We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur

Is the earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know.

There has been much controversy on the Internet, in the news media and even in the Letters section of The Banner on how Christians should respond to some recent scientific discoveries. In just the last few months, we’ve seen the discovery of a 68 million-year-old dinosaur in Alberta, new evidence from the South Pole of primordial gravitational waves from 13.8 billion years ago, and a planet about the size of Earth found by the Kepler spacecraft in the habitable zone of a red dwarf star 490 light years away.

As Reformed Christians, should we welcome these scientific discoveries, or do they attack the basic tenets of our faith?

Article 2 of the Belgic Confession beautifully describes God’s general revelation (the universe) and special revelation (the Bible) as two books written by the same author. As Reformed Christians, we confess that God is infallible in both revelations and that God does not contradict himself.

We also believe that God does not try to deceive us by creating starlight in transit or fossilized remains in the earth. Nor does God hide deposits of pre-processed coal, oil, and natural gas in the proper geologic strata. God is the Lord of heaven and earth. He is the creator of the natural and the supernatural, and he is both immanent—that is, in the universe—and transcendent—surpassing both space and time.

When there appears to be a conflict between these two revelations it must be in our interpretation. Even careful, conservative, and sincere theologians and scientists make mistakes. When pride and politics enter the mix, from Galileo to global warming, an honest debate can quickly become more about doctrine and ideology than about the actual facts.

The Bible is God’s holy and divine Word, but it’s not a book of science. It can’t be. The Bible is full of miracles and supernatural events. Science, on the other hand, is the study of natural laws with the goal of predicting what should happen in an experiment and then empirically testing those hypotheses. The realm of science is limited to the natural laws of the universe and therefore it excludes miracles. By definition, a miracle is a violation of the universe’s natural laws that produces an unexpected result. As such, scientists are not allowed to insert miracles into their solutions. Similarly, if a patient dies on the operating table, surgeons will not expect that patient to be resurrected a few days later with all of his wounds healed.

In the Christian life, science and religion are not separated—but we need to make a clear distinction between them.

Ninety-nine years ago, Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicted gravity waves. Recently a team of scientists in Antarctica found evidence that these waves occurred less than a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Even though they’ve studied their evidence for years, they know that different teams of scientists, with different equipment and with a different hypothesis, will try to prove or disprove their discovery. Science has to explain the age of the universe without resorting to miracles. But as Reformed Christians, we know that God lives in and above space-time, and that he used both natural and supernatural means to create the universe.

Reformed Christians believe that Christ has both a human nature and a divine nature. We certainly distinguish between these two natures, but we cannot separate them. The same is true for science and theology. Astronomers have already found an earth-size planet in a habitable zone around a distant star. Next we’re likely to find an earth-like planet with liquid water. What will the discovery of a twin earth mean to our Reformed faith? What have we learned from Galileo? We’ve learned that science does not correct the Bible, it corrects a misinterpretation of the Bible.

Is the Earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know. The Bible clearly tells us the age of Adam when he died, but it does not clearly tell us the age of the Earth. The dominant scientific theory is that the Earth is very old, but some Christians believe that the Earth just appears to be old and that it’s actually much younger.

Archbishop James Ussher confidently calculated that the world began on October 23, 4004 bc. Similarly, Harold Camping confidently predicted the world would end on ad May 21, 2011. Both men used the Bible as fodder for their speculations. Adding something to Scripture to support a personal position denies the authority of the Bible just as much as subtracting something from Scripture that you’d like to ignore.

What is 13.8 billion years to God? For an immanent God existing in space time who experiences a thousand years as a 3-hour watch in the night (Ps. 90:4), 13.8 billion universe years is about 4,723 God years. For a transcendent God (existing outside of space time), 13.8 billion years is still less than a trillionth of a second. The dimensions of time and space are much larger than we can imagine—just like God.

How can Reformed Christians develop a viewpoint that is scientific and also biblical? The Reformation has given us insights that allow us to discriminate between good theology and bad theology. Many of those insights also work to distinguish good science from bad science.

Many institutions of higher learning have observatories that are open to the public. Go to an observatory and look at the Whirlpool Galaxy cataloged as M51a. When you put your eye to the eyepiece, the scientific explanation is clear. The very same photons that were emitted from this galaxy have travelled unimpeded for 24 million years across 100 trillion miles of space and have at last ended their perilous journey; their final resting place is your retina.

It’s a humbling and praise-worthy experience!

Science can provide incredible experiences for you and your children. You can visit a fossil site and hold a 30 million-year-old fossil with amazing physical detail in your own hands. Or hike into a meteor crater that is 50 thousand years old, or marvel at the craftsmanship of sculpted mammoth teeth or cave paintings that are over 30 thousand years old. Visit a science and engineering expo where you can see, touch, and use the latest technology.

