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Creationists cock-a-hoop over Canadian dino discovery; say it kicks a hole in evolutionary theory

LAST June a group of scientists unearthed a fascinating dinosaur fossil in western Alberta. Much to the researchers’ astonishment, a piece of well-preserved dinosaur skin was attached to the hadrosaur fossil.

dinosaur_skin_wide

One of the scientists on the team, University of Regina physicist Mauricio Barbi, was thrilled about the discovery, commenting that the specimen could be a key to learning more about what dinosaurs looked like.

Meanwhile, reports CNN, while some scientists are elated by this discovery’s implications, others are asking a very basic question:

How could this dinosaur skin – which, according to evolutionary models, is at least 60 million years old – have possibly remained intact without decaying away?

Many biblical creationists say the answer is simple:

It couldn’t have.

Brian Thomas, head “science” writer for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), recently published an article for ICR, in which he details why it is absurd to believe that dinosaur skin like this could have possibly survived for tens of millions of years. Incidentally, he is the author of Dinosaurs and the Bible and has stated:

My vision is to equip believers to be confident in Christ and in the veracity of His entire Word by showing how strongly science and history support Him.

Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

In his dinosaur article, the crackpot asks:

Who, upon entering a room and encountering a burning candle would immediately begin to wonder what special something about that candle enabled it to continually burn for a million years? Would it not make more sense to first question how long such a candle could potentially burn before going out?

Eh?

In an interview with CNN, Thomas explained that skin is primarily comprised of collagen, which is a tough, insoluble protein. Despite its resilience, rigorous tests have shown that collagen (like other proteins) decays steadily over time, and– even in ideal, “best case” scenarios – could never last more than one million years. In fact, under realistic conditions, collagen’s maximum “shelf life” is probably closer to 300,000 years.

Given the constant decay rate of proteins, Thomas compared the collagen in dinosaur skin to an egg timer.

When the timer ‘dings,’ there should be no skin left. Even if it’s encased in rock, it turns into dust right in the middle of the rock, because of the nature of the chemistry. So … the timer should have ‘dinged’ long before the millions of years that evolutionists have provided for these kinds of fossils.

A much better explanation for the existence of these animal remains, Thomas asseted, would be the young-earth Creation model. According to this belief, based upon the Scriptures, most dinosaur fossils were buried during the Great Flood around 4,400 years ago.

Nevertheless, despite what he sees as mounting evidence, Thomas pointed out that evolutionists still dogmatically claim that these animal remains are millions of years old.

Thomas is also the author of an article entitled “Genetics Analysis of Jews Confirms Genesis”, which neatly bring us round to the fact that Orthodox Jews are finding the teaching of evolutionary science in British schools “problematic”.

According to this report, Government plans to place greater emphasis on evolution in biology classes as part of its proposals to reform GCSE content have been criticised for “causing problems” for strictly Orthodox Jewish faith schools.

Under the new proposals students would be required to describe how evolution occurs; evaluate the evidence for evolution to include fossils; describe the work of Darwin and Wallace in the development of evolution theory; and explain the impact of evolution on modern biology.

Speaking to the Jewish Chronicle, Michael Cohen, an adviser to Orthodox schools, said:

I don’t see Charedi [ultra-Orthodox] schools going along with it. It is something that flies in face of their ethos and culture. It is clear this kind of proposal is definitely going to create difficulties for Charedi schools.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, modern Orthodox schools feel able to reconcile evolution with Jewish teachings on creation but Charedi schools regard it as opposed to traditional doctrine. There is currently just one Charedi Jewish school in the state sector.

Rabbi Avraham Pinter, principal of the state funded Chasidic girls’ secondary school, Yesodey Hatorah, told the Jewish Chronicle that he expected Charedi concerns to be raised in consultations about the reforms.

We are confident that the government will take into consideration the educational priorities of parents and children of all faiths, and ensure that this topic is covered in a balanced and sensitive manner.

The National Secular Society believes the proposals could be problematic for other “faith schools” within the state system. Stephen Evans, campaigns manager of the National Secular Society, said:

The danger with faith schools is that religion can so often become a big part of the educational provision. Many faith schools make a point of ensuring that the ‘religious ethos’ permeates through all lessons – including science.

When scientific facts are incompatible with the faith of the school, too often it will be the children’s education that is compromised, rather than the faith of the school.

Parents do have a right to educate their children in accordance with their religious convictions, but the inclusion of faith schools in our state education system results in the state becoming complicit in the inculcation of children with religious beliefs – something the state should play no part in.

Last year the Department for Education announced plans to make evolution a compulsory part of the primary school curriculum. The National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools has since lobbied the department for a rethink.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Jewish schools report)

30 Responses to “Creationists cock-a-hoop over Canadian dino discovery; say it kicks a hole in evolutionary theory”

  1. Broga says:

    You can’t debate with creationists. They have decided what they think and invent any bullshit they need to support their daft opinions. Clowns.

  2. T says:

    Oh dear. Why don’t fools of this magnitude see how stupid they are?

