Creation Science Movement
This is the Portsmouth (UK) based creationist organisation which runs the Genesis Expo "museum" in Portsmouth. We have produced a couple of articles here on it after having visted the Expo and checked out the details of the organisation on the web site of the Charity Commission.
According to this web page Andy McIntosh is, or was, Vice President of the Creation Science Movement. Its head is David Rosevear.
The Creation Science Movement, for years a haven for crackpots (it still is), was founded as far back as 1932 - it was for many years called the Evolution Protest Movement, pushing an old earth creationist line. It appears to have had very little impact at all. Nowadays it pushes a young earth creationist line.
Amongst the more notable crackpots that played a leading role in CSM in the past were Bernard Acworth and AG Tinley. However, despite have been in existance for 75 years the CSM and its members have never ever produced a single peer-reviewed scientific paper which justifies its ludicrous position on science.
Albert Tilney headed up the CSM in the 1960s and into the 1970s. He has been described by Ron Numbers as "a theologically dogmatic and scientifically illiterate schoolmaster...." One of his former pupils at South Portsmouth Grammar School recently wrote to BCSE pointing out that he was a distinctly odd character. Tilney taught French there.
Acworth was an all-round eccentric who had fixations about military use of aircraft and importing oil. For some reason he believed that birds didn't feel wind.
Genesis Expo - Financially Struggling
By Roger Stanyard, July 2006
Creation Science Movement (Genesis Expo); Financial Analysis
Having looked at accounts filed with the Charity Commission, I have to conclude that CSM is struggling and the public is not taken with the Genesis Expo.
The Creation Science Movement is a registered charity in the UK (Charity Commission number 801745). Its trustees are Malcolm Bowden, Dr Farid Abou Rahme, Dr William Cooper and Andrew Sibley.
| || || || |
|Year Start||Year End|| ||Expenditure|
| || || || |
|01 Sept 1998||31 Aug 1999||£60,052||£49,716|
|01 Sept 1999||31 Aug 2000||£168,052||£90,254|
|01 Sept 2000||31 Aug 2001||£84,014||£109,123|
|01 Sept 2001||31 Aug 2002||£80,612||£86,419|
|01 Sept 2002||31 Aug 2003||£76,670||£80,828|
|01 Sept 2003||31 Aug 2004||£72,615||£67,885|
|01 Sept 2004||31 Aug 2005||£64,764||£57,203|
| || || || |
According to the latest (to Aug 2005) accounts filed with the Commission, the figures include the running of Genesis Expo, the employment of two staff (one full-time and one part-time) and the costs of its journal. It states that it hopes to extend its premises in the future. It owns the freehold of the premises.
It appears to have substantially reduced its salary bill from 2003 to 2005 (down from £37k to £20k). This is presumably because it was losing money over the three years ending August 2003.
(The reduction in salary payments from 2003 to 2005 is the result of many supporters offering their services voluntarily, according to an e-mail received on 08/12/2006 from David Rosevear of the Creation Science Movement.)
It seems to have been relying on a temporary loan for some time. This stood at £77k at the end of Aug 2003 but appears to have been repaid during the following year. [An e-mail was received from David Rosevear on 08/12/2006 stating that the organisation has no debts. This information appears to be at odds with the Commission's figures and the BCSE has no way of directly reconciling them]
It is clear from the accounts that CSM is not a rapidly growing organisation (although it is rich in assets because it owns the freehold of its premises). The last five years’ accounts show a steady, consistent, year-by-year fall in income (the real figure is even larger if you adjust for inflation).
David Rosevear appears to be drawing no salary at all from the organisation.
My best guess is that CSM has faced considerable competition from the much larger and US/Australian-backed Answers in Genesis UK and, probably to a lesser extent, the Biblical Creation Society.
The organisation claims that its Expo exhibition has had 35,000 visitors (cumulative over the years – see 2005 Y/E accounts).
The premises were purchased in 1995, and I believe that Genesis Expo was opened to the public in 2000. That in turn indicates that it has about 5,800 visitors a year. I’m not aware how CSM counts its visitors; I saw no mechanism for doing so when I visited it.
It’s not a big number – it works out at about 22 a day (based on it being open for five days a week and closing for four bank holiday days) on average. Given that it is free, this suggests that it is a highly marginal operation. Much of the premises is given over to sales. One wonders just how many sales the organisation gets this way with only 22 visitors a day.
