Item #8: My May, 2002, response to item #7. (The headings in green were not included in the original document.)

TOPICS ADDRESSED IN THIS RESPONSE

1. Is Behemoth's "zanab" a tail or a phallus?

2. Does Behemoth qualify as a bone fide dinosaur?

3. Or could Behemoth be a dragon?

4. Have intact red blood cells actually been found in fossil remains of dinosaurs?

5. Have "unfossilized" dinosaur bones been discovered in Alaska?

6. Has Answers in Genesis misrepresented results, used deceptive tactics, and demonstrated questionable credibility?

7. Why are dinosaur bones NEVER found buried together with human bones and artifacts?

8. Why are dinosaur bones NEVER found buried in anything other than upper strata?

9. Why are dinosaur bones NEVER found buried together with large mammals?

10. Why doesn't the Bible mention frequent human encounters with dinosaurs?

11. Mr. Knapp ignores the evidence and misconstrues my reasons for accepting the theory of evolution.

What follows are my comments on Mr. Knapp’s website article provocatively entitled, "Response to Part 2 of the Debaun [sic] Chronicles." Mr. Knapp’s statements, and those made by his consultants, are indicated in bold type. My responses follow in regular type. Italicized statements are mine from the previous website article.

1. Is Behemoth's "zanab" a tail or a phallus?

Thus far in checking references, I have yet to find "tail" to be interpreted to be a male genital organ.

I gave you two sources for this interpretation: John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible (available on the Internet) and the translation by Stephen Mitchell. Stephen Mitchell’s interpretation is included in his book, "The Book of Job" (1987, Revised ed. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press). On page 127 of that book, Mitchell makes the point that the King James translation utilizes the term "tail" as a euphemism for the male genital member.

When we consider the Hebrew language and the context of the whole verse, this interpretation [male genital organ] simply does not work.

Your claim notwithstanding, when the language and context of this passage are taken into consideration, the interpretation actually works very well. The ancient Hebrew of the Old Testament regularly used euphemistic language in sexual contexts. For example, the KJV translates Gen. 4:1 as "Adam knew his wife," whereas the Jerusalem Bible dispenses with the doubletalk and translates the passage as "The man had intercourse with his wife Eve." In the same manner, William Harwood’s "The Judaeo-Christian Bible Fully Translated" correctly translates the "pillars" in Exod. 13:22 and elsewhere as "phallus." And the Jerusalem Bible adds a footnote to 1 Sam. 24:3 indicating that "cover his feet" is a standard euphemism for "have a piss." The use of euphemistic language by the Hebrews in sexual contexts is well attested to. If "tail" in Job 40:17 were used euphemistically to refer to the male genital member, it would certainly not be inconsistent with established practice in such circumstances.

The context of this term lends further credence to its euphemistic etiology. In the KJV, verse 16 speaks of the Behemoth’s strength residing in his "loins". In Middle English, "loins" (which derives from "loine") refer to the reproductive organs. The Hebrew word for loins is "mothen". This word is used in the same context in Exod. 1:5 which speaks of "All the persons who came from the loins of Jacob…" Thus "loins" is clearly used elsewhere in the Bible to denote the reproductive organs. Verse 16 also speaks of the "force" being in Behemoth’s navel (i.e., muscle/sinews). The Hebrew word from which "force" is derived is "’own". Strong gives "vigour" and "generative power" as the principal definitions of this word.

The verb used to describe the disposition of Behemoth’s "tail" is "chaphets". This word is used 75 times in the Bible, and Job 40:17 is the only place where it is interpreted as "moveth". The most common renderings in the KJV are delight (39), please (14), desire (9), and pleasure (3). It doesn’t take a biblical scholar to envision how these common meanings would be more readily applicable to the behavior of a male genital organ than they would a tail. Unless, of course, the author of Job intended to convey the image that Behemoth ran around like an exuberant puppy wagging its tail out of a sense of pleasure. The Greek Septuagint translates "chaphets" as "histemi" which means to stand, especially to stand firm or steadfastly or with authority. The RSV renders chapets as "makes…stiff". Peake’s Commentary on the Bible also refers to a "stiff tail". The Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text interprets this passage as "his tail stands erect…" The New Living Translation Bible describes the appendage as being "straight". Today’s English Version of the Bible says that it "stands up". And the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible renders it as "He setteth up his tail…". Certainly these interpretations are better correlated with the root meaning of chaphets, particularly if is it is used in conjunction with the male genital organ.

The KJV and the Third Millennium Bible translate the end of verse 17 as "…the sinews of his stones are wrapped together." In this case the word "pachad" is translated as "stones". This is the only place in the Bible that this word is used in this context so it is difficult to establish its exact meaning from other usage. The meaning must, therefore, be derived from context. Strong’s Lexicon equates pachad in this verse with "testicle". Webster’s Bible renders this passage as "…the sinews of his male organs are wrapped together". The Douay-Rheims version of the Bible translates it as "…the sinews of his testicles are wrapped together".

In Job 40:17 the word "zanab" (which literally means tail, end, or stump) is used in conjunction with loins (reproductive organs), force (generative power), and stones (testicles). Furthermore, a verb that connotes pleasure and desire, "chapets", is used to describe it. Couple this with the fact that the Hebrews made common use of euphemisms in sexual contexts, and the interpretation of zanab as the male reproductive organ gains additional support. Contrary to your assertion, this interpretation works very well indeed, particularly when it is developed in consideration of language and context.

You say that many Hebrew scholars have long asserted that the "tail" is a euphemism for the male genital organ." Can you document this? So far I've found no evidence to corroborate your story.

John Gill’s "Exposition" states, "Junius interprets it [tail] as its penis, its genital part; to which the Targum in the King’s Bible is inclined…" In his book, The Tower of Babel, Robert Pennock notes on page 217 that "Scholars of biblical Hebrew would have to stifle a chuckle if they heard this exegesis." (i.e., zanab = tail rather than penis) Nonetheless, I have been unable to further substantiate my aforementioned claim regarding the assertion of the Hebrew scholars. I obtained the statement from an Internet source that, thus far, has failed to supply me with corroborating evidence. That being the case and in the absence of further substantiation, I agree with you that my statement regarding the Hebrew assertion appears to lack strong evidential support.

The Targum is an Aramaic paraphrasing of the Hebrew Bible. Rather then [sic] literally translating the Hebrew bible word for word from text, it was paraphrased from scripture that was read aloud. It is therefore an inferior and inappropriate source in interpreting the original Hebrew Old Testament.

