Friday, May 29, 2015

What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?

The top result for the above search leads to a plug for a young-earth creationist book by Ken Ham which argues that humans dinosaurs coexisted and that dinosaurs were wiped out in the flood.  There Is No Scientific Evidence For This Position.  The dinosaurs died out at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago.  If you want a good kids resource for dinosaurs, check out Dinosaur Train.

15 comments:

  1. What constitutes scientific evidence? You’d be surprised to learn that there’s an abundance of evidence for the presence of dinosaurs in historical times.

    The hard evidence can be found in ancient art from Roman mosaics to Angkor Wat carvings to Inca toy-like models. Written evidence in the form of encounter stories are common in virtually every ancient culture. That includes stories from the likes of such notables as Herodotus, Josephus and Marco Polo. In 2013, Mary Schweitzer found soft issue in many dinosaur fossils. Well into the 20th century there were still reports of flying retiles in the area of the Sonoran Desert.

    Of course most scientists probably do believe that that the dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago, and therefore aren’t looking for or interested in such evidence. Most are unaware of it, but others ignore it. Unfortunately, an honest appraisal of the evidence would force a radical shift away from the scientific orthodoxy that is so pervasive.

    With due respect, Jimpithecus, the scientific evidence is incompatible with your evolutionary creationism.

    Abraham Rempel
    Author of "The Book of NOTS in Science & Religion."

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  2. What is this evidence of which you write? Why have we found absolutely no skeletal evidence of these creatures? The soft tissue was not soft tissue as you and I know it. It was basically vacuum-sealed soft parts. Please point me in the direction of the texts and images that show dinosaurs. Art historians have studied those for centuries and have never concluded they were dinosaurs. The scientific evidence is compatible.

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  3. Hi again Jimpithecus,

    I'd like to think we're on the same side. Although the "beget" chronology of Genesis has a lot to do with human history, it's not conclusive that the Earth was created a mere 6000 years ago. Nor is it conclusive that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old. That hypothesis easily falls apart upon closer examination.

    There really is insurmountable evidence that dinosaurs coexisted with human beings. Why just a simple web-search (Angkor Wat dinosaurs) brings up images of what are unmistakably dinosaurs. One is clearly a Stegosaurus. Another search (Roman mosaic dinosaur) depicts what is very likely an Iguanodon. Still another (Inca dinosaurs) reveals stunningly detailed depictions of dinosaurs. The first of these was discovered by a Spanish priest in 1535 AD. Many have since been tested positive in laboratories for their authenticity. A more than convincing website is www.s8int.com. It’s hard to understand how these lines line of evidence can be denied or ignored.

    But there’s another line of evidence… and it’s monumental. All through the ages, and from every culture and geographical region, tales abound of human encounters with dragons. These writings and depictions are credible resources for the existence of dragons long before Sir Richard Owen coined the term "Dinosauria" in 1841. It’s quite impossible to deny that these encounters were real. Even Carl Sagan had to ask in his book, The Dragons of Eden, "Could there have been man-like creatures who actually encountered Tyrannosaurus Rex?" Many others too have made the dragon/dinosaur connection in asserting that humans and dinosaurs co-existed in historical time.

    If any of your readers want to follow up this matter on their own, may I suggest the lengthly PDF, “Dinosaurs in History.” It can be found at: http://stories.cyragon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/DinosaursInHistory1.pdf. I don’t agree with the author’s position that the Earth was created 6000 years ago. But it’s an excellent and convincing compilation of the facts relating to the historical existence of dinosaurs.

    By the way Jimpithecus, people have been digging up dinosaur bone all through the centuries. There are references to "dragon" bones being found in China over 2000 years ago. That they were dinosaur bones is surely the best explanation. I question your “vacuum-sealed soft parts” as an explanation for Mary Schweitzer’s discovery of living tissue inside a dinosaur’s femur bone. (The tissue when injected into laboratory rats produced antibodies.) In my mind it’s just too incredible to believe that living tissue can survive so many billions of years – 68 billion in this instance. But it is conceivable that living tissue can still be present in dinosaur bones only a few centuries old, or even a few millennia.

    Like you, I’m no fundamental creationist. But the presence of dinosaurs in the context of human history is surely profound. Never mind the 6000 years of biblical interpretation. It’s still evident that there’s something fundamentally out of whack with the scientific orthodoxy.

    Abraham Rempel
    Author of The Book of NOTS in Science & Religion
    www.bookofnots.com

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  4. Okay, lets take this one at a time:
    You write: "it's not conclusive that the Earth was created a mere 6000 years ago. Nor is it conclusive that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old."

