sent in by Carol
Yesterday, October 5, 2005, I made a field trip to the Cabazon Dinosaurs, which were featured in an article the Webmaster posted on September 11 of this year and was titled "Did T-rex graze in the Garden of Eden?"
The two dinosaurs are a famous landmark on the I-10 freeway in So California, just west of the Palm Springs exit, and just east of Casino Morongo. They have been seen on TV and in movies, most notably a silly PeeWee Herman flick. For many years you couldn't miss them, as they stood out on the flat desert terrain. However, some years ago a controversial Burger King was built right in front of them and largely obscures their view, plus a cement divider on the freeway almost totally blocks them from the sight of east bound traffic.
Anyhow, it somehow got into the news that fundies have purchased the dinos and intend to use them to promote the fairy tale of creationism. So after having lunch at Burger King, with a nice view of the dinos, I wandered around.
The first dinosaur houses the gift shop and has doors and stairs on the right/front side, two port holes in each of the dinos right shoulders, and tables and benches underneath that several people enjoyed while I was there. The second is several yards behind the first and has a stairway and door in it's side, but it is not open to the public.
One enters the gift shop at a bottom door in the dino's tail and proceeds up a stairway with glass fronted displays on either side. The first one is right in your face as you enter. There was a written commentary along side this display titled "Dinosaurs, A Different View" and reads as follows:
"Creation scientists think there is eidence which shows that dinosaurs and man existed at the same time. These scientists point to archeological and anthropological evidence of discriptions of what seems to be dinosaurs in recent history. Creation scientists also think that the best way to explain the fossils of dinosaurs we find is a world wide water castastrophe a few thousand years ago."
The scene that accompanied this deep thought was several 12 inch or so plastic dinos doing battle with.....plastic knights! The knights were costumed as you would see at any renaissance faire or in the movie "A Knight's Tale" and were JOUSTING with the dinos!!
Ok, I proceed up the stairs and I am starting to feel kind of weird and really hoping someone is going to jump out and yell, "You're on candid camera!" The next display is on the right and has some plastic dinos in it and some rock fossils, plants, etc. Nothing too weird about that. However, written beside this display and one photo in particular was this:
"...Orthoceres was a creature similar to squid. This Orthoceres was found in a mass grave. Finding mass graves is a very common occurance and speaks to a catacylsmic flood event such as the flood recorded in the Bible. See Genesis Chapter 7."
So obviously, what they choose to ignore is more glaring than what they actually say, such as the age of the fossils. That was pretty much how it went for the half dozen or so other displays along the stairway: written commentary (rather weak and nonsensical) supporting creationism, without providing the "evidence" that they refer to, while ignoring actual scientific fact.
As I got to the top and entered the rather small gift shop, it looked pretty much like it did when I visited several years ago. Kid oriented with lots of toy dinos, games, and much of the usual gift shop fair. Although a few years ago it had a lot of Native American and south western type of stuff which was now gone. The book rack was front and center and filled with creationist literate. What caught my eye were several copies of a book titled "Darwin on Trial" by Phillip E. Johnson. Hmmmm.
I walked through the little store while a video played of some guy talking about creationism and how evolution is false. One last thing was under the glass check out counter, a Noah's ark minature display that included dinosaurs.
The website is http://www.cabazondinosaurs.com if anyone is interested.
The experience was really kind of surreal and my stomach felt a little queasy as I left. What I had just seen and read was disturbing at many levels. Fortunatly, after a few beers and some gambling at the casino, and being among my fellow sinners, I was as good as new.