In recent days, there has been a viral outbreak of web coverage for a spurious Christian ministry called “Christians against Dinosaurs,” CAD for short. The central focus of the ministry’s activity is Facebook, and they also have their own site,
At first impression, that site’s welcome page looks like a typical Christian organization’s, with banner slogans about Truth and bringing souls to the Lord, superimposed on dramatic photos of people whose lives have been transformed. There are click-throughs for joining the Facebook group, following them on Twitter, and previews of their YouTube channel.
But there are red flags. One of the videos is devoted to why so many fans of heavy metal music believe in dinosaurs. Another video demonstrates how easy it is to fake dinosaur bones (a touch of self-reference there). One of the slogans denounces something called “Big Paleo,” which refers to a conspiracy among scientists, educators and Steven Spielberg (coincidentally or not, an executive producer of Jurassic World, a film scheduled for release this June) to promote the idea that dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Most telling on the welcome page is that one of the photos is a Photoshopped reworking of what appears to be dozens of people at a public demonstration (Update: it turns out to be a photo from a parking-fee increase protest held in St Ives Cornwall on February 5, 2011 – see the original photo in the Update block at the end of this article). Their placards have been rewritten to decry dinosaurs. The full color version of the photo has been tweeted all over the web:
One of the signs, partially obscured by another, demands Ban Barney NOW. Have we gotten the joke yet?
No? Then suppose we are persuaded. How can we make a donation to this worthy ministry? Let’s go to the contact page of the website. Nothing about money, tax-exempt status, or any of the other things that would interest law enforcement. Instead, we have an invitation to send the group a message. The invitation reads:
We love hearing from our fellow Christians as well as the atheiotard masses.
Feel free to use this contact form to reach us for any reasons including setting up interviews for your podcast, booking our band for your child’s birthday party, or with any complaints or compliments.
And still, some express doubt about whether this is a satire. OK, then let’s review the history (and if you really want to donate, then see the update at the bottom of this article.)
Last October, the established Facebook spoof group “Christians for Michele Bachmann” circulated a fake “quote” from the right-wing politician. It was easily spotted as a fake, because it mentioned a specific media outlet, the right-leaning Fox News, a specific date, and the high-profile Ms Bachmann.
In what was no doubt a surprising development to the spoofers, at least for a while, some web folk took the outrageous quote as genuine, and even plausible in light of some Christian Fundamentalists’ rejection of evolution by natural selection. An idea hatched: what if the same sentiments were placed in the mouths of anonymous Christians, with no pesky dates and places to reveal the hoax prematurely?
The earliest sighting of interactive advocacy which the Uncertaintist can now document began in late December on an entertainment forum,
A poster named Eukanuba, from Wales according to his Uber member profile, made a discussion thread promoting a video (the one about dinosaur-believing heavy metal fans, shot in Welsh night spots and a Welsh museum). Eukanuba presented himself as a member of the CAD organization. In the course of the discussion which followed, Eukanuba posted the “peace demonstration” photo. Also, the question of satire came up, to which Eukanuba replied,
Why must people always assume that something that goes against their worldview is satire? Once we believed that the Sun orbits the Earth, and that fire was caused by an element called phlogiston.
And so it goes for six pages, and is still open. The domain name for the CAD website was registered earlier this month, and Eukanuba proudly details the sudden subsequent growth in coverage worldwide. This case will be studied in business school internet-marketing classes for years to come. (For example, does the timing help sell the upcoming Speilberg film?)
So now, back to the “peace demonstration” photo posted by Eukanuba.
It is It was hosted by Photobucket, affording an opportunity for even the mildly curious to see what else is in the public space of this crusader for Christ, Eukanuba of Uberent (Tastemycheese on PB). [Update: the bucket has been cleansed since this story first appeared.] Well, there is the shopped demonstration picture and the signature banner Eukanuba uses on Uber, as we’d expect when following a link from his post.
There is some gentle Christian humor, as shown at left. But there are several missing photos, where Photobucket displays not a photo, but a message,
Hmm. Big Paleo has reached out to quash divinely inspired dissidents? Fortunately for us, the diligent staff at the Bucket missed a few of the photos, and here is one, right up above at the head of this piece. Yes, the Uncertaintist added the censorship. What’s underneath is male genitalia, of respectable girth.
It is unfortunate that the need for the censorship arose, because it prevents our admiring the Photoshop tastes of Tastemycheese. At least we have that “dinosaur demonstration” photo to admire instead.
It’s a joke, for Gawd’s sake.
Update: The basic idea that there was comic potential in Christian discontent with dinosaurs may have first appeared several years ago in the forums of the Landover Baptist Church, a venerable Christian parody site.
Credit where credit is due.
Speaking of credit, if you have a credit card, you
can donate could have donated at
CAD has a one month $ 5,000 campaign going on there. I wouldn’t assume that donations are tax deductible.
Finally, here is the original demonstration photo. This protest really happened, and was covered both locally and by the BBC. The protest group has a Facebook page.
Paleontologist Trevor Valle spotted and tweeted the photo in February, but apparently did not give a source for it. The Uncertaintist wrote to the crowd funding site, see the post.
Later in the year, Karen Auclair ran for town councilor in Southbridge, Massachusetts. The issue of her dinosaur denial videos came up during the campaign. Local blogger Ken O’Brien asked her about her stand and reports that “she responded that what people were referring to were merely satirical pieces.” Auclair won a seat.