This appeared in *Sacramento News and Review*, a weekly publication in Sacramento, CA. Ma

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From: ("Eugenie C. Scott") This appeared in *Sacramento News and Review*, a weekly publication in Sacramento, CA. March 24, 1994. Marghe Covino works for "Project Tocsin", an organization that monitors the religious right. Creationism Made Easy By Marghe Covino Nestled unsuspectingly in an industrial park fronting a freeway in Santee near San Diego is the 17-year-old Museum of Creation and Earth Science. The large, converted warehouse is the object of devout pilgrimages from tourists and schoolchildren throughout the state; true believers who walk through the gallery listen to guides debunk evolution, extol biblical lore and, thus, explain the origin of the earth. I set out from Sacramento last winter on my own pilgrimage to the museum--to find out how creationism is taught and what its teachers are really advocating. See, I used to think the aim of creationism was straightforward: to get a new version of evolution (like the earth is less than 10,000 years o1d) taught in America's classrooms. But a walk through the museum indicated a deeper, even more frightening goal. The aim involves proclaiming the truth of creationist beliefs _globally_, linking the American right-wing with other fundamentalist religions from around the world. Just after entering the museum comes a sign on the wall proclaiming that most "other" religions are evolutionary and therefore inferior at best and apostate at worst. Biblical passages are quoted to demand that each visitor decide "where he stands on this vital issue." One sign proclaims, "The Tree of Evolutionism bears only corrupt fruits, Creadonism bears good fruits." Following that, one begins the tour, first strolling through Genesis with its bright wall murals of space and planets. Presented, among other things, there is "scientific evidence" debunking the Big Bang theory and, moving on, the issue that God used 24-hour days during the Creation, (no trying to get around it by saying that the term "day" can be interpreted to mean millennium--you must believe the absolute inerrant Word of God). And that's not all. Signs also announce the news that "many top astronorners are abandoning the Big Bang theory." Raised concrete and bright paint outline the earth and the cosmos as we move through the next doorway (flanked by formed concrete trees and artificial greenery) to the Garden of Eden. Much is made over God's directive that man has "dominion" over the earth and its creaures. Indeed, the algae- ridden fish tank, the little finches with scant food and water, the tarantula with none, the mice climbing an endless wheel to escape their cramped, airless cage, the poorly kept lizards and snakes were there to prove dominion in no uncertain terms. "The billions of fossils of both men or animals in the rocks of earth speak of sin and death--not the evolution of life--they must ALL be dated AFTER Adam's fall," a sign proclaims. The Flood exhibit is next, replete with theories about God putting most of the large animals in a "hibernating state," a three- dimensional mural of the inside of the ark; and "space photographs" of the mountainous region in Ararat where the ark was purported to have landed. Strobe lighting and water sounds then dumped us out into the Ice Age. A guide intoned to the schoolchildren: "All of that water had to go somewhere, so it probably was sent into making the glacier in the Ice Age. The dinosaurs were in the ark and when the Ice Age came they were caught in it and that's how come their bones are found in various places, because they were left by the glaciers." The Ice Age room was replete with concrete-formed blue- painted stalactites and chilly temperatures. Everything leads to the inescapable conclusion that this is a young universe. (Even director Stephen Spielberg fell victim to this view when Orthodox rabbis in Israel declared his movie, Jurassic Park, heretical because it depicted evolution, which is contrary to the fundamentalist belief of the earth's age.) Several sets of displays held odd collections that seemed unrelated: monarch butterflies in one cage; a melted 45 rpm record, a paintbrush, a rusty hook and a melted lab flask. Still another display held a lengthy pictorial discourse on Mount St. Helens and then moved on to the unreliability of radiometric dating. Still another high-tech plastic sign gave "scientific" instructions like "To determine the geological age of a fossil: Do NOT use depth (where found); do NOT use type of rock; do NOT use radiometric dating; do NOT use stage of evolution, DO use the Word of God." Cheap knock-off pottery and artifact displays--heavy on the shekels and menorahs, oil lamps and widow's mites were in the same location with Greek and Egyptian artifacts, human fossils and something called "Post-Flood Man." Still another sign states: "Cave men were not human, but weaker, probably degenerate descendants of those migrating away from the Tower of Babel." Of course, Babel was the hotbed of "evolutionary pantheism, polytheistic idolatry, astrology and occult spiritism." The Egyptian, Sumerian and Greek civilizations were dismissed as "man-centered, anti-Christian philosophies." Citing Epicureanism (341-271 BC) and Zeno's Stoicism (336-264 BC) as "opposing Paul's preaching," the Creation Museum blithely ignores the fact that the theories were expounded prior to Paul's existence. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are dismissed as "atheistic" or "pantheistic." Meanwhile, animism is described as the basis for the religions of "uncivilized tribes" and also the basis for Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, Confucianists and Muslims. The Aztecs and Incas came in for more bashing about their behavior--heathenism and human sacrifice--as we moved on to the final display, what the guide called "our wall of infamy." On one side of the hallway were the "Bible-believing scientists," while evolutionists on the other side included Friedrich Nietzsche, Andrew Carnegie, Karl Marx, John D. Rockefener and Charles Darwin ... and his grandfather. Nazism, Communism and racism were listed as "the fruits of evolution." The final display was called The Decadence of Pre-Columbian Indian Societies. It was the culmination of the tour and featured the opinion of former California Congressman William Dannemeyer (that well-known pre-Columbian scholar) on the justification for killing and enslaving the Indian peoples. It reads: "Homosexuality was quite common in many pre-Columbian Indian societies. Columbus discovered, with disgust and dismay, that both the violent Caribs and relatively peaceful Arawaks practiced sodomy. Cortez also found that sodomy was rampant among Indian tribes in Mexico. The priestly caste of the Cempoallan tribe, for instance, indulged in sodomy and homosexual prostitution was common among the community. "Due to constant internecine warfare and ecological abuse the Mayan civilization had already collapsed by the time the Spaniards arrived. The residue left of that once-mighty culture was a people that had retreated into abject barbarism.... It had become decadent and self-indulgent. The pleasure-obsessed upper classes were sacrificing human beings, indulging in orgies and practicing sodomy without shame. The shocked Spaniards put the Mayans' leaders to the sword." People, over 27,000 visitors have been through the museum during the past year. I urge you to go experience it for yourselves. Look. See the past and project the creationist future. It's mind- blowing. It's free ... and worth every penny.


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