Our parents and grandparents lived in a world where science was “on the fringes” and local, close-knit groups were the social norm. Our children live in a world where science is mainstream, and they must engage the world with knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Young Christians today need a strong and positive engagement of science within a context of faith. So let’s leave behind the subjective dogmas of yesterday and any lingering irrational fear of new discoveries.

Related:

The Christian Reformed Church’s position on Creation and Science

 

We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur

  1. Buurma suggests that the Bible is God’s Word, but it is not a book of science. As Christians, how do we draw the lines between science and faith?
  2. “Is the Earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know,” says Buurma. How much does it matter?
  3. Do you agree with the author that we need not fear for our faith in the face of, for instance, the recent dinosaur discovery in Alberta dated by scientists as 68 million years old? Why or why not?
  4. “Young Christians today need a strong and positive engagement of science within a context of faith.” Why is the topic of origins of such importance, especially for young people?

About the Author

Jake Buurma is vice president of operations for a nonprofit standards organization. He is a member of San Jose (Calif.) Christian Reformed Church.

See comments (39)

Comments

John,

Well, we agree on several things. Since I'm a Computer Scientist and an Electrical Engineer, I agree with your statement that Garbage In will produce Garbage Out.  But let's examine that statement.

For 100 years, we've established the 'Main Sequence' of star formation where the size of the star (in solar mass) indicates if it will continue to evolve or leave the main sequence.  For 50 years, we've studied how intra-stellar material forms into a star cluster.  For 10 years, we have computer models where the input is not 'Garbage' and the output is not 'Garbage’. Both input and output are based on millions of observations. It is not a falsehood to believe something that you have not seen. You, of all people, should know that.  Yes, my perceived reality is indeed base on many assumptions but so is yours.  I make it a point to keep up with my assumptions.

For example, I regularly take a close look at stars and galaxies with my own eyes.  Each day, I follow several websites like Earth Sky News and Sky and Telescope.   I try to be very well informed.  I've spent many thousands of dollars on my personal telescope and camera equipment. I've spent many hundreds of hours studying astronomy or in-field observing.  

Yes, it not simple.  But, do you think landing on a comet is simple? No, it is not, but science still does it. We actually do a pretty good job of not doing simple things.  Of course, if someone does not educate themselves or does not keep up with science or believes that everything in Science must first be confirmed by the Bible, then I can't help the uninformed.  

Young people in the STEM studies will need to be well informed of the latest ideas, experiments and discoveries. They will also have to decide on what they believe.  If they only rely on what the ‘learned in college’ then they will definitely become obsolete. In this forum, I've quoted scientists from Stanford, Santa Cruz, and Duke University. I have also quoted famous leaders in health and science on Ebola and DNA sequencing.   These quotes came from very recent emails or telephone conferences directly between me and the scientist quoted in this forum.

It’s no longer viable to rely on ‘what I learned in college 50 years ago’.  Unlike God’s plan for mankind, science is not constant. However, our understanding of God’s plan is not constant either.  Both the interpretation of God’s special revelation and His general revelation must change with time.

Yes, we will always need to balance our faith and science. I fall on the side of Faith when Science is silent.  I fall on the side of Science when the Bible is silent.  I do my best in when there seems to be conflict. In my own personal experience, it's not the Bible or Science which are usually in conflict.  It's almost always the people who demand that we interpret the Bible or Science in their specific way, and only their way, who cause the conflict.

 

 

Jake, much of what you said in your last post makes sense.  However, when you imagine you can see a process that theoretically takes a million years to happen.... sorry, that is still speculation and theory, not observation.  It doesn't matter if you have a million observations, because none of those observations show it happening.  At most they show some change, but it is impossible to prove that one change leads to another, especially in the assumed formation of a star.  However, the real point is that even if you did see stars change, and if we assumed deep time, it might happen, even if not in quite the way we imagine it, then still it does not prove or demonstrate evolution of life, nor random undirected evolution of one kind into a more complex kind.  

Back to stars and time, I wonder if you have ever read any of Dr. Humphrey's stuff on the RATE project, or on time dilation?  It's good you do not rely on 50 year old college stuff; do you understand the points I have raised from Jonathan Sarfati's book written in 2002 (which is quite up to date, although now 12 years old)?   

Landing on the moon or on a comet is very neat.  The Voyageur I journey to the edge of the solar system and back... very cool.  Just watched a video about that last night (Planet Earth), which showed how unique the earth actually is.  They used to think about 20 unique conditions required for life applied to the earth as a planet, but now recognize 100s of unique conditions, such as location in solar system, location in the galaxy, atmosphere, huge amount of water, unique atmosphere, unique size of the moon, etc.  Did you know for example that the sun is 400 times the diameter of the moon, and also 400 times further away from earth?  So it causes a perfect eclipse, which means the moon can block out the sun, but not the horizon of the sun... thus we can see the gases and solar flares, which we could not see if the moon  was bigger or smaller.  You probably knew this.  

