Conservapedia:Dinosaur

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Like the starlight problem and isotopic decay, dinosaurs (and other prehistoric animals) present significant problems for Young Earth creationists. They rely on extraordinary claims and weak evidence to provide a scenario where dinosaurs and humans co-existed. As with other analyses of evolution by creationists, they do not give evidence that dinosaurs and humans co-exist; they instead try to put holes into the paleontologists work and let ignorance do the rest.


Conservapedia as of 15 August 2007[6]

Response

Ever since the discovery of dinosaur fossils, there has been debate about whether and how dinosaurs fit into the history of life on Earth.

Christians are often depicted as believing that God planted the fossils to test their faith, and it's true that some Christians believe that dinosaurs never existed. Few creationists believe this. Most people accept that dinosaurs existed. Young-Earth creationists, however, reject the uniformitarian time-scale, and therefore believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. Creationists also reject the now-popular idea that dinosaurs evolved into birds.

Paleontologists who study dinosaurs have detailed evidence that dinosaurs lived millions of years before humans evolved, and any serious scientific debate over the issue finished many years ago. Young Earth Creationists have no legitimate evidence to reject a uniformitarian model for earth and do not have sufficient evidence to reject that dinosaurs evolved into birds. (In all fairness, the "testing faith" component of the CP article was later removed.)

Creationary Perspective[edit]

Young Earth Creationists believe, based primarily on Biblical sources, that dinosaurs were created on day 6 of the Creation Week|creation week[1] approximately 6,000 years ago, along with other land animals, and therefore co-existed with humans. As such, they reject the Theory of Evolution and the beliefs of evolutionary scientists about the age of the earth.

They believe that dinosaurs lived in harmony with other animals, (probably including in the Garden of Eden) eating only plants[2]; that pairs of each dinosaur kind were taken onto Noah's Ark during the Great Flood and were preserved from drowning[3]; that many of the fossilized dinosaur bones originated during the mass killing of the Flood[4]; and that possibly some descendants of those dinosaurs taken aboard the Ark are still around today.[5]

They use archaeological, fossil, and documentary evidence to argue that dinosaurs co-existed with mankind until at least relatively recent times.

Based on data, paleontologists have developed an extensive body of literature consistent with dinosaurs living millions of years ago before humans evolved. There is no consistent evidence for humans co-exisiting with dinosaurs at any time. Birds and other evolved species, of course, co-exist in modern times. The biblical evidence requires a literal interpretation.

Because the term only came into use in the 19th century, the Bible does not use the word "dinosaur." However, they are alleged to be mentioned in numerous places throughout the biblical account. For example, the behemoth in Job and the leviathan in Isaiah are sometimes said to be references to dinosaurs,[6] [7], although others have claimed that Behemoth and Leviathan are references to a hippopotamus or elephant and a crocodile respectively. Young-Earth creationists point out that the descriptions don't fit these creatures, including that hippopotamuses and elephants don't have a "tail like a cedar".

The terms leviathan and behemoth are sufficiently vague to prevent any real idea of what creature (modern or prehistoric) that they correspond to. Plus, leviathan is said to have breathed fire, which dinosaurs probably didn't do (though it would be cool if they did!) Behemoth is also said to possess a navel; unlikely given that dinosaurs hatched from eggs and did not have umbilical cords. The "tail like a cedar" is a quote mine. The full sentence translates to "He moveth his tail like a cedar" has different implications.

Extinction[edit]

Creationists reject the "Great Impact Theory", pointing out multiple problems with this theory. [8]

There is much evidence indicating that dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years, long before Homo sapiens evolved. How dinosaurs died out isn't even necessary to understand to know that they did.

Creationists assert that evolutionists are frequently coming out with a "New Theory of Dinosaur Extinction" and that their theories are laden with false assumptions. [9] It is worth noting, however, that more and more of these theories are being harmonized with one another.[10]

Scientists frequently refine theories as new evidence is obtained. If not, atomic theory would never have replaced phlogiston, and quantum mechanics would not have replaced the Bohr model of the atom.

Dinosaur-like creatures in history and modern sightings[edit]

Creationists cite a number of reasons to believe that dinosaurs have existed until relatively recent times, and perhaps still survive.

Creationists cite a number of isolated, questionable incidents of sightings and ancient drawings that provide no (or extremely weak) evidence that dinosaurs existed recently or currently. Having said that, the very idea that non-avian dinosaurs might be still alive does not invalidate the theory of evolution in any way. It is as ridiculously preposterous as stating that the continued existence of a grandparent prevents the existence of grandchildren.

Wheee!

There have been a number of claimed sightings of dinosaur-like creatures. A thousand people reported seeing a dinosaur-like monster in two sightings around Sayram Lake in Xinjiang according to the Chinese publication, China Today.[5] Among those who believe in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, one popular theory is that it is a living plesiosaur.[11] Locals in the Congo have reported a creature they name Mokele-member[5][12], and from its description it appears to be a small plant-eating dinosaur. The reports have been taken seriously enough that a biologist from Chicago University has made several expeditions to find the creature. Another biologist has reported seeing the creature.[5]

For example, they cite tabloids (China Today) and highly suspicious evidence that cannot be independently confirmed. These reports are as accurate as UFO and alien sightings.[13] Notably, an editor at Conservapedia later removed the Loch Ness monster reference. Why the Loch Ness monster is less credible than other reports is unclear. Well duh no dinosaurs lived in water.

