Noah's Park: The Religious Right's Creationist Theme Parks, Museums and Tours
Sections on this page: Government employees seek removal of creationist book from Grand Canyon shop | Answers in Genesis creationist museum in Kentucky | More creationist theme parks and museums | The "Creation Science Evangelism" of Kent Hovind |
Biblically Correct Tours
Soundprint Radio, Hosted by Lisa Simeone, June 2007
If you walk through a natural history museum these days, you might see signs that reflect our more "politically correct" reality. For instance, the word "humankind" often replaces "mankind" on the placards. But a Christian movement aims to take museums beyond politically correct to what they refer to as "biblically correct". CBC's Frank Faulk explores "Biblically Correct Tours" which offer a literal, Biblical interpretation of everything from what fossils tell us about evolution, to the disappearance of the dinosaurs. One of the guides teaches children that evolution is "bad science" and that answers to questions concerning where we came from can be found in the book of Genesis. Click here for an audio link to the program.
January 16, 2007: Park Service distances itself from creationist book. Updates below
Public employees campaign for removal of creationist book from Grand Canyon
Petition seeks to reverse "faith-based" illegalities in national parks
by JewsOnFirst, January 9, 2007
A public employee whistle-blower organization has exposed the Bush administration's failure to honor a commitment to consider removing a creationist book from National Park Service bookstores. The book claims that the Grand Canyon formed in Noah's flood, several thousand years ago.
The whistle-blower group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), has launched a public campaign for removal of the book, and, more broadly for "an end to "public dollars ... being spent to promote religion" in the national parks.
In a telephone interview with JewsOnFirst, PEER executive director Jeff Ruch said he was hopeful that the petition will prompt the new Congress to exercise oversight of the Park Service. Ruch identified two other blatant encroachments on the national parks by fundamentalist Christians -- one involving a video shown at the Lincoln Memorial; the second is a cross on public land in the California desert. Continue.
January 16, 2007
In an apparent reaction to media attention on the creationist book about the Grand Canyon sold in its book stores, the National Park Service (NPS) has issued a statement that it teaches widely accepted science about the canyon's age. The statement, posted on the website of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), says the NPS does not endorse the book, which claims the canyon formed in Noah's flood. PEER questions some of the NPS assertions.
To read PEER's news release, which includes a link to the NPS statement, click here.
Creating a Ruckus
The Park Service balances science with superstition at the Grand Canyon
By Tim Vanderpool, Tucson Weekly, January 18, 2007
Saguaro National Park offers a bevy of learning tools for school kids--fun-filled packets, mostly online, detailing how our real estate was put together: the thawing Ice Age, man's dubious debut and a preponderance of rather frightful creatures ranging from dire wolves to saber-toothed tigers. According to Saguaro's teaching tools, this particularly ornery saga occurred about 10,000 years ago.
But visit another park on the other end of Arizona, and you'll discover a decidedly divergent take. In the Grand Canyon's visitor center, there's a very popular book called The Grand Canyon: A Different View. This creationist masterwork describes how the natural wonder was fashioned a mere 4,500 years ago, by the punishing flood described in Genesis. According to A Different View, God was miffed at man's evil ways, ergo the Big Ditch.
Or in the words of author Tom Vail, "the mile-deep Canyon itself, which could never have been carved out by the waters of the present river, tells of a time when a great dammed-up lake full of water from the Flood suddenly broke and a mighty hydraulic monster roared down toward the sea, digging deeply into the path it had chosen ..." Continue.
Evolving Grand Canyon Position Leaves Unanswered Questions
National Park Service Now Distancing Itself from Creationist Book It Approved
Washington, DC — The National Park Service insists that it does not teach creationism or endorse the view that the Grand Canyon is the product of Noah’s Flood, according to a new agency public statement posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Despite this statement, the agency will continue selling a book making those “Young Earth” claims about the origin of the canyon – a book that top agency officials approved over the objections of its own park superintendent. Continue.
Parks Agency Leaves Controversial Book on Shelf
By Cornelia Dean, The New York Times, January 5, 2007
When complaints emerged in 2004 over the sale of a creationist account of the formation of the Grand Canyon in National Park Service bookstores, Interior Department officials said they would review whether the book should be pulled from the shelves.
But there was no formal review, in part because of differences of opinion among the Park Service’s own specialists, said David Barna, a spokesman for the agency, in an interview yesterday. Continue.
Group wants creationist Canyon book pulled
By Cyndy Cole, Arizona Daily Sun, January 4, 2007
The National Park Service has dragged its feet for three years on a decision about whether to halt the sale of a creationist book saying the Grand Canyon is only thousands of years old, an advocacy group has charged.
