By Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 11 June 2003
Nothing is more challenging to young earth creation science theory than the dinosaurs. In attempting to explain them, they have come up with some interesting theories, however, there is still plenty of unexplained data that they cannot address. When it comes to these issues, they are silent, in the hopes that nobody will think about it.
I will handle this chapter in the order it is presented, and will intersperse this data throughout.
Are Dinosaurs A Mystery? (Page 237)
Not to the old-earth creationist…although the young earth creation science authors would have you believe they are. The authors claim there is no mystery if you accept them as having been created only 6,000 years ago. However, the evidence from the dinosaur fossil-bearing rock layers is so contradictory to their story that it completely eradicates their theory.
Why Such Different Views? (Page 238)
I love it when they do this…once again they appeal to Job 38:4, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” In making this statement, the authors are alluding to the fact that since the old-earth believers were not there, they cannot possibly know when it was. However, as I have said many times before, the young-earth creationists were not there either, yet that doesn’t stop them from guessing about the age of the earth.
On page 239, they make the claim in the third paragraph that a paleontologist who believes the Bible to be the Word of God, will come to a completely different conclusion about the fossil record than an atheist. Not true…there are many paleontologists who believe the Bible is the Word of God, and they believe in a billions of year old earth. I’m sure everyone has heard of Dr. Bob Bakker, the famed paleontologist, for one.
Actually, the following is true…if you look at the Bible only as your source for dating the earth, and ignore the creation, which God made (and, which testifies to its true age), then you will inaccurately date the age of the earth. There is no problem in believing the Biblical account of creation, and believing the earth is billions of years old. It is only when you get into incorrect interpretations of the Bible, as the young earth creation science camp does, that you have problems. However, these are problems with interpretation, not with science.
This entire section, especially the second half, is basically saying, “it’s our way, or the world’s way.” They pit it as themselves, as the true interpreters of the Bible and science, against a secular world. However, they do not have the monopoly on Biblical interpretation. Fortunately, we are all free to interpret the Bible, so we don’t have to be tied down to believing this expert, or that expert. As much as the authors would like to paint it as “Godly” against “worldly,” it’s not that simple.
Using their model, I take the “Godly” viewpoint, yet I reach “worldy” conclusions. I disagree. Old-earth creationists take the “Godly” viewpoint, and reach a “Godly” conclusion that the earth is old. Another way of summing up this section is, ‘ignore worldly science.” Unfortunately, they must say this in order to explain their own inaccurate interpretations. If anyone listens only to their brand of science, then they will only come to a young-earth conclusion. However, anyone who has a mind and likes to think for themselves, will see the obvious errors in their scientific work (if you can call it ‘scientific’).
Unfortunately, the people tied up into believing their “creation science” do not think for themselves. They instead are taught to ignore all worldly viewpoints. For example, my wife was at a recent homeschool support group meeting, and they were discussing a field trip to a nearby natural exhibit, and dinosaurs came up. Another parent knew about our old-earth beliefs, so she asked my wife to explain it. One young-earth believing mom was in the group, and rudely interrupted my wife before she could get started. Despite several attempts, my wife could not get a word in edgewise. The other mom would not hear of it, nor would she allow my wife to talk. Since young-earth believers exhibit this type of reaction, you could say that they are trained to be, and to remain, ignorant in true scientific matters. (The same reaction can be seen in their leaders…during a discussion between Dr. Hugh Ross, a prominent old-earth creationist, and Dr. Russell Humphreys, Dr. Humphreys behaved in the same juvenile fashion…that is why Dr. Ross will not debate him anymore).
Why did the mom react this way? Because she had been trained this way. Young-earth leaders know that if the true science ever is presented to their believers, and they start thinking by themselves, they will realize the errors of the young-earth belief.
Unfortunately, wrong science is rampant throughout the homeschool curriculum in use today. My son is a fifth grader, and this year he studied all about Noah’s Flood, from a young-earth perspective. Therefore, you can see that the indoctrination starts at an early age. By the time they reach adulthood, they are so immersed in their young-earth belief that they will not entertain anything but a young earth. Answers In Creation, in response to this, will eventually publish an alternative curriculum to replace the young-earth version that is found in so many homeschool texts.
Dinosaur History (Page 240)
More misinformation. The authors make the point that many fossil finds are just fragments of bones, and “some” nearly complete skeletons have been found. Actually, MANY nearly complete skeletons have been found. This is a veiled reference to the fact that some scientific discoveries were based, for instance, on a single bone. Dinosaur history is not that sketchy…there are plenty of bones.
Where Did Dinosaurs come From? (Page 240)
This section takes a stab at evolution. For the old-earth progressive creationist…no problem.
What Did Dinosaurs Look Like? (Page 240)
Here we have the famous “Brontosaurus” claim. OK, a scientist made a mistake. If I had a dollar for every mistake I’ve found in young-earth creationism, I’d be rich!
Who Discovered Dinosaurs? (Page 241)
Naturally the authors claim that Adam discovered them. However, this is not plausible due to the 65 million year gap from dinosaur extinction to Adam. They claim that secular books will say 1677. Actually, this is the first documented find. However, there are numerous earlier finds that are not documented.
