No C-14 Test for the T. Rex Tissue

T-Rex Tissue
(Image credit: Copyright © 2009 American Association for the Advancement of science. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law.)

No C-14 Test for the T. Rex Tissue: The Emperor of Evolution Has No Clothes

Submitted by Steven Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.

When seemingly lucid men and women of science place their faith in the creed of naturalism, anything that contradicts their beliefs must be disregarded or explained away. This is not just a passive attitude, but a very aggressive and pervasive mindset. Like the defense mechanism of psychological denial, it allows these disciples of Darwin to turn a blind eye to evidence that might contradict or even falsify their molecules-to-men worldview.

This denial is a self-protection against anything that might challenge the magic ingredient of “deep time” in the story of life on planet earth according to Darwin. We are talking about the billions of years that evolution uses to convince people, contrary to everything we know about our created natural world, that inorganic substances or compounds, i.e. water, salts, minerals, etc., can somehow become living organisms. This concept, that life can arise from inert molecules, forms foundation of this greatest of all evolutionary “just so” stories. And then evolutionists double down on life arising from non-living molecules and assume that living organisms can, by entirely natural processes, produce a continuum of life forms from microbes to men. We are not only referring to living organisms, but organisms of incredible, irreducible complexity. In his seminal book on this subject, Michael Behe (1996:39) offers the following definition for Irreducible Complexity:

By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution.  

This brings me to the title for this article and the reason for my allusion to Hans Christian Andersen’s fable about an Emperor who is walking around in his birthday suit. The title refers to a February 2011 phone conversation between Denver radio talk show host Rob Enyart and the famous American paleontologist Jack Horner. The call was made by Rob on behalf of an evangelical group of believers who wanted to donate funds (initially a 20k grant) to have a carbon-14 test run the T-Rex soft tissue discovered by Mary Schweitzer in 1993 (Schweitzer, 1993). This discovery has been written up in many science journals (Schweitzer, Cano, & Horner 1994; Schweitzer, Chiappe, Garrido, Lowenstein & Pincus, 2005; Schweitzer, Wittmeyer & Horner, 2007; Kaye, Gaugler, & Sawlowicz, 2008) and has been the subject of several news articles including the April 2007 issue of National Geographic (Norris, 2007; Hitt, 2005; North Carolina State University Fields, 2005; Yoeman, 2006). As one might expect, the presence of partially fossilized material in an allegedly 68 million-year-old dinosaur has been likened to a smoking gun by young earth creationists. Not only creationists, but Intelligent Design theorists and anyone else that has not been completely brainwashed by decades of evolutionary dogma minus any real criticism or alternative explanations consider the T. Rex findings to be evidence of a young earth.  And that is the real reason that you can hear Jack Horner hesitate when Enyart questions him concerning C-14 testing of this T. Rex tissue.

The explanation given for their refusal to test the T-Rex tissue, according to Horner and others who are absolutely convinced of the Darwinian timeline, is that you cannot use C-14 to test anything older than the isotope being used in the analysis will allow. That is entirely true. The upper limit of C-14 analysis is 50,000 years (C-14 has a half-life of approximately 5,730 years).  All radiometric dating systems have three basic assumptions in common. These assumptions are absolutely essential if the result of the analysis is to be considered valid. They are:

(1) The rate of decay has remained constant throughout the past.
(2) The original amount of both mother and daughter elements is known.
(3) The sample has remained in a closed system.

