Creationism Among the Dinosaur Footprints in Glen Rose

Is Glen Rose, famed for its fossilized dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River, becoming a hotbed of creationism? A Texas Observer story says yes.

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Flickr | Tom Dill

Glen Rose, famed for its dinosaur tracks, is also a hotbed of creationism, according to a new Texas Observer story.

“In the beginning, god created dinosaurs and humans, and they walked together in Texas. At least, according to many people in Glen Rose,” Robyn Ross wrote in her nearly 3,000-word piece.

Tourism is a $23 million industry in the town of 2,400 southwest of Fort Worth. Most people come out to see the dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River, left behind, scientists say, by the Paluxysaurus and Acroca­nthosaurus during the Cretaceous Period. But less than two miles up the road from Dinosaur Valley State Park, another attraction stands competing for attention: the Creation Evidence Museum, founded by Baptist preacher Carl Baugh. Like the famous Creation Museum in Kentucky, Baugh’s exhibits show dinosaurs and man living side-by-side.

Ross tracks down many people from the town who believe that human footprints were preserved alongside the dinosaur tracks, providing fossil evidence that they lived at the same time. “Most everyone in Glen Rose that I know believes man and dinosaurs coexisted,” one resident, Alice Lance told Ross at the town’s  annual tractor pull. “The only conflict we have is when people move from metropolitan areas and have different value systems. I think some don’t have a strong [religious] belief system, and they’re more likely to go with science than faith.”

Even the niece of the man who discovered the tracks falls into that camp:

Mary Adams, the niece of George Adams, who found the dinosaur tracks more than a century ago, recently delivered a presentation to youth at the First Baptist Church warning them against belief in evolution.

“If we were not created by God,” the 87-year-old Adams tells me, “there’s no one to whom we are accountable. We can live exactly as we please.”

Adams’ presentation described how she was raised in a church-going home and believed a literal interpretation of Genesis until college, when she accepted evolution instead. She left the church and was married, not entirely happily, to an atheist for 29 years. After their divorce she returned to Glen Rose and to the Lord.

She calls the theory of evolution “the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

For Adams, the idea that God may have worked the miracle of life through the mechanism of evolution, or that science explains “how” and religion explains “why,” doesn’t hold water. It’s “too much of a mixture,” she says.

While skepticism may abound in the town, most of the visitors to the park seem to be there to marvel at the dinosaur tracks. “People occasionally want to argue with park staff about the age of the Earth, or about the park having hidden human tracks, but they generally aren’t locals, park operations trainee Robyn Dabney says. They’re creationists from as far away as Europe,” Ross writes.

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