The ICR Guide to Dinosaurs


Dan Phelps sent me a few scans from a ‘treasure’ he discovered — a “99 cent Goodwill find that was 98 cents too expensive”. I thought it was interesting to see how creationist dogma has solidified, since this would be a comfortable fit with Answers in Genesis’s silly beliefs…except that it’s from a rival organization, the Institute for Creation Research, and they’d rather peddle their own garbage, thank you very much. Here’s the cover:

Looks good! If you didn’t notice the ICR logo, you might think it’s a real children’s book about science and dinosaurs. Any thought along those lines would quickly evaporate as soon as you opened it, though.

We get to learn that dinosaurs lived during the Ice Ages…excuse me, Ice Age, there was just one, and it was caused by the Flood.

When they say secular scientists have no real explanation for Ice Ages, they just mean no Biblical explanation, because of course, we do. There are Milankovitch cycles which cause changes in the Earth’s orbit and axial tilt. The movement of the continents over long periods of time can disrupt ocean currents. Variations in greenhouse gasses, like CO2, levels vary with volcanic and organic activity.

But sure, if the creationists’ imaginary world-wide flood, which didn’t happen, had happened, it would certainly have caused radical effects on climate. That last human family adrift on a boat wouldn’t have survived the cataclysm they postulate, which kind of undercuts their explanation.

This is a familiar claim, that dinosaurs existed right up until recently, when they were hunted down and slaughtered by humans.

You just don’t read much about them in the histories because God made them a-scared of people, so they were hiding, after scampering over land bridges created by the Ice Age. What a convenient explanation for the dearth of diplodocids and azhdarchids and ceratopsians and so forth in human records!

Except for dragons. The only dinosaurs humans encountered were dragons.

The ICR is kind of obsessed with their insistence that dinosaurs were on the dark and coexisted with people and were called dragons.

You have to understand — they’re writing a whole book about dinosaurs, but their holy book doesn’t mention them anywhere. Sure, there are some vague entries about Behemoth and Leviathan, but nothing like you’d expect if the ancient Middle East had wandering herds of hadrosaurs or packs of velociraptors. The Bible, instead, is full of sheep and oxen and dogs and fish and rats. They’ve got nothing exotic and exciting to compete with giant reptiles. They’re feeling rather inadequate, so they try to appropriate real prehistory. It’s sad and pathetic.

In addition to stealing the idea of dinosaurs, they also have to undermine those secular institutions that actually have the evidence for dinosaurs.

I am amused by the bit where they say the best sources of history are written by the people who experienced certain events. Oh yeah? Who wrote the book of Genesis, for example? Did the author live through all those events? Who was the narrator of the story of Adam and Eve, or the events of days 1 through 6 of the mythical creation week? I’d trust physical evidence over eyewitness testimony, anyway.

The claims about dating methods have been debunked multiple times, decades ago.

Oh, and here comes an assertion I’ve addressed several times myself, the good ol’ were you there? argument.

You know, a good docent would be unfazed by this question, and would be able to explain to you exactly how they know that. If they can’t, real museums (not the fake ones, like the Creation “Museum”) have professional scientists who are working on the specimens stored there, and they can explain in bewildering detail exactly why they make the descriptions they do.

If you see me in a museum, please do ask me questions. I love those kinds of “ministry opportunities”!

Jackson Wheat mentioned this odd claim to me the other day.

Finding a line of eggs is evidence that the mother dinosaur was running from the flood while pooping out eggs? I don’t know, that seems absurd — conditions are so extreme that the dinosaur is fleeing in a desperate panic, but once laid, conditions are so mild and gentle that the eggs are undamaged and can fossilize intact?

Also, although ICR probably doesn’t care, Camarasaurus is from the Jurassic, and the cataclysm that wiped out the dinosaurs was at the end of the Cretaceous, about 70-80 million years later. Mama could have taken her time. (Although I have seen creationists claim that their dating is greatly compressed, with the Jurassic in the early afternoon of the Flood’s first day, and the Cretaceous was in the late afternoon. She still had time, didn’t have to panic.)

Here’s a nice summary of creationist logic.

My favorite bit:

God must have created dinosaurs. We know they didn’t get here through evolution because dinosaurs had essential parts that could not be altered without killing them. If they had evolved from another creature, the in-between features would have reshaped these essential parts, resulting in a transitional creature that would have died. Plus, each dinosaur kind appears in the fossil record as a fully formed creature, with no evidence of evolutionary tinkering.