The agency has also declined to give an official answer on the Canyon's age because of pressure from the Bush administration and religious groups, the group said. Most geologists put the Canyon's age at 5 million to 6 million years. Continue.
How Old Is The Grand Canyon? Park Service Won’t Say
Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology
News Release, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, December 28, 2006
Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
“In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’” Continue.
Please note: PEER has included links to relevant documents at the bottom of its news release.
Renewed concern about creationism at Grand Canyon National Park
National Center for Science Education, January 4, 2007
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility -- "a national non-profit alliance of local, state and federal scientists, law enforcement officers, land managers and other professionals dedicated to upholding environmental laws and values" -- is charging the National Park Service with stalling on a promised review of a creationist book sold at the bookstores at Grand Canyon National Park.
Although the park's bookstores are operated by a separate non-profit organization, the Grand Canyon Association, the National Park Service is responsible for approving the items that are sold there. In August 2003, the NPS approved the sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View, edited by Tom Vail and published by Master Books, the publishing arm of the Institute for Creation Research. A Different View expounds a young-earth creationist view of the geology of the canyon, and proclaims that "all contributions have been peer-reviewed to ensure a consistent and biblical perspective." In his review of the book, the geologist Wilfred Elders described it as "'Exhibit A' of a new, slick strategy by biblical literalists to proselytize using a beautifully illustrated, multi-authored book about a spectacular and world-famous geological feature," adding, "Allowing the sale of this book within the National Park was unfortunate. In the minds of some buyers, this could imply NPS approval of young-earth creationists and their religious proselytizing." Continue.
Eight evidences that the Grand Canyon supports God’s Word!
From the Canyon Ministries website as it was January 7, 2007
The following statements are factual descriptions of the Grand Canyon. Each statement is followed by a short explanation from a creationists’ perspective that is consistent with a catastrophic formation of the Grand Canyon, a global Flood, and a young earth. Continue.
From Canyon Ministries' home page
Experience North America’s biggest whitewater on this Christ-centered motorized rafting trip through a canyon with walls over a mile high. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will explore one of His grandest creations while spending time each day in God's Word and singing praises to the Lord. Share the enjoyment of this natural wonder of the world with fellow believers. Learn how the effects of Noah’s Flood, not millions of years of erosion, carved the Canyon.
Canyon Ministries has the privilege of running tours for both Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research, two of the largest creation-based ministries in the world. Continue.
Creation Museum Pits the Bible Against Evolution
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, National Public Radio, All Things Considered, May 28, 2007
The $27 million Creation Museum opened it's doors in Northern Kentucky on Monday. Hundreds of people lined up to the building, which argues that the Bible is more accurate than evolutionary science.
Protesters outside the museum criticized it for trying to replace science with fiction. Click here for links to Hagerty's audio reports on the museum's opening.
Thousands attend opening
Believers, skeptics differ on life's origins
By Mike Rutledge, Cincinnati Enquirer, May 29, 2007
PETERSBURG - A twisting line of people perhaps five blocks long wound inside and outside the Creation Museum on Monday, waiting to see its exhibits 2½ hours after the controversial $27 million facility opened.
On the first day, the museum hosted more than 4,000 visitors, spokesman Mark Looy said Monday evening.
Beyond the gates, several dozen protesters staged a "Rally for Reason," arguing that the museum's central tenets conflict with scientific dating techniques. For example, the museum declares the earth is 6,000 years old, rather than about 4.5 billion years old. Continue.
Christians Should Know Candidates' Views on Creation, Says Ken Ham
By Allie Martin, OneNewsNow.com via Newsbull.com, June 8, 2007
The president of the apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis says Christians should know and be concerned about the views of presidential candidates when it comes to the debate over evolution and creation. In different forums this week, both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates were asked their views on evolution.
On Monday, Democratic candidate John Edwards said he believes in the theory and does not see that as conflicting with his professed Christian faith. "I think a belief in God and a belief in Christ, in my case, is not in any way inconsistent with that because the hand of God was in every step of what's happened with man," he replied. "The hand of God today is in every step of what happens with me and with every human being that exists on this planet."
The following day, during a debate featuring the GOP contenders, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was one of three who said they did not believe in evolution. Huckabee, who is an ordained Baptist minister, was asked if he believed in a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, which states God created the universe in six days. "Whether God did it in six days or whether he did it in six days that represented periods of time, he did it -- and that's what's important," the former governor responded. And regarding evolution, he remarked that "if anybody wants to believe that they are the descendants of a primate, they are certainly welcome to it." Continue.
Park staff will visit Creation Museum
State naturalists face visitors' questions
Tom Loftu, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), September 1, 2007
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Naturalists from Kentucky state parks are planning a trip to the Creation Museum in Boone County to see firsthand what they are up against.