Amazing how this planet is not only perfect for life and habitation, but also perfect for observing the universe, which a thicker or hazier or cloudier atmosphere would not permit.   God's design is so amazing we can hardly imagine it.  It is perfectly designed for us to acknowledge the greatness of a universe which God designed and created.   And the conditions on earth and for earth, are apparently so unique (we discover additional uniqueness almost everyday) that even with the immense size of the universe, it is becoming more and more unlikely on an empirical basis that another earth with life will ever be found.  

I agree you must keep up to date in science.  But this does not mean keeping up to date with adopting all interpretations.  So far, it seems that creationists have usually been proved right in terms of interpreting data.  I have finished the book by Jonathan Sarfati, "Refuting Evolution", in which he has more than 1000 scientific and scholarly references.  He has raised valid points in why evolutionary theory falls very short, and is basically falsified in many different scientific ways, and/or there are alternative explanations for the data.  There are many cases where a young earth explanation provides fewer scientific problems - you will have to read the book to find these cases, as I have only given you a very few.  

I am reminded now of where you cited the moon as being younger than the earth, as if it was a big deal, but then the detail was that the moon was only a little bit younger than the earth(3.9 ba), which still means that it would not fit into the present day observation of its recession rate from earth (which would mean touching earth in 1.37 bill yrs ago).   This is only one example of a problem... there are many more.  

Sarfati also gives a good explanation of the problems with radioactive dating, as well as an alternative hypothesis for explaining the problems with it.  This includes a discussion of helium found in zircons, as well as the RATE project.  I recommend you read it, rather than just reading stuff that already supports your paradigm, which is already found in news and many science journals every day.  I earlier mentioned Dr. Walt Brown's book "in the Beginning", (he is an engineer and was a professor at the US Naval Academy).  This book proposes a hydroplate theory from a scientific hydraulic engineering perspective.  But Creation Ministries International also has an alternative theory which proposes rapid tectonic plate subduction as an accompaniement to the Great Flood.  Both of these are worth studying, if you want to keep up to date.  

I agree with you that science is very interesting.  However, the evolution hypothesis has created many problems in science when it is adopted as a faith or religion.   In many ways, evolution is not science, and often it is anti-science.  So be careful about it.  Make sure you look outside the box and be open to other possibilities such as the simple one;  God created it in a short time as he said he did.  At least the creation of our earth, since the creation of the light (let's say energy), on the first day.  When I see the evidence, I see this as a distinct possibility, more and more likely all the time.  And there are many scientists  ( former evolutionists ) who agree.  

I do appreciate your effort to remain true to scripture. 

Jake, an interesting youtube video commentary by a creationist on an apparent formation of a new planet.   www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2AsVjYhqNc#t=210   You would enjoy this examination of another stellar/planet formation claim, and how it is reported in the media.  In addition, Ian Juby also deals with icthyosaur evolution, and the theory that cetaceans have evolved from ungulates.  Another unproven claim with no evidence, just speculation.  

Sometimes the words we use confuse the issue.  We could say it is about misusing words, or it might be about the conotations of certain words.  When Jake says that stars evolve, he seems to be talking about change, not evolution.  In other words, when a child is conceived, born, and goes through puberty and maturity, do we say he is evolving into something different, or just going through different stages?   I agree with you Jake, that there is nothing theoretically preventing stars from changing in size, intensity due to the chemical and physical activities within the star.  However, just as God created Adam as a fully functioning adult, so there is also nothing preventing God from creating stars in various stages of intensity and size.  This does not mean that they cannot change subsequently, but it also does not mean that all the stars we see must have started by themselves through the same process from a gas implosion.  The stars are not evolving into space ships or animals or trees.  They are still stars.  Even bits of material such as asteroids or planets or moons are not essentially different, but if residuals of stars, are no more evolving than the leftover dogfood we give to our pets is evolving.  Just like a nuclear explosion does not evolve into a volcano or a hailstorm.  

So, if the theory is that it takes a million years for a star to form (which is different than evolution), then we know we can never see it from beginning to end.  And we are talking formation, not changes that happen after the star is there.  It would be like a cicada, which lives only for a few days, trying to understand which seed produces the giant redwood, when he has never seen a seed germinate and produce a seedling (over a million cicada years).  

Anyway, that is how I see it.  Question is, if you see a star "nursery", why do you not see population III stars in that nursery.  If you are seeing the beginning of the million year process, why not these stars which are the beginning of the process?  

John,  I will agree that comparing a child from conception through adulthood to comparing interstellar matterial forming a star is a good comparison. But, we also need to know that some interstellar material which is outside of the main sequence will form into some pretty strange stars like white dwarfs, neutron stars, red giants and super giants, etc.  

Yes, God can make stars using a million year process or He can make a mature star in an instant. However, science only studies the first type of star formation and not the later.  

Thanks for the comments!

Okay Jake.  In your study of the stars, which you call science, perhaps you can tell me the answer... why do you not see Population III stars in the nursery? 

John, as you know it's hard to prove why things don't exist.  If I take my wedding ring and look at it intently and then solemnly declare that it has become a 'No Elephant’ ring and my proof is that there are no elephants in the room when I said it, well then it’s not much of a proof.  

It’s slightly more convincing if I’m totally surrounded by elephants but still no elephants come near me.  But even then, it’s not much of a proof. Maybe the elephants are getting a drink of water or eating lunch and not avoiding me because of my newly declared, all powerful ‘No Elephant’ ring.

The detection of Population III stars is the stated goal of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. New spectroscopic surveys, such as SEGUE or SDSS-II, may also be used to locate Population III stars. But we’ll see, these programs have just started and we have no results.

 

I don’t have a dog, or an elephant, in this argument. I just prefer to discuss why things do exist. You can certainly ask these types questions.  It could be that I actually own a magic ‘No Elephant’ ring but no one knew it existed. But I don’t plan on it. If I find out that I’m fortunate enough to own a “No Elephant’ ring, then I will be selling it on eBay.

Jake, you are right that you cannot prove that something does not exist simply because you cannot see it.   Even if God cannot be seen with the naked eye, does not mean that he does not exist.  However, in the case of stars in a nursery, population III stars are expected under the theory.  They are expected to be seen.  The nursery is there.  Stars do not go for lunch or for a drink.  They cannot be kept out with a fence.  So why are they invisible?  Obviously, the nursery is visible.  Lots of other stars.  But no pop III stars in it.  The most obvious nursery occupants...Where did they go?

 You don't have to answer, but it is an indication that something is wrong with the theory.  There is no physical reason why these stars should be invisible while others are visible.  There is no reason why they should be all gone or burned up or transitioned into other star forms.  If looking for these stars is like looking for aliens, then perhaps the theory of star formation should be revisited.  Perhaps the science is indicating that the stars were created as is, more or less.  

Jake, you are right that you cannot prove that something does not exist simply because you cannot see it.   Even if God cannot be seen with the naked eye, does not mean that he does not exist.  However, in the case of stars in a nursery, population III stars are expected under the theory.  They are expected to be seen.  The nursery is there.  Stars do not go for lunch or for a drink.  They cannot be kept out with a fence.  So why are they invisible?  Obviously, the nursery is visible.  Lots of other stars.  But no pop III stars in it.  The most obvious nursery occupants...Where did they go?

 You don't have to answer, but it is an indication that something is wrong with the theory.  There is no physical reason why these stars should be invisible while others are visible.  There is no reason why they should be all gone or burned up or transitioned into other star forms.  If looking for these stars is like looking for aliens, then perhaps the theory of star formation should be revisited.  Perhaps the science is indicating that the stars were created as is, more or less.  

John,  we don't yet have the telescopes that can image population III stars (stars composed of only of  Hydrogen and Helium with no metals). About four years from now, the James Webb Space telescope (JWST) will be launced into a very high earth orbit (compared to the Hubble)

The JWST will have the resolution and sensitivity from visible light into the mid-infrared, enabling its two main scientific goals—studying the birth and evolution of galaxies, and the formation of stars and planets.

I expect that poplulation III stars will be one of it's first discoveries.  The most likely event is that we will will see the Super Novas of Population III stars which will tell us what happened to them. I expect that about 13 billion years ago, they blew up and became the fodder for the stars that we see today like our own Sun.

I asked Dr. Mark KrumHolz, an Astronomy professor from UC Santa Cruz, about population III stars, here was his reply and I quote:

"The claim that there should be lots of population III stars and that we should have observed them is nonsense. The prediction is that those stars existed only as the very first generation of stars. The last of them would likely have died less than a billion years after the Big Bang"

 So Krumholz also believes you won't find any population III stars.  He agrees with Dr. Sarfati then, on that.  Except that he believes they once existed, and Dr. Sarfati does not. 

We will wait and see. 

It is interesting that the baby stars and/or planets that are claimed to being formed happen long ago and/or far away.

It is curious that we haven't woken up one morning and looked out the window to see a baby planet or sun, in our own solar system.

