Sunday, August 2, 2009

No More Dinosaurs in the Bible

One of the best places for family fun and pseudoscience has been closed. Dinosaur Adventure Land in Florida has not only closed its doors, but its creator is doing prison time.

What 'was' Dinosaur Adventure Land? Simply a creationist wonderland. It mixes dinosaurs with the very best in pseudoscience to get little kids to believe that man lived hand in hand with T-Rex and other cool dinosaurs. Basically any ten year old worth his snuff is going to say 'cool beans' to the cool dinos and then suck in the wonderful hokum that is creationism and intelligent design.

In my mind, I felt a pain in the passing of this park. Imagine the loss to university students studying cognitive dissonance, persuasion, or even fraud. It was perfect proof that you can make defenseless children and many adults believe anything if you cover it in enough sugar.

But there are a few lessons to learn in the park's passing. Apparently believing Intelligent Design does not make you smart enough to understand tax law (he has a whole list of crimes before going down for tax evasion). Thinking that dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible also does not make you a moral and upstanding citizen. In fact, perpetrating fraud on little children seems to just increase your criminal tendencies. It is a slippery slope from religious zealot to ten years in a maximum security prison.

I have no problem with you if you can't understand evolution. It took us thousands of years to believe the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way round. It is just plain hard to give up something your religion says you must believe or go to Hell and burn for eternity.

The sugar of a park probably seemed kinder and gentler than scare tactics of Hell and damnation. But their religion gives them wonderful excuses to take any measure as they must 'save' these little children from the sins of science. We are wired to believe in some very weird ideas and often the can get out of control.

People are not stupid, just easily persuaded to believe in stupid things. No less surprising, once you have a belief, it takes a lot to undo. With creationism, it isn't easy to believe that dinosaurs ruled the Earth far before man. It is so so easy to come up with what sounds like reasonable explanations.

If you learn it at an amusement park, it must be true! It is just a shame we can't teach pseudoscience in the best laboratory in Florida.