Letters to the editor, as well as guest columns, in newspapers across America regularly attack the Bible-affirming ministry of Answers in Genesis. It would take the equivalent of a full-time staff member to respond to each of them. Thankfully, there are several AiG supporters who are willing to write their own rebuttal columns or letters.
An unusually hostile letter to the editor recently appeared in a newspaper in AiG’s home state. It was memorable for its mistakes as well as its tone, and we decided to reply promptly. The screed against AiG was written by a psychology professor at Murray State University in western Kentucky. We found it highly ironic that it was a professor of psychology who lost control of his emotions in attacking AiG’s mission and our future Ark Encounter themed attraction. Here is the letter that appeared last month on the website of the Murray State newspaper, “The News.”
February 15, 2013
In Spring 2012, Ken Ham from the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., spoke in Paducah, Ky., at the Heartland Baptist Church.
The end of a Christmas season and the beginning of another spring semester here at Murray State, an institution dedicated to the dissemination of information on how our world really works, is an opportune time to comment on the disastrous content of his talk.
Despite his dogmatic claims to the contrary, dinosaurs and humans have never co-habited this planet.
His utterly absurd interpretation of Biblical scripture requires a complete fabrication and thorough denial of all we know about dinosaurs, humans and other animals’ existence on this Earth. We should be outraged.
The idea that dinosaurs ever walked the Earth at the same time as humans is as utterly fanciful and completely wrong as suggesting that Santa Claus is really, really real.
We tell our children the truth as they get older because given a complete absence of evidence for a real Santa Claus, we know better. We all know it is a myth. To insist Santa existed as our children got older would be the worst sort of lie, but there’s a worse one.
Ham’s supposition that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as humans is not only completely lacking in evidence as much as the Santa myth, but worse, is in direct opposition to mountains of evidence to the contrary.
The denial of the fossil, geologic, biologic and genetic evidence that absolutely demonstrates there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that dinosaurs were anywhere closer than 60 million years removed from the advent of humanity is as obscene a lie as ever perpetrated on the American public.
And the state of Kentucky is giving this clown millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when real education is being cut by millions in this state to turn his lies into a water park. We should all be outraged.
No dinosaur fossils have ever been found with human remains nor damningly with any of the millions of species that did exist on Earth with humans.
There are mammals, birds and reptiles that we know for certain that coexisted with humans: cattle, horses, antelope, monkeys, pigs, etc., and we find their fossils by the millions in strata all over the world with early human and recent human remains. But not once ever, anywhere on the planet has a single dinosaur bone been found with any of those millions of species, or us.
Not once. Not anywhere, not anytime.
The coexistence of dinosaurs and humans is a complete lie. To teach otherwise goes directly against the commitment to evidence and the honest advance of human knowledge that this and every other university stands for.
And yet we have religious organizations on this campus whose leaders tell our students to ignore their biology and archaeology textbooks and professors that demonstrate the data of the completely separate evolution of humans and dinosaurs.
We should all be outraged, and some of us are.1
Letter by William Zingrone, assistant professor of psychology.
In reply, an alumnus of the school submitted a letter to the editor. Faris Sahawneh, now on the staff of Mid-Continent University in nearby Mayfield, Kentucky, sent the following to the paper:
February 22, 2013
Putting aside for the moment the remarkable rant of a professor in the psychology department, I wanted to challenge his view that dinosaurs and humans were not contemporaneous. As a graduate of Murray State, I find it disturbing that those of us who have a different worldview than that of Dr. Zingrone could be treated with such an unprofessional manner.
Zingrone wrote that “no dinosaur fossils have ever been found with human remains.” That may be true, but in the evolutionist timetable, crocodiles lived at the same time as dinosaurs (and even before dinosaurs), and of course these reptiles live today alongside people.
More disturbing in his letter was the ad hominem attack directed against the founder of the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, Ken Ham, who was called a clown. Name-calling is often the last resort of a person who can’t make an effective argument. I have come to know Ham, both socially and professionally (I have even been honored to have hosted him in my home), and I see a man of integrity and humility who happens to have a passion for his worldview – a belief system that is contrary to the worldview held by Zingrone.
