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‘Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery’

by and Jonathan Sarfati

Published: 19 July 2006 (GMT+10)

That’s the title of an article in Discover magazine1 about Dr Mary Schweitzer’s discoveries of fresh dinosaur tissue (which we’ve earlier reported on—Dinosaur bone blood cells found, Creation 16(1):9, 1993; Sensational dinosaur blood report! 19(4):42; 1997; Dino soft tissue find, 27(4):7, 2005).

Why ‘dangerous’? A sub-heading (our emphasis in bold font) explains: ‘When this shy paleontologist found soft, fresh-looking tissue inside a T. rex femur, she erased a line between past and present. Then all hell broke loose.’

Science via AP (From

T. rex soft tissue
  1. The arrow points to a tissue fragment that is still elastic.  It beggars belief that elastic tissue like this could have lasted for 65 million years.
  2. Another instance of “fresh appearance” which similarly makes it hard to believe in the “millions of years”.
  3. Regions of bone showing where the fibrous structure is still present, compared to most fossil bones which lack this structure.  But these bones are claimed to be 65 million years old, yet they manage to retain this structure.

The ‘line’ referred to is the supposed 65 million years that dinosaurs are reputed to have been extinct. The Discover article described how the fresh dino tissue had ‘electrified’ creationists, ‘who interpret Schweitzer’s findings as evidence that Earth is not nearly as old as scientists claim. “I invite the reader to step back and contemplate the obvious,” wrote Carl Wieland [CMI—Australia’s Managing Director; his article ‘Still soft and stretchy’ prompted atheist-inspired criticism from long-age compromisers] last year. “This discovery gives immensely powerful support to the proposition that dinosaur fossils are not millions of years old at all, but were mostly fossilized under catastrophic conditions a few thousand years ago at most.”’

The Discover article went on to document the unwillingness of many in the scientific community to believe the findings. Even to the point that Dr Schweitzer ‘was having a hard time’ trying to get her work published in scientific journals.

‘I had one reviewer tell me that he didn’t care what the data said, he knew that what I was finding wasn’t possible,’ says Schweitzer. ‘I wrote back and said, “Well, what data would convince you?” And he said, “None.”’

‘If you take a blood sample, and you stick it on a shelf, you have nothing recognizable in about a week,’ she says, adding, ‘So why would there be anything left in dinosaurs?’

Schweitzer can understand why so many are skeptical. ‘If you take a blood sample, and you stick it on a shelf, you have nothing recognizable in about a week,’ she says, adding, ‘So why would there be anything left in dinosaurs?’

Why indeed? Unless of course they haven’t been extinct for millions of years, and their remains were preserved quickly by an unusual event. Schweitzer says of the moment she found dinosaur red blood cells in the 1990s: ‘I just got goose bumps, because everyone knows these things don’t last for 65 million years.’

Smelly bones

Schweitzer recounts how, after that first discovery, she noticed that a T. rex skeleton (from Hell Creek, Montana) had a distinctly cadaverous odour. When she mentioned this to long-time paleontologist Jack Horner, he said ‘Oh yeah, all Hell Creek bones smell.’

Astonishing, isn’t it? So ingrained is the notion among paleontologists that dinosaur bones must be millions of years old that the ‘smell of death’ didn’t even register with them—despite the evidence being right under their noses.

Evangelical Christian?

The article author wrote that Schweitzer is an ‘evangelical Christian’.1 However, he is only one of many non-Christians to invoke a professing Christian as a ‘useful idiot’ to undermine the Christian faith.

It’s important to understand that both words, ‘evangelical’ and ‘Christian’, have definite meanings, but it’s rare for atheists to use them honestly. For example, the great 20th-century physician-turned-preacher Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that an evangelical must (by definition) accept ‘creation, not evolution’, ‘the fact of the historical fall of the first man, and that it happened in the way described in the third chapter of Genesis,’ and ‘assert the fact of the flood.’ This is actually a corollary of the definition that evangelicals accept the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture.

Schweitzer’s attitude to Scripture actually reflects a liberal, rather than evangelical approach to the Bible.2

Rather than accept the biblical account of a rapid creation, she still believes in millions of years, ‘That makes God a lot bigger than thinking of Him as a magician that pulled everything out in one fell swoop.’ Schweitzer also said, that her ‘faith’ (in what, we are not told) had deepened. ‘My God has gotten so much bigger since I’ve been a scientist. He doesn’t stay in boxes.’

However, such trite slogans are irrelevant. The important thing is what God said He did, not what someone thinks ‘their’ ‘god’ could have done! And the founders of modern science, who believed that they were ‘thinking God’s thoughts after Him’, didn’t deny His recorded thoughts.

And although Schweitzer says, ‘I see compassion in the world around me’, we also see the Fall—including in T. rex skeletons! That is the insuperable difficulty of trying to marry Christianity and long ages. Note that we don’t claim that one can’t be a Christian and a long-ager. Many people are saved despite ‘blessed inconsistency’—there is no hint in the Bible that the ability to hold mutually contrary thoughts in the same skull is an unforgivable sin. See also:

The article also claims that Schweitzer has suffered ‘religious attacks’ from biblical creationists, although of course not demonstrating that there was any ‘attack’. It is actually not the first time that Discover has resorted to emotionalism as a substitute for argument—see Feduccia v Creationists.

Schweitzer says, ‘It rips my guts out’. [This seems to be saying: ‘Your statement offends me, therefore it must be false’.]

‘These people are claiming to represent the Christ I love’ [though not loved enough to believe what He said about a recent creation (Mark 10:4–9) and global Flood (Luke 17:26–27) and the inerrancy of Scripture (John 10:35).].

‘It’s no wonder that a lot of my colleagues are atheists’ [perhaps it’s because there’s not much incentive to believe the Bible when professing Christians don’t?].

‘You know, if the only picture of Christ I had was your attitude towards me, I’d run [while deploring ‘Christian hatemail’ (if there was any in this instance), it’s worth noting that the biblical Christ was hardly the innocuous wimp he is often portrayed as being—note e.g. his use of the challenge–riposte method—or else no one would likely have bothered to have Him crucified].

It is a shame that Dr Schweitzer is so entrapped in the billions-of-years paradigm that she is unwilling to abandon it in the face of huge problems, both biblical and scientific.

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  1. Yeoman, B., Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery, Discover 27(4):37–41, 77, April 2006. Return to text
  2. Perhaps there is confusion arising from the fact that Schweitzer, though American-born, is of Germanic heritage—because in Germany, the word evangelische usually refers to any Protestant church, no matter how liberal. Return to text

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