Wednesday 20 February 2019

And the Lord didst create idiots, and lo he saw it was terrible...

It's quite charming, really, in a sort of half-baked, deranged, fundamentalist and potentially dangerous manner.

Last week saw the eagerly awaited unveiling of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, and the man we can thank for its inception - the famously mad anti-evolutionist Ken Ham, President of the 'Answers In Genesis' lobby group - was happy to trumpet that the museum would finally provide irrefutable proof that evolution is a lie and that "the Book of Genesis is true from the first word to the last".

It's an absurd notion which, even more absurdly, is now being given more credence than any time in living memory. In fact, the theory of creationism - or Intelligent Design - has even been mooted as a rational belief by several columnists in this newspaper.

It's worrying that in 2007, people who make the Flat Earth Society look like pinnacles of rational thought feel comfortable, not only publicly stating their belief in the Creation myth, but in mocking those who, through a process of scientific deduction and knowledge, have figured out that perhaps the best way to judge the age of the world is not to go to the Bible and count all the names backwards (the so called "Ussher Chronology").

Yet 40% of Americans are comfortable in admitting that they don't believe in evolution, while an even more worrying 15% say they don't want to believe in evolution, as if scientific proof is something you pick and mix, like some sort of political ideal. Let's put it this way: you might not like the idea of gravity, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

But such logic is lost on Ham, who says that America's lowest moment was the infamous Scopes trial in 1925, when creationism was debunked in the courts, and that: "It was the first time the Bible was ridiculed by the media in America, and that was a downward turning point for Christendom. We are going to undo all of that here at the Creation Museum.

"We are going to answer the questions Bryan (the lawyer who defended evolution in the Scopes case) wasn't prepared to, and show that belief in every word of the Bible can be defended by modern science."

Normally, the idea that a book of fairy tales as muddled, meandering and frankly stupid as the Bible is scientifically exact and proper could safely be laughed out of any rational debate. But these days rational debate has become muddied by a well-funded and deliberately obtuse lobby which insistently claims that both evolution and creationism are simply two equal and competing theories, and that both of should be given equal consideration.

And it's not just mad men like Ham and his acolytes who believe this. In fact, if that were the case, we could simply dismiss them with a shrug of the shoulders and a laugh at their expense.

But in Britain, one of Blair's legacies is the huge increase in 'faith schools', where children are taught that the earth was created in six days, while the National Academy of Sciences in America has issued dire warnings about the future of American scientific progress if the notion of creationism is taught to American schoolchildren as scientific theory, rather than the myth it so obviously is.

Not surprisingly, old Sour Kraut himself, Pope Benedict, denounces evolution as "a new religion", and rather charmingly accuses those scientists and rationalists who believe in it as "dangerously blinkered" which, coming from a Catholic pope who was once in the Hitler Youth, is probably something of a compliment.

But apart from the obvious worry that such utter rubbish is currently being awarded a level of credence few of us ever thought possible, the Creation Museum does contain some unintentionally amusing things.

For instance, did you know that man co-existed happily with dinosaurs in the pre-Flood years and that all dinosaurs were harmless vegetarians? Did you know that in the pre-Flood years, no plants had thorns? In fact, God added thorns to plants in the years after the Flood, to prick the fingers of the chosen people.

So, there you have it - Godzilla was more like Barney the Dinosaur and the supreme creator of the Universe is actually a cunning prankster who invented thorns on plants because he wanted Jews to cut themselves while they were picking roses. Or something.

Either way, I'm off to Kentucky for my holidays, because while the Museum itself sounds rubbish, can you imagine how delightfully bonkers the people who visit it will be?

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