So many misconceptions! So what are these “essential parts”? Heart, lungs, brain, etc.? Because you should notice that all of these dinosaurs had all the essentials.

I always immediately think of development — human adults and human children look noticeably different. How could you get from one to the other without dying? OK, maybe teenagers are a transitional creature, but they usually cope without dying, even if they tell you everyday that they are, often out of embarrassment at their parents.

It’s an insular kind of reasoning that asserts facts that aren’t true to justify an unwarranted conclusion, which is the real point of this book. It’s not about dinosaurs, it’s about proselytizing for Jesus.

Great. God is obsessed with sin…so what sin did the dinosaurs he killed commit? We know what the punishment dealt out to all the living beings in the world was, but there ought to be some specific association with a crime to justify the death penalty. This was no life-saving Creator, this was a mad god who went on a violent murder spree.

I’ll also remind you all that dinosaurs aren’t in the Bible, and this is a whole book about dinosaurs, so this is not a satisfactory conclusion.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    ……so what sin did the dinosaurs he killed commit?

    None. They, like Jesus, died for our sins (note the initials of that Jurassic-Cretaceous interlude).

    Get down on your knees and give thanks to the dinosaurs!

  2. quatguy says

    If they are just making stuff up, you think it would be easier for them to argue that Dinos never existed but the fossils were placed there by god to test the faithful, instead of going to all the trouble to try to fit and explain all of the messy details into their world view?

  3. StevoR says

    No feathers!?.

    We know now that many dinosaurs had feathers.

    (Dragon’s, OTOH, not so much though guess they could argue Griffins & Phoenix, Roc, etc.. except they could fly and only the Aves branch of the dinos actually did that..)

    Yeah, it really is true about not being able to judge a book by its cover. Initially seeing the cover I’d have assumed this was just a,typical probly older like circa 1970’s-90’s era dinosaur book for kids. Deceptive bastards.

  4. StevoR says

    @1. Pierce R. Butler : FWIW, my understadning is that for most Christians animals – present and prehistoric alike are just soulless property there for “Man” (archaic, sexist terminology deliberate – their POV) to have “Dominion” over and do as we please with. Thus they don’t get to have Sin but are totally and terminally affected by our “sin” or more specifically Adam and Eve’s Original Sin. yeah, that really make s very little if any sense but… (They always leave out Lilith & her apparent “sin” of wanting sexual equality of course.. but that’s a whoelother story and creation mythology.)

  5. loop says

    So Mr Smartypants scientist, explain this: if we’re descended from dinosaurs, how come there are still dinosaurs? Er, I mean… [head explodes].

  6. says

    you think it would be easier for them to argue that Dinos never existed but the fossils were placed there by god to test the faithful

    In fact, they used to argue that, and maybe some still do, but the inerrant word of God apparently changed or something. I ran into that argument all through the 1990s. I don’t know why it changed; my guess is that they wanted to accuse us of using a strawman argument when we made fun of them or accused their God of deception.
    But their current “Jesus & his dinosaur buddies” schtick is, if possible, even dumber.

  7. StevoR says

    @ 5. loop : One word : Birds? ;-)

    .***

    Just noticed that they aren’t just lying about science and palaeontology and Dinosauria but also about the contents of their own supposedly holy Book since their account of the Tower of Babel here :

    God commanded Noah’s family to “fill the earth” after the Flood but Genesis 11 tells us that the people disobeyed and stayed together near where the Ark landed. They began building a large tower to honour themselves. This angered God and He (sic) scrambled their language forcing them to spread out over the earth (sic) during the Ice Age.These people would have encountered dinosaurs.as they colonised the world.

    Source : https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2022/06/icr4.jpeg from OP.

    Actually clashes with and contradicts teh Buybull which says :

    Genesis 11:5-6
    And Yahweh went down to see the city and the tower that the sons of humankind were building, and said, ‘Look! A single people with a single language, and this is what they start to do! Now nothing they plan will be impossible for them!’

    Source : https://thebricktestament.com/genesis/tower_of_babel/04_gn11_05-06.html

    Where their God was scared of humans beings able to do “whatever they planned” rather than angry they honoured themselves. Either way, mind,their god does NOT come across well..

  8. rblackadar says

    The big problem with dinosaurs, for these guys, is that kids just love ’em. Not a good situation, if you want your kids to follow the strait and narrow path. The old approach (@2 quatguy) was apparently deemed too risky for the little tykes’ souls, now that we’re in the information age. Preemptive action required!

