Oh creationism…is there nothing you will not do to try to make a 6000 year old story match modern science?
At a recent press conference, Answers in Genesis was announcing plans for “Ark Encounter”, a religious amusement park that will feature a “full-scale Noah’s Ark,” a park official made it clear: There will be dinosaurs on the Ark, along with giraffes and such.
The company behind this “Ark Encounter” park, Answers in Genesis, also created the Creation Museum, both in Kentucky. These are the Christians who believe that Noah lived with dinosaurs, such as friendly velociraptors, in his time. It’s an easy way for Creationists to explain why there are dinosaur bones buried all over this planet, even if it makes the least sense of any theory about anything in the history of the universe, ever (yeah, it makes me mad).
Why couldn’t dinosaurs be on the Ark? Logical fallacies, absence of evidence, inconsistent application of science….
Square Peg in a Round Hole
So the plan is to have real animals, in pairs, aboard the full-scale amusement park Ark. But at a press conference with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Joe Sonka of Kentucky’s liberal Barefoot and Progressive blog asked the Answers in Genesis official:
SONKA: Will there be dinosaurs on the Ark?
ANSWERS IN GENESIS OFFICIAL: [off-mike] Well you know the position of Answers in Genesis so you can probably answer that yourself. We’ll have appropriate animals on the ark based on – [on mike] I’m sure we’ll have representative kinds of animals on the ark, to include dinosaurs.
One gets the distinct impression that creationists are holding on to a sinking ship here. Apparently, enough evidence has been gathered on the existence of dinosaurs that creationists simply cannot ignore all the evidence anymore, like they do with everything else. In a way they have unknowingly drawn their own line in the sand as to how much evidence is needed to convince them of something. Unfortunately for them, there is just as much evidence for evolution, heliocentrism, etc. and those facts they still blatantly ignore.
What we have here then, is a retrofitting fallacy. When presented with OVERWHELMING evidence that dinosaurs existed, which directly contradicts their ideas about the ark and creation etc., the creationists do not bite the bullet and admit they have made a mistake. Instead, they go back to their own ideas and make ridiculous cases of special pleading in order to make the new evidence consistent with their own beliefs. Example:
Q:What about the overwhelming evidence for dinosaurs?
A:Well…I guess dinosaurs were here, but they must be only 6000 years old, and they had to have lived with early man.
Q: And they even were on the Ark? How did that work?
A: Well God made sure the animals got along, and had enough space and food, because he can do anything.
Q: He can do anything except for mention hundreds of millions of years worth of organisms in the Bible, which is supposed to be the literal truth, I suppose.
A: Well, God works in mysterious ways [insert religious cop-out ad nauseam]
Even from a religious perspective, it is easy to see how creationists simply skirt the issue of their mistakes. Although it may seem like a step in the right direction that they are at least taking some scientific evidence seriously, their reasoning is certainly flawed. Retrofitting dinosaurs into Biblical accounts is a pathetic attempt at clinging to ancient and arcane superstition in the face of hard science. It would be much more noble, I think, to admit you were wrong and move on. But what has resulted is creationism making a fool out of themselves by trying to reconcile science with story-time.
A Misinterpretation of Time
The Bible records the genealogies from Adam to Christ. From the ages given in these lists (and accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth around 2,000 years ago), we can conclude that the universe is only a few thousand years old (perhaps just 6,000), and not millions of years old. Thus, dinosaurs lived within the past few thousand years.
Remember, that is the strongest evidence that creationists have. A book that was written 10,000 years after human evolution allowed us tribes, bands, towns, and cities, represented only the knowledge of the time and having absolutely no scientific foundation on which to make claims about the universe, is supposedly proof that everything we know about scientific aging methods is wrong. A 3500 year old book is supposed to know more about radiometric dating and ancient biology than modern science? The bible was written in a time when there was no science, so how could anyone today possibly assert that the Bible can make scientific claims?
Let’s say that we found the actual Ark buried in some mountain in the middle east somewhere. Never mind the religious implications of this; creationists would surely want the Ark dated to see if it cooperated with the Biblical account. Let’s then say that the Bible was right and the Ark dates back 4000 years or whatever the Bible stipulates. The same technology that the religious would use to confirm their scripture is the very same technology that would put dinosaurs (among a multitude of other organisms) 65,000,000 years before that Ark, making it impossible for them to be on it! Not only that, but the same dating method would also make their claims about the age and creation of the Earth around 4.3 billion years incorrect.
We can see then, even if we make concessions to the creationists to make science agree with them, dinosaurs simply could not have been on the Ark. Further, riddle me this: if animals were released from a great ship after a flood wiped out everything else on the planet, how would there be any life on any of the other continents that the Ark did not land on (because the Bible stipulates that the Earth was in its current continental orientation)? Did koalas just up and swim to Australia? Did the diamondback rattlesnake slither its way from Mesopotamia, across 5000 miles of ocean to the American southeast?
There really is nothing plausible about the Ark story. So we are to believe that: a man in his late 90’s and a few helpers built a boat that was large enough to hold every species on the planet inside of it, AND not a single bug, plant, bacterium, amoeba, spider, rabbit, or flower died (or else they could not reproduce), AND they had the millions of tons of food required to feed EVERY SPECIES ON EARTH, AND an uneducated octogenarian had the engineering knowledge to build the ark all from plans in his head, AND all of the organisms were perfectly peaceful during the 40 days at sea, AND, according to this new creationist claim, there was enough room/food/cooperation for TWO TYRANNOSAURUS REX TO BE ON BOARD WITH NOAH’S WHOLE FAMILY!
I think I’m getting a bit flustered. My point is this: when you try to retrofit science to a story that was only meant to explain things to the type of people who thought the Earth was flat, we are the center of the universe, and you can cure disease with leeches etc., you come up with ridiculous conclusions. The Ark story was never meant to be taken so literally, it is simply some Biblical allegory. And as an allegory or story it is just fine. But if you then decide to take that story and make claims in the realm of the great explainer, science, it simply will not fit. You are not justified then, creationists, to rework stories to make the evidence fit. It is painfully obvious what you are doing, and sad. Embrace new knowledge, not tighten your death grip on a stone-age fable.