“Academia is a den of vipers.”–Stephen Jay Gould, The Panda’s Thumb, pg. 112
“The tyranny in the matter of evolution is overwhelming to a degree of which the outsider has no idea.”—Dr. Thomas Dwight, Harvard University
“One of the crumbling citadels of orthodoxy…is the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution…The contradictions and tautologies of the synthetic theory have actually been known even longer, as a kind of open secret, and yet the dogma has been and still is strenuously defended by the academic community, with the penalty of discreet but effective ostracism for heretics. The reason for this paradox seems to be twofold: firstly, commitment to a scientific theory can be as charged with emotion as a religious credo—a subject much in evidence throughout the history of science; secondly, the absence of a coherent alternative to neo-Darwinism makes many biologists feel that a bad theory is better than no theory at all.”—Arthur Koestler, from “Janus,” pg. 165, (1978), emph. sup.
This is the second article of this series which is a response to Fuz Rana’s book, “Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth.” This is going to be a long article for a forum such as this (about 19 pages). I admonish the reader to bear with me. Please, bear with me and invest your time in this. This issue is the premier scientific issue of our time and well worth lingering over.
I will be responding in sequence following Rana’s progress in his book chapter by chapter.
Rana’s book is organized as follows:
Introduction: “What’s the Issue?”
Ch. 1: “Dinosaur Blood in Fossils: Who Would believe It?”
Ch. 2: “Dinosaur Blood and the Case for a Young Earth”
Ch. 3: “Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth”
Ch. 4: “How Did Soft Tissue Survive in Dinosaur Fossils?”
Conclusion: “Should You Believe It or Not?”
Appendix A: “A Biblical Case for an Old Earth”
Appendix B: “The Creation-Evolution Controversy in Jurrasic World”
Appendix C: “Dinosaur Genome Size Estimates ; Laggerstatten of Design”
I will begin below by examining Rana’s Introduction, which he has titled, “What’s the Issue?” but I have some introductory remarks of my own first.
One of the most difficult and common hindrances to discovery or recognition of truth is the seductive power of emotional attachment to a priori presuppositions. There is a kind of affective or emotional intelligence which many cognitive geniuses never achieve. This is because there are simply separate and different kinds of intelligence (musical, mechanical and mathematical come to mind as examples) and being brilliant in one aspect does not necessarily imply brilliance in all aspects. Unfortunately, having a brilliant intellect (even at the genius level) is absolutely no help whatsoever in this regard. In fact, a brilliant intellect can very well be a hindrance in this regard because the self-deluded genius with an emotional attachment to false ideas is able to concoct false, but seemingly reasonable and believable alternate explanations for things compatible with his affective preferences. Those of us with a lower intellect are simply consigned to staring in the face of reality.
We see the truth of this demonstrated continually among evolutionists in academia. (I won’t single anyone out but many names come immediately to my mind). The dogma of evolution is about as bankrupt as any dogma which ever existed when you look at the actual data, yet because there is an affective disability in operation among many evolutionists, combined with a cognitive excellence, falsehood obtains a believable face—until details are actually looked at and scrutinized. Then the whole evolutionary edifice comes apart like a towering house of cards.
It is my judgment that many evolutionists in academia and science research have a very low AFFECTIVE intelligence, who are otherwise very intelligent within their specialties. They are seemingly unable to discern or to distinguish the influence and interference of affective factors upon their cognition. Anyone who doubts this should research the Piltdown Man case (see here also) and the Nebraska Man hoax (see here and here also). (By the way, the definitive book exposing and explaining the Piltdown Man hoax, “The Piltdown Forgery,” was written by Joseph S. Weiner. Another good resource is “The Piltdown Man Hoax: Case Closed” by Miles Russell.) These evolutionists are, in fact, in the terrible vice grip of affective factors. This is another way of saying they are self-deceived. Many appear to be unwilling, or at least predisposed to be unwilling, to distinguish the influence and interference of affective factors upon their cognition. Theirs is a pitiful condition, indeed, because such a condition must, by its very nature, be on the one hand, most intransigent, and, on the other hand, elusive as far as diagnosis is concerned. This is the condition of the human mind which the Bible refers to as “blindness” within the heart of man.
