Professor PZ Myers from ScienceBlogs (whom I admire immensely) visited AIG's Creation Museum with a group of 285 young freethinkers from the Secular Student Alliance. On his website Pharyngula, Myers recounts the experience in delicious detail and describes the absurd "scientific" exhibits on display there. A sign at the entrance of the museum proclaims: "Same Facts, Different Views. But Why?"
Myers: "What about the scientific content? They must have made some kind of argument, right? Wrong. They didn't even try. This is their core premise. They claim that scientists and creationists are all working from exactly the same set of facts, and the only difference is in how we interpret them… and that they have an extra source of information that scientists reject, the Bible."
Exhibit prAy: Two paleontologists are working side by side, excavating dinosaur bones. One is an affable grandfatherly type, the other is a sly Asian fellow apparently hell bent on disproving the Bible. The benign creationist says, "I see the same bones, but I believe this dinosaur was killed suddenly about 4400 years ago in a huge global flood, which buried deeply it all at once." (With video and everything!)
"It is a profoundly dishonest display. No, they are not using the same evidence: the creationist is ignoring all but the most superficial appearances... This isn't two guys stating their mere beliefs in a field. It's one guy, the creationist, closing his eyes to the evidence and spouting Biblical gibberish, and one scientist stating the conclusions of substantial investigations. The scientist does not say a particular fossil is 125 million years old simply because he feels like it."
In another exhibit, AIG tackles the question of who married the surviving son of Adam and Eve. The museum proudly states that Cain married his sister - and from that union sprang the rest of humanity. Incest is perfectly acceptable when the Man in the Sky decides it is, as explained on a museum placard: "Since God is the One who defined marriage in the first place, God's Word is the only standard for defining proper marriage. People who do not accept the Bible as their absolute authority have no basis for condemning someone like Cain marrying his sister."
Things take a racist turn in the post-Noah's Flood exhibit: "With complete seriousness and no awareness of the historical abuses to which this idea has been put, they were promoting the Hamite theory of racial origins, that ugly idea that all races stemmed from the children of Noah, and that black people in particular were the cursed offspring of Ham. If they are going to reject science because of its abuses, such as eugenics, they should at least be conscious of the evils perpetrated in the name of their strange cultish doctrines... (T)here's absolutely no science in any of this — every conclusion is built exclusively on an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Bible."
PZ Myers' post really should be read in its entirety. Of particular interest is his description of the museum's thuggish security guards, who follow visitors around ready to eject anyone that speaks out against the Biblical views represented there. Myers and his students even had to sign documents saying they wouldn't share their personal beliefs with other museum visitors. (Presumably, regular guests are spared this prerequisite.) So much for free thinking.
(Pictured: Professor Myers riding the museum's Triceratops.)