The pseudo-scientific study known as Creationism had a big month of May. First, Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, an evangelical Christian college put out a new declaration of faith, saying that the school’s faculty must believe in Adam and Eve as historical persons. Around 25 percent of the faculty quit instead of signing, and many students are no happier. Then, the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, has acquired the fossilized skeleton of an Allosaurus that it will use to prove that evolution did not happen. The exhibit will put forward the notion that the Allosaurus’s fossilized bones were deposited by the biblical flood.
Bryan College was named for William Jennings Bryan, the prosecutor of the Scopes Monkey Trial. In that trial, occurring in 1925, John Thomas Scopes, a science teacher, was accused of teaching evolution in his class. Bryan was decidedly anti-evolution, believing that the idea contributed to the decline of morality.
Bryan College was founded in 1930, and at the time, the statement of belief stated that humanity’s creation was by “fiat of God”. The statement was changed in February to declare that Adam and Eve were historical people created by God. This leaves less room for interpretation than its predecessor did. Earlier this month, faculty members sued the institution, saying that the trustees had no authority to change the statement. At the end of the academic year, the school’s president was presented with a petition decrying the statement by signed by 700 students. The school’s president says that the statement is only meant to reaffirm the schools creationist tenets, not to change them or make them more binding. Obviously, the students and faculty disagree.
There is no such debate over creationism at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Its tenets are in the name. The museum is dedicated to Creationism and its ideals. Young Earth Creationism is the belief that the world was created in the process related by the people. It is a literal belief in the book of Genesis that says that God created the Earth around 7,000 years ago in a period of six days, after which he rested. This is what the Creation Museum believes, and hopes that its exhibit will convince others of the same, and specifically that this dinosaur proves that the biblical flood was real. The skeleton, named Ebenezer, was supposedly found laying with its bones in perfect anatomical position. the Creation Museum asserts that this means that the dinosaur died suddenly, like in a flood, or The Flood, as it were. The founder of the Creation Museum, Ken Ham, says he was inspired to do this exhibit by walking around other, secular museums and seeing how their exhibits attempted to convince people about evolution, and he wanted his exhibit to convince people about Creationism.
The scientific community has its own problems with the Allosaurus. The skeleton comes from a private donor, the Peroutka Foundation, another outfitted that believes in Creationism. The skeleton does not have enough background information to satisfy actual scientific theory. There is no data on where in the geological record the skeleton was found, what kind of rock surrounds, and the position of the bones. People will just have to take the Creation Museum’s word on its origins.
In all, the month of May was a big month for Creationism. While a chance to reaffirm its beliefs did not go as planned, the movement still has hopes for its miraculous Allosaurus.
By Bryan Levy