What the Issue Is
In 1966, Roman Pawlicki of Jagellonian University in Poland published the first of 15 separate scientific papers spanning 30 years. Pawlicki’s first paper was titled “Cells, collagen fibrils and vessels in dinosaur bone,” and was published in the prestigious science journal, Nature, documenting the discovery of the existence of extant original organic dinosaur tissue found within dinosaur fossils, a seeming impossibility given all of the known empirical science about organic tissue decay.
As far as I am aware, Pawlicki’s research was the first instance of examination of dinosaur tissue microscopically at the level of the cell. Even Pawlicki’s finds, however, were not the first instance of recognition of original tissue in dinosaur fossils. My favorite example of preservation of original dinosaur tissue is the complete mummified hadrosaur found by Charles Sternberg in 1908, which I have used as the featured image of this article above. (See Brian Thomas’ article, “Original-Tissue Fossils: Creation’s Silent Advocates.”)
Pawlicki’s findings were an astounding discovery and worthy of front page news on every newspaper in the world. Though published in a prestigious scientific journal, Pawlicki’s findings and publications sank into the bottomless pit of The Ignored and The Forgotten. Pawlicki’s findings went almost completely unnoticed by the scientific community at large despite (or because of?) the paradigm-smashing nature of such finds. What Pawlicki was reporting seemed utterly impossible.
Fast-forward 30 years to the world connected to the internet and instant global communication, and the RE-discovery of extant soft dinosaur tissue by Kristi Curry Rogers, an assistant of Mary Higby Schweitzer of North Carolina University, has become one of the hottest, if not the hottest, of “hot potato” issues in science today. Mark Armitage and Mary Schweitzer, more than any others, have been at the center of the controversy about the meaning and significance of extant original dinosaur tissue.
The endurance of original (and intact) dinosaur tissue is a subject about which, using Arthur Koestler’s terminology, “a scientific theory can be as charged with emotion as a religious credo.” The only modification I would make to Arthur Koestler’s observations quoted above is that the hypothesis of evolution is not charged with emotion like a religious credo, it IS a religious credo; it is an Article of Faith of the religion of Naturalism, a religion which is based upon unproven and unprovable a priori philosophical presuppositions about the ultimate nature of reality. The issue of extant, original soft dinosaur tissue finds (commonplace now that we are looking for them) is not going to disappear, and its significance will certainly be hotly contested for decades to come. (By the way, Naturalists have drawn up their own sectarian Confession of Faith, The Humanist Manifesto, in which evolution is listed as their second article of faith.)
The now numerous discoveries of soft, organic dinosaur tissues being found all over the earth are, to indulge in the utmost understatement, exceedingly problematic for scientists who believe in evolution and/or an ancient earth millions or billions of years old, whether they are willing to admit the truth or not. (They’re not). Because of the empirical sciences of chemical kinetics and forensics, which have experimentally and (I repeat for emphasis) empirically demonstrated that the rates of decay of organic tissue under many and varied conditions are well under a million years and nearly always well under a hundred thousand years, the existence of original organic tissues from dinosaurs simply does not “belong” in the “real” world. There is no rational way to accommodate their existence within the currently accepted deep-time paradigm of contemporary science, the protestations of atheistic evolutionists and old earth adherents notwithstanding.
Soft, intact, original dinosaur tissues are virtually screaming “Thousands of years old, not millions.” This reality could hardly be plainer if such artifacts came stamped with a manufacture date. Original tissues from dinosaurs under any and all conditions should have decayed ages ago if, in fact, dinosaurs lived and went extinct millions of years ago. The existence of original, soft organic tissues from dinosaurs has now been proven to be a reality and, unlike Roman Pawlicki’s publications, can no longer be ignored and swept under the carpet. It is an issue which has FORCED itself upon the evolutionary academic-scientific establishment, like it or not.
Now that extant, original, soft organic tissue from dinosaurs and other supposedly millions-of-years-old organisms has been proven to exist (and, I emphasize, is now known to be commonplace), the secular scientific-academic establishment has found itself with absolutely no choice: since the information is readily available and has been disseminated worldwide to anyone with a cell phone or a computer, the establishment scientists and academicians have had to give some kind of response. Whether they are ready or not, some answer has to be forthcoming.
