Two days ago, Answers in Genesis, the organization that runs the Creation Museum, put out a press rele announcing that Creation Museum Founder and President Ken Ham will be debating Bill Nye the Science Guy on February 4th at the Creation Museum.
Oh boy, oh boy. This is going to be fun!
For those of you who don’t know, the Creation Museum is a ‘museum’ in Kentucky that aims to show the origins of the earth as told in the Bible. Because I can’t make it sound anymore ridiculous than their own website does, I’ll just quote their about page:
The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.
So. That’s the Creation Museum. Proving once again that if you have money, you can pretty much do anything.
All sarcasm aside, though, the Creation Museum is particularly disturbing to atheists like myself who would like to see religion play a reduced role in society, because it teaches people, many of them children, that creationism is based on real scientific study. They claim they are showing Earth as it looked shortly after it’s creation, and that the account of the creation given in Genesis is backed up by science. To prove this, they point to the “many people on staff with doctorates.” Every year, millions of people flock to this museum to further convince their children that it’s okay to ignore reality because Jesus.
And it’s harmful. It really is. Because these children will vote some day. They will have a voice in the future of this nation, and this planet, despite the fact that they are clinging to incorrect accounts of how it came to be. How we came to be.
Which brings me to this debate. There’s been a lot of interesting reactions to it from atheist communities. Part of this is because the Creation Museum is hosting it, and people are suspicious that they may try to edit the video to take out any parts that are unfavorable to their views. There’s been no confirmation as to whether the event will be streamed live online (but the Museum is selling tickets to the event for $25), or whether an unedited copy of the footage will be provided to Nye after the event. A lot of people are worried videos that have been edited to look like Ken Ham won the debate will get passed around afterwards and used to further reinforce creationist beliefs. After all, people who believe the Bible are fairly fond of cherry-picking, hence why it’s okay for Christians to eat shellfish and but not be gay.
Those on the other side of the issue say that if and when edited clips appear in various places, that it’s up to us as people who value science to fight back. I have to say, I think I’m on this side. I mean, I understand the frustration that comes with seeing repeated posts on social media by friends and family claiming various things about science that are clearly not true… but the only way that’s ever going to change is if we reply to it. Yeah, it’s frustrating, but honestly, getting people to be more scientifically literate is something we need to strive for if we plan on having any longevity as a species.
So, I guess it’s battle stations or something. Prepare for the onslaught.