Telegraphing the Wrong Message

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Recently an article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, "In the beginning … Adam walked with dinosaurs," that was probably one of the worst pieces of journalism we've seen in a while.

As the world’s largest apologetics organization, Answers in Genesis is frequently interviewed by secular reporters. In fact, there has been an international reporting frenzy as a result of a recent federal court case on how evolution and alternative theories should be taught in public schools. Even though we had nothing to do with the case, the media have been calling us.

We often grimace when we see the secular media’s final reports. While some just report the facts and manage to get it right, most either come with an agenda that is overtly biased against Christians or they just don’t understand what we believe.

Recently an article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, “In the Beginning … Adam Walked with Dinosaurs,” that was probably one of the worst pieces of journalism we’ve seen in a while. This reporter either didn’t hear what we were saying or had an agenda. The article also shows you the confusion that’s out there concerning creationist beliefs.

Here is Ken’s point-by-point critique of the article (the article is indented):

With its towering dinosaurs and a model of the Grand Canyon, America’s newest tourist attraction might look like the ideal destination for fans of the film Jurassic Park.

I wouldn’t really call the museum a tourist attraction. I believe it will attract people and tourists, but it’s really a teaching center. It’s meant to engage the culture and engage the society. The museum teaches … it’s got a message … it’s a walk through history. There will be some entertaining aspects to it, but it’s primarily a place to teach people a very important message and to challenge them.

The new multi-million-dollar Museum of Creation, which will open this spring in Kentucky,

We call it a Creation Museum, which is really just the name. It not only has the account of creation, but it also has the whole history of the world, as recorded in Genesis, leading up to the message of the Cross.

They said the museum would open this spring. But what I told them was that we are hopeful the whole museum will open in the spring 2007 and that, by mid-year of 2005, we should be able to open the planetarium, lobby, bookstore and café.

will, however, be aimed not at film buffs, but at the growing ranks of fundamentalist Christians in the United States.

The museum is meant to be an outreach to both Christians and non-Christians. It’s an outreach to the whole culture-to challenge non-Christians with the message that the Bible’s history is true and therefore it’s message of the gospel and morality is true. The museum is meant to challenge Christians who have compromised with millions of years and evolutionary ideas. It’s also to teach and equip Christians to defend their faith in today’s secular world.

It aims to promote the view that man was created in his present shape by God, as the Bible states,

Now wait a minute—I didn’t say that! The whole universe is suffering from 6,000 years of sin and the Curse. We get diseases—we get old and die. We weren’t created like this. We were created perfect originally, but we’re suffering from 6,000 years of the Curse.

rather than by a Darwinian process of evolution, as scientists insist.

Note the phrase “as scientists insist.” What this person is trying to do here is to say, “If you believe in evolution, that’s science,” and “if you believe in what these people believe, that’s not science.” But that’s not true. We have real scientists, like Dr. Jason Lisle, on staff. He was granted his Ph.D. in astrophysics by evolutionists at a well-known secular university. They agreed—he did real science.

There are many scientists who believe that God created the universe in six literal days, six thousand years ago. In fact, we have a number of scientists on staff in the U.S., Australia, and England, and many in the secular world, who agree with us. We’re going to teach lots of real science throughout the museum—the science of genetics, natural selection, information, geology and so on. I tried to explain to this reporter that it’s not science versus the Bible. We all believe the same operational science in the present. It’s a debate between two beliefs about origins, and scientists who believe the Bible can show how science confirms the Bible’s history.

Even when you explain this to reporters, they either don’t understand or don’t want to understand because they already have an agenda.

The centerpiece of the museum is a series of huge model dinosaurs,

Although the dinosaur models will certainly be a spectacular part of the museum, I wouldn’t call the model dinosaurs “the centerpiece.” Not all the dinosaurs will be huge, either. The life-size model dinosaurs will be all sorts of different sizes—from the size of a large sheep or bison to 40 feet long.

built by the former head of design at Universal Studios,

The dinosaurs were not built by the former head of design at Universal Studios—they were built by Buddy Davis. Patrick Marsh, the design director for the Creation Museum, was not the former head of design at Universal Studios. He was the art director who did the scenic design for “Jaws” and “King Kong” at Universal Studios in Florida, USA.

which are portrayed as existing alongside man, contrary to received scientific opinion that they lived millions of years apart.

Here it is again—if you believe that dinosaurs lived millions of years before man, that’s science. Obviously, the reporter has a bias and an agenda. But who was there millions of years ago to see these things? That’s one of the things I tried to explain to him—the difference between operational science (what you can observe, repeat, and test in the present) and your beliefs concerning the past.

Other exhibits include images of Adam and Eve, a model of Noah’s Ark and a planetarium demonstrating how God made the Earth in six days.

These aren’t just images—they’re actual sculptures of Adam and Eve. We’ll have more than just a model of Noah’s Ark. We’re going to show all sorts of phases of the Ark’s construction.

The planetarium is going to show much more than just how God created the universe, including the Earth, in six days. It’s going to have a variety of programs on the stars and the universe, including powerful arguments against billions of years and the big bang theory. It will also show the glory of God as we look at the universe.

The museum, which has cost a mighty $25 million

Our budget for the Creation Museum is $25 million, including the building and all its exhibits. Our exhibits (over 42 major exhibit spaces) will cost about $10 million. Actually, $25 million is not much when you consider other museums and theme parks that would spend millions on just one exhibit.

For instance, the budget for the “Jaws” attraction at Universal Studios in Florida, USA cost $22 million in 1999. The Spider-Man attraction at Universal Studios recently cost over $100 million.

A little closer to home is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their total costs came to $110 million for the 158,000-square-foot-complex. And their exhibit area is actually not that much different from ours. But we’re going to have some unique elements, such as animated dinosaurs and waterfalls. We are actually able to keep our costs down through our volunteers and doing things in-house. Our budget for the whole museum is extraordinarily low for the quality and number of exhibits.

will be the world’s first significant natural history collection devoted to creationist theory.

Of course, I can understand the secular world calling it a theory, but we would say it’s devoted to biblical history and true operational science.

It has been set up by Ken Ham, an Australian evangelist, who runs Answers in Genesis, one of America’s most prominent creationist organizations.

Answers in Genesis hasn’t been set up by me. Certainly, I’ve had the vision for this, but it’s all the people who have come to be a part of the organization that are making this happen.

I’m not an evangelist—I was teacher in Australia. While I’m certainly the CEO of Answers in Genesis, it’s actually run by a leadership team that includes Mark Looy, Mike Zovath, Kathy Ellis, Carl Kerby, Jim Hatton, John Pence, and Dale Mason. We also have a board of directors that meets several times a year.

He said that his aim was to use tourism, and the theme park’s striking exhibits, to convert more people to the view that the world and its creatures, including dinosaurs, were created by God 6,000 years ago.

I don’t understand how he could say that the Creation Museum is a theme park when I have never called it a theme park—nor would I ever.

The statement about converting people to the view that God created dinosaurs 6,000 years ago is somewhat misleading. I explained to him that the most important thing we’re doing is helping people understand the credibility of the Bible. If its history in Genesis is true, then the rest is true.

There is an emphasis by the secular world (and I find this a lot) to look at us and say, “These are the people that believe God created in six days, 6,000 years ago.” We believe these things, but that’s not what I said is the aim of the museum. I said the primary aim is to convert people to Christianity.

“We want people to be confronted by the dinosaurs,” said Mr. Ham.

What I said was that, when people come into the lobby, they will immediately be confronted with dinosaurs and people together, a challenge to their evolutionary assumptions.

“It’s going to be a first class experience. Visitors are going to be hit by the professionalism of this place. It is not going to be done in an amateurish way. We are making a statement.”

The statement we are making is that the Bible is true—you can trust it. And they did actually get it right that it will be a “first class experience.”

The museum’s main building was completed recently, and work on the entrance exhibit starts this week. The first phase of the museum, which lies on a 47-acre site 10 miles from Cincinnati on the border of Kentucky and Ohio, will open in the spring.

I told them we trust the museum will open in the spring of 2007 and that we hope to open the planetarium, lobby, and café in the middle of this year (2005).

Market research companies hired by the museum are predicting at least 300,000 visitors in the first year, who will pay $10 each.

Our market research certainly indicated that. We actually believe there could be as many as 600,000 or more visitors in the first year, based on the support and interest we see in the museum.

Among the projects still to be finished is a reconstruction of the Grand Canyon, purportedly formed by the swirling waters of the Great Flood—where visitors will “gape” at the bones of dinosaurs that “hint of a terrible catastrophe,” according to the museum’s publicity.

Saying Grand Canyon was formed by swirling waters of the Great Flood is misrepresenting what the creationists believe. (See A Canyon in Six Days!) Also, dinosaur bones are not associated with the Grand Canyon.

Mr. Ham is particularly proud of a planned reconstruction of the interior of Noah’s Ark. “You will hear the water lapping, feel the Ark rocking and perhaps even hear people outside screaming,” he said.

The reporter asked me to go through and describe the museum, and I said at one stage that we’re going to have a walk through of Noah’s Ark. The plans for that exhibit have since changed to something more spectacular. When I said that you might hear screams of people, it wasn’t meant, in any way, to say, “Ha, they died.” It was meant to say that this was a serious event. I think he has misinterpreted my comments to imply that I’m proud of the fact that all these people died. Well, that’s not true at all.

Our message today is that we have an Ark of salvation. You need to come into the Ark—the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole reason we were planning that kind of display was to warn people. People need to come into the Ark of salvation because there is a final judgment coming. It’s not a feeling of pride—it’s a heart-wrenching message that we have to give to people.

More controversial exhibits deal with diseases and famine, which are portrayed not as random disasters, but as the result of mankind’s sin.

He did get this part right in that it’s not God’s fault, it’s our sin which explains why there is death and disease in the world.

Mr. Ham’s Answers in Genesis movement blames the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, in which two teenagers killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves, on evolutionist teaching, claiming that the perpetrators believed in Darwin’s survival of the fittest.

This is one area where I find, over and over again, that secular reporters don’t want to understand or don’t listen. We have never blamed the Columbine High School massacre on evolutionist teachings, and we don’t blame abortion or gay marriage on evolution.

We do point out that most students today go through a government school system where they are left with the impression that there is no God, they’re just an animal, and they can do whatever they want. Then who decides right and wrong?

What we’re saying is that aborting babies or shooting people is only consistent with what they believe. Evolution’s not to blame—the ultimate blame is sin. They reject God and the Bible, and construct a morality in accord with their foundation that there’s no God. Evolution is most likely a supposed justification for saying there is no God. They do what is right in their own eyes, just like the Israelites in the book of Judges with no king to tell them what to do.

Other exhibits in the museum will blame homosexuals for AIDS. In a “Bible Authority Room” visitors are warned: “Everyone who rejects his history—including six-day creation and Noah’s flood—is ‘willfully’ ignorant.”

I don’t know where he got this from. There’s no exhibit that is going to talk about AIDS in the museum. And we don’t blame homosexuals for AIDS at all. That’s preposterous. We might say that, if you are disobedient to God’s rules for marriage, then there is a higher possiblity to spread diseases. But the bottom line is that if you don’t have God’s rules in regards to marriage, then there are consequences. (See Get Answers: Homosexuality.)

Elsewhere, animated figures will be used to recreate the Garden of Eden, while in another room visitors will see a Tyrannosaurus rex pursuing Adam and Eve after their fall from grace. “That’s the real terror that Adam’s sin unleashed,” visitors will be warned.

We’re going to have a T. rex, but we never said he’s going to be pursuing Adam and Eve!

We are going to show that everything changed after the Fall—some animals became carnivorous and violence filled the earth.

A display showing ancient Babylon will deal with the Tower of Babel and “unravel the origin of so-called races,” while the final section will show the life of Christ, as an animated angel proclaims the coming of the Savior and a 3D depiction of the crucifixion.

In keeping with modern museum trends, there will also be a cafe with a terrace to “breathe in the fresh air of God’s creation,” and a shop “crammed” with creationist souvenirs, including T-shirts and books such as A is for Adam and Dinky Dinosaur: Creation Days.

He asked me if there was going to be a souvenir shop. What I told him is that the emphasis is going to be on resources: books, DVDs, tapes, etc. I told him we want people to go away with a message—to be equipped. I said there might be some things like T-shirts there but the major part of the bookstore is resources to instruct people. With over 700 items on our resources list (books and DVDs), there’s not going to be a lot of room for souvenirs.

The museum’s opening will reinforce the burgeoning creationist movement and evangelical Christianity in the U.S., which gained further strength with the re-election of President Bush in November.

It’s interesting to me how, because President Bush was re-elected and he’s a Christian and many Christians voted for him (a lot of non-Christians also voted for him), the secular media seem almost upset that Christians are having an influence in America. It’s almost as if Christians aren’t allowed to have an influence but non-Christians are.

What AiG is all about is disseminating information, telling people the Bible is true and seeing people converted to Christ. We are not a politically motivated organization.

Followers of creationism

What does he mean by followers of creationism? We aren’t a sect. We are Christians who believe the Bible. Followers of God’s Word is the way I would put it.

have been pushing for their theories to be reintegrated into American schoolroom teaching ever since the celebrated 1925 “Scopes Monkey Trial,” when U.S. courts upheld the right of a teacher to use textbooks that included evolutionary theory.

We’ve never been a political movement. We’ve never tried to get creationism taught in schools. We believe there has to be a change in people’s hearts. These secular people are antagonistic to Christians because they reject the Christian faith. They are secularists, and they want their worldview to dominate. Are Christians not allowed to have a view? How inconsistent can they get?

A lot of people misunderstand the Scopes trial. Hollywood has misrepresented and even perverted the trial through the movie Inherit the Wind. It bears hardly any resemblance to the truth. It was really a movie done to denigrate Christians.

One of our speakers, Dr. David Menton, has written an analysis of the movie in Inherit the Wind: An Historical Analysis.

The statement that “U.S. courts upheld the right of a teacher to use textbooks that included evolutionary theory” is absolutely amazing because it is 100 percent untrue. The reporter needs to actually read the transcript of the Scopes trial and find out what really happened. (You can obtain this from the AiG bookstore, it’s called The World’s Most Famous Court Trial.)

In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced that position by banning the teaching of creationism in public schools on the grounds of laws that separate state and Church.

This is not an accurate statement, and it’s not the first time the media has misreported on this. The law actually says that competing theories of origins can be taught in public schools as long as no particular religion was being established. (See “Hunting for Truth” in the Secular Media!)

This is the reason that people are now trying to get evolution disclaimer stickers in textbooks and intelligent design taught in school—they are saying it has a secular intent and doesn’t mention God. Thus it would conform to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Since then, however, many schools—particularly in America’s religious Deep South—have got around the ban by teaching the theory of “intelligent design,” which claims that evolutionary ideas alone still leave large gaps in understanding.

“Since President Bush’s re-election we have been getting more membership applications than we can handle,” said Mr. Ham, who expects not just the devout, but also the curious, to flock through the turnstiles. “The evolutionary elite will be getting a wake-up call.”

What I told him is that we received more memberships than we had expected. I didn’t mention President Bush’s re-election. He added that.

Sometimes I shake my head and sigh when I see what the secular reporter said compared to what really happened! Oh, how I look forward to seeing an article that reports what we actually say, rather than a reporter’s modifying our words to tell readers what we “really meant to say!” Perhaps, if we had more time to decontaminate journalists from their years of evolutionary brainwashing, their reporting would be a little more balanced.


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