While the Targums are not literal translations, they represent very ancient understandings of Old Testament passages. They are one of the oldest translations of the Old Testament and they exerted an influence on Christian translators of the Bible. Two major Targums: Targum Onkelos for the Pentatueuch and Targum Jonathan for the Prophets are not "inferior and inappropriate" for interpretation. In fact, they are authoritative for Judaism. As you admit, the identity of Behemoth is very problematic, even in the hands of the most experienced translators. Who better to bring understanding to the nature of Behemoth than the Hebrews who lived closest to the time when Job was written? Why would later translators be expected to have a better insight into Behemoth’s attributes than the Hebrews who presumably would have been more intimately acquainted with story behind the beast? The Targums, because they were created by translators living much closer to the time that the description of this beast was first composed, may represent the most accurate portrayal of Behemoth that is available. (Of course, this all assumes that something called a Behemoth actually existed and was not simply an outgrowth of the Mesopotamian myth of the great bull killed by Gilgamesh, as some scholars contend.)

2. Does Behemoth qualify as a bone fide dinosaur?

Many commentators have interpreted Behemoth as being a Hippopotamus and have long forced undue interpretation on the language based on this often a priori assumption. This simply makes no sense if the expression ‘like a cedar’ is adverbially tied to "moveth" in the verse 17.

Although, as discussed above, a good case can be made for assuming "tail" was used as a euphemism for phallus in Job 40:17, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that "zanab" in this passage was intended to mean a tail, and nothing but a tail. Does Behemoth now qualify as a bone fide dinosaur? Not unless you are willing to ignore the language and context of the passage (and the knowledge gained from the study of the fossil record and radiometric dating analyses over the past 150 years), it doesn’t.

First, "moveth" as used in this verse is a unique translation of chapets, as I discussed above. Even when referring to Behemoth’s tail, this verb is alternatively translated as stands erect, make stiff, and sways. The Aid to Bible Understanding by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society also identifies Behemoth as a hippopotamus and comments; "Since the tail is fairly short, measuring about 18 to 20 inches, this is likely to be understood as meaning that the animal can set its tail rigidly upright or swing it about like a tree."

Second, in order to attach a tail as large as a cedar tree to Behemoth, you must ignore the poetic and metaphorical language of the passages describing this animal. Whether the "tail" was moved, erected, or stiffened, it is said to have done so "like a cedar". Does "like a cedar" necessarily mean "as big as a cedar"? A good many translators of the Bible do not think so. I have mentioned the Aid to Bible Understanding above and you mentioned Matthew Henry’s interpretation ("…though his tail not be large, yet he moves it like a cedar, with commanding force"). John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes of the Whole Bible offers the following commentary: "Tail – Which though it be short, yet when it is erected, is exceeding strong and stiff." Indeed, there is no compelling reason to think that "like a cedar" refers to size rather than the inherent quality of strength/rigidity/straightness/etc. (Unless, of course, you are a creationist who is bent on finding a dinosaur mentioned somewhere – anywhere - in the Bible.) Translations of chapets such as "make stiff" and "stands erect" are consistent with this interpretation. Considering the predominant usage of this word in the Bible, these latter translations appear to be more in keeping with its basic meaning.

Moreover, there is actually a compelling reason to reject the size argument. Read alone, it might be possible to make a case for the size interpretation in verse 17. But when this verse is considered in light of verse 18, it should be obvious to all but the most ardent creationist that "like a cedar" should not be taken literally to mean having the actual dimensions of a cedar. The RSV translates verse 18 as, "His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron." Other translations are quite similar. If you are going to insist that Behemoth had a tail as large as an actual cedar tree, then, for the sake of consistency, you must also insist that his bones were actually composed of tubes of bronze and that his limbs actually had the hardness and strength of iron bars. Job makes frequent use of poetic and metaphorical language as it does in verses 17 and 18. To translate "like a cedar" in 17 as literal fact is to ignore this reality. And to acknowledge such figurative language in the case of verse 18, but to disallow it in the case of verse 17, represents a blatant example of pick-and-choose exegesis.

Third, in verse 21 we learn of Behemoth that "Under the lotus plants he lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh." (NIV) The KJV translates "lotus plants" as "shady trees". However, the word used for this type of vegetation is "tse’el" which Strong defines as "a kind of lotus". Lotus plants do not grow into trees. At least one member of the lotus family does grow as a low shrub in desert areas. But the Behemoth is not described as inhabiting a desert environment. He is described as inhabiting a swamp-like environment where lotuses grow more in the manner of lily pads. The word from which "hidden" is derived is "cether" which Strong defines as "covering, shelter, hiding place".

So dinosaur proponents would have us believe that something the size of a 30-foot-high, 75-foot-long, 30-ton dinosaur with a tail as tall as a cedar tree is capable of concealing itself amongst the lily pads and reeds in a shallow marsh.

Some translators render Behemoth as hippopotamus, some believe him to be a water buffalo or ox, and some think he is an elephant. Easton’s Bible Dictionary comments on Job 40:15-24: "the Revised Version has here in the margin "hippopotamus" which is probably the correct rendering the word." Nave’s Topical Bible Dictionary describes Behemoth simply as "an amphibious animal". Smith’s Bible Dictionary is more emphatic in its interpretation: " There can be little or no doubt that by this work (Job 40:15-24) the hippopotamus is intended since all the details descriptive of the behemoth accord entirely with the ascertained habits of that animal." Some consider Behemoth to be a mythical beast patterned after the bull of Gilgamesh. Several post-biblical texts describe him as an imaginary beast patterned after the mythical symbol of chaos that originated in pre-Israelite mythology (i.e., 1 En. 60:7-9; 2 Esdr. 6:49-52). And some, as exemplified by the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, consider him to be a "poetical personification of the great Pachydermata or Herbivora". Whatever he was, appending the adverbial phrase "like a cedar" to "moveth" does not convert him into a dinosaur – no matter how much creationists would like us to believe such a transformation has taken place. The language and context argue strongly against such a fantastical interpretation.

It is not surprising that before the fossil record of large extinct animals that conservative commentators would tend to interpret this passage as some large known living animal. The possibility of larger extinct animals would not have occurred to them.

The truly surprising thing is that, after it has been conclusively shown that dinosaurs became extinct some 65 million years ago, creationists would promote the untenable notion that humans (who only arrived on the scene some 120,000 years ago) could have lived contemporaneously with them.

...your claim that the tail is referring to the "mail genital organ," doesn’t stand up.

No pun intended, I presume. Actually, it stands up quite authoritatively (see above).

Like many atheistic evolutionists on a militant, anti-thiestic [sic] crusade, your claim is yet another spurious attempt to discredit the Bible and defend your atheistic faith in evolutionism.