In addition to these assumptions, there are variables of heat and pressure that may skew your results. Of all the radiometric dating isotopes, C-14 has a reasonably good track record for dates in thousands of years. That said, it is by no means exempt from the aforementioned assumptions and variables. As far as the evolutionary faithful are concerned, there is no reason at all to test fossils that are millions of years old for an isotope with upper assay limits of 50,000 years. If the dinosaur tissue was indeed approximately 68 million years old, all C-14 would have long since disappeared. That was the line of reasoning used by Jack Horner during his phone conversation with Rob Enyart. I must confess, I began to feel sorry for Mr. Horner, as he had to admit that a result consistent with young earth creationist belief system on what is supposed to 68-70 million years old would not be good for evolutionists. He was concerned about the “spin” that creationists might put on such a result and that a radiometric dating result in thousands of years “is not going to help us.” By helping us, he means those of the evolutionary faithful. He is absolutely correct with regard to his concerns. The evidence of dinosaurs that date back to the biblical story of creation in the book of Genesis would be a tragedy for those who are hanging their  hats, not to mention their professional reputations, on the Darwinian assumption of deep time.

With C-14 dates that support young earth predictions, suddenly the descriptions in the book of Job that portray man living contemporaneously with dinosaurs, i.e. Behemoth Job in 40:15-24 and Leviathan in Job 41:1-34, are validated. This is an evolutionist’s worst nightmare. Therefore, no evolutionist will actually allow C-14 testing of such material in his or her possession. When you remember that the initial discovery of this tissue was met with (and continues to garner) a great deal skepticism from within the evolutionary community, it becomes crystal clear why there will be no effort at all to C-14 test it. These results would falsify the millions-to-billions of years of evolutionary deep time and collapse their Darwinian house of cards.  

Another problem creationists face with regard to the Theory of Evolution is the sleight of hand trick used by evolutionists to present their theory as scientific fact. I am referring to the “bait and switch” tactic used in the definition of Darwinian evolution. When you have identified the ploy used by evolutionists to bait you with minor changes in living organisms, e.g. adaptation or microevolution, and switch it for major changes that characterize Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, e.g. invertebrates to vertebrates or macroevolution, you begin to realize why they will protect their assumptions of deep time. This problem is illustrated by the National Academy of Science (NAS) with regard to their definition of evolution. In a publication intended to present evolution as science and creationism as religion, they write, “That Biological evolution refers to changes in the traits of organisms over multiple generations” (NAS, 2008: 4). In reality, they want us to believe that upwardly complex change occurs in spite of the overall lack of evidence for upward and ever more complex changes in living organisms. The Creation Studies Institute’s Response (2008) to the NAS publication notes that the NAS wants us to believe in generational changes that give rise to an increase in genetic information, leading to the development of capabilities, limbs and organs that were not present in the parent generations. A far more accurate definition of Darwinian evolution would be, “A theory which postulates that matter and life first formed by entirely natural processes, and that all living organisms originated from the same single-celled organism via a process of generational change, from a lower or simpler state to a higher or more complex state” (CSI, 2008).

While Darwin could extrapolate variations in the beaks of finches to exemplify major changes in living organisms, e.g. the bait and switch, the Galapagos finches remained finches, beak variations notwithstanding. The dirty little secret concerning these well-studied birds is that the variations in the size and shapes of their beaks were eventually pinned to cyclical changes in the seasons. These variations were not permanent and their beaks regressed back to the mean based on the changes in weather that affected their habitats (Berlinski & Wells, 2009). The extrapolation of these minor variations into major changes is at the heart of the bait and switch ruse. How variations in the beaks of one type of bird could possibly lead to an entirely different organism, as Professor David Berlinski puts it, “is anecdotal at best.” Like so much of evolutionary theory, the “just so” story is elevated to the level of serious scientific supposition. Rather than putting their grand theory to the test or providing any genuine evidence that minor variations can lead to entirely new organisms, evolutionists prefer to ignore or suppress any evidence that may be contrary to their worldview. That is why they will continue to refuse to test this allegedly ancient material and avoid answering the really hard questions about their naturalistic hypothesis such as the scientific impossibility of abiogenesis or any credible explanation for the Cambrian explosion.

To his credit, Jack Horner said he would talk to his colleague Mary Schweitzer about the possibility of using C-14 to date their dinosaur tissue specimens. His stated concern was, “I can’t afford to have this turn into a circus.” Enyart (2011) said that he understood and he gave Horner full disclosure concerning the group who had raised the money for this grant. Still, there has been no response to Enyart’s written enquiry or his follow-up phone conversation for well over a year. It would have been common courtesy for Horner to at least report back to Enyart after he spoke with Mary Schweitzer.

