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10 November 2010

Creation Museum Prep. Notes

As aforementioned, we're taking a little trip to Winnipeg's very own creation museum this weekend. The Winnipeg Skeptics had a preparatory meeting last week at which we discussed some of the claims made by the museum in detail. I'll post my (very abridged) notes below, which briefly address some of the claims found on the museum's website.

The Paluxy Footprints
  • Many of the footprints are only vaguely hominid.
  • Some appear to have been intentionally altered to appear more human.
  • Many are clear cases of therapod metatarsal footprints with backfilled or eroded phalanges impressions.
  • More information at the Index to Creationist Claims.
  • More information at Wikipedia.

Old Things in New Things
  • There is no evidence that the "London Artifact", a hammer encrusted with calcium carbonate, is more than a few decades old.
  • The Meister Print is not actually a boot- or sandal-print: it is a spall pattern.
  • There is no evidence that an iron cup was actually found in a lump of coal: it was reported decades after the fact, and inaccurately. Would the same credence be given to the many stories of living frogs found encased in stone?
  • The London Artifact at the Index to Creationist Claims.
  • Meister Print at the Index to Creationist Claims.
  • The iron cup encased in coal at the Index to Creationist Claims.
  • Living frogs encased in stone (similar in circumstance to the iron cup encased in coal) at Skeptoid.

Human Evolution
  • Most of these arguments attack the fact that science changes its views based on the evidence at hand. This is a strength of science. When evidence challenges a major scientific theory, both the evidence and the theory are closely examined.
  • The giant axe head on display was almost certainly ceremonial, and is not evidence that human beings used to be giants. Sigh.
  • The caption for one of the Neanderthal images here suggests that since humans used to live many hundreds of years, Neanderthals are actually just old, old dudes. False premise aside, we have examples of young Neanderthals, and Neanderthals display greater bone density than modern humans, rather than less (as would be expected of aged individuals).

Let's take a quick break. I'll quote in full the segment of the site describing the skull of Homo Sapiens Sapiens:

Homo Sapiens Sapiens Skull
This is the skull of the typical person alive today (though many variations exist). Scientists refer to this species as Homo (Man) Sapien Sapien [sic] (wise, wise). In other words, we today are the wise, wise men. We don't think so. Anyone spending all their free time digging in the dirt looking for "missing links" is a fool professing to be wise (Romans 1:22 says, "professing to be wise, they became fools…").

Wow. Poisoning the well, much?

  • The Ta Prohm "Stegasaur" has many key morphological difference[s] from the actual dinosaur in question.
  • Very few of these "dinosaurs" actually look like dinosaurs, and some are clear examples of apophenia.
  • The Ica Stones were exposed as hoaxes in 1973.
  • Humans and dinosaurs at Skeptoid.
  • The Ica Stones at Wikipedia.

The Creation Model
  • Fossils and geological layers are not actually sorted hydrologically or by density.
  • Many of the claims made are "irreducible complexity" standards, which can be explained by scaffolding, co-opting, etc. Go read a book by just about any evolutionary biologist.
  • The evolution of the giraffe is trotted out as irreducibly complex—I suppose the complexity of the eye was too thoroughly refuted—even though Darwin himself addressed this claim, too!
  • I find it amusing that giraffes are used to prove design, when their recurrent laryngeal nerve is actually excellent evidence for evolution. While it only needs to travel a few inches, in a giraffe it is often more than 12 feet long.
  • Hydrological fossil sorting at the Index to Creationist Claims.
  • Irreducible complexity at the Index to Creationist Claims.
  • Giraffe evolution at the Index to Creationist Claims.
  • Recurrent laryngeal nerve in giraffes at Wikipedia.

I'm currently putting the finishing touches on a talk that I'm presenting to the Humanist Association of Manitoba the same day as the museum trip, and I'm already writing my presentation for the next SkeptiCamp Winnipeg (this one's on free will!), so I'm fairly busy—but I imagine that there will be a follow-up post sometime next week.


  1. Okay, now turn your skeptic eyes towards evolution and see if you can find it's errors as well. Unless you are willing to do this you are not true skeptics and are bias, throwing out your whole article as tainted.

  2. And what is the basis for your contention that I accept evolution unskeptically? Evolution is a well-vetted scientific theory which makes testable predictions and is the basis for much of modern biology and medicine. It is independently validated by several fields of science, including (but not limited to) archaeology, geology, and genetics.

    Creationism, on the other hand, is an unfalsifiable religious position that ignores scientific evidence to advance a regressive, anti-intellectual agenda. It has yet to make any testable predictions that I'm aware of, and is scientifically worthless.

    If you would like to present examples of errors with evolution, I would be delighted to examine them. The fact remains, however, that creationists present a false dichotomy in which it is assumed that if evolution were false, creationism must be the answer. This is mere foolishness. Even if evolution did not adequately explain biodiversity, creationism would still be required to meet its burden of proof. I predict that it would remain unable to do so, as it is nothing more than unscientific propaganda and nonsense.