Young earth creation science literature is full of claims that dinosaurs lived recently. One of these claims is that Indian rock art, dated to within the last 1,000 years, depicted dinosaurs. The article on the Answers in Genesis website titled "Messages on Stone," by Dennis Swift, tells the tale of rock art, dated from as late as 1200 A.D. This rock art depicts dinosaurs and mammoths, and was drawn by natives of North, Central, and South America.
The author tries to use this as proof that these beasts lived in the past few thousand years. If true, then dinosaurs are not millions of years old, but instead are products of God's creation event that occurred only 6,000 years ago.
No fossil evidence has ever been recovered of dinosaurs which lived in the past several thousand years. Without that, there is no proof of Mr. Swift's claims. What we have in the rock art is this...the first paleontologists! Indians who found these massive fossil skeletons probably depicted them by drawing the beasts, to try and guess what they probably looked like.
The author inadvertently gives credibility to this argument. He states that in the American Southwest, there is a pictograph that looks like a pterosaur, which is a Cretaceous flying reptile. He goes on to state, "not far away from this site, the University of Ohio quarried a fossil pterosaur." The artist was most likely trying to flesh out the creature that he saw in the rock record somewhere in the past.
In fact, this is probably the source of many mythical beasts, such as fire-breathing dragons. They were seen in the rock record, and the primitive peoples tried to describe them, and from that the folk-tales grew. It is no wonder that the Chinese culture is so immersed with dragons, given the immense number of dinosaur fossils coming from China.
It was not until the 19th century that true, objective paleontology began. Dinosaur discoveries were first published then, and with the concurrent growth of newspapers, it got a lot of attention. But, since these fossils have always been there, they certainly were not the first dinosaurs to be discovered.
When Did They Live? (Page 242)
This section is flawed due to the inaccurate Biblical interpretation of no death before sin. Again, Adam’s Fall introduced spiritual death, not physical death. To imply that Adam could not have even cut himself in the Garden is incredibly stupid. For more on death before sin, see the following articles.
Does the Bible Mention Dinosaurs? (Page 243)
The authors allude to the “dragon” legends of the world, and allude to them as possibly being dinosaurs. See above sections for a possible answer to this.
When discussing this topic, young earthers always go to the behemoth and leviathan of Job. However, these creatures don’t fit the description of dinosaurs, using young earth standards. Remember that young earth creationists are literalists, and believe every verse of the Bible is to be taken literally. In that case, Leviathan must have actually breathed fire (Job 41). However, there are no known dinosaurs with this capability. For Behemoth, no dinosaur had bones of bronze or iron. More importantly, the authors refer to this as one of the sauropods. Job said the animal shaded itself under the branches of the lotus tree. A sauropod would have a difficult time getting under the short limbs of a lotus tree!
With all that said, even if Job did refer to dinosaurs, God could have been referring to them. There is no timeline given. God could refer to any animal of His creation, whether they were living, or extinct.
Other Ancient Records (Page 245)
This section lists many stories (fairy tales) which mean nothing when it comes to dating dinosaurs. Here we see the “scientific” merit of the young earth dating methods…which relies on fairy tales!
What Do the Bones Say? (Page 246)
The authors mention the story from Montana State University about the supposed find of T-Rex red blood cells. What the authors do not do is follow up on this discovery with the latest information (Answers In Genesis has a follow-up, but it does not present any evidence in favor of the young earth position). Here is the response of Montana State’s famed paleontologist, Dr. Jack Horner:
Hi Adrian,.....Young Earth Creationists are like the "Flat Earth" people of
>last century, they latch on to pieces of straw, ignoring the bale.
>No cells have been found in any dinosaurs, but the remnants of red blood
>cells have been hypothesized on the basis of Heme, a kind of iron produced
>biologically. The discovery of heme, by my graduate student Mary
>Schweitzer, in a skeleton of T-rex (Not SUE, however, but the Museum of the
>Rockies Wankel T-rex) indicates that the remnants of cells can be
>1. Was it really blood? NO
>2. Does it mean anything? It means that under optimal conditions the
>fossil record can preserve some very interesting things that make it
>possible to hypothesize the nature of extinct organisms.
In summary, there was NO red blood cells in this T-Rex! However, you won’t find this or any follow-up stories on the young-earth creation science websites. Why? Because it invalidates their young-earth claim to a young T-Rex that lived in the last 6,000 years.
The authors also mention the partially frozen hadrosaurs from Alaska. Unfortunately, I don’t have any data on this, nor can I find any contradictory information on the web. This is not to say the young-earth argument is correct…I’m only saying I have no data on this subject.
Dino Diet and Behavior (Page 247)
The first part of this section argues against the idea that T-Rex and other dinosaurs were always meat-eaters. Because of the mistaken theology of the young-earth authors, they believe that T-Rex was a plant eater when he was first created. Let’s look at the logic of this.