I am not attempting to discredit anything except the scientifically unsupported ideas that are so often promoted by creationists. To my way of thinking, the Bible was not intended to serve as a science textbook and it should not be held to those standards or used for that purpose.

As to my "atheistic faith in evolutionism", I would not go into mourning if the theory of evolution were convincingly discredited tomorrow. If it ever occurred that the scientific evidence could not properly support it, then I would be obliged to abandon it in favor of something that could be validated scientifically. Unlike creationists, most evolutionists are not irrevocably committed by faith to acceptance of any particular theory of the development of life.

Faith is a belief that does not rest on material evidence. Libraries full of material evidence support the evolutionary process. Therefore, the acceptance of evolution is based on hard facts, not faith. Your attempt to paint evolution as a faith-based concept produces a false caricature that bears no resemblance to the real thing.

At the very least it’s reasonable to say Behemoth is some sort of very large extinct beast.

Only if it went extinct within the last 2,700 years or so.

It very well may be a dinosaur. It fits the description quite well.

It fits only if you ignore the language and context of Job 40:17 and a significant portion of the scientific knowledge that has accumulated over the last 150 years.

It never ceases to amaze me how sincere and dedicated students of the Bible can invariably find "convincing" evidence to justify whatever interpretation they may make of it. Those who think Behemoth was a hippopotamus can find ample evidence in the Scriptures to support that viewpoint. The same holds true for those who think he was an elephant, an ox, a bull, a mythological beast, or a "poetical personification". And now some creationists are claiming that a careful exegesis of Job 40:15-24 leaves little doubt he was a dinosaur. In fact, it appears that people can interpret the Bible to make it say pretty much whatever they want it to say – even to the point of claiming that it substantiates the dubious notion that dinosaurs were coexistent with humans.

3. Or could Behemoth be a dragon?

You contend that the KJV’s use of Dragon, erroneously found it’s way into the Latin Catholic Vulgate and then into the KJV. What you seem to be unaware of is that creationists and myself go about finding the correct interpretation of a word through proper exegesis of text through it’s original language rather then [sic] face value of the most current English translation. So your argument is too simplistic. While it can in some cases mean a "snake," it can also mean other.

Yes, one can turn to concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, etc. in an attempt to determine what the biblical authors actually meant to say. However, it should be kept in mind that the definitions and interpretations provided by these sources represent nothing more than educated guesses regarding what those original meanings actually were. Since these Scriptures were composed thousands of years ago, it is impossible to precisely determine what the authors had in mind when they composed them. It is a very subjective process that has been aptly described as "mind reading across the millennia". In spite of these limitations, let’s look at what some of these sources have to say about "dragons" in the Bible.

Strong’s Lexicon interprets the words "tanniyn" and "tanniym" as "a marine or land monster, i.e., sea-serpent or jackal". Smith’s Bible Dictionary goes into a bit more detail:

"The translators of the AV [KJV], apparently following the Vulgate, have rendered by the same word ‘dragon’ the two Hebrew words tan and tannin, which appear to be quite distinct in meaning."

"The former (tan) is used always in the plural, in (Job 30:29; Psalms 44:19; Isaiah 34:13, 43:20; Jeremiah 9:11). It is always applied to some creatures inhabiting the desert, and we should conclude from this that it refers rather to some wild beast than to a serpent. The Syriac renders it by a word which…means a jackal."

"The word tannin seems to refer to any great monster, whether of the land or the sea, being indeed more usually applied to some kind of serpent or reptile, but not exclusively restricted to that sense (Exod. 7:9,10,12; 32:33: Psalms 91:13)."

Easton’s Bible Dictionary describes tannim (plural of tan) as: "The name of some unknown creature inhabiting desert places and ruins….probably, as translated in the Revised Version, the jackal." And it describes tannin as: "Some great sea monster (Jer. 51:34). In Isa. 51:9 it may denote the crocodile. In Gen. 1:21 (Heb. Plural tanninim) the Authorized Version renders ‘whales,’ and the Revised Version ‘sea monsters.’ It is rendered ‘serpent’ in Ex. 7:9. It is used figuratively in Ps. 74:13; Ezek. 29:3." Nave’s Topical Bible Dictionary renders "dragon" variously as: a poisonous serpent, a serpent of the desert, a wolf, a whale, of the sea, and a term applied to pharaoh and Satan.

While "dragon" was commonly used as a definition of the root words in the KJV, the new-and-improved version (RSV) completely does away with this designation (except in the New Testament where it is used metaphorically to represent Satan). Likewise, the NIV does not use the "dragon" translation except in the New Testament. The RSV replaces all Old Testament "dragon" usages with such things as serpent, jackal (most common usage), sea serpent, reptile, monster, and sea creatures.

While my argument may have been rather simplistic, it is far less simplistic than the claim made by creationists that some of the dragons mentioned in Bible were actually dinosaurs that co-mingled with humans. It is likely that legends about "dragons" may have resulted from the discovery by the Hebrews of the fossil bones of large animals. Many giant, rather fearsome-looking fossil giraffe skulls from the Miocene Epoch have been uncovered in the Mediterranean area. It would only be natural for someone discovering such a "dragon-like" fossil in ancient times to attribute it to some kind of monster, i.e., dragon. Since they would not have had a scientific understanding of the fossil record, they would not have known any better.

Contrary to your assertion, it [dragon] can mean other then a snake.

You’re right. It can mean darn near anything anybody wants it to mean.

Incidentally, just because Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon offers "dinosaur" as one of the newer translations of tanniyn/tanniym does not mean that the words were originally intended to refer to any such animal. All it means is that some biblical literalists are now interpreting it that way. This "enhanced" definition serves as yet another example of how interpretations can be modified to fit the changing needs of Bible exegesis.

4. Have intact red blood cells actually been found in fossil remains of dinosaurs?

You distort what the actual AIG article says. First, the article presents the issue as a question, "Actual red blood cells in fossil bones from a Tyrannosaurus rex?" If we follow the rest of the article with out any preconceived prejudices, we find that the issue is left open ended.

What the article says is that the evidence from Dr. Schweitzer’s studies seems "…to strongly suggest that traces of real blood from a T. rex have actually been found." It says this despite the fact that neither Dr. Schweitzer nor Dr. Horner has ever claimed such a thing. In fact, as indicated in my last commentary on this subject, Dr. Horner specifically stated that all they found were highly degraded remnants of cells and "not any soft tissue or any other components of a cell." If there is any distortion, it is the manner in which the AIG article strongly insinuates that "real blood" had actually been found.

Plus, the report is sensational, yes, but not from AIG. This is precisely what was reported in the science journal Earth. Keep in mind it was Mary Schweitzer who made these "sensational" claims that they had read [sic] blood cells and reported it in Earth, June 1997.

