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Calling creationism a science takes freedom of speech too far

By Lara Loewenstein

May 30, 2007 9:11 p.m.

In my mind, natural history museums are intimately intertwined with elementary school field trips, dinosaur bones and little plaques filled with facts next to each exhibit or artifact.

The Creation Museum that opened Monday in Petersburg, Ky., definitely has dinosaur bones and will probably host field trips. But it will have a slightly different interpretation of facts, at least compared to what I’m used to.

The Creation Museum is a $27 million project ““ all contributed by individual donors ““ dedicated to presenting the biblical account of creation as not only literal, but scientific truth.

It was built by a nonprofit organization called Answers in Genesis, and through a series of exhibits this museum depicts how scientific evidence actually supports the existence of God, and since both “God’s Words” and evolution can’t be true, it must be as the Bible says.

Yes, I believe in free speech. But the freedom to call anything science?

True, this is a democracy. We live in a country (and eventually, one would like to think, a world) where people more or less have the freedom to make their own decisions about how they live and are governed.

But the not-so-hidden consequence to this is that it seems like we’ve given up the authority to tell people, for example, that while whatever faith they have is their business, calling it science is just wrong.

I’m not going to say we should just reclaim this authority (who would get it?), but I think we need to take a hard look at why people who put up $27 million are determined to hijack science to get their voices heard.

This museum claims that the reason true scientists don’t defend creationism is because they’re interpreting the facts according to “Human Reason” as opposed to “God’s Words.”

In other words, real scientists, by starting out with the idea that God doesn’t exist, will never find him.

On the other hand, creationist “scientists” already know he exists. So they have no trouble filling in the story of how God created light and so forth with what they find. For example, dinosaurs, according to the Creation Museum, lived alongside Adam and Eve.

But, daddy, didn’t the big bad T-Rex eat them?

No, son. In the Garden of Eden every one of God’s creatures was a vegetarian.

Maybe I shouldn’t poke fun. But honestly, what is there left to do? I can’t use reason. At best it’ll only result in a philosophical discussion about how science is actually faith in causality. From there the conversation will go in circles and I’ll be left helpless against someone who doesn’t use “Human Reason” as a method of argumentation. But poking fun, at best, will convince at least one person of the ridiculousness of the claim that creationism is science.

And honestly, I’m sick of living in a nation where the president says “God bless you” multiple times a day, and where people dictate whether I’m allowed to marry a girl based on the words of someone who I don’t even think exists.

This museum stands as a testament to how powerful Christianity has become. And that’s scary.

The museum was able to raise millions from private donors. Some gave large gifts, but most of these were modest contributions. There were simply enough people who believed in this cause to raise that amount of money.

There’s nothing wrong with religion. There’s nothing wrong with not believing in evolution. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with opening a “museum” depicting the story of the Bible.

In fact, the next time I’m in Kentucky I’m probably going to go to the Creation Museum ““ if for no other reason than to educate myself on the most powerful religion in this country.

But what happens when they become even more influential in educating the next generation of scientists and lawmakers? What happens when not only is creationism considered science, but religious law becomes state or federal law? Or has that happened already?

My only defense seems to be to try and not believe that senators will never care enough about being re-elected to, say, support the teaching of creationism in schools. And in order to not believe I need to constantly remind myself how ridiculous the idea of creation is, and how nobody would really believe such a silly theory, right?

God help us.

E-mail Loewenstein at [email protected] Send general comments to [email protected]

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