The young-earth authors would agree with me that God’s creation was perfect. In that case, T-Rex was created perfectly. However, if T-Rex was created perfectly, then he must have been created and designed for the processing of plant material. In this case, God must have designed T-rex with molar teeth for grinding plants. The sharp, carnivorous teeth of T-Rex would have been inefficient for chewing on plants, therefore implying that T-Rex was not a perfect creation. However, we have already established that T-Rex, as a creation of God, was perfect.
However, no fossils have ever been recovered of T-rex with molar teeth! Young-earth proponents have argued that the carnivorous teeth developed after the fall…great, where are the fossils? There are none.
The second, and only other possibility for T-Rex, is that the old earth model, with dinosaurs living over 65 million years ago, is correct. Since we have no evidence of any T-rex (or raptors, or Allosaurs, or Carnataurs) with molars, then this is the only plausible answer.
To argue for a plant-eating T-rex, is to imply that God’s creation was not perfect. Case closed!
You can say the same for the recurve killing claw of the Raptor family. It serves no purpose in a plant-eating world…unless these were living plants which moved when you attacked them!
Examples from other creatures that God made are also applicable. Why does a spider have the capability to spin a web? According to the young-earth creationist, they must have been used to catch falling leaves! Why do spiders, snakes, scorpions, etc, have poison? They did not have to poison the plants, nor did they have do defend themselves in the “perfect” Garden of Eden. They serve no purpose but to kill. They are not consistent with the young-earth model for creation.
The authors make the “perfect world” argument on page 248. Yes, it’s possible. Does that mean it’s right…no. Is there any evidence from the Bible that not a single ant was stepped on in the Garden of Eden…no.
The biggest clue to the fact that the young-earth authors “don’t have a clue” is at the bottom of page 249. The indented paragraph states “…must await further research.” They recognize their answers are weak and fail to give a plausible explanation, so they fall back on this cop-out.
Why Do We Find Dinosaur Fossils? (Page 250)
The most important thing here is the picture. Young-earth creationists are fond of referring to the mass dinosaur graves as evidence of the cataclysmic Flood of Noah. However, many dinosaur fossils are found as solitary individuals, not in mass graves.
Also, the authors fail to give the stratigraphic distribution of dinosaur fossils. If you look at the graveyards, there are dinosaur fossils both above and below them in the strata, sometimes separated by thousands of feet of sediment. Did the dinosaurs 1,000 feet up the rock layers tread water until they finally died from the Flood? No. Many of the graveyards have evidence of feeding, as their bones have been chewed on, leaving grooves in the bones. When a T-rex feeds, it looses teeth. Not only are adult teeth found at these sites, but juvenile teeth as well. So now we have a T-rex family, which swam down to where these dinosaurs were killed by the flood, and fed on them underwater!
The young-earth explanation is that the waters fluctuated, exposing these bones for others to dine on. However, my Bible says that the waters rose for 40 days…it does not say the waters fluctuated for 40 days.
Also, Genesis 7 states that after the 40 days, all animals were dead. According to the young-earth model, all rocks that geologists refer to as “Mesozoic” in age were deposited during the receding water phase of the flood, i.e. during the final 150 days of the flood1. However, ALL the dinosaur fossils are found in these rocks. ALL the dinosaur nests, with eggs, are found here. How could you have dinosaurs building nests and laying eggs, when they were all supposed to be dead? ALL the dinosaur coprolites (fossilized dinosaur poop) is found in these layers. How could you have dinosaurs pooping all over the place, when they were already dead? ALL the dinosaur footprints (known as Trackways) are in these rocks. How could you have dinosaurs walking around, making footprints, when they were already dead?
Clearly, the young-earth model falls flat on its face when you consider the dinosaur fossil evidence.
How Did Dinosaurs Fit on the Ark? (Page 251)
In short…there were no dinosaurs on the Ark. If there were, we would have no domestic cattle today, or animals of any kind. After the animals were let off the ark, the dinosaur species would quickly, within a matter of months, kill off every other species on the ark, as food.
Why Don’t We See Dinosaurs Today? (Page 252)
Nothing in this section but pointless young-earth claims.
Are Dinosaurs Really Extinct? (Page 253)
Nothing important here. The authors mention cave paintings, but these were just drawings that Indians did of fossils that they had seen. No young dinosaur bones have been found, and no live dinosaurs have ever been discovered.
This section is really out of date! At this time there have been quite a few findings of dinosaurs from quarries in China, that clearly had feathers.
The authors make the statement that there is no clear evidence that birds evolved from dinosaurs. As a progressive creationist, I agree. However, there are striking similarities, and any theistic evolutionist who wants to write an article on this may submit it to Answers In Creation for publication.
Why Does It Matter? (Page 256)
The Implications (Page 256)
Millions of Years and the Gospel (Page 256)
Conclusion (Page 258)
It doesn’t matter. The millions of years long history of the dinosaur family fits well with the creation story of Genesis, and has absolutely no impact upon the Gospel message. You can be saved, and believe in a millions of years old earth!
1 Steven Austin, in the young earth creation science book Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Figure 4.1.
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