I visited the ICR (Imbeciles for Creationism Rhetoric) in person
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steven Linke)
I visited the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) on August
27th. This institute seems to be a common topic of debate on
these groups, so since I live relatively nearby and have had an
interest in the discussions, I decided to pay them a visit. In
addition, I was seeking original creationist papers on molecular
biology (I never found any). I hope this information isn't
redundant or included in the FAQs. I found it to be quite
The ICR is located in Santee, CA, a suburb on the far eastern
edge of San Diego (about 20 miles from the coast and my residence
in La Jolla near the University of California - San Diego
Institute for Creation Research
10946 Woodside Avenue North
Santee, CA 92071
It is a relatively new (built in 1985) and attractive two-story
building located in an industrial park off a frontage road of
highway 67. It is located between Westmark General Contractors
and a rather ugly dirt field serving as home to the Santee Swap
Meet. There were about 20 spaces in the parking lot.
Much of the first floor is devoted to the "ICR Museum of Creation
and Earth History." In general, the museum is visually quite
impressive. They are calling it "San Diego's NEWEST Museum" and
are having a Grand Opening Celebration September 18-20. A
pamphlet reads: "Free guided tours! See live animals and learn
about their Creator! View exhibits and videos that present the
case for creation and the evidence against evolution! Enjoy Free
refreshments! Special Thanks to K-PRAISE 1210 AM Radio!" The
pamphlet also states: "`Home schoolers' especially invited
Friday--Meet Dr. Richard Bliss, designer of the `Good Science'
curriculum for home and Christian schools."
The agenda of events for the Grand Opening include 25-minute
guided tours, 20-minute live animal presentations, 20 minutes of
science experiments conducted by Dr. Richard Bliss, book signings
(by Dr. Henry Morris, Dr. John Morris, Dr. Duane Gish, Dr.
Richard Bliss, Ken Ham, and others), a "Media Tour," a video
called "The Great Dinosaur Mystery," and a live broadcast by K-
PRAISE 1210 AM on September 18th from 4-6 PM. In reference to
the live broadcast the pamphlet says: "`The Grapevine' radio
program with Michael Law will be broadcasting live on the Museum
Patio in front of the ICR Museum. Come with your questions (or
phone in with a question at 1 (800) 281-1210). Guests: Dr. Duane
Gish and Ken Ham of ICR."
After receiving a copy of the museum pamphlet and the newest copy
of the "ICR Graduate School" catalog (1990-1991), I proceeded
through the museum. (By the way, the curator of the museum was
listening to Rush Limbaugh at the front desk.)
I thought the museum was relatively busy (for a Thursday
afternoon). Several parents brought their children through the
museum to show them creationism. In fact, the ICR Graduate
School Catalog states: "The Museum of Creation and Earth History
is open to the public and is frequently toured by visiting
classes of school children, as well as individuals." I felt this
post would be of interest to relay what the ICR is showing, in
their simplified layman terms, to the general public who might
come to visit the museum.
The exhibits started (appropriately) with the first day of
creation and continued forward in creationist time. I will
describe the exhibits that I perceive to be the most hotly
contested topics, but not near all of them. I spent about two
hours going through and scribbling down quotations from the
various exhibits, but certainly can't cover everything. There
were Impact articles (ICR publications) available at various
locations pertaining to the subject matter of the exhibits. I
have split the museum up into ten different exhibits:
EXHIBIT #1: SCIENCE AND FAITH
Various wall plaques. A few read:
Science and Religion
"Religion and science are not separate spheres of study, as some
say. Both involve the real world of human life and observation.
If both are true, they must agree.
"In fact, true science supports the Biblical worldview. There
are many facts of science revealed in the Bible and no proven
"However, science does not support false religions (e.g. atheism,
evolutionism, pantheism, humanism, etc.)"
Importance of the Origins Issue
"...The tree of evolutionism bears only corrupt fruits;
Creationism bears good fruits...It is vitally important that we
and our children believe and obey the Biblical teachings on
Creation." [This is a repeated theme in the museum.]
