Kids just naturally think that dinosaurs are cool. The Creationists have noticed this; and in defense of their belief that the universe was created c. 4004 BCE have responded with a slew of sophisticated and grossly mendacious books for children (including some pseudo-SF, feh!), which explains how all the trilobites and dinosaurs and Pleistocene megafauna lived alongside humans during biblical times, were present in the Garden of Eden, and had berths on Noah’s Ark.
Yeah, I know. It does funny things to my imagination, too, especially the scene where Adam is naming the animals. It’s like the guy in GalaxyQuest who’s sure he’s going to die because he doesn’t have a last name. The beasts of Eden gotta figure that if all they get tagged with is some jawbreaking piece of binomial nomenclature, they’re not going to be there for the season finale.I should note that some other Creationists are still sticking to the old explanations about how all these extinct and fossilized species were killed off during the Flood. I still haven’t figured out how they reconcile this with God’s commandment that Noah take all the animals with him on the Ark. Maybe they blame it on the ticket agent. I imagine it went something like the shibboleth exclusion, only they were checking for double-barrelled Greco-Latinate names:
“Name?” “Naked mole-rat.”When they’re not explaining away the geological evidence of glaciations as the remains of gigantic submarine landslides, the Creationists also teach that there was one Ice Age, one glaciation, during their allowable span of historic time, and that it followed the Flood. Kids can read all about it in Life in the Great Ice Age, which follows a tribe of “Japhethites” as they spread into Europe during the Big Chill. To get a real sense of the lack of scientific integrity in this field, I recommend this review of Life in the Great Ice Age and Skeletons in Your Closet, put up by National Review’s Book Service:
“Clean or unclean?”
“Go ahead. Next?”
“Camel.” (Spits.) “Unclean.”
“Uh, check. Go ahead. Next?”
“Goat … I mean, goats. Clem! Get over here! We’re boarding!”
“Clean or unclean?”
“Go ahead. Make sure you use the second ramp, and give this card to the stewardess when you board. Next?”
“Uh, right. Can I get you to stand in that waiting area over there?”
“Over by the Merycoidodon culbertsonii and the Archaeopteryx lithographica?”
“That’s the one. Just find a seat and wait for your name to be called.”
What really happened during the Great Ice AgePopular cryptozoology has more rigor.
After the Flood, Noah’s descendants had to learn how to survive in a strange and hostile environment. The climate was undergoing drastic changes. The world was very different than it had been before the Flood and very different than it is now.
In Life in the Great Ice Age, Michael and Beverly Oard first take your children on a trip to a valley in central Europe thousands of years ago. There they spend a summer with 11-year-old Jabeth and his family who are living with a small group of people near a great glacier. Kids thrill to a battle with a cave bear, go on a woolly mammoth hunt, survive a saber-toothed tiger attack, and keep busy during the short summer preparing for the long, cold winter.But where did these people come from? Why was there a big sheet of ice? How much longer would it last and will it come again? The Oards answer those questions, in the second half of the book, using the Bible, archaeology, and science. Here is a sampling of what your children (and dare we say you?) will learn from the Oards:The missing links—still missing Then what about the “creatures” identified by evolutionary scientists as missing links—brutish, unintelligent, evolving “ape men”? Who were they? What story do they really tell? Dr. Gary Parker and his wife, Mary, have special training and experience in the study of fossils. They know all the fascinating facts evolutionists hide, and they reveal them here in Skeletons in Your Closet. What will your children say when they discover that Nebraska Man was illustrated from the find of a single tooth! Or that Java Man was constructed from widely scattered bones? The Parkers fill their book with answers to questions asked by their children, the same questions your own children may be asking right now, such as
- Why and how people lived inside caves, and how these cave dwellers fit into the Bible. Were they backward, ignorant savages or intelligent and skilled?
- How people spread out all over the world after the Flood. (“But wouldn’t it take millions of years to populate the whole earth?”)
- How the Ice Age people cooked and stored food and made tools, weapons, clothes, and musical instruments
- The why and how of cave art
- Siberia—warmer during the Ice Age than today
- How the woolly mammoths became extinct, why hippopotami could have lived so far north during the early Ice Age, and other mysteries to evolutionary scientists that can be explained by the Flood
- 60 theories proposed by baffled secular scientists to explain the Ice Age. Are any right? How scientific evidence really supports one ice age not long ago.
- Why did the earth cool after the Flood? Where did all the moisture for the snow come from?
- Why were the Neanderthals so hairy? Could the artist who drew the Neanderthal model have given him a different shaped face?
- Neanderthal brains: smaller or larger than today’s average-sized human brain?
- Why could Cain marry his sister without the fear of birth defects common today among marriages between close relatives? Does this teach the opposite of evolution?
- Since we all came from just two people, how did humans get so many skin colors? (An important lesson in genetics for children.) In how many generations could all the different skin colors have appeared?
- What about the famous Australopithecus called Lucy? Haven’t evolutionists finally found the missing link here?
- Evidence from bones that dinosaurs lived thousands, not millions of years ago
- The Bushmen in Australia—once believed to be missing links (a story with tragic consequences)
- Mary Leakey’s great discovery—that helps disprove evolution. What her son recently found that lends even more evidence to creation
- How zoos and museums distort the facts on purpose, just to teach evolution
- Records of ancient peoples that show evidence of abilities in art, science, business, and technology
- The Tasaday people, pretending to be “Stone Age” to fool National Geographic
- How a camel skull can be drawn to look like a vicious meat eater
As usual, much science they’d once have denounced as false is now acceptable, since it can be incorporated in the construction of their latest version of what the Bible supposedly says. It’s funny. These guys are constantly reshuffling their arguments on behalf of literalist readings they claim are plain, clear, and eternal. Meanwhile, they’re constantly bashing science for not having complete and true answers, first time every time: a thing which science explicitly does not claim to do.
They’re not making a defense of religion. They’re defending their own pet proposition, that the Bible should be approached via unnaturally simplified reading conventions that are less subtle than they’d use to read a paperback romance, and less sophisticated than their own face-to-face speech. I have real trouble with that.
And where’s their faith in the unmediated reading experience? If the basic deal is that you should read the Bible for yourself, as literal truth, how come so many of these guys publish books explaining what it says, and what you should understand from reading it? How come they keep telling other people they’ve read it wrong? There is no such thing as a single literal reading of a complex text. Pretending there is just puts you in the middle of a covert game of “my reading can beat your reading.”
One thought consoles me about those YA psesudo-paleontology books. Kids have a remarkable abiity to pan gold nuggets out of the mud. What they truly love in their reading sticks with them. The rest falls away. If they go on reading about dinosaurs, they’ll learn more; and when they do, the people who wrote those awful books won’t be there to intercept and reinterpret the data for them. Lies have to be constructed. Truth accretes. I put my faith in the narrative integrity of the world.
Last bit, for dessert: A long, thoughtful, and diverse list of things creationists hate.