The closest we might have come to losing/gaining a planet is poor Pluto.  After serving faithfullly as a planet for so many years poor Pluto was suddenly deemed not a planet. :(

Apparently, it is now back, as a planet. ;) http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/10/02/pluto-planet-solar-system/16578959/

 

Joy and John,

Yes, we'll have to wait and see.  I don't want to pretend to know the answers on population III stars when the experiments to study them are still 5 years in the future. 

Joy, yes we can see baby suns and baby solar systems being formed. Dr. Krumholz had links to his images of the birth of suns and baby solars sytems in his reply to John.  I have seen Uranus with my own eyes but not Pluto.

It's not unusual for science to update the status of the solar system every few years. We've found dozens of more moons around all of the outer planets. If you look at a text book from 20 years ago it will proably be wrong when it describes the number of moons that surround the last 4 planets. 

I was told that if you find a new moon, then you get to name it, as long as you follow the guidelines.

So let's hope for the solar system shown in your picture. A happy solar system where we all get along.

Regards,

Jake

Dr. Stephen Kindell in a video  "creationsensation.blogspot.ca/2011/02/great-dinosaur-deception-exposed-dr.html"  indicates that there were 10 human skeletons found in the same undisturbed sediment rock as dinosaurs are found in Dakota sandstone in Utah.  "Malachite man".  And apparently there are other cases as well.   Apparently, a secular book called "Forbidden Geology" also deals with some of these cases.  

Another "dating" method which seems to be quite accurate is thermo-luminescent dating, which works really well on ancient pottery.  It seems to be more accurate even than C14.  It measures the energy that has leaked from the pottery since it was fired.  Never heard of this method before, but it sounds like one we should learn more about.  It verifies the age of pottery which has dinosaurs depicted on it in drawings, paintings, or carvings.  

Regarding the human bones in the Dakota Sandstone, look at http://paleo.cc/paluxy/moab-man.htm

Over and over, young-Earth non-geologists find what they hope will prove and defend their interpretation of what the Bible says. I don't see that the Bible tells us the age of Earth, so I see no pressing need to find evidence that it is young. It matters not to me whether it is young or old, and I believe the Bible allows for this. However, I see abundant evidence that Earth is old unless one resorts to miracles that resulted in processes and phenomena outside the scope of science. If that is the case, then those resorting to them cannot use any kind of geological argument because it would be impossible to distinguish in the geologic record between times when things were operating naturally and when there was supernatural intervention. Either the basic principles of sedimentology, stratigraphy, plate tectonics, etc., apply or they don't. You can't have it both ways.

"It verifies the age of pottery which has dinosaurs depicted on it in drawings, paintings, or carvings. "

Humans and dinosaurs were not contemporaries. T. rex was not an herbivore in the Garden. "Dinosaurs" on pottery are modern lizards or figments of someone's imagination.

Why do some Christians spend more time thinking about this stuff than they do thinking about the incarnation and the resurrection? This is not the central theme of my theological understanding.

Actually, Ken, you can't prove that man and dinosaurs didn't live at the same time.

Similarly you wouldn't be able to prove that you didn't see my kitty jump over the fence into your yard (hypothetically of course :)).  Actually my kitty passed away a few years ago. :(

For some peculiar reason it seems so important for those who believe in evolution to believe that man and dinosaurs didn't live together.  It's only circular reasoning that keeps their belief going.  Soft tissue found in dinosaur bones, legends of dragons on every continent, pottery art etc. refute this theory.

 

Thanks, Joy, for pointing that out. I was in a hurry, and didn't choose my words very carefully. Yes, it is impossible to prove a negative.

Scientists do a lot of disproving. That's mostly what we do. When a scientist proposes something, others often do their best to challenge the proposition. There are no sacred cows. Scientists love to earn their stripes by disproving established concepts. (OK, enough metaphors!)

Sometimes long-held hypotheses or theories are completely discredited, but often there is more of a realignment. We see that in the history of our understanding of the atom, and in the idea of continental drift morphing into plate tectonics.

You are correct. We can't prove that man and dinosaurs didn't live at the same time. However, there is absolutely no reliable evidence that they did. If we disallow that birds are feathered dinosaurs, all evidence of dinosaurs is found in strata below the iridium-rich marker bed known as the K-Pg boundary (formerly the K-T boundary, before some names were changed), and all evidence of humans is found well above that marker.

There do seem to be a couple of sacred cows, i.e. belief in (macro) evolution & belief in old earth universe.  Mainstream/secular scientists don't seem to be willing to even consider that (macro) evolution did not occur and/or earth/universe is not old.

Probably even if a dinosaur was found fossilized, as a result of sudden flood (Noah's flood), while in the process of using a human bone as a tooth pick many mainstream/secular scientists would try explain away what is in front of their own eyes.  Seems to be more a case of believing is seeing than seeing is believing.