  3. AgentCormac says:

    Broga

    And there in is, of course, precisely where the problem lies – rather than examining the evidence and trying to understand where it leads, they start off with the answer and then go looking for the evidence to support their preconceived, superstitious claptrap.

    Interestingly, I’m having trouble finding any reference to this story on anything other than a few xtian websites. You’d think the scientific press would be all over it if this was credible.

  4. Brad Welch says:

    So why did the skin survive for so long?

  5. Stonyground says:

    Brad Welch beat me to it, I was going to ask the same question. My guess would be that it isn’t skin as such but fossilised skin.

    Regarding evolution and the school curriculum. Any fool could see that allowing faith based schools to proliferate was a stupid idea but our witless politicians went and did it anyway. Any school that has a problem with teaching evolution should be allowed to opt out as long as they are willing to give up their public funding as well.

  6. remigius says:

    Actually chaps, dinosaur skin is nothing new. Here’s a story from 2007…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7124969.stm

  7. barriejohn says:

    The term fossilized is wide-ranging, and does not necessarily mean that all the material has been replaced by sediment, etc. Although Barbi refers to this sample as being fossilized, it does appear that it is intact. It is puzzling, but the scientists are not fazed by it!

    http://m.phys.org/news/2013-04-scientists-rare-dinosaur-skin-fossil.html

  8. barriejohn says:

    Remigius: I did see that one, but it is definitely fossilized.

    While it has been dubbed a dinosaur “mummy”, the dinosaur is actually fossilised into stone.

    But unlike the collections of bones found in many museums, this hadrosaur came complete with fossilised skin, ligaments, tendons and possibly some internal organs, according to researchers.

  9. barriejohn says:

    I was hoping that P Z Myers would have had something to say about this, but sadly not. I thought that I had struck gold when I saw this headline though!

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/06/18/do-the-creationist-shuffle-and-twist/

  10. barriejohn says:

    Uh-oh! Thomas appears to have visited this subject before:

    http://www.oldearth.org/rebuttal/icr/news/icr_news_2009_7_30_skin.htm

  11. tony e says:

    Dear All,

    This is an old link, going back to 2007.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS5vid4GkEY

    I’m sure that all those evolved followers on this site have already seen it, but it stands the test of time.

  12. AgentCormac says:

    Brad Welch, Stony & bj

    I would point you to my earlier comment – a quick trawl shows that there seems to be nothing whatsoever being posted on any serious scientific website about this story. A fraud, do we think? (I’m sure there’s a term for duplicitous online stories, but right now food is being served and if I start trying to find out what it is the wife will kill me. I’m gone!)

  13. Indifferentist says:

    re: Brad Welch, Stony, bj & AgentCormac

    I read about this a couple of weeks ago on legitimate scientific sites (although I can’t find it in my history to post a link)

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dinosaur/blood.html

    The strength of science is its ability and requirement to modify theory in the light of new evidence. This will cause a rethink of how organic material will break down and under what conditions it is protected from natural processes of decay. It will not anyone capable of bridging a synapse consider that a man could live inside a fish that wasn’t really a fish for three days, or that donkeys, bushes or walking snakes can talk, or that the oil in the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles formed from the carcasses of animals killed in Noah’s flood in a matter of seconds, and then ensnared all the mammoths and sabre-toothed cats.

  14. barriejohn says:

    There do seem to be references to the story other than “faith” sites:

    http://phys.org/news/2013-04-scientists-rare-dinosaur-skin-fossil.html

  15. barriejohn says:

    Unfortunately, if you are relying upon a book that is over two thousand years old to interpret your world, then when facts come to light that contradict the world-view of the writers of that book you are forced to reinterpret those discoveries in the light of what the old book states, and not vice versa. This is manifestly not the way that mankind can progress!

  16. Trevor Blake says:

    Since Mr. Thomas is opinionated on the survival of skin samples, I’d like to ask him a question. Did Jesus’ foreskin ascend to Heaven with Him, or is it still on Earth? Is it preserved or are the molecules of that relic now scattered? I look forward to his reply.

  17. Daz says:

    From Barriejohn’s link:

    But perhaps the greatest question Barbi is trying to answer at the CLS is how the fossil remained intact for around 70-million years.

    “What’s not clear is what happened to this dinosaur and how it died,” he said. “There is something special about this fossil and the area where it was found, and I am going to find out what it is.”

    Note the difference. He says he’s puzzled but plans to put some actual work in on the problem—the creationist bozos just shout “Goddidit,” and are satisfied with their non-answer.

  18. Robster says:

    Had a couple of Jehoov..Jehhaov…oh sh*t, JW’s come to my door last Saturday, the spunky one said he was a “lover of science” and then proceeded to explain why he thought that the old book of stone age myth was correct about creationism. He then told me that the church has “never used shunning” and asked “what to shun somebody” actually means. He said three things to me and scored 100% for lying. Then, he got upset when I accused him of telling fibs. I thought for a minute that he’d hit me on the head with his bible. He was kinda cute though, even while wearing the confused, slightly cross-eyed look adopted by christians while trying to explain their absudity.

