A good take-down is a thing of beauty. A.A. Gill visited the “museum” in Kentucky, and gets right to the heart of the matter: it’s not a museum, it’s a national embarrassment.
The Creation Museum isn’t really a museum at all. It’s an argument. It’s not even an argument. It’s the ammunition for an argument. It is the Word made into bullets. An armory of righteous revisionism. This whole building is devoted to the literal veracity of the first 11 chapters of Genesis: God created the world in six days, and the whole thing is no more than 6,000 years old. Everything came at once, so Tyrannosaurus rex and Noah shared a cabin. That’s an awful lot of explaining to do. This place doesn’t just take on evolution–it squares off with geology, anthropology, paleontology, history, chemistry, astronomy, zoology, biology, and good taste. It directly and boldly contradicts most -onomies and all -ologies, including most theology.
It’s also ugly, cheesy, and stupid. People often try to excuse faith by claiming it inspired a lot of great art…but here is the evidence that god is dead. All his rotting corpse seems to inspire any more is cartoon kitsch. And Christian rock.
I spent a lot of time in the Eden picnic area, trying to wrest some sort of spiritual buzz, a sense of the majesty and the mystery, but it’s conspicuously absent. Literally beaten to death. This is Ripley’s Believe-It. It is irredeemably kitsch. In fact, it may be the biggest collection of kitsch in God’s entire world. This is the profound represented by the banal, a divine irony. (The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share.) This tacky, risible, and rational tableau defies belief, beggars faith. Compare it to the creation story in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Masaccio’s expulsion from Eden, or any of the thousands of flickering images, icons, and installations based on faith rather than literalist realism. It truly makes you wonder, Is all this righteous ire, all this money, all this Pentecostal flame-throwing the best they can come up with? This cheap county-fair sideshow–this is their best shot? It may be more replete with proof than a Soviet show trial, but this creation is bereft of any soul.
We’ve criticized Ham a lot for the inanities of his museum, but I wonder if the accusation that he’s a cheap, tasteless rube will sting a little more than harping on the fact that he’s ignorant and irrational (which he considers virtues). We’ll have to see if a response appears on his blog.
By the way, Ken Ham reads Pharyngula, even if he never links to us or mentions us by name. He has a blog post that quotes me and commenters here, to show how evil we are. You should check it out to see if he found you worthy of damnation.