Joy,

You used a couple of key words in your most recent comment, "seem" and "belief." Sometimes things aren't what they "seem" to be, including the two that you cite, but let's look at belief first.

As I think I've stated here before, belief is a faith word. As Hebrews says, "...faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Many scientists are Christians, and they have that faith regarding spiritual things. I think that unbelieving scientists probably have faith in their belief that God may not or does not exist, too. When it comes to studying the creation, scientists do not rely on faith. They do not believe in any kind of scientific conclusion. They say, "The evidence indicates..." or "The evidence suggests..."

Some folks look at the creation with the belief that God did and does things in the way and in the amount of time that their interpretation of Scripture indicates, and attempt to interpret the created world with that perspective. Most Christian scientists believe that God does not reveal these details in Scripture and does allow us, yes demands of us, that we study and explore the creation, and glorify him in doing so.

There is no great conspiracy against the Bible and for an atheistic approach to science, although some atheistic scientists have been rather outspoken and have confused the boundaries between the realms of theology and science. If you look at the history of science, you will see that the ideas regarding the antiquity of Earth and the development of evolutionary theory were developed by Christian men, for the most part. We got where we are today because of the evidence.

Yet, scientists don't "believe" in an old Earth or biological evolution, but these things are generally accepted today as the best current explanation of the evidence. To most Christian geologists and biologists, the evidence suggests that God began the creation very long ago and has used "macro" evolution, and the evidence continues to accumulate. If we see nothing in Scripture to restrict God as to time and process, then we believe it would be wrong to do so. We are not unwilling to consider alternative explanations. That is done all of the time. But we do reject explanations that don't fit the evidence, and don't spend time and effort considering them. As Christians, we consider all of God's work in his world as miraculous in a way, although we are not able to observe and study miracles of the kind that are supernatural.

Those Christians who have a different perspective on these things usually rely on the Noachian flood to explain the geologic and biologic record. Regarding that, I would suggest you look at "The Biblical Flood" by Davis Young, and look up an article on the Web, "The Defeat of Flood Geology by Flood Geology." The geologic record has a multitude of features that are incompatible with the explanations of the "flood geologists." These include the depositional environments of sedimentary rocks, the source of various sediments, the distribution of various taxa (families, orders, species) in the stratigraphic sequence, etc.

"Seems to be more a case of believing is seeing than seeing is believing." This is not what real scientists do, since belief is not science, but I have heard it said about some non-scientists, "They would not have seen it if they had not believed it." Being a Christian was easier in the old days when all that was required to be saved was to believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ. Now some Christians require that to be a Christian we have to believe as they do, and interpret the Bible as they do.

The reason we are having this discussion is because we look at Scripture and the creation differently. I expect that won't change. I have friends who disagree with me on various things in religion, politics, etc., but we're still friends. You and I have a lot that we agree on, and we probably shouldn't spend so much time talking about what we don't. Now it's very late and I shouldn't have gotten into this at this hour. I need to go and do something relaxing for a while.

Thanks for the article on human bones in Dakota sandstone.  Don't know how much of it to believe, especially in terms of interpretation... but it seems somewhat fair.   I wonder how much effort would be made to find that dinosaur bones are also found in intrusions, but that is just speculation.  In my personal experience, dinosaur Pachyrhinosaurus fossils were found in the surface of a thin layer of shale which was above a thick layer of "soft" bedrock (at least fifty feet), and below another thick layer of soft bedrock(perhaps 300 feet), or what I call dry clay, to my eyes virtually indistinguishable from the stuff below.  Neither the clay below, nor the clay above would likely be called an intrusion, yet they were not hard, or at least not rock in our normal perception, not even as hard as fragile sandstone.  So the question would be, would bones fossilize in clay which would not harden on its own?  If you have five hundred feet of clay, why would it not harden or turn to rock?  We know that fossilization does not need to take that long, but not all conditions are conducive to fossilization.  We also know that because of the partially unfossilized dinosaur bones found by Dr. Mary Schweitzer, who found dinosaur hemoglobin and red blood cells inside of dinosaur bones.  We know that mummified bones are not fossilized, yet last a long time.  

You say either the principles of sedimentology and plate tectonics apply or they don't.  You are right, it seems except that you only assume that you (or anyone) fully understand those principles.  The reality is that sediment and erosion principles have been misapplied in the past.  We know this because of polystrate fossils, and we know this because of the evidence of Mt. St. Helen's impacts on erosion, forest destruction, and sedimentation.   In the same way, fossil evidence is misunderstood, I believe.  We know for certain that fossils indicate that animals died, but cannot limit where and when animals lived.  

