Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cabazon Dinosaurs

Cabazon Apatosaurus 

We were looking forward to seeing the Cabazon dinosaurs, but, anticipation turned to dread after we found out that they are now owned by some Young Earth Creationists (YEC-kys). We were torn. These dinosaurs make a brief appearance in some of the media collateral of our youth: a Tears for Fears video, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, (had to work that in and boy is that video dated) and in the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and we sort of wanted to see them, but, on the other hand supporting YEC was a hard pill to swallow. 

In the end, curiosity won out and we went with pills in throat. Besides, on the drive from Ontario Airport to Palm Springs you need a break from the barrage of billboards advertising oh-I-remember-them bands coming soon to a casino that you’ve never heard of. The dinosaurs are located here in Cabazon, California. There are two exits for Cabazon, the exit closer to Palm springs (east exit) is where they are located. 

The dinosaurs include a 45 foot high concrete Apatosaurus with a gift shop in its belly (you walk up inside its tail to get there), a T. rex, a bit smaller that was not open, and a robotic dinosaur exhibition or maybe that was the museum – I don’t know because we didn’t go much further because we’d had enough after the Apatosaurus and T. rex and the rest requires some money to enter. 

The dinosaurs were the idea of Claude Bell, a cast-iron sculptor for Knott’s Berry Farm. He built the Apatosaurus and the T. rex from 1964 until his death in 1988. He created the dinosaurs to help attract customers to his Wheel Inn Café located nearby. (Claude most likely supported evolution as does the scientific consensus today.) In the mid 1990s the dinosaurs were acquired by owners whose beliefs are essentially identical to Answers in Genesis (AIG), a YEC group. 

Once you get past the seemingly respectable credentials of the owners (Dr., Neurosurgeon, etc.) and the impressive pseudo-scientific references, listed with some authority I might add, the actual positions are just pure silliness. I find it easier to swallow a toy dinosaur than some of these “freaky facts”:
  • Freaky fact 1: The dinosaurs arrived 6,000 years ago with Adam and Eve.
  • Freaky fact 2: The dinosaurs were vegetarians in the Garden of Eden until someone (not naming names here) ate an apple, and then they became meat eaters.
  • Freaky fact 3: The dinosaurs waited it out on Noah’s Ark like the rest of the animals and in case you were wondering how they actually all fit on the ark (you would think of that wouldn’t you!) the AIG folks have doozy of an explanation for that. It goes something like this: scientists have been confusing us all along giving dinosaurs all sorts of different names when in actuality there are just a few dozen dinosaurs species that could very comfortably get on the ark.
  • Freaky fact 4: After the great flood, dinosaurs were probably called dragons because the word dinosaur wasn’t yet invented and then, they just sort of died out. Though some particular hardcore YECs might be looking for them in some remote jungle.
I spent some time reading the AIG site’s information and was put off by how they (un?)intentionally twist and turn facts into strange shapes that they then project for their young earth puppet show. There are many sites that easily debunk AIG, but who better to debunk then, well, some OLD Earth Creationists (Answers in Creation). Too bad they didn’t purchase the dinosaurs.

  Cabazon T Rex Is Evolution True SIgn 

Everything is Branded Cabazon Postcard

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