Friday, June 12, 2015

Secular Creationist Museum?

One News Now ran a story claiming that atheists got a school trip to a secular dinosaur museum canceled. That claim seemed very odd and unusual to me, so it's a headline that certainly stood out on my google alerts list. But was there any truth to the headline?
The Glendive School District has bowed down to threats by the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS), which argues that allowing students to take the secular tour at the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum violates the alleged separation of church and state clause of the U.S.
That just doesn't sound right at all. Atheist groups are all for preserving the secular nature of our government and schools. So this claim seems very odd and off the wall to me... Something just doesn't add up. 
The museum, the second-largest dinosaur museum in Montana, is the only one that teaches the biblical account of creation. Operated by the Foundation Advancing Creation Truth (FACT)...
Well there's your problem. A biblical creationist museum is not even close to being secular! Also, I love the irony of the parent organization being called FACT since creationism isn't at all related with the term...
the museum offers public schools a "secular" tour that doesn't promote a biblical account and religious views. This differs from the private sector tours that include teachings on a young Earth, the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans, biblical history and Noah's Ark — all represented through various displays.
Huh, maybe I spoke too soon. So does this museum have a separate religious wing and a scientifically factual wing? If that's the case, maybe there really isn't an issue. (more on that later)
Lincoln Elementary School principal John Larson says the field trip to the museum has been held annually over the past several years with virtually no complaints.
The number of complaints doesn't matter. Illegal is illegal.
 "[The museum gives] a different point of view than kids are exposed to in school," expressed Larson, who noted that even though he never attended a school tour, he has visited the museum and trusts his faculty's professional judgment. "This presents an alternative idea to what kids are going to hear throughout the curriculum. I guess, personally, I'm okay with that."
So Larson is fine with his students receiving information that isn't rooted in fact during school hours? Why is this? Is it because this 'museum' is teaching his personally preferred brand of superstition? Sorry, but a person who can say that they are fine with his students being taught false teachings that are counter to the curriculum as part of a school trip is not fit to be the principal of a public school.
FACT vice president Robert Canen could not understand why the district caved to the atheist group, especially considering the museum has gone out of its way to customize its tours to not promote a biblical worldview.

"[We are] disappointed for the students of our school district," Canen told The Christian Post. "While our museum is based on biblical history and all of our exhibits are set in that context, we provide a tour that focuses on the fossils displayed in the museum and the characteristics of those fossils."
Wait, wait, wait... So the 'secular' tour uses the same exact displays as the religious tour. The students are surrounded by signs and displays promoting creationism and they somehow think this makes it a secular tour? Sorry, that doesn't cut the mustard. Everything is still right there for the kids to read. The placards openly contradict what the children are being (rightfully) taught in the classroom. Standing students next to a large image depicting Noah's flood claiming that it totally happened but
This shit never happened!
stopping just short of pointing it out to the kids does not a secular tour make.
Canen states that the museum based in Glendive, Montana, is careful to not attack the problematic theory of evolution or stress the scientific biblical account.
Um, evolutionary theory is not problematic at all. Maybe Canen's understanding of evolution is problematic. But evolution is about as close to a scientific certainty as is gets. I often find that those that contest evolution are usually those that understand it the least.
"We mention complexity and design, but we stay away from any discussion of the Bible for public school tours," Canen continued. "We understand that our signage refers to special Creation and the biblical timeline, but we don't draw attention to those signs for public school tours."
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge... We have these signs everywhere that promote what we aren't allowed to promote on a  secular tour. But simply not reading them to the kids makes it all okay? What if this school was to hold an art show in a mosk and go there for a fiend trip. The mosk still displays all the usual Muslim displays. Qur'ans are left open and accessible to be read... I can guarantee that most of these Christian parents would be up in arms about that trip, yet the situation is no different than this museum's tour that they hilariously claim to be secular.
"In the past, the Glendive schools have brought students with little or no complaint," Canen contended. "We would encourage people to come to the museum to learn about the message we present and how the fossils fit into the biblical timeline."
Again, the number of complains isn't what matters. It's what's legal that matters. Oh, and how do the fossils fit into a Biblical timeline? If you are using the honest facts, the truth is that they don't come close to fitting into the biblical timeline at all.
AUSCS claimed that a school-run event visiting the creation museum violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Because it does...
teachers explicitly teach Darwinian evolution as the sole explanation for the creation of the universe.
Someone is either quite confused or has been misquoted, because evolution has absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the universe. Evolution is all about the change of, and diversity of life. Universal origins are in the realm of the Big Bang.
"If evolution makes a claim and the claim is refuted by science, then I have no problem saying that, because that's the truth," Kline informed to the Gazette. "We don't make things up here."
This is a fairytale, not science!
Actually, you are making things up. First, evolution has not been refuted or even threatened by science. The more science looks at evolution, the more it is being found to be supported by an unquestionable mass of evidence. Furthermore, creationism has been thoroughly refuted by science, so where is the consistency? Kline is super eager to embrace science threatening evolution, but when it comes to the fact that science has refuted his, and his museum's beliefs/teachings he just looks the other way and ignores the science. To me, that's just dishonest.
Kline says the alternative tours for public schools strictly stick to scientific fact — not religious teaching — but emphasizes that he doesn't lie to students when secular geologic records declare that all animal species appeared at once or that life is simply too complex to be created by chance.
What is this man on about? No secular geological records claim that all species appeared at once, nor do they claim that life is too complex to occur naturally! It sounds to me like Kline is certainly lying to students, or is very very poorly educated on the topics that he is talking about...
Kline explains that he only mentions the biblical account if students directly ask them about topics that can't avoid it — such as fossil ages, which can be explained by a global flood.
Sorry, I don't buy it. In my experience, I've found that creationists of Kline's ilk are all too eager to shoehorn their beliefs in whenever they get the slightest chance... Especially when it comes to trying to convert or recruit new believers. As for the claim of fossil ages being explained by a global flood. This is again completely false. And any attempt to do so requires completely ignoring all the factual evidence that we already have at hand.
"It's perfectly legitimate for me to do so, because it's not the teacher who asked me, it's not the bus driver who asked me," Kline said. "The student is not a representative from the school."
Wrong again buckaroo! By leading a school field trip, Kline is acting as a representative of the school. As a representative of the school, you must also abide by the standards of the curriculum. If leading a school field trip and sticking to the facts is a problem, then Kline shouldn't lead these tours.
"Apparently, a few disgruntled individuals in our community have precedence over your permission for your child to attend," the faculty's letter reads. "Big city issues have come to Glendive."
To borrow a line from the amazing movie Hot Fuzz, "With respect sir, geographical location
shouldn’t factor in the application of the law." Also, no one is saying that children can't go there, just that the school can't take them. If a parent wants to take their child to a terrible museum on the weekend, these parents are perfectly able and allowed to.

So the answer to this whole issue is very simple. Follow the law. If they want to take their kids on a fun trip to learn about dinosaurs, then just take them to the another museum. There are several dinosaur museums in the state, and there is even another one in the same town for crying out loud!

-Brain Hulk

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