So I have difficulty trusting the article you linked to, because I have seen pictures of human artifacts imbedded in coal beds, within a lump of coal.  In every case, the first assumption by so-called mainstream is that it is an intrusion.  The reasoning will continue until they convince themselves it is an intrusion.   Just as when Dr. Mary Schweitzer asked what evidence would convince a reviewer that the hemoglobin belonged to the dinosaur, and he replied "None.", meaning that he simply could never be convinced, regardless of evidence.  Such a hard headed approach to validate the apriori assumptions makes it hard for me to trust evolutionists who are not open minded.  

You indicate you find no need to find evidence that the earth is young.    Science is not concerned with your "need".   Your need has nothing to do with it.  Your need has no impact on how to evaluate the evidence.   If it really doesn't matter to you whether the earth is young or old, then you would not have to prove that evidence for a young earth is wrong, yet that is your preference.   So I suggest that it does matter to you whether the earth is old or young, and you prefer it to be old.  My observation.  Can you prove me wrong?  

Dr. Don Batten says there are many artifacts and fossils that falsify the general theory of evolution.  In reference to the human bones in the Dakota Sandstone, he agrees the C14 dates them as less than 2000 yrs old, but also indicates there are no intrusions for these skeletons, no indication of a mine, no tools found with the skeletons, and a good portion of the bones were not connected to each other, not articulated.  

Another proof that man must have seen actual dinosaurs(dragons): 

Stegosaurus carving at 800 year old Ta Prohm Temple in Cambodia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJwKTRsaTaY)

Hi Joy,

From that logic, I dove with dinosaurs last week.  These Manta rays are only 1,000 lbs and 10' across, but the record is 5,000 Lbs and 20' across.  They've not changed much in 5 Million years.

I did like the pictures shown in your video. But I see that they skipped the pictures of a man with the head of a bird.

Jake

Hopefully you didn't get too close to them.  They might have a nasty bite. 

Distracting by focusing on another carving still doesn't explain how over 800 years ago someone just happened to creatively carve a creature that looks just like a stegosaurus.  What a coincidence! 

Joy, I will say that the carving does look like a stegosaurus.  

But I wasn't trying to distract you by focussing on another carving.  When you used the scientific method, you don't get to choose the results that you like and ignore the results you don't like.  If your hypothesis is that this specific creature existed and was seen 800 years ago (keep in mind that the date itself is suspect) and it was carved into stone or pottery, then all of the creatures in the carved into that panel must have also existed. 

If you believe that this picture is proof that a stegosaurus existed 800 years ago, then the picture of the bird man, the lion dog, the flying serpent, also existed.  

Many young scientists make a name for themselves by disproving a theory and they use exactly this method. When you put forth a theory then it's 'open season' and you don't get to defend your theory by cherry picking only the results that exactly fit with your theory.  If your theory holds up, it's great!. But just as much scientific progress is made if someone ultimately disproves your theory.  

All the best.

Jake

Jake, I don't think you can totally discredit the drawing of the stegosaurus in the way you do.  In the other carvings, we can recognize the composites of a bird-man, or a lion-dog.  The pictures do exist, and the parts are recognizable, even if combined in an imaginary way.  Yes, the stegosaurus would have been regarded to us as mere fanciful imagination, if we did not already have knowledge of such an animal from fossils.  Yet, we understand stegosaurus, like birds and lions, actually lived.  While you are right that it does not prove that man actually saw it anymore than that we see one today and are able to draw our perception of it only from fossil interpretation, you must still ask yourself where the idea for such an animal came from, since you can fairly well understand the origin of the other carvings.  Maybe it came from fossils unearthed 800 years ago.  Maybe it came from stories or other pictures drawn by ancestors of the carver.  Or can you say it is a composite from something we see today, like the birdman?  If not, then it is more reasonable to assume that some actual knowledge of a stegosaurus was involved.   Merely dismissing it because of  predilections does not do proper service to the study of the carvings.  

John, I thought that the carving was actually a very good representation of a stegosaurus. And yes, I have no idea why it was drawn on the panel.  I am not dismissing it because it is a real good question of how and why did it get there.  But my primary point was exactly what you stated, a picture of a stegosaurus is not a proof that it was actually seen.  If the hypothesis is that a carving in a panel is the proof that an animal existed then all of the animals in that panel must have existed. You can't pick and choose the animals that fit your hypothesis. 

I was actually very happy to have this pleasant discussion with Joy.  We've come a long way.

 

Yes Jake but some people have actually seen men dance around while wearing a bird mask or a lion mask. So it is possible these are depictions of things actually seen even if some things are medicine men in disguise. If so it would seem an explanation other than mere imagination would be required.

