Newsletter of the Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory

Issue 26 · Spring 1996

USA Marches into La La Land

Onward, Christian soldiers! Down with humanists & down with Bible-doubting science! Well, it is hot news, and for most of us, deplorable news that one giant TV network (NBC) showed a program 'The Mysterious Origins of Man' on 'prime time' (when the largest audience is watching) which starred Charlton Heston, a patriarchal figure who once played Moses in a movie. Why deplorable? Because the program argued seriously that there was hard evidence that mankind had co-existed 200 mya with dinosaurs; they even showed giant footprints purportedly from these very very old humans. They also claimed that the lost city of Atlantis was in Antarctica and that technologically advanced men existed before history began. Dio mio!

Methinks the program was a happy merger of New Age thinkers who divorced science in the '60s and evangelical creationists of Texas Baptist persuasion. Nevertheless SCIENCE was in a dither about it all, as the biology community was also reported to be.

The amusing aspects of the situation disappeared ten weeks later when pollsters measuring American scientific knowledge in general found that a majority of adult Americans believed that mankind had lived with the dinosaurs. In fact NBC cannot claim all the credit for that because Hollywood has been showing so-called 'B' movies for scores of years now which feature some poor explorers having to battle horrifying ersatz dinosaurs. No doubt Japanese colleagues will think of Godzila-san.

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(c) 1996 Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory