Skip to main content
Article
Genesis in Hyperreality: Legitimizing Disingenuous Controversy at the Creation Museum
Argumentation and Advocacy
  • Casey R. Kelly, Butler University
  • Kristen Hoerl, Butler University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2012
Additional Publication URL
http://www.americanforensics.org/AA/aa_info.html
Abstract
This essay analyzes the argumentative structure of the "Answers in Genesis" ministry's Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Founded by a $27 million grant, the 70,000 square-foot museum appropriates the stylistic and authoritative signifiers of natural history museums, complete with technically proficient hyperreal displays and modern curatorial techniques. In this essay, we argue that the museum provides a culturally authoritative space in which Young Earth Creationists can visually craft the appearance that there is an ongoing scientific controversy over matters long settled in the scientific community (evolution), or what scholars call a disingenuous or manufactured controversy. We analyze the displays and layout as argumentative texts to explain how the museum negotiates its own purported status as a museum with its ideological mission to promulgate biblical literalism. The Creation Museum provides an exemplary case study in how the rhetoric of controversy is used to undermine existing scientific knowledge and legitimize pseudoscientific beliefs. This essay contributes to argumentation studies by explaining how religious fundamentalists simulate the structure of a contentious argument by adopting the material signifiers of expert authority to ground their claims.
Rights

This article was archived with permission from American Forensics Association, all rights reserved. Document also available from Argumentation and Advocacy.

Citation Information
Casey R. Kelly and Kristen Hoerl. "Genesis in Hyperreality: Legitimizing Disingenuous Controversy at the Creation Museum" Argumentation and Advocacy (2012) p. 1 - 21
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/casey_kelly/9/