The Insanity of San Diego's Creationist Museum
In addition to the fancy multimillion-dollar creation museum in Kentucky, there are several smaller, shittier ones dotted around the US. Last weekend, I took a trip to the one in San Diego called the Creation and Earth History Museum. I brought a camera with me so you could laugh at it from the comfort of your own home, without having to deal with any weirdos.
There was a fleeting moment when I first arrived at the museum when I thought it might actually be a fun place. There were a bunch of model dinosaurs outside, and inside near the entrance, they had one of those electroplasma things where the lightning follows your finger as you touch it. And everyone loves those. (Although, like all things in museums that are there for children to touch, it was coated in some kind of sticky substance that smelled like McDonald's.)
But then I turned a corner and found myself in Snoozetown's central square. This is, essentially, what every single room of the museum looked like: a wall covered in little signs.
Have the people who made this thing never been to a science museum? They're AWESOME! They've got indoor tornadoes, mock-spaceship rescue operations, robots that are able to autonomously interact with visitors... they'll even let you drive a goddamn 350-ton train. That's the competition. And the Creation and Earth History Museum is gonna come at it with a wall full of shit to read?
And the barrage of text doesn't stop with the signs. They have these little computer printouts, labeled "Insight...," next to each exhibit that you can take home so you can read more about it later.
And if that STILL isn't enough reading for you, they have QR codes to reveal EVEN MORE info.
I read almost everything in the museum. (Mostly by taking photos of each sign to read at home later. I genuinely don't think there would be enough hours in the day to read everything while you were there.) Here's a breakdown of what I learned about their version of history:
- God created the universe in seven days.
- There was no bad stuff in the world until that dick, Adam, ate an apple.
- Noah's ark was real, and it's stuck on top of Mount Ararat... but nobody can find it.
- The Grand Canyon proves that the flood happened.
- Scientists are dumb hypocrites because over the course of global history (all 6,000 years of it), they have had differing opinions on things.
- Carbon dating is bullshit.
- Races and different languages are the result of everyone running away from the Tower of Babel.
- Bats and a couple of other animals have no evidence of evolution in the fossil record, and this proves that intelligent design happened. (Not sure what the bajillions of other fossils prove, though.)
- Darwin was a douche.
- God stuff.
Which is all pretty standard creationist stuff. And could be summed up in what, like, 1,000 words spread across ten signs? Then they could have taken the money they saved and spent it on a Genesis-themed dinosaur playground or something that might have actually won over some young minds.
But nope, the museum is room after room of word-heavy signs.
And it's not, like, easy-to-absorb, snappy text either. It's totally undigestable nonsense that you have to read multiple times to figure out.
Here's a perfect example of just how shitty the museum's curators are with words. The museum's tagline is "The Creation Museum, a Place Where Observation Makes the Creator an Unavoidable Issue."
The fuck? A slogan should be a "Just Do It" or a "I'm Lovin' It" or a "Don't tase me, bro," not something you have to read four times to figure out. It's like everything in the museum was Google translated into Japanese and then back again.
I almost feel bad for them. Can someone with an English degree get in touch and offer to help them out? Or even just someone who knows how to talk?
All of this adds up to create an atmosphere that is aggressively unfun for kids. Everywhere I looked an adult was reading a wall while their child tried to find ways of not literallly dying from boredom.
Why are Christians completely incapable of making anything that children might enjoy? The picture above was the scene near the exit. That kid on the ground who's being pulled up by his dad had tried to make a run for it, but was busted before he got to the door. Right after I took this, he was carried back inside, clawing at the walls the whole way while screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Poor guy.
That girl in the back, on the other hand, has a pretty good shot at making it to freedom.
I think they did attempt to make the place fun for kids by dotting exhibits like this around the place. That's my best guess, anyway. I've been looking at this photo for about ten minutes now, trying to figure out what these objects mean, and somehow I'm more baffled than I was when I first started looking at it.
Much like the FBI did with that unbreakable code-note murder, I'm crowdsourcing it. If anyone is able to decipher what the fuck this means, can you explain it in the comments below?
There was some really weird, totally unnecessary stuff on display too. Like this: "And thy desire shall be to thy husband. And he shall rule over thee."
I thought Christians had all agreed to just pretend that the awk stuff doesn't exist? Like, how you can have dudes with confederate-flag tattoos ("You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you" - Leviticus 19:28) yelling at gay guys about how they're abominations ("Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" - Leviticus 18:22).
I feel like they could have just as easily not put this on the wall and avoided alienating half of their visitors. Like, how they didn't have exhibits about the parts of the Bible telling you not to wear polyester or whatever.
On any sign where they mention the opposing view, their anger and bitterness is so apparent that it totally undermines anything they're saying. Like this sign that explains the Earth's age from a Christian POV ("God created the earth and universe with a purpose") and then from a scientific POV ("Life spontaneously formed from non-life and over extremely long periods of time this life evolved through natural processes and random chance to become all the biodiversity on the planet, including man"). You can actually feel them rolling their eyes and gritting their teeth as they typed the science side.
It's like a recently divorced mum trying to turn her children against their father. She might be making some valid points, but nobody is gonna listen to her as long as she keeps referring to him as "the Deadbeat".
Then, weirdly, the museum begins to morph into a regular museum. The segue begins here, when the historical timeline goes from the Tower of Babel (pictured above right, bullshit) to the Ishtar Gate (pictured above left, historical fact).
Then it takes you through ancient Egypt and Greece and the Founding Fathers.
Midway through, the morph from fiction to fact is the craziest part of the museum.
Like Scientologists before them, it seems creationists have tired of just attempting to prove their point and are now trying to undermine their competition as well.
"Darwinism provided Hitler with a scientific rationale for his perverted design to exterminate certain races," reads this section of the museum, dedicated to explaining the "consequences of evolutionary thinking". Which, apparently, are Stalin, abortions and the Holocaust.
And then, suddenly, all traces of creationist nonsense disappear and the place turns into a museum about the human body.
This entire section (which takes up over half of the museum) makes no mention of God or creation or evolution or anything. It's just totally standard information on human biology. I googled some of the text from the walls, and it's all lifted verbatim from a medical encyclopedia. Which is pretty fucking lazy. And confusing.
I have several theories as to why this part of the museum exists:
1. They put all the true things in so that you'd be all, "Well, all this stuff about Egypt and lungs checks out, so I guess Darwin really did invent abortions."
2. As a trap, to lure in field trips from nearby schools.
3. To mentally break you. To bombard you with words and information to the point that your mind snaps, and you convert to their cause. Like US soldiers blasting "These Boots Were Made For Walking" into the Waco compound.
(I think it might be a combination of all three.)
Also, I'm not entirely sure that the people who made the human-body exhibit understand what the words "fun" and "facts" mean. Each section had one of these at the bottom. As you can see above, this particular set of "fun facts" contains one thing that isn't a fact, and five things that aren't fun.
And then it was finally over. I'd been inside for several hours, bombarded nonstop with information. As I wandered dazed and exhausted around the gift shop, I saw this chapter in a book about evolution and race, bringing on a laughing fit that lasted on and off for almost 48 hours. I never even managed to read ahead and find out if cursed pork products are responsible for black peeps.
In conclusion: don't go to the Creation and Earth History Museum. Not even to laugh at it. It's a FUCKING TRAP – it's like two million really boring books exploded in a building full of sticky walls.
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @JLCT
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