“A Grand Opening Fossils Galore”
Gen 1:20-21 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
As we first enter the Dinosaur exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, we are welcomed with a monumental greeting! YES! The fossil record truly indicates “Fossils Galore” from the very beginning of time. Why so many fossils? Check Genesis 7 for a detailed explanation!
“The Curtain Rises – Sudden Appearance”
Amen!!! Genesis 1 accurately describes this “sudden appearance!” Take a close look down at your right foot and you will see a profound statement of the fundamental basis of evolution. “…it seems doubtful that complex animals suddenly evolved from simple organisms. And it seems likely that small, simple animals preceded larger, complex ones; animals without shells probably came before those with shells.” The science of evolution can be so accurately summarized by the simple statement, “…it seems likely…” Notice they suggest no evidence to support such a claim, yet the validity of the rest of the exhibit centers on this very assumption.
Just to the right, you will see the mollusk display. Now that you have checked out Genesis 7, you would naturally expect a worldwide flood to bury the relatively immobile marine invertebrates (mollusks, clams, shellfish, etc.) first and foremost. The more mobile life would try their best to avoid the oncoming catastrophe and therefore more likely drown than be buried by sediment. The fossil record strongly supports this. In fact:
- 95% of all fossils are marine invertebrates, particularly shellfish,
- 95% of the rest of the fossils (about 4.7%) are algae and plants (Directly behind the Mollusk display is the Plant Fossil display.), and
- 95% of what’s left (about .2%) are other invertebrates, including insects.
The complex scheme we call evolution comes from the balance; .01% of the fossil record scattered around the world in various states of disintegration. The next several exhibits in the Natural History Museum portray a small sample of what most fossils around the world look like.
“Trilobites and Other Arthropods”
Gen 1:21 …and God saw that it was good. Notice that God did not have to continue developing His new invention like a modern day engineer would. Life, as God created it, was fully developed. The trilobite would be the evolutionist’s prime example. The trilobite is considered to be hundreds of millions of years old. Trilobites are considered by evolutionists to be among the oldest animals, yet they have fully developed eyes! The Natural History Museum has two trilobite displays; one near the entrance of the dinosaur exhibit portraying the degree of complexity of the body, and another at the entrance to the Ancient Seas exhibit that describes this sophisticated eye in great detail. Now I ask you, how could one of the earliest life forms have such perfectly designed eyes?!?
As you continue to walk into the exhibit, you will undoubtedly see the Time& Fossils Tower. This geological time tower unnerves many Christians because of its blatant reference to evolution over millions of years. But how have scientists arrived at these dates? This issue of millions of years is a major stumbling block for too many Christians. But it doesn’t need to be. Let’s look at these methods of measuring age in great detail.
Notice one face of the tower indicates that rock is dated by the fossils found within it. Yet, the opposite side of the tower indicates that fossils are dated by the rocks they are in. In other words, as the Relative Time display states, “…the present rates at which mountain building, erosion, and evolution take place suggest that vast amounts of time would have been needed for the changes recorded in the rocks.” This “relative time” (with extremely long time periods) is assumed!
To add credibility to the millions of years, scientists have invented this time piece called the “atomic clock”. It is an excellent time piece to hide behind because very few people have any understanding of how it works. The atomic time display in the Natural History Museum is actually fairly accurate. (It’s their conclusions that aren’t.) Let’s see how much credibility the atomic time clock really provides.
Carbon 14 can only be used to measure the age of substances that were once living; eg. bones, wood, etc. It cannot be used to determine the age of fossils. Fossils are rocks that have taken on the shape of once living materials.
The other atomic dating methods can only be used to measure igneous rocks, not sedimentary rocks. Fossils can only be found in sedimentary rocks. Thus, fossils can only be dated by a guess based on the ages of igneous rocks above and below the sedimentary rock containing the fossil. This combination rarely occurs, and even when it does, the dating methods are so riddled with potential errors that the lower igneous rock could erroneously be dated younger than the igneous rock above the sediment!
