Saturday, August 21, 2010

'Scientist' Examines Creationist, Fundamentalist Christians

A professor of sociology studying Bible-believing Christians, while admitting a bias against creationist belief, says that a visit to Kentucky's Creation Museum makes non-believers painfully uncomfortable and even isolated.

-- From "When sociology students visit Creation Museum" by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer, Christian Science Monitor 8/19/10

The study, presented Sunday at the American Sociological Association meeting in Atlanta, took place over three in-depth visits to the museum over a year and a half. Bernadette Barton, a professor of sociology at Morehead State University in Kentucky, toured exhibits, attended museum lectures, observed museum guests and led a student field trip to the museum.

The Creation Museum, opened in 2007, puts its own brand of scientific explanations of creationism alongside exhibits of Adam and Eve, dinosaurs with humans, and Noah building his Ark. One exhibit, "Graffiti Alley," purports to show what happens when mankind abandons Young Earth Creationism. These consequences include the birth control pill, abortion, divorce, murder and gay marriage.

Though debates about creationism usually revolve around education, Barton visited the museum as part of a larger project on fundamentalist culture. She's particularly interested in why homophobia persists in the Bible Belt. This area spans the southern United States and parts of the Midwest and is marked by a high proportion of evangelical Protestants. In Kentucky, where the Creation Museum is located, 62 percent of residents describe themselves as fundamentalist.

"I was seeking to understand the fundamentalist framework," Barton told LiveScience. "I went there seeking to understand how people adhere to [a] set of beliefs that can, in my opinion, have sometimes destructive consequences."

Barton combined hours of observation and analysis of museum materials into an ethnography, a detailed narrative about a place and its culture that is often used in sociology. Unlike other research methods, the ethnography does not strive for impartiality; rather, the researchers recognize and reflect on their own reactions to what they see.

Be sure to CLICK HERE and read the entire article -- from a Christian worldview, it's amazing.