March 28, 2007


It will not be at all surprising to anyone familiar with these issues that creationists are capable of astounding levels of self-deception, but it is in the projection of their flaws that they appear to truly excel. The head-slapping, jaw-dropping degrees of irony that can be reached in these exchanges often leave one speechless. For the most part, the word “irony” is sufficient to capture the circumstance (wags often invoke the ill-fated “irony-meter,” a mythical contraption that is often taxed to, and beyond, its limits by creationist logic).

But some bouts of hypocrisy strain the concept such that it may compel orthographers and lexicographers to create a word that goes beyond “irony.” For an example, let's consider Answers in Genesis' (AiG) soon to open Creation Museum.

This is not going to be some middling effort such as the Institution for Creation Research’s (ICR) little museumette in Santee California or Kent Hovind’s loopy Dinosaur Adventure Land. This is big time entertainment, complete with “a series of huge model dinosaurs, built by the former head of design at Universal Studios, which are portrayed as existing alongside man, contrary to received scientific opinion that they lived millions of years apart” according to one news release. This museum is projected to cost about 25 million (US) and is being touted as “the world's first significant natural history collection devoted to creationist theory.”

AiG has worked hard to put on display the best and most rigorous of creationist "scholarship." According to their website, “Although the Bible gives the ‘big picture’ of what happened and when it happened, we’ve taken on the huge challenge of bringing that picture to life. Although the Bible isn’t specific about a lot of these things, we’ll take what we do know from observation of today’s world and the history in Genesis, and combine it with lots of ‘sanctified imagination’ (based on biblical principles).” Said Ham, who expects to expose not just the converted but the curious to his version of natural history, "The evolutionary elite will be getting a wake-up call."

Now, although the foregoing may be enough to produce some mild vertigo it only hints at the dizzying heights of irony to follow. For also to be found on the AiG site is Who’s transforming our society? The amazing legacy of an ET populist by Gary Bates. This 2005 article bewails the funding and development of Erich von Daniken’s (yes, the Chariots of the Gods guy) huge “Mystery Park” in Switzerland (the park has since closed). Why was this a problem for evangelicals? Apparently the park was a “project that discredits the God of the Bible with nonsense” (does this leave one free to assume that Bates is happier when the God of the Bible is discredited with sense?). Von Daniken, according to Bates, “believes that the God/god(s) worshipped in the Bible and other religions drove a flying saucer, supposedly witnessed by Ezekiel during his vision in Ezekiel 1:1–28.” This notion, along with other “way out ideas” comprises a corpus of concepts that Bates fretfully admits he assumed “would fade away."

The whole idea of this park was just too much for Bates who, without a hint of irony, refers to the Mystery Park as a “worrisome transformation of fantasy into fact.” He goes on to say, “I am distraught at the enormous amounts of money that von Däniken was able to raise…” And von Daniken is not the sole transgressor. Apparently only the AiG museum can claim the wholesome bearing of theological neutrality, for according to Bates, “Unlike evolutionary museums and theme parks, AiG’s museum is not backed by major corporations or millions of ET believers worldwide, eager to see their religious views transform society.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Some events are so extreme as to defy parody. And some words simply cannot capture the stupefying reality of utterly blissful ignorance. "Irony" just doesn't seem to cover it. I think, in order to crack this particular nut, the orthographers are going to have to go beyond mere professional expertise.

Perhaps if they mix in a little “sanctified imagination…?”


Blogger RBH said...

Courtesy of Spider Robinson: A felon is one who commits felonies. God is an iron.

6:45 PM  
Blogger RLC said...

Ahh, I like it (and is that a great name or what?).

8:32 AM  

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