So, what about the Stegosaurus picture on the building in Cambodia?  Apparently there have never been any Stegosaurus fossils found in Cambodia.  So it is unlikely that the carving of the Stegosaurus was stimulated by fossils.  That leaves the transfer of pictures from where fossils were found eons ago, but there is no evidence of that either.  

We learn something everyday.   Today I learned there were many mammal fossils buried with dino fossils.  (creation.com/so-called-age-of-dinosaurs)  These include squirrels, rabbits, platyplus and badger like creatures, as well as bees, cockroaches, frogs, ducks and pine trees.  This throws some of our common conceptions about evolutionary progression out the window. 

Another interesting factoid.   Apparently kangaroo fossils are found in Europe, but not in Australia.  Of course, we know live kangaroos are found in Australia, not in Europe (except for special guests).   Does that throw your evolutionary thinking upside down?  

Below is a link to a 4 minute talk by the British biblical scholar N.T. Wright, who offers a profound reading of Genesis 1-3 that solves many of the tradional antagonisms. 

http://biologos.org/resources/multimedia/nt-wright-on-adam-and-eve 

Henry,

I agree with Dr. Wright.  It's relatively recent that the first three chapters of Genesis has been construed to be a pseudo-scientific account of creation.  

We have a small group of religious people who have been around for a relatively short time that  claim they have the only possible answer to the questions that thousands of scientists have researced for over a thousand years. Genesis is a narrative of who God is, who we are, why God wanted to share his world with us, how we screwed up, and how he plans to redeem us and restore the world.

 

Thanks for your comment.

Jake

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati has written a book called "Refuting Compromise".  In it he explains various views of Genesis 1, including concordism, discordism, day-age theory, God of the gaps theory, evolutionistic creation theory, and Meredith Kline's Framework hypothesis, among others.  Sarfati is a Christian of Jewish ancestry,  as well as a PhD in physical chemistry.  He spends a chapter discussing the authority of scripture (including examination of hebrew derivation of some words), another chapter on the Days of Creation, and the third chapter on the history of interpretation of Genesis.  He dismisses the possibility of Genesis 1 being mere poetry, and discusses the views of theologians on this issue from the time of Josephus, including Basil, Ambrose, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and many others.  His book is written mainly to show the failings of the day-age theory as proposed by Hugh Ross, but many comments are also relevant to theistic evolution, or evolutionary creation.  In subsequent chapters, he addresses issues of astronomy, origin of suffering and death, created kinds, global flood, history of mankind.  He also deals with science and young earth theory, as well as the bible and old age theory.  He shows quite clearly that the bible clearly meant to indicate a six day creation, and that this was acknowledged from the time of Josephus.  Modern biblical liberal scholars also acknowledge that Genesis 1 was intended to mean a six day creation, even though those same liberal scholars often do not believe the bible, at least in this instance ( as well as in other instances perhaps).  Much can be learned by reading this book by Sarfati, that may enlighten you to things you were not aware of.  But it will take awhile to read the entire book, since it contains many gems of knowledge and understanding in approximately 400 pages. 

Of course, if one does not believe Genesis, then whether it is a narrative of who God is and what he has done, does not help you.  If Genesis is not true, then it is also not a revelation.  

Here is and excellent radio program featuring John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, Illinois, has authored the book The Lost World of Adam and Eve.  This is a simple and excellent book, I highly recommend it.

http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Have-we-misread-the-Adam-and-Eve-story-John-Walton-vs-Stephen-Lloyd

"Trained in molecular biology, they looked at an international assortment of genes and picked up a trail of DNA that led them to a single woman from whom we are all descended." Newsweek 111 (Jan. 11, 1988)

And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Genesis 3:20


As more evidence of altered fossils begins to surface, one must seriously question the integrity of the fossil industry and the stories these fossils are supposed to tell. A Feb. 19, 2000 New Scientist article sheds light on the growing problem of faked and altered fossils. Paleontologist Kraig Derstler from the University of New Orleans in Louisiana says, “almost every one that I’ve seen on the commercial market has some reconstruction to make it look prettier.”

 

Kraig Derstler (University of New Orleans in Louisiana) points out that “adhesives and fake rock have become very easy to make and very difficult to spot.”

 

The paleontologist Luis Chiappe, of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, describes how one such specimen almost fooled him, till he noticed that one leg was longer than the other. “I wasn’t sure what was wrong with it,” Chiappe said. Only close examination revealed that two slabs had been mortared together. “On the surface you really couldn’t see that.”

  

Dr Larry Martin of the University of Kansas, who is a staunch critic of the dino-to-bird theory, commented, “I don’t trust any of these specimens until I see the X-rays.” Joints and gaps in the reworked fossils are revealed with X-rays. Martin went on to say: The whole commercial market for fossils has gotten riddled with fakery.”

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