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Texas Creationist Museum Facing Extinction 824

gattaca writes "A small Texas museum that teaches creationism is counting on the auction of a prehistoric mastodon skull to stave off extinction. The founder and curator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum, which rejects evolution and claims that man and dinosaurs coexisted, said it will close unless the Volkswagen-sized skull finds a generous bidder. 'If it sells, well, then we can come another day,' Joe Taylor said. 'This is very important to our continuing.'" Meanwhile, the much larger Creation Museum in Kentucky that we discussed and toured when it opened last year seems to be thriving.
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Texas Creationist Museum Facing Extinction

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  • by nlitement ( 1098451 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:56AM (#22093996)
    Has any fellow European of mine ever come across any serious creationists? Is this solely an American phenomenon?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dintech ( 998802 )
      I used to work for a well known company in London and met a colleague visiting from Moscow. He stanuchly believes that God created everything and that evolution probably can't be relied upon. Being a colleague I couldn't really push him too far on the point for fear of HR reprisals...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Potor ( 658520 )
      I recently gave a talk in Brussels, and there were definitely a few creationists there, but I suspect that they were American, or at least North American. The thing is, they were not yokals, but highly paid expats.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Basehart ( 633304 )
        There's no mystery about it, it's simply brainwashing from a very early age. The whole family is structured around their religion as a way of having an identity, community, history, comradeship, understanding, networking whatever. There's really nothing sinister going on.

        Sure they may seem deluded and misguided by people who aren't a part of their scene, but that's really not their problem.

        If someone ever got in my face about religion, which has never happened (and I know some hard core religious peop
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oliderid ( 710055 )
      It depends if you consider Turkey as European. []

      This organization is litteraly sending thousands of books (called Atlas of Creation) to schools around Europe. []
      Nobody clearly understands where their funds come from...But they are "huge".

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BlueParrot ( 965239 )
      It differs a lot from country to country. Ireland is one thing , Sweden quite another. I've met some creationists, but most of them are of the "God created the universe , Big Bang and the standard model takes it from there... " kind of creationists. We don't get many "young earth" creationists where I am , but I dunno what it is like in the rest of Europe.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ruiner13 ( 527499 )
      Um, isn't the Vatican in Europe? There might be a few people there who believe.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rogerborg ( 306625 )

        Um, isn't the Vatican in Europe? There might be a few people there who believe.

        You mean the cleaners and janitors? Most likely, but is there anyone influential there who believes that a big beardy man buried dinosaur skeletons to fuck with our minds?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nuzak ( 959558 )
        The official doctrine of the Catholic Church rejects young-earth creationism, considering the seven-day creation period in the Bible as well as the entire Eden story to be allegory. They even grudgingly accept evolution, though they do try to work "Intelligent Design" into the cracks. The Young-Earth creationists are Evangelical Protestant types, most of whom consider Catholics to be just short of Satanists, mostly for the Pope thing (idolatry I guess) but probably also because of the occasional iota of c
    • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:15PM (#22094420) Homepage
      Nope, this is just here in the US. Actually, I have problems even explaining what Creationism is to most of my European friends. In the end they sort of figure it out ("Oh, it's like that hollow earth stuff").

      The church in many European countries is busy trying to show that if the Bible is read like it is supposed to (i.e. not taken literally) it really does correspond with the scientific findings. 7 days for god is obviously some billion years for man they tell you and they take it from there, showing how through metaphors the scientific facts known to us were hidden in the text.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      As an American living in California I'd like to go on record and say that I've only met these "fundies" when I was visiting the 'Southern' states. Though I've been told they exists in some large numbers in the mid-western states as well. In the north-eastern and western United States (where the bulk of the population lives) you don't seem to see a lot of them.

      I felt that needed to be said for all the people who don't actually live in the US. I don't want you thinking the entire country is religious zealots

  • Quick.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by geek42 ( 592158 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:57AM (#22094016)
    ... no one buy it!
  • by ruiner13 ( 527499 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:57AM (#22094026) Homepage
    Two states where I'm pretty sure you could find arguments against evolution just by looking at the local populace. I guess if they don't believe in evolution they don't feel the need to do so themselves.
  • The Market Speaks! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) <> on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:59AM (#22094084) Homepage Journal
    I'm a Christian of the preterist nature. I believe in evolutionary forces as part of God's creation. I don't believe in a 6000-year old Earth (neither do most Jews who hold the Old Testament in a different way than many Christians do). I also think the debate of evolution versus creationism is really repugnant and a waste of time when there are so many other things we can be spending our time on (we meaning "us Christians.")

