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Dinosaurs and Creationists

How Creationists Explain Dinosaurs

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Dinosaurs and Creationists

Could all the dinosaurs have fit on Noah's Ark? (image courtesy University of Delaware)

One of the most unrewarding things a scientist (or science writer) can attempt to do is rebut the arguments of Creationists. This isn't because it's difficult to demolish the Creationist point of view, but because meeting anti-evolutionists on their own terms can make it seem to readers as if there are two logical sides to the argument (which, of course, there aren't).

Still, the attempts by Creationists to fit dinosaurs into their Biblical world view is a worthy topic of discussion, if only for amusement purposes. Here are some of the main arguments fundamentalists use, and the contrasting views from the science camp.

Creationists believe dinosaurs are thousands, not millions, of years old

Pro: In order to square the existence of dinosaurs with the Book of Genesis--which posits a world that's only several thousand years old--Creationists insist that dinosaurs were created ex nihilo, by god, along with all the other animals. In this view, evolution is just an elaborate "story" used by scientists to buttress their false claims of an ancient earth.

Con: On the side of science are such techniques as radioactive dating and sediment analysis, which conclusively prove that dinosaur fossils are at least 65 million to 230 million years old. These same studies prove that the earth itself coalesced from debris orbiting the sun about four billion years ago.

According to Creationists, all the dinosaurs could have fit on Noah's Ark

Pro: From the Creationist point of view, all the creatures that ever existed lived sometime over the past few thousand years. Therefore, all these animals had to have been led, two by two, onto Noah's Ark--even Brachiosaurus, Pteranodon, and Tyrannosaurus Rex. That must have been one pretty big boat, even if some fundamentalists dance around the issue by insisting that Noah collected baby dinosaurs.

Con: Skeptics point out that, by the Bible's own word, Noah's Ark was only about 450 feet long and 75 feet wide. Even with baby dinosaurs representing the hundreds of species discovered so far (and we won't even get into giraffes, elephants, and Woolly Mammoths), it's clear that Noah's Ark was exactly what it sounds like--a myth.

Creationists believe dinosaurs were wiped out by the Flood

Pro: As you might have guessed from the above argument, Creationists maintain that dinosaurs were washed away by the biblical Flood a few thousand years ago--and not by the K/T asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous period. This ties in nicely (if not very logically) with their claim that the distribution of fossils is somehow related to a specific dinosaur's location at the time of the Flood.

Con: Today, pretty much all scientists believe that a comet or meteorite impact 65 million years ago was the main cause of the dinosaurs' demise--perhaps combined with disease and volcanic activity. As for fossil distribution, the simplest explanation is the most scientific one: we find fossils in various locations according to the geological period in which the animals to which they correspond lived.

Some dinosaurs are still alive, Creationists say

Pro: Oddly--and a bit illogically--many Creationists would like nothing better than for scientists to discover a living, breathing Spinosaurus in some remote corner of (say) Guatemala. In their view, this would completely invalidate evolutionary theory, and instantly line up popular opinion with a Bible-centered world view.

Con: Countering this earnest hope, scientists point out that the discovery of a living, breathing Spinosaurus would alter absolutely nothing about evolutionary theory--which allows for the long-term survival of isolated populations. In fact, biologists would be thrilled to find a living dinosaur, since they could analyze its DNA and conclusively prove its descent from creatures that lived millions of years ago.

Creationists believe dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible

Pro: Whenever the word "dragon" is used in the Old Testament, what's really meant is "dinosaur," Creationists say--and they point out that other ancient texts also mention these fearsome, scaly creatures. This is offered as evidence that a) dinosaurs aren't nearly as old as scientists claim, and b) dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time.

Con: The science camp doesn't have much to say about what the author(s) of the Bible meant when they referenced dragons--that's a question for philologists, not evolutionary biologists. However, the fossil evidence is firm that humans appeared on the scene tens of millions of years after the dinosaurs--and besides, we have yet to find any cave paintings of a Stegosaurus!

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