Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

“A Theme Park Based on Science Could Be a Real Inspiration” by Sandra Dutton

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Following is my op-ed piece that was published December 7 in the Cincinnati Enquirer (http://news NULL.cincinnati NULL.com/apps/pbcs NULL.dll/article?AID=/AB/20101207/EDIT02/12070339/):

Does anyone remember the Disneyland ride “Adventure through Inner Space”?  It was featured in Tomorrowland from 1967-1985.  It was my favorite theme park ride ever.

We boarded small cars called Atom-Mobiles and rode through the end of a microscope into darkness, until we saw snowflakes whirling. A narrator informed us that we were going on a journey in which we would be “shrinking beyond the smallness of a tiny snowflake crystal.”

The snowflakes became larger until it was obvious they were not solid, but lattice-like structures.  And we shrunk down to the size of a water molecule, with fuzzy spheres whirling around us—atoms.  Eventually we saw the large, pulsating ball of the nucleus and were told we had pierced the wall of the oxygen atom.

The ride had the magic of science fiction, yet was pure science.

When I heard the Creation Museum was planning a theme park, I thought of this ride, and how technology could be used to illustrate the Big Bang.  Of course that’s not going to happen, since Answers in Genesis believes a six-day creation, 6000 years ago, and is planning on featuring Noah’s Ark.  But how exciting it would be to visit a creation theme park based on science.  Here are some rides I would love to take:

The Big Bang Particle-Mobile—We would board a small, round car that would whirl us through space at the speed of light, particles becoming atoms, atoms becoming molecules, molecules becoming stars.  We would pass through an incredible light show seeing galaxies form, some stars exploding into supernovas, all the while a narrator telling us what’s going on and how many millions of years are passing.  (Sort of the reverse of the atom-mobile.)

Trilobite

Armored Fish Submarine—the submarine itself would be a Dunkleosteus, an armored fish from the Devonian period.  We would float among the sealife—mollusks, trilobites, brachiopods, corals, sponges, eventually seeing an early fish, the Tiktaalik, crawl out on land.

Tunnel of Pterodactyls—a scary, spookhouse sort of ride where early birds would come shrieking out of the darkness.

The Quantum Fun House—This would be a “walk-through” filled with lights, mirrors, and clever construction, where you could be two places at once, a particle and a wave, and end in a gravity-free room where you could bounce off the walls.

Jurassic Monorail—(sort of like the movie) From the comfort of your seat you could see the Dilophosaurus and the Ceratosaurus cavort.

Australopithecus at Work—passengers on a bamboo raft (with safety rails)  would float by several camps of early man, the Australopithecus, Peking, Java, Neanderthal, all of them engaged in activity—killing an animal, making mocassins, preparing dinner.

These are just a few ideas, and this is to say nothing of the different kinds of “lands” you could create.  But to visit such a park would be astonishing, exhilarating, awe-inspiring!  What’s more, it would be based on science.

Proposed Creation Theme Park

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
Is the world really just 6000 years old?

Here’s an excerpt from an excellent editorial on the proposed Creation Museum theme park in northern Kentucky:

“. . .in a state that already suffers from low educational attainment in science, one of the last things Kentucky officials should encourage, even if only implicitly, is for students and young people to regard creationism as scientifically valid. Creationism is a nonsensical notion that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old.

No serious scientist upholds that view, and sophisticated analysis of the Earth’s minerals and meteorite deposits generally lead to an estimate that the planet is about 4.5 billion years old. Furthermore, creationism teaches that the Earth (including humans) was created in six days, thus rejecting the well-established science of evolution.”

For a link to the full editorial, in the Louisville Courier-Journal, click here (http://www NULL.courier-journal NULL.com/article/20101202/OPINION01/312020019).

Glossary for “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.”

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Two Trilobites and Other Early Sea Life

I’ve been wanting to make a glossary for MMGT for some time, so here are the first 10 entries, and if you click at the bottom, or go to “Pages,” you can find the rest.

Adam and Eve—the first man and woman, according to Genesis.  God created Adam first, out of the dust of the ground, and then he made Eve, from Adam’s rib.