I am fairly certain that Enyart and his group of Bible believing creationists are not holding their collective breath waiting for any reply. And that is the real reason why (even with the offer upped to 25k), there is little chance that Enyart and friends will ever hear back from Horner and Schweitzer. When you get down to the root of the problem, for the most part, Darwinian evolution is not really about science. It is about protecting the elaborate faith system that has been built up around the Theory of Evolution. The goal is to continue to promote the following concept. That given enough time, anything is possible. Hans Christian Andersen’s naked Emperor is really a lot like Darwinian evolution. Darwin’s theory (in the minds of those who ascribe to it) has risen to the status of dogma masquerading as settled science; therefore, evolution cannot be questioned. Any evidence against it will be suppressed, ignored or explained away.

The discovery of unfossilized or partially fossilized bone and tissue inside dinosaur remains is not an isolated incident. Schweitzer and company have found similar remains in an allegedly 80 million-year-old piece of fossil hadrosaur (duckbilled dinosaur) bone. In addition to Schweitzer’s work, the fossil graveyard in northeast China's Liaoning Province dating to between 125 million and 135 million years ago is the paleontological gift that just keeps on giving (Lingham-Soliar, Feduccia, & Wang, 2007; Lingham-Soliar, 2008). Numerous partially fossilized specimens have been uncovered 45 to 55 million years “older” than Schweitzer’s earlier discoveries.

These findings should have prompted an immediate and pervasive reexamination of the Darwinian timeline. Either follow-up tests would have falsified the evolutionary timeline by confirming this tissue is less than 10,000 years old or it would have emboldened evolutionists to search for new and improved ways that mother nature might preserve tissue for tens (and perhaps hundreds) of millions of years. Instead, we hear that this is a mystery, something that could be likened to a modern-day miracle of preservation. All scientists readily admit that the bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death. It is agreed that DNA might be preserved under ideal conditions up to 10,000 years. Siberia has yielded frozen mastodons that evolutionists date to the Pleistocene Epoch (1.6 million to 10,000 years ago). But what Schweitzer and others are finding goes well beyond the 30,000-year limit for prehistoric bone collagen.

In addition to these extraordinary examples of preservation, there have been numerous scientific papers written about the recovery of prehistoric microorganisms from amber. DNA has been successfully isolated from both fossilized plant and animal tissues. Researchers R. J. Cano et al. (1993) report DNA has been successfully isolated from both fossilized plant and animal tissues. The oldest material, dated as 25-40 million years old (Tertiary), was obtained from amber-entombed bees and termites. They went on to report on the extraction of DNA from a 120-135 million-year-old weevil (Nemonychidae, Coleoptera) found in Lebanese amber. DeSalle, Gatesy, Wheeler, and Grimaldi (1992) report DNA was extracted from the fossil termite Mastotermes electrodominicus preserved in Oligo-Miocene amber (25 million to 30 million years old). Currently, there are researchers that claim they can recover aDNA from specimens that are alleged to be millions of years old (Criswall, 2008). Researchers Vreeland, Rosenzweig, and Powers (2000), building on the previous work of Cano and Borucki (1995), isolated a strain of Bacillus sphaericus from an extinct bee trapped in 25–30 million-year-old amber. There have been numerous scientific papers written about the recovery of prehistoric microorganisms from amber. It should also be noted that these recoveries have been challenged by other paleobiologists who hypothesize these results are due to microbial contamination. One explanation that is always discounted is the possibility that the evolutionary timeline is completely wrong and these microbes are not millions, but rather thousands of years old. Even if you do not consider the obvious, that these discoveries date back thousands not millions of years, the existence of allegedly 250 million-year-old bacteria that is still viable strains credulity (Travis, 1999; Katz, 2012).  

