New Creationist museum in Portsmouth UK

by HB 16 Replies latest social current

  • HB

    It appears that creationist views are gaining a foot-hold here in the UK too.


    Who are the British creationists?

    Adam and Eve

    By Julian Joyce
    BBC News
    altWidely believed in the United States, creationism - the belief that God created the earth and man in six days - is enjoying a resurgence of support in the UK, say its believers and its critics.

    At first glance the Genesis Expo museum, in the naval town of Portsmouth, looks like any other repository of natural history exhibits: fossils of dinosaurs and unusual rock formations.

    But focus on the narrative of the information panels alongside them, and you start to realise this is a museum with a difference - one dedicated to the theory of creationism.

    The revelation that US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin says creationism should be taught in schools, alongside that of evolutionary theory, has raised few eyebrows in the US. An estimated 47% of Americans reject outright Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, accepting instead the Bible's account of the creation of the universe - as laid out in the first chapter of Genesis.

    altaltIf we came from nothing and go into nothing... that encourages people to lead reckless and materialistic lifestylesalt Rev Greg Haslam, Westminster Chapel, London altCall for creationism in science

    But in Britain, where a portrait of Darwin appears on the back of the £10 note, his theory of life evolving from primitive to complex structures by means of natural selection appears to be unchallenged orthodoxy.

    Not so, say those on both sides of the creationist divide - a point amply proved by the existence of the Genesis Expo museum, to date Britain's only creationist museum. The museum is the work of Britain's oldest creationist group, the Creation Science Movement, which has built Genesis Expo to visibly challenge the theory of evolution .

    In its walk-through display, fossils in glass cases purport to show that ancient animals - including man - did not evolve from lower creatures but were instead divinely created "after their kind" (Genesis Chapter 1, verse 21).

    A picture of a landslide-causing volcano is used to counter the scientific understanding that rock strata took millions of years to build up.

    And throughout the display are scattered examples of "intelligent design" - complex creatures that "could not have evolved" as the result of natural selection.

    Gravestone exhibit

    Leading British scientist and author Dr Richard Dawkins has warned of creationist "brainwashing" in the UK - spurred on by an unwillingness of the authorities to offend religious sensibilities. His creationist adversaries say their ideas are beginning to gain wider acceptance within these shores as dissatisfaction grows with "materialist" evolutionary explanations of how life began.

    £10 note The pocket evolutionist - Charles Darwin, on the back of a £10 note

    Museum curator Ross Rosevear describes himself as a "Young Earth" creationist, who believes that the earth was created in six days "less than 10,000 years ago."

    Standing before the museum's prize exhibit - a mock gravestone inscribed: "Here lies the Theory of Evolution" - he rejects as "unreliable" the scientific tests that fix the age of the earth at more than four billion years. While he concedes his convictions are intimately connected with his Christian faith, he insists the evidence presented in the displays could convince even non-believers of the "fatal flaws" in Darwin's theory of evolution.

    "All we are saying is that it is not unreasonable to present an alternative explanation of how life began," he says.

    For some, it's an explanation that has gained a surprisingly wide acceptance in the UK.

    A 2006 survey for the BBC found that more than a fifth of those polled were convinced by the creationist argument. Less than half - 48% - chose evolution.

    And while the Church of England this week issues a formal apology to Charles Darwin, after initially denying his theory, other churches - mostly on the evangelical Christian wing - adhere to old beliefs.

    Growing support

    Justin Thacker, head of theology for the Evangelical Alliance, says research in 1998 found one third of the Alliance church members were "literal six-day creationists." The other two thirds embraced evolutionary theory to a "greater or lesser degree" he says.

    Ross Rosevear British creationist and curator of Genesis Expo, Ross Rosevear

    "Since that survey was done, I'd say fewer of our members are out-and-out creationists - it has become more acceptable to embrace some form of Darwinism," he says.

    But Keith Porteous Wood of the Secular Society is unconvinced.

    "There is no question that creationism is growing," he says. "It is increasingly well funded, and well organised."

    The society says Britain is beginning to follow the lead of the US where supporters and opponents of creationism have joined battle - in the school classroom. Two years ago the government sought to clarify the rules on creationist teaching, following revelations that the head of science at one of its new academies was the director of an anti-evolution pressure group.

    A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families says creationism is not included in the science curriculum because "it has no scientific basis... but it can be discussed in [religious education] lessons".

    Creationist schools

    But that ruling was questioned last week by an influential figure. The Rev Professor Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society, says science teachers ought to be willing to talk about creationism if students bring the subject up.

    He told the British Association Festival of Science in Liverpool that while making clear creationism is not accepted by the scientific community, teachers should convey a message of respect that does not "denigrate or ridicule" children's beliefs.

    altaltCharles Darwin - 200 years from your birth (1809) the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding youalt Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, of CofE's mission and public affairs department altChurch of England - On the origin of Darwin

    It's a sentiment that inflames the anti-creationist lobby, which sees any compromises in the classroom as a betrayal of children's interests.

