UK radio show host Neil Denny, producer of the Little Atoms radio show, is completing a month-long tour of the United States “to produce a series of podcasts which present a wide-ranging overview of science and skepticism from an American perspective.”1 Plans for the much-publicized road trip, according to the Little Atoms website, include visits to “some major scientific (and some not so scientific) sites of interest.”2 During his visit to the Creation Museum, Denny interviewed geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling, who told him the Creation Museum points people to Jesus Christ by depicting the details of biblical history, including our origins, and showing how that history explains scientific observations. Dr. Snelling explained the importance of starting assumptions in interpretation of the science relevant to origins issues, biblical history, and the age of the earth. Listen to the entire podcast. Despite this personal attention, Denny still says in his podcast that creation science is “oxymoronic” and writes that creation scientists are delusional and the Creation Museum’s message dangerous to children.
The Creation Museum bills itself as a natural history museum, but it’s one from a world in which we are certain that God created the Earth and everything in it, roughly 6,000 years ago, and all in six days.
Denny likens his afternoon at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, to a “disorienting” tour of a parallel universe. He writes, “The Creation Museum bills itself as a natural history museum, but it’s one from a world in which we are certain that God created the Earth and everything in it, roughly 6,000 years ago, and all in six days.” Like many visitors committed to evolutionary presuppositions in their views of origins science, Denny was most troubled by issues involving the age of the earth.
Denny notes, “Anything that looks older—fossilised dinosaur bones, multiple strata of sedimentary rock, signs of ancient water erosion and the moving of the continents—were all caused by one catastrophic event, the flood that Noah and his family so adroitly survived by building a massive floating menagerie.”
Between the displays at the Museum and Dr. Snelling’s explanations, Denny learned that creation scientists point out that worldview-based starting assumptions determine the way a person views scientific evidence relevant to earth’s distant past. However, he maintains that this concept is a “creationist slant.” And his assertion that the Creation Museum “promotes the idea that not only is everything in Genesis chapters 1–11 true [right so far, by the way], but it can be proved . . . with science” demonstrates he still doesn’t understand the fundamental difference between origins/historical science and experimental/operational science.
As Dr. Snelling made clear, creation scientists, such as the professionals at Answers in Genesis, do not ignore science and scientific evidence. But neither do we claim to “prove” the events described in Genesis 1-11 happened using science. We instead point out that the Creation and global Flood described in Genesis are consistent explanations for scientific observations. The fact is, evolutionists cannot “prove” that life randomly evolved from non-living chemicals, that organisms evolved from other kinds of organisms, or that the earth has existed for billions of years either.
Experimental (operational) science deals with how things operate in the present, but origins science deals with what happened in the unobserved past to produce what we are observing in the present. Well-controlled, objective tests that can be replicated for confirmation are used to find answers in experimental science but are not truly possible in origins science. Evolutionary theories about the chemical origins of life from non-living matter or the evolution of life from microbes to man or how the Grand Canyon and the present continents formed are built on assumptions about unobservable, untestable, hypothetical, scientifically unverifiable processes, including the uniformitarian assumptions of evolutionary geologists.
Likewise, how a person views the fossil record depends on his starting assumptions. If his worldview rejects God’s eyewitness testimony about the timing and events of Creation and excludes the biblically documented catastrophe of the global Noah’s Flood, then he might view the geologic column as the record of billions of years of earth history and the evolutionary appearance of life-forms over millions of years. On the other hand, as Dr. Snelling explained, “We all have the same rocks, the same fossils, the same evidence. . . . We’re looking at the fossil record – instead of being the order of creatures living and dying and evolving over millions of years – as the burial order during the flood. In other words, dinosaurs were alive during the pre-flood Earth. So were trilobites, so were people.”
The Creation Museum’s many displays, videos, and presentations are geared to helping visitors—including children—understand that the choice of starting assumptions inevitably affects the interpretation of scientific evidence about origins.
Understanding the difference between these fundamental forms of science is an important aspect of critical thinking. The Creation Museum’s many displays, videos, and presentations are geared to helping visitors—including children—understand that the choice of starting assumptions inevitably affects the interpretation of scientific evidence about origins. For this reason displays like the new Lucy exhibit show both the “evidence” and the way such evidence is interpreted.
Dr. Snelling explains during the brief audio clip attached to Denny’s article that Lucy was an extinct ape unrelated to humans. The sediments in which the Lucy-type fossils are found are most consistent with post-Flood deposition. Apes were on Noah’s Ark, and all the varieties of apes descended from those apes. From the Bible we know that at the end of the Flood, animals multiplied and dispersed through the world, but humans initially stayed in the Middle East. Thus, it is not surprising that fossils of apes like Lucy appear in deeper geologic strata than those of humans.
Be sure to listen to Dr. Snelling’s explanation of Lucy’s identity, correctly understood through a biblical perspective.
Though our visitor quotes from a display, “Although often viewed as an icon of evolution, Darwin’s finches serve as a perfect model of variation within a created kind [because in] Genesis 1:21 we learn that God created ‘every winged bird according to its kind,’” Denny still misrepresents the concept of biblically created kinds. He writes, “Those baraminologists interpret ‘kind’ to mean ‘species.’” Of course, neither the Creation Museum, nor Answers in Genesis materials, nor this website teach such a thing. Furthermore, Dr. Snelling personally clarified this important concept.
Dr. Snelling reports, “I specifically, carefully and emphatically pointed out to him over several minutes of the interview that we did not teach or say the kinds were species, but instead I emphasized we regard the kinds as equivalent to the family level, allowing for the variation we see between genuses and species that are known to hybridize. I told him about our Ark kinds research project, and the unfolding conclusion that only about 2,000–4,000 animals had to be on the Ark.” Because Dr. Snelling explained this concept so carefully, he concludes, “Denny clearly willfully misquoted and misrepresented our position.”
Sadly, Denny apparently misinterpreted yet another key concept portrayed at the Creation Museum. He writes that, according to the Bible, “all the bad stuff in the world, from murder to animals eating other animals, is a result of Eve’s choice of afternoon snack.” In fact, though, Satan’s deception of Eve and Adam’s decision to join her in disobedience to God’s clear command have nothing to do with snack choices. This historical event—so key to understanding the history of mankind and the mission of Jesus Christ—was about rebellion: rebellion against our Creator God.
Suffering and death entered the world God had made for mankind as a consequence of that rebellion. And Jesus Christ entered the world about 4,000 years later to redeem His rebellious creatures and restore us to fellowship with Himself. Thus, the message of the Cross is conveyed through the Museum’s portrayal of the events of Genesis 1–11. At the Creation Museum, we do not ignore evidence: we help people to understand how to interpret evidence. We encourage people to grow in their faith by seeing the world through a biblical worldview that accepts God’s eyewitness account in Scripture. The Creation Museum is about much more than evidence—it’s about evangelism.
- The interview with Dr. Andrew Snelling, in which he discusses many aspects of creation science, especially those involving interpretation of the evidence relating to the age of the earth, is available online.
- Species and Kinds and the Ark
- Explaining Diversity within Created Kinds
- A Look at Lucy’s Legacy
- Doesn’t the Order of Fossils in the Rock Record Favor Long Ages?
- Feedback: Grand Canyon Elevation
- Who Gets the Blame for Original Sin—Adam or Eve?
- Why Were Eve’s Eyes Not Opened Until Adam Ate?
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ
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