You'd think that dinosaur-loving creationists would be law-abiding citizens. Not so. Last week a South Carolina judge ordered the government to seize control of Dinosaur Adventure Land creationist theme park after its owners were convicted of tax fraud.
If you live in or around Pensacola, it just got harder to be a creationist who wants to see giant statues of dinosaurs. Dinosaur Adventure Land, which was packed with educational exhibits devoted to unmasking the lies of evolution, will be no more. No longer will children be taught how dinosaurs walked the earth 6000 years ago. All because park's owners, Kent and Jo Hovind, owed the IRS just under half a million dollars in employee taxes.
According to the Pensacola News Journal:
[Kent Hovind] was found guilty in November 2006 on 58 counts, including failure to pay employee taxes and making threats against investigators.
The conviction culminated 17 years of Hovind sparring with the IRS. Saying he was employed by God and his ministers were not subject to payroll taxes, he claimed no income or property.
Now the government is finally going to get those back taxes by seizing what remains of their theme park.
The Hovinds were also the founders of Creation Science Church, which seems (if the website is to be believed) to be devoted to a creationist interpretation of the Bible, really awesome dinosaurs, and super excellent paper airplanes. As the Dinosaur Adventure Land website explains:
Dinosaur Adventure Land is a theme park and science museum that gives God the glory for His creation. It has rides and fun-filled events and activities, each involving a physical challenge, a science lesson, and a biblical truth.
Learn about dinosaurs, principles of science, and even how to make a paper airplane that can fly over 300 feet! Handle our real, live creatures and take the Leap of Faith swing. Enjoyable and educational for all ages, it is specifically targeted for kids under a million years of age!
But don't worry – other creationist dinosaur parks live on. In fact, in recent years, creationist groups have seized control of previously science-friendly dino attractions. The famous Cabazon Dinosaurs in California, featured in Pee Wee's Big Adventure, were recently purchased by a creationist group. Now their website includes helpful information on why Darwin was wrong. The park owners write:
Through our exhibit, Mr. Rex's Dinosaur Adventure™ At the World's Biggest Dinosaurs™, we hope to help the young and old explore what is known and not known about dinosaurs, man and the creation of the world in a practical, factual and fun way.
There also remains the Creation Museum in Kentucky, toured by SF author John Scalzi, who had quite a bit to say about it, as well as having a great Flickr set of crazy dioramas from the displays there. The Creation Museum is so hip that it even has a blog, which recently announced that the museum is sponsoring a car that will be racing at the Kentucky Speedway. But will the car have a velociraptor painted on the side? You know, one that lived like 5000 years ago?
Dinosaur Adventure Land image via bak2new. Timeline image from Creation Museum via Scalzi. Cabazon Dino pic via slworking2.