Appealing to public emotions is a tool employed by politicians, media, and anyone trying to win supporters for a specific agenda. Naturally, such efforts can skew or omit facts, as is often the case in mainstream presentations of the ongoing battle between evolution and creation science. A recent Discovery News feature provides a telling example of this particular ploy.

Published online July 11, the feature is titled “Evolution Controversies: A History in Photos” and includes photographs from the Scopes “Monkey” trial of 1925, a cartoon of British naturalist Charles Darwin with the body of an ape, and a photograph of an exhibit in the Institute for Creation Research’s former Museum of Creation and Earth History in Santee, California.1 Of the ten photographs, two portray what the author says are claims used by creationists as “scientific proof of young Earth creationism”: the dinosaur footprints in Glen Rose, Texas, and a petroglyph in Utah that resembles a dinosaur.

Geologist and ICR President John Morris reported on the Paluxy River footprints in 1976,2 which at the time many creation scientists believed showed human and dinosaur footprints together. However, in light of continuing study, he reexamined the issue and wrote in 1986:

Even though it would now be improper for creationists to continue to use the Paluxy data as evidence against evolution, in the light of these questions, there is still much that is not known about the tracks and continued research is in order. We stand committed to truth, and will gladly modify or abandon our previous interpretation of the Paluxy data as the facts dictate.3

So, Discovery News’ statement that “creationists claim that human footprints can be seen right beside dinosaur tracks”1 is about 25 years out of date. Creation science researchers have moved on, a fact that was omitted from the Discovery News’ emotionally oriented appeal….

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