I first found out about the Institute for Creation Research years back when a photo album was published online and had a good laugh, adding it to my bucket list of weird places I’d like to eventually visit. The only problem is, it’s somewhere in Bumshart, Nowhere, and I really can’t be bothered to drive that far to ride some dinosaurs around statues of a naked Adam and Eve.
Or so I thought. It turns out, you see – that there was an earlier creation museum, and that the Institute for Creation Research actually started off here in California, in San Diego to be exact – around half an hour from where I’m living. It was only in 2008 when the museum moved and increased in size when it relocated cross country. The good news is the old museum was left behind and sold to the owners of the laboratory behind it.
This place was well worth the $7 we spent visiting, not for educational purposes, but for the sheer batshit insane nature of it. These aren’t your ordinary every day Christians who go to Church occasionally and see scripture as something to be interpreted rationally. These are the types who view the bible as the literal word of a God and infallible. Ironically however they still appear to pick and choose the sections of the Bible to take literally (I saw Levicitcus for instance shown as an example of truth in one picture on the wall), and haven’t been smitten by the angry hand of their god for wearing mixed linens as per Leviticus 19:19.
Luckily – we were the only people there, allowing us to laugh our way through the exhibits without being kicked out by the staff who were being indoctrinated via podcast at the front desk.
As others have noted, this place is a wall of text, with boxes of flyers filled with their pseudoscientific, stone age rantings masquerading as science and history everywhere, all with a recommended donation of 25c per copy. The weirdness is right up there with the bizarre “War Museum” I visited at Kanchanaburi in Thailand that also featured stamp collections and topless photos from the 1970s. A lot of money has been spent on this place and I’m sure it would be quite convincing if you’d been homeschooled in a trailer park in Santee (“Klantee” as it’s known to locals) and spent your Sunday’s listening to sermon’s about how abortion and immigration are going to lead to the end times. For those of us who have a basic grasp of world history, science, and well anything – it’s completely and utterly insane. This is not your every day Natural History museum.
Your journey down the rabbit hole starts with your pretty bog standard creationist mumbo jumbo and circular logic. The bible is 100% correct because it’s the word of God, we know it’s the word of God because it’s written in the Bible. Then it starts to get really, really fun. They argue that the Bible is to be taken literally, after all – if you can’t take one part seriously, why should you take any of it seriously at all (well at least that’s one part I can agree with them on). The museum then attempts to reconcile what was written by barely literate nomads 1000-2500 years ago in a small area of desert in the middle east with the last couple of thousand years of historical knowledge and scientific advancements. Remember, absolutely nothing is up to interpretation. Heck, even the Roman Catholic’s have moved on from this and concede that the Bible isn’t to be taken 100% seriously – and they were the OG crew.
The focus is on the Book of Genesis, essentially that:
- The world was created by a (male it seems) God as per the King James Bible (and not any of the other pesky tomes, or other translations).
- The world was created in 7 days.
- The world is somewhere between 5,000-10,000 years old.
- This is science bitch.
Things get weirder the further down the rabbit hole you go. They take a different interpretation than some fundamentalist Christians might come when it’s to do with Dinosaurs. No, they weren’t put there as fossils to “test our faith”. Their answer is much better than that. In fact, these Dinosaurs roamed the earth alongside man prior to the “Fall” (that’s where Eve, that dirty harlot ate an apple and pissed on the world for the rest of us). Prior to the fall, there was no illness, no death, heck even T-Rex was a Vegan. It was only after the fall that things started going down hill. And to think, Godless heathens these days give women the vote.
The museum continues on, to describe what happened in the completely historically accurate (it says so in the Bible) descriptions of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood (which was apparently also in the historical records, i.e. myths of a variety of other cultures, therefor – the Biblical record, and not the myths of the other cultures, must also be 100% true as well).
The museum goes on to describe how two of every single creature or living being, including the extinct dinosaurs, that is to say, the beings that lived on this planet between 65 million and 230 million years ago were taken onto the ark two by two. This also included snakes, giraffes, plant seeds – basically EVERYTHING that is alive today (because after all, evolution doesn’t exist, so they needed everything). Yes, that is what appears to be a Triceratops in a modern style animal packing crate on the Ark.
