Creationists in our midst

Creationists have always been like mythical creatures to me, rumored to exist, but something that I’ve never encountered in my day-to-day existence. It seems to me that a belief in a higher power and acceptance of evolution can go hand in hand, so I’ve always thought, religious fanatics aside, that reasonable people can’t really be creationists, can they? Maybe they struggle with the concept of macroevolution, or they lean towards intelligent design, but most understand, deep down, that organisms are imperfect and changeable.

Today, I stood in the 1st floor of the TMM, asking visitors to check out the mockups of the exhibit we’re developing. A friendly older gentleman walked up to me with a smile on his face, asking what I was doing. “We’re developing a new exhibit and we’re asking visitors for feedback,” I explained. He glanced around at the mockups, and the smile quickly faded from his face: “Is this an exhibit on evolution? Oh, no, I don’t believe in evolution. I believe in Creation.” I chuckled uncomfortably, unsure of whether he was actually a Creationist (a pretty common past-time for visitors at the museum seems to be pretending to be an offended creationist, and then laughing about it). I would have liked to talk more with him, but I’d already botched things badly. I wanted to try to understand his conceptual framework for the universe, and to encourage him to not put blinders on to the world of science. But an invisible barrier had sprung up between us, and as I continued to speak with his friend, he stood, eyes slightly unfocused, determined not to listen.

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