Adventures in Creationism and Ethics

As if Mark Meadows wasn’t already sleazed enough by his association with the Trump White House, last year it was revealed that he was also entangled with creationists, like Ken Ham and Joe Taylor, starred in a documentary about a creationist “expedition” to find an allosaurus, with a lot of backstabbing among the various unpleasant protagonists. Now there are new revelations.

Maybe this isn’t the worst criminal offense, but the part that offended me most was that in the original documentary, they played up the fact that Mark Meadows’ 9 year old daughter was the one who discovered the fossil dinosaur. Except, as it turned out, she hadn’t. The whole “discovery” was contrived media hype. Oh, look, a little girl found the evidence that disproved evolution!

“Raising the Allosaur” was successful enough that it spurred Phillips to create the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival in 2004. Just before the festival opened, however, Phillips had to yank the film: It turned out that the skeleton had not in fact been discovered by Haley Meadows, but had been uncovered two years earlier by Dana Forbes, the landowner who eventually sold the site to Meadows. A paleontologist named Joe Taylor had identified the skeleton as an allosaur in May 2001, a year before Meadows’ trip. When these facts were exhumed they mired Phillips’ documentary in controversy.

Oh, yuck. Meadows knowingly had his own daughter join him in an outright lie, put her into a movie lying about her role, and set her up for public exposure. That’s disgraceful. I hope she someday escapes this poisonous creationist trap.

Of course, there is some comeuppance.

This led to a bitter dispute over who owned the dinosaur. Before the conference, Phillips sent out a letter to attendees that said “a series of ethics-based issues have been brought to our attention,” leading him to suspend sales of his film “pending a season for Creation Expeditions to appropriately address the aforementioned issues.”

Creation Expeditions posted a note to its website claiming that its ministry had “endured an outrageous attack.”

[Who is Phillips? What is “Creation Expeditions”? Doesn’t matter. This is a tangled web of lies and shifting alliances. This is creationism!]

In other news, Meadows bought the plot of land the fossil was on, and sold it to Answers in Genesis and didn’t bother to report the rather substantial income from the sale. The second saddest fate is that of the Allosaur fossil, which was also sold to AiG (they have so much money!) in a deal funneled through a “charity group” and which also ripped off a fellow creationist.

The allosaur eventually found its way to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, which is owned by Answers in Genesis. That group received the skeleton as a donation in May 2014 from a charity group that had bought the fossil from Taylor, the paleontologist.

“It was a bad deal that we had to accept,” Taylor told the New Yorker, who said the dispute mediation with Creation Expeditions would have left him nearly $100,000 in debt and destroyed his business. He sold the fossils for about $125,000 to a Christian foundation, which eventually donated them to the museum. At that time the estimated market value of the allosaur was about $450,000.

But remember, Christians are the moral people.


  1. Rich Woods says

    But if just one soul is saved from the fires of Hell by watching the film, then all the lies, deceit, greed and exploitation will have been worthwhile. Imagine how much more of this sinning would be forgiven by God if it brought two souls to Jesus, or even three?

    It’s like they think God is issuing them with letters of marque. “Bring ten souls to Me and I shall forgive the commission of nine murders committed to that purpose. Everyone profits, right?”

  2. microraptor says

    I have never understood how “finding” some fossil or other is supposed to disprove evolution.

  3. Larry says


    It’s really quite simple if you follow the methodology of the underpants gnomes:

    1) Find fossil
    2) ???
    3) Evolution disproved!

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    I think, they’re claiming that finding the skeleton lying in the open without having to chip the fossils out of surrounding rock means that it died recently as opposed to the “millions of years” that those godless communist scientist who preach evil-ution would claim.

  5. KG says

    This led to a bitter dispute over who owned the dinosaur.

    Surely they should be looking for the descendants of its rider?

  6. dstatton says

    The children were going to “prove” that the allosaur died only 6,000 years ago in the Great Flood.

  7. blf says

    The children were going to “prove” that the allosaur died only 6,000 years ago in the Great Flood.

    With a few minor corrections to the definitions of prove, Allosaurus, 6000, years, grate flud, evidence, reality, and invaluable artifact, it… still didn’t!

  8. birgerjohansson says

    Larry @3, Akira @ 4
    Clearly, the Underpants Gnomes had chiseled out the specimen from the rock.

  9. Owlmirror says

    [Who is Phillips? What is “Creation Expeditions”?

    This is all spelled out in the New Yorker article you linked to in Oct of 2019.

    I’ll repost some of the comment that I left on the 2019/10 thread, taken from the New Yorker article:

    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.”
    [. . .]
    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.

    Bless his heart.

    Doesn’t matter. This is a tangled web of lies and shifting alliances. This is creationism!]

    Well, yes.