When You Already Know All the Answers, There’s No Point in Asking Questions
Note: When I saw this article on AiG’s website, I knew that it had to be refuted. I delegated the task to loyal luckster Korbie, who has done a dynamite job. -B
Is anyone surprised by Answers in Genesis’s tantrum over Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes? No. Are they still going on about this? Sadly, yes. These are young-earth creationists. They believe that we spontaneously appeared on the earth 1,500 years after the Sumerians invented beer, and that belief is predicated on the words of some Bronze Age Babylonian mythology bastardized by the Hebrews and god knows who else over the millennia.
A few years back, some soft tissue was found in a fossilized Tyrannosaurus Rex. For creationists, it was yet another indisputable proof of what they all already believed. They have no plausible explanation for how objects can be billions of light years away in an expanding universe only 6,000 years old, but they throw bombs wherever they can. “Wherever they can,” does not include the scientific literature; their work is lacking. Sorely. It’s not even clear that they’ve read any of the journals they reflexively dismiss.
Let’s go with what they said first. Apparently the information on 60 Minutes was out of date. The author of the creationist article, Mark Looy, says something about the possibility of the “vessels” being biofilm. Apparently someone hasn’t read the subsequent publications from Schweitzer et al.
The possibility that microbes may have invaded bone and vascular channels after death, secreting extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that subsequently mineralized, was also eliminated. If deposition of mineral upon microbial biofilm allowed retention of flexibility in one case, it is feasible to propose that the same process contributed to the preservation of the original vessel walls. Additionally, as with polymers, microbial biofilms would not uniformly coat all vessel channels to leave extensive networks of hollow tubes with uniform wall thickness.
The researchers themselves have already debunked the idea. They proceed to say that the vessels may be altered remnants of the original lipid components and that their preliminary analyses are consistent with this hypothesis. Furthermore, decay and degradation of the body is a natural process. The article says that if mineralization of the body occurs faster than the decay of said body, it will appear as if the body never degraded at all. This is further evident in how most all fossils with soft tissues have been found in “fluvial sandstone environments.”
The creationist asks, “how in the world could the soft tissue have possibly survived and not have dried out 64 million years ago,” as if the mere question were evidence for his claims. This, of course, is a textbook argument from ignorance; I don’t understand X, therefore Y. Hogwash.
As a finale, Looy talks about creationist Dr. David N. Menton’s article about the marvelous fossil. Nevermind that for every creationist, there are thousands upon thousands of actual scientists that don’t adhere to the conspiracy theories. Menton appears to be pretty well educated, but apparently he likes to lie for Jesus more than he likes credibility. To wit, he has argued in the past that early hominid fossils are simply modern humans, notwithstanding the fact that we are genetically and anatomically distinct.
David Menton talks about the dinosaur. His core argument is basically this: Because we don’t yet understand how to preserve fossils, creationism is true. Again, the argument from ignorance. In this case his ignorance extends to all of paleontology.
Menton and Looy do have one point. We don’t fully understand this type of fossilization just yet, but isn’t that what science is all about? If we simply say “God did it” every time we find something we don’t know, we’ll quickly find ourselves back in the dark ages. The Enlightenment ushered reason and rationality into the foundation of our sciences. How far we’ve come since then.
These men don’t get it. Actual scientists are currently trying to find answers while Looy and Menton sit in their pews, sputtering out biblical answers to questions about the real world. If everyone were like them, lightning would still be considered Thor’s work, and bloodletting wouldn’t have given way to medicine. Learning would take a back seat to attributing every unknown to God. They can sit back and enjoy their lives; we’ll press on.