Since the museum opened about three months ago, the naturalists who teach visitors about the ancient natural history of the parks have been challenged more frequently by people who have visited the Creation Museum, said Carey Tichenor, chief naturalist in the Department of Parks.
"Visitors are asking, 'Well, it said this at the Creation Museum, but you all are saying something different,' " Tichenor said.
The Creation Museum, which presents the Bible's creation story as fact supported by science, was opened in late May in Petersburg by the Answers in Genesis Christian ministry. Continue.
Creation Museum to open Monday
Displays at Northern Kentucky venue show a strictly biblical view of Earth
Jim DeBrosse, The Journal News, (Hamilton, Ohio), May 26, 2007
Petersburg, Ky. -- Members of Answers in Genesis believe they have evidence to show the Earth is 6,000 years old and that the universe and all its creatures were created in six, 24-hour days.
The scientific community believes it has evidence to show the universe is 14 billion years old, the Earth almost 5 billion years old and all of its known creatures the products of 3 billion years of evolution.
So where lies the common ground between these views? Continue.
Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs
Museum Review -- Creation Museum
Edward Rothstein, The New York Times, May 24, 2007
Petersburg, Ky. -- The entrance gates here are topped with metallic Stegosauruses. The grounds include a giant tyrannosaur standing amid the trees, and a stone-lined lobby sports varied sauropods. It could be like any other natural history museum, luring families with the promise of immense fossils and dinosaur adventures.
But step a little farther into the entrance hall, and you come upon a pastoral scene undreamt of by any natural history museum. Two prehistoric children play near a burbling waterfall, thoroughly at home in the natural world. Dinosaurs cavort nearby, their animatronic mechanisms turning them into alluring companions, their gaping mouths seeming not threatening, but almost welcoming, as an Apatosaurus munches on leaves a few yards away. Continue.
Who Created Heaven and Earth - and When?
Museum stirs scientific debate, theological woes
John Johnston, The Cincinnati Enquirer, May 20, 2007
The Creation Museum that opens in Northern Kentucky next weekend is built on this belief: God created the heavens and the Earth and all living things in six consecutive 24-hour days, 6,000 years ago.
Which leads to this belief: Floodwaters carved the Grand Canyon in a matter of days or weeks.
And to this: Dinosaurs and humans once co-existed. Indeed, museum exhibits will show them sharing space on Noah's Ark.
To believe any differently undermines biblical authority, say supporters of Answers in Genesis. And so the nonprofit, nondenominational ministry has constructed the $27 million museum to save souls and persuade people to embrace its literal interpretation of the Bible. Continue
Dinosaurs on the Ark: the Creation Museum
Stephen T. Asma, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2007
"How many sheep," I carefully asked, "would a dinosaur need to eat per day while living on the ark?"
I had done my homework in order to interview Ken A. Ham, director of the new Creation Museum, in Kentucky. But in order to be up to date with "ark science," I had to go back to the 1660s. Here, particularly in John Wilkins's An Essay Towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668), I learned that "atheistical scoffers" had been rolling their eyes of late at the notion that so many animals could fit on so small a boat (300 by 50 by 30 cubits = 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, Genesis 6:15). Bishop Wilkins, who acted as the first secretary of the Royal Society, set about demonstrating once and for all that the ark could indeed hold the menagerie. Creating elaborate charts based on scriptural descriptions of Noah's craft and cargo, Wilkins established that the middle floor of the three-floor ark was just under 15 feet tall and held foodstuffs for all the passengers, including 1,600 sheep for carnivore consumption. So naturally when I learned that the diorama in Ham's new exhibit would show visitors how the dinosaurs lived on the ark (something Wilkins couldn't have predicted), it seemed reasonable to ask how many sheep they'd be digging into.
OK, let me just admit right away that under normal circumstances it is exceedingly hard to ask this question with a straight face. Even now when I think about it, I start smiling. When I asked this surreal query of Ham, I was sure I had edged over some boundary of tact and would now be perceived as mocking him. But he didn't miss a beat, and replied, "Well, that's an interesting question." Continue.
Kevin Eigelbach: Museum's security intimidating
Column by Kevin Eigelbach, Kentucky Post, May 31, 2007
When I visited the new Answers in Genesis museum last week in Petersburg, Ky., the first thing I noticed was the dog. He was outside the museum beside some picnic structures, lying beside his handler, a security guard in a blue uniform.
Another dog, a brown Belgian Malinois named Jack, dutifully leashed, lay at the feet of a security guard in the lobby.
I found this a little jarring. Why would a Christian ministry feel compelled to defend itself, and from what?
