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Critics Assail Creation Museum

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty went there for the opening and joins us on the line. Barbara, welcome.

BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY: Well, thank you.

INSKEEP: I understand some people are protesting this opening?

HAGERTY: Yes, that's absolutely right. There are quite a number of people, I'd say, you know, 50 people here protesting. And actually, they've got some very, very interesting arguments. And to articulate those let me give you to Lawrence Krauss, who is at Case Western University. Just one sec…

INSKEEP: Oh, by all means, put him on.

Dr. LAWRENCE KRAUSS (Physics, Case Western University): Hello, there.

INSKEEP: Hi, Mr. Krauss. It's Steve Inskeep.

Dr. KRAUSS: How are you doing?

INSKEEP: I'm doing okay. What brought you to the museum today?

Dr. KRAUSS: Well, as a scientist who's interested in really trying to get better science education in the country, it's important to speak out against something that pretends to be an educational institution but in fact is exactly the opposite.

INSKEEP: What do you mean pretends?

Dr. KRAUSS: Really, it's anti-science rather than pro-science. They pretend - in fact, the way science works is that we actually ask the questions of nature, we let nature give the answers. And in this case, this is an institution that claims to know the answers in advance and then pick and choose what they want to hear. And of course that's not the way science is done.

And the young people are going to come here and be confused about science. And we really need to do a better job teaching science, not a worse job. But I think it's important to speak out against nonsense.

INSKEEP: Now, before we got on the phone, we did hear a recorded interview with Ken Ham, the head of the museum, who said, hey, there are certain items in the fossil record that you can read more than one way, and there are different interpretations of the fossil records, some of which might support my point of view. Does he have a point there in that there are some inconsistencies in the record?

Dr. KRAUSS: No, of course they don't have a point. The point is that it isn't just fossil records or evolution; it's everything. Every aspect of science, from physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, everything we know about the universe tells us it's not 6000 years ago. And you can't - if you really believe the Earth is 6000 years old, you shouldn't be driving a car or even listening to the radio, because the same laws of physics that govern those things tell us that the Earth is billions of years old, not thousands of years old.

It's a huge error. It's not a little mistake. It's like trying to measure the length of the United States, and instead of coming up with several thousand miles, coming up with five yards. It's just totally absurd.

INSKEEP: You're going to visit the museum today?

Dr. KRAUSS: I'm going to try. I'm giving a lecture here at the rally and then I'm going to try to take a look at the museum, yes. Actually, I've taken a virtual tour already.

INSKEEP: Okay. Well, thanks very much for talking with us. Can you hand the phone back to Barbara Bradley Hagerty please?

Dr. KRAUSS: I'll hand it back to Barbara, sure.

HAGERTY: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: Hi, Barbara. Just one last question and we're done. Can you give us an idea where this Creation Museum fits into the larger political debate in different parts of the country over creationism, intelligent design, evolution, whatever people want to stand for?

HAGERTY: It's smack in the middle of creationism, but I have to say that creationists are a small subset of the group calling into question evolution. You mentioned intelligent design. Intelligent design does not rely on the Bible. It just says that the world is complex and wonder (unintelligible) there had be a designer. But what creationists do is they actually name the designer. They say it's the God of the Bible, of Genesis, the God of Christianity.

And so creationists are kind of a subset of those who oppose what they would call scientific materialism

INSKEEP: Barbara, thanks very much.

HAGERTY: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty is outside the Creation Museum, which is opening today in Northern Kentucky. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty
Barbara Bradley Hagerty is the religion correspondent for NPR, reporting on the intersection of faith and politics, law, science and culture. Her New York Times best-selling book, "Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality," was published by Riverhead/Penguin Group in May 2009. Among others, Barb has received the American Women in Radio and Television Award, the Headliners Award and the Religion Newswriters Association Award for radio reporting.

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