Faced with an increasingly vocal populace that is questioning evolution, museums across the United States have begun training their staff and volunteers to become better proponents of evolution while tripping up “irrational” supporters of the Bible’s history of Earth.
“There is an art, a script that is very, very helpful” in answering these “religious” challenges, says Dr. Warren D. Allmon, the director of the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York. He has written a manual to help train volunteers called Evolution and Creationism: Guide for Museum Docents.
This guide is posted on the front page of the museum’s website for wide distribution, and training sessions are planned nationwide.
Innocent defenders of science?
In a report entitled “Challenged by Creationists, Museums Answer Back” (September 20, 2005), the New York Times casts museums as champions of reason who are fighting back against creationists “who reject settled precepts of science on religious grounds.”
The Guide for Museum Docents claims that museums have no bias; they simply try to educate people about science: “This is a place to talk about science, not philosophy, religion, or politics.”
The guidebook merely repeats a host of faulty arguments, all of which have been exposed in creation literature for years.
But the sad fact is that the guidebook merely repeats a host of faulty arguments, all of which have been exposed in creation literature for years. But the training material does not have the honesty to inform docents about these resources. For example, the Guide’s resource list includes the National Academy of Sciences’ Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998), but it does not include any creation books, such as Dr. Jonathan Sarfati’s Refuting Evolution, which ably demolished the bad logic of the book.
Creationists are very open about the relationship between belief and science in the study of history. The study of unique, nonrepeatable historical events, such as the origin of life and the catastrophic destruction of the dinosaurs, requires that you begin with assumptions that can never be observed or proven. The real debate is about the best starting point for investigating science, not about science itself.
It is the secular museums that are not willing to admit their commitment, by faith, to an unproven story of origins. Yet their words betray them. For instance, the Museum of the Earth’s Guide for Museum Docents repeats the mantra: “Questions or debates about evolutionary mechanisms have nothing to do with our confidence in whether evolution occurred.”
The propaganda is obvious. The guidebook encourages docents to proclaim their evolutionary faith with boldness and confidence:
“Be polite but firm.”
“Practice. Your credibility is higher, and you’ll be more comfortable, when you sound like you know what you’re talking about. Rehearse answers to the most frequently asked questions … .”
Who is really “irrational”?
Like most other natural history museums today, the Museum of the Earth takes visitors on a journey through time, telling as fact “the 4.6 billion year history of the Earth.” But visitors will never get an opportunity to check the assumptions at the foundation of this story.
That should not come as a surprise. There is a concerted effort in the country to bar alternative views from public view. The woman who is conducting the training sessions for docents is a prominent atheist, Eugenie C. Scott, director of the misnamed National Center for Science Education. Amazingly, the Guide to Museum Docents points to Scotts’ organization as the sole online resource.
This obscurantism will not be the case with the Creation Museum, now under construction in the USA. We will show guests both sides of the story, teaching all about science, theories, models and axioms, and then we will let our guests make an informed choice about which authority they will choose to start from: God’s unchanging Word or man’s changing beliefs.
The Creation Museum, like Creation magazine, the radio program Answers with Ken Ham, and the other outreaches of Answers in Genesis, is dedicated to giving people real answers about the scientific, religious, philosophical and ethical debates of our day. Christians can have real, meaty answers to the evolutionary attacks on God’s Word.