Now we all know that it was Mary Schweitzer who appeared with the schocking research findings that showed soft tissue in dinosaur bones. We also know that Dr Schweitzer attempted to find an old age solution to the dilemma she faced by suggesting in a follow up research article that there was a reasonable explanation for the find that maintained harmonious with the old age evolutionary view.
Then, along comes Dr Armitage and all of a sudden…Schweitzer’s follow up theory of iron in the blood falls apart.
Dinosaur soft tissues are shown to be remarkably preserved to the sub-micron level of ultrastructure despite environmental and biological factors associated with burial for millions of years. Light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) reveals soft tissue features such as fibrillar bone tissue, osteocytes, and blood vessels. Concerns that these findings relate to contamination or biofilm formation have been refuted. Notwithstanding the controversial nature of these discoveries, soft dinosaur tissues should be systematically searched for and thoroughly characterized in other dinosaur remains.
Its a little difficult to deny his findings as a person who is not versed in this area of expertise, however, the arguments put forward are significant and need to be discussed.
So, what are the Biologos answers (in laymans terms) to Dr Armitages discovery?
BTW, he has found more than just one or two samples that support his research…and its ongoing with more bones being found containing real tissue, blood vessels (with intact vein valves), and even nerve cells. He has found these in bones from different dinosaur specimens.
Finally, my understanding is that the dig in Hell Creek uncovers specimens that smell…something that bones millions of years old should not do. He says this is evidence that they are still breaking down and that this is hugely problematic for the 65 million year old theory.
That sounded familiar as I just came across this in Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark by Kellogg:
As for Armitage, a few questions:
How do we know it’s an actual dinosaur bone? we don’t. red flag
What professional paleontologists have actually examined the bone and concluded this? none? one? red flag
Is he an expert in the field? (no). red flag
How many times have actual experts misidentified mammals? Lots.
Was there a plaster cast done for posterity? no?
Did anyone else ever get to examine the bone? no?
Could it just be an ice age long horn bison? yes
Why is he publishing in a low impact microscope journal instead of one with experts who might be able to corroborate the bone in question? red flag
Where was it found? Deep rock? Secondary deposit? The latter it seems.
Could there be contamination? possibly.
Why are the c14 dates so different? contamination maybe?
Does he refuse to let anyone else examine his finds? I am told yes. Red flag.
You say “Here is Dr Armitage’s peer reviewed study” but this is misleading. Again, it’s not a paleontology jorunal. It’s a microscope journal not run by experts in that field. I would like to point out this is not science. It looks like smoke and mirrors. If it’s true that only he has access to the bone and doesn’t let anyone else examine his finds, red flags are springing up everywhere. Secret science, by a non-expert in a low-impact journal that doesn’t specialize in that field?.. It junk science at this point. In my experience, conservatives are so critical of experts when they say something they don’t like about the Bible but their brains seem to turn off the instant someone tells them something they want to hear. Every thinking person on the planet should be highly suspect of this guy and his work. Until we first establish this was an actual dinosaur bone and rule out contamination, there is nothing to discuss.
I would agree that something smells. Of course, dinosaur bones are not really bones, but are essentially mineral molds of bones. It is amazing that some microscopic relics of the original tissues remain, so it is indeed an interesting area of study, and one that is likely to have more surprises to come.
The paper you provided is based on the initial horn Armitage found. There is no mention that he has found other specimens. The biggest red flag for me is he has never shown the horn in question is actually from a Triceratops.
And the article didn’t appear in a peer review journal. It is interesting that they actually have a peer-reviewed scientific journal Microscopy and Microanalysis, but he didn’t submit the article there.
I highly recommend the video posted above by @Terry_Sampson. Armitage appears to have no degree in recognizing or preserving horn–the photos he does provide look like bison horn and maybe rib, from 30K years ago.
He quotes someone (Enyart) who baldly misquotes racemization of dinosaur egg analysis.
The RNA he cites has a half-life of weeks, which demonstrates it is contamination.
If he were right, and soft tissue like this were in horn (vascular and exposed to the elements, in contrast to Mary Schweitzer’s deep bone portions), it would be found in all dinosaur bones–it’s not.
The pattern of findings is more like that of bison with contamination on top of that.
He is not open or willing to have others test his findings, apparently.
