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December 13, 2007

The young reporter and a really old dinosaur

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/the_young_reporter_and_a_really_old_dinosaur/


So, some journalism dinosaurs have a problem with young reporters writing for Page One. Obviously as a young reporter I am biased, but I don’t see why news articles can’t be judged on merit instead of their author’s age. Anyway, one of the more interesting stories I’ve read in the LA Times in the past few years—“Adam, Eve and T. Rex”—was penned by Ashley Powers, who at the time was fairly fresh out of college.

Cabazon, Calif. - Dinny the roadside dinosaur has found religion.

The 45-foot-high concrete apatosaurus has towered over Interstate 10 near Palm Springs for nearly three decades as a kitschy prehistoric pit stop for tourists.

Now he is the star of a renovated attraction that disputes the fact that dinosaurs died off millions of years before humans first walked the planet.

Dinny’s new owners, pointing to the Book of Genesis, contend that most dinosaurs arrived on Earth the same day as Adam and Eve, some 6,000 years ago, and later marched two by two onto Noah’s Ark. The gift shop at the attraction, called the Cabazon Dinosaurs, sells toy dinosaurs whose labels warn, “Don’t swallow it! The fossil record does not support evolution.”

The Cabazon Dinosaurs join at least half a dozen other roadside attractions nationwide that use the giant reptiles’ popularity in seeking to win converts to creationism. And more are on the way.

“We’re putting evolutionists on notice: We’re taking the dinosaurs back,” said Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, a Christian group building a $25-million creationist museum in Petersburg, Ky., that’s already overrun with model sauropods and velociraptors.

“They’re used to teach people that there’s no God, and they’re used to brainwash people,” he said. “Evolutionists get very upset when we use dinosaurs. That’s their star.”

The nation’s top paleontologists find the creation theory preposterous and say children are being misled by dinosaur exhibits that take the Jurassic out of “Jurassic Park.”

“Dinosaurs lived in the Garden of Eden, and Noah’s Ark? Give me a break,” said Kevin Padian, curator at the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley and president of National Center for Science Education, an Oakland group that supports teaching evolution. “For them, ‘The Flintstones’ is a documentary.”

Not far from Cabazon, in Yucca Valley, is another Christian public exhibit, Desert Christ Park. I wrote about the decaying statues years ago for The Sun, but I can’t find the article online or on LexisNexis. This isn’t it, but it covers the park’s constitutional and struggle.

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