John Scalzi's snarky science fiction tour of the Creation Museum

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35 Responses to “John Scalzi's snarky science fiction tour of the Creation Museum”

  1. Moniker says:

    Just in reference to the Einstein comment:

    “Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment – an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections.”
    -Einstein

  2. Another Aaron says:

    Judging is part of life. People judge whether it’s safe to cross the street, whether the fellow standing at the bus stop is dangerous, or whether a belief system makes any since to them. Judging a musuem of thumbnail clippings or creationism as “crazy talk” is PART of the discourse.

    No one is saying folks aren’t allowed to believe in creationism…they’re more than free to do so, and I’m more than free to think “idiots.”

    Now, if someone is saying that folks shouldn’t think of other folks as idiots, well, I’m afraid I’m not going to think too highly of their thought processes either. Snickering is a human instinct…closing one’s eyes and hoping it goes away just means you can’t see the snickering.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I looked through the Flickr Photos and the best part was that I literally could no stop my brain from saying “Oh My God,” after every photo.

  4. Hedonistcalculator says:

    It’s grating to read the word ‘horseshit’ so many times. I had to stop reading.

  5. danceasaurusrex says:

    Ooooh…I get it now. When I went this summer, those kids didn’t have any talk bubbles over their heads.

    http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=756592171&size=m&context=set-72157600720965779

  6. Teapunk says:

    @tsol: yes, isn’t it really, really strange how many things the christian-right-creationist and the radical muslims have in common?
    Fascinating, because these groups probably see each other as arch-enemies.

    But the funny thing is, that the imam is not returning to the middle ages, he has actually never left this kind of thinking. The christian right has seen the light and then decided to turn around and walk back to where they came from, meeting the imam somewhere in the middle.

  7. believer317 says:

    Recent polls show that only 10% of America agrees with you on this matter. However 100% of the respondents agree. Is this because only agnostics/atheists read BoingBoing? Or because no believers are taking you seriously enough to post? either way you forget the fact that any theory is still just that until it can be duplicated. That being said, it’s far easier to side with the greatest scientific mind of our time, Albert Einstein, in this matter. If you didn’t already know, he thought it was foolishness to not believe in God or creationism. And if you’re inclined to call him an idiot for his beliefs, remember this: If you’re right, we both go to reruns; but if you’re wrong, you get to spend eternity separated from the one true God.
    If you’re going to hang your hat on science you might want to bone up on the laws of thermodynamics and think about how hard it would be for something living to accidentally come from unliving goop. Your way takes much more faith than I could ever muster.

  8. The Astronot says:

    As a person who both is skeptical of fanatic belief in creationism and has visited the creation museum with a semi-open mind I have to say this John guy is truly an asshole. The only thing wrong with the creation museum is how they interpret and then depict the events of creation. To call the whole museum horseshit is quite a immature and biased opinion.

    To call the whole museum that you would have to disagree with just about everything the museum depicted. Not once did John mention the factuality of Noah and the Ark nor could he really say much about the Garden of Eden because like pretty much everybody including scientists there’s not much defining evidence to prove or dispute either.

    The key issue with the Creation Museums interpretation of creation itself is that they believe each day of creation was as we have it today 24 hours. That can be disputed forever but knowledged people will or should agree with the idea that God does not share the same time space as man so it is possible that even a second of our time can translate to literal thousands of year to God and such evidence is supported in the Bible not science quarterly or John.

    Everybody has the right to make there own assumptions and opinions on facts or ideas but your not helping anybody by spreading hate or slander about anything. The last thing I can add and this goes to all those whom enjoy being rebellious and slanderous as a hobby is that I wish you to find happiness and hobbies that are creative and not destructive to yourself and others lest you contribute to all those things you love to hate in this world.

  9. malex says:

    Thank you, Believer317, but you are not fully understanding the context of this debate.

    You have every right to believe in God. You have every right to believe that Jesus Christ is His only begotten son and though him we can find Salvation. I think I speak for all Boing Boing readers when I say I will defend your right to believe and live by your beliefs 100%.

