The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Cincinnati's No. 1 tourist attraction

May 23rd, 2005 · No Comments · media

Chuckle de jour: Ohio’s Creationism Museum

There must be something in the water in those midwest states. Maybe an overdose of chemical fertilizers and bovine hormones in the water or something, right? After you’re done laughing at this outrageous fool, consider his museum in the context of dadaist art.

Every museum display is a combination of error and fact. Display designers must choose their priorities carefully so that important elements are as accurate as possible, while unknown or unproven elements are left to chance. Any display of anthropological significance will show, underlying the presentation, the biases and preconceptions of the designer. We may have come to expect the diorama or textile display to appear in one of a few common arrangements. Perhaps we, the museum-going public, rely on these short-hand provided by these similarities to allow the presentation to be accepted as “fact”.

By overtly creating a display in the “scientific-museum” format, without actually relying on accepted science or even an internally consistent logic, we are forced to re-examine the shorthand we use to so cavalierly accept typical museum displays as an accurate representation of “truth”. We’re not supposed to look at Ken Ham’s museum and suddenly believe in creationism — we’re supposed to come away with a general distrust of the information provided by the academic establishment.

This may not be an entirely bad thing.

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