHRO-L, so I am forwarding it there.

From: Sue McGuire <mcguire@DARWIN.NMMNH-ABQ.MUS.NM.US>
Subject: Re: Creationism museum (fwd)
To: Multiple recipients of list MUSEUM-L <>

In message Museum discussion list writes:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Tue, 5 Apr 1994 11:45:52 -0800
> From: Rowan Fairgrove <rowanf@CACHE.CRC.RICOH.COM>
> Subject: CHAT: creationism museum
> Creationism Made Easy
> By Marghe Covino
> Nestled unsuspectingly in an industrial park fronting a freeway in
> Santee near San Diego is the 17-year-old Museum of Creation and
> Earth Science. The large, converted warehouse is the object of
> devout pilgrimages from tourists and schoolchildren throughout the
> state; true believers who walk through the gallery listen to guides
> debunk evolution, extol biblical lore and, thus, explain the origin of
> the earth.
> I set out from Sacramento last winter on my own pilgrimage to
> the museum--to find out how creationism is taught and what its
> teachers are really advocating. See, I used to think the aim of
> crestionism was straightforward: to get a new version of evolution
> (like the earth is less than 10,000 years o1d) taught in America's
> classrooms. But a walk through the museum indicated a deeper,
> even more frightening goal. The aim involves proclaiming the truth
> of creationist beliefs _globally_, linking the American right-wing
> with other fundamentalist religions from around the world.
> Just after entering the museum comes a sign on the wall
> proclaiming that most "other" religions are evolutionary and
> therefore inferior at best and apostate at worst. Biblical passages
> are quoted to demand that each visitor decide "where he stands on
> this vital issue." One sign proclaims, "The Tree of Evolutionism
> bears only corrupt fruits, Creadonism bears good fruits."
> Following that, one begins the tour, first strolling through
> Genesis with its bright wall murals of space and planets. Presented,
> among other things, there is "scientific evidence" debunking the
> Big Bang theory and, moving on, the issue that God used 24-hour
> days during the Creation, (no trying to get around it by saying that
> the term "day" can be interpreted to mean millennium--you must
> believe the absolute inerrant Word of God). And that's not all.
> Signs also announce the news that "many top astronorners are
> abandoning the Big Bang theory." Raised concrete and bright paint
> outline the earth and the cosmos as we move through the next
> doorway (flanked by formed concrete trees and artificial greenery)
> to the Garden of Eden. Much is made over God's directive that man
> has "dominion" over the earth and its creaures. Indeed, the algae-
> ridden fish tank, the little finches with scant food and water, the
> tarantula with none, the mice climbing an endless wheel to escape
> their cramped, airless cage, the poorly kept lizards and snakes were
> there to prove dominion in no uncertain terms. "The billions of
> fossils of both men or animals in the rocks of earth speak of sin
> and death--not the evolution of life--they must ALL be dated
> AFTER Adam's fall," a sign proclaims.
> The Flood exhibit is next, replete with theories about God
> putting most of the large animals in a "hibernating state," a three-
> dimensional mural of the inside of the ark; and "space
> photographs" of the mountainous region in Ararat where the ark
> was purported to have landed.
> Strobe lighting and water sounds then dumped us out into the
> Ice Age. A guide intoned to the schoolchildren: "All of that water
> had to go somewhere, so it probably was sent into making the
> glacier in the Ice Age. The dinosaurs were in the ark and when the
> Ice Age came they were caught in it and that's how come their
> bones are found in various places, because they were left by the
> glaciers."
> The Ice Age room was replete with concrete-formed blue-
> painted stalactites and chilly temperatures. Everything leads to the
> inescapable conclusion that this is a young universe. (Even director
> Stephen Spielberg fell victim to this view when Orthodox rabbis in
> Israel declared his movie, Jurassic Park, heretical because it
> depicted evolution, which is contrary to the fundamentalist belief
> of the earth's age.)
> Several sets of displays held odd collecdons that seemed
> unrelated: monarch butterflies in one cage; a melted 45 rpm record,
> a paintbrush, a rusty hook and a melted lab flask. Still another
> display held a lengthy pictorial discourse on Mount St. Helens and
> then moved on to the unreliability of radiometric dating. Still
> another high-tech plastic sign gave "scientific" instructions like
> "To determine the geological age of a fossil: Do NOT use depth
> (where found); do NOT use type of rock; do NOT use radiometric
> dating; do NOT use stage of evolution, DO use the Word of God."
> Cheap knock-off pottery and artifact displays--heavy on the
> shekels and menorahs, oil lamps and widow's mites were in the
> same location with Greek and Egyptian artifacts, human fossils and
> something called "Post-Flood Man." Still another sign states:
> "Cave men were not human, but weaker, probably degenerate
> descendants of those migrating away from the Tower of Babel." Of
> course, Babel was the hotbed of "evolutionary pantheism,
> polytheistic idolatry, astrology and occult spiritism."
> The Egyptian, Sumerian and Greek civilizations were dismissed
> as "man-centered, anti-Christian philosophies." Citing
> Epicureanism (341-271 BC) and Zeno's Stoicism (336-264 BC) as
> "opposing Paul's preaching," the Creation Museum blithely ignores
> the fact that the theories were expounded prior to Paul's existence.
> Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are dismissed as "atheistic" or
> "pantheistic." Meanwhile, animism is described as the basis for the
> religions of "uncivilized tribes" and also the basis for Hindus,
> Buddhists, Shintoists, Confucianists and Muslims.
> The Aztecs and Incas came in for more bashing about their
> behavior--heathenism and human sacrifice--as we moved on to the
> final display, what the guide called "our wall of infamy." On one
> side of the hallway were the "Bible-believing scientists," while
> evolutionists on the other side included Friedrich Nietzsche,
> Andrew Carnegie, Karl Marx, John D. Rockefener and Charles
> Darwin ... and his grandfather. Nazism, Communism and racism
> were listed as "the fruits of evolution."
> The final display was called The Decadence of Pre-Columbian
> Indian Societies. It was the culmination of the tour and featured the
> opinion of former California Congressman William Dannemeyer
> (that well-known pre-Columbian scholar) on the justification for
> killing and enslaving the Indian peoples. It reads: "Homosexuality
> was quite common in many pre-Columbian Indian societies.
> Columbus discovered, with disgust and dismay, that both the
> violent Caribs and relatively peaceful Arawaks practiced sodomy.
> Cortez also found that sodomy was rampant among Indian tribes in
> Mexico. The priestly caste of the Cempoallan tribe, for instance,
> indulged in sodomy and homosexual prostitution was common
> among the community.
> "Due to constant internecine warfare and ecological abuse the
> Mayan civilization had already collapsed by the time the Spaniards
> arrived. The residue left of that once-mighty culture was a people
> that had retreated into abject barbarism.... It had become decadent
> and self-indulgent. The pleasure-obsessed upper classes were
> sacrificing human beings, indulging in orgies and practicing
> sodomy without shame. The shocked Spaniards put the Mayans'
> leaders to the sword."
> People, over 27,000 visitors have been through the museum
> during the past year. I urge you to go experience it for yourselves.
> Look. See the past and project the creationist future. It's mind-
> blowing. It's free ... and worth every penny.
> Marghe Covino is a local free-lance writer and co-founder of
> Project Tocsin, a Sacramento-based organization that monitors the
> political activities of the religious right.

> ------ End of Forwarded Message

Sue McGuire
Manager of Public Programs
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

forwarded by:

William H. Adams
P.O. Box 1177
Philomath, OR 97370-1177 USA
503-929-3102 -3264 fax