Skip to comments.Museum group sued by fellow creationists
Posted on 06/17/2007 12:56:37 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
There is trouble in paradise, with a fight of biblical proportions raging between a Kentucky-based creationist group and the Australian group from which it sprang.
Three days after the Memorial Day opening of Answers in Genesis' $27 million Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky, a group called Creation Ministries International filed suit in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
Among other things, the suit claims the Kentucky group stole subscribers for its Answers magazine by claiming that the Australians' Creation magazine was "no longer available."
The suit is the most public move in what has been a growing rift between groups that are spreading the same Garden of Eden creation message on opposite sides of the globe.
Both groups believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, that the earth and everything else was created in six days around 6,000 years ago.
But in the last several years, they have increasingly feuded about finances and power.
Now each is accusing the other of acting in an "unbiblical" fashion -- a serious charge for people who believe that the Bible is God's infallible word.
"All I'll tell you is those allegations are totally preposterous and untrue," Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis, said in a brief interview last week. "The Bible tells you not to have a lawsuit against your brother, so you can see who's obeying the Bible and who's not."
But a retired Australian judge who chaired a committee that investigated the dispute issued a 40-page report in April that laid all the blame on Ham and his organization.
Clarrie Briese, a former chief magistrate of New South Wales, wrote that the evidence was "overwhelmingly supportive" of CMI. He added that AiG and Ham "will doggedly continue to deny any wrongdoing on their part."
Ham, an Australian who came to the United States in 1987, has told an Australian newspaper that he considers the committee to be "a kangaroo court."
Although money is at the root of the lawsuit, personalities and power apparently play a large role in the rift.
Jim Lippard, an Arizona atheist and blogger who has been following various creation groups since the early 1990s, characterizes Ham as "a very charismatic and forceful person."
"My impression is that AiG is Ham's organization," Lippard said in an interview. "He wants to run it his way, and if anyone else wants to interfere with that ... he will do whatever he can to get that person out of the way."
Ham, 55, was born in Queensland and taught high school science there. He quit in the 1980s to establish a creationist organization that later became known as the Creation Science Foundation.
Twenty years ago, the foundation sent Ham to California, where he joined the Institute for Creation Research.
In 1994, Ham arrived in Northern Kentucky -- chosen for its proximity to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and a sizable portion of the nation's population -- and started Answers in Genesis.
The name was adopted by the Australian organization, which later changed its name again to Creation Ministries International.
It is CMI that is suing AiG.
In Kentucky, Ham began planning for his Creation Museum. The first order of business: building a financial base.
He spoke at churches. He conducted seminars. He launched a popular Web site. He started a radio program that eventually would be carried on 860 stations across the country.
All this allowed him to create a mailing list of people who were willing to give money. When the museum opened, it was paid for. Mark Looy, another AiG leader, said the average contribution to the $27 million effort was a little more than $100.
The high-tech museum features dozens of professionally done videos and displays that depict animatronic people and dinosaurs living side-by-side.
It opened to large crowds of believers, a smaller group of scientists and atheists who were protesting, and worldwide publicity.
But trouble with CMI had already been brewing for some time.
Dr. Carl Wieland, 57, a physician who began Australia's first creationist group in 1977, runs the Australian group. He and Ham worked together in Australia and have co-authored books on creationism.
Their relationship, at least on the surface, continued to be good until 2004, the Briese report said.
Then Wieland and others sent a letter to the U.S. group, saying AiG seemed top-heavy in administrators, and was vulnerable because of a growing focus on Ham instead of the ministry's message.
The letter suggested reforms that would have reduced Ham's power.
The Briese report includes excerpts from a recording of Wieland's side of a telephone conversation with Ham around that time, in which Wieland warns his old friend that "the whole thing is heading in the direction of a Ken Ham ministries rather than Answers in Genesis."
The report also details a complex and confusing series of events in which the board of CMI came to Kentucky, signed an agreement that gave extraordinary powers to the U.S. group, then returned to Australia and fired Wieland.
Ham's organization got the right to change and edit any materials written by the Australian group, to switch authors' names, and to set prices on creationist literature it purchases from CMI.
"That really gave away the whole ball game," said Lippard, the blogger.