Furthermore, I find it disturbing that a person with a degree in psychology could be so uncivil and intolerant of others who might disagree with his presuppositions.2
Letter from Faris Sahawneh, Murray State alumnus.
Also, Mark Looy, CCO of AiG, rebutted other aspects of the psychology professor’s letter. Here is what he wrote, which appeared in the Murray State newspaper last month:
February 22, 2013
We found it ironic that it was a psychology professor who went in a rant and could not control himself in his Feb. 15 letter. He spewed venom at those of us who believe the book of Genesis. What got his dander up? Our belief that dinosaurs and humans coexisted, which prompted him to shriek that this idea is “as obscene a lie as ever perpetrated on the American public” and is “completely lacking in evidence.”
There is strong evidence, however, that dinosaurs probably did not die out 65 million years ago. For example, soft tissue inside a T. rex bone (which includes elastic blood vessels, with red blood cells) has been discovered. If dinosaurs perished 65 million years ago, how in the world could the soft tissue have possibly survived and not disappeared 64 million years ago? Such preservation is highly compelling evidence that dinosaurs have been around in recent times.
One of our full-time scientists, Dr. David Menton (he holds a PhD in biology from an Ivy League school) has written much about this fascinating T. rex bone, and his articles are available at www.AnswersInGenesis.org. Also, other evidence for dinosaur and human coexistence is presented in our Creation Museum in northern Kentucky.
The psychologist’s second outrage (to use his word) was his comment about the full-size Ark we are building in northern Kentucky. He declared that “the state of Kentucky is giving this clown (describing our president, Ken Ham – now how is that for a scholarly word?) millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when real education is being cut by millions in this state to turn his lies into a water park.” Putting aside the fact that the Ark Encounter is no waterpark, but a historically themed attraction, we point out that no state monies will be used to construct the facility.
Taxpayers will not see their money used to build or operate the Ark Encounter; no money will be taken out of the state’s budget to fund the Ark. Instead, the finished Ark will add much-needed tourism dollars to the state coffers, which will help state programs like education, not take money away. It’s a net gain for Kentucky if the Ark is built here and not in another state.
Now, if the Ark meets attendance goals and sees tourism dollars flow into the state, the Ark Encounter will receive partial rebates on sales taxes paid by the Ark visitors. At the end of an operating year, any money going back to the attraction will originate from those who chose to visit; no unwilling taxpayer will subsidize the Ark (and thus there is no establishment of religion). Neither is anyone being forced to visit and hear about the Bible’s history, including its account of the Ark.
As a former evolutionist who once accepted a belief that dinosaurs died out millions of years before humans, I ask readers to use their critical thinking skills and look at both sides of the evolution/creation argument. And may cooler heads prevail.3
Letter from Mark Looy, chief communications officer with Answers in Genesis.
We have discovered that in their opposition to the perceived intolerance of Bible-believing Christians, many secular professors reveal their own intolerance: of Christian beliefs. In addition, they often fail to engage in the careful research that one would expect from persons holding PhDs. We note, too, that there are professors who are self-described Christians who express their intolerance of biblical creation; see Ken Ham’s blog post from Wednesday for an example.
Following the letters by Sahawneh and Looy, additional letters were posted by the Murray State newspaper. Prof. Zingrone himself responded to the Sahawneh and Looy letters (March 1).4 Seemingly under more control, the professor tried to distance himself from some of the comments he made in his first letter, including his description of Ken Ham as a “clown”; in his follow-up, he used the word “clownish” instead. The psychology professor then engaged in hand-waving, sweepingly declaring that the Flood of Noah did not happen (AiG, however, has a PhD geologist, Dr. Andrew Snelling, who argues that the evidence confirms a global watery catastrophe) and that the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve is refuted by modern genetics (but AiG also employs a molecular geneticist, Dr. Georgia Purdom, who argues otherwise). The professor closed with a comment that AiG is lying to children through practicing pseudoscience.