So how is the atomic clock supposed to work? Some atoms naturally decay into smaller atoms. These are called isotopes. This process is a function of the atom’s nucleus, and ordinary chemical processes do not affect this rate of decay. Therefore, it could potentially be an accurate dating method. However, it has significant potential error factors.
The burning candle is a perfect analogy. Suppose you walk into a room and notice a lit candle sitting on a table. You could watch the candle for a while, measure its height, then measure the height again after an hour, and ultimately determine the rate at which it is burning. For example, 1 inch per hour. According to atomic clock scientists, you can now determine how long this candle has been burning. Or can you? You do not know how tall the candle was when it was lit. You could assume that it was 4 feet tall. After all, it couldn’t have been any taller or it would have scorched the ceiling. You could also assume that no one has ever added or removed wax from the candle. But you don’t even know that for sure. Never the less, you have to give it an age, so you use these limited assumptions and make your calculations.
The atomic clock is practically identical. Atomic clock scientists have no idea what original quantities of isotopes were present when the rock was formed. They also have no idea if isotopes have been washed into or out of the rock. The only credible evidence of the atomic clock is the life span of the daughter isotopes. For example, if our candle left a drip along its side that we could also measure, and assume this drip was produced at a constant rate, then we would have a secondary affect to support the measurement. If it weren’t for these daughter isotopes, the atomic clock would have no credibility at all.
Even with these daughter isotopes that add credibility, we still have at least one other significant error factor; the assumption that the rate of decay is constant. As mentioned above, nuclear decay occurs at an extremely constant rate and we know of no natural force that can affect that rate. Let me ask a very awkward practical question. You watched it burn for 1 hour. Right? Would you dare to assume that the burn rate for this one hour would be identical for three thousand years? Of course not. Yet – radiometric dating assumes that our observations for the past 50 years apply over the past 1.5 billion years! Preposterous!
Job Chapters 40 and 41
We serve an almighty God! We tend to forget that – when we are afflicted with life’s little nuisances. Take Job, for example. “His weren’t little nuisances!” you say. Oh, but aren’t they petty when considered in the context of our eternal life with Jesus Christ?
As you will recall, Job complained bitterly about his afflictions. In Chapters 40 and 41, God paints a vivid picture of His power by describing two awesome animals that were familiar to Job. It is clear from the wording of these chapters, that Job not only knew what these animals looked like but also understood their power and might. The point of these two chapters is to illustrate God’s almighty power. We should never forget that. But we can also examine these two chapters and consider what type of animals they really were. Some modern Bible translations have footnotes to reference an elephant, hippopotamus, or alligator. But read the passage closely and you will see that there are no animals alive today that can possibly fit these descriptions. Some of our fiercest looking dinosaurs fit these descriptions best. I suggest that you read chapters 40 and 41 to your children while observing these beasts.
Dinosaurs in Flight
Now back to our overall theme of Bugs, Birds, and Dinosaurs. God created the flight methods of all three. (After all – God created all three!) Looking up, you will see one of the great flying pterosaurs, an amazing creature! Don’t worry, he won’t land on your shoulder today. The American Indians tell a story about one such creature that was hit by lightening and fell to the ground. Consequently he has been named “Thunderbird” and was well known by many tribes. Numerous myths center around this creature. Their description of his appearance is virtually identical to a pterosaur. Other cultures in Asia, Africa, and Europe also describe this great “flying lizard”.
If you take a trip upstairs, you will see a display called “What’s in a Wing?” This is an interesting display describing the complexities of wing design alone. Never mind flight. It is also amusing, in that it uses classical double talk to describe why pterosaurs couldn’t fly and then closes by saying that they did. Mankind will always be awestruck by flight!
- Did you find the bird and insect wing discussion in this section of the museum?
- No one really knows how the armor plates of a stegosaurus are attached. What if they resembled the description of Job 41:15-17?
References: The Young Earth, by John Morris, Compton’s Encyclopedia, and the Bible