I originally was going to digg an article I read on Tuesday, February 14th, because so many digg stories are easy little one-paragraph opinion essays on nothing. Although dinosaurs- the subject- are a bit passe, both in the scientific and religious realms, the mystery remains technically unsolved: Where did the dinosaurs go? How come they died, or are they still alive somewhere? I don't see any around...Ken Ham has a lot of answers.
There is a community of people who fester in the shadows of philosophy, who believe that Christianity and evolutionary science can be reconciled. And what do you know, they even have space in the .org realm. http www answersingenesis com (don't bother going to their site) is a group of self-proclaimed Christian apologetics. I hate the way that Ham's rhetoric tricks you into thinking that a scholarly article lies ahead and by the end they're quoting scripture and linking you to endless resources to promote his quackery. Here's all I can say about his article, “What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?”.
“Dinosaurs are used more than almost anything else to indoctrinate children and adults in the idea of millions of years of earth history. However, the Bible gives us a framework for explaining dinosaurs in terms of thousands of years of history, including the mystery of when they lived and what happened to them. Two key texts are Genesis 1:24-25 and Job 40:15-24.”
The first sentence actually hits a bullseye. It's a leading and yet unarguable presumption that offers no reference other than the collective conscience. And then he goes on to state an opposition hypothesis. So far he is doing good work. I note that his textual references at the bottom are meant to back up his opposition hypothesis but since the bible is an allegorical, though semi-historical, text I needn't follow up unless he goes into these texts at length. Yet, I do.
24: Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25: And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
So far, this isn't doing much for me. Taken as an allegorical description, I do not see that this verse even hints at an anti-evolutionary stance. Taken literally, it means that the very dirt on the earth's crust gave rise to life, but it makes no mention of a time frame. Maybe the punch line is in the next passage.
15: Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. 16: Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. 17: He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. 18: His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. 19: He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. 20: Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. 21: He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. 22: The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. 23: Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. 24: He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
May I just take this time to say that I very much enjoyed reading that passage. It is very poetic and romantic, but I am sorry to say that Job may be talking about a solitary beast, though I would have to read on to be sure. Interestingly, the moderate position would indicate that this allegory exaggerates and refers to a class of beasts that existed when the writer was alive. The fundamentalist interpretation would have you believe in a monster that pillaged the countryside in times past, and the liberal/atheist view would be that an artist felt inspiration to write these words, with or without intentionally attaching an historical or moral allusion. OK, I've done my homework. What's next?
“Are Dinosaurs a Mystery?
Many think that the existence of dinosaurs and their demise is shrouded in such mystery that we may never know the truth about where they came from, when they lived, and what happened to them. However, dinosaurs are only a mystery if you accept the evolutionary story of their history.”
Well, I'm glad that I'm not one of those people. I am not distressed at the missing links in the theory of evolution, but I do think that religion is more mysterious than science, as a rule.
“According to evolutionists: Dinosaurs first evolved around 235 million years ago, long before man evolved. No human being ever lived with dinosaurs. Their history is recorded in the fossil layers on earth, which were deposited over millions of years. They were so successful as a group of animals that they eventually ruled the earth. However, around 65 million years ago, something happened to change all of this—the dinosaurs disappeared. Most evolutionists believe some sort of cataclysmic event, such as an asteroid impact, killed them. But many evolutionists claim that some dinosaurs evolved into birds, and thus they are not extinct but are flying around us even today.”
Way to go, champ. You invented a new word. Every time someone says “evolutionist” instead of “scientist” an angel gets its wings. You're using words like “cataclysmic”, so it's obvious that you're targeting an audience above the intelligence level of those who would swallow the elementary school line “they were so successful...”. And I could be wrong, but the from the variety of fossils that prove the dinosaurs were a diverse “class” of animals, they couldn't all have evolved into birds. Some may have, and others went extinct.
“There is no mystery surrounding dinosaurs if you accept the Bible’s totally different account of dinosaur history.”
I presume that the italic indicates this is an indisputable fact and perhaps straight from the big man up above.
“According to the Bible: Dinosaurs first existed around 6,000 years ago. God made the dinosaurs, along with the other land animals, on Day 6 of the Creation Week (Genesis 1:20-25; Genesis 1:31). Adam and Eve were also made on Day 6—so dinosaurs lived at the same time as people, not separated by eons of time.”
not going to quote the passage here because it's too long- if you
don't have basic knowledge of the Christian creation myth you could
look it up, but it basically supposes that the earth...nay, the
entire universe, I believe- was created in 7 days by God and that he
made all the animals in one day. The thought just crossed my mind,
if I were a commercial developer and I were trying to encroach on an
endangered species' habitat, I wouldn't feel bad about it at all
because, as God put all the creatures on earth it is His will to take
them off as He likes. All the creatures that now exist were around
on the first day of creation, this little skyscraper won't make any
“Dinosaurs could not have died out before people appeared because dinosaurs had not previously existed; and death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering are a result of Adam’s sin (Genesis 1:29-30; Romans 5:12-14; Corinthians 15:21-22).”
Did I mention circular reasoning? I'm not going to violate any copyrights here by posting their pictures, but you can see for yourself: rational adults can't possibly allow this drivel into their minds. Adam must have been hot on the biscuit for that forbidden fruit if he didn't even explore the wilderness enough to get a scraped knee or a bug bite before he went for the “apple”. But let's take a look at these quotes...so far he's basically telling me to read the bible and make my own conclusions.