I challenge you to identify any scientific journal article in which Dr. Schweitzer personally described her findings as being "sensational". No reputable scientist would ever use such a term to describe her own work in a reputable scientific journal. Since I have not been able to obtain a copy of Earth article, I cannot determine if the "journal" used this term or if it is strictly an invention of the AIG.

I am afraid that your description of Earth as a "science journal" is a bit off the mark. In fact, Earth was a science magazine (a sort of inferior version of Discover magazine) aimed at the lay public. It went belly-up a few years ago. It was not in any sense a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Meanwhile, a colleague showed a thin section of the bone to a pathologist, who spotted what appeared to be red blood cells.

What initially "appeared to be" and what actually "turned out to be" are two different things.

If there is new evidence that totally rules out evidence of hemoglobin, then Scweitzer [sic] and Horner should publish it, or be more careful about sensational reports in scientific journals.

Dr. Schweitzer and Dr. Horner are under no obligation to publish evidence that rules out the presence of intact hemoglobin because they never made any claims in a scientific journal (or anywhere else that I am aware of) that intact hemoglobin was present in their specimens in the first place. What Dr. Schweitzer actually said about the samples in the Earth article was, "So far, we think that all evidence supports the notion that our slices of T. rex could contain preserved heme and hemoglobin fragments. But more work needs to be done before we are confident enough to come right out and say, ‘Yes, this T. rex has blood compounds left in its tissues.’" (p. 57). The claim was made only regarding heme and "hemoglobin fragments." Scientists do not have to rule out or substantiate anything they have not reported.

A word of advice. You should be more careful about differentiating authentic scientific journals from newsstand magazines that depend on "sensational" articles to boost their sales.

Thus far, to my knowledge, no contrary evidence has been published.

That’s because there’s nothing "contrary" to publish.

In the end, the report by AIG is accurate according to the published findings in Earth on the subject. Contrary to you [sic] assertion that "Aig [sic] has been caught misrepresenting the results of scientific study" the report at AIG was fair, reasonable, and based on the report found in earth [sic].

I suppose if one is satisfied with basing one’s understanding of a scientific topic on an article mass produced for general public consumption by a now defunct magazine it may seem accurate, fair and reasonable. Nonetheless, most conscientious scientists would instead rely on results published in a reputable scientific journal to determine the details and results of the experimental work in question. The creationist approach in this case is akin to a nuclear physicists consulting Popular Science to obtain detailed information on the design of a nuclear reactor.

This seems rather disingenuous, since they saw what appeared to be red blood cells under the microscope. Obviously, this was stunning, and it was Dr Horner who, as we cited, I believe, suggested to Mary Schweitzer that she try to disprove that they were red blood cells that were being seen by these people under the microscope. The heme immunological reaction was the factor that, coupled with the histological appearance, made it more than reasonable to claim that these were actual red blood cells (i.e. their remains). As you will see from the rest of this, they have most definitely not succeeded in disproving that these are red cells.

They do not have to prove or disprove the existence of red cells in their specimens because they never claimed that intact red cells were present in them. To reiterate, Dr. Horner said that what they found were highly degraded remnants of cells and "not any soft tissue or any other components of a cell." If you insist that they claimed otherwise then please identify the place in the original PNAS article where such a claim was made.

We seem to be having a bit of a problem with semantics. You are equating "actual red blood cells" with "their remains". To my way of thinking, there is a significant difference between the two. If by "their remains" you mean highly degraded remnants that are lacking in any soft tissue and cell components, then I am in agreement with you. However, if by "their remains" you mean actual, intact red blood cells, then I think you are greatly overstating the case. The results indicate that no such thing was found.

If creationists are so interested in demonstrating the presence of "actual red blood cells" in dinosaur bones, then perhaps they should initiate a research project to investigate the matter. If they could confirm such as thing (perhaps using Bubby Davis’ specimens), they could greatly improve their credibility.

Let me put it this way, before looking at the explanation in more detail - when DNA was first reported in a fossil millions of years old, a well known scientist in Nature said that it was just as well that those looking for it were not aware of laboratory-measured rates of decay which indicated that DNA should not last more than about 10,000 years (he later said 100,000) - or else they would not have looked for it. His implication - by definition, once you find the DNA, the previous belief, i.e. that it would not last, is proved wrong.

It turns out that those early reports describing the presence of ancient DNA in million-year-old fossils were a bit premature. Work reported by scientists at Scripps Institute ("Science", May 10, 1996) using a reference technique called amino acid racemization showed that DNA can survive for only a few thousand years in fossils located in warm regions such as Egypt and for about 100,000 years in fossils located at high latitudes. Furthermore, according to Richard Thomas and his colleagues at London’s Natural History Museum, writing in the August 1997 issue of "Trends in Ecology and Evolution": "It is highly unlikely that geologically ancient DNA survives in any fossil material so far studied." These researchers spent three years using the most precise tests available in an attempt to extract DNA from insects entombed in amber. After examining more samples that the total number of published reports of success, the investigators report that not a single strand of prehistoric DNA could be detected.

So it looks like the "scientist in Nature" was right all along. Because it is a complex molecule that is chemically quite fragile and highly susceptible to enzymatic and hydrolytic degradation, DNA simply cannot survive outside living systems for millions of years. Researchers now realize that the earlier "successes" were most likely due to contamination with extraneous DNA.

DNA is stable enough, however, to survive for many tens-of-thousands of years under the proper conditions of preservation. It is stable enough, in fact, that it has been successfully extracted from 100,000-year- old Neanderthal specimens. If, as creationists claim, Neanderthals, dinosaurs, and ancient insects encased in amber all lived at the same time (only a few thousands years ago), then it should be possible to extract intact DNA from all of them. The fact that this cannot be done (at least so far) is consistent with the fact that some of these specimens are millions of years old.

Here’s another research project for the creationists. Extract intact DNA from dinosaur fossils to support their claim that they existed only a few thousand (at least less than 100,000) years ago.

Thus, if one finds heme, hemoglobin, and/or red blood cells in a millions of years old bone (as they see it), this proves that under certain, remarkable, rare conditions, such things can happen.

You are again misrepresenting the facts. No one reported finding intact hemoglobin and/or red blood cells in millions of years old bone. What you would like them to have found and what they actually found are two different things.

Note - I would not claim that the preservation PROVES the millions of years is wrong, but it strongly suggests it, and it is certainly more consistent with the belief that the fossil is only thousands of years old.

It is more consistent only if one ignores the evidence obtained over the last 150 years from the study of paleontology and radio-isotopic decay.

