Did you read the story in this newspaper on April 1 about
the $27 million Creation Museum being built in Boone County, Kentucky?
Was that for real or was it an April Fools Day joke?
The story told us that the museum builder is an
organization called "Answers in Genesis." Doesn't that sound like the
beginning of an April Fools Day joke?
The new museum, the story said, "is based on a literal
interpretation of the Bible: the world was created in six 24-hour
days, some time between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. Humans appeared
on Day 6 and they didn't evolve from anything."
One of the museum's displays is "a reproduction of a
portion of the Grand Canyon. The message there is that it was created
very quickly, from the waters from Noah's flood. The fossils in rock
layers there and in many other places around the world are of animals
that drowned in the flood."
Another exhibit, the story told us, will suggest "that
belief in evolution is the root of most of modern society's evils. It
shows models of children leaving a church where the minister believes
in evolution. Soon the girl is on the phone to Planned Parenthood,
while the boy cruises the Internet for pornography sites."
And that's about the time I decided the story wasn't an
April Fools Day joke. I'm guessing it's dead serious.
I'm also guessing that within a decade the Dirty Rotten
Secular Humanists of America Unincorporated will have raised enough
money to build a museum called "Evolution: How we got to where we are."
As you enter that future museum, as I imagine it, the first
thing you'll see will be statues of our ancestors from a far more
distance past than Genesis imagines. To wit:
Australopithecus afarensis (looking a whole lot like an ape).
Homo habilis (looking like a very hairy seventh grader).
Homo erectus (standing straighter and taller than his
ancestors and looking a bit like a fullback whose coach has just made
him shave with a sharp rock).
Homo neanderthalensis (looking seriously troubled about
not being nearly as hairy as his predecessors).
And finally Homo sapiens (who looks clearly female and
proud of it, but quite put out to know that she's the descendant of
the four male yoyos in front of her. She's looking like she's
contemplating becoming an English major).
And a wall placard in the museum will remind us that some
of these folks were here as long ago as the Middle Miocene Epoch 16.6
to 11.2 million years ago.
I know, I know. The folks who are backing the Creation
Museum are doing so out of their "literal interpretation of the
Bible." That's all right with me even though people who take
literally the Old Testament creation story are opening themselves up
to questions from the dirty, rotten secular humanists who don't take
it literally. Questions like these:
The Truth, Mainly
Do you take literally all the other things the Old
Testament tells you? For example:
"Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither
shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard." (Leviticus 19:27)
"Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse
kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall
a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee." (Leviticus 19:19)
"Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day
there shall be to you a holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord:
whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death." (Exodus 35:2)
"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall
surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:17)
Any one who takes such scripture as divine orders and acts
upon them is in for a whole lot of family tension.
But they won't be alone-assuming that the April 1 story got
it right when it reported the findings of a recent Gallup Poll:
Forty seven percent of Americans polled in March said that
"God created humans pretty much in their present form some time in the
last 10,000 years. That belief was strongest among those with less
education, regular churchgoers, people 65 and older, and Republicans."
And here's my latest mea culpa:
I apologize for an egregious error in my March 26 column on
global warming. I wrote this: "Global warming has already melted
38,000 square miles of sea ice. That's about the size of Alaska." I
later discovered that Alaska's land area is 570,833 square miles-only
532,833 more than I implied it was. It's what happens when English
majors mess around with numbers.
Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity
from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail