Saturday, February 21, 2009


Creative Naming

Akron Fossils & Science Center.

Sounds impressive, doesn't it? Not so much:

It's a small, one-story building at the corner of Cleveland-Massillon and Minor roads, a couple of miles south of Copley Circle. If you go inside and look around, you will discover a paean to creationism.

The ''science'' being taught includes a huge display quoting the Book of Genesis and purporting to show that scientific research confirms every word of the Scripture.

Impressionable youngsters are being taught that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, rather than the 4.5 billion years estimated by the world's scientists. Humans and dinosaurs walked the planet at the same time, according to the displays.
The reporter on the story, Bob Dyer, asks an obvious question:

[I]f they truly believe what they espouse, why not call the place ''the Akron Creation Museum'' or ''the Akron Intelligent Design Center''?
The answer will give your jaw some exercise:

Josiah Detwiler, the center's operations director, says there's no need for that because his group deserves equal time.

''When you go to the Natural History Museum, it doesn't say, 'The Natural History Museum of Evolution,' '' he says. ''Of course, they're presenting the evolution model of origins there. And so we're making a statement here that, you know, we are presenting science.'' ...

''We're equally as legitimate of an explanation, and that's why we focus the first half of the museum on the science, because the science backs up a supernatural creation,'' he says.
But, wait a minute, weren't we just treated to the instruction by the big brother of Akron Fossils & Science Center (annual visitors, approximately 3,000) not to go the "evidentialism" route and, instead assert "presuppositionaliam?" Hold on:

He claims evolution is a faith-based approach as well, ''because there are unexplainable aspects to it. . . . ''
Ah! Different train, same station.

Unfortunately, at least one public school was suckered into taking field trips there ... for a time:

[Copley High School Assistant Superintendent Brian] Poe says flatly, as of last year, ''we do not take field trips to the Akron Fossils & Science Center.''
In addition, local organizations in Ohio, such as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Center Of Science and Industry in Columbus and the Akron Zoo have all donated tickets to fundraising events for the Akron Fossils & Science Center.

In the end, Mr. Dryer hits the creationist nail on the head. Quoting a brochure for the place:

''Our teachers are eager to help your student learn more about the beauty and order of creation!''
... his reporter's instincts take over:

Most of us spend a lifetime trying to bring order to things that aren't orderly. But that doesn't mean we can.

Four or five years ago a group of us from Ohio Citizens for Science took a field trip to that "museum." It was truly execrable. It had reproductions of the worst creationist bits of "evidence." The presuppositional and "worldview" claims mentioned in the story were prominent, of course.

One professor I know occasionally takes her history of science class from Case Western Reserve there to show the students just how bad it can get.

Somewhere I think there's a cache of pictures from our field trip. I'll dig around and see if I can find them online.
One professor I know occasionally takes her history of science class from Case Western Reserve there to show the students just how bad it can get.

What a perfect educational use of the place!
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