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So, so touchy

Richard Wiseman, Jon Ronson, and Rebecca Watson went on a road trip a while back, checking out American weirdness. One thing they did not check out, though, was the Creation “Museum”, because as Rebecca explains, they were sensitive about being mocked.

Now Ken Ham verifies that by indignantly posting that they are not sensitive to criticism. Yeah, they are. It’s their entire raison d’etre: they’ve built up this flimsy façade, a museum of cards, that will all come tumbling down if you have any knowledge of how museums actually work — so questioning them openly, especially in a place where paying suckers customers might hear it, is forbidden.

When a group of us went to their “museum”, you could just see their paranoia twitch. They were very concerned that we amoral atheists might have gay sex on their exhibits, for instance, and told us not to.* We had to sign contracts promising good behavior. When we got there, there were guards with police dogs and tasers on patrol (from others, I heard that at least one of the guards was very friendly, but still…). Mark Looy was inspecting people’s t-shirts, and if they were bearing atheist slogans, they were asked to turn them inside out. We had one student threatened with eviction because he remarked on the cheesiness of the gift shop.

You get the idea. They don’t tell you you can’t come (they want your money!). But they will make you feel like an interloper if you exhibit your heathenish, scientific ways. They call it an insistence on “conducting yourselves in a professional manner”, but what they really mean is “don’t question anything while you are here.”

Especially, we learned, don’t question the gift shop!


*Not even if we brought condoms and promised it would be safe sex!

Comments

  1. says

    I should probably visit the place again sometime, just to cause poor Ken Ham existential angst. “I hate him so much, but…but…I want his $25!” Nothing causes more psychic damage to a creationist than threatening his wallet.

  2. bcmystery says

    I would hope the gift shop sold Creation Museum Brand condoms. Because otherwise, what’s the point?

  3. carlie says

    No, no, no condoms in the gift shop. Gift packs of aromatherapy candles and lube labeled “be fruitful and multiply”.

  4. robro says

    Of course, they were concerned about criticism of the gift shop. The gift shop is the Holy of Holies, the Inner Sanctum, the Most Sacred Precinct, where the one true god lives among mere mortals. The god who’s name is $. In God We Trust.

  5. frankb says

    Museums have security because they have very valuable items on display. Museums that just have a series of dioramas, not so much. In the center of our campus is a museum with an extensive collection of stuffed animals which is probably of far greater value than of anything in the creation museum. But I have never seen a guard around. The guards in Kentucky are not there to protect property but to stifle political discussion.

  6. Vicki says

    The American Museum of Natural History, in New York, protects an extremely valuable collection of gemstones, including some very fine star sapphires, with mostly invisible-to-visitors security. Yes, there are guards; I can’t actually swear that they’re unarmed, but there are certainly neither police dogs nor tasers. What there are, are security features built into the glass cases, and the confidence that if the alarm goes off the automatic gates will work long enough for the police to show up and handle things.

    No tasers, no police dogs, and elsewhere in that exhibit hall, if I get tired of reading about minerals I can sit on the carpeted risers and chat with a friend, or read my book, or stroke the huge pieces of amethyst that are sitting out there in the open.

    The difference: what’s in that hall really is valuable, and not just to the people who are running the museum.

  7. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Perhaps the Creation Museum gift shop could sell brain condoms? Prevent the infection of rational minds?

    The guards in Kentucky are not there to protect property but to stifle political discussion.

    Nonsense. When have social, economic, religious and political fundamentalists ever tried to stifle political discussion?

  8. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Shouldn’t the Creation Museum just have one exhibit-god?

    Would have saved them a lot of money. Just put up an empty case, label it God, and be done.

  9. says

    It’s perfect that a mostly innocuous statement about them that isn’t actually critical of what they stand for or do gets such a strong response.

    I’m convinced they aren’t hypersensitive.

  10. David Marjanović says

    We had one student threatened with eviction because he remarked on the cheesiness of the gift shop.

    …That’s so stupid on so many levels.

    The god who’s name is $. In God We Trust.

    *facepalm* How stupid of me not to have thought of this myself!!!

  11. stanton says

    Not even if we brought condoms and promised it would be safe sex!