29: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
I haven't heard so much talk about catching meat since the last NRA conference I attended. Creepeth is a pretty dope word, I'll have to try to get work that one into my vocabulary. Seriously, though, I think that violence is bred into humans. Clearly, since only a very small percentage of people are vegetarian- only 2% of UK residents, according to the Food Standards Agency's Consumer Attitudes to Food Standards survey of 2007- eating meat is what a lot of people do habitually and the process necessarily involves violence.
12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14: Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
This passage doesn't say anything about Adam's sins raining down upon all the beasts and other animals- just men. Clearly the writer of this passage is a proponent of natural moral law. That's great- what does this have to do with dinosaurs???
So you're still on the same original point, Ken? We're gonna have to pick up the pace here a little bit. C'mon, we can get through this together.
“Representatives of all the kinds of air-breathing land animals, including the dinosaur kinds, went aboard Noah's Ark. All those left outside the Ark died in the cataclysmic circumstances of the Flood, and many of their remains became fossils.”
Finally some substance. Do you know, Mr. Ham, that you've been tantalizing me this whole time? I was wondering about Noah's ark and just how that fits into your whole explanation. Thanks for pointing out the connection there!
“After the Flood, around 4,300 years ago, the remnant of the land animals, including dinosaurs, came off the Ark and lived in the present world, along with people. Because of sin, the judgments of the Curse and the Flood have greatly changed earth. Post-Flood climatic change, lack of food, disease, and man’s activities caused many types of animals to become extinct. The dinosaurs, like many other creatures, died out. Why the big mystery about dinosaurs?”
Global warming to a Christian is “Post-Flood climactic change”?!? To put it in a different way, there is nothing we can do about it. Powers stronger than me have brainwashed millions of people, worldwide, to think that we're going down in a blaze of fury because Adam wanted a tuna sandwich instead of whatever else he had to eat. It's so far removed from you that you can bring your groceries home in plastic every time without thinking twice.
At this point I am nearly convinced that this guy is off his rocker. This is still definitely in the first ten percent of his article, and he's already proven his original point. The rest of his lengthy diatribe will address all the questions that the normally inquisitive and yet forcefully warped Christian mind will necessarily confront when traveling down this line of reasoning. Rather than boring you with specifics, I'll just take you on a tour of his Q&A giving you highlights from each lecture.
Why such different views?
A: There are two ways of thinking: A Christian view and a secular view.
What about other religions?
Where did the dinosaurs come from?
A: God made them on the 6th day.
You are repeating yourself.
What did dinosaurs look like?
A: We don't know. Because we can't know for sure and there have been mistakes in paleontology, we don't know.
This section claims there have been debates over whether dinosaurs were cold or warm blooded. One day people will look back with the same disdainful attitude toward the debate over whether God exists. When Armageddon comes and Jesus does not return as promised, that seems to be the only time people will quit giving money to religious organizations that promote irresponsible and immoral behavior worldwide.
Who discovered dinosaurs?
A: Adam, when he observed them
Do you even have any text to back that up? Mr. Ham, excuse me, but where are Adam's memoirs? Genesis doesn't mention dinosaurs specifically.
When did dinosaurs live?
A: 6,000 years ago
Because that's what the bible says. What about what Charles Darwin says? What about what I say? Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?
A: Yes, but it calls them behemoths, sea monsters, and dragons.
As I understand, Hobbits have hair on their feet. H. G. Wells' A Short History of the World posits that all creatures of myth and legend have historical significance. For example, our stories of dwarf races originated from cross-cultural contact between Homo Austrolopithicus and Homo Neanderthalensis. (To his credit he was ahead of his time, giving suppositions such as this and the idea that Australian aborigines have lower intelligence little viability.)
Are there historical accounts of dinosaurs?
A: Gilgamesh, Alexander the Great, the Chinese, the English, the Irish, and one individual Ulysses Aldrovandus all reported fighting or seeing dinosaurs.
Okay, okay, the website says dragons. But (see above) dragons are dinosaurs.
What do the bones say?
A: We have proof that dinosaurs are not millions of years old. There have been dinosaur bones found that are not petrified.
I don't want to dignify this claim with any research or response.
What did dinosaurs eat and how did they behave?
A: We don't know. You can't tell by their teeth. Before sin, all animals were vegetarians. We know this by studying their dung.
I hate how religionists think they can pick and choose from science's menu of truths. To me you can either accept or reject the foundation of science, that is...logic.
Why do we find dinosaur fossils?
A: When the flood came it killed them all at once.
He feigns at fair treatment each time he answers a question but then he carefully weaves it back into his circular, illogical argument.
How did the dinosaurs fit on the ark?
A: God sent infant dinosaurs, and there were only around 50 varieties at the time.
We've only found fossils of 50 different dinosaurs? I think that must be an outright lie.
Why aren't there any dinosaurs today?
A: We ate them.
That is the most concrete theory that he suggests.
Are dinosaurs really extinct?
A: We can't know for sure. There may be some in Africa. Won't evolutionists be embarrassed if we find one.
Hmm...have you ever heard of a satellite?
A: The theory that birds descended from dinosaurs is a conspiracy to brainwash and indoctrinate the minds of Christians. There is no evidence that suggests the link.
I didn't know that zealots really get this paranoid.
Why does it matter?
A: Research into dinosaurs is crucial in proving or disproving the theory of evolution.
That is the most sensible thing you've said the whole article, which you've spent trying desperately to cover up evidence in favor of evolution. Why? Well, you answer that question beautifully in your last revelation:
Millions of years and the gospel
A: It is crucial not to believe in carnivorous, million-year ago dinosaurs because that would remove the foundation of our religion. Then we wouldn't be able to persecute and guilt people into doing our bidding by brainwashing them into submission.
Thanks for your attention if you stuck with me this whole time