Creation Museum: Dinosaur Skeleton Proves the Biblical Flood Happened 4,300 Years Ago

http://www.thewire.com/politics/2014/05/why-the-creation-museum-is-so-excited-about-ebeneezer-its-new-dinosaur-skeleton/371526/

http://creationmuseum.org

The Creation Museum is raving about its new fossilized dinosaur, Ebenezer. The skeleton, discovered in northwestern Colorado, was donated Elizabeth Streb Peroutka Foundation to the museum. Young Earth Creationists hopes that the fossil will not only prove to visitors that “dinosaurs roamed the Earth only 4,300 years ago” but that it will attract scientists to come and examine the fossil.

For those of you who do not know what the Creation Museum is, I encourage you to explore their website through the link provided above. Essentially, it is a museum in Petersburg, Kentucky intended to promote young earth creationist view on the creation of the universe and man. Its exhibits include a planetarium that presents an alternative explanation to the Big Bang Theory and a display of Lucy, the “poster girl of human evolution”.

The article illustrates the movement by Young Earth Creationists to gain credibility through the use science. I think Ken Ham’s quote underlines this well:

“For decades I’ve walked through many leading secular museums, like the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and have seen their impressive dinosaur skeletons, but they were used for evolution. Now we have one of that class for our museum.”

Ken Ham, the founder of the Museum, stated that the fossil “fulfills a dream I’ve had for quite some time.” Whether the fossil leaves any lasting impact on the argument for young earth creationism is yet to be seen. So far, no scientist has taken the Museum up on its offer to examine the fossil. Perhaps participation of outside scientists could transform the Creation Museum into a scientific institution.

I would like all of you to examine the exhibits of Creation Museum on their website. Do you see any comparisons with the Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian? What do you guys think about the Young Earth Creationists utilizing the fossil to prove the scientific validity of Creationism and the Flood? I would like to hear all of your thoughts on the Creation Museum as well.

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34 Responses to Creation Museum: Dinosaur Skeleton Proves the Biblical Flood Happened 4,300 Years Ago

  1. gatorade15 says:

    Great post waterbottle19! As an evolution believer, this article was difficult to take seriously from the start, and after reading through some of the article it was even more difficult to believe the claims of the Museum having “evidence for the Great Flood”. The Young Earth Creationists simply claim that the state this fossil was found in denotes that it the dinosaur was killed in “flood like conditions” Several sentences after you read this claim, this information pops up in the story:

    “Everyone agrees that Ebenezer came from the Morrison Formation, a Jurassic-era rock unit that covers a large expanse of the western U.S. It dates back to about 150 million years, B.C. As the National Park Service’s Dinosaur National Monument explains, the area is rich with dinosaur fossils, particularly in its river beds, which are better at preserving skeletons.”

    This was solid, concrete evidence backed by scientific findings, and thus for me a legitimate source to believe. The Creationists didn’t have real support in their hypothesis of the dinosaur fossil dating back to the Great Flood, but rather just said that it appeared the dinosaur was killed in that fashion. What makes them think this? What other types of fossils were found nearby this fossil? Questions like these would help shed more light onto the situation.

    In response to waterbottle19’s last question, the Creation Museum website is quite interesting. Taking a look at the Museums homepage, there are popups telling about some of the museums exhibits, including a petting zoo and botanical gardens. These exhibits are fun, sure, but do they offer any scientific information? The website at least doesn’t seem to provide much evidence for anything, but serves more as an entertainment hub.

  2. arcanium82 says:

    Thanks for posting this article Waterbottle. I remember seeing something about this a few months ago when they had acquired the Allosaurus. I think it is ridiculous that they are claiming this dinosaur died in the Great Flood 4,500 years ago. Just like Gatorade15 brought up a moment ago, they have no scientific evidence to back up this claim. It is possible that Ebenezer died in a flood, but what evidence do they have which allows them to date this event? None that I can see from the website.