Jesus' famous Gordito impersonation

There are drawings of creatures resembling dinosaurs. An expedition which included Charles W. Gilmore, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology with the United States National Museum, examined an ancient pictograph which he claimed portrays dinosaurs and man coexisting.[14][15]. The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, a second century piece of art, is said to appear to be a piece of artwork that shows a dinosaur and man coexisting. [16] Engravings in the floor of Carlisle Cathedral appear to be of dinosaurs. They are on the tomb of bishop Richard Bell, who died in 1496.[17]

They also cite ancient pictographs that represent creatures that supposedly look like dinosaurs. Of course, pictographs of other mythical creatures provide no evidence for their existence.

Creatures matching dinosaurs and similar creatures have been described by various people groups. The description of the "Thunder bird" of American Indians matches the descriptions of pterosaurs.[5]

These are as reliable (or less reliable) as the modern sightings, above.

Descriptions of dragons are widespread and match descriptions of dinosaurs, suggesting that dragons were real creatures and were actually dinosaurs.[18] The World Book Encyclopedia states that: "The dragons of legend are strangely like actual creatures that have lived in the past. They are much like the great reptiles [dinosaurs] which inhabited the earth long before man is supposed to have appeared on earth." [19]. Dragons exist in the folklore of many European and Asian cultures.[20] World Book Encyclopedia says, "In Europe, dragons are traditionally portrayed as ferocious beasts that represent the evils fought by human beings. But in Asia, especially in China and Japan, the animals are generally considered friendly creatures that ensure good luck and wealth."[20] Dragons appear in the flag of Wales, in traditional China|Chinese New Years' Day celebrations, and in the Chinese calendar. Every other creature on the calendar is a real creature.

Again, the appearance of a creature does not imply its existence. Again, many cultural myths include descriptions of trolls, vampires, unicorns, etc., and yet that does not provide any evidence for their existence. Dragons are also often depicted as having wings (such as on the Welsh flag), but never look like the prehistoric reptiles such as pterosaurs (and there are few species with wings anyway). The dragons often breathe fire, but no species is known to breathe fire. In addition, there are numerous references to dragons in the Bible. Why didn't the scientists who discovered dinosaur fossils call them dragons?

That dinosaurs are not known from the fossil record above the Jurassic strata is not reason to believe that they have not survived until more recent times. Living specimens of orders of animals that were believed to have been extinct for millions of years have been found before, such as the Diatomyidae Squirrel [21], the Wollemi Pine [22] and the Coelacanth [23] [24].

The now-recognized existence of squirrels, pine trees, and fish are in no way related to dinosaurs. (The factually inaccurate statement about "Jurassic strata" was later corrected to read "Cretaceous strata".)

The recent dinosaur tissue find is a strong rebuttal of the claim that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. [25]

Tissue preservation depends greatly on the conditions in which it is preserved, and in fact, may just be biofilm.[26]

Dinosaurs and birds[edit]

Creationists contend that the idea that birds are descendants of dinosaurs is not demonstrated by the evidence [27] [28], and that the dinosaur-bird connection is even disputed by some evolutionists.

In another attempt to misrepresent the efforts of scientists, creationist doubt the link between birds and dinosaurs, even though this does not establish the co-existence between humans and dinsoaurs.

In his article, "Fifteen ways to refute materialistic bigotry", Dr. Jonathan Sarfati wrote regarding dinosaurs being descendants of birds:

The same logic applies to the dinosaur-bird debate. It is perfectly in order for creationists to cite Alan Feduccia|Feduccia’s devastating criticism against the idea that birds evolved ‘ground up’ from running dinosaurs (the cursorial theory). But the dino-to-bird advocates counter with equally powerful arguments against Feduccia’s ‘trees-down’ (arboreal) theory. The evidence indicates that the critics are both right — birds did not evolve either from running dinos or from tree-living mini-crocodiles. In fact, birds did not evolve from non-birds at all! [29]

A contentless quote.

Creationists also cite the evolutionist Ernst Mayr who in 1942 stated the following:

“It must be admitted, however, that it is a considerable strain on one’s credulity to assume that finely balanced systems such as certain sense organs (the eye of vertebrates, or the bird’s feather) could be improved by random mutations." [30]

This is essentially an intelligent design argument, that implies an answer that wings must have been designed.

The March 2003 issue of Scientific American is also cited by creationists:

"Of all the body coverings nature has designed, feathers are the most various and the most mysterious...The origin of feathers is a specific instance of the much more general question of the origin of evolutionary novelties--structures that have no clear antecedents in ancestral animals and no clear related structures (homologues) in contemporary relatives. Although evolutionary theory provides a robust explanation for the appearance of minor variations in the size and shape of creatures and their component parts, it does not yet give as much guidance for understanding the emergence of entirely new structures, including digits, limbs, eyes and feathers...." [31] [32]

A good quote-mining.

