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Evaluating Evidence (1)


darwinfish

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Recently I've begun discussing Christianity vs. Atheism with a friend of mine. I've contended that any belief system should be supported by evidence otherwise it is not rational to accept that belief system as being reality. He contends that evidence exists that supports a Christian worldview, but is being ignored, or disregarded. This is due to a presupposition that miraculous claims are false, therefore any evidence that supports miraculous claims are not given an honest examination in the scientific community. I went on to claim that having a presupposition that miraculous claims are true without any demonstration that could support a miraculous claim, isn't logical. All that being said, my friend invited me to examine the evidence presented at the Answers in Genesis website. There a lot of articles there and a lot of things to sift through, but I thought I'd post my thoughts to each piece of evidence as I read through them. For anyone that is reading this blog, it should be stated that I am not a scientist. I am a layperson with scientific interests.

 

The first article to catch my eye is titled, "Fresh Dinosaur Bones Found" by Margaret Helder, Ph.D.June 1, 1992. The article states, " ... In 1961 a petroleum geologist discovered a large, half-metre-thick bone bed. As the bones were fresh, not permineralized, he assumed that these were recent bison bones. It took 20 years for scientists to recognize duckbill dinosaur bones in this deposit as well as the bones of horned dinosaurs, and large and small carnivorous dinosaurs. Presently William A. Clemens and other scientists from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Alaska are quarrying the bone bed."

 

If this claim were true, it would be amazing. Dinosaurs have been extinct for over 65 million years. I've never come across any scientist that would suggest that recent dinosaurs existed. Keep in mind this still would not discredit ancient dinosaurs, so this could not be used to argue for a young earth. In fact, if you consider that they recognize a difference between "fresh, not permineralized" bones, then you must accept that older, permineralized dinosaur bones exist and are excepted as evidence, otherwise you have nothing to compare "fresh" dinosaur bones with.

 

The first thing I did was to look for any responses to this article in the skeptical community. I couldn't find any articles that directly addressed this particular article, but I did find some forums that posted an email corresponding with Kyle L. Davies asking about the find. If the email is true, and I don't have any real way to verify that it is, Davies responds by saying, "While it is unusual for Cretaceous dinosaur bones to have a low level of permineralization, it is not unheard of" I will leave a reprint of that email at the bottom of this post.

 

This next thing I did was to look up William A. Clemens, who is the scientist the Answers in Genesis articles lists as researching the bones. I quickly came across this article:

 

http://articles.latimes.com/1985-08-20/news/mn-1966_1_arctic-circle

 

This LA Times article says that this find is being used to counter the argument that the dinosaurs died quickly do to a meteor hitting the earth. The debate seems to indicate that all scientists agree that the creatures that these bones belong to died 65 million to 70 million years ago. In fact Clemens states in this article, " ... the bones found this summer were not surprising, the size of the find was ..."

 

Hold on, I thought that these bones were fresh bones that indicate that dinosaurs lived recently. Clemens doesn't consider the bones "surprising". So, who are the researchers that are claiming that these bones are from creatures that died recently? None of the researchers looking at these bones seem to share the opinion that Answers in Genesis is claiming. Where are there researchers who claim that these bones are recent dinosaur bones? Why doesn't Answers in Genesis list them for sources?

 

This is just the first article I've looked into to. I will look into more, but so far, this is not convincing evidence.

 

 

 

Here's a reprint of that email claimed to be from Kyle Davies:

 

"The following from message to Karl Schneider (from evolutionist Kyle

Davies and which Schneider then posted to me early this year)

shows;

 

---------------------------------------------------

The first paragraph is false. The petroleum

geologist who originally found the bones thought that

they were probably fossil mammoth bones, since those

are common in the area, and the bones were only

modestly permineralized as old mammoth bones often are.

There is no indication whatsoever that he thought that

they were recent bones nor that they were bison.

 

While it is unusual for Cretaceous dinosaur bones

to have a low level of permineralization, it is not

unheard of,

 

The first paleontologist to see the bones quickly

realized that they were dinosaur, not mammal, and they

were sent to Dr. Langston at the University of Texas

for confirmation of that identification. That was how

I got to see and work with them as Dr. Langston was my

supervisor at the time.

 

All of the original bones collected were

duck-bill dinosaur. The other dinosaur types were only

found by the quarry work done by Clemens and Gandalf

starting in the mid to late 1980s.

 

The full introductory details, and photos of the

fossil bones, are published in the 1987 Journal of

Paleontology article cited.

 

Yours, Mr. Kyle L. Davies

 

 

<http://www.ou.edu/omnh/>

email: elc@ou.edu"

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