Did dinosaurs evolve into birds?
When I give talks about dinosaurs, I often begin my presentation by asking the audience to participate in a mental exercise. I tell them to picture taking out a blank piece of paper and then writing short bullet points, listing everything they know about dinosaurs. It might be two or three things, or a whole page full. Then I ask them, “Which of those things on your list do you actually ‘know’, versus just being something that you were taught?” Most likely, just about everything is something they were taught as opposed to something they actually know is true.
We tend to grow up believing many things that we were taught, but have never really taken the time to think through or challenge. Among those things typically taught about dinosaurs is that they evolved from simpler types of reptiles, roamed the Earth for about 150 million years and became extinct about 65 million years ago. In addition to this, many people also “know” that dinosaurs evolved into modern birds! That one may be new to you, because many people have not heard that before.
Evolutionists have long struggled with the origin of birds, trying to figure out what other animal they may have evolved from. As strange as it may seem, their best guess is… dinosaurs. It is not my intention to delve into a detailed treatise on the immense problems with this idea (much of that has already been published), but rather, to make a larger point (as I often do with these articles).
If you’re anything like me (and I know I am), you are probably fairly busy. We seldom take time to research things thoroughly and find ourselves living in a “sound-bite” society. For instance, we’ll get an email which contains a link to an online article, the title of which is “Scientists determine that vitamin C is actually detrimental to your health”. Being busy, but curious, we click on the link, look at a picture of “something” under a microscope, and begin to read the first few sentences of the article, or if we’re really busy, maybe just the caption under the picture. We then promptly close the article and return to our busting-at–the-seams task list. Later that evening, while having dinner with friends, we confidently exclaim something like, “Did you guys know that vitamin C is actually bad for you? Yeah, scientists have actually proven it. I wouldn’t waste my money on that junk if I were you!” (For the record, I am not making this claim … it’s just a hypothetical example.)
I’ve fallen into this trap myself. I never used to like bananas… and I still don’t. However, I read an interesting article about a year ago proclaiming all the amazing nutritional benefits they offer. The very next morning, I promptly downed an entire banana (something that was previously repulsive to me) and announced to my family that I now eat bananas. Just recently, a friend who does a lot of research told me that bananas aren’t really the best because of how much sugar they contain. So is he right and I am wrong? Am I right and is he wrong? I have no idea! My point is that I uncritically just assumed what I read was accurate and even took action based on that assumption. I don’t think that I will go terribly wrong one way or the other with this particular example, but other issues can be of much more significance.
More to the point of this article… a recent item in the news will no doubt cause many to follow the preceding pattern of behavior. CNN reported the discovery of a fossil that is being claimed as evidence of a dinosaur with bat-like wings. The article made some very bold claims, mostly without offering any actual evidence. It also presented pictures visualizing what the creature would have looked like. They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and in this case, they also serve as “undeniable evidence” in the minds of many. “It must be true… I mean they’ve got pictures and everything!”
And in a sound-bite society, a picture with a caption is all you need. The typical pattern is as follows:
- Have a theory to begin with (i.e. molecules-to-man evolution).
- Discover a new fossil (or some other evidence).
- Announce the discovery with great fanfare in all the major media and boldly claim how this strongly supports the theory.
- The sound-bite general public largely accepts the conclusions and adds them to the long list of previous findings.
- Further scrutiny is given to the original find (mostly by secular scientists who have access to the data) and they conclude that the initial claims were largely overstated or completely wrong, but their voice is not heard by the general public (only written about in obscure scientific technical journals).
- The new evidence is mostly disregarded by the informed scientific community, but the general public, including most school teachers are only aware of the initial claims and they continue on with those assertions embedded in their minds as “fact”, making evolution stronger and stronger as the months and years roll on.
It would be very refreshing to see CNN (or any other mainstream media outlet) publish an article drawing attention to how little actual evidence exists behind the bold claims we so often hear from the scientific community and then continue on to highlight all of the tremendous challenges that have not yet been sufficiently addressed. In this case, things such as the huge problem with trying to evolve scales into feathers, or changing, slowly over millions of years, the reptilian lung into the completely different avian lung. How does the creature survive when the lung no longer functions as needed for a reptile, but is also not yet functional as an avian lung? I won’t hold my breath waiting for this to happen, because it won’t. It doesn’t fit the accepted narrative.
The overall lesson here is that we should learn to be more discerning with everything we read, see and hear. We should also learn to ask critical questions of those who make bold claims, specifically regarding how they know what they are claiming is actually true.
As with all of our other articles, much more could be said about this, but if you have any questions related to this month’s article or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us!