Heme certainly is tougher than the globin, but to suggest that therefore it is no problem to explain how it lasted millions of years is again disingenuous, as it was certainly a surprise to the researchers, when you read the paper, and no wonder.

Where is it written (except in creationist tracts) that a stable molecule such iron-heme must degrade in a million years under all forms of preservation? If you do not allow that millions of years have passed, then you have no way of knowing for sure that iron-heme cannot survive for that long. If, as creationists claim, the universe is only a few thousands years old, even the oldest samples of iron-heme would only be of that age. Therefore, there is no way to directly test your theory that it could not last much longer. All you could do would be to simulate exposure conditions, which may or may not represent the actual conditions in the environment and speculate how those results might pertain to the real world situation.

Proteins (in degraded form) and heme can survive for extended periods of time. The heme, in this case, is a very stable structure of a ring-like organic compound called porphyrin bound to an iron atom. Porphyrins have been found in sediments dating back to the Carboniferous period, at least 100 million years before T. rex. Therefore, the presence of these compounds in T. rex bone is not all that surprising.

But note that the immune response is specific to the sequence of amino acids, which forms the PROTEIN, not to the heme. To suggest that 3-4 amino acids may have given a response SPECIFIC to that protein is mind-blowing. There would have to be far more specificity (i.e. a specific sequence) than that. I asked a Ph.D. molecular biologist who works with us and who did work on identifying proteins using monoclonal antibodies. He is most sceptical [sic] about the notion that 3-4 amino acids, even which [sic] the heme, will be recognised [sic] by the antibody.

Tell your Ph.D. molecular biologist to read up on antigenic epitopes. If he does, he will find that protein fragments consisting of just a few amino acids can indeed elicit an immune response, particularly when they are bound to prosthetic groups such as heme or humic acids.

What is truly mind blowing to me is that anyone who has a Ph.D. in molecular biology could entertain the notion that dinosaurs lived contemporaneously with humans when the scientific evidence clearly indicates otherwise.

Remember that these people are experts in their field, but their field is not immunology or molecular biology.

So Dr. Schweitzer is expert enough to provide evidence to support your side of the argument, but not expert enough to properly interpret it? Sounds like a double standard to me. In fact, Mark Marshall, one the authors of the PNAS paper does have expertise in these areas. And Dr. Schweitzer is an expert on molecular paleontology who works closely with immunologists for confirmation of experimental results. It seems rather presumptuous of you to insinuate that these scientists do not have the expertise to know how to interpret the results of their own studies. If you have serious questions about their qualifications, you should pursue them in a proper scientific forum, not on a creationist website.

Above all, remember that this is their way to 'explain away' the evidence. There is NO evidence that this was spiked by only '3-4' amino acids, they are surmising this, and there IS evidence that there was a reaction to hemoGLOBIN, not 'heme' as such.

So we are supposed to believe that your interpretation of this study has nothing to do with your desire to "explain away" the fact that there are volumes of scientific evidence showing that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago? This seems to me to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

There is no evidence that a protein fragment consisting of a few amino acids did NOT spike the immune response. Such a response in entirely compatible with the behavior of antigenic epitopes.

Their chain of reasoning is like this: Well, we have to explain the specificity of the immune response. What is the smallest no. of amino acids that could give that response? (As indicated, I believe their assumption is way out, that it almost certainly would have to be many more, as antibodies lock onto shapes rather than short amino acid sequences. Thus, the onus of proof is on them to show you evidence that 3-4 could do it.

Studies with antigenic epitopes have already established this fact.

Then (continuing my suggestion on their chain of thought): how could even that number have survived in that sequence? Well, we'll have to assume that they were glued into position by being stuck to heme, and heme is more durable as a molecule. (It is still a surprise to find any organic structure in any millions of years old fossil by normal chemical laws.)

What specific "normal chemical laws" prohibit the preservation of iron-heme/amino acid fragment complexes for millions of years under any and all conditions of preservation? How would you demonstrate scientifically that such preservation was impossible under all conditions? Do you have experimental data to back up your claims, or are you just speculating? Where are the data? Dr. Schweitzer, whose primary area of study is molecular paleontology, addresses this question as follows:

"The fact is, diagenesis of molecules is VERY speculative. The best we can do is to try to approximate degradation rates by subjecting organic matter to artificially extreme conditions, then watch how molecules fall apart, then try to extrapolate from there. And this is hardly accurate with respect to other factors that may mitigate the diagenetic factors. Things like lack of, or minimal, water infiltration, as well as the presence of minerals to which the molecules may bond greatly decrease degradation rates. Additionally, the presence of clays in the substrate work to effectively neutralize the enzymes of decay. These data are available in the literature…"

"The important point is that there are reams and reams of data from other fields that say the fossils are old, so I think my interpretation is more accurate." (Personal communication to me.)

Until you can come up with convincing evidence to the contrary, I think we are justified in going with the expert in this case.

…they argue that 'well, we do sometimes find heme in millions of years old fossils' but once again this begs the question of how they know that the fossils are millions of years old, and would they have predicted this finding from chemical knowledge? The answer to the second is most certainly no, but as indicated, once they find it, then 'by definition' it is possible to get heme in bones millions of years old.

They know the fossils are millions of years old because those are the ages that are obtained from a scientific examination of the fossil record and radiometric dating analyses. Unlike the creationists, they base their conclusions on what the evidence actually shows, not on what they would like it to show.

Analyze the above very carefully in light of what has already been said, and you will see that there is no reason for a scrap of retreat from my statements above that a) the evidence is consistent with morphologically intact red blood cells having been discovered, as strongly suggested by the histological appearance, and as reinforced by the hemoglobin immune response.

The evidence is consistent with the discovery of morphologically intact red blood cells only if one ignores the fact that the scientists who actually did the work categorically deny that they discovered such a thing. In my opinion, anyone who pretends to know more about the detailed findings of this (or any other) scientific study than those investigators who actually did the work casts serious doubt on their own credibility. In personal communication to me, Dr. Schweitzer said, "The heme compounds we found were highly altered, and other tests we did, published elsewhere, showed that the amino acids in the bone were truly ancient in origin." She comments further, "In fact, the data are consistent with highly altered molecular, not cellular, remnants, that have somehow become associated, then protected by the formation of an ‘armored front’. These are not happy healthy red blood cells, but a diagenetically altered ‘morph’ between the biological structure and a geochemical overprint. Nowhere have I ever claimed, nor do I agree, that the structures I found are intact red blood cells."

b) The evidence is overwhelmingly more consistent with the belief that the fossils are NOT millions of years old than with the converse.

This can be true only if the evidence is viewed through the warped lens of biblical creationism. And only if one ignores or misinterprets the evidence relating to sedimentology, stratigraphy, absolute dating, relative dating, and mineralogical processes that form rocks.

Au contraire, it should surely qualify as 'wishful thinking' to try to believe that red blood cells and at least part of some hemoglobin molecules could last 65 million years. This would be a tall order, even if they were kept frozen in liquid nitrogen in a lab. Such is the stifling effect of the evolutionary dogma that scientists can be blinded to the clear implications of their own data.

Again, I ask you to please provide definitive evidence that these organic structures could not survive for millions of years under any conditions of preservation, particularly in liquid nitrogen. What chemical laws demand that they must completely degrade if they are preserved under anhydrous conditions in the presence of protective minerals at low temperatures? Carbonaceous chondrites are meteorites that, according to mainstream science, are billions of years old. When examined under carefully controlled conditions, these meteorites have been found to contain a variety of organic compounds, i.e., amino acids, 3-carbon sugars, sugar alcohols, etc. These compounds remained intact after floating around in space for billions of years and after being subjected to the harsh conditions of entry into the earth’s atmosphere. If organic material can survive in meteorites for billions of years, why would survival of iron-heme/protein fragment complexes in 65 million-year-old dinosaur bones be totally out of the question?

This issue is another example of the creationists focusing on an emerging area of scientific study and making absolutist assertions regarding how things should behave when the database is not sufficiently complete to justify such claims. The field of diagenetics [mineralization] and molecular preservation is experiencing renewed interest because of recent advances in techniques and instrumentation used to investigate these areas. There are still many unknowns. For creationists to insinuate that our current state of knowledge regarding the process is sufficient to allow us to accurately predict how long organic molecules can survive under various conditions of preservation is scientifically naďve and completely unjustified.

5. Have "unfossilized" dinosaur bones been discovered in Alaska?

This [the suggestion that Buddy Davis may have collected mastodon bones rather that dinosaur bones] is ridiculous. The literature has long ago recognized that these are hadrosaur bones. But of course, this will be seen as one more example of 'well, we didn't know before and we did not expect it on the basis of the age of these things, but it appears that under certain conditions...'.

Although I am not completely familiar with the story surrounding Davis’ discovery of the fossils, it has come to my attention that the team dug through several layers of muds, permafrost, coal, and shale to get all of their dinosaur bones out. If my information is correct, the "unfossilized dinosaur" bones were found only in the top layers, and only completely fossilized dinosaur bones were found in the shale layer (the Liscomb layer). If I have not been not incorrectly informed, there is the distinct possibility that the "unfossilized dinosaur" bones they found are mastodon and/or mammoth bones, which would be expected to be rather widely distributed in the upper strata in that area. That being the case, let me repeat my previous questions. Has any qualified paleontologist with expertise in dinosaur classification been allowed to examine Davis' specimens? If not, how can he be certain that they are dinosaur bones? I also learned that these intrepid dinosaur hunters originally mistook a piece of driftwood for an "unfossilized dinosaur" bone. If that’s true, then there is even more reason to have a competent paleontologist examine the specimens.

Since when has 'being a mineral' made something stable? It depends what sort of mineral. Many minerals are very unstable (iron sulfite for example).

So what about calcite, coal, limonite, pyrite, and silica? These can all be involved in the fossilization process. Do you consider these minerals to be very unstable?

So we should be careful and assess the bones more fully in due course. Buddy is a singer and sculptor and adventurer, and not a scientist. One problem for us is that the bones collected officially belong to the US government under special permits, and AiG does not have official access to them as yet.

Under these circumstances, AIG should not be touting them as "unfossilized dinosaur" bones until their identity is confirmed as such – if it ever is. I can just imagine how AIG would castigate the evolutionists if they were to pull a similar publicity stunt.

Nevertheless, the existence of ligaments etc has been reported on 'dinosaur age' marine fossils coming out of a mud spring in England on a regular basis, by a Ph D geologist in our Creation magazine some time ago.

Who says that ligaments cannot be preserved in "dinosaur age" fossils? Evidence of soft tissue preservation abounds in the literature. Again, the degree of preservation is more a function of the diagenetic conditions than it is of duration of burial. An exact correlation between the extent of fossilization and the time of burial does not exist.

These bones are from the same bone bed as studied by Davies: Davies, 1987, Duck-bill dinosaurs (Hadrosauridae, Ornithischia) from the North Slope of Alaska. Journal of Paleontology 61(1):198-200. He says on page 198: 'The quality of preservation is remarkable. The bones are stained a dark red brown but otherwise display little permineralization, crushing, or distortion.'

While such fossils may often look "unfossilized", closer analysis reveals otherwise. Consider the following excerpt from the paper ("Evidence for Postmortem Enrichment in Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Bone Using Microbeam PIXE") in PaleoBios 21, supplement to number 2, p.57.

"Nuclear microscopy using Proton Induced X-ray Emission (or microbeam PIXE) provides accurate quantitative values, multi-element detection, sub-micron spatial resolution to ppm or mg/g sensitivity, and elemental maps of micron regions of bone. A thin section from an exceptionally well preserved Late Cretaceous hadrosaur femur (UCMP 179501) from Alaska’s North Slope was subjected to PIXE analysis. This fossil does not show typical signs of alteration at a macro and micron scale, but is highly altered nonetheless. PIXE analysis reveals enrichment of Fe (180,000 ppm) and Mn (13,000 ppm) in the lamellae surrounding Haversian canals and neighboring tissue of several magnitudes higher than levels known in modern bone. A corresponding depletion of Ca and P also occurs. This enrichment is most likely due to diagenesis from the burial environment since Fe and Mn are present in modern bone in only minute amounts. PIXE analysis of a modern Caiman and Rhea confirm this."

In other words, looks can be deceiving.

6. Has Answers in Genesis misrepresented results, used deceptive tactics, and demonstrated questionable credibility?

I categorically reject this contemptuous ad hominem attack [asserting that AIG misrepresented results, used deceptive tactics, and demonstrated questionable credibility]. No falsehood on the part of AiG has been demonstrated.

You can reject it if you want, but the facts speak for themselves. The AIG article leaves its readers with the distinct impression that actual, intact red blood cells have been detected in dinosaur fossils (a premise you enthusiastically defend) while the scientists who conducted the work categorically deny that such a thing ever happened. That is misrepresentation of the results. And AIG proclaims that "unfossilized dinosaur" bones have been collected when, by your own admission, the true identity of the specimens has not been established. That is usage of deceptive tactics. To put the frosting on the cake, you claim that the take home message from these articles is that dinosaurs lived in the not-too-distant past, i.e., within the last few thousand years. By ignoring the enormous body of scientific evidence that shows dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, you call your credibility into serious question. As I see it, you are guilty on all three counts. If you do not like what you take to be ad hominem attacks, then perhaps you should reconsider your modus operandi.

