Do You Believe?
Now available: an award-winning documentary exploring the collision of science and religion at Kentucky’s Ark Encounter
Not everyone believes in dinosaurs.
Years ago, when I was a young-earth creationist trying to explain how I could use science to prove the Bible, an older couple at a church confronted me about dinosaurs.
“I think it’s a mistake to accept that sort of fairy tale. The Bible warns about what will falsely be called science,” intoned the church elder.
“Wait, you don’t believe in dinosaurs?” I asked, confused.
His wife interjected. “We know they’ve dug up a lot of old bones, but that doesn’t mean anything. They probably just got mixed up putting the skeletons together, and ended up with this whole evolution, dino myth. It seems like a big distraction from the Adversary.”
I was dumbfounded. We believed in dinosaurs. We believed God had created dinosaurs on the sixth day, alongside Adam and Eve. We believed dinosaurs had been on Noah’s Ark. We believed there might even be a few dinosaur species surviving in remote jungles. After all, the world was only a few thousand years old.
We believed in dinosaurs. We believed God had created dinosaurs on the sixth day, alongside Adam and Eve. We believed dinosaurs had been on Noah’s Ark.
Why would anyone choose not to believe in dinosaurs?
The award-winning documentary We Believe In Dinosaurs, now finally available for streaming download on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, AppleTV, and a host of other platforms, tells the story of how young-earth creationists convinced local and state government to help them build a $120 million religious theme park designed to teach science denial and convert guests to evangelical fundamentalism.
But the film is about more than just failed separation of church and state. Directors Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross tell the stories of the characters on the front lines: a Kentucky geologist who fights Ken Ham’s organization until a conservative governor quashes resistance, local business owners and officials depending on the promised tourism the Ark Encounter theme park will bring, a local pastor who believes the Ark’s fundamentalist message harms the church, and the Ark design team that is convinced they are doing the Lord’s work.
The film also shows what it takes to leave science denial behind, as I get to tell how I went from being an ardent evangelist for creationist science denial to becoming an outspoken advocate of real science.
How I Stopped Believing the Earth Is 6,000 Years Young
My fascination with creationism ultimately led me to embrace evolution
The filmmakers have partnered with PBS to bring the movie to Independent Lens this February, but the streaming release was official just this week. Entertaining but sobering, We Believe In Dinosaurs unveils a dangerous anti-science undercurrent in an increasingly-polarized country and raises the stakes for the pursuit of truth.
“We Believe in Dinosaurs invites its audiences to think about big ideas, which is the best thing that can be said about any film.” —Washington City Paper
“An intriguing and unfortunately timely documentary…. The film captures a disturbing current in contemporary America.” —Hollywood Reporter
“Thought-provoking … compelling and audience friendly. Brown and Long-Ross let us hear from both sides and let us connect our own dots.” —Movie Gourmet
“Often amusing, but never condescending … this feature should attract interest from various exhibition channels. A smartly assembled package.” —Variety
David MacMillan is a freelance writer, paralegal, and law student in Washington, DC. He writes about science, politics, and culture as he finishes his book about his departure from creationist science denial.