Author: Bruce Gerencser | Category: Religion, Science | Tags: Age of the Earth, Answers in Genesis, Creation Museum, Creationism, Dinosaurs, Evolution, Genesis 1-3, Genesis 6-8, Geology, Ken Ham, Noah's Flood, Science, Tyler Francke
The short answer is, the Bible says, no need to say anything else. 6,018 years ago, the God of the Christian Bible spoke the world into existence over the course of 6 literal 24 hour days. Never mind that everything we know about science, evolution, geology, and archeology tells us that Ken Ham’s creation narrative is wrong. In the Bible Bubble™, all that matters is what God literally, word for word, said in Genesis 1-3. About 1,500- 2,000 years after creation, a catastrophic universal flood wiped out every living thing on earth, save the 8 humans and numerous animals on Noah’s Ark, exactly as it is reported in Genesis 6-8. Any other explanation, interpretation, or opinion is dismissed as false, a Satanic lie.
Tyler Francke, a Christian and an evolutionist, had this to say about Ken Ham’s unwillingness to prove he is right:
…Apparently, Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and professional fundraiser, does not possess the same courage of conviction for his own irrational, unbiblical beliefs.
I’m not saying he is afraid of expressing what he believes, but any schlub can do that. What I’m talking about is putting yourself out there in such a way that the beliefs you claim are all-important can be publicly and demonstrably vindicated, or proven false.
That’s what Camping did, but I don’t see it in Ken Ham.
Now, you might be wondering what Ham and AiG could do, specifically, that would satisfy me. Well, I’m glad you asked.
You see, AiG’s Creation Museum recently received a pretty noteworthy donation — noteworthy in that it is the first exhibit the organization has ever owned that would actually be of interest to real scientists: a half-complete Allosaurus skeleton, said to be appraised at $1 million.
In press releases and blog posts from AiG, Ham explained that he has long coveted just such an exhibit: “For decades I’ve walked through many leading secular museums, like the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and have seen their impressive dinosaur skeletons, but they were used for evolution. Now we have one of that class for our museum.”…
…Ham and his staff claim the fossil “challenges evolutionary thinking” and that the dinosaur died about 4,300 years ago in the global flood. But they have not explained how it does any of this. They have merely assured their followers that it does, with the same heavy-handed bluster and shallow rhetoric that characterizes everything that they do.
And it is in this that we see clearly how — despite their most vociferous assertions to the contrary — Ken Ham and his fellow createvangelists are not scientists. If they were, this donation would be an enormous opportunity for them, a chance to finally demonstrate what they’ve claimed for years: that the evidence really points to a recent creation, only the mean scientific establishment lies and says it doesn’t (you know, because of the conspiracy and whatever).
No longer would they be “expelled” from the scientific process, prohibited from doing anything but waiting for the crumbs that fall from real scientists’ tables, celebrating the research if it lines up with their pre-existing beliefs and vilifying it if it doesn’t.
No, they finally would have the means by which they could prove to the world that they were right all along: That dinosaur bones contain the spongy internal structure and well-preserved soft tissue that could not possibly have endured millions of years. That radiometric dating is absurdly unreliable and gives ages that are all over the map for the same specimen. That dinosaur bones contain high levels of radiocarbon (carbon-14), which they should not if they really were millions of years old and had not been contaminated. That, under intense pressure, a bone can be fossilized just like their Allosaurus in a matter of a few months. And so on.
They would conduct their tests and experiments in the public eye, with full transparency, under the most stringent standards of peer review, because the more people who witness their long-awaited vindication, the better. Their research would be sought by the world’s top journals and would earn them the most prestigious of scientific awards. They would, at last, upend the evolutionary paradigm they have always claimed to find so reprehensible and so poorly supported by the evidence.
But they won’t do any of that. Because they are not really scientists, and because to participate in such a public vetting would open them up to the possibility of the opposite result: That, like Harold Camping before them, the beliefs they’ve staked their livelihoods on might be shown to be wrong, wrong, wrong.
Instead of sacrificing their latest windfall to the cause which they claim to be devoted to (disproving evolution and the ancient age of the earth), they have made it into a highly publicized exhibit that is clearly aimed at doing nothing other than getting more people to buy tickets to their flagging museum. Which shows pretty clearly where their priorities truly lie…
Here’s what the Creation Museum website has to say about the new dinosaur:
…Answers in Genesis geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling says the new allosaur “stands out for a few major reasons. It was found with its bones arranged in their correct anatomical positions relative to each other, rather than in a scattered assortment of bones as is often the case. Also, all its neck and tail vertebrae and 97% of the skull were found. Lastly, the skull is much larger than the famous ‘Big Al’ dinosaur at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana.”
