How to respond to a creation “museum”


There are creationist “museums” all over the place — I’ve been to ones in Kentucky, Washington state, and Missouri, and maybe a few others, but they’re all rather forgettable. I haven’t been to the the Big Valley Creation Science Museum in Alberta (how could I, what with the Royal Tyrrell right nearby?), but someone visited it and posted a summary. Harry Nibourg, the guy who runs it all, sounds like an enthusiastic glad-hander who is happy to give anyone a tour of his personal garbage heap. But I think these tourists summed it up well.

While I was there, a retired English couple had been making their way around the exhibits. As they reached the end, Harry asked them what their professions were. Turns out they’re retired biology teachers.

Harry asked,” Did you understand what you were looking at, and did it change your minds?

In the polite manner that only the English can achieve, the husband replied, “Well, you see, I think your museum is a crock of shit.”

Harry offered that they should “agree to disagree.”

That last line…is there any other phrase that is a better example of passive-aggressive truculence and an admission of a failure to defend one’s ideas than “agree to disagree”? Hate it.

Comments

  1. archangelospumoni says

    Thanks for the howler! Always better to start a day with laughter instead of Drumfh’s latest jackassery.

    I went to the linked site, read about the visit, and the 2nd comment is a classic. It explains that the curator is using some outdated creation “science” no longer espoused by more learned creationists. The comment includes “Or is the whole point of this just to mock ….”
    Yes.

  2. says

    “Two of each”?

    I looked up Noah in the family Bible once, and it said that he brought aboard (NIV) “seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate.” Harry at the museum isn’t even getting his Bible stuff right, let alone the science.

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    a new yorker would have been more kurt with simple “crock a’shit” without the quaint “well… you seeeee…. i think…. crock of shite”, being so erudite britishy.
    — putting my self out on the limb to be funny, i hope. pardon me.
    Carry on…

    ??

  4. says

    I think everyone should make creation museums. The dumber and uglier and more expensive the better. Then apply for state money and tax breaks.

  5. Owlmirror says

    From the linked page:

    Harry informed me that members of the Creationist circle had sent various fossils and rock samples off for carbon dating – with all of them returning ages of less than 4,500 years.

    Seriously, rocks? How about a basic recap of how carbon dating works: cosmic rays ultimately interact with atmospheric nitrogen to form the carbon-14; the carbon-14 reacts chemically to become carbon dioxide; the carbon dioxide is metabolized by plants or other photosynthesizers; and from there the carbon-14 can enter the food web of the organisms that eat the plants, or eat the organisms that eat those organisms.

    Since the organic matter in the fossil largely decayed away and was chemically replaced long ago, and the rocks never had any, then any carbon dating that gets results of “less than 4,500 years” must be of the bacteria that are on the rocks and fossils.

    However, he didn’t mention that while carbon dating is very accurate for young objects that are less than 20,000 years old, it doesn’t work very well past 50,000 years – because the amount of the Carbon-14 isotopes left in the sample doesn’t exceed the margin for error in testing.

    Another basic recap, just to emphasize why the above is true: The half-life of carbon-14 is about 5000 years. After one half-life, half the original carbon-14 remains. After two half-lives, one quarter of the original is left. After ten half-lives, only about 1/1024th of the original is left.

    Modern scientists date older fossils with other isotopes, such as potassium-argon, or zircon.

    This is an embarrassing gaffe: Zircon is not an isotope! Zircon is a mineral, which preferentially absorbs uranium, and repels lead, when in a liquid state at thousands of degrees. It is the isotopes of uranium, and the isotopes that result from the decay of uranium to isotopes of stable lead, that are used for dating the geological strata in which fossils are embedded.

    Harry explained that dinosaurs – formerly known as “dragons” – co-existed with humans up until the 16th Century. […] “We hunted them to extinction,” Harry says, talking about how dinosaurs were killed off by marauding knights seeking glory.

    And yet none of those glory-seeking knights had the skulls mounted as trophies, or the skins flayed and preserved.

    The standing theory is that Earth was once surrounded by a layer of water, 7 km thick, suspended high above the atmosphere. […] He explains that the downward pressure from the water on the Earth’s mantle led to a rapid upwelling of superheated rock

    Because of course water can magically be lighter than air and heavier than rock.

    How did they avoid eating each other? Harry claims “carnivorous behavior” is the result of stress.

    So what do non-vegetarian Christians stress about?

    When the animals were on the Ark, “God kept them calm” so they didn’t feel the need to break out of their wooden cages to chow down on each other.

    If it’s so easy for God to keep animals calm, why does God want animals to be stressed, and therefore carnivorous, now? Does he hate them, or does he just think it’s funny?