    When you get to the point where you say “my spiritual beliefs say that all organisms were generated spontaneously as an act of divine intervention, therefore all scientific observations to the contrary are false,” then we have a problem.

    Do you understand the difference here?

    Also, I will mention that Einstein did not believe in organized religion, nor (afaik) did he in any way consider Darwinian theory to be a denial of God.

  10. malex says:

    The Astronot: “That can be disputed forever but knowledged people will or should agree with the idea that God does not share the same time space as man so it is possible that even a second of our time can translate to literal thousands of year to God and such evidence is supported in the Bible not science quarterly or John.”

    Well, an interpretation of Genesis as history still would suggest that the Earth had flowering plants and trees before the Sun and stars were ignited.

    Maybe Fundamentalist Christians should simply accept that there are far more important things they should be doing in the world than arguing that dinosaurs were created by magic.

  11. Another Aaron says:

    You beat me to it Malex. :)

    There seems to be an awful lot of soap-boxers in here implying they’ve never made fun of anyone in their life. Sorry, but point at something and saying “I don’t like that” or “I think that’s stupid” is an essential component of taste and critical thought.

    Complaining about it because your particular interest or group is getting a ribbing is silly….especially when the complaints boil down to, “Nooooo guuuys, I’m telling you WE ARE COOL! I sweeear we arrree! We’re smart too…..why won’t you liiiisten to us! MOM, MAKE THE COOL KIDS PLAY WITH US!”

    You know, I bet if they were alive today, C.S. Lewis and Tolkien wouldn’t have been caught dead within a hundred yards of that type of thinking.

  12. Anonymous says:

    In response to Believer317, I hardly know where to begin. You start off with a logical fallacy (you mention that only 10% of Americans believe in a Darwinian explanation for the origin of species, without citing a source — but I’ll submit that I don’t disbelieve the figure, sadly — and then imply that the beliefs of a minority are somehow less valid than those of a majority). Then you insult people of faith by implying that only agnostics and atheists would dare to hold this minority Darwinian belief (since many mainstream churches, such as the Roman Catholic Church, have long taught that evolution is not incompatible with the core teachings of Christianity). Then you paraphrase Einstein out of context — most who have studied Einstein are of the opinion that he didn’t believe in a so-called personal god, but rather, he probably saw God as a unifying force or structure to the Universe. Somewhere in there, you trot out two threadbare tropes that are common with creation apologists: you use the “it’s just a theory” smear, turning the word “theory” into a pejorative; and you obliquely mention the thermodynamics angle, though you don’t explicitly delineate the standard creationist argument that evolution violates thermodynamics.

    I could sit here and debunk both of those last points, but that’s been done frequently and by more eloquent writers and speakers than me. I will merely point out that many things are “theories” and are accepted as facts — universal gravitation, Pythagoras’ theorem — and yet evolution, as it is currently understood, has as much empirical evidence to back it up as these other theories, but some creation apologists want us to engage in doublethink and pretend that because evolution is somehow a “bad” theory, any holes are somehow extra suspect. The thermodynamics trope that creationists trot out is a painful result of a misunderstanding of fundamental physics, and any physics major worth his salt could point out why evolution isn’t compatible with any of the laws of thermodynamics.

  13. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Objections to language noted. It’s an excerpt from John Scalzi’s weblog. That’s his writing style. Anyone who hasn’t previously heard that word he used a lot toward the end can write to me, and I’ll explain what it means.

    Sam (3):

    I pity the people who so rabidly crusade to tear down the beliefs of others – no matter how ridiculous – only to promote their own brand of “truth.”

    Judge and be judged, as Aaron said. And after all, isn’t that what you’re doing?

    Religious belief isn’t the root problem. Quite the opposite. The people who cook up creationist/ID theories don’t believe what they’re saying. If they know enough science to make the arguments they do, they also know enough science to know that the arguments they’re making are false. They don’t care. They turn around and sell the arguments they’ve made to people who don’t know they’re being lied to.

    It’s cynical. It’s political. The believers are being played for chumps by a power structure that’s lying in the name of God.