Dr. Snelling added that the intact skeleton of this allosaur is a testimony to an extremely rapid burial, which is confirmation of the global catastrophe of a Flood a few thousand years ago.
Ken Ham, president and founder of the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis, stated that this skeleton, dubbed Ebenezer, “fulfills a dream I’ve had for quite some time. For decades I’ve walked through many leading secular museums, like the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and have seen their impressive dinosaur skeletons, but they were used for evolution. Now we have one of that class for our museum.”
One blessing in getting the allosaur was that the Creation Museum did not seek it out. Michael Peroutka, one of the board members of the Foundation, says that this fossil is a testimony to the creative power of God and also lends evidence to the truth of a worldwide catastrophic flooding of the earth about 4,500 years ago as described in the Bible. In order to ensure that the display of the fossil represented this teaching, the Peroutka Foundation donated the fossil to the Creation Museum…
…Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the Creation Museum posits that Ebenezer died in the Great Flood, about 4,300 years ago, based on a couple of things: first, it was found in a layer of sediment that the museum believes was left by Noah’s flood. And second, Ebenezer was “rapidly” buried in a way that they believe is also consistent with the flood…
…Young Earth Creationist scientists are even more marginal in the scientific community, as you might expect. Despite this, Young Earth Creationist scientists are actually very good at what they do, which is more like the Jewish tradition of Midrash — elaboration on Biblical stories — than it is science. At first, you’d assume that dinosaurs, which went extinct 66 million years ago, leaving behind a whole bunch of dateable fossil evidence, would be a problem for Young Earthers. You’d assume wrong.
John Whitmore, a professor of Geology at the Christian Cedarville University in Ohio, trekked with Snelling and a group of grad students to the site of Ebenezer’s death, in Colorado. They were, among other things, hoping to learn more about how he was buried. Everyone agrees that Ebenezer came from the Morrison Formation, a Jurassic-era rock unit that covers a large expanse of the western U.S. It dates back to about 150 million years, B.C. As the National Park Service’s Dinosaur National Monument explains, the area is rich with dinosaur fossils, particularly in its river beds, which are better at preserving skeletons. But Whitmore believes that the formation is consistent with what he would expect to see with a catastrophic event like Noah’s Flood. He told me:
“Secular geologists have said ‘this is a flood plain’ or “these are all river deposits, but it’s difficult to understand, from a secular, uniformitarian form of thinking, how a deposit like that could be made. I think a catastrophic origin for that formation and all the fossils in it is very reasonable.”
Specifically, he said, it’s consistent with what he’d expect to find following Noah’s flood.
The research methods (presented as science) behind the Creation Museum’s version of Ebenezer’s story, and every other story it tells, produce results that by definition cannot contradict the literal word of the Bible. Snelling described it to me as checking his discoveries against a “historical record,” based on the assumption that “God was there” when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and the the Bible is God’s literal account — transmitted through humans of “good character” — of what actually happened. As Creationist scientists like Snelling find more and more bits of evidence that “verify” what they already know to be true from the Bible, it reinforces the community’s own confidence in that theory. And, it seems, their work will always eventually verify what the Bible says. Although Snelling presents his work as science, he describes his methods as an inversion of how the scientific community works: scientists, he says, “use the present to inform our understanding of the past.” He, instead “uses the past to inform his understanding of the present.” It’s a theology, but with isotopes.
To wit, when I asked Snelling if he’s ever, in his entire career, encountered scientific evidence that contradicts the literal word of the Bible, Snelling said, “No.” He added: “but I’ve certainly at times had evidence, and I’m still working through evidence, that at first blush might seem problematical.” …
…So far, Snelling has been able to do this with nearly every problematic piece of evidence he’s encountered. Snelling gave me the example of meteorites, which don’t seem to fit with the work he’s done to attempt to disprove the methods used by scientists to date fossils and rocks. “Why is it, for example, that all the meteorites seem to give the same radioisotope signatures that are interpreted as the same age?” He told me. “What does that mean? Why is that the meteorites appear to be the same?” Scientists dated the age of the Earth as about 4.5 billion years old from a meteorite, so this is particularly problematic for Snelling’s theory, which presumes that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.
Sure, Young Earth Creationists can always say something about why we haven’t found rocks on Earth that are as old as the Earth, but there are plenty of explanations for that. It would be better if Young Earthers could think up a reason to really doubt radioisotope dating. In fact, Young Earth Creationists have created an entire group of researchers devoted to figuring out another explanation for this problem, called RATE. One going theory, Snelling said, revolves around the idea that the chemical composition of the meteorites are indicative of the “original primordial material,” i.e. what God created on Day One…