Regular readers may have noticed a reduction in blog postings. This is because I have been spending some time with family and friends. First my daughter came for an extended visit and after she left we went to Washington DC to show some of the sights there to relatives who were visiting from Sri Lanka.
I like Washington. In the short time we were in DC, we managed to get quite a lot done. We drove around and showed them the various landmarks such as the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and the like. For me, the best parts of DC are the presidential memorials and the Smithsonian museums. We took in the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Martin Luther King memorials but did not have time to see the FDR one, though I had seen it last year. These are all tastefully done and the National Parks Service deserves to be commended for them.
We also visited the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II memorials. There are other war memorials that we did not see and it struck me how much of the history of the US is dominated by wars. It is not something to be proud of.
The Smithsonian museums are a real treat. We visited the Art, American History, Sculpture Garden, Air and Space, and Natural History museums though we could not do them justice in the limited time we had. At the last one, it was quite thrilling for me to see one of slabs from the Burgess Shale that showed the fossils of the Cambrian Explosion that occurred about 500 million years ago and had such an impact on our understanding of evolution.
At the museum, we also saw a 3D IMAX film about dinosaurs and this was spectacular. It was a mixture of live action plus animations and the 3D CGI special effects were extremely well done with the animations of the dinosaurs seeming to come so close to you that they seemed to be just near the tip of your nose. The live action shots of the Gobi desert and the New Mexico plateaus where so many fossils have been found were also magnificent. If we were there for a longer time, I would have gone to see some of the other 3D films too.
The museum and the city were packed with tourists and especially school children since it is the season for school tours to visit DC. I suspect that many of those children, and even some of their teachers, are young Earth creationists. As I watched them, I wondered what they made of the fact that the Smithsonian exhibits all assumed an ancient Earth and evolution and there was no mention of gods or Noah’s Ark or any other such nonsense. I know that their parents and teachers probably inoculate them with ‘explanations’ about why scientists are wrong. But even the most thoroughly indoctrinated must be a little unsettled by the fact that no recognition is given to their worldview.