7. Why are dinosaur bones NEVER found buried together with human bones and artifacts?

If humans and dinosaurs actually coexisted, some of the crucial questions that creationists must answer are: Why are human bones and human artifacts NEVER found buried together with dinosaur remains anywhere on earth?

There are a number of anomalous finds, such as the Tampa figurine, and the "Malachite Man" remains in dinosaur rock in Utah.

Anomalous indeed! I presume, since you specifically mentioned the "Tampa figurine" and the "Malachite Man", you must consider them to be a couple of the most convincing examples of these "anomalous finds". The truth is, the Tampa figurine is so anomalous that I couldn’t even find it with a Google search of the Internet. Even the AIG search engine comes up empty, except as the item is mentioned in your rebuttal to me. So what is it about this figurine that makes it so impressive from the creationist perspective? I will have to rely on your insight to fill me in.

I realize that the total lack of humans and their artifacts in dinosaur fossil bearing strata is a profound embarrassment for creationists. (At least it certainly should be.) Nonetheless, I am truly surprised that you would stoop so low as to scrape the Malachite Man off bottom of the barrel in an attempt to fill in your missing links. But then if that is all you have, I guess you don’t have much choice in the matter.

Malachite Man is nothing more than a recycled version of the Moab Man who was discovered in a Utah copper mine in 1971. According to John Marwitt, the archaeologist with the Utah Statewide Archaeological survey who examined the discovery site, the bones of this individual were resting in loose, poorly consolidated blowsand and sandy matrix – not consolidated rock or hard sandstone as some creationists have erroneously claimed. The bones were completely unfossilized and the individual had been buried in the manner common to that used by Indians of the time. A UCLA lab dated the specimen at 210 +/- 70 years. For a thorough rebuttal of fallacious claims made by creationists regarding this discovery, see "Life and Death of Malachite Man" (www.members.aol.com/gkuban/moab.htm).

But of course evolutionists can easily point resort? to such secondary explanations as 'intrusive burial'. The bones are such that one cannot determine either way whether they were primary or secondary in the strata. So we are careful about the use of such evidence.

Of course evolutionists can point to intrusive burial because that is exactly what the archaeologist who investigated the site found. I can’t speak to the conditions relating to the elusive Tampa figurine, but the conditions of burial in the case of the Malachite Man/Moab Man were unambiguous. The bones were obviously "secondary in the strata."

Indeed you should be very careful about the use of such flimsy evidence. If I were you, I would avoid calling any attention to such obviously contrived "finds".

In spite of numerous discoveries of various relics, pottery shards, habitation remains, human and animal skeletal remains, and weaponry artifacts buried in the Mediterranean area from early biblical times, not a single shred of any one of them has ever been found buried in the same strata that contains dinosaur fossils. All you can produce in your defense are two specimens, one of which has been thoroughly discredited and one which is largely unheard of. The fact is, the dinosaurs are all found in strata that were deposited much lower in the geologic column, while humans and their artifacts are all found in the upper strata. How creationists can blithely turn a blind eye to this glaring discrepancy, which so severely strains the credibility of their "model", is a marvel to behold.

8. Why are dinosaur bones NEVER found buried in anything other than upper strata?

Why are dinosaur bones NEVER found buried anywhere on earth in upper strata, but only in much deeper strata that is more than about 65 million years old?

Deeper is a relative term. Sometimes dinosaur rock is found at the surface, as this person would (or should) know.

It should have been obvious from the context of my statement that I was referring to the relative position of strata as they were originally laid down in the geologic column. If it was not clear, then let me clarify that that is what I meant.

Perhaps that's because rocks that have dinosaurs in them are by definition at least 65 million years old, so how would anyone find any that are younger?

They could find they are younger by conducting radiometric dating and stratifgraphic studies, which give results showing that they are younger. But unfortunately for the creationists, when these types of analyses are conducted on appropriate specimens under scientifically controlled conditions, they repeatedly give consistent results showing that the rocks are at least 65 million years old. That’s why scientists, who are not constrained by dogma to believe otherwise, accept the fact that they are at least 65 million years old.

Take for example the statement by Dr Schweitzer: "It was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. But, of course, I couldn’t believe it. I said to the lab technician: ‘The bones, after all, are 65 million years old. How could blood cells survive that long?’" Science. 261, p.160 (July 9, 1994).

As it turns out, and as Dr. Schweitzer has confirmed, the red blood cells did not survive intact that long.

Note also (again) Dr Schweitzer's extreme surprise at the blood cells, contrary to the attempts by this respondent to downplay the surprise at finding such in bones supposedly millions of years old.

I have not attempted to downplay Dr. Schweitzer’s initial surprise. Finding what first appeared to be intact red blood cells in specimens that old was surprising – not totally flabbergasting, but surprising. But rare events do happen. After all, someone always manages to find the extremely rare winning lottery ticket amongst all the losers. Yet no one says it is impossible to win a lottery simply because it is such a rare occurrence. Be that as it may, Dr. Schweitzer’s initial surprise regarding intact red blood cells was premature because subsequent work showed that they were actually highly degraded remnants of pre-existing cells. Even that represents a fortunate discovery, but certainly not as amazing as if they had been intact cells. And it in no way rules out the multi-million-year-old age of the fossils.

9. Why are dinosaur bones NEVER found buried together with large mammals?

Why are dinosaur bones NEVER found buried anywhere on earth together with large mammals that have lived contemporaneously with man such as elephants, whales, bears, tigers, oxen, hippopotami, rhinoceroses, moose, etc.?

The whole question of Flood-post-Flood animal distribution is the subject of discussion in our technical literature.

In other words you don’t have a concise, clear, straightforward answer to this concise, clear, straightforward question. I find your so-called "technical literature" to be "technical" only in the sense that it dresses up old-time religion with highfalutin scientific jargon. Any similarity between your "technical literature" and authentic scientific literature is purely coincidental.

It is true that many animals contemporaneous with man have not been found with dino bones, but then many which are contemporaneous with man HAVE been found with dino bones.

Of course some extant lineages extend back to time of the dinosaurs. The fossil record clearly shows this to be the case. However, I am asking about a large class of animals that the fossil record clearly shows did not exist at the time of the dinosaurs - the large mammals. If, as the creationists claim, these large mammals lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, then we should at least find them buried in the same strata in which the dinosaurs occur – if not find buried inter-mixed with the dinosaur fossils. Yet this is NEVER the case. The large mammals are ALWAYS found in strata above those that contain the dinosaurs. Not below, not in, but ALWAYS above, in most cases much above. The logical and most parsimonious explanation for this invariable arrangement is that these large mammals evolved after the dinosaurs had gone extinct. How creationists can confront the total failure to find a trace of any of these large mammals in dinosaur strata and still cling to creationist scheme of things boggles the mind.