Sadly, it is not only secular, atheistic evolutionists with faith in Naturalism whose religious paradigm has been toppled to its foundations by these discoveries. Among those who call themselves Christians, and among those who would describe themselves more specifically as “Bible-believing Christians,” there are those who identify themselves as “theistic evolutionists,” and/or “old earth creationists.” Their beliefs also have been fundamentally falsified by these discoveries and they have been forced to comment and respond to these discoveries. One such response, and the response that I am specifically critiquing here, is the book, “Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth,” by Fazale Rana (better known as “Fuz Rana”) from the Reasons to Believe organization, headed by Hugh Ross.
Rana is an old earth creationist who espouses the “day-age” interpretation of Genesis 1, that is to say the doctrine that the six creation days with their evenings and mornings in Genesis 1 do not denote six consecutive literal 24 hour periods but rather six very long ages of time representing many millions of years. I, frankly, do not have the intelligence to understand Genesis 1 as anything other than six consecutive literal 24 hour days, and, like so many others of lesser intelligence, I am simply consigned to staring the reality of Genesis 1 in the face.
I am writing this work to challenge you, the reader, to open your mind to the possibility that the “real” world proclaimed to us by the Darwinian academic establishment (what I refer to as the GDPM, the Great Darwinian Propaganda Machine) may not be so real after all, but rather a false religious credo accepted by faith. It is my contention that theistic evolutionists and old earth creationists have been led down the proverbial “primrose path” by the secular, atheistic academic establishment regarding the true understanding of key points of scientific data and that they have allowed tentative (and erroneous) interpretations of empirical scientific data by atheistic evolutionists to influence their interpretation of the Bible. Shame upon shame! From the biblical perspective, since there is an issue of ultimate authority involved in this process, such deference to tentative interpretations of fallible human beings constitutes a form of idolatry.
Rana’s book is a very sloppy work in some regards (you will see what I mean as we proceed) and gives every evidence of being rather hastily put together. It is more like a bare abstract than a full treatise. On the other hand, maybe it was the best Rana could do with the data at his disposal?
Rana’s Introduction: “What’s the Issue?” –pg. 9-13
In the introduction to “Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth,” Rana states:
“Perhaps one of the hardest-to-accept discoveries made in recent years has been the recovery of original soft tissue remnants within the fossilized remains of dinosaurs that lived nearly 80 million years ago.”—pg. 10
The fact that Rana calls original soft tissue in dinosaur fossils one of the “hardest-to-accept” discoveries is a point that deserves close scrutiny and we ought not inattentively pass it by. Rana’s statement here is a statement directly addressing the affective, or emotional, side of this issue. Why has the discovery of original soft tissue from dinosaurs been one of the “hardest to accept” discoveries in recent years? One of the reasons, as Mary H. Schweitzer acknowledges, is that the existence of original organic tissue from dinosaurs (and now many other supposedly millions-of-years-old organisms)…
“flies in the face of everything that we understand about how tissues and cells degrade…the laws of chemistry and biology and everything else that we know say that it should be gone. It should be degraded completely.”
Moreover, Schweitzer has admitted:
“A lot of our science doesn’t allow for this. ALL of the chemistry and ALL of the molecular breakdown experiments that we’ve done don’t allow for this.”—see here
The reader should note well that Schweitzer is referring to empirical experimental data. Known, empirical science regarding tissue decay has shown that most proteins, for example, have a maximum outside potential of endurance for up to about 40,000 years under the most ideal of conditions. We are not just talking about a somewhat longer time of endurance when we are speaking about millions of years; we are talking about going beyond known science by many, many orders of magnitude. This is why Rana acknowledges later in his book:
“These discoveries are forcing a paradigm shift within paleontology. Prior to these advances, almost no one would have thought soft tissue could persist in fossil remains” (pg. 73).
This is a gross understatement.
There is something demonstrably and radically wrong with some aspect of contemporary scientific belief regarding this subject. What is that something? Is it that organic tissue can somehow persist for hundreds of millions of years despite the empirical, repeatable, experimental science of chemical kinetics which indicates otherwise? Or is it that something is wrong with the belief that the world of the dinosaurs stretches back millions of years in time? When all is said and done, one of these two propositions of contemporary “science” is false.
Unfortunately, the paradigm which is clearly the most obvious one to call into question by these discoveries, the idea that dinosaur remains are millions of years old, is regarded as sacrosanct. That paradigm cannot be allowed to be questioned because it strikes at the heart of the religious faith of 1) Naturalists (read: atheists) and 2) theistic evolutionists and 3) old-earth creationists like Fuz Rana. Rather than call their religious/philosophical paradigms into question and re-examine the deep-time assumptions of the current paradigm, these three groups would rather believe that there is something radically misleading about the results of the empirical experimental sciences of chemical kinetics and forensics. Psychological denial is the order of the day in this regard.