The plaque then goes on to quote the National Science
Foundation's resolution on the freedom of scientific inquiry,
followed by their comment: "With remarkable inconsistency,
however, the National Academy opposes the teaching of scientific
creation!" [This, also, is a repeated theme.]
The plaque states that there are only three "real" creationist
1. Orthodox Judaism
2. Orthodox Islam
3. Biblical Christianity
It adds: "`Liberal' branches accept `theistic evolution.'"
Examples listed: "Atheism, Humanism, New Age-ism, Occultism,
Liberalism, Marxism, Fascism." [The fact that these are
"evolutionary religions" is yet another repeated theme of the
EXHIBIT #2: SEVEN DAYS OF CREATION
This exhibit, among many other things, answers the question,
"Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" The answer is the
"chicken," of course! Just read Genesis 1:11-12. :-)
For the first days of creation (heaven, earth, etc.), the exhibit
features impressive pictures of the planets and stars with
dramatic lighting and backgrounds. For the creation of animals,
they actually have several small live animals in cages behind
glass windows. These include a bird, some fish, a tarantella, a
cricket, a lizard, a rat, and a snake. There were also some
empty cages. Overall, the live animal exhibits were pretty
pathetic, especially the "cricket exhibit" and the empty cages.
Creation of Functional Maturity
This plaque described how fruit trees were created mature and
able to produce fruit (so they presumably already contained
rings), and how Adam was created as a full-grown man. It
concludes that, "...If one denies the true revealed history of
the world, and attempts to date the object or the world, this
functional maturity could be mistaken for age."
EXHIBIT #3: THE FALL OF MAN
Nothing I found interesting, except that supposedly no animals
died until Adam sinned by eating the apple. The first animals to
die were those used to make skins to cover Adam and Eve's
EXHIBIT #4: 2ND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS
Displayed in a glass case were several "decaying" items,
including: a big rusty hook, a melted Erlenmeyer flask, a mouse
skeleton, and a melted 45 rpm record ("Bad Luck" by Dale &
Grace). Presumably, they show the increasing entropy of the
universe. Putting that Dale & Grace record out of its misery by
holding it over an open flame is one of the better things the ICR
has probably done. :-)
Another display reads: "The universal Second Law is the
scientific reflection of God's curse on His created world because
of sin. There is no known exception. All processes (whether
operating on open or closed systems) tend to go in the direction
of increasing entropy (or `disorder'). This tendency can be
reversed only by the application of outside, specially
programmed, energy or information. This tendency directly
precludes any natural evolution toward higher order.
"Entropy normally increases more rapidly in systems open to
influx of external energy." At this point, there appeared a very
simplistic drawing of the sun radiating energy to the earth in
the form of a hug by cute, little yellow arms.
"Conditions for Increasing Complexity in Open System:
1. Open System
2. Available Energy
Note: These two conditions are satisfied by all systems on earth.
Therefore, though `necessary,' they are not `sufficient'
3. Program (to `direct' the growth of complexity)
A. `Genetic Code' in DNA of living systems.
B. `Plans and specification' for construction of artificial
4. Mechanism for storing and converting incoming energy.
A. Photosynthesis in plants
B. Metabolism in animals
C. Machinery in artificial construction"
EXHIBIT #5: NOAH'S ARK
You walk into a room with the "look" and "feel" of Noah's Ark.
One wall contains a perspective picture of the Ark which makes
the room look like it continues on into rows of animal cages.
There are recorded sounds of thunder and rain and flashes of
light to simulate lightning.
Several plaques describe the purported sightings of Noah's Ark on
Mt. Ararat. They mention several expeditions to find the Ark,
and the sketches and photos that were supposedly made. Of
course, all the photos have been lost for various reasons or are
being hidden by scientists (such as at the Smithsonian
Institution). No real photos or sketches are in the museum.
There is also a "scale model" of the Ark and an explanation of
how all the animals fit onto it. The following points were made
to show which "kinds" were on the Ark:
1. "Noah was told to take two of each `kind' (seven of every
2. "Biblical kind uncertain--probably linked by genetic
3. "Example: dog kind probably includes dogs, wolves, coyotes,
4. "`Kind' certainly not more narrow than biological `species.'"
