Well, yet another monument to human stupidity has opened its doors to the paying public. It reminds me of the Mencken character in Inherit the Wind: “Darwin was wrong — man is still an ape, and his creed is still a totem pole.”
Ken Ham’s Creation Museum has provoked the reality-based community to put fingers to keys. PZ Myers has collected their writings, providing a long, long list of links and excerpts. The National Center for Science Education has also collected reactions to Ken Ham’s museum.
Funnily enough, I just picked up a paperback copy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (2001), from a friend who’s jettisoning her fiction before moving to California, sunny land of graduate schools. In this novel, Gaiman presents his own theory of American roadside attractions:
“It’s perfectly simple,” said Wednesday. “In other countries, over the years, people recognized the places of power. Sometimes it would be a natural formation, sometimes it would just be a place that was, somehow, special. They knew that something important was happening there, that there was some focusing point, some channel, some window to the Immanent. And so they would build temples or cathedrals, or erect stone circles, or. . . well, you get the idea.”
“There are churches all across the States, though,” said Shadow.
“In every town. Sometimes on every block. And about as significant, in this context, as dentists’ offices. No, in the USA, people still get the call, or some of them, and they feel themselves being called to from the transcendent void, and they respond to it by building a model out of beer bottles of somewhere they’ve never visited, or by erecting a gigantic bat house in some part of the country that bats have traditionally declined to visit. Roadside attractions: people feel themselves being pulled to places where, in other parts of the world, they would recognize that part of themselves that is truly transcendent, and buy a hot dog and walk around, feeling satisfied on a level they cannot truly describe, and profoundly dissatisfied on a level beneath that.” (pp. 117–18)
Makes you wonder if Ken Ham’s festival of flibbertigibits was built on an ancient Indian burial ground.
Go ahead, read through the Carnival. There’s some great snark in there, and good treatments of the facts.
They headed west, Reef propelled by his old faith in the westward vector, in finding someplace, some deep penultimate town the capitalist/Christer gridwork hadn’t got to quite yet. . . .
— Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day (2006)