    I also believe that their geologist, Dr. Andrew Snelling, should be ashamed of himself. I would like to know how he came to his conclusions despite the overwhelming evidence that refutes his claim. Although, I suppose that geologists, such as Dr. Snelling, who believe the world is only 6,000 years old despite the data that proves otherwise, are similar to the climatologists who ignore the evidence and claim that global warming is not occurring.

    I think that when Creationists try to fabricate science to support their claims they do more harm than good to their cause. I think people would respect them more if they were just honest about their faith. There is a reason it is called faith, and not fact. Faith doesn’t require evidence. At some point you just have to believe. You have to make that conscious decision, a leap of faith as it were, to believe it even though there is no evidence. Unfortunately, faith is a gift I have yet to receive, but I respect those who have it and I don’t think they need to explain themselves or fabricate evidence to support their claims.

    At the end of the day, the real question is, what’s the point of having this dinosaur in a Creation Museum? In other words, what’s the point of fabricating evidence to claim you have a dinosaur that lived 4,500 years ago? Chances are, the vast majority of people who are patrons of the Creation Museum are already believers and do not require any further convincing. For those who are on the fence with their faith, it is unlikely that a dinosaur is going to push them to Jesus. For all the non-believers that stumble into the museum they are just going to laugh. It is obviously just a publicity stunt, and apparently they would rather have bad press than no press.

    • waterbottle19 says:

      I think you pose a very interesting question. What truly is the point of having the fossil? I think the museum is truly attempting to become somewhat legitimate in the scientific community. Officially, the Creation Museum is not accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Ken Ham has recently defended the Creation Museum for being a “true museum”. However, like you said, this dinosaur is not going to push them over the edge. Is this truly accomplishing anything?

      • butterjones says:

        arcanium, I really like your point. I agree that having the dinosaur as “evidence” is probably pointless, and might actually be doing the creationist cause more harm than good. Like you said, anyone who’s disposed to go to a creation museum is most likely already completely convinced by the creationist argument, and while a dino skeleton might give them more material to use in obnoxious argument with non-believers, it’s not really necessary to convince them. I completely agree that “people would respect them more if they were just honest about their faith. There is a reason it is called faith, and not fact… I don’t think they need to explain themselves or fabricate evidence to support their claims”. There’s no way I’m ever going to respect creationist beliefs as science (simply because, it is definitely not science) but I can respect it as faith, as long as creationists don’t try to portray it as something it’s not. I think that the creationists are actually unsure as to what message they’re going for… on creationmuseum.org, there is an article about their “Lucy” exhibit (http://creationmuseum.org/whats-here/exhibits/lucy/). They try to use the Lucy skeleton to serve their creationist purposes, but at the end, come to the conclusion that the evidence is too convoluted, and say, “Christians need to trust God’s Word as their final authority. The Scriptures never change. One does not build their faith upon models and reconstructions, which may change as we learn more. Creationists want to understand more about the Creator’s handiwork in the design and diversity of apes and the uniqueness of man, which speak of His majesty.” …essentially, “we tried to use this evidence for our cause, but it doesn’t really work, so you’re just going to need to trust us on this”. I think that they’re argument would be a lot more credible if they stuck to their faith, without trying to present it as something it’s not

  3. Cool post waterbottle19. I tend to agree with Gatorade15 in that it was hard for me to take the article very seriously because of the lack of concrete information and evidence that it provided. It made comments about how the museum believes that the skeleton was a result of the Great flood that helped prove their young earth theory. However, it never gave any reasons or evidence that proved or even suggested why they thought that the skeleton was so young. It does suggest why they think that the skeleton was buried during a flood of some sort but for me it is only an explanation or possibility in how the skeleton could help support their theory.

    This seems to be the museums style. As the article suggests “Young Earth Creationist scientists are actually very good at what they do, which is more like the Jewish tradition of Midrash — elaboration on Biblical stories — than it is science.” I agree with this statement in that what the creationist are trying to sell as science is just like the creation of mythology. They are simply using the evidence that they find to fit into their stories in some way that works with the story.

    As for the website. It seems to me to be very unscientific. The museum advertises their food venders, petting zoo, and botanical gardens as much as it does its exhibits. Then even the exhibits appear more to be pictures of their stories than it does to be representation of hard scientific evidence. The museum as a whole seems to be more concerned about broadcasting their theories and trying to get them out to the general public than it does about proving their theories and helping support their validity.

    • waterbottle19 says:

      Thank you for your response! I agree the “evidence” promoted by the museum is rather suspect. Did you happen to view the Lucy Exhibit on the website? What did you think about the Creation Museum’s exhibit in comparison to the Hall of Human Origins exhibit?

      • butterjones says:

        I think a funny comparison that can be made between the two museums (that is, the HOHO exhibit and Creation Museum) is the “How Do We Know?” aspect—
        In HOHO, they had signs all over the place, titled, “How Do We Know?”. Obviously, they were aimed at the skeptics, and they explained, simply but satisfactorily (at least, in my opinion), how the facts presented are irrefutable. In the creation museum, however, it seems that the only equivalent is the periodic reminders that you really just need to have faith in God’s word. (Granted, I’ve only read the exhibit outlines on the website and have not seen the real deal, but then again, the HDWK info was included on the HOHO website.)

    • sunny2018 says:

      I agree with your statement completely; the lack of evidence is very suspect. Unless they present actual evidence with sources and scientists that back up their claims, I can’t view any of this as fact.

  4. gwuw2014 says:

    I’ve always had issues with the Creation Museum — museums are supposed to be used for education and the Creation Museum does the opposite. The fact that they are now presenting a dinosaur skeleton and using it to wrongly affirm Young Earth Creationism is incredibly disheartening. Surely this skeleton could be studied by real paleontologists without an agenda to prove? Hopefully Ham’s statement holds true and scientists external do come to study Ebenezer’s skeleton, thus officially discrediting the Creation Museum on their claim of its supposed age. I also question Ham’s claim that secular museums use dinosaur skeletons as grounds for evolution. From my own experiences in museums, dinosaur skeletons are used to help present an image of the earth millions on millions of years ago; rarely is there any mention of evolution beyond the natural progression of time.

    • thinkbrush says:

      GWUW2014, I am really interested in the two points that you brought up. Your first point harkens back to our first essay on the Hall of Human Origins. I think the purpose of museums is rather interesting in that they of course provide information but they do so in order to build an argument in some way or another. I’m not saying I respect or agree with the argument the Creation Museum is making by curating their exhibits so specifically but I think we should evaluate this museum more critically in order to better understand its mission. I think this also raises questions about your second point about dinosaurs in museums. To me, the amazing diversity among dinosaurs begs the question of its scientific origin. This may ultimately lead visitors to consider evolutionary theory if they recognize the minute but cumulative changes among dinosaurs. I agree with you that they don’t title many exhibits “Dinosaur Fossils, Evolution and You” but I think there’s more to the story there.

      • thinkbrush- You bring up very interesting points I would like to comment on. First, even though a museum’s goal may be to educate and inform its visitors, is it not the responsibility of the visitor to ultimately determine what they want to believe is true and what is not? For example, in their website, (Creationmuseum.org) under the Homology exhibit, it states:

        “Dr. David Menton, biologist, talks about the similarities (known as homology) in the skeletons of vertebrates. While the biology is similar in many ways, the differences between man and any of the animals are obvious. Most importantly, God created man in His image and with the ability to communicate with Him by reading the Bible and talking to God in prayer.”

        Having gone through Biology in high school, would a student come to change his opinion by visiting this particular exhibit?

  5. collegeblogger19 says:

    Great post watterbottle19! I remember coming across the Creation Museum’s website earlier in the year and found it memorable. It seems as if the Creation Museum is simply trying to persuade people to listen to their theory without any scientific evidence to back it up whatsoever. And, if they claim something is scientifically-based (like the dinosaur skeleton Ebenezer), it is not scientifically sound or valid–meaning that the general scientist population has differing views.

    The founder of the museum, Ken Ham, talks about how he has waited so long for a piece of evidence like Ebenezer to show up. In my opinion, if he has had to wait this long for any piece of evidence to show up, the Young Earth Creationist theory is invalid and they are only searching for evidence to support the theory while disregarding all other non-supportive evidence. The Creation Museum seems to be very manipulative, by attempting to inform visitors of their non-scientific theory in a scientific context of a museum. One of their exhibits, for example, is the dig site. On their website, they claim that at the dig site one can learn “why two scientists can come to different conclusions from the same evidence.” They are trying to convince people that Creationism is just as believable and probable as evolution. However, I agree with arcanium82, in that they might have a better response if they simply professed their faith for the theory instead of trying to make up evidence to support the Young Earth Creationist Theory.

  6. This article definitely grabbed my attention. While this is very interesting it seems like another attempt by creationists to add validity where there is none. And as arcanium82 said, most of the visitors are already believers. This is not going to change peoples minds. The real idea seem to be to make creationists feel that their beliefs are validated.

  7. Really interesting article and blog post, Waterbottle19! As stated in the end of the article by Ohlheiser, “no scientists have taken up the museum on his [Snelling’s] offer to allow researchers to examine their trophy”; I find this very odd considering that it seems near impossible to find a dinosaur structure that buried in sediment only 4300 years old. I wonder why more evolution supporters aren’t concerned with the validity of their argument, that seems feasible enough to discredit.

    Exploring the Creation Museum’s website was really fascinating to see into how the museum would present such scientific evolutionary evidence to a presumably majority creationist audience. One description for an exhibit about insects says, “[The museum] wants museum guests to discover the fascinating design our Creator has built into bugs.” There is even an exhibit devoted to biblical manuscripts. The seemingly lack of scientific historical evolution is concerning to me, as a supporter of evolution. It seems to focus mainly on present day analysis of organisms in their environments rather than how they got there. If children or school’s take field trips here, it won’t fully educate them on our history.

    In comparison to the Hall of Human Origins, this museum acts to analyze organisms as if they have been on this Earth for a few thousands of years. The Hall of Human Origins acts as a timeline, recording our history as homo sapiens and our changing environment over time. Obviously a much more liberal and populous museum, The Hall of Human Origins appears to be more accepted with a lot more scientific data to support the theories presented to its visitors.

    • collegeblogger19 says:

      Interesting point, slowdownyourmind. It seems like scientists would be more than willing to discredit the dinosaur skeleton of only 4300 years old. I think many evolutionists simply do not take the Creation Museum seriously whatsoever, and do not find it essential to discredit them because of how silly the concept seems in general. All of the other exhibits do not contain any scientific evidence either, so scientists may think the museum has no credibility at all–therefore it is not worth to discredit such a ridiculous non-scientific finding.

    • pigfish1116 says:

      Hey slowdownyourmind! When I was looking at the website I also saw a huge lack of scientifical evidence for evolution but It’s interesting how they have an exhibit called “Homology” in which they examine how vertebrates are similar but make sure to highlight the differences between humans and other animals because they were “made in His [God’s] image” and can speak to Him while other animals cant’.

    • moneytrees3001 says:

      And, as we discussed, the Smithsonian’s Statement of Scientific Understanding goes out of its way to remain secular and unobtrusive to individuals’ personal religious beliefs. The Creation Museum, conversely, has a specific ideology that it attempts to convince visitors of. This approach shuts out people from other faiths (or lack of them), defeating the very purpose of museums. Their exclusionary principles, among the other things people gave commented about, cement the museum’s illegitimacy for me.

  8. greyelephant1 says:

    Really interesting topic waterbottle19! After looking through the different exhibits that the museum has to offer, I noticed a bunch that I personally do not think represent Creationism. For example, they have Lucy on display and their description of it was, “…See how the Creation Museum has presented her from a biblical starting point. This high-tech exhibit uses holograms to give an inside look into Lucy’s anatomy”. I understand the reasoning behind the museum, I just do not see the benefit. Creationism believers will believe in it with or without the visible proof the museum tries to offer. Evolution believers are likely not going to be swayed because there are not facts behind their statements.

