Were dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroid?
It’s just something everyone knows… dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago because of a massive asteroid crashing into the Earth.
When I give my talk on dinosaurs and the Bible, I often begin by asking the audience to take a blank piece of paper and write down, in bullet point format, everything they know about dinosaurs. I say it might be one or two things, or they might fill the entire page. I then tell them to look at their paper and everything they listed and ask themselves, “Which of these things do I actually know versus being things I have been taught and just assume they are true?” Most likely, everything they wrote is just something they were taught, but they don’t personally really know for sure any of them are true.
The point of the exercise is to get people to realize even though there are a lot of things we “think” we know, often they are simply things we’ve been told are true, but we really don’t know for sure. This actually applies not just to dinosaurs but to most things in life. Did you know that the moon is 225,622 miles away from us at its closest and 252,088 miles away at its most distant point? So now you know. Actually, you don’t know… it’s just something I told you, but you don’t know for sure.
Admittedly, some things are more reasonable to trust than others, especially when they are related to operational science, which involves repeatable testing and experimentation and observation of processes and events. Such is the case with the distance to the moon. It can be and has been measured in various ways by multiple observers getting consistent results. There’s also no reason to think that anyone’s personal bias would or could affect the results. However, that’s not the case with many other areas in which people’s pet theories are at stake.
Returning the focus of this article back to the main question, do we “know” what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? One could even ask, “Do we even know that dinosaurs are extinct?” I’ll leave that one for a future article, but for now, let’s go with what seems to be the case; true dinosaurs aren’t roaming the Earth anywhere that we know of.
If you were raised in the public educational system, attended a state university, or watched a documentary or movie on dinosaurs, you would undoubtedly have learned that dinosaurs were wiped out about 65 million years ago due to an enormous asteroid striking the Earth in the Yucatan Peninsula (Central America). Scientists actually have numerous ideas as to what happened to the dinosaurs. What this tells us is that they don’t know! It could be this, it could be that, or a dozen other possibilities. Their most widely held “theory” has been the asteroid impact we are discussing. There are a number of serious difficulties with this view, but it is not my intention to discuss them in this particular article.
Now, even their beloved, widely-held asteroid impact theory has fallen on hard times. Research conducted by scientists at the University of Exeter, University of Edinburgh and Imperial College London has led them to state that this, “flips our understanding of the effects of the impact on its head”.
According to a news story (UniverseToday.com):
“their research shows it is just not possible that vast global firestorms could have ravaged our planet and be the main cause of the extinction.”
Is this “breaking news” or something to be alarmed about? No, this is just “another day at the office” as far as secular science goes. As is typical of my articles, I am simply making a larger point. So much of what we hear is taught as “fact” and conveyed very dogmatically. Later, something else is discovered and we hear, “Now this changes everything!” In these cases, it is a tacit admission that they were wrong before. If they were wrong before, why should we trust them now? What gives them so much more confidence now than when they made their previous proclamations (that they were so sure about)? As a side note (and something I mentioned in a previous newsletter), when I was young, secular scientists taught me all about the Brontosaurus. Later, I learned (from the same secular scientific community) they made a mistake…he never really did exist. Now, they tell us their mistake was a mistake… he really did exist! We should learn a very important lesson from this.
All of the secular scientists’ findings are filtered through their worldview which is “naturalism”. No “non-natural” causes are ever allowed in their models. It’s not wrong to filter things through your worldview. In fact, it’s impossible not to. The question then becomes, “Are you sure you have the correct worldview?” If not, all of your conclusions are going to be off.
As Christians, our worldview is built on the assumption that God exists and the Bible is His inerrant word. This worldview is a very trustworthy starting point that helps explain what we actually observe all around us and, therefore, is a very reasonable worldview to continue using. The naturalistic worldview struggles greatly to explain the real world and many discoveries have to be interpreted in very unnatural, contorted ways to make them fit (as opposed to abandoning the worldview in search of another).
A great resource explaining the powerful role of worldviews is our DVD entitled “Faith is Not a Four-Letter Word”. It demolishes the myth of “facts vs. faith” and teaches Christians how to defend their faith without having advanced knowledge in any area, including science. You can see this resource on our website.
The great flood described in Genesis 6-8 explains a lot of Earth’s geology, including the mass extinction of dinosaurs within a relatively short period of time. (Details will have to wait for a future article.)
In conclusion, there are a few things to always keep in mind:
- Scientific theories and models should always be held loosely (and never viewed as something beyond questioning).
- One’s worldview (or bias) more often than not, will play a huge role in determining the final outcome of a conclusion.
- The Bible should be our ultimate authority and should be taken into consideration when coming to conclusions about the physical world in which we live.
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!