Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 14 – Bone of Contention, Part 2

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary

Dr. Kendall Park and his family are trapped inside the Hidden Cave and must fight for survival! Meanwhile, the credit for Dr. Park’s fossil discovery, which earlier had cost him his job, is being claimed by an old friend.  (Taken from here.)

Topics explored in this program:

  • Agriculture and History
  • Origin of Writing
  • Death Before the Fall
  • Clams and the Age of the Earth
  • Red Blood Cells Found in Unfossilised T-Rex Bone
  • Radioisotope Dating
  • RATE Project

The Study Guide for episodes 13-14 can be found here: jp_vol2_study_guide_epi13-14

Background Information

The Jonathan Park CDs are produced by Vision Forum Ministries.  Through these CDs, VF hope to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’.  [Which raises the questions, ‘What does “in harmony” mean?’ and ‘What do they do with scientific evidence that is not in harmony with the Word of God?’]

Tagline: This is our Father’s world, God created it; we can explore it, so live the adventure!

Topics explored in this program:

Issues

Agriculture and History

The Story: Martha Brenan tells Jonathan that there is evidence for creation by looking at the history of farming.  Evolutionists believe that man split off from apes about 3 million years ago, and slowly became smarter and smarter.  During the Stone Age about 100,000 years ago, mankind wasn’t able to farm; they were strictly hunters and gatherers.  Evolution puts the beginning of farming at around 10,000 years ago.  This means that mankind wandered around for 90,000 years hunting and gathering.  Angela appeals to Jonathan’s common sense by asking whether it seems likely that man would have figured out how to farm sooner.  Jonathan agrees and says that it does seem ridiculous.   (4:55-5:50)

The Facts: Martha is wrong.  This is not ‘evidence’ for creation. And by the way, what a wonderful way to teach our children!  Martha was able to teach Jonathan how to be scornful (he used the word ‘ridiculous’) all within one minute!

This claim that late agriculture is evidence for creation was made by Russell Humphreys.  The response to this claim is here.

Short answer: just because it seems extraordinary does not mean that it isn’t true.  And it does not mean that creation is therefore true.  Martha is arguing from incredulity.

Long answer: There is no good reason for agriculture to be developed quickly.  The hidden assumption behind this claim is that agriculture is more ‘advanced’ than hunting.  Farming is more labour-intensive and carries more risks.  So, man really had no good reason to farm when there were better ways of getting food.  A look at Genesis 3:17-19 indicates that farming is a curse. So, really, the hunters and gatherers were doing very well, thank you very much.

[Click to go back to list of Topics.]

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Origin of Writing

The Story: Martha says that archaelogy shows that Stone Age people were very intelligent.  This fits in with the Bible which says that God made man smart from the beginning.  Prehistoric man made monuments, charted lunar cycles, made cave paintings, but according to evolutionists man did not begin writing for almost 100,000 years. Man only started ‘suddenly’ keeping track of history about 5,000 years ago. It doesn’t make any sense. The Bible says that mankind started farming soon after creation.  All this just goes to show that we really can trust the Bible! (5:50-6:50)

The Facts: This claim was also made by Russell Humphreys.  The answer for this claim can be found here.

Martha is arguing from incredulity.  Just because something seems ‘incredible’ does not mean that it isn’t true.  And it does not mean that therefore Creation must be true. This is poor logic.  Again.

[Click to go back to list of Topics.]

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Death Before the Fall

The Story: God created things perfect, without death. Death is unpleasant but it is the punishment for Adam’s sin (Romans 6:23).  Evolution and the Bible cannot fit together because if we believe evolution to be true then it means that there were millions of years of death before sin came into the world.  This means that Jesus’ death on the cross would have no meaning. Christians cannot believe in the evolution and the Bible. (8:00-9:45)

The Facts: These are theological reasons for believing in Creation, not scientific ones.  But, never mind.  I’ll play.

Firstly, we don’t get to tell God how to do His job.  There is NO indication in Genesis that there was no death prior to sin.  True, God pronounced His creation ‘very good’, but nowhere does it say that this means no death. For more answers to this issue, look here and here.

Secondly, if the penalty for sin is death and if Jesus came to pay the penalty, why do we still die?  (I have to admit when I was confronted with this question it really made me think long and hard.)  I don’t know the answer to this!  That was taken from here.

Thirdly, why did God punish all of creation for one man’s sin?

Here is an article Was There Death Before the Fall?

What is ‘death’ anyway?  Can plants die?  Did plants die when man and animals ate them in the Garden?

When God said that Adam would die the day he ate of the fruit, what did that mean exactly?  Adam did not die that very day but lived for another 930 years.  That is nearly 1/6 of the time since the beginning of creation, according to YEC reckoning.  Did Adam know what ‘death’ meant when God told him the consequences, since YECists claim that there was no death before?

[Click to go back to list of Topics.]

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Clams and the Age of the Earth

The Story: Thousands of clam fossils, many encased in limestone rock, are found all over the world.  According to evolutionists, limestone layers are formed over long periods of time.  If this were true, then we should see open clam shells, since clams open when they die.  The fact that many of these shells are closed indicate that they were buried quickly and did not have time to dig out; also they could not open up or break.  This is evidence for a worldwide flood. (13:30-14:45)

The Facts: I could not find any sites that talked about this except for Creation sites that used this bit of information to refute an old-earth and to ‘prove’ a worldwide flood.

Here is a good brief article on limestone.

[Click to go back to list of Topics.]

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Red Blood Cells Found in Unfossilised T-Rex Bone

The Story: Dr Park found a Tyrannosaurus Rex bone that still had red blood cells in them.  This is great evidence for a young earth. There is talk about heme and globin.   (16:50-19:50)

The Facts: In real life, Mary Schweitzer was the paleontologist who discovered soft tissues in a 68-million-year-old fossil bone.

There is a lot of information which, frankly, I don’t fully understand. So, I won’t talk too much about it.  If there is anyone out there who can dumb it down for me, that would be great!

This discovery and its claim by YECists to be proof for a young earth is addressed here.

Another article which deals with this particular issue can be found here.

[Click to go back to list of Topics.]

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Radioisotope Dating

The Story: Dr Dubois, Dr Park’s former colleague, says that we all know that the earth is billions of years old from radioisotope dating. Dr Park counters this by saying that in case after case, these dating methods have been proven wrong. He gives the example of Mount St Helens, which erupted in 1980 producing brand new rock in its lava dome. When the rock was dated using radioisotope dating, it was measured to be over 2 million years old, even though it was less than 20 years old at the time. There are ‘over twenty’ different assumptions that go into radioisotope dating, which make this method nothing more than a guessing game. (20:55-21:55)

The Facts: Radioisotope dating (aka radiometric dating, or radioactive dating) is a technique used to date materials such as rocks, usually based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates. (Taken from wikipedia)

This topic is above and beyond my ability to respond to in this blog.  However, here is a list of articles that deal with radiometric dating from a Christian perspective.  I have not read every single one of them, and so cannot vouch for their veracity.  Also, this is not my area of expertise, so I would not be able to judge one way or another anyway.

[Click to go back to list of Topics.]

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RATE Project

The Story: Dr Park talks about a group of scientists from all over the world who have banded together to show the inaccuracies of radioisotope dating, called Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth (R.A.T.E.) (21:55-22:10)

The Facts: RATE is a joint project by the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society; it is solely made up of Young Earth Creationists.  A look at the members reveals that they are all from the United States – hardly an ‘international team’ as Dr Park claims!

Here is a list of articles on RATE.

[Click to go back to list of Topics.]

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Conclusion

This program contains a lot of information that would probably sail over the heads of most listeners.  The basic aim of the program is to show that evolution is unreliable and to bolster the listeners’ confidence in the Bible and Young Earth Creationism.

I was somewhat frustrated with writing the review for this particular episode.  There was less than ten minutes’ worth of science content and I spent hours checking up on the facts.  I fear that many listeners will not do the investigation necessary in order to get all the facts, but will simply accept the information presented as correct.

I would strongly encourage listeners to check up on ALL the facts.

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Posted on Saturday, September 4th, 2010, in Creation vs Evolution, Jonathan Park, Jonathan Park Reviews, Science, Vision Forum, Young Earth Creationism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “If there is anyone out there who can dumb it down for me, that would be great!”

    This would sum it to the best of my initial reading:

    1. The statement that unfossilized red blood cells were found in a T-Rex skeleton is an outright fabrication that seems to have originated with an article in a non-scientific magazine article in 1997 intended to capitalize on the popularity of the movie series Jurassic Park. The magazine neither involved the peer reviewed scientific findings (only a discussion as to preliminary observations) nor was it written with any scientific accuracy. What was said, again with very loose meaning due to the type of publication and sensationalistic thrust of the article (as it was for a for-profit magazine that was trying to capitalize on a popular movie series), was apparently that the material was “not completely fossilized” in the sense that the tissue was not premineralized before it was fossilized (ordinarily the fine structures of the underlying tissue are destroyed by premineralization). In the scientific publications associated with the fossilized finds it was clear that no living tissue was found, there was only discussion about whether or to what extent the fine details of the fossilized remains were captured in the fossil or whether those structures observed were fossilized remains or other organic material or the result of a geologic process occurring during or after fossilization.

    2. The structures observed in the fossil sample are of indeterminate origin, but they are definitely fossils. The structures are not red blood cells, but it is speculated that they could have been based on blood material, altered by geologic processes.

    3. The T-rex bone in question did not go through “premineralization”, which seems to be that before fossilization the bone was not as contaminated with minerals and other exterior material prior to fossilization. It reads to me as if the lack of premineralization had two effects, (a) allowed for more fossil detail than generally found with fossils formed with premineralization, and (b) the fossil formation process captured more of the original chemical material than with a premineralized fossil, hence quotes like “Dr. Schweitzer said she could see no direct sign of cells, although a chemical stain that recognizes DNA picked up something in the holes where the bone cells would have rested.” and “Schweitzer, et al., “Heme compounds in dinosaur Trabecular bone” (1997A) gives us a straight forward data presentation,and concludes that there were heme, and hemoglobin protein fragments sufficiently well preserved in a small portion of a particularly well preserved bone from which they could produce an immunological response in rats. There is no indication that there were “blood cells” found in the bone.” protein fragments are chemicals, not living tissue.

    There’s more there, but that was a sort of high level summary as far as I could tell.

    Like

  2. Argh, the first sentence of #2 should read:

    “The structures observed in the fossil sample are of indeterminate origin, but they are definitely either fossils or structures formed during or after fossilization by geologic processes acting on the bone material. “

    Like

  3. http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/15/creationist-abuse-of-cuttlefish-chitin/

    Very similar find, very similar creationist objection, very similar rebuttal.

    Interestingly, it makes me wonder whether my reading of the T-Rex article was accurate, as this article (and the underlying scientific paper) is clearly talking about the preservation (rather than fossilization) of organic molecules and compounds. It is explained with some technical detail the specific conditions that contributed to the extended preservation of the organic material.

    What an awesome discovery.

    Like

  4. Thanks, telemacher, for reading this post and trying to dumb it down for me! I sort of understand it a bit better, but I don’t think I could write it out in my own words. :/

    Do you have a science background? You seem very educated in the sciences.

    Like

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