Another letter-writer, a biologist at Murray State, defended the rant of the psychology professor (March 1 letter). He stated: “To most educated people (believe it or not, even many living in Kentucky), the Creation Museum is simply a strange and almost inexplicable embarrassment. It is exactly the equivalent of a museum dedicated to a flat Earth. … Dr. Zingrone’s outrage is understandable. Rather than castigate Dr. Zingrone for his heartfelt emotional response, we should instead embrace his anger and intensify our vigilance against irrational and primitive thinking in any form so that the light of knowledge never goes out.”
AiG does not advocate that the scientific case for creation be mandated teaching in public schools.
This defender of the psychology professor then went on his own rant. He made the bizarre comment that AiG wants to establish a “theocracy” in America. This is yet one more example of an anti-biblical professor shooting at the hip and not doing his research. For example, AiG does not advocate that the scientific case for creation be mandated teaching in public schools. If AiG were attempting to push for theocracy in America, then forcing instructors to teach creation in public schools would be a key aim of ours.
By the way, AiG points out that with the two follow-up letters to the ones submitted by Sahawneh and Looy, there was no effort to refute the evidence presented that dinosaurs have lived in recent times (with soft tissue and blood vessels found in a T. rex bone). There was also no acknowledgement that a gross error was made about how the Ark Encounter is to be funded. Instead, these letter-writers moved the goal posts to distract readers from the main points submitted by Sahawneh and Looy about dinosaurs and the Ark funding.
Because we can’t keep track of all the guest columns and letters to editors that appear in newspapers worldwide (much less respond to them all), AiG suggests that you consider writing your own letter to the editor or guest column when you see something in your local newspaper that attacks biblical creation. The following AiG article can help you as you draft such a response (especially the “pointers sections”):
Update: As we were about to post this article, we found another anti-creationist letter in “The News” that was not readily visible on the site when we checked a few days ago. The letter was written by a student and contained inflammatory language (e.g., Ken Ham was again called a “clown,” and the writer claimed that creationists have an understanding of biology that “equals that of a matchstick.”).
The student made an attempt to dismiss the evidence that Looy presented of dinosaurs living in relatively recent times. He described the creationist’s use of the T. rex bone as a “standard boilerplate argument of creationists” and then wrote, “This is nothing but an argument from incredulity—another logical fallacy. We don’t know how it happened, therefore Jesus. The real scientist who discovered the soft tissues, Mary Schweitzer, has already decried the creationists who have commandeered her research to twist it into their fairy tale fantasies. The femur had even been intentionally broken and then not preserved in the normal manner, specifically because Schweitzer wanted to test for soft tissue! Additionally, geologists had already established the site to be 68 million years old. So, all this means is that more research into fossilization needs to be done.”
Or could it be that the obvious explanation of this soft tissue preservation, not “twisting,” does not need explaining away? Namely, because the soft tissue and blood vessels had not disintegrated, this T. rex was not alive tens of millions of years ago in evolutionary history. Also, the fact that the discoverer of the soft tissue bemoans how creationists use the dinosaur leg as evidence for recent dinosaur existence is irrelevant.
Future research to explain away how soft tissue could have possibly been preserved in a dinosaur leg that is thought to be more than 65 million years of age will only yield speculative excuses. When the letter-writer states that “geologists had already established the [dinosaur] site to be 68 million years old,” his a priori commitment to evolution trumps the clear evidence. We suggest he rethink his evolutionary belief system rather than twisting such compelling evidence for recent dinosaur existence to conform to his worldview.
Dr. David Menton of AiG commented, “It is ironic that creationists have been more willing to accept Mary Schweitzer’s interpretation of her soft tissue evidence from dinosaur bones than have many evolutionists. Evolutionists are understandably reluctant to accept soft tissue preservation down to the tissue, cellular, and macromolecular level in animals that they believe died off over 65 million years ago. Since young-earth creationists believe dinosaurs died off within the past few thousand years, they find Schweitzer’s observations to be eminently reasonable. Studies done on Egyptian mummies from this age show the same level of preservation we see in the soft tissues from dinosaurs. I predict that if carbon-14 dating were done on Schweitzer’s dinosaur soft tissue then it would prove to be quite datable and well within the error limits of the technique. Since the upper limit for carbon-14 dating is about 100,000 years, there should be essentially no measurable carbon-14 in dinosaurs if they died off over 65 million years ago.”