Spotted at the Creation Museum:


Q: Are human bones found with dinosaur fossils?

A: None have been discovered yet.  However, if human bones aren’t found with dinosaur bones, it simply means they weren’t buried together.  Humans have come in contact with lots of animals, like crocodiles and coelecanths, but they aren’t buried with humans.

The obvious thing to say about this is that it is flagrant “confirmation bias” – seeking or treating evidence in such a way as to confirm one’s cherished beliefs rather than to evaluate or test them.

From an argument analysis perspective, though, it is a nice example of what, technically, we’d call an “inference rebuttal” – an objection to an primary objection which targets not any of the stated premises of the primary objection but rather the inference from the primary objection to the falsity of the main contention.

That’s quite a mouthful, but the basic idea is simple enough, and can be easily illustrated.

Doing so will help explain one of the most distinctive – but subtle – features of the Rationale software.

On the face of it, the fact that human bones have not been discovered with dinosaur fosils is an objection to the standard Creationist story, which includes the idea that humans and dinosaurs once both roamed the earth at the same time.


The premise of the objection is a blunt fact, and so the Creationist has to accept it:


However the Creationist still wants to defuse the objection, and can do it by arguing that the premise, though true, doesn’t show that the contention is false.

To represent this kind of move, Rationale allows a lower-level objection to be connected to the primary objection itself rather than to any of its premises.  Graphically, the lower-level objection points to the word “opposes”:


Evaluating this argument as a Creationist presumably would, the objection has been defused:


There is however another way to read the Creationist’s argument.  This way of framing things probably better reflects the Creationist’s underlying mindset.   From this perspective, creationist “science” combined with the basic facts imply an interesting “discovery”: those humans who did (supposedly) coexist with dinosaurs never buried themselves with said dinosaurs: