Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Resurrection of the Un-Dead

I just came across an interesting article in the Yahoo News about the recent sightings of a number of birds previously thought to be extinct. Among them are the ivory-billed woodpecker, the storm petrel, and the rusty-throated wren-babbler. It also talked about birds that have not been seen for decades, but were recently sighted.

This raises the question, "How do you prove an animal is extinct?" In short--you can't! Sure, you can determine beyond reasonable doubt that a certain species no longer exists, but the only way to know 100% for sure is to be able to check every single square inch of planet earth at the same time without finding that particular species anywhere. All it takes is one live specimen to keep the species from being extinct.

The article ended by quoting a representative of a conservation group as saying that "There is no chance of a dodo turning up." Which might very well be true. But what about other animals that we have believed all along were extinct? Animals such as...dinosaurs? Is it conceivable that an animal that is supposed to have been extinct for millions of years could still be living on earth today?

Before you make a quick answer, think a moment. Have you ever heard of the coelacanth? It is a fish that was thought to have become extinct 60 million years ago [and we thought 60 years was long!], but was found alive and kicking [well, flipping] in the 1930's. How about the "dinosaur tree", the Wollemi Pine? It too was though to have died out with the dinosaurs, but was recently found growing in Australia. Then there's the Gladiator insect, also supposedly extinct for millions of years, but found recently in Namibia. And this is just an introduction to a growing list of "living fossils", creatures alive today that are virtually identical to their fossilized counterparts that are claimed to be millions of years old.

Even more sensational is the discovery of several huge elephants in Nepal that have startling similarities to mammoths.

So the next question is, why not dinosaurs? If you can find a fish, a tree, an insect, invertebrates, even mammals that were thought to be extinct for thousands or millions of years--why would it be unthinkable to find a living dinosaur?

Think for a moment of all the dragon legends of longer ago. They come from a large variety and distribution of cultures and geographic locations. It is said that there is some truth to every legend. Why could not those dragon legends be referring to actual encounters with live dinosaurs? There are also numerous recent and even contemporary accounts of sightings of dinosaur-like creatures, from places as varied as the United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, and the heart of Africa. There have even been several scientific expeditions into Africa in search of a strange animal called Mokele-Mbembe, that from all accounts is similar to a sauropod dinosaur.

"But," you say, "that is impossible. Dinosaurs died out millions of years ago." Think again! Remember our discussion above about proving an animal extinct? We said that the only way you could do that was to search the whole world over at the same time an not find anything. Well, people are searching the world--and they are finding things! Obviously, if you find a live dinosaur, they are not extinct!

"But we're talking 60 million years!" you object. Sixty million years or six decades--what difference does it make? Remember that the coelacanth, the Wollemi Pine, and the other living fossils were also thought to be millions of years old, but they were found alive and well, just as the ivory-billed woodpecker was found alive and well after 60 years. Again, why not dinosaurs?

In addition to sightings and legends, which admittedly can be questionable, there is recent fossil findings that would support that dinosaurs were alive at least into the recent past. For instance there have been a number of findings of unfossilized dinosaur bones [some of them weren't recognized at first, since they were so "fresh" they resembled bison bones]. Not only that, red blood cells and even soft tissue have been found in dinosaur bones! Though evolutionists have tried their best to explain this away as some kind of freak preservation, it stretches credibility to the limit to believe that these flexible soft tissues could last for 60 million years.

So there you have it--legends, cave drawings, recent sightings, other "resurrected" species, unfossilized dinosaur bones, soft tissue and blood cells in dinosaur bones--all point to the conclusion that dinosaurs were living at least into the recent past. So while the dodo may be out of the question, maybe, just maybe you might one day read about the resurrection of the dinosaur in your local newspaper headlines. Imagine the headscratching that would follow in evolutionist circles! But such a finding would be just what we would expect if we based our thinking on the Bible.

Interesting, isn't it, how recent disoveries support the Bible, which is supposed to be long dead and gone, at least by skeptics' predictions. Perhaps, along with the other recent "resurrections" of the un-dead, there will be a resurrection of belief in the Bible, which is most certainly not dead.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Welcome, 2003 UB313

How many planets are there in our solar system?

Until recently, if you had answered "Nine" you would have been correct. But that number is now wrong--a tenth planet has been discovered!

This planet, called "2003 UB 313" is about twice as far from the sun as Pluto is, and is slightly larger. The new planet seems to have a similar composition to that of Pluto, but also has some rather interesting characteristics. For one thing, it's plane of orbit is tilted 44 degrees to that of the other planets. It's orbit is also highly elliptical, and takes 557 earth-years to complete.

It is interesting to note the rather heavy evolutionary emphasis in the secular reports about the new planet. For one thing, there is a rather strong debate going on about whether the new astronomical body should be considered a true planet, or only a large "Kuiper Belt Object" (KBO). According to one astrophysicist, "The Kuiper belt is a hypothetical massive flattened disc of billions of icy planetesimals supposedly left over from the formation of the solar system." Note that it is only hypothetical. Yet nowhere in the three articles I read (from Sky and Telescope, Astronomy Magazine, and does it give any hint of the Kuiper Belt being only hypothetical. Rather, it is regarded as fact, despite the fact that the objects they have discovered differ considerably from what such a belt would contain, according to the first source above.

Also, the article from Sky and Telescope almost automatically assumes that the planet's orbit was not as tilted originally, calling upon "an encounter with some massive object " "at some point in its history" to explain the tilt. Interestingly enough, such a tilt would raise questions for the standard evolutionary explanations of solar system formation, were it indeed original. The same kind of impact is drafted in the article from Astronomy Magazine for explaining the unusual tilt of the axes of Uranus and Neptune.

Such imaginary and highly problematic explanations for our observations of the heavens would not be needed were we to just take God at his word when He said that He created the heavenly bodies on Day 4 of Creation week.

It is exciting to think of the new discoveries that are being made in astronomy today. Truly indeed, "the heavens declare the glory of God."