    This is the most persistent canard in the young earth creationism arsenal. It is simply not in accordance with any of the facts that we have. There are mountains of evidence that the earth is over 4 billion years old. The oldest rocks on earth have been dated by several different radiometric dating methods which use different isotopes with different half lives. They all give the same number. The oldest rocks on earth are between 3.8 and 3.9 billion years old but asteroids have been dated to between 4.4 and 4.5 billion, a baseline date for the solar system. Seventeen different chondrites have been dated using Rubidium/Strontium, Samarium/Neodymium, Lutetium/Hafnium and Renium/ Osmium. Whole meteor isochron dates using the above dates, plus Argon/Argon, yield dates of between 4.39 to 4.57 billion years. These methods are stable and have been tested over and over. Here is a short page by the USGS on it. Hereis an excellent BioLogos article on radiometric and other means of dating the universe.

    Here is the problem: if young earth supports cannot undermine radiometric dating, then the whole house of cards comes crashing down. To this end, young earth supporters have been less than forthright about their arguments. Randy Isaacs, then of the American Scientific Affiliation, examined the ICR's RATE project and found outright deception. Steve Austin claimed that the Mt. St. Helens lava flows yielded bad radiometric dates but then geologist Kevin Henke discovered that Austin had abused the methodology and was deceptive about the tests he ran, rendering his results meaningless. The list goes on. I could give you dozens of instances in which young earth supporters have twisted data to suit their purposes. As one of my friends wrote about those promoting these arguments, they are "horrifically, pathologically dishonest." Is that a harsh thing to say? Yes, it is. It is also true.

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    1. Hi Jimpithecus,

      I dealt with the conventional old-earth dating in my book. Even if we allow that the radiometric dates are correct (4-6 billion years etc), we cannot assume that those years represent calendar years. After all, no one can say with certainty that the decay rate was constant for that length of time. It may very well be that 4.6 billion years of radiometric decay occurred during a much shorter period of time. Who can say otherwise?

      My friend, it's a slippery slope when you accuse others of being "horrifically, pathologically dishonest." That's a human penchant not exclusive to young-earth creationists. What about, for example, Haeckel's recapitulation or Dawson's Piltdown Man or National Geographic's Bambiraptor? Who was lying then?

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    2. Actually, radiometric decay rates have to be constant, or else there would be heat signatures. The RATE project argued that there were periods in earth's history, corresponding to the creation of the world, the time of the world-wide flood and one other time that I do not remember, in which decay rates were increased by several orders of magnitude. The problem is that they couldn't come up with a mechanism for dissipating the heat and their model resulted in an earth with its oceans boiled off. There was recently a claim that radiometric decay was not constant because of the earth-sun interaction. That has been shown to be incorrect

      With regard to the comment my friend made about AiG, it was after dealing with them time and time again. I know from my own experience that, when dealing with the human fossil record, a writer from AiG was not only arrogant and dismissive, he got just about everything wrong. Further, there were indications that he hadn't even read the material he was dismissing.

      Haeckel was wrong and shown to be wrong by other scientists. What about Bambiraptor? It is a late cretaceous dromeosaurid.

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    3. Bambiraptor was all dressed up in feathers by National Geographic's Brian Cooley even though nothing remotely resembling feathers was found with the fossil. Even more flagrantly dishonest was National Geographic's Archaeoraptor which turned out to be a forgery – a dinosaur tail glued to the body of a primitive bird.

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    4. I'm sure you're a descent and upright man, Jim. But why do you want to go on pumping out the same spiritually impoverished nonsense that so many others do? Think for yourself my friend, and don't be afraid to go it alone. Use the gifts the Almighty has given you to break free from the world's wisdom. May you be blessed in all your endeavours.

      Abraham Rempel
      Author of The Book of NOTS in Science & Religion
      www.bookofnots.com

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  5. You write: There really is insurmountable evidence that dinosaurs coexisted with human beings. Why just a simple web-search (Angkor Wat dinosaurs) brings up images of what are unmistakably dinosaurs. One is clearly a Stegosaurus.

    My central point still stands: where is the skeletal evidence of humans and dinosaurs coexisting? There is none. There are no layers in which the two are found. In fact, they are separated by some 60 million years. The pdf link to which you sent me begins with a premise that is not supportable by any scientific evidence: that the earth is 6,000 years old. He proceeds from that premise.