  14. jccalhoun says:

    Ever since I’ve heard that this group claims that everything was vegetarian before the fall of man I’ve been curious about something: Do they advocate vegetarianism? It would seem that if we didn’t eat meat before Adam ate from the tree then it would seem as if eating meat would be a bad thing if not outright sinful. So I would think that being a vegetarian would be closer to the way in which we were created by God.

  15. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Believer317 (20):

    Recent polls show that only 10% of America agrees with you on this matter.

    Malarkey.

    However 100% of the respondents agree.

    Why should we pay attention to you when you’re so careless about reading the thread?

    Is this because only agnostics/atheists read BoingBoing?

    Why should we pay attention to you when you obviously know next to nothing about Boing Boing and its community?

    Or because no believers are taking you seriously enough to post?

    Is that what you want? Fine. I’m a believer, and I say Creationism and Intelligent Design are a giant vat of steaming horsepuckey.

  16. eclectro says:

    @another aaron

    “Sorry, but point at something and saying “I don’t like that” or “I think that’s stupid” is an essential component of taste and critical thought.

    You seem to be reading a different blog than I am. I’m certainly not seeing anything that promotes polite discourse. I’m not opposed to criticism of the creation museum. Just the amoral manner that atheists seem to feel entitled to go about it.

    And it also shows boingboing’s inherent lameness by supposedly being a ‘directory of wonderful things’, but yet takes it upon themselves to post this drek as ‘wonderful’.

    Enough of the ‘fundies are stupid as horseshit’ stories on boingboing. Everybody knows it already.

  17. Another Aaron says:

    I said “taste” and “critical thought”, I didn’t say anything about polite discourse.

    And, this is just speaking personally, but I did find it quite wonderful. :)

    It made me laugh, and I’m at work. That’s absolutely wonderful.

    I’m sure there are plenty of mirthless websites discussing this topic, you are more than welcome to hang out there. You can. I won’t hold it against you. I promise.

    There’s also lots of websites mirthfully discussing our evolution musuems. If you want to go over there and snicker, that would be okay too. Really. God as my witness even.

  18. 1003 says:

    GREAT discussion. Not a great link, though. Sorry to see a disemvoweled post up above that harnesses the same snarkiness from the creationist (or at least someone who is not committed to EITHER creation myth).
    The truth is, that “sleight of hand” is the most rational metaphysical point of view: neither side is any more validated by the facts themselves. It is all about the stories that each of us ascribes to put the facts together. In fact the facts equally support both sides: Every fossil you find is evidence to Darwinists that their story is true, and to the creationist, it shows just how tricky the devil is.
    You must tease out the root beliefs and compare those.
    And as far as drawing some kind of parallel between believing that there is a being of greater power than any of us who made the universe and who cares for each of us deeply, and bad economic and diplomatic policies is nothing short of ad hominem.

  19. noen says:

    America loves the taste of horseshit. The texture and the aroma are so appealing to the American palate.

  20. rollerskater says:

    that museum is full of truthiness.

  21. French Blue says:

    John, congrats on this – particularly your (passionately made) point that whatever you say about it, horseshit is still horseshit. The thing that’s truly frightening is that this particular steaming pile of horseshit is also extremely dangerous; if people are happy to believe this stuff unconditionally, what else are they happy to believe? Where are their critical faculties and intellectual curiosity? And what implications does that have for democracy and the kind of governments we’ll end up with?

  22. Teapunk says:

    @Eclectro: As an amoral atheist I fell like adding: I find this discussion quite delightful and not amoral at all.
    You can believe whatever you want, I won’t take your God away from you – how could I?
    And why should I?
    But I can question theories or whatever pitches my interest and I consider strange, because this is what humanity is all about, questions: Why do things fall down, not up? Why is it dark at night? Why do flowers bloom?
    When we stop to ask questions, our brains will just go numb and die. More or less metaphorically. Some people don’t even notice.
    Every age presents us with new answers to our questions. Some people even find their own answers.
    And some people will laugh because there is no problem with religion and science coexisting – can’t you see god and his wonders in the raindrop under the microscope? – but to me it is really just plain silly to assume dinosaurs were vegetarians and lived at the same time as humans, who wouldn’t be related to apes.

