June 28, 2007
Dystopia in Kentucky
George Packer in The New Yorker:
A few miles west of Cincinnati, near the northern Kentucky town of Petersburg, there’s a gleaming new monument to Christianist ideology called the Creation Museum. It was built by an Australian Biblical literalist named Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis, at a cost of twenty-seven million dollars, raised mostly in small donations. It opened over Memorial Day weekend with a blast of media attention (Edward Rothstein wrote two pieces about it for the New York Times), and since then ten thousand people a week have been flocking to its exhibits. Last Sunday, on a visit to my in-laws in Lexington, I joined them.
The sixty-thousand-square-foot museum mimics the language, layout, and technical effects of state-of-the-art science museums: mastodon fossils and mineral crystals, soaring dioramas of life-size animatronic dinosaurs, several movie theatres, conference rooms, cafés, even a planetarium, and an echoing soundtrack of bird calls. But, as you pay your $19.95 and walk through the entry hall, there are clues that this is all a sophisticated sham.
The simulation serves a primitive ideology known as “young-earth creationism,” which promote the idea that the earth is just over six thousand years old and that the fossil record appeared after the Flood, around 4300 B.C.
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