But the Briese report said it soon became clear to board members that they had not realized what they were signing. They resigned, turning the Australian group back over to Wieland.
Australia's only national daily newspaper, The Australian, has picked up on a sordid part of the Briese report: It says that Ham has questioned the timing of Wieland's second marriage -- to a woman who once was Ham's secretary -- only two weeks after divorcing his first wife. And it says that Ham is collaborating with an Australian who was excommunicated from his Baptist church because he once accused Wieland's wife of witchcraft and necrophilia.
"I think to some extent CMI is bringing that up just for the unseemly aspect of it," Lippard said.
Last week, Ham criticized Briese, noting that Briese is a member of CMI, and saying his conclusions were drawn up before his committee met.
In an interview, Wieland defended Briese, who is best known in Australia for exposing a high-level legal scandal in the mid-1980s.
"He is as well known as John Sirica of Watergate fame in terms of someone who was sort of thrust into their role, someone who made a public stand against the highest officials in the land," Wieland said.
CMI has been open about its disagreements with Ham's group, posting the Briese report and related documents on its Web site.
AiG has sent e-mails to supporters defending itself, but its Web site apparently ignores the Briese report and the whole CMI controversy.
The AiG Web site did, however, have two articles about an earlier Briese inquiry into charges that an atheist author had leveled against creationists. When a reporter asked Ham last week how he could criticize Briese for his recent report while touting his work on the earlier one, Ham said he thought articles about the earlier report had been removed from the site. The next day, they were gone.
Early Friday, AiG issued a statement saying the CMI accusations are "baseless and without merit."
"CMI's interest appears to be more about scoring points by publicizing the conflict, rather than taking a biblical approach to conflict resolution," the statement said.
Wieland said he still hoped for Christian arbitration with Ham. But, he said, CMI was left with no choice but to sue.
"At the end of the day ... there has to be right-doing," he said. "Things can't just be swept under the carpet."
For atheist Jim Lippard's blog, go to http://lippard.blogspot.com.
For the Answers in Genesis site, go to www.answersingenesis.org.
That raises a question that perhaps many have. Are there any museums that promote and illustrate a Creationist version of science and archeology?
Um...the Creationist Museum mentioned in the article?
* 7 Wonders of Mount St. Helens Creation Museum Silverlake, Washington
* A Key Encounter Nature Theatre and Planetarium Key West, Florida
* Akron Fossils and Science Center Akron, Ohio
* Ark Museum & Dinosaur Park Nashville, Tennessee
* Biblical Archeology and Anthropology Museum Ridgecrest, Calfornia
* Big Valley Creation Science Museum Alberta, Canada
* Creation Adventures Museum Arcadia, Florida. Customized activities for small groups such as fossil digs and canoe trips.
* Creation Evidence Museum Paluxy River, Glen Rose, Texas. It has a new building under construction.
* Creation Museum and Family Discovery Center Cincinnati, Ohio. Currently under construction by the Answers in Genesis ministry
* Creation Studies Center South Florida
* Creation Truth Foundation Field Museum, Oklahoma
* Creation Truth Ministries Traveling Creation Museum Alberta, Canada
* Genesis Expo on Portsmouth Hard of the UK by the Creation Science Movement
* Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum
* Grand River Museum Lemmon, South Dakota. September 2002 the Grand River Museum purchased a new building.
* IBSS Museum Project the Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies
* Lost World Museum Phoenix, New York
* Mt Blanco Fossil Museum Lubbock, Texas
* Museum of Creation and Earth History Santee, California by the Institute for Creation Research.
* Museum of Earth History Eureka Springs, Arkansas
* Noah’s Ark Museum Uzengeli Village, Turkey
* Wyatt Museum Wyatt Archeological Research Inc Tennessee
The list is taken from CreationWiki - I don't know if Kent Hovind's "museum" is on there or not, and obviously some of their information is out of date. Were I not banned, I'd change it, but ah well.
More at http://lippard.blogspot.com/2006/11/john-mackay-and-answers-in-genesis.html
Sound to me like this will be a case of survival of the fittest creationists.