How does Fuz Rana approach this conundrum? One thing I would like to highlight to the reader is that Rana, in “Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth,” treats this issue in a partisan and polemical manner in his book rather than as a scientific mystery to be cautiously and meticulously researched and documented. Let me give an example. In his book, Rana repeatedly contrasts “Common Wisdom” vs. “Scientifically Determined” dates. To wit:
“Common wisdom has long held that soft tissues should readily degrade in a few thousand years.”—pg. 10
This is a very curious (suspicious?) use of terms Rana employs here because in point of fact the “common wisdom” he is referring to is “ALL of the chemistry and ALL of the molecular breakdown experiments that we’ve done” cited by Mary Schweitzer. “Common wisdom”? “Common wisdom”? Why would Rana use such characterization about the known, empirical science of chemical kinetics when such science is observable and repeatable? Rana’s characterization, “common wisdom,” makes the empirical science of chemical kinetics sound like some kind of folk tale or popular legend. This should be a red flag to any careful reader.
The terminology Rana utilizes here appears to be driven more by concerns about persuading his readers than the desire to present the facts with scientific rigor. It appears from this terminology that Rana is attempting to paint the results of the known empirical sciences of chemical kinetics and forensics as something less than scientific: “It’s just common wisdom,” Rana says. The reason, of course, is clear from Rana’s thesis. Rana is trying to imbue the new hypothesis (i.e., that organic tissue can endure virtually forever) with an aura of scientific finality. Rana is painting a contrast: the old belief vs. the new belief; that silly old “common wisdom” on a par with folk legends which says that organic tissue degrades rapidly vs. the new respectable “scientific” belief that says organic tissue can endure for hundreds of millions of years. To which I respond: hogwash.
Rana will argue otherwise, but he has, in fact, detoured off into the realm of science fiction—speculation—though he will attempt to convey to the reader the impression that his hypothesis is much, much more than speculation. Rana will take the reader through a grand tour of several speculative biochemical scenarios which he asserts could cause organic compounds to endure for hundreds of millions of years. We will look at some of the particulars when we examine Chapter 4 of Rana’s book, and pay particular note to Mark Armitage’s criticisms. In any event, after hypothesizing at some length about how organic tissue could endure for immense eons of time, Rana does admit:
“If the fossils really are millions of years old, then how is it possible for soft tissue to persist for so long? Some fact checking makes it clear that nobody knows the complete answer to that question.”—pg. 75
Permit me to suggest that, Rana’s proposed mechanisms notwithstanding, nobody has even the faintest idea how soft tissue could persist for millions of years, nor does anyone have even a miniscule fraction of an answer to that question, to say nothing of a real-world partial answer. The suggestions advanced by Fuz Rana, Mary Schweitzer and others represent little more than flailing around in the darkness. Their proposals are stop-gap speculations intended to obscure the obvious truth until such time as, if ever, an actual plausible mechanism can be discovered. These suggestions are like the story of the Dutch boy sticking his finger in the hole of the dam to prevent the dam from overflowing. Reality has caught up to the faithful devotees of deep-time speculations and they prefer willful blindness to abandoning the comfort of their cherished credos. I predict that if a more convincing hypothesis should come along, the specific speculations advanced so far by Rana with so much certitude will be forsaken in a moment’s time. For now, they are being defended by Rana as if they are eternal verities.
On the very next page, page 11, speaking about radiometric dating, Rana refers to the “scientifically determined” dates for fossils. “Scientifically determined” sure sounds more solid and reliable and authoritative than “common wisdom,” does it not? Thus, we see that Rana begins his speculations with partisan polemical maneuvering in an attempt to bias the argument. Rana is attempting to define away his problem. Rana repeatedly paints a picture of authoritative scientific finality in his characterizations of the “common wisdom” about the age of the earth.
He speaks about additional soft-tissue finds thusly:
“quinones that date to 350 million years”
“ink…of fossilized cuttlefish dating to 160 million years”
“chitin from 34-million year old cuttlefish”
“505-million year old sponges” (Yes, Rana, et al, now want us to believe organic tissue can last more than half a billion years!!!)
“proteins from 15 million year old mollusk fossils”
On page 12 Rana speaks of “the measured ages of the fossils,”
Rana makes these age assertions as ex cathedra pronouncements which are to be taken at face value as unquestionable, established facts. The terminology he chooses (“measured ages”) gives the reader the impression that time itself has been measured in fossils. Maybe this is just carelessness of speech at this point (which is disturbing itself coming from a Ph.D.-bearing Christian), but ages cannot be measured in fossils, nor even in igneous rock. Radioisotopes and the elements which are known to result from radioactive decay are what are measured, and ages are inferred based upon a whole suite of built-in uniformitarian assumptions which cannot be fact-checked.
Is not the conclusion of the empirical, repeatable science of chemical kinetics, that organic tissue cannot last millions of years, just as much “scientifically determined,” indeed, MORE so, than the assertion that organic molecules can last for millions of years?
So here is my initial question to Fuz Rana, et al: On the basis of known chemical kinetics and forensic science, leaving issues of radiometric dating aside for the moment, which of these two hypotheses is more “scientifically determined,” that organic tissue can or cannot endure for millions of years? This is a question that Rana did not pose in his book, at least not explicitly, although he attempts to give his own answer to the implicit question.
The true answer to the question has been supplied by Mary Schweitzer. I quoted this above in part, but this is the crux of the matter, and deserves strong emphasis.
In public news media interviews, Schweitzer has said:
“It just doesn’t seem possible. But yes you can actually take the vessels [i.e. soft dinosaur blood vessels] and they do have internal components and so you can take a probe and kind of squeeze those things out into solution and the vessels are fine. It’s just…I can’t explain it to be honest.”
“Well it is very amazing. It is utterly shocking, actually, because it flies in the face of everything that we understand about how tissues and cells degrade…the laws of chemistry and biology and everything else that we know say that it should be gone. It should be degraded completely.”
“A lot of our science doesn’t allow for this. ALL of the chemistry and ALL of the molecular breakdown experiments that we’ve done don’t allow for this. So if this material turns out to be the actual remnants of the dinosaur then, yes, I think we will have to do some, certainly rethinking of some of the basics of the model of fossilization.”
Since making those remarks, Schweitzer has been attempting to establish a role for the iron content in blood as a causative agent for preserving organic tissue for many millions of years. This line of research is, to say the least, inconclusive. We will get to that in a future article.
On page 11, Rana states:
“Very few, if any, paleontologists thought that soft tissue remains would be preserved within fossils, particularly those that date to several hundred million years in age. Organic compounds, which comprise soft tissues, are typically rather ‘delicate’ materials that readily break down.”
The emphasis in Rana’s above statement should be upon the phrase, “if any.” This is more polemical maneuvering. Rana is not conducting science here but playing chess against a competing hypothesis. Winning the argument is Rana’s goal, not establishing legitimate knowledge. Rana knows very well that NO ONE, especially paleontologists (whose stock in trade is fossils), or biochemists (whose stock in trade is soft organic tissue), EVER expected to find extant, soft tissue in dinosaur remains or any other supposedly millions of years old organisms. This was simply out of the question. This was because of the empirical results of the sciences of chemical kinetics, which science is observable and repeatable.
Why does Rana feel compelled to qualify the state of affairs this way? Rana acknowledges, because he can do nothing else, that organic compounds readily break down. In fact, they do so spontaneously even under the effect of their own molecular motion of the constituent atoms, minus any outside influences (a detail Rana does not mention). Organic compounds also break down under the effect of extremely miniscule temperature variations over time (another detail Rana does not mention in his book). The law of entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is a juggernaut whose sweep is all-embracing. Systems in nature inevitably and predictably proceed from a state of order to disorder.
On page 11, Rana states:
“Few people in the scientific community are impressed with this latest scientific argument for a young earth.”
Note the antithesis here–on the same page, no less. On the one hand, Rana acknowledges (though he tries to trivialize the significance of the fact) that no one ever expected to find extant soft dinosaur tissue, and on the other hand, few are impressed with this argument for a young earth. I hope I am not the only one who perceives the blatant disconnect here. Rana testifies against himself by publishing a book on the subject trying to suppress the young-earth implications of this data. Manifestly, Rana and many others are very “impressed with this latest argument for a young earth,” indeed, and Rana and other old-earth scientists are being wheeled out to mount an all-out propaganda campaign against the truth.
