A tangled web of lies about dinosaurs


Never ever get entangled in the lies of creationists, is the lesson from this story. It involves a Trumpster member of the house of representatives, Mark Meadows; a creationist schoolteacher named Dana Forbes; an unscrupulous documentarian, Doug Phillips, who we later learn was screwing his underage nanny; a homeschooler named Pete DeRosa who leads phony ‘dinosaur hunting expeditions’ with the goal of proving they’re only 4,000 years old; Joe Taylor, proprietor of the Mt Blanco Fossil Museum, another creationist propagandist; and of course, Ken Ham, whose slimy rich fingers slither into everything.

To make a complex story short, Forbes finds a fossil allosaur on his property in Colorado, and makes a deal with Taylor to excavate it. Then DeRosa organizes an expedition of school kids, including children of Meadows, to “find” the fossil, while Phillips is making a movie of the event called “Raising the Allosaur”, which was sold by Phillips’ Christian front, Vision Forum. Vision Forum has since suspended sales of the video, citing “ethics-based issues”, and is now defunct. Meadows bought the site from the original owner and later sold it to Answers in Genesis in a set of transactions that are curiously omitted from the financial disclosure forms required of a member of congress. The allosaur skeleton was also eventually donated to AiG, and it now stands in the Creation “Museum”, where they claim it is evidence that the Earth is 6000 years old.

Five years ago, the Peroutka Foundation donated the skeleton to the Creation Museum, which is operated by Answers in Genesis. The museum had the skeleton reappraised, and declared its value at a million dollars. It is now one of the museum’s main attractions. On the front of the display is a note thanking the DeRosas; no credit is given to Forbes or Taylor. “The intact skeleton of this allosaur is a testimony to a catastrophic, rapid burial, which is confirmation of the global Flood a few thousand years ago as recorded in the Bible,” the Creation Museum insists, on its Web site. “There is no correlation between the age and intactness of a fossil skeleton,” Kirk Johnson explained, in an e-mail. He added, “It is important to note that their claim is demonstrably and profoundly incorrect.”

Every step in the process is crooked and tainted by unsavory characters with no qualifications to back up their claims, and the fossil ends up as misrepresented evidence in a phony creationist tourist trap. The testimony on display here is about the sleaziness of creationists.

The only character I feel pity for in the story is the poor abused Allosaurus.

Comments

  1. Dan Phelps says

    I sent this to the press several years ago, they didn’t pick up on the racist background of Peroutka.

    PRESS RELEASE******PRESS RELEASE******PRESS RELEASE

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
    DANIEL J. PHELPS
    Edrioasteroid@msn.com

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    May 22, 2014

    CREATION MUSEUM TO UNVEIL DINOSAUR FOSSIL FROM ORGANIZATION WITH LEADER AFFILIATED WITH HATE GROUP

    The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky is about to unveil a dinosaur fossil donated by an organization whose leader is affiliated with a hate group.

    In October 2013 the Creation Museum, operated by Answers in Genesis, announced the receipt of a partial Allosaurus skeleton and skull from the Elizabeth Streb Peroutka Foundation. The foundation’s leader Michael Peroutka until recently was also a board member of the League of the South, a white supremacist, Neo-Confederate and pro-secessionist organization that has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (See the web links at the end of this press release for documentation.)

    The Creation Museum will be unveiling the specimen this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. The Creation Museum expresses thanks to Michael Peroutka and the Peroutka Foundation on their website (http://creationmuseum.org/whats-here/exhibits/allosaur/):

    “One blessing in getting the allosaur was that the Creation Museum did not seek it out. Michael Peroutka, one of the board members of the Foundation, says that this fossil is a testimony to the creative power of God and also lends evidence to the truth of a worldwide catastrophic flooding of the earth about 4,500 years ago as described in the Bible. In order to ensure that the display of the fossil represented this teaching, the Peroutka Foundation donated the fossil to the Creation Museum.”

    Kentucky geologist and President of the Kentucky Paleontological Society Daniel Phelps is calling for Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum to disavow the hate group, and to donate the fossil to a real natural history museum so that scientific research can be performed on the specimen.

    Phelps said, “The Creation Museum could use this opportunity to take a stand against a racist, Neo-Confederate, hate group by refusing to take possession of the Allosaurus fossil or by donating it to a real natural history museum so the specimen could be placed in the public trust, especially in the light of AIG’s anti-racist position.”

    Possible museums that could properly curate and research the specimen, according to Phelps, include the Smithsonian (Washington, DC), the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Field Museum (Chicago), Cincinnati Museum Center, and the Museum of Western Colorado.

    Phelps also points out that the Creation Museum will be incapable of doing scientific research on the specimen. All employees of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum are obligated to sign an oath of Biblical literalism before employment. This oath (found here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/about/faith)
    includes statements that make scientific research on the specimen impossible since all conclusions are known before any possible research is undertaken. The Creation Museum’s Statement of Faith even includes this dogmatic statement:

    “By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record.”

