Have you ever taken part in a debate over Creation versus Evolution?
Well, in my line of work it’s almost an occupational hazard.
Don’t get me wrong – As a son of an attorney I used to have to present a legal brief to get the car keys on a Saturday night.
I grew up with the motto – “Truth is found in the marketplace of ideas.”
In fact, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good debate.
It’s just a bad debate that make me cringe.
Like a discussion of the Creation/Evolution controversy that begins with this all too common verbal salvo:
“Oh, yeah? Well, we evolutionists will put our facts up against your facts any time!”
To me, that is fingernails on the chalkboard city.
Because whatever side of this issue you take, the facts are identical.
What we are discussing is the lens we use to examine the very same facts.
That lens, how we process the facts, is what we could call our paradigm.
Business Dictonary.com defines a paradigm as:
An intellectual perception or view, accepted by an individual or a society as a clear example, model, or pattern of how things work in the world. This term was used first by the US science fiction historian Thomas Kuhn (1922-96) in his 1962 book ‘The Structure Of Scientific Revolution’ to refer to theoretical frameworks within which all scientific thinking and practices operate. See also paradigm shift.
The crucial issue with a paradigm is fairly easy to spot – Does our intellectual lens give us an accurate picture of how things really do work in the world?
Or are there things that we encounter in the world that just don’t fit?
And this is the essential issue in the Creation/Evolution debate – which makes more sense when we look at the world around us? Is this universe the work of a Purposeful and Personal Creator as he reveals Himself within the Bible – or is it all just one big happy accident as Darwin postulated in “On the Origin of Species” ?
Did God create all that we see miraculously, out of nothing a relatively short time ago?
Or can all be better explained by an appeal to blind natural process over aeons of time?
Our answer to these basic questions will go along way toward determining how we look at the facts.
And the lens we use to look at the very same facts will go a long way toward determining our conclusions.
A classic example of this “same planet/different worlds” phenomenon was beautifully illustrated last weekend.
A preserved blood vessel of Brachylophosaurus, with what may be degraded dinosaur blood inside. From the Science paper.
One of the first things I learned about dinosaur fossils was that soft tissues are never preserved. Impressions of skin, hair, and even internal organs can leave their mark in the fossil record, but no one is ever going to find an intact, non-fossilized Tyrannosaurus heart. Like many of the things that “everyone knows,” though, it now seems that this view is not exactly right. In very exceptional circumstances , remnants of dinosaur soft tissue can be preserved, and a recently published paper in the journal Science throws new support to this controversial hypothesis.
For several years now paleontologists have been debating whether structures found inside a Tyrannosaurus femur were preserved soft tissue structures or something else, like bacteria, that took the shape of things like blood vessels. The pioneering scientist behind this research has been Mary Schweitzer. The new report by her and her colleagues focuses on a new case of soft tissue preservation, but it is not about Tyrannosaurus. Instead it features preserved soft tissue structures from the hadrosaur Brachylophosaurus, a dinosaur from the other great branch of the dinosaur family tree, the Ornithischia.
The researchers who found the Brachylophosaurus leg in which the soft tissue structures were found were careful right from the start. They did not expose the bones in the field but kept it in a plaster jacket until they got it into a lab. Only then did they expose it and quickly take their samples to prevent possible contamination or degradation of what might be inside the leg. What Schweitzer and her colleagues found were bone cells, blood vessels, and what appeared to be degraded blood products, real remnants of dinosaur soft tissue and not bacterial biofilm. They tested the material, re-tested it, and even sent it to other labs, and the overwhelming consensus was that the material truly was the ancient leftovers of dinosaur soft tissue.
Here we see that paradigms can be tough little monkeys.
The fact that dinosaur bones contain dinosaur guts should be a paradigm busting discovery.
DNA is an amazingly complex organic molecule.
The fact is, such complex molecules break down rapidly into smaller, less complex molecules in a very short amount of time.
If we are in fact, dealing with a 65 million year old fossil, there should be no “goo” left, let alone “goo” that maintains the structure of a blood vessel, or a ligament.
Let alone a structure with DNA so well-preserved it can be sequenced in a lab.
These are the facts.
So what does that do to our paradigm?
In the case of committed evolutionists – nothing.
Consider the end of the article from Smithsonianmag.com:
It is still unknown how soft tissue structures and bits of protein have come to be preserved for over 80 million years, but finds like this suggest there is a lot of fossilization (and dinosaurs) that we are only now just learning about. As outlined in Jack Horner’s recent book How to Build a Dinosaur, a new area of paleontology is opening up in which knowledge of microbiology and genetics is just as important as knowing skeletal anatomy. This is only the beginning, and if students follow Schweitzer’s lead into paleomicrobiology who knows what amazing finds might be made?
How about this possibility – the ancient age of the fossil is wrong.
Now which lens makes more sense when looking at Hadrosaur “goo”?
80 million years plus an organic chemistry defying process we just don’t understand now?
Or a recent creation, with a catastrophic flood, that would cause creatures like Hadrosaurs and T. Rexes to be so rapidly buried in sediment that the internal tissues would not have time to be exposed to external degrading forces?
Which best reveals reality?
The bottom line?
Proponents of Darwinian evolution have made great hay with the general public by asserting that they present fact, while Creationists trade on faith.
And yet with the discovery of Dino-Goo we see Evolutionists take a leap of faith that an unknown preserving process exists in the great beyond that will re-write everything we know about bio-chemistry.
Well, get back to us with that one when you find it.
The fact is, Dino-Goo is a paradigm exploding discovery, but not for those who look at this universe through the lens of Scripture.
CS Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I also see everything else.”
Interesting how the light of God’s Word even shines on dinosaur remains.
“Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:21-22)
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