Here's a different look at the Creation Museum at Petersburg, Kentucky. It's pretty funny, but not entirely unsympathetic:
For the uninitiated, the Creation Museum is a 21 million USD attempt to prove Darwin, Science and General Common Sense wrong. It is a museum dedicated to proving that the Bible was literally right and that the universe was created in 4004 BC. Nice vanity year no? Palindromic too. Like custom registration plates for one’s car. Not 4372 BC or 4197 BC. I’m sure God’s plates must read “D00D” or something.
But my fear of shotgun-wielding redneck evangelical Xenophobic christians turned out to be entirely misplaced. Bad science apart, the place was thoroughly pleasant. Our carefully crafted Christian avatars were about as useful as a comb would be to Patrick Stewart.
I am always disappointed when my precisely nurtured stereotypes fail to come true.
Frankly, I'm so horribly embarrassed by the existence of something like this in my own country that I have trouble taking it lightly. Krish Ashok, though, does a good job of putting it in perspective:
So hahaha, LOL and all that at all these creationist duffers etc. But then, the only difference between a 21 million dollar Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY and people who consult astrologers is budget. It’s easier to laugh at dinosaurs eating pineapples than it is to smirk at someone breaking coconuts for Lord Ganesha. One’s own way of life is always superior no? “Our” philosophy was more advanced than this sort of simplistic nonsense no?
It was interesting that I did not find the sort of people Richard Dawkins always seems to find when he goes about pwning creationists. I just found regular folk who didn’t particularly care much about the complexities of the origin of life, the universe and everything else, not even two score and two times. To them one explanation is as good as the other and while we can bemoan this collective failure of rational thinking, there isn’t much one can do except build a better real science museum right next to this one.
Yes, to "regular folk," one explanation is as good as the other, so they just pick the one that sounds good. Would taking them through a real science museum make any difference? I doubt it. Most people just don't think of science as being of any use in their life, and since religion can promise them some vague paradise after death, why not go for it? Does it really matter what's actually true and what isn't?
It's always mattered to me, but I'm in a distinct minority on this, I think. Most people just don't seem to care. Of course, true believers are frustrated by this, too, I suppose. But at least they've got these casual believers on their side. At any rate, it's hard for me to look at the past hundred years or so and not see how critically important science has been. (Would you really want to see your children dying of disease, as in the old days? Why can't everyone see that?)
More importantly, perhaps, I see how valuable the scientific method has been. We human beings find it very easy to fool ourselves, to just believe what sounds good. The scientific method is the best way we've ever found to determine the actual truth, as opposed to just believing what we want to believe. And that's why there's a consensus about science worldwide - and not about religion. (Obviously, if the founders of this Creation Museum had been born in Iran, they'd be just as convinced in Islam as they are now in Christianity.)
But most people just don't seem to care about that. Perhaps they don't want their illusions to be dispelled. They'd rather believe a pleasant fantasy than understand reality. But, you know, reality is really, really amazing. In most ways, the real world is more incredible than those ancient myths. Plus, it really exists, which should count for something, don't you think?