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Blinkered scientists look past the obvious

Published: 24 May 2014 (GMT+10)

We recently received this fascinating account from a UK correspondent, prompted by David Catchpoole’s recent article Double decade dinosaur disquiet in Creation magazine:


Dear Dr Catchpoole,

I was pleased to read your article “Double decade dinosaur disquiet” in the 2014 Vol 36 No.1 of Creation Magazine. What particularly interested me was your mentioning how a T. rex skeleton had a distinctly cadaverous odour. Also the later quote, “Oh yeah, all Hell Creek bones smell.”

This is the first time I can remember the mention of fossils smelling in any literature I have read, and my interest in Creation issues began with the reading of The Genesis Flood back in 1969.

At one time I taught in a primary school in Oxfordshire, UK. During 1972 I had a second year junior class of 8.5-9.5 year children.

One day several boys brought in chunks of limestone from the local quarry. We broke these up and extracted many beautifully preserved bivalve shells. These we mounted on ceramic tiles and varnished.

They were quite splendid specimens and the children were delighted with them and subsequently took them home for the holidays!

What impressed and perhaps astonished me was the experience of opening up a piece of limestone with a hammer and chisel. The limestone was densely packed with sea shells and, as it split apart and the dust arose, there was a distinct smell of shell fish and seaside aromas!

Interestingly this led on to quite a bit of discussion with the children about the age of the rocks.

If one could still smell these dead sea creatures then they couldn’t possibly be millions of years old—could they? Instead of evolution, Noah’s Flood was the real answer to fossilization and the explanation of how sea shells and multitudes of other creatures were destroyed and rapidly buried.

After this many questions and ideas were raised by the children regarding the Bible and the Lord Jesus, including His second coming!

So our exciting experience breaking up rocks was by no means a wasted time.

Yours sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Bob L
(United Kingdom)

CMI’s David Catchpoole and Warren Nunn respond:

Thank you Bob for your encouragement. The reactions of scientists to cadaverous smells from fossils as well as finding blood cells, blood vessels and proteins like collagen in them is a bit like those cartoon characters with a bewildered look in their eyes who can’t see the obvious—even though the other characters and the audience can see it all too easily.

Dr Mary Schweitzer and others who report such occurrences—if they did not have their evolutionary blinkers on—might have concluded (as did your students) that fossils from which smells emanate could not be millions of years old.

It’s worthwhile going back over some of the developments since Dr Schweitzer’s initial findings in the 1990s which shocked evolutionists because the ‘shocks’ have kept coming.

  • In 2005, flexible ligaments and blood vessels. See Dinosaur soft-tissue find—a stunning rebuttal of ‘millions of years’.
  • In 2009, the fragile proteins elastin and laminin, and further confirmation of the presence of collagen (an important protein in bone). The protein evidence was inescapably building up against long-age ideas, adding to the 2003 finding of osteocalcin in dinosaur bone. If the dinosaur fossils really were tens of millions of years old as claimed, none of these proteins should have been present. See Dinosaur soft tissue and protein—even more confirmation!
  • In 2012, bone cells (osteocytes), the proteins actin and tubulin, and even DNA! Under measured rates of decomposition, these proteins, and especially DNA, could not have lasted for the presumed 65 million years since dinosaur extinction. This is dramatic support for the Bible’s timeline, with its maximum age of the earth of 6,000 years. See DNA and bone cells found in dinosaur bone.
  • In 2012, radiocarbon in dinosaur bones. But carbon-14 decays so quickly that if the remains were even 100,000 years old, none should be detectable! See Radiocarbon in dino bones—international conference censored.

When some of Dr Schweitzer’s comments about her discoveries are considered in relation to the improbability of it all, it’s as though she’s leaning right on the ‘obvious’ when she says:

When you think about it, the laws of chemistry and biology and everything else that we know say that it should be gone, it should be degraded completely.1
Science via AP (From www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7285683/)9531-trex_softtiss
A. 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.
B. Another instance of ‘fresh appearance’ which similarly makes it hard to believe in the ‘millions of years’.
C. 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.

In one of her papers, Dr Schweitzer also noted:

The presence of original molecular components is not predicted for fossils older than a million years, and the discovery of collagen in this well-preserved dinosaur supports the use of actualistic conditions to formulate molecular degradation rates and models, rather than relying on theoretical or experimental extrapolations derived from conditions that do not occur in nature.2

As well, after Dr Schweitzer found elastic blood vessels and other soft tissue, she checked and rechecked her data and concluded: “It was totally shocking. I didn’t believe it until we’d done it 17 times.”3

But nothing, of course, will shake Dr Schweitzer’s commitment to the long-age paradigm:

It was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. But of course, I couldn’t believe it. I said to the lab technician: ‘The bones are, after all, 65 million years old. How could blood cells survive that long?’4

The obvious ought to be obvious—and open-minded people can see it. When is the evolutionary fraternity going to wake up? ….

References and notes

  1. Schweitzer, M.H., Nova Science Now, May 2009, cross.tv/21726; See also Wieland, C. and Sarfati, J., Dino proteins and blood vessels: are they a big deal?, creation.com/dino-proteins, 9 May 2009. Return to text.
  2. Schweitzer, M.H., et al., Analyses of soft tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex suggest the presence of protein, Science 316(5822):277–280, 2007. Return to text.
  3. Schweitzer, cited in Science 307:1852, 25 March 2005. Return to text.
  4. Schweitzer, M.H., Montana State University Museum of the Rockies; cited on p. 160 of Morell, V., Dino DNA: The hunt and the hype, Science 261(5118):160–162, 9 July 1993. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Mike D.
Doesn't this beautifully answer questions about when will the scientists take off the blinders?

