There is creation-based touring dinosaur show that came to my town this weekend. It’s called ‘The Truth About Dinosaurs‘ and you can see the gist of it here on YouTube, presented by Dr. G. Thomas Sharp (Fig. 3).
The odd thing is there were dinosaurs all over the platform (stage) leading to what would be the altar (but there is no altar in modern churches). Now the platform is where the band (singers, guitars, drums, etc.) plays. The specimens were all from North America (Albertosaurus, Edmontosaurus, Triceratops and Pteranodon). The last of which I recognized was made by my own hand. It was the Triebold specimen. Later it was explained to me that ALL the specimens were purchased from Triebold Paleontology.
I have to agree with Dr. Sharp’s opening remarks. He said that all of us (as individuals) approach data with a personal bias, whether religious or secular (in other words, supernatural or natural). And therein lies the great divide. It cannot be breached. So long as Creationist not only prefer, but insist upon supernatural processes governing prehistory, then no amount of natural logic or processes will persuade them. Any arguments against all the animals coming to Noah’s ark (like the pesky problem of oceans separating Australia and the Western Hemisphere from the Middle East) are quickly dismissed by supernatural explanations. “God brought them to the ark.” Not sure where all the water came from to cover Mt. Everest, then disappear, all within a year? “God did that, too.”
What is particularly distressing is their reliance on the terms “could be,” “might be,” and “we should keep an open mind toward” with regard to various animals like the Yeti and various sea monsters in cryptozoology. They also have glommed on to Mary Schweitzer’s claims of soft tissue preservation in T-rex and similar PlosOne claims in a mosasaur.
I asked about footprints relating to Mokele-mbembe and I was shown a purported human footprint overprinted with a theropod track. Both were obviously carved by a poor anatomist as the print cut through several layers, rather than compressing several layers of sediment. The morphology of both carvings were also impossible to believe. Look at the depth of that big toe!!
What do Creationist believe?
Creationists insist on a literal translation of Genesis 1 in which the first man and woman were created a day or two after animals 4600 years ago. They also tend to ignore Genesis 2 in which man was created before the animals and later woman was formed from a rib). I wondered if that means dinosaurs were gone within the first 2000 years. No, pictures of dragons in medieval images bring them up to the Middle Ages before their extinction, according to Dr. Sharp’s entourage.
The church was packed (I went on Saturday at 5 pm, with two more services due for Sunday morning). The kids swarmed the stage. Even grownups had the pictures taken against the specimens. It was a real crowd-pleaser.
I think everyone bought into Dr. Sharp’s arguments and rhetoric. Certainly this represents this particular church’s dogma. No question and answer period followed (this was, after all, replacing the sermon), but a Sunday evening adult class was held with the promise of a q & a. Unfortunately, Dr. Sharp waxed on about Mt. St. Helens and how catastrophes can do as much damage in a day as otherwise over a thousand years. Nothing about dinosaurs, unfortunately.
Having written a book on the evolution of humans from bacteria on up (From the Beginning), I’ve been interested in what Creationists have to say on the subject. I’ve been told that stars further from us than 5000 light years were created with their starlight already in progress, on its way to Earth. Creationist appear to cling to any rumor that supports their cause and reject everything from the geological column to transitional taxa that does not support their cause. They make up the rest. They do believe in micro-evolution (the sort that creates different breeds of dogs, for instance), but to them, there’s no time (only 4600 years) to go beyond that. So there’s no macro-evolution in their beliefs.
Getting back to my original theme, so long as Creationists embrace supernatural agents in their “Science” there can be no changing of their minds through logic. There can be no meeting of the minds. Heck, if regular paleontologists are constantly at loggerheads, there is nary a hope for arguing with or persuading a Creationist.
I would hope that modern paleontologists would never stoop to the level of creationist tactics, but, alas, they do so again and again in order to protect their trusted paradigm (without testing it). Still no archosaurs come close to pterosaurs, yet still pterosaurs are included in archosaur studies. Still no pterosaurs have been found with a wing membrane attached to the ankle.
It’s sad when well-meaning Christians promote and cling to obvious fakes and call it “The Truth.” It’s also inappropriate for religion to get into the realm of science and vice-versa.
For those who believe in the gospels, Christ himself was all about “evidence” as he turned water into wine, healed the blind, multiplied bits of bread and fish and calmed the storms, all before large audiences. I appreciate what has been discovered about the Shroud here and here. Unfortunately, none of these “miracles” can be repeated (although the Shroud examiners have taken things further than anyone expected). That’s why these miracles are considered in the realm of religion (faith based on one source), not Science (lack of faith, in other words: testing from a variety of sources).