Creationists also assert that the comparative anatomy analysis done by evolutionists comparing bird bones and dinosaur bones is flawed. [33]

There is not enough information given to analyze this assertion.

paragraph added in early September[7]

Response


It is sometimes asserted that if human bones aren’t found with dinosaur bones, then dinosaurs and man didn’t live together. Creation scientists point out that this is a false assumption; if human bones aren’t found buried with dinosaur bones, it simply means they weren't buried together.

Creationists note that the fossil record contains mainly marine organisms and that a small sliver of the fossil record contains vertebrates and thus assert that we shouldn't expect to find many human fossils at all. Moreover, as the biblical Flood would be a marine catastrophe, it would be expected that marine fossils would dominate the fossil record. This is in fact what we find.

Approximately 70% of the Earth is covered in salt water which would also explain the dominance of marine fossils. In addition, creation scientists assert there may have been a small pre-flood human population and that massive amounts of flood sediment are why we haven’t found human fossils in pre-biblical flood sediments. Also, creation scientists point out that we don't find human bones buried with coelacanths yet humans and coelacanths coexist today.

It is not clear why the human-dinosaur in the same geologic strata must be discarded while the dominance of marine fossils is good evidence; after all, as the contrary views says, 70% of the earth's surface is covered with water. Furthermore, if the flood were global, wouldn't there be an unusually large amount of land-based fossils? The separate strata argument is also consistent with much other data, whereas the marine argument is not.

The lack of number of humans on the planet during the supposed time of the Great Flood is small according to both the YEC and non-YEC view; in fact, there were zero humans 65 million years ago and further! It's unclear what the coexistence of fish and humans have to do with the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs. Furthermore, the dinosaurs were the dominant order during their heyday; the coelacanths were not.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Genesis 1:25
  2. Genesis 1:29-30
  3. Were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?, Creation Ministries International
  4. Carl Wieland, Dinosaur bones—just how old are they really?, Creation, vol. 21 No. 1 p. 54
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Robert Doolan, Are dinosaurs alive today?, Creation, vol. 15 No. 4 p. 12.
  6. Allan K. Steel, Could Behemoth have been a dinosaur?, Journal of Creation vol. 15 No. 2 p. 42.
  7. [1], Answers in Creation
  8. Jonathan Sarfati, Did a meteor wipe out the dinosaurs?.
  9. Michael Matthews, Dinosaur demise theory, version #451, Answers in Genesis
  10. More Than a Meteor Likely Killed Dinosaurs 65 Million Years Ago, SpaceRef.com
  11. "New Quest Is Haunted By 'Nessie'", The New York Times, July 14, 1992, p. C4: "Believers say it resembles a plesiosaur and was trapped in Loch Ness during the Ice Age 12,000 years ago. The plesiosaurs were marine reptiles who are thought to have lived 65 million to 200 million years ago."
  12. Mokele-mbembe The Living Dinosaur!
  13. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB930_3.html
  14. Doheny Scientific Expedition, Hava Supai Canyon, Arizona, Creationism.org
  15. The Hava Supai Dinosaur Carving, ChristianCourier.com
  16. Dinosaurs in Literature, Art & History-- Page 2, s8int.com
  17. See picture on page 241 of Batten, Don, et. al., 2007, The Creation Answers Book.
  18. Talk.Origins argues (Claim CH712, TalkOrigins.org) that the inclusion of dinosaurs within many cultures is based on the existence of fossils. Ancient people, unaware that the ancient fossils uncovered by erosion were of extinct animals, attributed the bones to living, magical creatures. This would explain the importance of dragons in Chinese culture - there are a large number of dinosaur (as well as non-dinosaur) fossils to be found in China. CreationWiki's response (Dragons were dinosaurs (rebuttal of Talk.Origins' claim CH712)) is that the fossils reminded people of the legends, not that the fossils inspired the legends.
  19. Quoted in What about the Dinosaurs?, CreationScience.com
  20. 20.0 20.1 Dragon entry in World Book Millennium 2000 CD ROM
  21. Diatomyidae Squirrel [2]
  22. Wollemi Pine Biotechnology Australia [3]
  23. Sulawesi Coelacanth. University Of California, Berkeley[4]
  24. More on the Coelacanth marinebio.org[5]
  25. Carl Wieland, Still soft and stretchy, Creation Ministries International
  26. http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/soft_dinosaur_tissue_dispute_probably_just_biofilm_says_study
  27. Bird evolution?, Creation Ministries International
  28. Andy McIntosh, 100 years of airplanes—but these weren’t the first flying machines!, Creation vol. 26 No. 1 p. 44
  29. Jonathan Sarfati, 15 ways to refute materialistic bigotry, Creation Ministries International
  30. In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, Center for Scientific Creation
  31. Michael Matthews, Scientific American admits creationists hit a sore spot, Answers in Genesis
  32. Which Came First, the Feather or the Bird?, Scientific American
  33. Dr. David N. Menton, "Ostrich-osaurus" Discovery?, Answers in Genesis

External links[edit]


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