From Mt.11:25: At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will."

The problem is that when the get a bit older, they become force-fed with the atheistic rubbish and ultimately feel forced into that PC world.
Ferdinandt P.
Evolution has become so entrenched in secular society and because it's a lie and surfacing as such nowadays, I believe they can't help but be compulsive liars. It's no wonder they're blind to the obvious and refuse to believe otherwise. Truly, when you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are transformed by the renewal of your mind.
Mark K.
This article is an excellent example of the biblical concept that there are no "brute" uninterpreted facts that can be just looked at (or smelled!) with a correct interpretation of its correct meaning. A person's worldview gives the key to correctly or incorrectly interpreting perceived data. Either we see and interprete the whole of the universe through God's revealed wisdom or we see it through human wisdom (1 Cor 3:18-21). There is no neutrality. Christians with a syncretistic worldview that mixes a core faith in modernity and its billions of years with a Christian exterior could very well be the contemporary equivalents of ancient Israelites worshipping Yahweh with a golden calf. Its that dangerous. M. Kreitzer, PhD Kosin University Busan, So Korea
Gerda P.
If what your correspondents are saying is true, then why do you post letter that do not show their full names? 'Anonymous', suggests that either the writer does not have the courage of their convictions, or the whole letter lacks authenticity.
Matt T.
It seems those who stubbornly adhere to this man-made theory of evolution and it's conclusion that these artifacts MUST be tens of millions of years old, despite the obvious contradictions are more likened to belonging to a cult of believers rather than a religion. A cultish belief in a man's promise of truth than real Truth that presents itself everywhere we look in the natural world as well as beyond this world.
John F. K.
Today’s article by David Catchpoole and Warren Nunn ended with: “When is the evolutionary fraternity going to wake up.” When will evolutionists see that evidence in dinosaur remains is actual evidence of recent burial and not millions of years? It is so obvious!
So, when will the people called Christians “wake up,” view the same “factual” evidence, and see that the obvious data points to the clearly-stated truth of Genesis. In the past 16 years of living where I presently live, I have heard one sermon on Genesis 1. That sermon “spiritualized” Genesis and was not “foundational” to the good news of Jesus Christ. This makes me feel like my perspective (which is your perspective) of Genesis and its importance is erroneous or not nearly as crucial as I think it is.
To convince myself that I am more in line with historic Christianity, I have just ordered “Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis” DVD series by ICR. I am, everywhere, surrounded by evolutionist propaganda – at work, on TV, in magazines, in news reports – everywhere. I am not supported in creationist beliefs by my church attendance, so I think this investment will be very beneficial. I continuously ask myself when the Christian fraternity is going to wake up to the veracity of scripture from Genesis through Revelation.
tony B.
I wonder whether Dr Schweitzer or her colleagues have attempted to culture the cells and extract the DNA from these remains? That and the discovery of mammalian remains would be the clincher for creationists.
Davy C.
Pertroleum (sulfur) smelling like marine life or dead flesh? Well, I've lived on the beach of the Atlantic and on freshwater in-land lakes much of my life. I've lived by/within the mid-Michigan (USA) oil & gas fields and never have I ever mistook the petroleum smells for those of marine/fish or dead flesh. Both are clearly different in my nose. But, yes, more lab work could be done on this issue.
Wayne O.
For what it is worth, I remember several years searching for fossils in Diatomite more than 100 miles inland and, upon breaking open the Diatomite, I detected a marine type smell.
Stu D.
Great article again! Related to this is one on Dr Jay's blog [website withheld as per feedback rules] which reports on soft tissue in a fossil supposedly 550 million years old! That requirement for soft tissue to last just keeps getting bigger and bigger! You have to wonder when breaking point will be for evolutionists as they are stretching their credibility each time as well in refusing to look at other possibilities (including the most obvious)!
Chandrasekaran M.
Indeed, unsophisticated children see the obvious. Three are known examples of peoples of Christian heritage who do not openly embrace molecules to moral homosapien evolution and yet deny the power of God but hold on to a form of godliness for the sake of not upsetting theirs loved ones and friends. Obviously some scientists look past the obvious unscientific nature of evolutionism science because they want something to hold on to regardless of the consequence of the pseudo-science. Some scientists may appear to look past the obvious unscientific nature of evolutionism science for the sake of not upsetting their professional colleagues and their careers. It is a hard and heavy yoke to be in one of these groups because you have to be on your toes always.

A. T.
I don't know if the smell of fossils is conclusive to young age. From what I read petroleum smells like something died because of its sulfur compunds. There is an online blog that talks about how fossils at a particular quarry smell like bitumen. Maybe there is a popular conception that smells go away over time, but I don't think sulfur compounds would lose their smell after long periods of time, even million of years.
One could say that the fossilization process should remove all organic compounds and turn the bones and tissue into rock. But maybe this smell does not come from unfossilized tissue, but from left over chemical compounds, the likes of petroleum.
The smell of shellfish and seaside aromas mentioned by Bob is interesting, certainly not from petroleum. However those particular smells could just from basic chemicals that were trapped in the rock.
If we want to use fossil smell as an indicator for young earth the most prudent thing to do is research it, as I have not found out about any project that focuses just on smell. I found an article from 1958 in the “New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics” on how "fossiliferous rocks emit an oily smell when freshly crushed", but could not find the whole article. Interesting.
D. K.
Aren't the theories of evolution exactly like the absurd story of the King's non-existent clothing - where only a child could see and declare the truth.

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