  19. Peter Hearty says:

    The original source for this story seems to be a press release from the Canadian Light Source.

    http://www.lightsource.ca/news/media_release_20130426.php

    Some intelligent commentary on it can be found here:

    http://eyeonicr.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/intact-dinosaur-skin/

    Basically, the investigators have yet to publish their findings.

  20. barriejohn says:

    I concur with Daz. Thomas’s report appears on the following site as well, and the comments are hilarious (as per):

    http://www.youroriginsmatter.com/conversations/view/scientist-stumped-by-actual-dinosaur-skin/157

    Good science is good science, enough said. That being said, bad science and the sinful nature of mankind has corrupted the world, and the knowledge we should be gaining from it. One must look at what the facts are telling them, not what they want the facts to be saying. We all have the same facts, and science from the Lord’s perspective is evidenced everywhere. (My emphasis)

    Christians just don’t get irony, do they?

  21. barriejohn says:

    Here is a link to the other recent incidence mentioned:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218164130.htm

    As Peter J Hart says, the big problem that the Young Earthers have is: why are there so few examples of apparently preserved organic dinosaur tissue? Wouldn’t practically ALL of it still exist according to their model? And they still have the problem of explaining fossilization – which has undoubtedly occurred in the vast majority of cases!

  22. 1859 says:

    This Mr. Thomas calls himself a ‘scientist’ – holy crap! I would rather call him a pseudo-scientist. Let’s be very clear – the skin did not survive – indeed could not – survive as SKIN. What has happened over the millions of years is that it has become slowly mineralised under extremely delicate conditions. The atoms of collagen have become replaced by probably silicon atoms – one by one, until the STRUCTURE of the skin collagen has been preserved. This is the process of ‘petrification’ whereby organic, once living substances, are slowly turned into hard stone or rock – they are mineralised. The conditions necessary for this to happen are very, very rare – which is why we don’t find dinosaur skin more often. Animals that die in a lake, for example,sink to the bottom and so can’t be eaten by scavengers. They are sealed from the reactive oxygen environment and become slowly covered in fine silt until they are completely buried and the process of mineralisation can occur. To claim that the existence of fossilised skin is evidence that contradicts evolution is to only show one’s ignorance of evolution. I’m afraid Mr. Thomas must go back to school.

  23. barriejohn says:

    1859: That is what is normally found, but this appears to be different, hence the mystery.

    Though scientists have long believed that complex organic molecules couldn’t survive fossilization, some 350-million-year-old remains of aquatic sea creatures uncovered in Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa have challenged that assumption.

    The spindly animals with feathery arms — called crinoids, but better known today by the plant-like name “sea lily” — appear to have been buried alive in storms during the Carboniferous Period, when North America was covered with vast inland seas. Buried quickly and isolated from the water above by layers of fine-grained sediment, their porous skeletons gradually filled with minerals, but some of the pores containing organic molecules were sealed intact. (My emphasis)

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218164130.htm

  24. the Woggler says:

    The scientists no doubt see this as a challenge, a possible new avenue of research, and something they have to think about. The creationists see this as an excuse stagnation.

  25. Peterat says:

    The reason why there ins’t much scietific comment is likely becasue, unlike Thomas, the scientists are stydying first before they announce their “conclusions”.
    Why don’t they play Jurassic Park with it and use it to clone a dinosaur? And while they’re at it take a sample of “blood” from the Shroud of Turin and clone Jesus.
    Just sayin’.

  26. 1859 says:

    barriejohn: If that is the case then this is a very exciting discovery. There are no rules in thermodynamics that say organic molecules must become mineralised and if some have become ‘trapped’ as originial organic molecules of creature that lived so long ago, then this is a sensational first. But how Mr. Thomas can use this to assert the end of evolution is really beyond me – if I was to crawl inside his head I’d probably drown in a sea of biblical quotations that he uses to obscure reality from himself and others.

  27. […] Read Creationists cock-a-hoop over Canadian dino discovery; say it kicks a hole in evolutionary theory […]

  28. Tim Danaher says:

    @Trevor Blake… Come on, everybody knows the answer to that…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Prepuce

    I actually saw a huge chunk of fossilised dinosaur skin at the Natural History Museum… The detail on it was amazing… Fair gave me goose bumps…

  29. JohnMWhite says:

    I’m not sure what the word is I want to use to describe the peculiar psychology of Creationists. I am tempted to say they are childish for their insistence on sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming to drown out any information they don’t want, while cherry-picking and willfully misunderstanding any scrap of data that they can contort to be remotely supportive of their wishful thinking, but the trouble is children do something Creationists are terrified of: they ask questions. Even when they get an answer, they keep asking, because children tend to be curious and want to know more. Here, Creationists have decided the second they find a scrap of dinosaur skin that they have proof that these creatures were not roaming the Earth millions of years ago, simply because they believe the skin can only, at best, be 300,000 years old. It does not occur to them to ask the natural follow-up question of “well why is it that the skin of animals and humans far younger than 300,000 years old is also usually already gone?”

    It is something that flies in face of their ethos and culture.

    If being correct flies in the face of a school’s ethos, it’s not a school.