Yes, Virginia, Some Do Still Believe in the Paluxy ‘Man Tracks’

Anyone who has followed the creationist movement for the past few decades as I have knows about the Paluxy “man tracks,” an incredible series of footprints left by dinosaurs in what is now the Paluxy river near Glen Rose, Texas. It’s the home of Carl Baugh, a creationist charlatan who continues to push the notion that man and dinosaurs walked side by side even as many of his fellow young earthers have rejected that claim. The Texas Observer went and talked to some of the locals, who predictably said a lot of silly things.

“MOST EVERYONE IN Glen Rose that I know believes man and dinosaurs coexisted,” Alice Lance tells me at the 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.”

Yeah, them big city folk with their fancy degrees and their peer reviewed journals. Commies, all of em! They have no place in Sarah Palin’s Real America, especially in small towns where all the good people come from.

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.”

This has always struck me as a weird argument. It argues for the existence of God by claiming that the non-existence of God would be bad. But so what? Even if it’s true that a lack of god leads to bad things, it doesn’t logically follow that there is one. Wanting there to be a god doesn’t make one magically appear.

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  • Reginald Selkirk

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

    Except ourselves, and each other.

  • unbound

    Reginald has the size of it. Societies existed long before the xtian god mythology was started. Can’t have those societies without the rules that the xtians think they need god for…

  • erichoug

    For as long as I can remember, even back to the first time I heard about them and before I knew they were bogus, I always thought the footprints were a hoax because of the word Paluxy. I thought it was some old word that didn’t mean what people thought it meant. Like P.T. Barnum’s famous ‘egress’

  • Aliasalpha

    Nothing quite like a tractor pull to bring out the intellectual heavyweights…

  • d cwilson

    “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.”

    People do live exactly as they please. They just convince themselves that their own desires are exactly the same as what gawd wants for them.

  • MikeMa

    Saw a show on tv quite some time ago presenting this idea and showing all the work Baugh did to build up his museum business. I alternately laughed and shouted at the program which I believe had something of a mocking tone toward the whole man/dino activity but I can’t remember for sure. It was clear that Baugh wanted money and respect (in that order) and was conning as many ijits as he could tempt to the place to pay over cash for the honor and privilege of being lied to.

  • matty1

    “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.”

    I hate this argument, first I am responsible for my actions to the people affected by those actions. A God who cannot be hurt or helped by anything I do would be the last entity I owe accountability to.

    Second, if you think living as you please is a bad thing that says more about what pleases you than anything else.

  • Larry

    Most everyone in Glen Rose that I know believes man and dinosaurs coexisted

    You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.

  • longstreet63

    “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.”

    Yeah, that’s right. No prisons would exist, no Kings would repress and tyrannize. You could just walk up to people and slap them in the face and they wouldn’t care.

    These folks really mean that without believing in a god, there would be no one whom they could feel justified in considering inferior.

  • MikeMa

    @longstreet63,

    No prisons? Hah! A good percentage of prisoners are christian. Some accountability.

    The thing is, religious morons of all stripes idealize their version of life to a delusional extent. The idea is basically, if everyone acted as I do, the world would be perfect. They usually claim it as a strictly religious life but it is always their interpretation of some holy book’s recording of a way of life set down hundreds or thousands of years ago. Twisted and idiotic.

  • eamick

    You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.

    The Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant is near Glen Rose. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  • Vall

    The actual Dinosaur Valley State Park is pretty cool. Best time to visit is in the summer, when the river is low.

    The “museum” with “human” prints is right outside the entrance to the park. I will admit I’ve never had the courage to go in. The parking lot is always empty, and I’m not sure I want the proprietor’s undivided attention.

  • Skip White

    “MOST EVERYONE IN Glen Rose that I know believes man and dinosaurs coexisted,” Alice Lance tells me at the annual tractor pull.”

    I suspect they believe as such, because they believe dinosaurs were participants in the first tractor pull.

  • interrobang

    If someone ever whips out that “you can live exactly as you please” argument on me I’m going to laugh and say, “You say that like it’s a bad thing…” If my previous experience snarking at fundies is any indication, I’ll probably get about three seconds of stunned, mouth-open silence, followed with a bunch of “but but but” rationalisations. Such fun!

  • Janstince

    I know at least 5, and probably 7 people in Glen Rose that don’t believe in creationism. My aunt, uncle, 3 cousins, and 2 of their husbands. The third one’s still single. We went up to the tracks one thanksgiving. They pointed out the “human tracks” and we all had a good laugh. I saw the museum, and I thought it might be good for a laugh, but everyone was against spending the money to go in. I suppose they had a point, but still, woulda been funny.

  • andrewlephong

    This has always struck me as a weird argument. It argues for the existence of God by claiming that the non-existence of God would be bad. But so what? Even if it’s true that a lack of god leads to bad things, it doesn’t logically follow that there is one.

    Yeah, that’s ye olde “appeal to consequences” fallacy. It’s a leading rationale for many moral arguments for the existence of God. If God doesn’t exist, then people wouldn’t obey these rules He’s laid down, and we can’t have that.

  • bobbyearle

    …Alice Lance tells me at the annual tractor pull.

    They only have a tractor pull once a year? I would think tractor pulls would be a monthly event down there in TardTown.

  • toddsweeney

    “But, LORD, sometimes there is but a single set of tracks.”

    “Ah, my son. That is when I had the raptor carry you. In its jaws.”

  • charlesbaer

    Wasn’t Paluxy Phil the dinosaur who was scared by his shadow?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lezkimo suzysalaksartok

    How accountable to God are you really anyway, when he loves you so much that no matter what you do, he’ll forgive you?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RiffingReligion Wes

    “MOST EVERYONE IN Glen Rose that I know believes man and dinosaurs coexisted,” Alice Lance tells me at the annual tractor pull.

    Sigh. I try so hard not to stereotype. And yet the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this was, “Yup, that’s the kind of thing I would expect to hear people say at a tractor pull.”

    Of course, I get to say that since I’m from Oklahoma. My parents actually took me to Paluxy to see the “human” footprints when I was a child. Of course, being about 7 years old, I was in no position to counter anything that anyone said there. All I remember is not being able to make out the “tracks” very well. Nowadays, I know why.

  • spamamander, hellmart survivor

    @17

    The sentiment is right but the wording is wrong. Can we not use derogatory slang for the mentally disabled as an insult? thanks.

  • Tony

    I recall as a child reading in Genesis that the descendants of Cain (the bad brother) were the inventors of everything related to ancient urban life. It was Seth’s descendants who maintained the agricultural lifestyle. The attitude was that those “city-dwellers” were evil and disconnected from God and the land, just as Cain was different from his brother Abel.

    It amused me more than anything, as I thought inventing things to make life better was a good thing and how silly and obvious those ancient writers were in their propaganda.

  • Martin, heading for geezerhood

    @22 Spamamander: Re #17:

    It’s a quote from Mel Brook’s “Blazing Saddles”. Watch it and laugh at *ALL* the stereotyping.

  • Martin, heading for geezerhood

    @Spamamander:

    Ooops. Sorry. I thought you were objecting to #8…”You know: morons”. Yeah, “Tardtown” is a little offensive.