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Horner, Schweitzer, and company to authorize any tests that might falsify their faith in the Darwinian timeline. What makes this even more perplexing than evolution’s blind faith in naturalism is the fact that Mary Schweitzer is an evangelical Christian. Pray for her. It seems that she has been swayed by the arguments for theistic evolution. After viewing Ben Stein’s documentary, Expelled, one can certainly understand why men and women of faith with prestigious positions in academia would think twice before publically embracing a literal interpretation of the Genesis account. In most instances, to do so would be akin to committing professional suicide. I say this, even though relegating the Genesis account of the Creation to the status of religious myth or a figurative story makes the prophets and apostles, Rom. 5:12-14; I Cor. 15:45; II Pet. 2:4-6 (not to mention the Messiah Himself) out to be deceived or, worse yet, deceivers, Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:9.

Taking a stand against the teaching of evolution as a scientific fact remains a danger to one’s professional health. The careers of several college professors who dared to challenge the status quo where Darwin’s theory is concerned have been derailed. Often they must fend off attacks by the their evolutionary peers and in some cases tenure has been denied. The reasons given rarely prove to be valid (Conservapedia, 2011). In my humble opinion, this is why Michael Denton, whose groundbreaking book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), caused such a stir when it was first published. Still, if Wikipedia (2012) can be believed, Denton believes in design and embraces a non-Darwinian evolutionary theory while continuing to describe himself as an “evolutionist” and “not a creationist.”

God forbid that any dissenting scientist would refer to him or herself a creationist. Yet that is exactly what many Bible believing scientists have chosen to do. Why would any self-respecting scientist refuse to test what appear to be the remnants of once-living tissue (a perfect candidate for C-14 testing)? There can be only one explanation. They are perfectly happy to gaze at the Emperor of Darwinian Evolution, and agree with one another that this Emperor is not naked. As far as they can see, he is the best-dressed monarch ever. They do this in spite of the fact that their prevailing worldview of naturalism is nothing more than an invisible facade, a thinly veiled attempt to believe that the Emperor of Evolution is really impeccably dressed and that their worldview has real scientific merit. And that seems to be the real reason they will continue to refuse to put their timeline to a real test. C-14 radiometric dating of dinosaur tissue has the potential of invalidating their faith in the magic ingredient of evolutionary theory, e.g. deep time, and that is strictly verboten.

Creationists do not fear scientific enquiry. We are willing to do the research and let the proverbial chips fall where they may. We do not want to limit our scientific knowledge. Most creationists I know are fascinated with learning more about their Creator by studying His creation. We believe that God’s creation testifies about His omnipotence and omniscience, Ps. 19:1-4; Rom. 1:20. We firmly believe that God’s creation bears witness about the Messiah, the living Word of God who spoke the universe into existence thousands, not billions, of years ago. We agree with Johannes Kepler, German mathematician, astronomer and Bible believing creationist that those who have placed their faith in the Creator of all things are attempting to “think God’s thoughts after Him.”

Anyone or anything that challenges the Theory of Evolution threatens to expose the underlying goal of Darwinism. That objective appears to be an explanation where atheistic naturalism replaces God. Evolutionists continue to try to explain the world around them without ever mentioning the Creator. The closest reference to deity of any kind comes when they invoke the female deity of Darwinism, Mother Nature. The Apostle Paul said it well, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” Rom. 1:22. The Emperor of Evolution is as naked as he was on the day he was born. Sadly, his subjects, the evolutionists, will not allow anyone to point out the shameful condition of the King. In Andersen’s fable, it took a little child to state the obvious, that “The Emperor is naked.” Still the King could not admit he had been duped as Anderson writes:

The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He thought it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent.

Denial is not just a river in Egypt; it is alive, well, and working to support evolution’s godless materialistic worldview. Therefore, nothing that is contrary to the evolutionary belief system can be tolerated. Like the subjects in Andersen’s fable, all who disagree with Emperor of evolution will be labeled as stupid or incompetent.



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