GLENDIVE - Otis Kline
is hoping to build what he
says will be the second-largest dinosaur and fossil museum in Montana, complete with a theater, laboratory and 13 full-size dinosaur replicas.
This would be a dinosaur museum with a twist, however.
Kline wants to use the fossils to teach visitors a strictly biblical account of creation, to "absolutely demolish," as he
says on his
Web site, "evolutionism's nonsense."
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Mainstream scientists are as certain that the earth is billions of years old as they are that it is round, but Kline
believes that the earth is 6,500 to 7,000 years old.He
believes that the other planets, the moon, our sun and all the stars are as old as the earth, and that dinosaurs were among the animals that trooped, two by two, onto Noah's ark.Kline, the founder of FACT - Foundation Advancing Creation Truth - already has a 37-acre fossil camp just outside Glendive's city limits, where groups of like-minded amateurs can help with excavations and learn about creationism.
In a statement of beliefs on the FACT Web site, Kline
says the Bible is "completely free from error in the original manuscripts."And of all the stories in the Bible, Kline
said, none have come in for more ridicule than those in Genesis, which tell of the creation of the universe and the peopling of the earth.
The words of the Bible ultimately have to be taken on faith, Kline
said, but if the events in Genesis can be shown to be true, everything else in the Bible "can be taken on much greater faith."
Kline's endeavors were inspired by a dinosaur fossil field trip he
made in the early 1990s to Alberta, Canada, led by another creationist, Dennis Petersen.
"I could see how it changed people's lives when they could actually see the truth of the Bible," he
wife were land developers in Arizona before moving to Montana's Bitterroot Valley in 1980, where they worked in health care.Over the years he
hunted a lot in the Glendive area, often enough to know that the region was rich in dinosaur fossils.After doing several digs on private land in the area in recent years, he
decided to move to Glendive in the winter of 2003.He
37 acres and already has made a find or two on the property.He
said a group of people interested in creationism who came to the site last summer helped him unearth parts of a triceratops, including a pelvic bone, a piece of the nose horn, ribs and a chunk of frill.He
has another promising hillside that will be excavated this summer, and three groups have registered to take part in those digs.Kline
also likes the Glendive area because the layers of mud and shale in the Hell Creek formation seem to point to a massive flood - the Flood described in Genesis.He
considers it proof of a "young earth" theory that dinosaur fossils are found in the same strata as the fossils of figs, flowering plants and sequoia needles.
How do the dinosaurs fit into the Bible?Kline points to Job 40:15, which speaks of "the behemoth" that "feeds on grass like an ox."
"I believe there were dinosaurs put on the ark," Kline
said."There was no rule that said they had to be mature."
Only fossils of the dinosaurs remain because the Flood so altered the earth that dinosaurs could not survive in the new environment, Kline
expressed the same certainty when he
described God creating the stars and planets all at once on the fourth day of creation.
The stars and planets were brought into being fully functional and mature, just as Adam and Eve were created as adults capable of producing children, Kline
said.The Bible says the stars and planets were created to mark the seasons and to serve as signs for people on earth, and that's all they are, Kline
"Of what use would a sign be if it took a thousand light years, or whatever, to reach you?"he
sees danger in the teachings of science.
"When you visit a major natural history museum today," he
says on his
Web site, "you will see wide-eyed elementary and preschool children (not to mention their parents and teachers) being funneled into an abyss of scientific deception.No matter whether it's the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of God's creation are prostituted for evolutionism."
Visitors will face no such dangers at the museum for which Kline hopes to break ground next spring.His
foundation has purchased land for the museum on Merrill Avenue just north of the I-94 interchange.Various businesses have donated building materials, architectural services, labor and equipment, Kline
said, and fund-raising continues for the rest of the two-story structure.He
said the total cost has been estimated at $1.6 million, of which $750,000 would be spent on the dinosaur exhibits.He
plans to have 13 full-size dinosaurs made of fiberglass, resins and other materials, molded from casts of the original fossils.
There would also be an exhibit area where ranchers and other landowners could display, on loan or as permanent donations, dinosaur bones and other fossils found on their property.The museum would also have a laboratory and what Kline calls a "rest of the story" theater.Kline
is a Southern Baptist, but he
said the museum and fossil camp will be open to all faiths, to anyone who wants to find biblical answers to the questions raised by science.
"We felt that the Lord really had a ministry he
wanted done here," Kline