No one would accept lousy research like this, especially in trying to talk about important issues like this. I am sorry.
But, let’s not shoot the messenger. So many in our society have not had a good foundation in science or research, and find these type of presentations credible. I do not fault them, but the charlatans who should know better, who actually have science training, but instead use their skills to solicit money to play with their microscopes.
So Adam, are you saying that this water logged, root bound and contaminated horn of geologically unspecified extraction and excluded access, is somehow the still small voice which has escaped Satan’s corruptive manipulation?
The Hell Creek formation is among the richest and clearly stratified fossil sequences to be found anywhere. The KT boundary is clearly defined with dinosaurs beneath and the evolutionary rise of mammals documented above, confirming the established global fossil record. Weighed in the balance scale, Armitage does not move the pointer. His is a false weight.
Commentary by Ervin Taykir -
On August 17, 2014, the news editor of the Adventist Review (AR) reported the following: “World church President Ted N.C. Wilson forcefully asserted that life has existed on the Earth for only a few thousand years, not millions of years, as he opened an educators conference in Utah on Friday . . . [He] said teachers who believe otherwise should not call themselves Seventh-day Adventists or work in church-operated schools.” He expanded on this his view with the comment that “If one does not accept the recent six-day creation understanding, then that person is actually not a ‘Seventh-day’ Adventist. . . .” His remarks were made at an invitation-only meeting of what were characterized as “mainly teachers.”
He addressed his remarks specifically at those who taught at Adventist “academies, colleges and universities” (as well as “leaders in God’s church”) and continued by telling his listeners that they should “hold firmly to a literal recent creation and absolutely reject theistic and general evolutionary theory.” He was further quoted as having cautioned Adventist educators “against associating with scientists, humanists and ‘some who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists’ who have embraced an evolution-based creation theory.”
He further called on these Adventist educators to be “champions of creation based on the [b]iblical account and reinforced so explicitly by the Spirit of Prophecy,” i.e., the 19th-century views of Ellen White. According to Wilson II, they should reject a “popular teaching” that the “world [is] much older than the 6,000-odd years that Creationists believe have passed since the Earth was formed.”
He noted that that this “popular teaching . . . has crept into some Adventist schools in recent years and prompted, in part, a decision by the Adventist Church to start organizing Bible and science conferences in 2002.”
Commentary: One interpretation of what Wilson II is attempting to accomplish is to force the institutional Adventist Church to embrace overtly the kind of hyper-sectarian, anti-intellectual fundamentalism that characterized it in the early part of the 20th century. He and his supporters in the Adventist Theological Society are carrying out their long-term plan to return Adventism to what it was theologically from about 1920 to 1940. One part of that openly-declared plan is to add explicitly fundamentalist language to SDA Fundamental Belief number 6 to state that the days of creation were six, literal, 24-hour days. That plan now appears also to include a publicly-declared direct frontal assault on Adventist higher education with the intention of dismantling the intellectual and academic freedom that has come to characterize a number of Adventist academic institutions.
It may not be an exaggeration to suggest that what might literally be at stake is the theological and intellectual soul of 21st-century Adventism. To attack openly several fields of theological and scientific study in the manner that Wilson II has done will inevitably foster the kinds of intellectual and political repression that inspired the forces that organized the 16th-century Catholic Counter-Reformation and particularly that institution known as the Inquisition. What Wilson II apparently wishes to do is to be the presiding pontifical cleric of a 21st century who will establish the Adventist version of the Counter Reformation-and Inquisition with the intention of turning back the clock on Adventism and returning it to an intellectual Dark Age.
What will be interesting to watch is the public reaction of moderate and progressive Adventist academics to this public frontal assault on the freedom of open inquiry within Adventist institutions of higher education. Wilson II and his supporters have a perfect right to seek publicly to have their agenda turned into official policy in the Adventist Church. They have the advantage in that they have the control of the major avenues of communication with the average church member and can issue pronouncements in the name of official Adventism. They also have essentially unlimited funds due to their control of the GC share of the tithe.
