The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Creation Museum Running Out of Cash and Going Extinct?

Posted by mattusmaximus on June 23, 2013

[**Update (6-25-13): It seems this blog post has come to the attention of none other than Ken Ham himself, who runs the Creation Museum.  If you are interested, you can read his response on his Facebook page.]

In an interesting, though not very surprising, development, it seems the Creation Museum in Kentucky is running out of money.  And it seems the problem is that, like creationism itself, there is nothing new or different about the exhibits at this “museum”. The irony is that Ken Ham and other creationists claim the Creation Museum is doing scientific work which proves creationism to be true, yet since the place opened 5 years ago nothing has changed and no new “creation science” research has appeared.

Creation_museum_triceratops_saddleNo actual scientific research, but your kids can “ride a dinosaur” just like Fred Flintstone did!  No wonder these morons are going out of business. Image source

My skeptical colleague Donald Prothero over at Skepticblog.com breaks this down into more interesting and revealing detail…

… In an earlier post, I discussed the decline in attendance and loss of money from Ken Ham’s “creation museum” in Kentucky. Now eventhey must pay attention to the problem, since the declining attendance has put a crimp in their budget and brought the fundraising for their “Ark encounter” to a standstill. Their problem, as I outlined before, is that their exhibit is 5 years old now and has not changed, so most of the local yokels who might want to visit it have done so. There’s no point to making the long trip and seeing the expensive “museum” again if there’s nothing new to see. (Unlike real science museums, which must change exhibits constantly not only to boost repeat attendance, but to reflect the changes in scientific thinking). As Mark Joseph Stern wrote on Slate.com:

“There could be another explanation, though. A spectacle like the Creation Museum has a pretty limited audience. Sure, 46 percent of Americans profess to believe in creationism, but how many are enthusiastic enough to venture to Kentucky to spend nearly $30 per person to see a diorama of a little boy palling around with a vegetarian dinosaur? The museum’s target demographic might not be eager to lay down that much money: Belief in creationism correlates to less education, and less education correlates to lower income. Plus, there’s the possibility of just getting bored: After two pilgrimages to the museum, a family of four would have spent $260 to see the same human-made exhibits and Bible quote placards. Surely even the most devoted creationists would consider switching attractions for their next vacation. A visit to the Grand Canyon could potentially be much cheaper—even though it is tens of millions of years old.”

So how did they deal with the attendance dilemma? Did they open some new galleries with “latest breakthroughs in creation research”? (No, that’s not possible because they don’t do research or learn anything new). No, they opted for the cheap and silly: make it into an amusement park with zip lines. Apparently, flying through the air for a few seconds suspended from a cable is the latest fad in amusements, so the Creation “Museum” has to have one to draw the crowds—and hope they can suck in a few visitors to blow $30 a head or more to see their stale old exhibits as well. Expect that by next year they’ll be a full-fledged amusement park with roller coasters and Tilt-a-whirls, just like so many other “Biblelands” do across the Deep South. [emphasis added]

And what do ziplines have to do with creationism? As usual, they have a glib and non-responsive answer:

Zovath’s response to the museums critics who wonder how zip lining fits with their message?

“No matter what exhibit we add, the message stays the same,” Zovath said. “It’s all about God’s word and the authority of God’s word and showing that all of these things, whether it’s bugs, dinosaurs or dragons – it all fits with God’s word.”

I was hoping for something more imaginative and relevant, like “zip lines make you feel like an angel flying down from heaven.”

Wow… so the Creation Museum, once-heralded as the bane of modern evolutionary science and other wickedness, is starting down the road of turning into a Bible version of Disneyland.  I just have to chuckle at this turn of events, because it seems as if, by failing to change and – dare I say – evolve thereby adapting to its economic situation, the Creation Museum may very well go extinct.

Good riddance.

11 Responses to “Creation Museum Running Out of Cash and Going Extinct?”

  1. Dale Husband said

    Reblogged this on Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants and commented:
    The Creation Museum may be declining, but as long as it turns even a slight profit, the Creationist bigots will keep it running for many years to come.

  2. limey said

    You made it onto Ken Ham’s FB page. Clearly you’re worth commenting on!

  3. Andres said

    Nice try, but completely untrue. The creation museum posts their finances online, as required by law and they are far from running out of money. Since they opened 5 years ago, they have open several high tech new labs (insect exhibit, Lucy, homology, dragon legend, zip lines and a few more things). Listen, I get it, you dislike Christianity and hate the fact many chose to believe and follow Jesus Christ, but openly lying about it only discredits you. Maybe this is why is so hard for some to believe in intelligent design, because of their like of investment of intelligent thoughts into their comments.

    • mattusmaximus said

      You consider a “high tech lab” that conducts scientific research to be an exhibit on dragon legends and zip lines? Seriously, that’s the *best* you’ve got? Good luck with that.

      And, btw, my comments and blog posts have nothing to do with me “hating Christianity”; it has to do with the fact that you and other YECs are muddling with things by passing off nonsense as science when it clearly isn’t. There are a number of your fellow Christians – my wife included among them – who think that people like you and Ken Ham do a strong disservice to the faith by attempting to read Genesis as a science book. Those critics are hardly atheists.

      In closing, I’ll pass along some advice from Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430), one of the founders of the Christian church:

      “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

      Long story short: the more pseudoscientific nonsense you talk, the more you’ll drive people like me away from the faith. And that’s coming from Saint Augustine, one of the founders of your own religion.

  4. JimG said

    I do hope they name the zip line “Suspension of Disbelief.”

  5. Reblogged this on Jesse Talks Back and commented:
    This is wonderful, love this blog post.

  6. I wonder why you would post a comment that states the Creation Museum “has not changed” over the years and is stale? See this recent blog:

    http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2013/07/07/crowds-continue-to-flock-to-the-creation-museum/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+KenHam+%28Around+the+World+with+Ken+Ham%29

    I’ve been to the Creation Museum 6 times and there’s always something new to see.

    Also, museum staff say revenue is virtually unchanged year to year, except for the first year when attendance was the highest (as is the situation for new attractions). These are pretty good figures in a nasty economy when even the great Field Museum is having big financial problems. I realize you may just move the goal posts and attack the museum in some other way, but I would appreciate a comment from you about the wrong information about the museum supposedly being stale (in light of the blog I linked to above) and is financially struggling when it actually continues to grow. (I have visited often, and every few months the museum somehow manages to come up with the funds to open impressive new high-tech exhibits.) Museums like the one in Kentucky that are constantly expanding and spending a lot of money on promotion (like a major billboard campaign right now) are strong ones.

    Thank you,
    Tony Breeden
    DefGen.org

    • mattusmaximus said

      A more thorough analysis of the Creation Museum’s publicly available finance reports for the last few years – which you can find at http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2012/12/pts-year-end-re.html – seem to disagree with the overly rosy picture that Ken Ham insists upon painting. When you go from a surplus of $2.1 million to a deficit of $540,000 in three years time, it’s not good financial news.

  7. […] Creation Museum Running Out of Cash and Going Extinct? […]

  8. […] Will the creation “Museum”‘ go extinct? […]

  9. […] posted before (here and here) about the troubles the Creation Museum has had in securing funding for its Ark Encounter […]

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