There is no doubt that the location of the premises is not the problem. On a good day, the next-door Royal Navy dockyards can attract in excess of 100,000 visitors (note that is in a day! I’ve been to some big events there and they are stunningly impressive). It is located right by a major transport interchange – Portsmouth Harbour station and the ferry terminals for Gosport and the Isle of Wight.
CSM is a member of the Evangelical Alliance. See here for another review of Genesis Expo: http://www.newhumanist.org.uk/volume120issue3_more.php?id=1504_0_36_0_C (http://tinyurl.co.uk/k01v). If anyone wants to read my original report on the Genesis Expo in Spanish, you can do so here: http://heliosium.livejournal.com/
Genesis Expo - An Unpleasant Day Out
By Roger Stanyard, June 2006
I visited the Genesis Expo on 24th June 2006. This is the creationist "museum" in Portsmouth, UK, run by the Creation Science Movement (CSM). It claims to be the oldest creationist movement in the world, a claim that seems to me to entirely fail to stack up. The movement was founded in 1932. Creationism was rampant in the United States in the 1920s.
CSM believes in the literal interpretation of the bible such that the world was created 6,000-10,000 years ago and the story of Noah’s flood is exactly true. Anything that contradicts their opinions is, they believe, wrong. It is what is known as a Young Earth Creationist organisation but the term is usually shortened to creationist. Creationists are religious fundamentalists, usually Protestant evangelicals. The best known in the UK is Ian Paisley.
The Expo is based in a converted high-street retail bank, a hundred or so metres from the main public entrance to the Royal Navy Dockyards. These are a major, world-class tourist attraction, because they include the 18th Century wooden battleship HMS Victory, the 19th Century iron battleship HMS Warrior and the remains of the 15th Century battleship the Mary Rose. Portsmouth is a city on the South Coast of England and a major port.
In other words, the Expo is not tucked away in a quiet backwater. Admission is free but I was the only visitor there. I stood outside for 10 minutes before I entered and saw no one go in or come out of the Expo, even though it was a very warm summer Saturday lunchtime, with a lot of people visiting the dockyards or using other facilities close by.
The Expo is not easy to spot and the sign over it is painted, with the name in gold and the background in mauve. There is little contrast between the two so I suspect most people passing it would not notice it. Other shops and commercial premises close to it almost crowded it out, visually.
Outside it advertised that the Expo had been mentioned in New Scientist. I have no details of what New Scientist actually said or what issue this was in, but after looking around the museum, I would be amazed that it would have given any form of scientific endorsement.
No mention was made outside that the Expo was owned and controlled by any religious organisation, let alone an extreme fundamentalist group - deception by omission.
Inside, the Expo appeared to have a staff of two on duty. The premises are tiny. It was on a single floor about the size of a small apartment. A substantial area was given to a sales shop which included creationist literature, many fossils and minerals, some at prices running into three figures (£100 plus). No ages were given for these; presumably if the ages, according to professional geologists, were given, they would not sell and if they were given as 6,000 or 4,000 years, the Expo would be in breach of the trades description legislation in the UK for misrepresentation.
At the rear of the premises was a small lecture/presentation room with, I estimate, room for about 15 people, seated.
The main "exhibition" lines two "corridors" and consists of 12 small dioramas (basically display cases) with commentaries and videos. Well, being fundamentalists they went in for the lies bigtime on these, misquoting and misrepresenting in a style worthy of the Australian chicken farmer Laurie Appleton (he is a figure of fun amongst those looking at creationist claims).
Amongst the out-of-context quotes that they claim in support of their exhibits are quotes from the world-famous geologist Stephen J. Gould and Charles Darwin himself. The misquotes were all over the place. I guess that the misquotes mostly came from the Institute for Creation Research’s "misquote" handbook. Virtually all of them I have seen before. The ICR is a US outfit which claims to have founded a thing called creationist science back in the 1960s. To this day it has never been able to tell anyone what the scientific theory of creationism is.
Probably the most extreme nonsense given was that of 'Bomby' the bombardier beetle, shown as an example of irreducible complexity. No mention was given as to which species of bombardier beetle was being shown. Nor that there were 500 similar species of bombardier beetles with varying degrees of the same function and which demonstrated that there were intermediate forms of its "explosive" capability. These make a mockery of the irreducible complexity claim.
Yet this sort of lying is aimed at children. How many children can see through the 'Bomby' claims of CSM? How many know that there are hundreds of different species of bombardier beetle? How many know who Gould was and what he really stood for (which damn well wasn’t this creationist crapola).
