There was one final movie to be viewed. This one dealt with dinosaurs and dragons. I think the point was that dragon legends have their origin in the experiences people had interacting with dinosaurs. If this is correct, then all those secular geologists who say people and dinosaurs were separated in time by some sixty-five million years don’t know what they are talking about. Let’s take a look.
We begin with a dramatic voiceover recounting the familiar myth of Saint George and the dragon. There are many versions of the story, and the location changes depending on the particular version you are reading. Regardless, the story involves the people of a particular city needing to procure water from a nearby river. Sadly, the river is guarded by a hostile dragon. To distract the dragon for the time needed to procure the water, a human sacrifice is offered. The sacrifice is determined by lottery, and one day it is the princess who is chosen. A saint appears and slays the dragon, thereby sparing the princess’ life. The people are impressed by this deed, heed his evangelistic message, and convert to Christianity.
After recounting this tale, the narrator says:
A myth, surely. An allegory filled with symbolism. But in the center of that myth is this strange creature. Where did such a creature come from?
There follows a brief recounting of some of the dragon legends from other cultures. Apparently everyone, including the Chinese, Aztecs, Babylonians, Japanese and Europeans has had dragon myths as part of their cultures. The narrator:
But what could have inspired all these stories? Is the dragon simply the creation of inventive minds, or could dragon stories be based in reality? Possibly related to dinosaurs or other amazing reptiles that we find in the fossil record?
After some dramatic music, the narrator continues:
Many scientists contend that dinosaurs died over sixty-five million years before humans came to be. The possibility that humans and dinosaurs ever coexisted is unthinkable to them. But what does the Bible say?
Some scriptural justification is then provided for the idea that dinosaurs were present on the ark. The idea that dinosaurs are of more recent vintage than mainstream science suggests is also indicated by the recent discovery of dinosaur fossils with some of their soft tissues intact, we are told. Such material could not possibly have been preserved through tens of millions of years.
This talking point also featured prominently in Men in White. The reference is to a 2005 discovery by Dr. Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist then at North Carolina State University. Go here for a news release describing their findings. Essentially, Schweitzer was able to recover microscopic quantities of soft tissues believed to be dinosaur blood vessels, collagen and other such structures.
Fascinating stuff, but the creationists, as usual, give a very misleading impression of what actually happened here. As they tell it you would think that these bones were split open and gouts of fresh blood emerged from inside. In reality we are talking about microscopic quantities of material that could only be liberated from the surrounding bone by heroic measures. Furthermore, there is some real question about whether the recovered substances are really the original dinosaur tissues from the living organism. Just like bones fossilize when organic material is replaced by minerals that effectively turn the bone to rock, it is possible that the original soft tissues were replaced by a substance more amenable to preservation. Gary Hurd provides a thorough discussion of the issue.
Back to the Bible. Does not Job 40:15-17 say:
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar.
Think this could be a reference to an elephant or a hippo? Please. Do their tails look like swaying cedar trees? It sounds far more like a sauropod dinosaur.
This occupies another minute or two, as various creationist luminaries like Kurt Wise and Ken Ham discourse on the significance of this verse. Ham’s observation that this is one of the most detailed descriptions of an animal provided in the Bible was actually kind of interesting.
Not only does Job discuss the behemoth, it also discusses the leviathan. Among the attributes of the leviathan are the following, from Job 41:19-21:
Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.
Pretty suggestive, don’t you think?
The film goes on to offer some speculations about what happened to the dinosaurs after the flood. One creationist worthy suggests that their diet was limited to certain kinds of plants, and that this kept their numbers down. This made it possible for humans to pick them off, either because they feared the dinosaurs or because they showed off their prowess by killing them.
Oddly, the fate of carnivorous dinosaurs never gets discussed.
The film closes with the familiar talking points about how everything falls into place if you start from the Bible:
When you start with the Biblical perspective, the text and other evidence suggests that dinosaurs and other incredible reptiles in the sea and air once lived alongside people at the time of creation, during the flood, and for centuries thereafter. So it is hardly surprising that the world would be filled with legends of heroes, like Saint George, and their encounters with mighty beasts.
Dramatic music, roll the credits. It is interesting that they regard the Biblical text as providing the legitimate historical foundation for myths and stories about dragons. A more reasonable explanation is that the Bible is just one more example of this sort of story telling. If the Chinese or the Aztecs or any of the other cultures mentioned at the start of the film started using their legends as the historical basis for the stories in the Bible, I can just imagine how Answers in Genesis would react!
Coming Up: Creationist Astronomy