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:
Human bones have been found with prehistoric mammals, however; other fossils of humans have also been found with mammals — knives used to butcher the animals, fire pits in which the animals were cooked, and so on.
The creationist argument also rests on the ignorance of the hearer. The creationists hope that the hearer does not know that human bones and fossils have been found with other mammals known to be contemporary with humans, and that the consequence of no dinosaur bones being found does indeed tend to refute the claim that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.
Creationists also hope the hearer is not aware of most of paleontology and geology — that is, that dinosaur bones are found in rocks much, much older than any hominid close to humans.
Generally, mammal bones are not found with dinosaur bones (there are very few exceptions), because most of the dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago, about the time mammals started their rise. It may be that mammals were able to rise and diversify only because the dinosaurs went extinct, leaving huge ecological niches unfilled and ready for colonization by new speciating. Mammals have been around essentially for 65 million years, after all the dinosaurs died; human-like hominids have only been around for the last 10% of that time, 6.5 to 7 million years; modern humans have been around for only about 100,000 years.
So, modern humans missed cohabiting the Earth with dinosaurs by only about 64.9 million years.
It’s true! Humans weren’t buried with dinosaurs!
The statement that “Humans weren’t buried with dinosaurs” may be true, but humans aren’t buried with wombats today either. The fact that there is fossil evidence of human and dinosaur footprints and considerable worldwide ancient artwork of dinosaurs and man is strong evidence of coexistence. It would take a lot of self delision to believe that man did not interact with dinosaurs and the evolutionist tries to bury the truth and it’s evidence every chance he gets. The denial of a creator is a simple way to live without consequences. Enjoy it while you can.
Humans were buried with rhinoceros, with camels, with bovines, with pigs, with bears, with wolves, all by happenstance or accident, or pure coincidence . . . and today, probably with lots of other animals. Intentionally, Egyptians buried humans with cats. Mongols buried humans with horses. Never have human bones been found in strata closer than about 65 million years away from dinosaurs.
There is no human footprint coexisting with dinosaur footprints, except in creationist hoaxes.
The denial of creation is one odd way creationists deny the Creator — unintentionally, of course, but denying God’s creation is a denial of God nevertheless. What sort of self-delusion makes creationists deny the facts of creation, and fossils, and rocks?
Claiming there are human footprints with dinosaur footprints is either dishonest, contrary to Christianity, or delusional. But it is not fact. Noting that humans did not coexist with dinosaurs (except, perhaps, modern birds) is in no way a denial of God. It’s only a denial of foolishness.