These guy’s would have been very, very disappointed by the lack of dinosaurs in the recent film Noah. Of course, that’s without taking into account the copious amount of shit these animals would create, the fact that a hell of a lot of them were carnivorous and would die on a plant based diet, basic hygiene requirements or even the space involved. It becomes hard to tell if the so called “educated” people behind this operation are crazy, brainwashed or just plain stupid.
The museum then goes on to explain why palaeontologists don’t know shit about Fossils, because – well, the Bible says so. How carbon dating is incorrect and more fun facts. The great news though, is that kids can whack a hammer and pretend to build an Ark, just like Noah did!
We are then reminded about how Dinosaur’s continue to roam the earth right up until the current day, because, well – Nessie and Dragons of course, and a “sea monster” caught off my own home countries coast in 1977 (they get the dates incorrect in their signs), even though it’s been proven decades ago that it was a rotting carcase of a basking shark. But hey, who needs facts when you have the bible and are comfortable simply making shit up to suit your delusions. And yes, these guys do actually think that those tales of Saint George slaying a dragon in the middle ages, were in fact him killing a (presumably) fire breathing dinosaur. Of course, there are also 600 year old images of Mickey Mouse in Austria, predating Walt Disney – I still await a creationist museum to disprove the history of the Magic Kingdom.
The stupid in this place. It hurts.
Clearly I was no Saint George so I ran yelling and screaming from the very stationary T-Rex into the depths of their “museum”. Things got even weirder.
You see, they also have a wonderful section on the ice age. Scientists are wrong when it comes to this as well it didn’t happen 110,000-12,000 years ago. After all, what would they know, they weren’t relying on the facts of the Bible, just using their “faith” in godless “science”. Apparently the ice age happened after the fall of man, after the great flood and after the destruction of the tower of Babel. The ice age wasn’t that bad in the holy lands however, because it was only mentioned as slightly cold in winter in the Bible.
Their history of how people and races got established around the world is bizarre as well. They make the argument that Neanderthals were merely another ethnic group of Humans that spread out after the great flood, that’s right they were descendants of Adam and Noah (I’m going to assume that they were practising Jews as well then). They also claim that they were smarter than modern man, because of their larger skulls and are basically (yes this is insanely fucking racist) the same as Eskimos.
I started to lose a bit of interest when they made the claim that all races and languages originated from the tower of Babel and the diaspora after the flood (of course all these races were clearly inferior as they were unbelievers). It’s simply too much to take in on a single visit without the urge to crack up laughing and get kicked out by their security. By this stage Sarah’s jaw was hitting the ground and she clearly wanted to leave.
They go on to describe various parts of human history, which are almost factually correct, before jumping headfirst into batshit insane territory again. They make claims that millions are being killed due to evolutionary thinking, and believing in evolution is akin to Genocide on a wide scale. They make the claim that the Holocaust is basically Darwin’s fault and that there wouldn’t be racism if it wasn’t for evolutionists (yet one of their booklets curiously blames the existence of Black people due to the eating of ham – honestly I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried).
Next up on our adventure we enter their section on Human anatomy, which according to one visitor who writes for Vice, is almost lifted word for word off the internet, with a few additions when it comes to things that don’t quite fit the scripture. I didn’t take any pictures in here, because well – there weren’t any dinosaurs in cages. This was the least insane part of the whole adventure.
Sadly, this section on the human anatomy also teaches complete and utter bollocks when it comes to statistics about abortion, and worse – they appear promote the complete and utter quackery that is Vitamin C therapy as a cancer treatment. This place is about as anti science and as anti history as one can possibly get. Fun to laugh at, but scary when you think that school children actually go here on field trips.
Yes. People actually believe this shit here. And yes, it’s very common. And yes, it’s quite scary when you think about it. Afterwards we decided to drive to good old rainbow flagged gay Hillcrest and walk around Balboa Park for a bit to let it all sink in. We ended up in the old mission, surrounded by – you guessed it, born again Christians, Muslims and Hare Krishnas all trying to convert us to their chosen “faith”. Walking down we spotted something rarer than Unicorn Penis in the states, a booth run by Atheists, they had a chuckle at our photos before receiving torrents of abuse from locals in God Loves America T-shirts. Ahhh, the land of the free.
We finished up the day watching Bill Maher’s excellent documentary “Religulous”.. the only thing you can do after so much insanity.