Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dinosaurs on cruise

Coming up in Saturday's paper, readers will see a story titled "Jurassic Ark," about a Littleton-based group that leads creationist tours through, say, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

I took the tour with the group, as did museum curator Kirk Johnson, and it was a pretty interesting experience. Johnson -- who was introduced at the beginning of the tour as a scientist and evolutionist -- became as much a curiosity as the dinosaur skeletons: Thrity minutes after the tour concluded, I found a Denver-area pastor in a fairly one-sided, animated conversation with Johnson trying to get him to admit that he definitively exists.

"Ask him if he exists," the pastor told me. "That should be part of the story."

For the record, Johnson is pretty sure he exists, but scientifically, it'd be an impossible thing to prove, because if he didn't exist than his observations would be the product of something or someone else and therefore faulty. Think "The Matrix" and the whole warped reality thing.

Anyhow, the tour illustrated a heavy-duty clash of worldviews: Each side thinks the other is full of it. Creationists argue that scientists "created" evolution for their own ends; Johnson said modern-day creationism actually "evolved" in the last 100 years. But both Johnson and Bill Jack, who led the creationist tour, agree on one really important point: It's important to ask questions. Why do scientists believe the T-rex lived 65 million years ago? Why do they think he ate meat? Why do creationists like Jack believe they made their way to Noah's ark? And why didn't they eat the rest of the animals?


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