The CSM’s web site has an on-line virtual guide to the Expo. This can be found at http://www.csm.org.uk/expo.php. However, no mention of Bomby is made on this (the creationist claims relating to the Bombardier Beetle have long been pulled to pieces). Moreover, the out-of-context quotes and misquotes, and deception by quote, are largely missing from the web site.
The web site does, however, endorse Barry Setterfield, the unqualified Australian university drop-out who claims to have shown that the speed of light has slowed down over time. CSM therefore is clearly accepting the utterly discredited research of a complete amateur. Yet the head of CSM is a qualified scientist (chemist) and a former senior lecturer at Portsmouth University.
This is frightening.
The Expo also makes great play of Sir Fred Hoyle’s steady state theory of the universe even though Hoyle was not a young earth creationist. But, as we all know, creationists lie by using people who wholly disagree with them to convince others that they support creationist "science". Hoyle, too, didn’t believe in the creationist crapola of CSM.
Then there was Boris, claimed to be a 20 foot animated dinosaur, which was clearly meant to "entertain" the children. Well, the entire exhibition area wasn’t much more than 20 feet square and it stood in a corner, I’d say it was about seven feet tall at most.
I spent no more than about seven or eight minutes in the Expo. All of the bogus scientific claims I’ve long seen before. This place wasn’t so much about bad science, as about utterly fraudulent science.
No mention was made of religion anywhere in the Expo, so many of the public might suspect that, with the combination of misquoting of mainstream scientists and the CSM’s claims of evidence, the Expo showed that mainstream science was in support of a literal interpretation of the bible. It isn't.
It was that bogus. Yet again, I am reminded that creationists habitually break the ninth commandment. Most Christians simply do not support their creationist views, and many find the lying and deception disgusting.
I would not recommend to anyone in my anti-creationist circles (or indeed, anyone at all) that they waste their time visiting the Expo. It is tiny, dishonest and repeats the same old lies that ICR, AiG, John Mackay and Creation Ministries International spew out. There is nothing "new" at all.
My recommendation to the public is to ignore them. They haven’t the honesty to say who controls the Expo, they lie out of necessity, repeatedly and frequently and are out to bamboozle the general public into thinking that they represent mainstream science.
Moreover, Genesis Expo is not a museum. It's basically a retail outlet with some uninteresting displays attached. One consisted mostly of pebbles from the beach.
I must admit that I also found it deeply disturbing that Genesis Expo was selling fossils and minerals for up to hundreds of pounds. Their prices were the commercial norm. However, all the commercial outlets I have ever seen selling these give an estimate of age. CSM is saying that these are wrong. In my view, that seriously reduces their commercial value, but CSM is selling them at the same high prices.
There is a pungent whiff of immorality here. It's like an antique dealer selling recently made furniture at inflated antique values, and keeping silent about their age. No indication was given by CSM as to whether the items were "created" 6,000-10,000 years ago or "at the time" of Noah's flood.
Another Unpleasant Day Out at Genesis Expo
Here is a report on a visit to Genesis Expo, this time by Tim Atkinson. It appeared in the Freethinker a few years back.
Genesis Expo: A Display of Dishonesty
By Timothy Atkinson
About two years ago I happened to notice that a previously empty building in a row of shops facing the ferry terminal at Portsmouth harbour had been refurbished and reopened, apparently as some sort of small museum.
It’s a rather smart old building, a former bank I believe, with some grand stonework fronting it. In one of the windows a very large red L.E.D. clock had been mounted, displaying time and temperature for everybody to see right out across the harbour. There were a number of ‘bullet points’ stencilled onto the windows, including (as best I can remember) ‘Origin Of Life On Earth’, ‘Boris the 12ft Dinosaur’, ‘Books and Videos’, ‘Minerals and Fossils for Sale’ and ’12 Computerised Displays’. Some kind of miniature Natural History Museum, I thought, which struck me as a rather odd idea for the locale, but what the hell. It all looked very professional.
Above the windows, a maroon and gold sign proclaimed the name of the establishment: ‘Genesis Expo’.
This rang absolutely no alarm bells whatsoever in my mind. ‘Genesis’ is, after all, a perfectly legitimate word for ‘beginnings’, quite apart from its biblical origin. It is used in everyday speech all the time; even by scientists I’m sure.