Few scientists are impressed, indeed! Not in public, anyway. This assertion on Rana’s part constitutes more polemical subterfuge. It is an appeal to the authority of scientists and educators, professionals who are VESTED both emotionally and financially in the status quo, vested in the continuance of their employment and funding. To be “impressed” with this argument for a young earth (at least in public) puts one in danger of job termination or other forms of punishment—“discreet but effective ostracism for heretics” to quote Arthur Koestler. It is, as Mark Armitage has pointed out, “a career killer.”
To be impressed with the scientific argument for a young earth in public where their employers and supervisors on the job, and the funders of their departments and projects, can find out what they actually think is like putting your head in the guillotine, and pleading for mercy from an executioner who has just this moment learned that you murdered his wife and children.
Nobody wants to wind up like Mark Armitage who was fired from his microscopy job at CSUN because of his young earth creationist beliefs.
Nobody wants to wind up like Jerry Bergman who was fired from his position at Bowling Green State University because of his repudiation of evolution.
Nobody wants to wind up like David Coppedge who was fired from NASA because of his creationist beliefs.
Nobody wants to wind up like Richard Sternberg (a prominent evolutionist), who was terminated from his position at the Smithsonian Institution and subjected to a campaign of deliberate false slander by the upper management of the Smithsonian Institution for simply allowing an Intelligent Design proponent to publish an article (see “Darwin’s Doubt”, pg. 210, by Stephen C. Meyer).
Nobody wants to wind up like Guillermo Gonzalez, who was fired from his job at Iowa State University because he went public contending that the universe was designed by an intelligent mind. (See here also.)
Nobody wants to wind up like neurosurgeon Michael Egnor, M.D. from Columbia University, and Professor at State University of New York Stony Brook, who was subjected to a vile and vicious onslaught of personal vilification by the Darwinist establishment after he went public with his doubts about Darwinism and suggesting that Darwinism was irrelevant to medical practice.
Nobody wants to wind up liked Robert Marks II, whose entire department was shut down and de-funded by Baylor University because of his interest in Intelligent Design.
Nobody wants to wind up like journalist Pamela R. Winnick whose only “science sin” was to remain neutral on the ID issue in an article she wrote and was likewise subjected to a vicious campaign of vilification and slander by evolutionists because neutrality was not sufficient for them.
Nobody wants to wind up like science journalist, Richard Milton, who likewise was subjected to a campaign of vilification because of his doubts about Darwinism and who had at least one of his articles censored due to behind-the-scenes machinations and slander by prominent atheist, Richard Dawkins. (See also pages 268-269 of “Shattering the Myths of Darwinism,” by Richard Milton.)
Nobody wants to wind up like Tom van Flandern of the U. S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. who lost his job for pointing out that atomic phenomenon (including the speed of light) are slowing down in comparison with orbital data.
Nobody wants to wind up like Trevor Norman who lost his position at Flinders University, investigating the data and suggesting that the speed of light is slowing down.
Nobody wants to wind up like Barry Setterfield, who, though not fired from any position that I am aware of, was banned from all but the library at Flinders University because of his work with Norman. Whether the Setterfield/Norman conclusion about the speed of light ultimately turns out to be correct is quite irrelevant to the question of academic freedom.
Fuz Rana knows all about these cases and thousands of similar ones. In short, Rana knows very well that the atmosphere is utterly poisoned in the halls of academia and in the media and in many science venues and that fear of retribution in the form of job termination or vicious personal attacks is a very real and rational fear. Just ask any of the 13 people named above. These cases are not anecdotes. Therefore, it is sheer brazen subterfuge to argue as Rana does that nobody is impressed with the argument that extant soft dinosaur tissue is evidence for a young earth. How many brave souls wish to go public and put their jobs and their families on the line to say so? Not many. Would you? There are families, children and spouses, to consider, and student loans and mortgages. The pressure against going public with suspicions about the true significance of extant soft dinosaur tissue is enormous. Rana knows very well that there is extreme pressure to conform to the official story line—which is maintained by fear and intimidation, primarily the threat of job termination.