    • moneytrees3001 says:

      I would argue that the museum does benefit the church, as it continues the necessary process of religious inoculation. The museum celebrates Christian beliefs and gives them legitimacy, which is especially valuable to those who are on the edge about staying with the church. Without pastors and fancy churches and festival people would get a chance to step away from the whole business and take a skeptical look at their belief system. The Creation Museum helps to assuage skeptics and keep people enthusiastic about their religion.

  9. pianokid123 says:

    Let us examine this quote from the article: “DESPITE ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY, the Creation Museum posits that Ebenezer died in the Great Flood, about 4,300 years ago, based on a couple of things: first, it was found in a layer of sediment that the museum believes was left by Noah’s flood. And second, Ebenezer was “rapidly” buried in a way that they believe is also consistent with the flood.”

    Science is not an individual endeavor — its is a global and communal effort. Just because Creationists claim “creation science” is science does not make it science. Peer review, collaboration, and consensus among the scientific community make something science. Notice how the article states “they [the museum] believes.” This essentially means that all the claims by the museum are meaningless — their claims need to be peer reviewed and verified by the greater scientific community to have any basis. The article even states that actual geologists date that fossil at 150 million years old. Clearly the museum is just manipulating data and semantics to deceive the public. When I first read through the article I thought the author was sympathizing with Creationists; however, after careful examination I noticed several subtle jabs at Creationism such as “despite all evidence to the contrary.” Here’s an article to skim from the National Center for Science Education with a lengthy list of citations on why the story of Noah’s Flood is physically impossible (http://ncse.com/cej/4/1/impossible-voyage-noahs-ark).

  10. punky1218 says:

    I found this article especially interesting. I saw this article a couple of days: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2014/11/05/newly-discovered-fossil-could-prove-a-problem-for-creationists/?tid=sm_fb
    It’s really ironic that around the same time that creationists find a skeleton that they believe helps prove their theory, evolutionists find a skeleton they believe contradicts creationism. Although I think it’s important to not try refrain from claiming these two discoveries or the conclusions of the discoveries are at all equal.

    • waterbottle19 says:

      Thank you for the link! I find it interesting that both creationists and supporters of evolution use the same fossils as evidence. While one is definitely in the right, I think it’s an intriguing dynamic.

  11. pigfish1116 says:

    I find it funny that the scientist who restored the skeleton rather not be named! Obviously he has some issues with being affiliated with the Creation Museum and this finding but would take the money to restore it. Since a scientist has not gone to the museum to date the dinosaur fossil, I think the Young Earth Creationists who have dated this fossil according to the bible are unjustly smug. What is new to me is hearing that an institute that is not completely scientific (or not scientific at all) can take claim to fossils that could be used to further science.
    I love that the Creation Museum seems more like a petting zoo/ amusement park rather than a pedagogical, scientific museum like the Smithsonian. It actually makes me want to pay a visit and have fun.

    • Interesting! I didn’t realize that he wanted to remain anonymous. I wonder if he truly believes that it could only be a few thousand years old. I agree with you that the Creation Museum is making unjust claims without a valid member of the scientific community examining closer. It’s amazing how creationists can turn around such solid evolutionary evidence into support for their side in a public museum.

      • pigfish1116 says:

        I wonder if it is illegal for museums to present false information. I know they can present information that is slightly lacking in evidence, like “the missing link” between different hominids on the evolution of humans family tree. But if a museum was blatantly displaying information that has no scientific evidence then is it a museum.

    • jwmigook says:

      Nice observation, pigfish1116! I didn’t really pay enough attention to that aspect of the article. I also think it’s interesting that you’re more drawn to the museum after reading about it. I’ve seen a lot of people express disapproval of the Creation Museum and the way it presents information. It’s definitely an institution I’d want to check out as well, though.

