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Dinosaur World's Dishonesty

Dinosaur WorldThis has already made it around the skeptical blogosphere, but it's interesting for the people that might not have heard it, yet.

The company, Dinosaur World, runs three roadside attractions - one in Plant City, Florida, one in Cave City, Kentucky, and one in Glen Rose, Texas. Just this past weekend, I saw the billboards for the Glen Rose one on a trip to drop my daughter off at a Girl Scout camp down the road, so this story has some personal interest to me. The attractions are life size dinosaur replicas, with a bit of information about the dinosaurs, a small museum, and a gift shop. Here's a picture from their website to give you an idea of what the place is like.

Theropod Dinosaur on Grounds of Dinosaur World

Now, there's nothing particularly noteworthy about any of that. It's the type of campy road side attraction that people have come to expect in America, and there are similar attractions all over the nation. What makes this story interesting is the blog post that appeared on their website this past Monday.

Educational information at Dinosaur World

At Dinosaur World, we present interesting facts about each dinosaur. Examples include, what they ate and unique charactaristics of each. However, we do have many books in the giftshop including information on creationism. Below is an example.

Why is so little known about dinosaurs? Despite all the new dinosaur discoveries, little is known about the dinosaurs because all information comes from fossils and a lot of "educated guesses" have to be made.

Where did dinosaurs come from? God created the entire universe and everything in it including all animals (Gen 1:20-25; Exodus 20:11; Genesis 1; John 1:3).

Are dinosaurs in the Bible? Dinosaur-like creatures are mentioned in the Bible including "behemoth" and "tannin". Perhaps the best example is in Job 40.

What were the dinosaurs like? Man and dinosaurs lived together and man were masters over all God's wonderful creatures. (Gen 1:26, 28) In the first early days, all animals were friendly and under man's control. None of the animals ate meat or killed. God provided for all. There was no sin, no death, no evil and no disease. It was after the flood that things changed.

What happened to the dinosaurs? The Bible says that a great flood covered the entire earth. All but those on Noah's ark were killed, including dinosaurs.

Were dinosaurs on the ark? The Bible says one set of every air breathing land animal was on the ark. (Gen 6:12-20; 7:15-16). Young dinosaurs would be small and easier to care for than the full grown ones.

What happened after the flood? After the flood, the earth was very different and temperatures had changed. Some places were very hot and some very cold. Many parts of the world were too harsh for the dinosaurs to live and much harder to find food to feed their enormous bodies. It is not just dinosaurs that have become extinct. In the last 350 years alone, almost 400 species have disappeared. After the flood man also was responsible for killing many animals. The wooly mammoths and mastodons where wiped out by humans.

What about "millions of years old"? Just because something is fossilized does not mean it is millions or even thousands of years old. When conditions are right, a bone can become filled with minerals quickly. The main ingredients are quick burial, water and minerals. Conditions during the flood were ideal for creating fossils.

So, the attractions are a kind of stealth creationist museum. They're not overtly creationist, but they tone down on actual information that might contradict a literal reading of Genesis, and they sell creationist information in their gift shop.

What makes the story perhaps even more interesting is how they've handled the attention they've received over that particular blog post - they deleted it. I guess they don't like people knowing their true motivation.

You may be asking yourself if the attractions really are creationist, or if maybe there's some other reason that that blog post showed up. I think it's pretty likely that the company really is creationist. Had it been a hacker or a rogue employee, with all the attention that this has received, you'd think the company would have replaced the blog post in question with a bit of an explanation, or at least a disclaimer that their attraction follows mainstream views of the history of the Earth. Their silence speaks volumes.

There's also the fact that they haven't yet disappeared the creationist language from the end of their Teachers Guide (pdf):

Creation Science

Dinosaur World hosts field trips for groups of homeschoolers and students from church schools that teach a literal interpretation of the biblical account of creation. The informative plaques in the park present general facts about the dinosaurs. There are very few “millions of years ago” references.

For more information about creation science, see Science Partners (consultants for home-school and other education programs)
-http://www.sciencepartners.net

especially their links page -

http://www.sciencepartners.net/links_page.htm

This whole affair is rather disappointing. For one, I was kind of hoping to go to the attraction in Glen Rose, even if I wasn't expecting a whole lot. Now, I'm not so sure I want to support creationists (and if I was, I'd go to the more entertaining Creation Evidence Museum). It's also just one more example of the dishonesty of creationists. Dinosaur World should just come out and admit their creationist sympathies. They'd still get ridiculed for it, but at least they'd have their integrity. Or better yet, they could go to the library and learn about the actual history of life on this planet.

(Hat tip to Pharyngula)

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