    Condoms make it worse, because God apparently hates condoms. Wastes all that precious sperm and renders sex useless, you know. After all, if God wanted birth control, He wouldn’t have banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden in the first place. God permits sex only as the means of procreation, and, much, much more importantly, a popular method of putting annoying, uppity help-meets in their places. And few things enrage good God-fearing Christians who speak on God’s behalf more than the odious way evil devil worshipers/atheists/Darwinists/non-Christians/ secularists have corrupted what should be a sacred method of holy punishment into a pleasurable, enjoyable pastime.

    I should probably visit the place again sometime, just to cause poor Ken Ham existential angst. “I hate him so much, but…but…I want his $25!” Nothing causes more psychic damage to a creationist than threatening his wallet.

    Of course, God needs money, or we’ll all die. More importantly, God’s sacred advocates need money to spend on God’s behalf, or we’ll all die, too.

  12. robro says

    tsig asked

    Shouldn’t the Creation Museum just have one exhibit-god?

    That’s an interesting question. Do they have an actual depiction of god in the exhibit? If so, that raises issues about idolatry. As protestant, fundamentalist free-churchers, I’m sure Ham has preached against idolatry many times, so he might see an actual display of god as idolatry and avoid it. I suspect, though, that there are plenty of depictions of Jesus around the grounds all of which could be considered idolatrous, because Jesus is “god among us.” And, a case could be made that the whole Creation Museum is an act of idolatry. In a sense it’s a big cathedral to their dumb interpretation of the stories, much as the big cathedrals in Europe are. Free-churches have spent centuries railing against the Catholics for just that sort of thing.

  13. sebastianmarch says

    OK, but then who created the Creation Museum? Bet they haven’t thought of that, have they?

  14. Sastra says

    … so questioning them openly, especially in a place where paying suckers customers might hear it, is forbidden.

    To be fair, it’s probably not just about the money. Creationists (and religious people in general) are very, very concerned with the importance of fostering their “faith.” The ideal situation is to live or at least keep as much as possible inside a group which is in perfect harmony with God (however they interpret this.) Every member reinforces not just the beliefs themselves but the moral stature of believing. You don’t lose faith. You don’t question faith. You don’t mock faith. And above all you don’t try to take faith away from the faithful.

    This goes double if there are families present.

    The Creation Museum is supposed to be a “safe” space, a place of refuge from the wider diverse secular culture which can make it seem as if the Truth about God isn’t as reasonable and obvious as it is. So what if a teenager or — worse — a small child hears an atheist snicker at something and this plants a poisonous seed in their mind? What if this poisonous seed of skepticism later grows to bear the fruit of atheism? You never know. Wouldn’t the museum and its staff be partly responsible if they don’t do as much as possible to keep the contaminating influence of nonbelievers from ruining a positive family outing? Won’t anyone think of the children???

    They’re paranoid because their world view is paranoid. Money, sure. But I’m inclined to place more blame on sincerity than I would on greed.

  15. says

    So what if a teenager or — worse — a small child hears an atheist snicker at something and this plants a poisonous seed in their mind?

    You’re convincing that I ought to tell more atheists to visit the “museum”…and snicker.

    Just think: we could turn his evangelical temple into a great tool for breaking children free of religion!

  16. carlie says

    And if the person snickering gets yelled at, they can just say “I’m making a joyful noise unto the lord”, and walk off and laugh some more.

  17. Pyra says

    Ack. I’m still not giving them any money I work so hard to make. They can just go broke for all I care. I don’t even want to instill seeds of doubt by snickering. The guards are just people. One of the guys used to come in all the time, to my work, to get groceries. They don’t pay a living wage, and I guess he’s got a new job, since I don’t see him. There is another that comes in who isn’t quite as friendly. I was informed that hey are required to be really hard on anyone suspected of not believing, even before they get in the door. They are quite convinced these people are there to do major damage to the exhibits and the people, with ridicule and scorn. But I don’t call it a museum. I call it the creation church. It just happens to charge you a fee to enter instead of passing a donation plate.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    “I was informed that hey are required to be really hard on anyone suspected of not believing, even before they get in the door.”

    Is this a typical trait of museums? If I suspect that painting X was not really made by artist Y, will the guards at [insert name of museum] “be really hard on” me? (sarcasm).