  12. waterbottle19 says:

    Very insightful posts so far! I would like to hear if you all see any similarities between the Creation Museum and the Hall of Human Origins. If you see none, then say that!

  13. sunny2018 says:

    I don’t think this museum is like the Smithsonian at all. While the Smithsonian may have some biases, it always focuses on facts, and draws conclusions for evidence; however this Creationist museum begins with a conclusion and attempts to make evidence match it, even if this means blatantly disregarding data. I think that the Creation museum has, however, attempted to reflect the Smithsonian in some ways. It just doesn’t do it correctly.

    • jwmigook says:

      I agree with your stance on this. Despite my religious background, I would say that the Creation Museum is somewhat sketchy in terms of the way it presents evidence and conclusions. I would want to see more data and evidence presented by the museum regarding Ebenezer.

  14. cfc0567owls says:

    How these people can call themselves scientists is beyond me. Scientists do not let their preconceived notions of a subject effect how they interpret information. If a finding can experimentally disprove an assumption, they have to reconsider their assumptions. Creationist “scientists” however, only care about what can prove the literal wording of the bible. If their experiment disproves the Bible, then the experiment is wrong and an explanation must be made up, such as that meteorites being composed of primordial matter. This dinosaur fossil, despite being found in a sedimentary deposit dating back 150 million years, somehow proves that dinosaurs roamed the earth 4300 years ago? I cannot wait for scientists to actually examine this skeleton and correctly date the fossil.

  15. regan1984 says:

    Reading everyone’s comments, and allowing myself to form and reform my opinion about this article and its website, I must say this is quite…childish, really. How a “museum” can present such “evidence” as fact is completely absurd, especially when all this said “evidence” is just claims. I’m not sure if the museum is not allowing a scientist to come date the fossil or not but the fact that the fossil hasn’t been dated yet is enough reason to refute the Creation Museum’s claim that they’ve found proof Dinosaurs roamed the earth 4300 years ago. Secondly, to answer Waterbottle’s question about the museum and its displays. I hate stereotypes, especially ones that concern institutions that many people believe in and hold so closely, but Ken Ham’s museum (based off his videos on the front page of his website) do nothing more than perpetuate the idea that religion is nothing more than a business. In the whole video I would say he referenced the Bible maybe four times, whereas the rest of the two or so minutes was dedicated to marketing elevator speeches. It’s so counterintuitive.

  16. macnplease says:

    The Creation Museum is nothing more than a religious agenda parading around as some mutilated version of science. More than anything, it saddens me that such institutions exist to prey on those that do not understand simply how much real scientific evidence contradicts everything in that exhibit.

    The scientific community now faces a bit of a Catch 22 in terms of countering this new fossil’s use as evidence for Young Earth Creationism. If they do nothing to examine the fossil to discover why and how it exists, the Creation Museum will be left unopposed to make any conjecture they want and present it as scientific fact. If the scientific community DOES interfere, it will bestow some shallow level of legitimacy unto the Creation Museum.

  17. jwmigook says:

    I thought it was interesting that the title of this post refers to the happening of the biblical flood being proven true, but that you don’t actually reference it directly in the content of your post. I was wondering if you have a particular stance on this issue and just didn’t reference it for no particular reason, or if you just do not want to mention your stance on the issue (it’s fine either way of course, just a question).
    Looking at the article, I noticed that it stated “first, it was found in a layer of sediment that the museum believes was left by Noah’s flood. And second, Ebenezer was “rapidly” buried in a way that they believe is also consistent with the flood.” I wish there was more context given here, because I don’t know how the museum would conclude that a random layer of sediment would be left by Noah’s flood in particular. “Rapidly” buried could refer to a lot of natural disasters as well, in my opinion.

    • waterbottle19 says:

      Sorry for responding so late! I was trying to remain as objective as possible by presenting this article. My goal was not to promote one side or another. Rather, I was more interested in what the consensus was among the class.

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