    I can't even begin to count the billions of hours wasted by Christians in living life in ways completely counter to what our God teaches us. Look at the battle over the 10 Commandments, laws of the Israelites' God that have been countermanded by Christ's teaching to a much more simpler set of rules (completely love God first, completely love others second). And yet, when we dig deeper into the "Why" of modern Christian thought, we come up against the same problem that I see in those who are pro-government: we need "leaders" and we need "rules" and we need "penalties" to keep us in line.

    What has happened to the powerful individual in today's society? Evolution versus creationism is a debate that strikes at the heart of my question: why is it that we need "teacher-leaders" to stick to a specific standard, rather than what the individual kid in a unique place in their specific city/society needs to be taught? I can't even understand why science is taught to ALL children, along with higher level maths, when the kids today can barely count, let alone read or speak properly. I had a 20-something in my town use a calculator at a checkout line 2 weeks ago when I gave her $21.01 for a $6.06 charge. Unbelievable.

    Creationism and evolution are both articles of faith, and really have no purpose for MOST students. Then again, I truly believe that even High School is worthless for 70% of society considering what it is churning out.
    • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:09PM (#22094304)
      Creationism and evolution are both articles of faith

      You start off sounding like a very reasonable person, and then end with that.

      You have faith in something you cannot prove. Like the existence of a god.

      There is tons of evidence for evolution and none against it so no "faith" is required. Or is gravity an article of faith too, because you never know, one day something might fall upwards?!
    • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:10PM (#22094328)
      Evolution is not an article of faith. It's a matter of fact, something you can walk around and see in organisms that change quickly (bacteria, insects).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by noidentity ( 188756 )

      I had a 20-something in my town use a calculator at a checkout line 2 weeks ago when I gave her $21.01 for a $6.06 charge. Unbelievable.

      There's more than just math skill while manning a checkout and giving proper change. Lots of other things to be worrying about, not the least of which people like you who assume any problems calculating it are due to being an idiot, which just makes using a calculator all the more desirable. Being able to do quick, accurate mental arithmetic while under pressure is a skil

  • God will... (Score:3, Funny)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:03PM (#22094154) Journal
    ...either smite them with bankruptcy or send a saviour to the auction, their accountant has been weighing their sins and thinks a press release might help. /ducks
  • by techpawn ( 969834 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:05PM (#22094200) Journal
    The KY Creation museum isn't too far away from here and everyone that I've talk to that has gone or wanted to go hasn't done so out of religious belief but out of morbid curiosity or think it's funny. Their success is the same as that of the bearded lady, or so it seems to me. Once people get over the initial shock and humor it'll fade into obscurity.
  • by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:06PM (#22094236)
    I sometimes wonder about the wisdom of giving free publicity to organizations like these. From my standpoint they represent an institutionalized mental illness- that of denying reality. Denying reality is certainly akin to "doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result".

    I do understand the religious issues that fuel these kinds of organizations. But it has always seemed to me that since "truth" is central to any religious belief, that an attempt to derail truth through ignorance or outright deception was a horrible "sin".

    With the way organizations like this adhere to biblical writing, one might be able to accuse them of having a book as "god" rather than the apparently supernatural "God of the Gaps" most people seem to engage in their spirituality.

    The inerrancy of God seems plausible to me. The in inerrancy of a book seems like sheer insanity.
  • Teh funnay (Score:5, Funny)

    by mingot ( 665080 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:11PM (#22094340)
    The funny part about the original CNN article I read on this said that Heritage Auction Galleries estimated the age of the thing to be at around 40,000 years old. At least the musuem guy is letting smarter people sell the thing.
  • by philicorda ( 544449 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:14PM (#22094396)
    How can they sell this skull as a 40,000 year old artifact if they claim it's less than 6000 years old?
  • I've been to it. (Score:4, Informative)

    by JonWan ( 456212 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:14PM (#22094404)
    It's about 35 miles from me on the road to Lubbock. He has some really nice fossils, but his interpretation is just plain weird. He built a huge human leg bone to show people what the "giants" would have looked like. The problem is he didn't take into account the strength of the bone and simply scaled it up to giant size. The local schools take classes on field trips to see the museum, I need to ask the high school kid that works for me what they are told when they visit. Knowing the teachers around here they teach this stuff in their class, it's shame really.
  • Difficult Decision (Score:3, Interesting)

    by areReady ( 1186871 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:20PM (#22094540)
    Say you are a legitimate museum/educational institution capable of purchasing this skull.

