Ain't irony funny?
Take the Mount Blanco Fossil Museum in Crosbyton, Texas - who's motto is "Digging up facts of God's Creation, one fossil at a time..."
Yeah, it's another Creation "museum." Not as slick or glossary as the far more infamous one in Kentucky, this once looks more like your standard Texas tourist trap, full of rubber tomahawks and overpriced kid-sized faux ten-gallon hats.
The webpage describes the place as "a science museum, showing facts and data about the actual fossils in the museum." And then goes on to say, "We believe that evolution is an old-fashioned theory not substantiated by facts, and that what the Bible says is more scientifically accurate" [emphasis mine].
Nothing particularly new going on at Mt Blanco, it's your basic brand of batshit crazy, booger eating Young Earth Creationism, complete with dinosaur skeletons and the same goofy rationalizations and deluded nonsense that has sprung up elsewhere. Creationist doctrine sounds like something a child would make up - or a mental patient. They've even got a bible waving, bearded nutjob, named Joe Taylor who fancies himself as some kind of scientist. You can call ahead and arrange to have Scientist Joe give a lecture to your church or homeschooler group, where he'll answer your questions about how the Earth is only six thousand years old, how man and dinosaurs lived shoulder to shoulder, and how old Noah even managed to squeeze a few of those big scaly beasts onto the Ark, two by two as they say. And for extra credit, go read James Taylor's (Joe's nephew and biomedical 'researcher,' no relation to the singer so far as I can tell) description of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which you can find under the 'Staff' section.
The crux of this crap is, of course, a rigid interpretation of the bible (I was going to say a literal explanation of biblical events, but that's not correct at all - if it were a literal interpretation, well, they wouldn't be adding dinosaurs to the Deluge mythology now would they?) By rigid interpretation, what I mean is that in an attempt to resolve the discrepancies that modern science is raising in ancient belief systems, the Creationists have developed a strict doctrinal world view and then gone looking in both the bible and in science for 'evidence' to support it. They have no more regard or understanding of traditional Christianity, than they do for science - and they'll bend both to fit their pre-defined paradigm. Their utter disregard for validated scientific dating methodologies such as carbon dating and the relatively recent inclusion of dinosaurs into the creationist fabric are both examples of this. It's a form of deliberate mass delusion, and the problem here, of course, is that it is not possible to resolve the discrepancies that saturate this kind of 'science.'
If you have real faith, then it's not necessary to whore-up your beliefs with pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo in order to rationalize away the discrepancies. In fact, doing so shows just how threatened you are by science in the first place, and just how little faith you actually have. If you have true faith, then you let it stand on it's own. But, if you have some major doubts, then it's important that you yell good and loud and do everything you can to distract from those discrepancies, so you don't feel stupid for believing what you yourself think is fairly goofy.
If you're doing real science, you welcome those discrepancies, because resolving disparities between information points is what leads to real advances and improved understanding of how the world actually works. That process continually forces you to update and adjust your worldview as more and more information becomes available, which is why we have things like antibiotics, airplanes, and big-screen HD plasma TV.
But if you're engaged in pseudo-science rationalization of your goofy belief system, like oh say Young Earth Creationists, then those discrepancies are a trap. You can't change your beliefs, because that would mean that you were wrong to begin with, which means you might be wrong now, which means it's only a matter of time before people realize they're being hoodwinked and stop dropping money into the donation plate. (Blimey! 'E's just making it up as 'e goes along!) So you're stuck, hoist on your own petard, and forced into a position where your only option is to pretend the discrepancies don't exist. For example, claim the whole world was flooded to a height above the highest mountain and every animal today is the direct descendant of one to three breeding pairs and eight Iron-age humans who rode out the end of the world in a wooden ship the size of an aircraft carrier that they themselves built in their backyard using common household appliances - and you start to have some serious problems. Not one single branch of mainstream science supports the creationist deluge statement, not one. Everything we know about the world must be wrong. Everything. And that's demonstratively just not the case, for example if the science behind carbon dating is wrong and the Earth really is no more than six thousand years old - then pretty much all of nuclear science is wrong, which means the computer chips you're reading this on right now don't actually work and you're not actually reading this. And that's only one discrepancy, there are literal millions more in every branch of science. See, that's the problem with real science, unlike religion you don't get to pick and chose what you believe in. The devil can only steal your soul if you believe in him, but gravity will kill you whether you believe in it or not. Which brings us back to the creationists, sooner or later you're bound to get trapped in your own bullshit.
Here's the thing - old Joe Taylor and his museum are up to their eyeballs in debt. And they're going to go out of business if they don't come up with some real money, real soon. So, they've decided to auction off the pride of their bone collection, a restored mastodon skull, in order to raise some much needed cash.
They're hoping to get $160,000 or more for it.
And in order to get the full $160,000 dollars at auction, they are listing the skull as at least 40,000 years old. Ah, caught the problem, did you? Yeah, in those lectures Scientist Joe Taylor likes to give, the world itself is only 6,000 years old. But, here's the problem: nobody will pay top dollar for a pachyderm skull that is merely 6000 years old, even if Adam himself was feeding it peanuts in the Garden.
Is it just me, or is there about 34,000 years of discrepancy there?
Funny, isn't it, when threatened with bankruptcy Joe and his band of fervent believers suddenly dumped their convictions? And if they get the money, they'll go right back to them without ever once smelling the stench of hypocrisy? Then again, it occurs to me that maybe they're just saying they think it's 40,000 years old in order to fleece us gullible non-believers. After all, most of us want to believe that the skull is 40,000 years old, they're just telling us what we want to hear. Funny, though, how they turned to real science, including carbon dating, in order to determine the best price for the fossil, isn't it?
Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall when one of those homeshooled fundie kids asks that question during the next lecture:
"Excuse me, Scientist Joe, but how come you said the mastodon skull was 40,000 years old at that auction? But you just told us that the world is only 6,000 years old? Where were the mastodons before the Earth was created? Floating in space? What did they eat? Where did they go to the bathroom? I don't get it." (we're assuming a fundie kid would actually break programming long enough to have a stray thought of his own here).
"Well, that's a good questions, Tommy, and you'll have lot's of time to think about it while you burn in hell for all eternity!"
Oh well, either way, as long as you're bullshitting for Jesus, I guess it's OK.
If there really is a God, he's obviously got one hell of a sense of ironic humor.
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