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Dinosaurs Redux

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  • Dinosaurs Redux

    I have become increasingly interested in the role dinosaurs played within the Christian worldview. They seem to have been quite the anomaly. These "terrible lizards"(1) roamed the earth for millions of years - a seemingly bleak existence comprising mainly of carnage and survival of the fittest.

    How does this picture fit within Christian theism? What purpose did they serve? I am sure more questions will arise as the discussion blossoms.

    -----------------------

    (1) Actually it was originally defined to mean "fearfully-great lizard", by Richard Owen in 1842. The greek word "deinos", when used as a superlative, means "fearfully-great" (as used by Homer in The Iliad). It became simplified over time, as a simple adjective, to mean "terrible". Dinosaurs are neither terrible nor are they lizards! http://paleobiology.si.edu/dinosaurs...ons/mis_4.html
    Last edited by Scrawly; 07-18-2014, 02:09 AM.

  • #2
    Isn't anything about the prehistoric environment pretty much based on miniscule facts woven together by mainly theory and speculation?
    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

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    • #3
      Originally posted by seanD View Post
      Isn't anything about the prehistoric environment pretty much based on miniscule facts woven together by mainly theory and speculation?
      I think it would be fair (and obvious) to say we don't know everything with complete certainty, but to say that it's mere speculation, I think, would be to cast aside all the tremendous work that has been done to re-construct natural history.

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      • #4
        It would probably depend on which view of creation you were talking about. An Old Earth Creationist or a Theistic Evolutionist wouldn't have much trouble with the mainstream scientific view of dinosaurs. But I'm assuming you're looking for responses from the Young Earth perspective?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kraftlos View Post
          It would probably depend on which view of creation you were talking about. An Old Earth Creationist or a Theistic Evolutionist wouldn't have much trouble with the mainstream scientific view of dinosaurs. But I'm assuming you're looking for responses from the Young Earth perspective?
          In regards to OEC and TE - The same question would apply for YECs as well - what purpose did the dinosaurs serve? Why did God wish to have these creatures roam the earth for millions of years and engage in a carnage-like existence?

          I would also be curious to see the YE view fleshed out - do YECs believe that Dinosaurs co-existed with Adam and Eve? Were dinosaurs the result of the fall, etc.

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          • #6
            They were big. Possibly the origin of dragon legends worldwide - fossils were probably discovered long before the 19th Century, after all. They supposedly make great fossil fuels (I understand this theory is under some criticism).


            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

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            • #7
              The notion that whatever God would want to create wouldn't consist of violence and might is contradicted by the passages in Job where God speaks. We're not in a position to object to how God created on the basis of "I wouldn't have done that if I were God".

              As an aside, Teal raises a good point about fossil fuels. I doubt that was the main purpose of their creation but it is interesting.
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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              • #8
                The same reason he made lions, tigers, and bears

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                  The same reason he made lions, tigers, and bears

                  Oh my!














































                  Sorry, couldn't resist...

                  "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                  "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                  My Personal Blog

                  My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                    In regards to OEC and TE - The same question would apply for YECs as well - what purpose did the dinosaurs serve? Why did God wish to have these creatures roam the earth for millions of years and engage in a carnage-like existence?

                    I would also be curious to see the YE view fleshed out - do YECs believe that Dinosaurs co-existed with Adam and Eve? Were dinosaurs the result of the fall, etc.
                    I suppose similar questions could be asked about the large marine reptiles like the plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs, pliosaurs etc. And before them armoured prehistoric fish known as placoderm, the marine arthropods like trilobites and invertebrates like ammonites and goniatites. All of them were abundant in the seas but went extinct long ago.

                    I guess as a Christian the only thing we can see with any sort of degree of certainty is that for whatever reason their existence in some way pleased God.

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                      They were big. Possibly the origin of dragon legends worldwide - fossils were probably discovered long before the 19th Century, after all. They supposedly make great fossil fuels (I understand this theory is under some criticism).

                      Adrienne Mayor has two superb books on the subject of how early fossil discoveries of dinosaurs and other extinct species sparked the belief in various mythical creatures (such as the fossilized remains of Protoceratops in Central Asia being the likely basis for stories concerning Griffons).

                      I highly recommend her The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times and Fossil Legends of the First Americans.

                      As for dinosaurs being the source of fossil fuels... no. Oil comes from bacteria that got buried and transformed via heat and pressure over long periods of time into liquid hydrocarbons. Coal comes from plants.

                      I'm always still in trouble again

                      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                        The same reason he made lions, tigers, and bears

                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                          Adrienne Mayor has two superb books on the subject of how early fossil discoveries of dinosaurs and other extinct species sparked the belief in various mythical creatures (such as the fossilized remains of Protoceratops in Central Asia being the likely basis for stories concerning Griffons).

                          I highly recommend her The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times and Fossil Legends of the First Americans.

                          As for dinosaurs being the source of fossil fuels... no. Oil comes from bacteria that got buried and transformed via heat and pressure over long periods of time into liquid hydrocarbons. Coal comes from plants.

                          I'll check it out when time and money permit!

                          I knew there was an issue with the theory but hadn't kept up to know it had been discarded... Thanks!

                          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                          "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                          My Personal Blog

                          My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                            I'll check it out when time and money permit!

                            I knew there was an issue with the theory but hadn't kept up to know it had been discarded... Thanks!
                            Another quick example to whet your appetite.

                            There is a famous 6th cent. B.C. Corinthian (Greek) vase housed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts depicting the Homeric legend of Heracles rescuing Hesione from the "Monster of Troy." It has long been assumed that the artist intended to depict the monster as a ketos, an imaginary sea monster, but the features of the creature do not conform to the traditional imagery of sea monsters in Greek art[1].


                            Instead of being a poorly drawn (in stark contrast to all the humans and other animals[2]) sea monster sticking its head out of a cave, Mayor produced a convincing case that the krater (vase) actually depicted a large skull eroding out of a cliffside.

                            She points out that the vertebrate paleontologists that she had examine it
                            ...noted the jaw articulation, the hollow eye socket, the extended back of the skull, the forward-leaning teeth, and the natural detail of a broken-off premaxilla (upper jaw and nasal structures). They agreed that the general size and shape of the skull was consistent with that of a large Tertiary mammal emerging from an outcropping.

                            Mayor points to a similarity that the skull had to those from Miocene giraffids including Samotherium and Helladotherium. The remains of creatures from that time have been discovered in modern times in the region that the story is placed.


                            Samotherium skull


                            The only thing that doesn't make the identification certain is that the monster is depicted as having sclerotic eye rings which while found on dinosaur and bird skulls are never found on mammals.








                            1. Almost always illustrated, according to Mayor, "as scaly serpents, lizards or seahorse-like dragons with undulating bodies, ears, staring eyes, a dorsal crest, and an upturned snout resembling that of a crocodile, shark, dog, or pig"

                            2. One of the characteristics of Corinthian vases are their naturalistic depictions of animals.
                            Last edited by rogue06; 07-18-2014, 04:32 PM.

                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                            • #15
                              Why would he be shooting arrows at a skull? That does not seem plausible.

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