|I got this email from "Newsbank"... unsolicited. It is the full article from the PD about that "science" musuem. So here it is for your consideration.|
If the PD or the reporter have any issue with me reposting it here, kindly advise, and I'll take it down.
Be sure to check out my rant against this museum.
Paper: Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH)
Title: Museum takes a biblical path, Critics say creationists put religion over science
Author: FRANK BENTAYOU
Date: June 3, 2005
Section: ARTS & LIFE
A sign marked “Truassic Park” on a building in rural Summit County is as close as Bill Sanderson comes to irony.It’s a pun on “Jurassic Park,” Michael Crichton’s 1990 science-adventure novel, which became a Steven Spielberg film. Sanderson, a Protestant, calls himself a biblical literalist. It’s the perfect fit for the founder of the new Akron Fossils and Science Center, Ohio’s first museum dedicated to an unvarnished interpretation of the Genesis account of creation.
Truassic Park is a playground, done in dinosaur motif, outside the museum. Surrounding it is a stockade fence painted with dinosaur and human footprints scattered together.
Scientists identify the Jurassic Period as the geologic time 200 million to 145 million years ago when great reptiles roamed. Sanderson, a 54-year-old financial planner, doesn’t buy it. He doesn’t believe that the Earth or anything else was here then.
Displays tell visitors that all being – stars, Earth, life, even dinosaurs – sprang into existence during one week 8,426 years ago, he says.
“The Earth is much younger than scientists tell us,” Sanderson says. The museum’s position is that creation days were 24 hours each, “sunrise to sunrise” and were not figurative.
Exhibits, which use a few fossils, casts, reproductions, some pottery and poster-size graphics, argue that science got it wrong on everything from the Big Bang to Darwinian evolution.
Hands-on exhibits are sprinkled among the bones and stones and some sometimes funky displays. Sanderson, who started his career as a middle school science teacher, delights in his pool table and 17 painted blocks. Visitors hurl them across the felt and imagine the probability that the same pattern might occur again in a few more tosses. The odds against such a repeat are vast. It’s an illustration, he says, “of how unlikely it is that, even if over millions of years, chance occurrences would create something as complex as a living cell.”
Other exhibits focus on inconsistencies science has spawned over time, different estimates of age using carbon-dating technology, revised calculations of when the solar system coalesced.
Aside from discounting scientific findings, the museum’s big message is this: Life requires a designer’s vision.
The scientific process hasn’t pointed to a designer, Sanderson says, but the Bible has. And if the Bible says God summoned the universe into being just as it is, “that’s evidence enough for me,” he says with a gentle smile.
He’s not alone in advocating the faith-based message. The center, which will have its grand opening Thursday, June 16, is only the latest in a growing network of displays disputing the scientific notion that the Earth is old, that life evolved over eons of natural selection.
Intelligent-design believers have launched information centers that widen the decades-old chasm between science and some religious beliefs, according to Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, Calif., a nonprofit group working to keep sectarian beliefs out of schools.
Though Sanderson says his only formal scientific training came as an undergraduate education major at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in the 1970s, he hammers on a central theme of intelligent design: The cosmos and life are so complex that physics, random events and natural selection can’t account for them.
Weaving features of intelligent design into public schools has become a political issue in the United States, heightening debate about where to draw a line between science and religion.
Cosmologists and geologists say evidence shows that the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, the universe 10 billion to 15 billion years before that. Biologists, astrophysicists and earth scientists have shown how change has been the only constant since those origins.
Sanderson and fellow believers insist the Christian god created stars, planets, oceans, humans, just as they appear today. Moreover, he says, views contrary to his threaten religion and morality.
“If you come from a blob,” Sanderson says, “what’s the point? Morality is anything you say. If you’re here because of an accident, what do we have from that? But if we were endowed by our creator with values and consciousness, created in his image, it’s a whole different thing.”
Critics of the “young-Earth creationism” say anti-evolutionists are demonstrably wrong in virtually all their claims about how the universe and life came to be. Some say creationists have pushed religious ideas by attacking scientific methods and substance. And their efforts “exacerbate the problem of science illiteracy,” Scott says, at a time when the United States already falls behind other countries in science education.
Physicist Mano Singham, director of Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education, says evangelical fervor fuels “a well-funded movement” to dispute science.
“They fear adoption of Darwinian evolution means people are not special; they’re free to do anything they like, act like monkeys, because God is being taken out of the public sphere,” he says.
Sanderson has invested $60,000 to $80,000 of his own money in the museum (“and it’s going up,” he says with a laugh). He is donating 5,000 square feet of his office building on Cleveland-Massillon Road (also the site of his company, Independence Financial Group). And he has put his own collection of artifacts on display.
He hopes school groups will frequent the center.
Exhibits divide into two sections, one he calls a science portion and another he drew from Genesis. “You can go through this part, on the right, and learn a lot of science,” he says.
A ceramic display shows peoplelike figures fighting large reptiles. “That right there shows humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs.”
“If you want answers science can’t provide, you can go through the section here, the God part.” He points toward the room to the left, where displays enumerate the six days of creation, citing the Genesis scripture and putting his spin on what it might mean.
Other Bible passages tell him the world might not last much longer, “maybe a couple of generations.” But that’s not a topic for a creationist museum.
Akron Fossils and Science Center is at 2080 Cleveland-Massillon Road, Copley. Call 330-665-3466. To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: firstname.lastname@example.org, 216-999-4116
Copyright, 2005, The Plain Dealer. All Rights Reserved. Used by NewsBank with Permission.