Rana says, “These discoveries trouble virtually no scientists.”–pg. 11
It is very, very difficult, indeed, to believe that Rana actually believes this given the history of this subject demonstrating precisely the opposite. Many scientists were and ARE, very troubled by this. When the soft dinosaur tissue finds of Mary Schweitzer and her team first went public, evolutionists were screaming, “Contamination!” or “Biofilms!”(Bob Enyart recounts the history of this subject at Real Science Radio.) Anything but genuine dinosaur tissue!
Rana comes from an academic background. This may seem rather obvious and superfluous to point out, but sometimes we do not stop to think about the significance of the obvious. Rana’s pedigree in academia may partly explain his knee-jerk deference to old earth mythology: he knows the “neighborhood” from whence he came. In the evolutionary scheme of things in academia an ancient earth is regarded as a sacred idea. They do not use that terminology, of course, but that is precisely how it is regarded. (Remember Arthur Koestler’s observation: “a scientific theory can be as charged with emotion as a religious credo.”) The old earth myth cannot be touched. Verboten. Taboo. To do so is regarded as sacrilege. Doubting it or questioning it is cause for excommunication and banishment. You can lose your job in academia over this issue and even be blacklisted. Again, I like Arthur Koestler’s terminology—“discreet but effective ostracism for heretics.”
Academia today is dominated by Naturalists, secular atheists. The dogma of an ancient earth is regarded by them as the second most sacred doctrine of the religion of Naturalism, second only to evolution itself. Logically and polemically speaking, an ancient earth is even more fundamental and primary than evolution itself; an ancient earth doctrine provides the premise, the foundation, or platform if you will, for evolution. As an analogy, we could say that an ancient earth is the functional “operating system” of evolution. An ancient earth idea allows evolution to “do its thing.”
Many Naturalists are happy to allow for people who believe in a supernatural realm, a god, creation, and so forth, to operate in academia, as long as Naturalists are granted the monopoly on “scientific” questions, especially the age of the earth. If you work in academia in any field that touches directly or indirectly upon the subject of evolution and the age of the earth you had better be circumspect and very careful not to desecrate or profane this “holy” doctrine of Naturalism. Naturalism itself (i.e. atheism) is the most transcendent of all propositions from the Naturalist’s perspective and is the unquestionable premise, or beginning point, of all thought. It is simply assumed. Fazale Rana deals with academia on a regular basis and he knows where their sensitivities lie. He knows very well what happened to Michael Egnor, Richard Marks II, Pamela Winnick, and many others. Apparently, Rana deems it better to stay clear of the slings and arrows of outrageous hatchet men of the academic-scientific complex than to risk his reputation merely to tell the truth.
Special pleading after the fact.
“Special pleading” is defined in the study of logic as the claim of exemption from the known rules or laws that govern all other subjects of the same class. Rana and others (mostly atheistic evolutionists) are very busy these days concocting ad hoc after-the-fact arguments to justify the claim of the endurance of organic tissue for hundreds of millions of years, which is known to be impossible due to the sciences of forensics and chemical kinetics. These arguments have been concocted, (and “concocted” is an appropriate characterization) for the sole reason and purpose of countering the manifest significance of the existence of extant dinosaur tissue and other supposedly millions of years old organisms. Fuz Rana and others simply cannot stomach the obvious and inevitable inference of a young earth. They need to create a reason, a cover story, a façade, to nullify the previously known, and universally agreed upon, empirically established laws of chemical kinetics.
Hear what I say: the claim of the endurance of organic tissue for hundreds of millions of years would not exist were it not for the implications of the discovery of organic tissue from dinosaurs and other presumably millions of years old organisms. All—yes, all— of the results of empirical chemical experiments conducted PRIOR to the discovery of extant dinosaur tissue led scientists to conclude, and to conclude unanimously, that it was not only unlikely but impossible for organic tissue to endure for millions of years. These are scientifically determined parameters for organic tissue endurance but Fuz Rana prefers to call it “common wisdom.” Such terminology again is clearly not meant to be scientifically rigorous description but is simply more polemical maneuvering.
