Monday, 11 June 2007

When Museums Make You Stupid

I rarely go to museums, generally because they are just so inaccessible, even during weekends. But when I do, I expect an education. So it's funny (at first) to have museums dedicated to wilful stupidity.

John Scalzi, the sci-fi writer who has a reputation for "taunting the tauntable", has been mercilessly egged on by his readers and colleagues to visit and write about the shrine to the Darwin-bashing ideology that emerged from the soul-searching that came about when Americans realised that not everybody loves them.

Among the revelations put forth by the institution are the fact that the earth is actually 6,000 years old, as opposed to the 4.5 billion I read about when I was a kid; there were no such things as "predators"; and that all animals were vegetarians until Adam and Eve were chased out of Eden.

And the fearsome tyrannosaurus rex once ate coconuts.

I'm staring to pity the once-fabled king of dinosaurs. First were the theories that it wasn't the super predator of the Cretaceous, but a plodding, over-sized reptilian vulture. Then they discovered that its descendant might be the lowly chicken. Now this. Talk about libelling the dead.

While I did have a good laugh over the Photoshopping done by Scalzi's readers, amusement soon gave way to rage. It's one thing to lobotomise yourself and replace that grey matter with the Scriptures. When you try to do that to other people (ostensibly, to "save" them from eternal damnation), it's another matter entirely.

Like it or hate it, the US has contributed a lot to our understanding of science and the world around us. When a community rejected the inclusion of Creationism in their schools (to Pat Robertson's chagrin), I cheered. Loudly. So it's quite a wrench for me to watch these self-righteous tripe-peddling loons take advantage of the freedom of speech to tell the world just how weird they are, and that their weirdness is truth.

Religion and politics is a dangerous mix, as we can see in the news. Religion and knowledge is only slightly less so. A line must be drawn in the sand between the two, and right now.

6 comments:

  1. But that's just the thing, yes? By its very nature, freedom of speech will always be open to abuse. And that's the risk we take for that privillege.

    Still, that museum is as you put it... funny (at first). Sighs...

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  2. Kenny Mah: Let's hope nobody has any ideas of setting up a "museum" like that here. I'd rather have the funds go to giant plastic flowers in the middle of some roundabout.

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  3. I just got back from Singapore museums. You should check them out before you decide not to like museums :)

    I'm even wondering if I should invest in the annual pass and go back again.

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  4. Sneexe: Well, hell-lo there. What made you decide to drop in?

    I'm OK with museums. I just don't feel like going to them. There is a difference.

    I'll have no doubt that museums there are of better quality. I just never made the most of my trips there, and I can't be assed to renew my passport.

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  5. oh. Well, I forgot your URL, but Bunny gave it to me again yesterday. It's conveniently saved at the links list on my page now, so I'll be dropping by.

    Didn't know there were local poetry readings either. Interesting.

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  6. Sneexe: It's not all poetry. Readings was meant to encourage all kinds of writing.

    ..."Caustic Crab"? Don't answer that 8-) Thanks for dropping by.

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