Autoharp—a musical instrument with 15-20 strings and a box-like structure that the musician strums. 

Beatitudes—blessings bestowed by Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount.”  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” is one of the beatitudes.

begat—fathered a child or children, as in, “Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob and Esau.”

benediction—a final prayer, usually at a church service.

brachiopods—marine animals with hard shells that are alive now and have ancestors that appeared during the Cambrian, Ordovician, and Carboniferous ages.

Cain and Abel—in Genesis, the first two children of Adam and Eve.  Cain became jealous of Abel and killed him.

Cincinnati Arch—a geological formation in what is now the Cincinnati area that pushed the Ordovician layer up to the surface.  (See July 4 blog entry).

coral—early sea animals with a plant-like shape, prevalent in the Ordovician age.

Creation—In the Bible, God is said to have created the earth and its creatures in six days.  Fundamentalists believe this happened 6000 years ago.   Mainstream scientists believe the universe began with just one particle that kept expanding (as described by Miss Sizemore) 14-15 billion years ago.   (see Glossary)

Fossils at Caesar Creek, Ohio

Friday, May 14th, 2010

13-Inch Trilobite Found at Caesar Creek State Park by Thomas Johnson

Had a great time yesterday. Went with my sister and brother-in-law, who live in Maineville, Ohio, up to Caesar Creek State Park near Waynesville. They’ve hunted for fossils up there for years, just for fun. We went first to the museum and took a look around—they had the most enormous triblobite I’d ever seen, 13-inches wide, this one is, (see photo) dug up by a man named Thomas Johnson, who also found a 15-inch trilobite that’s now in the Smithsonian. The ranger was telling us Johnson has a sixth sense for trilobites. He can be walking along, decide “there’s probably one over there,” and dig up a fine sample. So I looked at all the displays but was anxious to get outside and see what I could find myself. We’d driven past an area where a long, low hill had been cut out—you could see the layers of rock. (Mary Mae mentions this in Chapter Two of the book). Anyway, we crept out onto the flat, dug out area (it was muddy and wet) and began picking up hunks of rock that were filled with fossils—you didn’t really have to try that hard—they were just there.

Cutaway hill at Caesar Creek State Park revealing Ordovician strata

Hunk of rock picked up from cutaway area at Caesar Creek

I haven’t separated any of these—I like having them in this hunk. We didn’t stay long, either—it was too wet and cold, but plan to come back this summer. Meanwhile, here are some of the fossils my brother-in-law has found at Caesar Creek over the years—

Some of Nick DeBow's Fossils from Caesar Creek

The Cincinnati Museum Center

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Sea life during the Ordovician Age as depicted by artists. Note trilobites swimming around (oval shaped with copper colored shells; they're distant relatives of the crab).

Walking through a glacier

One of my favorite parts of the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is the Ice Age you can walk through.  Sloping pathways lead you into a glacier where you can hear dripping water and see the animals that lived at that time.

 They also have a nice collection of trilobites.

Some of the trilobites at the Cincinnati Museum Center. See trilobites rolled up like pill bugs in lower right.

 

 

Fossils and Driftwood at Falls of the Ohio

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Yesterday I went down to the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana, across from Louisville, Kentucky (They also have a museum–the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center)You can see the dam in the distance under the railroad bridge. 

When the river is low, you can walk far out into the riverbed and see fossils from the Devonian Age.  I have some pictures of the fossil bed I took several years ago when the river was low but they’re at home in Maine.  When I get back, I’ll add them to this blog.

Driftwood beside Ohio River, dam and railroad bridge in the background

History, With or Without Dates

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

The ranger at Caesar Creek State Park in Ohio had told me that at least 17,000 children came through their museum per year for guided tours.  I asked her if any were Fundamentalist and might have a problem with the information.  “Oh yes, we get lots of home schoolers and we’ve become quite sensitive to that sort of thing,” she said.  “So now we ask, ‘Would you like your tour with or without dates?’  If they don’t want dates, we put away the charts.    Sometimes a group may bring their own interpreter.  You’ll overhear someone say, ‘Now this happened on Day Three.’”