The number of "kinds" on board the Ark according to the
creationists: 3,700 mammals; 8,600 birds; 6,300 reptiles; and
2,500 amphibians. Animals not on board: fishes, tunicates,
echinoderms, arthropods, mollusks, worms, coelenterates, sponges,
and protozoans. This is 21,100 total "kinds." From this, the
absolute maximum number of animals that had to be on the Ark was
50,000 ("and probably much less").
The dimensions of the Ark were listed at 450'x75'x45'. This, the
plaque proclaims, results in 1,518,750 cubic feet, which is
apparently the equivalent of 569 railroad stock cars. And, of
course, one can fit 240 sheep in a railroad stock car. The
logical conclusion here, according to the plaque, is that the
50,000 animals could have fit into only 208 stock cars
(50,000/240). So, the animals only took up 36.5% of the Ark.
How did the animals survive together without eating each other?
Simple, according to another plaque:
"1. In face of danger, predators and prey mingle together and
tend to enter a torpid (death-like) state."
2. Under stress, animals go into a state of hibernation or
3. God could have instituted a state of hibernation, estivation,
or relative dormancy in the animals He sent to the Ark, so that
the need for animal husbandry would be minimized. Survivors may
then have passed on these abilities to their descendants."
EXHIBIT #6: GEOLOGY
This exhibit consists mainly of fossils in display cases. They
may be real, or they may be fake. The walls are a mock up of
geological strata, and there is a wall-sized picture of the Grand
Canyon. There is also a small separate Mt. St. Helens room in
the shape of a volcano with painted lava running down the side.
The main point is seemingly that the pictures show very thin
strata that apparently formed during the relatively recent
eruption. It also contains pictures of upright logs in Spirit
How to Determine the Geological "Age" of a Fossil
"1. DO NOT use the depth where it is found.
2. DO NOT use the type of rock in which it is found.
3. DO NOT use radiometric date (these are practical only in non-
fossil-bearing igneous rocks, and often disagree with each
4. DO NOT use the `stage of evolution' of the fossil (that would
be circular reasoning).
5. DO use the Word of God (The Bible indicates that most of the
fossils must have been buried in one year--the year of the
The Unreliability of Radiometric Dating
"1. If God created a `very good,' functionally mature earth, it
would already have possessed an array of isotopes and elements,
including their `daughter' products.
2. During the Biblical Flood especially, but even under normal
circumstances, rocks would have been subjected to alteration by
ground water, etc., thereby changing their isotope content.
3. Although decay rates of major isotopes are today rather
stable, it may be that they have changed over time, particularly
during times of major environmental changes (e.g. the Curse, the
4. It is known that many--probably most--radioactive age
measurements give discordant or anomalous, and therefore invalid,
5. The method assumes that the Earth is at least old enough to
have produced the daughter amount through radio active decay.
"Thus we see that radiometric schemes assume the concept of
uniformity and deny the Biblical doctrines of Creation, Fall,
Flood, and Young Earth. Little wonder the results of these
methods commonly disagree with each other and with other
geological and historical evidence."
EXHIBIT #7: THE ICE AGE
This room has blue, contoured walls that look somewhat like a
glacier. There are large sculptured icicles hanging from the
ceiling. An air conditioner blowing down from the ceiling gives
the physical feeling of cold as you walk through and read the
seven plaques about the creationist post-Flood Ice Age.
The first four plaques discuss the causes of the ice age, the
Bible's discussion of the Ice Age, high volcanism during and
after the Ice Age, and the fact that there was only ONE Ice Age
(not multiple ones), respectively.
Human and Animal Migration (Plaque 5)
"During the `Ice Age,' so much water was frozen that sea level
was lowered several hundred feet. Ice shelves covered much of
the oceans poleward of 45 degrees. This made all the continents
accessible, thus allowing migration to occur...Human migration
was enforced by the confusion of languages at Babel. The `Table
of Nations' in Genesis 10 informs us of the basic migration
At this point, a mother with her small child walked into the
room, and as I copied down the above quote, I listened to her
describe to her daughter how the oceans dried up allowing
kangaroos to get to Australia, and how ice covered the oceans
allowing all the animals to get to America.