But this is the 21st Century and there are other channels of communication, and there is now a free press in Adventism in the form of Adventist Today and Spectrum and their web sites. The question will be whether key members of the Adventist academy will publicly confront the propaganda issued by Wilson II and his supporters. The behavior of Adventist academics will be a critical element in determining whether an intellectually viable Adventism will continue to expand and flourish. If those who have led in moving Adventist theology and higher education in a positive direction over the last four decades are now rendered silent by this direct attack and a new type of Dark Age descends on our faith tradition, there may rapidly come a time when there will be little left to recommend the Adventist faith tradition to our children and grandchildren.
Ervin Taylor, AT Co-founder and Respected Scientist, Passes to His Rest
9 May 2019 | Dr. Ervin Taylor helped start Adventist Today (AT) in 1993 and served as a board member until his death earlier today. He was Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California at Riverside (UCR) and he was also well known as an active member of the same Sabbath School class at the Loma Linda University Church for decades.
Well known to AT readers, Taylor’s first article appeared in the magazine in 2002. Since that time he has written more than 100 pieces for AT, including serving as a regular columnist, providing book reviews and other articles. He was executive editor from 2002 to 2008 and then executive publisher into 2010.
He was a respected scientist who focused on the application of radiocarbon dating in archaeology, particularly concerning the character and timing of the peopling of the Western Hemisphere. From 1974 to 2002 he directed the UCR Radiocarbon Laboratory, and from 1994 to 2000 he chaired the UCR anthropology department.
A graduate of Pacific Union College, the Adventist institution in northern California, Taylor completed an MA in history and a PhD in anthropology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He was then a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the chemistry department at UCLA.
He also served as a visiting scientist in the Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and a research associate in the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. He has published more than 100 scientific papers in at least seven scholarly journals, including Science, Nature and American Antiquity. He is the author or editor of six books.
Taylor helped to determine the age of bone fragments from Kennewick Man, an ancient skeleton found in 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River. It turned out to be 9,300 years old, making it one of the oldest and most complete skeletons found in North America.
From 1976 to 1977 he was president of the Southwestern Anthropological Association, and in 1980-81 he served as president of the Society for Archaeological Sciences. In 2004 he received the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research from the Society for American Archaeology, and the organization’s prestigious R. E. Taylor Poster Awards were named in his honor. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
"Commentary: With the historical ascent of science and its theories about the natural world, there has been a gradual but intensifying religion-driven conflict about science’s trustworthiness, as some conclusions have departed from traditionally orthodox Christian understandings.
For example, believers have for centuries accepted the idea that the world was created ex nihilo, roughly 6000 years ago. But science has increasingly decided that the earth is instead much older (~ 4.54 billion years) and life has evolved over much of that time.
Christianity has split somewhat as these theories have gained public acceptance. The conservative, especially fundamentalist, perspective has hardened its viewpoint, notably reading Genesis with unmitigated literalism, and interpreting its language from a modern worldview. Mainline denominations and their adherents have tried to find a compatible position between science and revelation, with varying degrees of satisfaction. But, as is often the case when people disagree, not all arguments employed in defense of a position are good ones. Producers and repeaters
I wish to consider what I claim are problematic arguments that conservative Christians have made in their pushback against the at-large public’s slide away from an historic understanding of origins.
In pursuing this I’m not trying to demonize sincerely held beliefs, or act as an apologist for science. Although this might be hard for a traditionalist reader to believe, my focus here also has nothing to do with whether one view or the other is right! Instead, I want to call attention to bad argumentation that some Christians have employed in an effort to sustain traditional theology as it relates to the natural world.
This concern is not new. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 C.E.), in his commentary The Literal Meaning of Genesis (book 1, chapter 19), somewhat famously chastised Christians who exhibited scientific ignorance in attempts to defend the faith. He wrote, in part:
Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.
A significant amount of Christian apologetics relating to physical reality, notably Young Earth Creationism (YEC), is separable into two overlapping categories: those who produce material and those who repeat it. The producers ought to know better. The repeaters are typically those who want to retain their current beliefs in the face of societal and scientific “pressure” but lack sufficient literacy in the relevant fields, such as philosophy of science, geology, paleontology, or biology. Thus they rely on those who purport to have such expertise, but also work for “trustworthy, faith-affirming” organizations such as Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research or, within Adventism, the Geoscience Research Institute. Slippery definitions
Probably the most foundational problem here is definitional slipperiness. Words and labels can be used too loosely, resulting in a range of (mis)understandings. Which opens the door wide for equivocation . This word helpfully labels an often hard-to-recognize argumentative fallacy. It literally means “to speak in more than one voice.”