  23. Sam says:

    I pity the people who so rabidly crusade to tear down the beliefs of others – no matter how ridiculous – only to promote their own brand of “truth.”

  24. slugmar says:

    Oooo, you need to start doing “evolutionist” (Darwinist? Realist?) guided tours of the museum, like the creationist tours of they do at natural history museums.

  25. Beanolini says:

    Sam- can you clarify whether you’re pitying the creationists who rabidly crusade to tear down scientific beliefs, the scientists who rabidly crusade to tear down creationist beliefs, or both?

  26. gbv23 says:

    teapunk wrote:

    “But you might need a strong religious-right foundation for something like this, so it can grow and I don’t see this happening here, in Germany, religion is between you and your god and more of a private thing.”

    Isn’t the 2nd biggest party in Germany called “the Christian democratic union?”

  27. eclectro says:

    I think that Sam was referrring to the derogatory nature of calling something ‘horseshit’ which tends to be polarizing. Thankfully though, because this is creationism/religion it isn’t bigotry. It’s unfortunate though that evolution has not allowed the development of more polite discourse in this area yet.

  28. gbv23 says:

    teapunk wrote:

    “But you might need a strong religious-right foundation for something like this, so it can grow and I don’t see this happening here, in Germany, religion is between you and your god and more of a private thing.”

    Isn’t the 2nd biggest party in Germany called “the Christian democratic union?”

  29. gnoodles says:

    Sam @3:

    I suspect you’re criticizing Mr. Scalzi for daring to call someone’s beliefs, which you seem to acknowledge are ridiculous, horseshit. While I might agree with you in some circumstances, you’re ignoring a very important point: The people who believe this ridiculous horseshit are currently running our country. They are the ones who got us into Iraq. They are the ones who deny global warming. They are the ones who want to regulate the way you live and what you are taught in school. If PC idiots like you just roll over and let them continue to preach their ridiculous horseshit without bothering to tell them that it’s horseshit, then they will win. You might be willing to live in a theocracy, but personally, I’m not.

  30. rambunctiousrob says:

    Ys Sm, y ‘PC dt’, gt yr ct tgthr, tk stnd fr wht y dn’t blv n.

    Gndls, y wld gldly rglt th lvs f thrs fr ‘glbl wrmng’, ‘m sr, bt y dn’t rcgnz th dbl stndrd. nd y thnk y’r rght, lk crtnsts d.

  31. Teapunk says:

    I’m still utterly fascinated by the simple fact that creationism is really a serious topic of discussion in the USA.
    Of course, I’m comfortably far away in Europe and can enjoy the return of medieval thinking before the enlightenment because it doesn’t really concern me, it’s like watching an avalanche from afar, some kind of “Oh, the funny Americans, what will they think up next!”.
    I’m about as equally baffled that “global warming” is still up for discussion with you.
    Seriously, what will you think up next?

  32. mrfitz says:

    “I never heard this before in school.”

    You never heard ANY philosophy in school. Why? Parents would be upset if their little ones started questioning things on a serious level.

    Just do what I say!

  33. Sus says:

    Dang, I hit “favourite this” twice in my impatience. Please don’t ban me, Teresa? I iz a n00b. *begs*

    I think Mr Scalzi was incredibly brave to go. My head…it would have exploded. We were only discussing the idea of creationism the other day (here, on the other side of the pond) and I was shocked, SHOCKED to learn it’s on the rise (http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,1957858,00.html). *head desk* Oy vey.

  34. GaryG says:

    @Teapunk: I agree to a point (living in Europe too) but then our PM (UKs) goes and says our relationship with the US is our most important one… I worry we’re going to get dragged into all kinds of weird shit (again…)

  35. Teapunk says:

    @GaryG: Yes, well, since Mrs Merkel, my chancellor, took over we try to be best friends forever again with the US.
    I’m afraid the day when someone will start teaching “Intelligent Design” in school might not be too far off. But you might need a strong religious-right foundation for something like this, so it can grow and I don’t see this happening here, in Germany, religion is between you and your god and more of a private thing.
    So the day might not be that close.
    But until then, I can still sit here in wonder and mock all these weird ideas.

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