Canadian man runs small creationist museum

BIG VALLEY, Alta. – Refuting more than 100 years of received evolutionary science is no easy task. It is especially challenging when all you’ve got is a 900-square-foot creationist museum in the Alberta countryside to prove that the Book of Genesis better explains our origins than the Darwinian model generally accepted as fact by the world’s scientific community.

But Harry Nibourg, the man behind Canada’s first creationist museum, insists he has enough proof collected in this small house, in this town of 400, to do it.

It is just a few days before the Big Valley Creation Science Museum’s scheduled opening on June 5, and an energized Mr. Nibourg appears virtually unable to stand still. He dashes about the red-painted room pointing at posters and rapping enthusiastically on glass cabinets, nearly shouting out what he considers to be evidence that Darwinism is a hoax.

He rarely allows himself the luxury even of finishing a sentence before he’s on to his next compelling point about why evolutionary scientists are, well, just plain wrong.

“They’re wrong. They won’t admit they’re wrong. And that’s OK. They have the right to be wrong,” Mr. Nibourg says.

With so much to set straight on the matter, and so many to set straight, the last thing it seems Mr. Nibourg wants to do is fritter precious time discussing his museum, the four years of his life he dedicated to building it, or the money he spent — nearly all of it his own — to fund it. He has bigger priorities.

“I need you to listen to these,” he says, the moment you walk in the door, pointing to a wall of telephone handsets connected to a DVD presentation.

The four-minute video features a 3-D computer animation of how a protozoa’s propulsion system works, while a narrator explains why the intricate complexity proves the existence of an intelligent designer.

The instant the show is over, Mr. Nibourg is asking, “What do you think? Did it get you thinking?” before immediately urging you toward the next exhibit.

A moment later, it’s on to a display debunking the Miller-Urey experiment, believed to demonstrate how atmospheric conditions on early Earth allowed for life-creating conditions. Or so evolutionists would have us believe.

“Every chemical in this experiment, mixed together, is detrimental to the living organism. So you’re telling me this is going to happen? C’mon, buddy. I don’t have any PhDs, but it’s pretty sad when an uneducated layman has to bring the evidence out.”

An oil field worker who spends 10 days at a stretch operating compressors north of Slave Lake, and six days off toiling on his museum at home, Mr. Nibourg — who describes himself as a “high-tech redneck” — says he’s “passionate about this for the simple reason that people should be able to be exposed to both sides of the story.”

Years ago, he, too, was content with evolutionary explanations, until a friend showed him some creationist videos.

“And I said, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ And so I started looking at them … and I came to realize that they’re both faiths … But I started looking at which faith fits the facts and which faith fails the facts and the more I looked into them ? I was getting more answers from the creation evidence.”

He hasn’t kept track of all he’s invested, though he estimates around $300,000. Had it not been for freebies and discounts on labour and materials from sympathetic suppliers, the cost might have been three times that.

A fraction of the size and scope of the US$27-million creationist attraction opened this week in Kentucky, Mr. Nibourg’s exhibit does an admirable job of mimicking the academic presentation of larger museums.

There is neither the floor space nor budget for virtual reality experiences, light shows or animatronics. But visitors might enjoy seeing a giant-sized model of a DNA strand (with explanations of why genetic mutation is innately unnatural) and a big plastic Ammonite and Coelacanth (the deepdiving shellfish to demonstrate that such “carefully designed” organisms could not be the product of “random evolution;” the lobefinned fish, wrongly thought to have gone extinct 70 million years ago, to prove the erroneousness of many evolutionary assertions).

A wall of displays featuring models of stalactites, “fossilized” teddy bears and iron pots discovered in million-year-old rock formations supposedly undermine scientific assumptions about geological ageing.

There is a mahogany model of Noah’s Ark, complete with answers to frequently asked questions about the flood-rescue operation, including, “How did they keep the lions from eating the sheep?” (Noah stuck mostly with baby animals and fed them plants), and “Did Noah bring dinosaurs?” (Yes).

There is a giant version of the protozoa’s flagellum, with a working crank for visitors to test drive the Master Designer’s master handiwork. And everywhere, dinosaurs — which, we’re informed, lived on Earth as recently as a few hundred years ago.

Doctor Says...

There’s a basketful of dinosaur eggs and photos of ancient drawings of dinosaurs (indicating our ancestors must have laid eyes on the terrible lizards). And three-toed dino-prints, all over the lawn and the floor of the museum.

“It’s really just for the kids,” Mr. Nibourg finally pauses to explain. “The kids like the dinosaurs.”

Just a few miles east of the Salem Acres Bible Camp, along the Boomtown Trail — Alberta’s strip of rural tourist attractions, stretching from Drumheller’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology north to Donalda’s world’s largest lamp — the Big Valley Creation Science Museum is in the right spot to draw plenty of gawkers. This village is the last stop on the leisurely Alberta Prairie Steam train ride from Stettler, bringing in thousands of history lovers to Big Valley.

“This town is a tourist trap,” Mr. Nibourg says, certain his museum will see plenty of customers this summer. As certain as he is that they will leave here with more doubts about Darwinism than when they arrived.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Kevin Libin, National Post, June 2, 2007,

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday June 4, 2007.
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