You don’t expect to see a creation museum in Southern California. It’s the kind of thing you expect to see in the South or the Mid-West or some other place where the Bible-belt is so tightly cinched around peoples’ heads that it impedes the flow of blood to the brain. Yet there is one here in Santee, just east of San Diego; a Young Earth Creationist one that teaches the Earth is only 6,000 years old. It’s presence in California is a testament to the indomitable human spirit… of self-willed ignorance and blindness to anything that disagrees with personal prejudice, that is.
It deserves opposition from anyone who calls themselves rational; cries out for it, in fact. And on Saturday, September 24, a group of skeptics answered that cry. Members of Orange County’s Backyard Skeptics and the San Diego Coalition of Reason did just that. The protest was organized by Bruce Gleason from BYS and John Viggiano of the San Diego New Atheists and Agnostics. The two groups showed up carrying signs with messages like “Creationism is not Science”; “Thou shalt not lie”; “Keep Church & State Separate” and “Can I Teach Evolution in Your Church?” The peaceful demonstration stayed outside the museum gates (though some protestors bought tickets and toured the exhibits) where they handed out literature and engaged in dialogue with anyone who came up to talk to them. You can view a well-made video of the demonstration at left.
BYS’s Bruce Gleason describes the experience:
Eight Backyard Skeptics members from Orange County, CA took a field trip down to the Creation Museum on Saturday, September 24, 2011. They joined 10 members from the San Diego Coalition of Reason in protesting the grand opening of a new dinosaur exhibit.
At first we had a good protest walking line going with pro-evolutionary signs like “Why didn’t evolution eliminate the creationists?” and a picture of the Flintstones with the caption “This is not a documentary!”,
Soon many of the attendees, kids in tow, came out to talk with us (we were only allowed on the sidewalk). Debates ensued and most were calm and collected exchanges of scientific fact with pseudo-scientific ‘facts’. Must one define the word ‘fact’ before continuing a debate?
The Creationists not only assured us where we are going, but laid their claims of a 6000 year old earth – oh sorry, I mean universe. The arguments they made were common ones, similar to those made by others who’ve drunk the kool-aid and started with a conclusion instead of a hypothesis.
The evolutionists even had several science experiments near the museum for anyone interested in seeing them, but few creationists noticed them as they left the museum.
The museum itself is very professionally-designed with many truly correct scientific displays, but near the bottom of each display they’d add “and who was the designer of this miracle?”
The museum includes displays about the universe’s beginnings, the Grand Canyon (and how it was made in about 15 minutes), the Ice Age, human anatomy, Noah’s ark, and a ‘Hall of Shame’ featuring evolutionary scientists. Missing was the radio-metric dating display where a cartoon animation explained how God ‘speed up’ the decay of radio isotopes to make them appear old.
The saddest thing we saw was how many children were there breathing in the cult-like atmosphere, getting their faces painted, playing with the dino-clowns, and drinking in misleading information with wide-eyed innocence.
You can find out more about the Backyard Skeptics here; the San Diego United Coalition of Reason here, and the San Diego New Atheists and Agnostics here. Another story about the California Creation Museum can be found in the suggested links below.
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