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Let's ignore the yahoos

Creationists tend to think of main-stream (read that "Darwinian") 
scientists as cocky know-it-alls who need to be brought down a notch or 
two.  This is the motivation for the question "How can Darwinian 
paleontologists be so 'certain' that dinosaurs did NOT die in agony?"  Of 
course, the poser of this question does not really expect a coherent 
answer.  Rather, it is intended to promote the creationist objective just 
mentioned.  In addition, it reinforces another key creationist tenet, 
that we can be so sure of this because of our PHILOSOPHY, not because of 
our science.  And ours is a philosophy of naturalism that denies the 
existence of a personal creator to whom we are all answerable.  Darwinian 
views are seen as an outgrowth of that PHILOSOPHY, not any science.  This 
belief is what inspires the "How can we" part of the question.  

Then we are asked, "Were they [Darwinian paleontologists] there to see 
any of them die?"  This question embodies another key creationist tenet 
that none of the historical sciences is really science, because science 
is based on repeatable observation, if not experimentation.  Of course, 
nothing that has occurred in the distant past is repeatably observable, 
ergo (according to this corrupted sense of what science is) cannot be 
studied scientifically.

This kind of questioning plays well to a creationist audience, already 
prepped to be antagonistic toward science.  The uncommitted non-scientist 
can have the seeds of doubt planted in his or her brain, also.  It can 
take the conscientious "main-stream" scientist aback, when hearing these 
arguments for the first time.  But then you will find that when you 
recover your composure and formulate rebuttals, your questioner doesn't 
even care.  The creationsit position is held, and promoted, irrespective 
of the arguments against it.

For example, where are all of the fossil humans who died in the flood?  
Presumably, they all died in agony, too, so they might show something to 
help us decide if the dinosaurs also died in agony.  If flood deposits 
didn't bury humans, then why did they bury dinosaurs (and fish, seals, 
birds, etc.)?  Also, since fossils must be buried in sedimentary 
deposits, where are the flood deposits, and what allows us to identify 
them as such?  Of course, "flood geology" had been abandoned by most 
practicing geologists well before Darwin published Origin of Species, 
specifically because geological deposits have all of the earmarks of 
"normal" sedimentation rather than what could be conjured up as the 
expected earmarks of a world-wide, one-year flood.

Unfortunately, logic seems to be something that does not come naturally 
to people.  Of course, disproving each creationist assertion in a public 
forum would require teaching science from the ground floor, and 
non-scientists tend to lack the patience to listen to the lengthy 
discussions required to lay a foundation adequate for valid 
counterarguments to be understood.  The public is looking for two-minute 
sound bytes, which most creationist sorties are. (e.g., "Were they 
[Darwinian paleonotologists] there to see any of them [dinosaurs] die?")  
The rebuttals take much longer, just as knots take longer to untie than 
to tie.  These yahoos get a real bang out of poking at us to see us 
wiggle.  Don't we have better things to do than provide their 

Norman R. King                                   tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                        fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                  e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu

Norman R. King                                   tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                        fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                  e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu