The Creation Museum and the AP

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Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum received quite a bit of attention this week due to an article Louisville-based Dylan Lovan authored for the Associated Press. The article appeared in many media outlets, so there’s a good chance you might have seen it somewhere.

We’re always thankful for opportunities to get our message out, and many wrote to us in support of our mission and the Creation Museum. Sadly, there are a few inaccuracies in the AP story that contributed to some misunderstandings about AiG’s view of science. On top of this, some of the media that ran the AP story contributed headlines and captions that furthered the confusion. (I’ll get into that in a moment.)

The first sentence of Mr. Lovan’s article that really caught my eye was the first line of the second paragraph: “[The belief that dinosaurs and humans lived together], of course, is contradicted by science, but that’s the point of the $25 million Creation Museum rising fast in rural Kentucky.” There are three parts of this sentence we must object to.

First, as should be clear from many of the articles on our website (see our Science section and Can Creationists Be Scientists? to start with), we don’t believe that our view is contradicted by science—rather, we believe that true science, based on the right presuppositions and a proper understanding of operational science versus origins science, confirms the Bible’s account of history. Mr. Lovan apparently lost his objectivity right at the beginning of his article, as he writes as though science is indisputably against us. It’s a poor example of newswriting to so blatantly take sides—and in the third sentence, no less! Mr. Lovan, had he wanted to maintain more objectivity, might have written, “Critics contend that [our views are] contradicted by science,” or “Many scientists disagree with AiG’s views.”

Second, the sentence in question contends, “but that’s the point of the … Creation Museum.” we suspect this gave many readers the false impression that we wholeheartedly agree that our views contradict science—and are spending $25 million of supporter donations to show it! In fact, Mr. Lovan’s article makes it sound as though we may have signs around the museum that say, “Everything you see here, of course, is contradicted by science!” Again, this is entirely untrue. In fact, the Creation Museum will feature numerous scientific displays and exhibits showing how science confirms the Bible.

Third, Mr. Lovan places us in “rural Kentucky,” which makes it sound as though we’re hundreds of miles from civilization (and have yet to join the “modern” world). Mr. Lovan later concedes that the museum is located “a few miles from Cincinnati.” However, the national newspaper USA TODAY published a photograph of one of the museum exhibits, and the short caption included only this comment about rural Kentucky, and lacked the information about our proximity to Cincinnati—and our location near the center of a Combined Statistical Area of over two million people. One wonders if a museum a few miles from Jacksonville, Florida, would become “rural Georgia” in Mr. Lovan’s mind.

So after reading the first two paragraphs, readers get the idea that (1) we’re crazy, (2) we admit we’re crazy, (3) we’re building a huge museum to show how crazy we are, and (4) all this craziness is happening far from the rest of society (in fact, the Creation Museum will be within a day’s drive for almost two-thirds of Americans and millions of Canadians).

Thankfully, the rest of the article is mostly accurate. The one puzzling mention is that AiG is a “Christian publishing company.” A cursory review of our history would have been sufficient to disabuse Mr. Lovan of that idea, and we wonder how the reporter got that wrong view after speaking with ministry leaders for a few hours. Although we do publish a small portion of our materials, our focus has always been on many elements—speakers, books and DVDs, our daily radio program, the Creation Museum, the new Answers magazine and so forth. Most of our books are published by Master Books, which is a Christian publishing company.

That all said, Mr. Lovan did get quotes from each side and give a creationist the last word. And as we mentioned, we’re always thankful when our message is spread. At the very least, our website traffic jumped!

The caption is wrong almost to the point of humor—though many readers certainly got the wrong idea of our message because of it.

I also mentioned above that some news agencies used misreporting in the AP article as a springboard for their own misreporting or attacks on creation. For example, LiveScience.com added links to their posting of the AP article, so that phrases such as “contradicted by science” link to other parts of their site. FOX NEWS published Mr. Lovan’s article under the headline 'Creation Museum' Seeks to Disprove Evolution, Paleontology, Geology! Furthermore, FOX captioned one of the accompanying photos with: “The Creation Museum shows that all creatures- even the ones that were evolving- were the products of a higher being.”

What!? The caption is wrong almost to the point of humor—though many readers certainly got the wrong idea of our message because of it. Perhaps the author of that caption should review articles in our Natural Selection Q&A to get a better idea of the difference between natural selection (an observable fact that didn’t originate with Darwin), and molecules-to-man evolution (a view on human origins based more on naturalism than science).

Of course, we really don’t expect to be portrayed positively by the popular press, so it’s no surprise to find inaccuracies about us in print.

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