“This is a cultural war,” said Ken Ham told the Los Angeles Times. Ham is director of the global ministry Answers in Genesis and creator of a museum he said will take the “offensive against the scientific establishment.”
Ham is building a $14-million museum to confront the theory of evolution in northern Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.
The Creation Museum & Family Discovery Center offers exhibits to prove the biblical account that God created the Earth and everything in it over six 24-hour days, only 6,000 years ago.
Even life-size dinosaur replicas, common in most science museums, will illustrate the theory that Adam and Eve lived alongside the tyrannosaurus rex in a blissful Eden, free from violence, the Times reported.
With an annual budget of $7 million, Ham’s ministry produces a radio broadcast on 400 U.S. stations and maintains a Web site, www.answersingenesis.org, catering to 13 countries in their own languages. According to the site, this year’s donations to the museum reached $1.25 million with a goal of $3.865 million in the second phase of the campaign.
The Answers in Genesis site provides curriculum for church classes and home-schooling, along with other products for purchase that promote creationism. Visitors to the site can participate in prayer lists, ask questions about creation, and purchase a number of items including dinosaur mouse pads, playing cards, games, books and interactive CD-ROMs.
The mission of the organization is to “bring reformation by restoring the foundations of our faith which are contained in the book of Genesis.”
According to the Times, only one other museum in the country is dedicated to creation science–a 3,500-square-foot “journey through time” at the Institute for Creation Research near San Diego, Calif.
Ham expects his exhibit space to reach 50,000 square feet with 47 acres of outdoor trails and displays.
Such aspirations have some alarmed critics. They call the Creation Museum a sham sermon disguised as science. Eugene Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, told the Times that “the authoritative presentation of [the creation] information” could confuse people.
According to the Gallup organization, a quarter of Americans said last year that teaching creationism should be required of the public schools, while another 56 percent thought creationism should at least be offered to students. A 1999 Gallup poll found that 68 percent of Americans favored teaching creationism along with evolution in public schools.
Creationists like Mike Rogers, a sales manager in Phoenix, often take pains during educational outings to remind their children that they believe all animals were vegetarian in Eden, before human sins brought violence into the world.
Ham told the Times he expects up to 10,000 visitors a year to tour his museum. And he wouldn’t pretend to give them an even-handed analysis.
“The Bible is not a science textbook,” he told the Times. “But where it touches on science, we can trust it. We make no bones about it: This is the truth.”
Alex Smirnov is BCE’s research associate.