10. Why doesn't the Bible mention frequent human encounters with dinosaurs?

And why, even if for the sake of argument one assumes that Job's Behemoth was a large dinosaur, would the Bible be virtually silent regarding the enormous variety of beasts that would have had such a profound impact on people's daily lives?

Presumably by the time of Job, there were only a very few such creatures left. They may never have established themselves again in large numbers following the Flood.

Are you saying that it makes sense that Moses, while recording the early history of mankind, would not have considered the presence of impressive beasts like dinosaurs to be worthy of comment? That seems rather unlikely to me. Considering that the dinosaurs had been extinct for some 65 million years before the time of Job, the only place he could see one of "only very few such creatures left" would have been in his imagination.

So virtually the entire world’s population of animals (and plants) are supposed to have perished in a cataclysmic Flood. Yet somehow after this tumultuous treatment, their remains became miraculously stratified into multiple, definitive layers that have little or no relationship to their hydrologic properties and that are arranged in a manner that makes it appear that sequential changes in body structure have occurred. To claim that such as outcome is consistent with the creationist storyline requires an un-executable leap of logic in my estimation.

It is difficult to imagine how people could have lived in the presence of the type of vicious flesh-eating dinosaurs that are known to have hunted in what is now the Middle East without the scribes documenting dinosaur encounters on a frequent basis.

That is an interpretation based on the finding of dino fossils in that region, but since they were buried there in the Flood, there is no reason to believe that they hunted in today's middle east.

So the Flood supposedly moved animals around and mixed them up kind of like a giant Mix Master did it? That would be all the more reason to expect to find humans and their artifacts and large mammals buried with the dinosaurs, right? In fact, if the Flood was capable of transporting large dinosaurs great distances, then just think what it would have done with the small animals and plants. One would think, if the Flood had behaved in such a manner, all the animals and plants would have been mixed together like some giant smorgasbord. But that is not what we find. Instead we find discreet layers of organisms neatly and sequentially stacked one on top of another. This is not exactly a stunning testimonial to the validity of creationist "theory" in my opinion.

Furthermore, there is much evidence that T. Rex, e.g. would have been easy prey for man, frightened of falling lest he kill himself, unable to run fast (despite Jurassic Park) etc. Documented by evolutionists of recent days.

Frankly I doubt that T. rex was really that much of a pushover. Even if T. rex was not an Olympic sprinter, scientists still estimate that it could stride along at about 12 mph. If you ever have a Job moment and think you see one, I wouldn’t advise trying to take his food away from him.

So as long as evolutionists say something that can be used to your advantage you consider their findings to be valid. Otherwise, they have no credibility in your eyes. Is that the way it is?

There are extra-Biblical records of 'dragons' that match what we would today call dinosaurs. See http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/dinosaurs.asp

Been there, done that. I realize that creationists are desperate to find a dinosaur somewhere in the Bible (even if they must fabricate it out of a "dragon"), but I think there is a far more plausible explanation for the usage of this term. As mentioned above, it is likely that when the pre-scientific desert nomads of early biblical times came across mysterious fossils of animals unknown to them, they conjured up visions of "dragons" to explain them. The same would be expected to have occurred within many other cultures as well. There is some validity to your statement regarding the fact that extra-biblical records of "dragons" match what we call dinosaurs today. They match, to a certain extent, because the people who concocted these "dragons" were creating mental images of creatures that could conform to the unfamiliar body plan of the fossils they encountered. Mix human imagination and strange looking fossils together and visions of dinosaur-like "dragons" would almost surely be the result – especially if those visions were manifested by some kind of hallucinogenic state of mind.

"Dragons" look like dinosaurs for much the same reason that "werewolves" look like wolves and "vampires" look like bats. These legendary supernatural apparitions, while having been patterned after real life creatures (or their fossilized bones in the case of the dinosaurs), are all nothing but figments of the human imagination.

What this all [criticism of the AIG red blood cell report] tells me is that Mr. Debaun [sic] is willing to ingest unverified claims that any fellow evolutionist puts forth as sacrosanct.

What it should tell you is that I have endeavored to determine what the scientists actually concluded from their work rather than what your fellow creationists want you to think they concluded from it. The "fellow evolutionists" I consulted were none other than the scientists who did the research and published the results. It is hard to imagine what you have been ingesting that would lead you to believe that the armchair quarterbacks at AIG have a better grasp of the results than the scientists who actually did the work.

11. Mr. Knapp ignores the evidence and misconstrues my reasons for accepting the theory of evolution.

Regarding the Behemoth issue, I have easily documented the plausibility of Behemoth being a dinosaur, and, that Mr.Debauns [sic] research is less then [sic] adequate to cast any reasonable doubt on this.

The plausibility of your argument is negated by one simple and compelling fact. There is an enormous database of scientific evidence which shows conclusively that dinosaurs and humans have never coexisted. Your argument might win some points in exegetical circles, but it is flat dead in the water from the scientific standpoint. It doesn’t matter whether or not I cast any doubt on your "Behemoth being a dinosaur" fantasy. The discoveries of science have thoroughly relegated that idea to the realm of science fiction.

He will persist to believe this cannot be a Dinosaur because of his zealous predisposition toward evolutionism-that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.

You are unfailing in your attempt to misconstrue my reasons for supporting the theory of evolution. You persist in trying to wrongly change the basis of my acceptance of the theory from a scientific one to a philosophical one. I believe that Behemoth cannot be a dinosaur because, after an objective examination of the mass of scientific evidence relating to the subject, it is, in my opinion (and that of the vast majority of the scientists worldwide), the only honest conclusion one can draw. I do not maintain this belief because it gives me an excuse to belittle someone’s religious beliefs, make fun of the Bible, or engage in debate. I do it because the best science supports my position.

I could simply look the other way when creationists launch their pseudoscientific attacks on evolution in the letters section of the newspaper. But an attack on evolution and the scientific concepts that relate to it is an attack on the scientific enterprise as a whole. As one who has been trained in the sciences and as one who has gained an appreciation for the profound explanatory power of the scientific process, I feel obliged to try to set the record straight. Because creationism has strong biblical underpinnings, it is impossible to avoid stepping on some religious toes during the course of debates on the subject. This outcome is regrettable, but unavoidable. However, I hope, from the discussion that has occurred so far, you will better understand that my primary focus is on the defense of scientific integrity and not on the refutation of your religious beliefs.

Jack DeBaun

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Updated: 1/28/04