    When my kids were little, a relative gifted us with a set flash cards, each with a dinosaur on it along with some relevant facts, e.g. that stegosaurus had armor plates on its back etc. (At the time, I don’t think thagomizer was an accepted scientific term, but they might have said something about that part as well.) All perfectly fine. Except, on every card it was not just that stegosaurus or whatever had such-and-such a feature, it was that “God created stegosaurus with…”. And nothing more — in particular, nothing about why they found it necessary to mention God at all. That lack is what really bothered me, Occam-wise. Looks like in the present book, they’re at least trying a bit harder.

  9. says

    Makes me think of those charts that show where the cuts of beef come from. If humans were killing dinos, how would they be butchered and cooked? Surely there should be recipes for roasted T-Rex somewhere. Probably needs a long acidic marinade. I’ll bet it’s really tough.

  10. rblackadar says

    @5 StevoR
    Yeah, we know birds are dinosaurs, but I bet you’re not going to get a young-earth creationist to agree with that. Stretches the idea of “kind” a little far, if you ask me.

  11. KG says

    Followup, we have recipes for bread and beer that go back 6000 years. – Ray Ceeya@10

    Where? The first written texts I’m aware of are dated to around 3200-3100 BCE – a little more than 5,000 years ago. There were various “proto-writing” systems at earlier dates, but none AFAIK could have been used to produce anythnig as complex as a recipe. I’d be very interested if you can prove me wrong!

  12. lumipuna says

    Although I have seen creationists claim that their dating is greatly compressed, with the Jurassic in the early afternoon of the Flood’s first day, and the Cretaceous was in the late afternoon.

    So, which geological periods are interpreted as “flood sediments” in this model, anyway? Presumably, everything prior to Quaternary (ie. “ice age”). And probably most of Pleistocene too, if we believe the YEC school of thought that ponders that only flood magic could’ve made any sediments look far older than a few thousand years, with fully mineralized fossils etc. And let’s not get started on the magical “sorting” that made the flood sediments look like a tantalizingly detailed and consistent chronological record of a slowly changing world.

    And if dinosaurs were widespread in post-flood world, why can’t their bones be ever found in post-flood strata? According to the YEC model, all our knowledge of dinosaurs and other pre-Quaternary animals comes from the individuals that were living when the flood started. Obviously, since YECs have just barely acknowledged the existence of a few distinct “kinds” of dinosaurs, you wouldn’t expect them to acknowledge any other extinct animals that are substantially different from the living “kinds” yet must have (according to YEC logic) survived into the post-flood world without leaving any trace in post-flood sediments.

  13. says

    The real explanation for dinosaur mothers laying eggs in nests kept well intact is that these things were done over a period of millions of years with sediment gradually covering them over a period of time.

    Seriously, Everything creationists say about dinosaurs is entirely all made up. Hands down.

    I’ve spent years debunking this crap until I got tired of it and moved on. sigh

  14. Dennis K says

    @6 feralboy12 — When facts don’t back up assertion, assertion becomes a fad.

  15. says

    OK – off topic – i get Dracula Daily (fun!) and this is today’s passage from Dr. Seward’s Diary:

    Jun 18
    Dr. Seward’s Diary.
    18 June.—He has turned his mind now to spiders, and has got several very big fellows in a box. He keeps feeding them with his flies, and the number of the latter is becoming sensibly diminished, although he has used half his food in attracting more flies from outside to his room.

    Hmmmmmmm – reminds me of someone?

  16. Oggie: Mathom says

    The literalist (Biblical literalist, that is) position on dinosaurs has definitely changed. Back when I was middle school, I remember being told, in science class, that the bones of normal animals had absorbed water and minerals which made altered their shape and made them hundreds of times larger. Another time, the parent of a friend, explained that these so-called scientists just picked up rocks and then carved them into things that looked like bones and skulls and, since they get so much money for inventing a new dinosaur, they just keep making new ones that are stranger and stranger and stranger.

    I saw that book a few months ago at a used bookstore down towards Philly. I thought, Oooh! A Dinosaur book I don’t have!!! So I picked it up, opened it, looked at it, and, in my mind, I heard the sound of a trombone doing the descending mwaah, mwaah, maaahhhh! sound. So I refiled it under the ‘religion’ section, removing it from the science section.

  17. Oggie: Mathom says

    And all hail Italica, niece of Tpyos. From the triple !!! to the end of the word ‘descending’ should be unitalicized.

  18. Tethys says

    This book is ideal for children, as long as it is used as a source of material to make a Dinosaur collage.

    I generally have a great reverence for books, but it would be cathartic to help my granddaughters chop that one up and put all the words in the recycling bin.

  19. Larry says

    I just came back from a visit to the Chicago Field Museum which has a pretty good dinosaur section. They also have the fossil bones, including the skull, of the largest T-rex ever found. They have quaintly given her the name, Sue. I must say, she doesn’t look a day over 6000 years old.

  20. nomdeplume says

    Once again, the utter stupidity of the writers and readers of this garbage is stunning.

  21. Rob Grigjanis says

    Oggie: Mathom @17: I remember hearing/reading, in the long long ago (can’t put a date on it, but I was there), that dinosaur and other fossils were put in place by Satan to mislead us.

  22. jd142 says

    @StevoR, re: feathers

    It’s quite simple. Birds molt all the time, losing their feathers. The loss of their feathers can sometimes cause a change in behavior, which drives the hidden, people-shy dinosaurs out of their hiding places. Thus, the dragons don’t have feathers because they are molting. And they attack because they are in a really fowl mood. (Couldn’t resist)

    As for griffins, people are really bad at judging distance of things in the air. Why, I know a man who was (mis)identified as a bird and a plane. Even worse, a dog was identified as a bird, a plane, and a frog. So naturally, when they got a rare glimpse of a feathered, reptile-like animal, they assumed it was the same kind(get it?) of thing as as the ground dwelling dinosaurs. Their pterodactyl sightings were conflated with their feathered dinosaur sightings. And that’s how feathered dinosaurs identified as griffins, rocs, etc., were thought to be able to fly. They simply thought the flying reptiles were non-flying dinosaurs.

  23. Owlmirror says

    There are Milankovitch cycles which cause changes in the Earth’s orbit and axial tilt.

    “There are Milankovitch cycles which are caused by changes in the Earth’s orbit and axial tilt.”

    Fixed.

    The ICR is kind of obsessed with their insistence that dinosaurs were on the dark

    in the dark
    /deliberate invocation of Bierce-Hartmann-Skitt-McKean Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation.

  24. says

    “God must have created dinosaurs. We know they didn’t get here through evolution because dinosaurs had essential parts that could not be altered without killing them. If they had evolved from another creature, the in-between features would have reshaped these essential parts, resulting in a transitional creature that would have died. Plus, each dinosaur kind appears in the fossil record as a fully formed creature, with no evidence of evolutionary tinkering.”
    They’re words. They form coherent sentences. But WTF are they trying to say here?! 😳

  25. Rich Woods says

    @autobot #26:

    But WTF are they trying to say here?!

    Goddidit. It’s all they’re ever trying to say. They really don’t understand how stupid they make themselves look.

  26. StevoR says

    @ ^ Ray Ceeya : There are plenty and they come in nuggets and roasted and curries and all sorts of things incl turduckens – but only the avian ones.

    Roast Stegosaur or Diplodocus or T-Rex though not so much. They probly would have tasted like chicken though! ;-)

    @12. KG. My google-fu finds this :

    https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/09/22/oldest-beer-recipe-mesopotamia-ninkasi/

    which dates back to 9,500 BC & also from here :

    https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/9qxHySM4lFMueViQqWb1HK/Bread-and-beer-the-worlds-first-recipes.html

    The oldest sequenced recipe ever found was on the walls of the ancient Egyptian tomb of Senet. Back in 19th century BC, it taught the people how to make flatbreads. The second oldest (14th century BC) described the making of Sumerian beer, locally referred to as “liquid bread”. It was captured on clay tablets as part of a hymn to a goddess named Ninkasi, dedicated to beer.

    Although there’s evidence for plenty of much earlier people making bread including Indigenous Australians in Bruce Pascoe’s sometimes attacked (esp by reichwingers) book Dark Emu.

    @ 21. Larry : Sue has her own wiki page ( Sue_(dinosaur) ) and quite lot of info online about her including this 1 hour 6 mins long doco on youtube by Denver Museum’s Jingmai O’Connor, associate curator of fossil reptiles, here if that’s of interest for folks.

  27. says

    @29 StevoR
    But none of those count as far as TFGs ar concerned. That’s before 6000BC when god created the world in six days. ;)

  28. wzrd1 says

    @StevoR, Dr. Patrick McGovern managed to recreate some of the ancient cultures from ancient beers and has brewed them in his lab.
    From all accounts, lightning was optional, but lab assistant Igor was of immense help… ;)
    More seriously though, it is the first brewed beer in history to, when decanted, cry out “Whhhhyyyyyyyyyyyy?”.
    Or maybe it was the sampling students…

  29. StevoR says

    Also on Sue the T-Rex, couple more hopefully interesting links here :

    https://www.fieldmuseum.org/blog/sue-t-rex

    Plus we have this on the sad but fascinating story over the legal battle and ownership struggle for Sue Just over a dozen minutes long. Also this most realistic Fleshy version of Sue youtube clip lasting under 5 minutes but intriguing, thought-provoking and awesome I reckon. Though whether we can ever say “most realistic” version without actually going back in time to see for sure, I dunno.

  30. wobbly says

    Having grown up in a hard-core AiG family, I’m familiar with a lot of the nonsense presented here, but I have to say, “dinosaurs and humans existed together because dragons were actually dinosaurs” remains one of my favorite pieces batshit creationist apologetics. It’s just so dumb that I actually kind of love it for the sheer hubris of trying to pass it off as a “scientific” claim.

  31. lanir says

    the best sources of history are written by the people who experienced certain events.

    I want to see them tackle detective novels next! This sounds like it would be amazing. Sherlock Holmes sees subtle clues, reconstructs events in his palace of the mind, unravels every detail of what must have happened because the evidence is conclusive… And the perp just says they didn’t do it. So he shrugs and lets them go. They’re the ones who experienced the events they lived through, right? I mean, maybe Sherlock has to wait for a written “I didn’t do it,” before he lets them go. But if you believe that only eyewitness accounts tell the truth then this conclusion is inevitable.

    Realistically, I somehow bet that simply protesting my innocence would work if one of these fruitloops got suspicious of me for literally any reason and about literally any supposed offense. And by the same measure I’m pretty sure it would work for claims of clerical abuse. People willing to write down ridiculous claims like this are just going to flip-flop on them moment to moment in whatever way is most convenient to them, all the while pretending they’re doing nothing of the sort.

  32. says

    @25 Owlmirror

    The ICR is kind of obsessed with their insistence that dinosaurs were on the dark

    in the dark

    Actually, while that sentence threw me at first too, I suspect the error wasn’t a substituted vowel but rather an intrusive d—I think the intended phrase was “on the ark“.

  33. blf says

    we have recipes for bread and beer that go back 6000 years

    Where? The first written texts I’m aware of are dated to around 3200-3100 BCE – a little more than 5,000 years ago. There were various “proto-writing” systems at earlier dates, but none AFAIK could have been used to produce anythnig as complex as a recipe.

    As I read the initial claim (as quoted in @12), it is not that the “recipe” was written down 6000 years ago, but that “recipes” which can be dated back 6000 years are known. This seems plausible, I can think of two possible ways (listed in no particular order): (1) More recent writing giving a “recipe” claimed — or otherwise known (e.g., by dating sample remains) — to be much older; and/or (2) Reconstructions based on remains dated to around 6000 years ago.

    I am aware @28 retracted the claim in @12, and am only pointing out that claim was ambiguously stated (at least as quoted) and other interpretations are plausible. Some admittedly quick searching does reveal beer has been brewed based on an recipe written down almost 4000 years ago, and some bread has been baked using yeast cultivated from 5000 year old remains combined with known ingredients and methods from that time and place. Much older samples of bread and beer remains, and of proto-beer and -bread, have been found, but it’s unclear in my quick search those older remains have been used to reconstruct the “recipes” or make modern trial samples.

    So in addition to the lack of dino “recipes” is the totally mysterious unexplainable lack of (cooked and) eaten-by-humans dino remains, etc., such as butchering sites, or the remains of Thag or others wacked by Thagomizers, etc.

  34. Owlmirror says

    @JSNuttall:
    The Bierce-Hartmann-Skitt-McKean Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation is also known as Muphry’s law.

    Or in other words: That’s the joke.

  35. KG says

    Ray Ceeya@28, StevoR@29, blf@38,

    Yeah, we need to distinguish between when beer was first brewed (at least 11,500 years ago according to StevoR’s reference), and when the first known beer recipe (i.e., instructions for how to make it) dates from – about 3,900 years ago according to the same source – little more than 1/3 as long ago. My original querying of Ray’s #12 might seem pedantic, but when laughing at creationists’ nonsense about dates, it’s worth getting the dates right. Similarly, it always irritates me when atheists describe the authors of the Bible as “bronze age”. None of it is that old!

  36. says

    @39 Owlmirror
    D’oh, whoops, I should have realized that was a joke. I feel stupid now.
    In my (weak) defense, when I posted that I was kind of sleep-deprived, having spent the night sitting in an airport after having two different flights canceled. I need to not post when I’m that tired.

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