To the shock of nobody, Speaker of the House Republican Mike Johnson has already proved to be a contemptible little man, pitching a crackpot deal to fund aid for Israel by swiping the money from the bolstered IRS program that cracks down on rich tax cheaters. Surely Johnson must know that by letting the rich off the hook, it shifts the tax burden to the middle class. Maybe he consulted his Bible and found a comforting passage – something like, “Be not honest about what thee knows, lest it enlighten even those in thrall to thou.”
But what fascinates me most about Johnson is his Biblical devotion to the dinosaurs. It’s kind of funny until we examine it closely.
Given the MAGA GOP’s steady descent into madness, I suppose it’s no surprise that the cult would award the speaker’s gavel to a guy who thinks the earth is only 6,000 years old and that prehistoric creatures hitched rides on Noah’s Ark. But hey, the Book of Genesis says that on the sixth day of creation all land animals, humans and dinosaurs alike, were created at the same time; as Johnson decreed unto us in a 2021 interview, the ark episode “is one way to bring people to this recognition of the truth, that what we read in the Bible are actual historical events.”
I’ve got to say, that’s quite a brain twister.
That’s what they teach at the Ark Encounter theme park in Kentucky. Johnson is personally and professionally close to Answers in Genesis, the group that founded the park; prior to his House career, Mike did legal work for the park. He and the group sing the same hymn. The group says that what’s written in Genesis, about the dinosaurs and everything else, “is a simple but factual presentation of actual events.”
For the sake of argument, let’s ignore that the Earth is scientifically estimated to be 4.5 billion years old and that dinosaurs predated humans by roughly 65 million years (according to geological findings). As Janet Kellogg Ray, an adjunct biology professor in Texas, has written, “The timeline just doesn’t work.” But even if we contrive to ignore the timeline, and instead take Speaker Mike at his word, we’re still stuck with a serious conundrum: How the heck did Noah fit those weighty dinosaurs on board without breaking the boat?
Take, for instance, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which weighed roughly seven tons. Or consider the far more capacious Titanosaurus, which reputedly tipped the scales at up to 85 tons. Noah’s boat, according to Genesis, was only 450 feet long and 75 feet wide, so how did he manage the miraculous feat ascribed to him by the Bible – especially on a boat made of wood?
Those creatures surely stressed the vessel – unless, maybe, Noah’s contractor had miraculous foresight and built the boat with steel plating, aluminum, fiberglass and epoxy resin. That would’ve kept it afloat for 40 days, although…well…there would’ve been another problem: In that time the notoriously carnivorous T. Rex would’ve eaten all the little two-by-two animals.
The Bible doesn’t address that particular problem, which is quite an omission for a purported “factual presentation of actual events,” but no matter. Speaker Mike insisted in a 2022 podcast that the Kentucky ark and creationist museum is a can’t-miss: “For all of our friends who have not made a visit, it’s hard to describe. It’s really an awesome experience.”
I don’t begrudge Bible adherents for believing what they want to believe. After all, freedom of worship is constitutionally enshrined. What’s dangerous, however, is a House Speaker who’s tethered to fairy tales. The same guy who believes that dinosaurs bestrode an ark 6,000 years ago also believes that Donald Trump won the last presidential race despite all factual legal evidence – and, if necessary, he’ll likely say the same if Trump (or any other Republican) loses in 2024.
And that’s not funny at all.
Copyright 2023 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org