    In the 1930s, Davidson Black, then working in China, walked into an apothecary and discovered what were being called "dragon bones" by the locals. He examined them and discovered that they were the fossilized remains of a gigantic ape that stood some twelve feet high (hence called Gigantopithecus. There were no dragons. Those bones also gave rise to the Bigfoot/Yeti stories. The first piece of evidence that is presented in the pdf article is the Paluxy River set of tracks, evidence so discredited that even John Morris of the ICR suggested that it not be used. This points to another issue with young earth arguments: the penchant for their continued use after they have been shown to be wrong.

    “So God created the Great Dragons” This is only a partial verse. The NIV translates the entire verse "So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." No dragons. His descriptions of the floods were similarly flawed. Flood stories around the world are NOT the same. They are all very different and each have their own set of survivors. Owing to these issues, I read no further.

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    1. Jimpithecus,

      Please understand: I’m no more fond of the 6000 years than I am of the 4.6 billion years. I don’t know how old the Earth is. Maybe both are correct, neither are correct, or the true age is somewhere in between. I’m equally skeptical of those two opposing views.

      Your pressing me for skeletal evidence needs a context. Most people are unaware of how few dinosaur fossils there really are – not many more than a couple of thousand reticulated fossils are displayed in museums world wide. Similarly, all the human fossils ever found can hardly fill more than an average size coffin. Not finding both together (human and dinosaur) would hardly be surprising.

      Nevertheless, such evidence may have been found. It’s true that John Morris of the ICR suggested the Paluxy River set of tracks not be used as evidence. But only because of their deterioration, human tampering and lack of conclusivity. Supposedly, human and dinosaur footprints were found in Turkmenistan in 1983. Simple internet searches reveal a host of such images. There’s even a fossilized imprint of a human sandal squashing a trilobite. Other lines of evidence are available. Hundreds and even thousands of anatomically modern humans or their tools have been found in virtually every geological life-baring strata. Human beings have been around for much, much longer than the conventional 100,000 years. (That is if we accept the conventional timetable.)

      But here’s the issue, Jim. I showed you many examples of dinosaur pictographs, carvings, and models of dinosaurs from all over the world. These artifacts are surely evidence that dinosaurs and humans co-existed in historical times. if you have another explanation, I’d like to hear it. But ignoring this line of evidence is simply unbecoming of you. You can still believe that dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago, but then that’s your belief. The evidence or lack of it apparently doesn't matter.

      I’m saying that there is evidence for human and dinosaur co-existence, and plenty of it.

      Abraham Rempel
      Author of The Book of NOTS in Science & Religion
      www.bookofnots.com

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  6. Woops. Linked the wrong article at the BioLogos link. Here it is. The article that I did link was the excellent article by Davis Young on how we can ascertain the reliability of radiometric dating.

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  7. Dinosaur and human or other hominid fossils have never been found together in the same rock layer at any location.

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    1. Hi Ashleyhr,

      There are a few ways to reply.

      First, the number of fossils discovered is actually quite low, only about 2000 articulated dinosaur fossils and barely enough to fill a coffin for the human kind. Not finding both together is hardly surprising. In this case the old saying is appropriate, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

      It’s also a difficult statement to prove, that no such fossils have ever been found. They may have been found and ignored for obvious reasons. To say none that have ever been found is a pretty weak. How can you prove that?

      A simple web search (dinosaur human footprints) will bring up a whole ream of results, images and youtube videos. Given the ensuing controversy and heated debate, it’s more likely that there’s something of substance going on, and less likely that it’s all made up. This is where accusations of being "horrifically, pathologically dishonest” comes in. There’s too much at stake.

      I’d like to recommend the book, The Hidden History of the Human Race by Cremo and Thompson. In it the authors (who are NOT creationists) list hundreds of examples of anatomically modern humans with their tools and artifacts going back hundreds of millions of years. They also give example after example of scientists who have been refused publication, lost their jobs or had their evidence buried in museum vaults never again to see the light of day.

      I have to conclude that your statement is quite false, and the evidence against it is substantial.

      Abraham Rempel
      Author of The BooK of NOTS in Science & Religion
      www.bookofnots.com

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  8. Nope, nobody's comments are being blocked. I just wandered away for a day or so. Four kids and all that...

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  9. Abraham, I do think for myself. That is why I have rejected the young earth position that so many of my fellow churchgoers have accepted. God has given us brains and intellect as well as souls. We can interact with and worship Jesus as savior but there is a great big world around us and it speaks to us as well. It is God's creation and every bit of it screams "4.5 billion years old." By suggesting that the universe might not be either 6000 years old or 4.5 billion years old, but something in between, you suggest something that has not been suggested in over 130 years and has no current empirical support. Many Christians that I know distrust the historical sciences if the conclusions of those sciences deviate from their understanding of the scriptures. Historical sciences are very bit as empirical as operational sciences.

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