    "Creationism is anti-science," says Mr Porteous Wood. "Teaching it to children is a form of intellectual child abuse, because it gives them the wrong facts about life." His passionate views echo those of Prof Dawkins, who last month accused teachers of "bending over backwards" to respect "prejudices" that children have been brought up with at home.

    And secular groups also point out that while state school pupils are "protected" from creationist teaching, similar guidelines do not exist to cover children who attend private religious schools - Christian, Jewish and Muslim.

    One such school that teaches creationism as a science is the respected Islamic Karimia Institute in Nottingham.

    "We teach what it says in the Koran, that God created Adam and Eve, and from them came the rest of humanity," says institute director Dr Musharraf Hussain. "We do not teach that man is descended from a lower animal - we say that God created the different species on their own."

    This shared belief in the origins of man - and the universe - is uniting unlikely bedfellows in the anti-evolution cause.

    The Rev Greg Haslam, who preaches the creationist Christian creed to his 400-strong congregation at Westminster Chapel in London, welcomes the determination of Muslims to impart a religious-based view of the world.

    "Science does not have to be taught in conflict with faith or religion," he says. "I believe the current debate over creationism versus evolution is beginning to draw more and people over to our side of the argument

    "The materialist explanation of the creation has nothing to offer - if we came from nothing and go into nothing, then that encourages people to lead reckless and materialistic lifestyles.

    "Evolution is a world-view that leads to futility. It's no wonder people are dissatisfied with it."


    See link above for comments on the article posted by the public.

    Further info about the museum can be seen at or the museum's own website

    I live near Portsmouth so I may go to visit out of curiosity, I am quite interested to see what comments are in the visitors' book that they have not published on the web.

  • HB

    Sorry something went amiss with the pasting, if you want to read the article, best to click the link.

  • drwtsn32
    It appears that creationist views are gaining a foot-hold here in the UK too.

    Sad, but you'll never catch up to the number of morons in the USA!

    Side note... I wish we would put scientists and other notable historical figures on our currency.

  • John Doe
    John Doe
    other notable historical figures

    You really think we don't have notable historical people on our currency?

  • BurnTheShips
    I wish we would put scientists and other notable historical figures on our currency.

    Benjamin Franklin, scientist, statesman, patriot. Not a President.


    The rest of the bills have "notable figures" also. Some of them are not Presidents.

    Hamilton was not a president either.


  • MissingLink

    "Sad, but you'll never catch up to the number of morons in the USA!"

    That sounds like a dare! Bring it on! Morons of the UK show yourself and be counted!

  • drwtsn32

    BTS, Franklin and Hamilton were founding fathers. But your point is valid; I shouldn't have used the term "President." I would like to see more prominent, non-political figures on our currency like other nations do. How about that? ;)

  • Brother Apostate
    Brother Apostate

    That's good news. The only reason that evolution is taught so widely is that it is used as the justification for Marxism, Leninism, Secular Humanism, Atheism, etc- unless the universe created itself, unless man is a god, unless there is no creator, none of those philosophies would stand. Thankfully, their days are limited. As Jesus Christ stated: "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open." -Mark 4:21-22

    BA- The truth shall set you free.

    PS- From heaven God shows how angry he is with all the wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them. God's eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That's why those people don't have any excuse. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark. They claim to be wise, but they are fools. They don't worship the glorious and eternal God. Instead, they worship idols that are made to look like humans who cannot live forever, and like birds, animals, and reptiles. --Romans 1:18-23, Contemporary English Version of the Bible

  • HB
    Morons of the UK show yourself and be counted!

    I have many friends and acquaintances, religious, atheist and all shades in between, but I don't know anyone in the UK who even vaguely believes in Creationism. Seeing how many churches have closed in the UK and observing the general trend towards small and ageing congregations, I do find it hard to believe that it could be getting more popular here.

    I would be interested to know on what basis the claim that Creationism is growing was based. No statistics were given in the article, and the opening of one museum doesn't necessarily represent a huge swell in support. I have no idea of the figures but at a wild guess, if there were say 5000 British creationists last year and 5500 this year, it is technically growing, but not worryingly so (UK population is approx 60 million).

    It would also be interesting to know the demographics, and whether the numbers of Creationists have been augmented by recent immigration. The Portsmouth area where the museum has opened has a large population of Eastern Europeans.

    Charles Darwin's home at Downe in Kent is open to the public and when I visited last year, whilst viewing the rooms and exploring the perimeter path in his garden where he walked to help him think, I noticed a hushed reverence amongst the other visitors of a kind that is normally reserved for great cathedrals and other Holy places. (I guess the experience of visiting Downe House is the UK equivalent of going to Graceland for an American rock n Roll fan).

    In a country where myth and magic have been part of our heritage since well before Stone Henge was built, it is interesting that in the 21st century it is now quintessentially British to be cynical and suspicious about all things spiritual, whereas in America which is a relatively young country, a large proportion of the population are deeply religious.

    Incidentally, when I put < UK Creationists > into Google, (trying unsuccessfully to find out how many exist) Google asked me if I meant 'UK cartoonists', which I thought was telling.

  • MissingLink

    Sorry - I was looking specifically for Morons from the UK.

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