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Natural history, Bible-style

Kentucky's Creation Museum, opening May 28, puts dinosaurs in the garden with Adam and Eve.

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For natural history museums, the awesome dinosaur is a star attraction for drawing wide-eyed children and their families. It's surprising, though, to be welcomed at the gate of the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky by two stegosauruses. After all, this brand-new museum is designed to disprove evolution, including the millions of years that science says dinosaurs walked the earth.

For Bible-defending "creationists," God created Earth and all its creatures between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. But they know a drawing card when they see one, and this museum has more than its share of animatronic (moving, teeth-baring, roaring) specimens. In fact, dinosaurs play a big role in this "biblical history": They live not 65 million years ago, but with humans – in the Garden of Eden and on Noah's Ark.

"Dinosaurs are one of the icons of evolution, but we believe they lived at the same time as people," says Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis (AiG), the fundamentalist Christian ministry that built the facility. "The Bible talks about dragons. We believe dragon legends had a basis in truth."

The $27 million museum set on 50 acres opens on Memorial Day, and AiG hopes for 250,000 visitors a year. Mr. Ham, a former science teacher in Australia, is direct about the museum's purpose: to restore the Bible to its "rightful authority" in society.

For many scientists, however, it's distressing. Some 700 scientists at educational institutions in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana have signed a statement deploring the "scientifically inaccurate" exhibits and warning that students who accept them are "unlikely to succeed in science courses."

Erroneous, with 'great flash and dash'


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