    The Flood is also used as a way for Creation Scientists to explain the fossil record. As the waters rose, Harry explains, the least complex life forms were caught in the rush, with the more advanced creatures making it further up the hill – before they, too, were swallowed by the Flood, to eventually turn into fossils.

    I’d talk about fossil raindrop impressions, mudcracks, burrows, and nests, but I’m starting to feel Gish Galloped.

    Senter, Phil. The Defeat of Flood Geology by Flood Geology RNCSE 31.3, 1.3 May-June 2011

  6. Owlmirror says

    I tried posting my comment @#5 to the original post, but it just disappeared.

    Sigh.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re “carbon dating” @5:
    I wonder if “carbon dating” has become a euphemism for any kind of method used to date ancient objects, having it seen so frequently used misappropriately. Rocks can be dated using “radiometric” data, comparing different isotopes of long half-life atoms, which can be found in rocks.
    >idiots<
    ?

  8. Usernames! 🦑 says

    Seriously, rocks? How about a basic recap of how carbon dating works: cosmic rays ultimately interact with atmospheric nitrogen to form the carbon-14; the carbon-14 reacts chemically to become carbon dioxide; the carbon dioxide is metabolized by plants or other photosynthesizers; and from there the carbon-14 can enter the food web of the organisms that eat the plants, or eat the organisms that eat those organisms.
    —Owlmirror (#5)

    Tut, tut! You know that must of these Creation “Science” types know little-to-nothing about science, which is why they are on the stupid side of the knowledge divide!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry took an AiG “course” in The Science and/or got his materials from the Creationist Research Labs®

  9. anchor says

    The ‘agree to disagree’ shtick is how vanishingly puny minds gratify themselves with total agreement. It’s rather similar to how chronic liars like a certain orange stain confront evidence that contradicts them. Amirite or amirite?

  10. eamick says

    Kip T.W. @2: It’s better than that. Genesis 6 says it was two of everything; Genesis 7 is what you quoted. The Bible itself can’t keep its story straight.

  11. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @10
    *smiles*
    you know “7 pairs of clean” does indeed include 2, so “two of everything” is correct, only adding “exclusively” onto it, makes it inconsistent.
    *grin*

  12. Bruce H says

    Agreeing to disagree is fine for subjects like whether cream cheese belongs inside a donut. (It does, and if you disagree, you’re wrong.) But that’s about it.

  13. microraptor says

    Saying you’ll “agree to disagree” is pretty much admitting that you’ve just got your ass handed to you in a debate.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Saying you’ll “agree to disagree” is pretty much admitting that you’ve just got your ass handed to you in a debate.

    Even prior to the debate. Says “I surrender logic and evidence”….

  15. woozy says

    Not necessarily. I’ve been known to use it to mean “you are a freaking idiot and totally wrong but I realize you’ll never listen to reason”. Of course, I probably more frequently say “You’re never going to listen to common sense” instead.

    Actually, maybe I’ve never said “agree to disagree”… Okay, maybe I have when I dont like certain movies or themes in music….

  16. pipefighter says

    I’ve driven by it coming back from Drumheller (it’s two minutes off of highway 56). It was winter and looked closed. If you ever wanted to go I’d jump at the opportunity.

  17. ridana says

    Saying you’ll “agree to disagree” is pretty much admitting that you’ve just got your ass handed to you in a debate.

    Not always. To me it means the other side isn’t worth wasting any more of my time trying to convince them when facts haven’t worked, or the topic is a matter of opinion, or so trivial it doesn’t matter who thinks they won. I either don’t have the energy or am not in the mood for a battle, or don’t have the time to get embroiled in an endless quagmire with little at stake. Arguments with creationists tend to fall into the first category for the latter reason.

  18. ridana says

    On further reflection, I guess I’ve never actually used that phrase for topics that actually matter or are of a facts-vs-opinion nature, like, say, creationism (though I probably would regarding religious belief in general).

  19. Owlmirror says

    I just checked, and my comment @#5 has in fact posted (and I see that so has Kip W.’s @2)!

    Unfortunately, the site’s CSS is constructed so that the blockquote tag has no effect. Careful reading will show that I am citing material from the article, but it’s very annoying to have my text mangled so much.

    Bah.

  20. says

    Owlmirror, the rich ambiguity of English leaves me unsure of which site’s CSS isn’t showing blockquotes. When I look at (for instance) your @5, I can see blockquotes in action. Are you not seeing them, or were you referring to something else that I’m not seeing? (Ambiguity again: this time ‘seeing’ means ‘getting.’)

  21. Owlmirror says

    @Kip W.: gigcity.ca, the site of the original post, was set up such that my first comment (and yours), did not appear at first (hence my comment @#6), and when they did show up, did so with blockquoted text looking exactly like non-blockquoted-text.

  22. David Marjanović says

    the Royal Tyrrell

    Been there, wearing the T-shirt right now! ^_^

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