A month or so after this, I actually stepped inside the foyer of the place for a quick look in passing. It was a small gift shop area, with geodes and ammonites for sale, wooden model dinosaurs that you could build yourself, and some racks of books over on the far side of the room. To the right, near ‘Boris’, a rather crude-looking model dinosaur, was a doorway that led through, I presumed, to the expo proper, the actual displays.
A friendly middle-aged gentleman behind the counter had a hearty go at persuading me to come in and have a look around, but I declined, as I wanted to get on with my shopping. I did permit him to show me some fossilised dinosaur eggs on display near where the expo finishes. We talked for a couple of minutes on the fascinating business of fossils – I cannot for the life of me remember the specifics – then I thanked him, and said my goodbyes for that day.
I thought no more about the place for several months. Then, in summer 2001, I happened past the building again … and decided to go in. The honeyed trap closed about me.
The people on the counter were different that day, but were every bit as friendly and welcoming as the other fellow had been. I was told once again that admission was free, and that all I needed to do was go round through the doorway to the right and follow the route round past the displays. One of them led me round and briefly showed me the earpieces that were beside each of the glass windows that gave onto the displays, then left me to it.
How do I begin to describe what turned out to be one of the most disturbing experiences I’ve ever had in my life? I can’t, really. I simply cannot do it justice. Perhaps I shouldn’t attempt to try. There were twelve displays in all, each behind a large, glass window, and I think it took me about three or four to start to twig that I was being presented with a systematic attack on the whole concept of evolution, and a claim that the biblical creation story was literally true. I felt my scalp begin to crawl and my stomach churn as I moved on through this bizarre, freakish display of cultic insanity.
One of the first displays had a couple of video monitors in it, one showing fossils of plants and animals and the other showing plants and animals still alive today that are identical. Another had an item about rapid sedimentation and the ‘fact’ that all of the Earth’s rock strata could easily have been laid down within a space of 6000 or so years by such processes.
One display claimed that all human D.N.A. has been shown to originate with just two individual human beings. I don’t recall seeing any references to this, regrettably. Another debunked the similarity between human and chimpanzee D.N.A.
There were three items that I think I found more disturbing than any others. One was a tableau that ridiculed the term ‘primordial soup’, and indeed the very concept of such, and made some joke that if life could arise from such things this would present a tremendous problem to the canning industry. Cue display of a soup tin with a hand reaching out of the top.
The second made some pronouncement about the imminent demise of the Theory of Evolution, and featured a mock-up gravestone with the word ‘Evolution’ carved on it. The third item was a quote from someone saying something about evolution being for people who believe in ridiculous fairy-tales.
That one really got me. Never before in my life had I seen such an outrageous instance of the teapot calling the kettle black.
As I slowly shuffled my way past this rubbish my every instinct screamed at me to run. All I could think about was how to get out of there.
Eventually it ended. I came out past the fossils I had been shown previously and found myself perusing the books while I thought furiously about how I was going to make a run for the door. It was creationist literature, all of it. There was even a computer logged onto a creationist website. I looked round at the foyer once again, with its fossils and minerals for sale, its wooden dinosaur kits, and Boris standing near the portal that led to the madhouse. I should have heeded his implied warning.
In the end I affected to stroll casually toward the door. I think somebody from the counter asked me what I had thought of it, and I managed some courteous nothing of a reply, that it was ‘very interesting’, or something of that ilk. Then I was out into daylight, and free.
Only I wasn’t free. I stumbled through my afternoon’s shopping in a state of total brainlock, unable to get my mind off this dreadful and bizarre assault I had suffered. The expo was the most deeply warped thing I had ever witnessed. It amounted to a slap in the face to every good man and woman who ever did anything to drag the human race out of the dark ages, and if I still had any sympathy left in me for people who believe such 'young earth' nonsense it was well and truly burned out of me that afternoon.
Perhaps I should be grateful to the Genesis Expo really, for that was the beginning of big changes in my life, and an enormous amount of learning. I was soon making very heavy use of the Internet to research all I could on creationism, and the best refutations of it, and I was soon quite satisfied that every one of the movement’s claims is nonsense.
If I had thought that it was rubbish beforehand, I would soon become more confident of such a view than I would have thought possible. I have unearthed mountains of genuinely scholarly critiques on the web of every single aspect of this crazy idea. I have now probably forgotten more about why creationism is bunk than most creationists ever ‘learn’ to the contrary. And, more hopefully, I have discovered the National Secular Society, TalkOrigins, and many similar organisations, learning through them of the efforts still being made to turn our supposedly free society into a theocracy.
Published in ‘The Freethinker’, April 2003