If there was ever an illustration of a ‘tempest in a teacup,’ this is it! And a teacup that is just about ready to be rinsed out for the last time. :)
I didn’t realize there were so many people in the world that believe this 6,000 year old earth nonsense.
“God, please save the fools and idiots of this earth who look on your creation and can see nothing more than a flat earth. Help them wake up to the fact that the Genesis account of the creation of earth was merely an allegorical story meant for a primitive man who could not understand the mechanisms by which you brought life into being. Please God shut these people up before they do more damage to the faith by driving more people into the arms of atheists who may not believe in you, but at least have eyes open to see the wonder of the science you created. Please open their eyes to the fact that the search for truth and knowledge are not against the will of God. Amen”
“Sound to me like this will be a case of survival of the fittest creationists.”
LOL. Short......but oh so funny. Thanks.
I’ve met Ken Ham, only briefly; it is a shame, he did seem genuine.
I am not taking sides!
I see you’re relatively new to Free Republic. Welcome.
If this story depresses you, I’m afraid the latest polls will only depress you further; a majority of Americans believe in creation and/or doubt evolution, and 90% claim a belief in God.
I find your philosophies on religion (your ‘prayer’ here, and other things you’ve written) to be rather...unorthodox.
At least we have something more reliable to believe than evolutionary thought which cant make up it’s mind on just how old we are...
Not only do we believe that God could have created the world in 6 days, He can destroy it in a matter of minutes. Good thing He’s giving us time to search for the truth. Ask Him, He’ll show you more than you can imagine.
Oh, Gosh! Creative differences?
Not a good sign.
But he has told us that the only place to do our search for truth is in the only source of truth on Earth: His Word.
The six thousand year old Earth is certainly not nonsense, since it is based on detailed facts given in the word, and it fits all valid observations on the earth.
“If this story depresses you, Im afraid the latest polls will only depress you further; a majority of Americans believe in creation and/or doubt evolution, and 90% claim a belief in God.”
But I think it’s pretty darn small percentage who believe the 6,000 year old nonsense.
Sorry, that happens not to be the case.
The 6,000 year old Earth idea is based entirely on religious belief. Science gave up on that idea about 1830 and since then the evidence has continued to pile up -- against the YEC position.
The evidence supporting the 6,000 year old Earth idea has remained the same -- religious belief. Granted that religious belief can overpower reason in some individuals, but that does not make their beliefs real.
Your vacuous denial is tattooed on your forehead; no need to tell us.
But I think its pretty darn small percentage who believe the 6,000 year old nonsense.And what do you base your thinking on?
Sarcasm? You can't be serious.
“Granted that religious belief can overpower reason in some individuals, but that does not make their beliefs real.”
Funny thing is, the universe doesn’t care what any of us think or feel. Similarly, our belief isn’t required by God to make his word true. His word is true regardless of what we think or feel.
Science has become a religion for many people who then seek to persecute those who believe in a traditional religion. If we believe in God then we must be ignorant, foolish, or just plain dumb. At least that seems to be the message in todays universities and elitist circles.
Your vacuous denial is tattooed on your forehead; no need to tell us.
You say it "fits all valid observations on the earth." Nice try. I can see it now; any scientific evidence presented to you will simply be declared "not valid" and waved away: creation "science" 101.
One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word.
Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973
Yes chalk one up for our education system, not understanding basic science is a problem with the liberalisation of education. Leaves people believing all sorts of nonsense, like the Earth is 6,000 years old, or that a global flood occurred somewhere in that time frame.
It also leaves people with very little mathematical knowledge so they believe literally in allegorical stories that say a man build a boat that held 2-7 of every animal on Earth. Which of course is impossible if we take the size of the ship literally from the bible. Oh well people will believe what they will even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Anyone that takes the Old testament as anything more than a quaint story is a little odd in my book anyway. The teachings of Jesus are all that matter we should throw out the old testament some of the attitudes and ideas in there keep people off the real path of following Christ and his teachings and get caught up in nonsense that was merely man doing the best he could to understand God and failing miserably.
That’s what they told everyone in the newsletter I received; that Creation Magazine was no longer available. They definitely did mislead their readers and supporters in this manner.
I would put it differently. Science operates independent of, and without the constraints of, religion. It operates on the assumption that nature can be observed and figgered out.
