Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Walking with Dinosaurs

The irony started with the front page of the Globe & Mail this morning.

A man who earns his living in the oil and gas fields of Alberta extracting the end product of biomass millions of years old (starting around 418-355 million years ago in the Devonian Period) has just opened what he calls a "Creation Science" museum, dedicated to the proposition that the earth is only a little over 6,000 years old, that Noah's flood actually occurred, and that mankind walked the earth with dinosaurs.

What's the rationale? Faith - specifically faith in a literalist interpretation (as well as some spectacularly creative leaps of faith) of Genesis. So, what about science and evolution? Well ...

Evolution, he claims, is a faith, just like creationism.

Sorry to burst the literalist bubble, but evolution is both a fact and a theory. Evolution is certainly not faith-based in the way that religious speculation about origins is faith-based. In the case of Creation Science, the entire edifice of so-called creationism and intelligent design is based on the presupposition that the biblical accounts are authoritative literally.

The museum in Big Valley, Alberta is small is comparison with another recent creation science museum that opened in Kentucky (the slogan says it all - "Prepare to believe."). The point of that multi-million dollar, 60,000 square-foot museum is to bring "the pages of the Bible to life." I mean, after all, who needs science when you can read the Bible?

If you go to either the Canadian or American museum, you will discover that man once walked with dinosaurs - no, I don't mean the obvious, that scientists walk around with creationists - that T. Rex was once a vegetarian who walked about the Garden of Eden. Or, that velociraptors were once friendly creatures; who knows, they might even have been domestic pets for Adam and Eve.

But the irony doesn't end there. Later in the day, as I was reading about the Toronto Raptors on Mike Ulmer's blog - yes, those friendly, albeit gigantic athletes who earn millions of dollars per year - I discovered an ad on their homepage for, you guessed it, Walking with Dinosaurs, an exhibit soon to arrive at the Air Canada Centre.

So, take your pick - go out to Big Valley and take in a little religious fantasy before heading on to the Royal Tyrrell Museum nearby in Drumheller, or wait until August and visit the ACC. In either case, you'll be walking with dinosaurs.

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