The Early Days of a Better Nation

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jurassic Ark

Last Friday three hundred or so sceptics visited the Creation Museum, and lots of them have blogged about it. P.Z. Myers has written a slashing takedown, and provided a handy roundup of other reactions, including those of the estimable young blogger Blag Hag. Like most people, these sceptics identify creationism with the outlook promoted by the museum, and for all practical purposes they're right. But it was not always so.

One of the surprises in Ronald L. Numbers' The Creationists, which I've just read, is how recent and contingent even within creationism this whole Young Earth/Flood Geology farrago is. Well into the 1950s, many if not most mainstream (so to speak) fundamentalists accepted an old Earth, with progressive creation or even theistic evolution, which they accommodated to Genesis by postulating an indefinite length of time between the first and second verses (the 'gap theory') or within each creation day (the 'day-age theory'). Changing that took the life-long labour of George McCready Price, the source of whose commitment to a recent week-long creation was not so much the inspired words of Genesis as the inspired visions of the prophet Ellen G. White. Price's work in turn inspired the authors of The Genesis Flood.

Ken Ham's outfit, which sponsors the Museum, manages to outdo even these modern founders of flood geology, by sticking to the 4004 BC date for creation, instead of giving themselves a few thousand extra years of wiggle room for post-Flood prehistory. But, just as Eden had a snake, the Museum has a squiggle. As P.Z. points out, all the geological epochs are tagged ~2348 BC. Some day, an upstart challenger may yet damn Ham for that squiggle. What d'you mean, circa 2348 BC? It was exactly 2348 B.C.! About teatime!

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Lunchtime it was!
Tea was inven...created later

mainstream (so to speak) fundamentalists

Greg Egan had mainstream anthrocosmologists, IIRC, who were pretty tame, if crazy. The fringe was downright dangerous. No similarity to persons or groups, etc.

Just coincidence that Mr. Ham shares a name with Noah's least respectable son?

Yes, I keep forgetting how young YEC is myself. The enlightenment did a pretty good job, such that the idea of an older earth took over well in the 19th century.

FOr extra propaganda power they mimic the activities and trappings of science, with their own journals and research institutes, all based around the ide of shoehorning the observations into the bible. By mimicking science they hope to fool people into thinking they should be accorded the same respect. But you knew that already.


with pleasure

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