Words can have multiple definitions, often signifying quite different things. Equivocation uses a word without clarifying which meaning was intended. This can then allow its employer to slide silently from one meaning to another at a turning point in the argument. If listeners/readers fail to detect this shift they can be fallaciously persuaded.
Here’s a (possibly humorous) triple equivocation: “Tablets were replaced by scrolls. Scrolls were replaced by books. Now we scroll through books on tablets.” As you see, jokes often turn on equivocation. But it’s not funny when employed – even unwittingly – as an invalid attempt to persuade.
Problems arising from equivocation can hardly be overestimated. There are two kinds of argument: semantic and substantive. Semantic disputes occur when two viewpoints have inconsistent definitions relating to a topic. So, resolve the definition(s) and the problem also resolves. Definitional clarity is thus critical for this category, and equivocation frequently is involved in the generation and entrenchment of some disagreements. Foundational definitions
Now, to put some more clarity-stakes in the ground, I offer these important definitions: Primary and Secondary causes: A primary cause is that which produces an effect, but has no antecedent. That is, there is no prior cause that has triggered the effect being considered. A primary cause can only occur by the act of a free-willed intelligence, most notably God, but could also be humans, angels, demons, etc.
Secondary causes, then, are everything else. That is, causation which does have an antecedent. A domino falling because the adjacent domino fell. Methodological Naturalism: A framework for acquiring knowledge that seeks explanations of how the world around us works based on what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify. It examines secondary causes only . This is how science operates and is also the boundary beyond which legitimate science cannot go. Philosophical Naturalism(andScientism): This is a worldview claiming that the natural world is all there is. You could consider it essentially synonymous with atheism, or a necessary consequence. Scientism is almost the same. It claims that science is the only – or nominally, best – method to obtain knowledge of reality. DeductionandInduction: Deduction moves from general to specific. Syllogisms and theorem proofs proceed deductively. Deduction provides certainty, assuming sound premises and valid inference. Deduction never generates new knowledge; it “merely” uncovers implications of the premises that perhaps were unrecognized before. Induction, in contrast, proceeds from specific to general. This is how science works. It can generate new knowledge. But whenever one proceeds from specifics (e.g., observations and experiments) to generality, the conclusions never reach certainty; they are probabilistic. This has resulted, historically, in science modifying or even overthrowing former conclusions. Fast and loose
Definitional clarity is a necessary prerequisite in recognizing bad argumentation. Hopefully, this is evident as I now provide some examples of mistakes (I claim) in reasoning about science and its implications, mostly used by (likely) well-intentioned religionists. But also ones who have not adequately understood the relevant scientific disciplines. Note, the following list and subordinate elaborations are anything but exhaustive.
Science historically has changed its beliefs, so how can you trust it about anything?
It is true that pre-scientific knowledge, which at the time was considered truth about the natural world, has been almost universally debunked. But in modernity science has rarely done a 180-degree turn, notwithstanding Thomas Kuhn’s legitimate caution found in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The most recent and significant major turn – relevant to the Age of the Earth controversy – was the development of plate tectonics. But that didn’t invalidate the underlying scientific evidence. It produced a coherent unification, not nullification. Also, I’ve seen it proposed that Einsteinian physics invalidates Newtonian physics. But such an argument is deceptive. Einstein greatly enlarged the domain of physics, showing how Newton’s principles are incomplete and work only in a local context. But this doesn’t make Newton false, just limited in applicability. However, since that applicability also happens to be the context we live in, Newton’s insights remain useful. The argumentative move by YEC adherents that science cannot be trusted, because it has changed its collective mind and discarded some former beliefs, is an irresponsibly excessive assertion, driven by a priori and partisan assumptions.
We were not there in the beginning – so we cannot know.
Here is an internet comment I’ve gleaned, illustrating this idea: “In grade school science class, it was drilled into me that to be proven, one must be able to reproduce the results of an experiment. That is impossible with a singular event like the formation of the universe. Much of what is taught as solid science really belongs in the field of philosophy.”