I asked the guard why he had a dog and a gun, and he replied, "We're always Biblically correct, but we're not always politically correct." Continue.
Museum opens to defend biblical creation account
Allie Martin, OneNewsNow.com, May 28, 2007
A museum defending the Biblical account of creation has opened in Northern Kentucky. The Creation Museum , a project of the apologetics ministry, Answers in Genesis, opened with a special sneak preview for media, charter members and invited guests.
Gary Moore is Judge Executive of Boone County . He said the museum will impact much more than just the local area. Continue.
Additional and earlier reports on the Answers In Genesis Museum are here.
Museum exhibits a creationist viewpoint
New front opens in debate over origins
By Lisa Anderson, Chicago Tribune, August 7, 2005
At first glance, with its research-quality replicas and lush dioramas of prehistoric Earth, the Museum of Earth History, which opened in April in this Victorian spa town, may seem like any other facility devoted to dinosaurs and fossils. But with exhibits aligned with the Bible's six days of creation, it also is emblematic of the increasing volume in the national debate over how evolution should be taught in public schools and the emboldening of those who oppose or question evolution. Click here to read the report.
Adam, Eve and T. Rex
Giant roadside dinosaur attractions are used by a new breed of creationists as pulpits to spread their version of Earth's origins.
By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005
CABAZON, Calif. - Dinny the roadside dinosaur has found religion.
The 45-foot-high concrete apatosaurus has towered over Interstate 10 near Palm Springs for nearly three decades as a kitschy prehistoric pit stop for tourists. Now he is the star of a renovated attraction that disputes the fact that dinosaurs died off millions of years before humans first walked the planet. Click here to read the report.
Creationist Family Digs Fossils -- and Helps Others Learn to Dig Them, Too
Mary Rettig, Agape Press, January 23, 2006
Florida-based Creation Expeditions, a "ministry," leads fossil-digging and fossil-cleaning vacation trips. "'We do hands-on excavating with these families,' [leader Peter] DeRosa says, 'and they have an opportunity to come out in the field to see the evidences right before them of the Great Flood. We give them foundations in creation science, and also, the opportunity to have the Book of Genesis come alive for them.'" Click here to read the article.
Convincing the Culture with Dinosaurs
By Lael, Creation Expeditions (website: www.creationexpeditions.org)
"The evolutionary claim that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago directly contradicts the Biblical creation account. The Bible says that God created the land animals on day six of creation, the same day as man. There is no such thing as 'prehistory.' The Bible starts at the beginning: 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth' (Genesis 1:1). 'He which made them at the beginning made them male and female' (Matthew 19:4).
"A Biblical interpretation of the dinosaurs is pretty straightforward. God created them on day six. They lived with man from the beginning. (The descriptions of "behemoth" and "leviathan" in Job fit dinosaurs more closely than any other animal; also, it is very likely that dragon legends were actually based on dinosaur stories that became embellished over the years.) Noah took pairs of the different 'kinds' of dinosaurs on the ark. The rest drowned in the flood and were buried in sediments all over the earth. Those that got off the ark after the flood encountered a radically altered world, and most died off due to a variety of factors, such as climate change and differences in the food supply. Click here for the complete article.
Tax-Evasion Charges Baseless, Says Ministry Leader
By Jim Brown, AgapePress, July 21, 2006
A Florida evangelist recently arrested on tax-evasion charges claims he's been targeted by the Internal Revenue Service because he's a creationist.
Last week a grand jury indicted Dr. Kent Hovind on 58 federal charges, including falsifying bankruptcy documents, filing a false and frivolous lawsuit and complaints against the IRS, destroying records, and threatening to harm IRS investigators. Twelve of the charges are for failing to pay employee-related taxes.
The grand jury alleges Hovind failed to pay nearly half-a-million dollars in federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes on his employees at his Creation Science Evangelism ministry in Pensacola. Hovind, who is known as "Dr. Dino," says even though the 30 people who work for him are paid in cash, he is not a tax protestor and is not violating any laws. Continue
Dinosaur Adventure Land shows how quickly fossils can be made
The creationist theme park in Pensacola, Florida, proclaims its offering "Creation Science Evangelism" and says of itself: "Since 2001 Dinosaur Adventure Land has been a place where families can come to learn about God's Creation through science and the Bible. DAL is comprised of a 3 story Science Center, Creation Museum, and Theme Park, making it fun for all ages, and one of the most amazing Creation Parks in the world. Our goal is to win souls to Christ, by giving everyone another choice. You can believe that you came from a rock, or you can believe that a loving God created you for a purpose. Plan your next family vacation, to come to DAL.Thanks for visiting Dinosaur Adventure Land.com, we hope that you will enjoy the site and come to see us very soon." Click here to see for yourself.