You always find the funniest things over at PZ's Place! Yesterday, he was critical of this BBC article about the infamous "Creationist Museum" in Kentucky. While I normally agree with PZ on matters of creationist wackaloonery, I've got to admit that I found this article very funny. It didn't need to be explicitly critical of the museum to thoroughly skewer it, and the kind of people who would go to such a place.
So, who does go to a creation museum?
Dan Schoonmaker, 26, drove 11 hours from Alabama with his family after his wife Kristy heard about the museum in a Bible class. The Army helicopter pilot (who as a member of the military gets in free) described himself as a "creationist in training", admitting it needed "a lot of faith". "I personally don't know, but natural selection seems to be the only thing people go on. It should be more open," he says. "There are sometimes better explanations for things, I mean people thought the earth was flat." Theories other than evolutionary science should be given more prominence and there should be an option to study creationism in schools, with parents given the choice, he believes. "I'm a creationist in training, I don't really go to church but I'm curious about Genesis."
Robert Mailloux, 68, flew 1,200 miles from his home in Colorado Springs just to visit the museum. The retired businessman dismisses Darwin's theory as "not even a low grade hypothesis" and said it had "no substantial science" in it. "The Bible says God created the Earth in six days and we flat believe that. There are over 100 ways science is able to look at the Earth and 90 say it is thousands of years old - only 10 say it's real old." He adds: "The way liberals and evolutionists win an argument is to outlaw freedom of speech... they won't let us in. Why is Darwin buried with kings at Westminster Abbey? He's not a king. He's the king of the atheists' movement, of people who don't want to deal with the guilt that's put on them by sin... it's a weight and a bondage, they become their own God."
Laurie Geesey, 57, made the 560-mile trip from Wisconsin the night before with her husband Richard. The former high school teacher, who says she believes God created "everything visible and invisible", feels people look down on her views "especially under the current [White House] administration". "It interferes with their lifestyle, you know 'If it feels good go ahead and do it' - the Bible doesn't teach that," she says. In fact, she's not sure Darwin believed his own theory. Husband Richard Geesey, 67, a retired university professor, says he was "very impressed" by the museum and liked the fact that scriptures backed up the exhibits. "I believe in a lot of this and wanted to see how accurate it was," he says. "I believe the Earth is around 5,500 years old. If you don't believe in Genesis, you don't believe in anything else."
Scott Rubin, 42, says he turned to God late in life. The father-of-three, from Chicago, was a business consultant when he "had an encounter with Jesus" and became a youth pastor. "Evolution is a good theory, I don't believe in it, but parts of it are sensible and parts of creationism are sensible," he says. "When it comes down to it, how can you know for sure? What I do know is God's changed my life. I believe God created the world in six days, I do believe that." Mr Rubin, who is visiting the museum ahead of a baseball game in his home town of Cincinnati, says he grew up in the church but did not pay much attention to it. "I never intended to be the church guy. It makes sense why people believe in evolution, especially if they've not had the encounter with Jesus I've had."
This stuff is priceless. Really. As I said in comments at Pharyngula, this could be an Onion article, only these people, sadly enough, are real. I actually feel bad for these folks. They are obviously searching for meaning, and instead, they are having to settle for a $27 million dollar pseudoscientific fantasyland complete with "tail wagging dinosaurs".
Ironically, Mush and Peanut squared off over this very Creation Museum.