Environmental Effects (Plaque 6)
"The continual snowfall and frequent volcanism, each on a scale
far beyond anything in recent history, would leave records
difficult to understand today.
Since the seasons would not be as regular and predictable as
Would trees only add one tree ring per year? [picture of
cross-section of tree trunk showing rings]
Would thick build-ups of ice show a pattern similar to but of
different origin than the summer/winter patterns of today?
[picture of ice cores]
Would the lack of equality in the production and decay rates of
Carbon-14 cause problems in dating?
All are areas of current research at ICR, and are of primary
importance in deciphering the past."
Effect on Human Life (Plaque 7)
"Weaker, smaller, less technologically capable groups would
probably reside in caves, use stone tools, and live a
`hunter/gatherer' type of lifestyle."
EXHIBIT #8: POST ICE-AGE CIVILIZATION
This room had a very "Egyptian" look to it. In the center is a
two-foot model of the Tower of Babel encased in glass. Track
lighting in the ceiling illuminated the many wall plaques with
various colors of light. There were several skulls of numerous
evolutionary ancestors of humans, although they are dismissed as
apes or modern humans in the museum. I don't know if they are
real or just mock-ups. For each of the species, the plaques
contain the "Evolutionist Interpretation" and the "Creationist
Interpretation." Here are some of the Creationist
Probably true humans. Some may be extinct apes. Along with
Neanderthal and Archaic Homo sapiens, they probably represent
post-Flood ethnic and/or language groups, demonstrating man's
"An extinct ape not ancestral to humans."
Short, thick, muscular individuals not unlike cold-adapted modern
man such as Eskimos (consistent with the Ice Age theory following
the Flood and the Tower of Babel).
"Many Neanderthal features are similar to those in elderly humans
today. Since humans lived to great ages in the initial
generations after the Flood and Babel, perhaps the features are
primarily due to advanced age...They were true human beings,
descendants of Adam and Noah."
Archaic Homo Sapiens
True humans of post-Flood era.
Weaker, degenerate descendants of those migrating away from
A mock-up of the Laetoli footprints were displayed as an
evolutionary effort to make the data fit their "preconceived
The Rosetta Stone
A mock-up of the Rosetta Stone was also in the room. The plaque
next to it read: "Rosetta stone from near Rashid (Rosetta), Delta
Egypt; 196 B.C....This inscribed stone slab was discovered in
1799 by..." Nowhere did the plaque indicate that this wasn't the
ACTUAL stone. In fact, from the language it seemed that I was
standing before the real thing. The museum had become quite
busy, and as I wrote the above quote some people walked by and
marveled that the ICR museum had this artifact. I was amused,
but broke their hearts when I tapped on the hollow cardboard
"stone" and indicated that it was just a photograph.
Origin of Races
"The separate language groups no longer could intermarry freely
with the rest of mankind. As in-breeding and lack of access to
the larger pool of genes occurred, ethnic characteristics
developed. Furthermore, each local environment tended to favor
selection of certain traits, and eliminate the others. Ethnic
characteristics, such as skin color, arose from loss of genetic
variability, not from origin of new genes through mutation as
suggested by evolution.
"THE CONCEPT OF RACE IS AN EVOLUTIONARY IDEA. Scripture teaches
that `God has made of one blood all nations,' Acts 17:26. All
humans possess the same color, just different amounts of it. We
are all descendant from Adam and Noah."
Dinosaurs and Dragons
"Dinosaurs lived before the Flood, and most dinosaur fossils are
remains of those buried in flood sediments...Representatives of
the land `kinds' must have been present on the Ark, and lived for
some time after the Flood."