    Do you:

    a) Purchase the mastodon skull to preserve an excellent fossil and put it on display for educational value, including its true age?

    b) Allow this absurdity and insult to rational intelligence that is a Creation Museum die?
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:37PM (#22094854)
    I can see why people would reject evolution. For one thing, as was pointed out by an earlier articled linked to by slashdot, it's counterintuitive. It is not consistent with our every day experience, or at least not with aspects of our experience that we recognize as having those qualities. Secondly, it can be very hard to keep up with. There are aspects of evolution that are rock solid. They're facts about things observed in the laboratory. Then there are things that are highly plausible, such as that we got here through this mechanism. But when you start making claims about specific things that "must" have occurred, you're on damn shaky ground. When humans left Africa, or IF they did, has been revised more times than I can count. When we and chimps branched from our common ancestor keeps getting revised. Now, that's all well and good, except for the fact that any time the layman comes into contact with these theories, they're STATED AS FACT. Ever watch the Discovery channel? Ever notice how none of the dinosaurs have feathers? And yet no mention is made of the fact that we now know that they do and that the original notion that they were scaly was based on assumption (we didn't have good evidence either way). Let me reiterate: Scientists tend to make bold fact-like statements about science that should never be stated that way, because they just fucking don't know! It's no wonder people think scientists are arrogant. They make bold statements and think they're right. Then they change their minds and think they're right. Scientists are never wrong! Isn't that convenient. Perhaps it's not fair to say, but the fact is that evidence supporting specifics of evolutionary theory are trivial compared to the kind of certainty we have about things like physics, chemistry, and biology of living organisms. Yet those, as with any science, are inherently uncertain. Evolutionary biologists need to get off their high horse and admit that they're stabbing in the dark.

    That being said, what I cannot understand is why you would want to invoke a much more ridiculous hypothesis like creationism. It's not even a hypothesis. It's not science. It's not falsifiable. Ok, so it's certain and unchanging. I can understand that. But there's no objective evidence for it. Or at least, the evidence there is does not point in the direction of creation than any other alternative, so choosing creationism is arbitrary. So, when it comes down to it, many people probably choose creationism for two reasons: (1) tradition, and (2) because the scientists leave them feeling like a chump who trusted them, just to be betrayed when the scientist changed his mind (while being completely apologetic about having been wrong).

    See, scientists are role models. Yes, I realize that they're just presenting the hypothesis that best fits the evidence (sometimes; sometimes they have personal or political agendas), but they need to be damn careful about how they present their theory and explain better their uncertainties and alternative explanations.

    Oh, and the scientists who try to use evolution to disprove God are just as screwed up as the creationists who try to use God to prove evolution. God and evolution are not mutually exclusive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Scientists tend to make bold fact-like statements about science that should never be stated that way, because they just fucking don't know! It's no wonder people think scientists are arrogant. They make bold statements and think they're right. Then they change their minds and think they're right. Scientists are never wrong! Isn't that convenient.

      And that's exactly the strength of Science as opposed to Faith. Scientists will adjust their beliefs when confronted by new observations or a demonstrably better theory. That's the only way that knowledge - and our ability to use it - can improve over time.

      As far as scientists being arrogant... Well, you haven't read any scientific papers, or listened to any real scientists being interviewed about their work, have you? For the most part, they qualify just about everything they say and are quick to acknowle

  • by Jtheletter ( 686279 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:54PM (#22095208)
    I mean that silly skull can't be older than 6,000 years, obviously not worth much. ;)
  • by porky_pig_jr ( 129948 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:01PM (#22096652)
    someone should nominate them for Darwin's award.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"