    Answers in Genesis has an in house publication that mimics a scientific journal named Answers Research Journal, but that publication requires author’s conclusions to match AIG’s statement of faith. The following quote from the publication’s instructions to authors illustrates this point:

    “The editor-in-chief will not be afraid to reject a paper if it does not properly satisfy the above criteria or it conflicts with the best interests of AiG as judged by its biblical stand and goals outlined in its statement of faith.”
    (Page 9) http://legacy-cdn-assets.answersingenesis.org/assets/pdf/arj/instructions-to-authors.pdf

    Phelps stated, “Oaths based on religious doctrine are not how modern science is accomplished. The Creation Museum has decided, without doing research, that the dinosaur fossil is evidence of Noah’s Flood which they believe occurred in approximately 2350 BC.”

    Phelps continues, “Since the Creation Museum doesn’t do scientific research, all the Creation Museum really has done is obtain a nice display trophy. Real museums do research. The Creation Museum has asserted the specimen to be evidence of Noah’s Flood without any actual research and will not consider other explanations for theological reasons.”

    Here is more information on Michael Peroutka and his connections to The League of the South:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2013/07/15/michael-peroutka-pledges-resources-of-institute-on-the-constitution-to-league-of-the-south/

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/23/1286860/-RINO-Says-His-Dino-Proves-Noah-s-Flood-Wha-Wha-What

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2013/06/michael-peroutka-appointed-to-the-league-of-the-south-board-of-directors/

    YouTube video of Peroutka joining League of the South board:

    Peroutka sings the national anthem “Dixie”:

    http://www.breitbartunmasked.com/2014/07/29/video-anne-arundal-md-politician-michael-peroutka-sings-for-league-of-the-south/

    Michael Peroutka “proud to be a member” of The League of the South:

    http://archive.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=80#__utma=149406063.1866893309.1398790110.1398790110.1398790110.1&__utmb=149406063.1.10.1398790110&__utmc=149406063&__utmx=-&__utmz=149406063.1398790110.1.1.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=%22michael%20peroutka%22&__utmv=-&__utmk=192255274

    The Southern Poverty Law Center names The League of the South a Neo-Confederate hate group here:

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/league-of-the-south

    The Southern Poverty Law Center writes of connections between Peroutka and The League of the South here:
    http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2013/09/18/american-heritage-group-pushes-radical-theocratic-class-on-constitution/

    People For the American Way articles on Peroutka’s activities:

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/people/michael-peroutka?page=1

    Michael Peroutka decries Union victory in the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg:

    http://archive.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=270

    Michael Peroutka’s listing in the Encyclopedia of American Loons can be found here:
    http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2014/05/1022-michael-peroutka.html

    -30-

  2. Owlmirror says

    Snipped from the New Yorker piece:

    In 1998, [Doug Phillips] founded Vision Forum Ministries, best known for its insistence on Biblical patriarchy—a creed that holds, among other things, that “the woman was created as a helper to her husband” and that “the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household.”
    [. . .]
    “The DeRosa family went on to basically ruin my life and shut the museum down, over who owned the bones,” Taylor said. What’s more, he went on, his opponents in the fight, the men behind the Dragon’s Den Dig, were shown to be dishonorable: “About three years or so ago, Doug finally admitted to carrying on with his nanny.” In 2013, Phillips admitted to having an affair with a woman who alleged, in a lawsuit, that he began grooming her at the age of fifteen. Phillips insists that the relationship did not begin until she was an adult, and that, as he wrote in his resignation from Vision Forum Ministries, “we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense.”
    [. . .]
    Joe Taylor told me that, as far as politics goes, he’s “on Mark’s side, and Doug Phillips’s side—even though Doug ruined the whole patriarch movement, which I’ve been promoting for years.”

    Lovely people.

    I suspect that “we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense” means “only penis-in-vagina without a condom, and until ejaculation, counts as sex, and we didn’t do that!”

  3. anchor says

    For ~150 million years those bones lay, more or less, peacefully. Then suddenly some hideous sweaty hairy fiends exhume them and whisk them away for display in one of their lairs promoting one of the greatest frauds that have ever been purpetrated on the natural history of the planet.

    What an undignified and insulting place that proud creature has come to. One may hope the fossil Allosaur outlasts the lair of liars and is one day brought to a place of honor befitting its legacy.

  4. kingoftown says

    It’s bad enough when private collectors make fossils unavailable to scientists. I can’t imagine there are many near (?) fully intact Allosaurus skeletons in the world and not only are they denying scientists the opportunity to study it, they are actively misleading the public.

    This shouldn’t be legal

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    kingoftown @ 4

    This shouldn’t be legal

    Suddenly a wave of libertarians arrive to shriek and yell “TYRANNY!” before launching into a lecture about the sanctity of “property rights,” the inherent incompetence of “government,” and how everything is so much better when the profit motive is involved.

  6. stwriley says

    My sympathies extend to the underage nanny and the deceived homeschool children. And, of course, to the allosaurus and to paleontology.

  7. unclefrogy says

    I just do not understand how such fundamentally dishonest people can keep trying to justify themselves and still profess a belief in their god jesus christ who seems to be against lying
    uncle frogy

  8. mnb0 says

    @* Unclefrogy: you don’t have to understand it. Just remember MNb’s Law: creationists lie unless proven otherwise.

  9. says

    unclefrogy: Literal Biblical belief is first and foremost the end-goal of these people, and anything that helps them achieve that goal is permissible. ANYTHING. Lying, mischaracterization, quoting out of context, cherry-picking, character assassination, ignoring contradiction. everything is OK as long as you win souls for Jesus. Debating them is worthless because they’ll lie during the debate and then lie about it afterward.

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