There were many small ancient artifacts such as daggers, oil
lamps, etc. in display cases. I don't know if they were
legitimate. The museum seemed to praise archaeology. One
exhibit quoted an archaeologist as follows:
Accuracy of Biblical Records
"`No archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical
reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made
which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical
statements in the Bible' (Nelson Glueck, Dean of Palestinian
Archaeologists [not a Christian] in his book Rivers in the
EXHIBIT #9: ORIGIN OF RELIGION
The origins of various religions in Europe, Asia, Africa, the
Americas, Greece, etc. were described with a creationist slant,
"Evolutionism--that is, the denial of a transcendent personal God
as Creator of all things--can be traced back to ancient Sumeria,
which probably means to Nimrod...This system of pantheism ("all-
god") became equivalent to polytheism ("many gods"), involving
astrology, spiritism, and idolatry. Atheistic evolution soon
followed, and dominates much of American academia today..."
EXHIBIT #10: FAMOUS CREATIONISTS AND EVOLUTIONISTS
This final exhibit was a hallway consisting of many pictures of
famous people who, at some point in their lives, supposedly made
comments about evolution and/or Christianity. For example, some
of the famous scientists and philosophers in the creationist hall
of fame are: Boyle, Newton, Pascal, DesCartes, Linnaeus, Faraday,
Babbage, Morse, Rawlinson, Pasteur, Kelvin, Maxwell, and (not a
person but) the Declaration of Independence.
Evolutionists in the hall of shame included: Hitler, Lenin,
Stalin, Freud, and these (with museum quotes):
William Sumner: "His Darwinist views contradicted many basic
John Rockefeller: "A ruthless developer of one of America's
largest oil empires, Rockefeller was a staunch theistic
Andrew Carnegie: "Carnegie is honored today for philanthropies
and devotion to culture, but he was cruel and heartless in his
own day to competitors and laborers alike. Regarding evolution
he said: `I remember that light came in as a flood and all was
clear. Not only had I got rid of theology and the supernatural
but I had found the truth of evolution.'"
Friedrich Nietzche: "He was strongly influenced by Darwin's
theory, especially its racist implications."
Karl Marx: "...he wanted to dedicate his book DAS KAPITAL to
Charles Darwin, who had given him what he thought was the
scientific foundation for Communism."
At this point, one of the museum patrons commented on the picture
of Karl Marx, "Evolutionism is practically synonymous with
Communism." To which his wife responded, "This museum is a good
place to send school children to get good information."
Alfred Wallace: "According to his own testimony, he was given the
whole theory of natural selection in two hours of a malarial
`fit' in the jungle--the same theory, in detail, that Darwin had
been trying to develop for 20 years in the world's chief center
of scientific learning."
There were also the names of about ten other scientists from whom
Darwin purportedly "stole" his theory of evolution.
Near the end of the hall of pictures were two plaques titled:
Nazism and Communism--Fruits of Evolution
Racism--The Fruit of Evolution
The hall included a picture of an astronaut (I forget his name)
who proclaims his faith in God and Creation. One woman walking
by commented, "He's a creationist, and he's a rocket scientist.
He's a good guy. Why do they put him in with the bad guys?"
[referring to the pictures of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Marx, etc.]
Another guy remarked, "Most of the astronauts that I've heard of
believe in God when they come back down." To which his friend
replied, "It would be hard not to." Suddenly, another person
said, "Ooooh, that evolutionist looks like Woody Allen!"
The final exhibit in the creationism vs. evolution hallway is
pictures of two trees (a Creationist Tree and an Evolutionary
Tree). The Creationist tree has "long roots" and "good fruits."
The Evolutionary tree has "short roots" and "evil fruits."
Branches of the Creationist Tree
Genuine Christianity: Correct Practice:
True Christology True Science
True Evangelism True History
True Missions True Government
True Fellowship True Americanism
True Gospel True Family Life
True Faith True Education
Branches of the Evolutionary Tree
Harmful Philosophies: Evil Practices:
Pantheism Drug Culture
Behaviorism Child Abuse
The museum exhibits end with these words:
"To those who are not yet believing Christians or whose faith has
been weakened by attacks of skeptics, ICR personnel would be
happy to assist you in settling these vital and eternal issues.
Salk Institute (Gene Expression Lab)
La Jolla, CA