Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Creation Museum

The new Creation Museum, founded by Answers in Genesis, opened this weekend in Petersburg, Kentucky, near Cincinnati. Drawing many supporters, and some protesters, the museum promises to be a pretty big shot in the ongoing culture wars.

But as to the scientific and theological claims made by the museum, I will remain skeptical. In saying this, I want to add that I in no way am disputing any Biblical truths - just certain Biblical interpretations. I believe that God created the universe and all it contains, but unlike Answers in Genesis I dispute the Young Earth Theory of creation and I also believe that God used the process of evolution in creation. Despite the fact that many opponents of evolution claim that it is only a theory, I would point out that the word theory does not in any way communicate uncertainty. It would be very difficult - if not impossible - to find any scientist who doubts the scientific legitimacy of evolution (unless they are a proponent of Young Earth Creationism, and that is a very small number of scientists).

Deferring to someone with much greater scientific expertise, I give you the following quotes from the book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, by Dr. Francis S. Collins. Dr. Collins - a former atheist and now an evangelical Christian - is head of the Human Genome Project and a world-renowned scientist. In the words of Dr. Collins -

Many books and videos can be found in Christian bookstores that claim that no intermediate fossil forms can be found for birds, turtles, elephants, or whales (yet examples of all of these have been found in the last few years), that the Second Law of Thermodynamics rules out the possibility of evolution (it clearly does not), and that radioactive dating of rocks and the universe is wrong because decay rates have changed over time (they have not)…In general, those who hold these views are sincere, well-meaning, God-fearing people, driven by deep concerns that naturalism is threatening to drive God out of human experience. But the claims of Young Earth Creationism simply cannot be accommodated by tinkering around the edges of scientific knowledge. If these claims were actually true, it would lead to a complete and irreversible collapse of the sciences of physics, chemistry, cosmology, geology, and biology…the YEC (Young Earth Creationism) is the equivalent of insisting that two plus two is really not equal to four (pp. 173-174). Thus, by any reasonable standard, Young Earth Creationism has reached a point of intellectual bankruptcy, both in its science and in its theology. Its persistence is thus one of the great puzzles and tragedies of our time…But it is not science that suffers most here. Young Earth Creationism does even more damage to faith, by demanding that belief in God requires assent to fundamentally flawed claims about the natural world (page 177).

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