Such a suggested limitation would invalidate what could be labeled “forensic science” – the investigation of past events from evidence left behind. We often think of forensics in the context of Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) television shows. Here the evidence is analyzed, attempting to reconstruct the past in order to catch criminals. And while mistakes get made (induction is probabilistic), the usefulness of such pursuits seems obvious. But whole scientific sub-disciplines – such as geology and paleontology – are also forensic. So, should we not try to interpret the world’s past as well as crime scenes? It’s true the past is a sequence of singular events but, while allowing for possible design intervention, those events give indication of being largely driven by secondary causation, which follows verifiable natural law. And when geology follows this reasoning process in considering whether a global flood created most of the geologic column, such a mechanism is not merely inadequate, it is nonsense, based on the facts in the ground. How does one get: aeolian deposition, varves, karst processes, salt domes and radiometric dating (to mention only some difficulties) from just a one-year duration using just the single mechanism of catastrophic water motion? You can, of course, invoke miracle to resolve this. But that leaves the problem of an apparently unethical god who would use flood methodology but leave behind such deceptive data.
The real concern here, I’d suggest, is not scientific. It is the very real danger that searching for secondary causes in reconstructing the past dismisses the possibility of primary causation being involved in any way. That is, instead of using methodological naturalism while recognizing its limitations, investigators and their followers can slide straight into philosophical naturalism and remove God from potential causality.
Equivocation in the Age of the Earth controversy
Equivocation examples are legion. But I will simply consider one: “soft tissue.” In 2003 a T-Rex fossil was unearthed, and from those artifacts researcher Mary Schweitzer found evidence of “soft tissue.” YEC organizations jumped on this, declaring that finding soft tissue was obviously inconsistent with geologists’ conventional age of the earth. A good example of this argument is found here. Since I wrote about this issue at some length here, I’ll keep my current commentary brief. YEC apologists infer that the idea of “soft tissue” is defined just as you might think when hearing the phrase out-of-context. Meat. Albeit meat that has been rotting in the ground for awhile, but surely not for millions of years. However, in paleontology the term has a very precise meaning – any material from an organism that is not considered to be hard parts of the creature. The “hard parts” are what one almost universally finds reflected in fossils, mostly bones or shell. This is a very different meaning from what YEC writers wish readers to envision. Now, finding “tissue” in a fossil was indeed surprising (and has now been found elsewhere in fossils) but the discovery was nothing close to what one article described as “soft, squishy.” This is seriously misleading, to the point of my questioning the ethics of such authors. But, for readers of this sort of material – especially when they are already searching for “proof” that YEC is true – these writers have used equivocation to mislead.
Science won’t consider design. So it’s biased.
Just think about my earlier-stated definitions and you’ll see why design cannot be investigated. Science only fruitfully examines secondary causation. How would you even formulate a research proposal, if that were not the case? Secondary causes are consistent and predictable. Both lab reproducibility and forensics crucially lean on this fact. An initial hypothesis matures into a trustworthy theory only upon accumulation of consistent results (such as lab reproducibility) or a defensible account of what might have happened because multiple lines of secondary causation evidence converge (such as forensics). Primary causation, necessary for design, is idiosyncratic . How could you set up an “experiment” to detect an act of free will? However, as noted above, the real issue – and legitimate concern – is that some science practitioners exclude design a priori from the realm of possibility. This definitely happens a lot, as many scientists are also committed philosophical naturalists. But the answer isn’t to somehow include design inside the realm of science. That is pragmatically impossible. One must always keep in mind the necessary limits of science but not improperly exclude design (thus excluding God) from possible causation. Augustine’s lament
Throughout history Christians have far too often been their own worst enemy. Doctrinal perversion, joined with human sinfulness and foolishness, can produce a seriously distorted “gospel.” Uncommitted onlookers see such questionable moves and are unsurprisingly not attracted. Many then do not bother to determine whether their assessment is fair or not. They take it as “true Christianity,” consider it stupid at best, hypocritical and immoral at worst. Then reject it. No “baby” in all that obvious “bathwater.” Such rebuff of a distortion, with perhaps tragic consequences for the rejecter, is at the root of Augustine’s lament. Laughing Christianity to scorn, when the actual gospel is so valuable. But that is what some Christians have done in misrepresenting science, in trying to retain a cherished position, and have just sadly re-affirmed what Augustine prophetically warned against."