One of the standard rules of thumb to assess the legitimacy of a scientific hypothesis is whether or not its predictions are verified. In the case of the hypothesis of an ancient earth millions or billions of years old, the universal prediction and expectation of old earth scientists was that the remains of dinosaurs and other “ancient” organisms would, of necessity, be completely degraded and/or fossilized, that is to say, permineralized ages ago. Now that this universal expectation has been empirically disproven and dashed to pieces, now we have after-the-fact backtracking by old-earth scientists who are simply unwilling to question the old-earth hypothesis. Now we are being told (again, mainly by secular atheistic evolutionists) that it must be our understanding of biochemistry that is faulty and not our understanding of the age of the earth. I submit to the reader that looking for an explanation for the endurance of organic dinosaur tissue in some drastic (and universal) misunderstanding of biochemistry and the science of tissue decay is irrational. The rational explanation is that there is something drastically wrong with the dominant age paradigm of secular, atheistic academia. If you want the true culprit for the completely erroneous belief that dinosaur tissue was long since gone, one need look no further than the belief in deep-time. Remove the dogma of deep time and the mystery vanishes. The simple explanation is the correct explanation.
It needs to be emphasized that none of the chemistry Rana goes over in his book is new information. Rana is simply regurgitating old information with a new interpretation. Chemists knew this information before Rana wrote his book. What IS new, and without empirical experimental foundation, is the claim that these chemical compounds can endure for hundreds of millions of years, which claim is driven by the discovery of extant soft dinosaur tissue in conjunction with a priori assumptions about the age of the earth. Note well: if you read Rana carefully, Rana in no instance claims that these compounds have been empirically proven to be able to last for immense time spans, although that is certainly the impression he is intending to convey. Cautious in his language, lest he be accused of telling an outright lie, Rana simply says “it is not unreasonable to think” that these compounds can endure for hundreds of millions of years (–pg. 56ff).
Well, Dr. Rana, I would like to speak to you personally and directly here: given everything we know about chemical kinetics, I think it is unreasonable–spectacularly so—to think that these compounds can endure for hundreds of millions of years. It is clear that this thesis of Rana’s is not proven fact but propaganda. Dr Rana is going to have to do a whole lot better than “it is not unreasonable to think…” and–unless he is willing to tell an outright lie–he can’t.
Rana’s thesis does not even rise to the level of a bona fide theory in the scientific sense. Though couched in the language of science, what we have in “Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth” is mere propaganda. It is all regurgitated propaganda which Rana has absorbed from his secular, atheist colleagues (and in some respects the same thing can be said about Mary Schweitzer, a professed believer in Christ, who, like the prophet Daniel, functions in her capacity in the midst of a den of roaring lions.).
Rana’s speculation, moreover, is special pleading after the fact. This attempt to propose mechanisms that would preserve organic tissue for millions of years has been FORCED upon him (and other deep time devotees) because he is committed, a priori, to a deep time paradigm–NOT because tissue preservation for millions of years is the most rational or compelling explanation.
The most rational and reasonable explanation by an exceedingly long shot for extant dinosaur tissue is that the remains in question are thousands, not millions, of years old. Let me reiterate for emphasis: These novel speculations of Rana and others (and speculations is precisely what they are) about extreme endurance of organic tissue would not exist were it not for the now undeniable reality of extant tissue from dinosaurs and other organisms found in “ancient” strata assumed to be millions of years old.
What we are witnessing in Rana’s hypothesis is not legitimate science but the spectacle of psychological denial under a façade of scientific terminology, rationalizations intended to buffer his mind from the paradigm-smashing implications of the empirical data. The most reasonable course of action is to repudiate the deep time assumption and put it to the test. But, rest assured, this will not be done because it conflicts with the religious convictions of old earth creationists like Rana and the religious faith of believers in the religion of Naturalism. In the case of extant soft dinosaur tissue, Rana, et al, are either unable or unwilling to be led by the empirical data. The indisputable reality is that extant organic tissue from dinosaurs, sub-Cambrian beard worms, etc., is solidly and overwhelmingly on the side of a young earth. Like it or not, young-earth creationists own this issue.
I, for one, think it is only logical, reasonable and rational to point out the clear theological inferences of this fact. If the tissue of dinosaurs found is soft and intact, then it is NOT millions of years old, but thousands. If it is not millions of years old but thousands, then the rock strata they are found in are not millions of years old either. If the rock strata they are found in are thousands of years old, then the earth itself is not millions or billions of years old. If we have an earth that is only thousands of years old, then the book of Genesis is a believable account of origins. If the book of Genesis is a believable account of origins, then the entire Bible, including the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is believable.
In Part 3, we will examine Chapter 1 of Rana’s book, “Dinosaur Blood in Fossils: Who Would Believe It?”
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