As for persecution--here, in the US? That's a laugh, and that idea denigrates those who have truly been persecuted around the world and through the centuries. (Lions come to mind.)
Believing in god does not make one "ignorant, foolish, or just plain dumb." Denying things that are obvious, well-documented, and right in front of your face may make you one of those. This has been known for centuries: the words of St. Augustine come to mind:
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and the moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to be certain from reason and experience. Now it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and they hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make confident assertions [quoting 1Ti. 1:7].
St. Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, 1:42-43.
Nobody ever said the search for truth and knowledge was against the will of God.
Couching your lecture to those who don’t agree with you in the form of a prayer is pretty low. Insulting them and mocking them while doing so is lower still. Pretending to be pious doesn’t impress anyone.
What was your previous screen name?
Wow, I was trying to say the same thing but St Augustine said it so much better than I.
You got Heinleined. They say it’s not a religion and then you get evo-scripture quoted at you.
Hmm, it was a prayer and one I hope God answers for the sake of his church. In fact I view young Earth Creationists in about the same light as i view Muslims. Ignorant, lacking basic knowledge and living somewhere in the 7th century.
Two different religions same basic ignorance.
Wake up and smell the Truth God doesn’t want you to live in Ignorance, scientific or spiritual.
Sorry, wrong again.
Heinlein was a pessimistic philosopher.
My previous Screen name was Sentis. And no, I didn’t get zotted I had a hacker take over the email account “Sentis” was based on and I forgot the password to FR after not being on FR for a month or two.
It's gettin ugly!
And I agree, 1st Corinthians 6 seems to have been written for just such an occasion.
Yes chalk one up for our education system, not understanding basic science is a problem with the liberalisation of education. Leaves people believing all sorts of nonsense, like the Earth is 6,000 years old, or that a global flood occurred somewhere in that time frame.Evolution has had a monopoly on the public education since Scopes v. State. How do you figure that the schools are at fault for kids not knowing evolution, and how liberals (who accept evolution far more than conservatives do!) are responsible for this?
It also leaves people with very little mathematical knowledge so they believe literally in allegorical stories that say a man build a boat that held 2-7 of every animal on Earth. Which of course is impossible if we take the size of the ship literally from the bible.I suggest you run the numbers again and see whose education is slighting whom.
Oh well people will believe what they will even in the face of overwhelming evidence.Like, say, evolution for example?
The teachings of Jesus are all that matter we should throw out the old testament some of the attitudes and ideas in there keep people off the real path of following Christ and his teachings and get caught up in nonsense that was merely man doing the best he could to understand God and failing miserably.You mean like the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:4, "Haven't you read," [Jesus] replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female?'" or Mark 10:6 "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'"
Your prayer will of course go unanswered. As science is increasingly bearing out, the fools and idiots are squarely in the Darwinist camp.
If he was writing today, I’d think he was talking about Christian Darwinists.
I'm not surprised: the majority of Americans also think that Budweiser is good beer and Paris Hilton is worth paying attention to.
So now you are equating Christians with Budweiser and Paris Hilton? One thing is certain, you certainly live up to the blow in blowfish.
Thanks for the ping!
News flash Dave: Scopes lost.
The Butler Act remained in effect until it was repealed in 1967.
The next year, in Epperson v. Arkansas, the Supreme Court rejected such bans as Butler and permitted evolution to be taught in the schools.
Then in 1987, with Edwards v. Aguillard, the court ruled a law that required schools teaching 'creation science' was unconstitutional, because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion.
I suggest you run the numbers again and see whose education is slighting whom.
Indeed. 2007 - 1987 = 20 years.
Dave, for a someone with a college education (obviously incomplete), you lack knowledge on this subject.
What a shame that such a great work ends up being tarnished like this.
But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law;for they are unprofitable and worthless.
Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,
knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
Understand what....great lengths of time? That all creatures are related to each other? How hard would that be to convey, especially metaphorically. In fact it would probably make much more sense to these so called "primitive peoples" than an invisible being poofing everything into existence for no apparent reason.
Look, the bottom line is, you either accept Genesis as the literal word of God, or you don't. It's that simple.