Righting America

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Science “Behind the Scenes” of the Creation Museum | Righting America

by Susan Trollinger and William Trollinger

In our last post, we talked about the strange manner in which much of the science that appears at the Creation Museum is used. Specifically, we talked about the fact that a lot of science appears to be on display at the Creation Museum but precious little of it appears to be mobilized on behalf of a scientific argument for a biblical creation.

Perhaps the most striking example of this appears in the Facing the Allosaurus room. In that room stands a truly impressive 30-foot-long and 10-foot-high Allosaurus skeleton. The skull of the Allosaurus sits in a display case nearby. Alongside this very impressive and very scientific looking evidence appear three placards, and here is what they do:

One, titled “Why the Long Face?” describes Ebenezer’s skull, noting (among other characteristics) that it is “34 inches long and 22 inches high, and is 97 percent complete,” and that “there are 53 curved, saw-edged, saber-like teeth, up to 4.5 inches long including the roots.” A second placard, titled “What Was Found?” provides “details from the dig [that yielded the skeleton],” including the fact that “this animal was found buried lying on its left side,” that “the skeleton was oriented with the head at the western end and the tail pointed southeast,” that “the remains of the animal’s spine . . . were found lying in a curved alignment,” and that “due to erosion of the hillside he was found in, most of Ebenezer’s limb bones and mid-section were not recovered. . . . Then there is a third placard, titled “Who Am I?”which explains that “Allosaurus” means “’other lizard,’” that Allosaurus “belongs to the suborder of dinosaurs that contains theropods,” that Ebenezer was likely a “formidable, carnivorous dinosaur,” and that a “carnivore is something that eats mostly meat.”

To be sure, there appears to be a lot of “real science” presented here on the topic of Ebenezer, the Allosaurus. But to what end?

Although biblical references do appear on the third of the three placards (having to do with why the skeleton was named Ebenezer), no connection is made or even suggested on any of these three placards between the science presented on them and the claim that the universe was created in six 24-hour days less than 10,000 years ago by the God of the Bible. A fourth placard does attempt to say something about a biblical creation and Ebenezer but, as it turns out, the reasoning does not move from scientific evidence about the Allosaurus skeleton to a conclusion about a global flood but rather from the assumption of Noah’s Flood to inferences about how Ebenezer must have died in that flood (Righting America 93).

Perhaps, as we suggested at the closing of our last post, the real science that makes the connections between the scientific evidence and a biblical creation is happening (as Jason Lisle suggested) “behind the scenes.”

On November 21, 2016, Ken Ham announced that he and others at AiG had the privilege of “peek[ing] inside the skull of our Allosaurus, Ebenezer” by way of a computer tomography (CT) scan of Ebenezer’s skull that was conducted by a Cincinnati firm hired by AiG. Pretty exciting stuff, to be sure. As Ham pointed out, this may be the first time anyone has had the opportunity to have such a look into an Allosaurus’s skull. Thus, he called this “cutting edge research.”

So, what has their peek revealed? Is there evidence inside Ebenezer’s skull for a biblical creation or a global flood?

To be sure, some observations were made. Ham reported in his blog post that “These scans allowed us to see the details inside the brain cavity, including the lines where bones fused together as the creature grew.” Ham also points out that “The skull is remarkable because the hyoid bones are still intact.” He goes on to say that those “bones are almost never intact in fossils.” (We should point out that Ham does not make clear whether the observation of the hyoid bones was made possible by the CT scan or whether their presence had already been observed by some other means.) In the second of two accompanying videos (they ran into a technical glitch which obliged them to make two videos instead of one), the engineer who conducted the scan shows viewers an image from a “rendering of the air pocket that would be inside where the brain used to be,” and image (is it also a rendering?) of Ebenezer’s teeth, and an image from a scan of a T-Rex egg that appears, again according to the engineer (with a background in electronics and electrical engineering and extensive experience with CT scanners), to show something dense that might be an “embryo.”

Do those observations provide evidence for a global flood or biblical creation? Ham doesn’t say. At one point in the first video, Andrew Snelling (AiG’s director of research) suggests that there is “a little bit of a compression on one side [of the skull] where the sediment landed on top of him” which apparently indicates for Snelling that the sediment accumulated “rapid[ly].” Unfortunately, we are shown no images from the scans of that “little bit of a compression.” So, once again, no direct connection is made between any observational science and a global flood or biblical creation.

That said, Ham is hopeful. In the one direct statement that suggested a scientific connection between observations of Ebenezer and a biblical creation, Ham said:  

Someday we might discover all sorts of new facts about this amazing species, and find ways to help us defend the book of Genesis and expose the scientific problems with evolution.

Indeed, perhaps someday they will. But for now, as we put it in Righting America:

In the end, Ebenezer-the-skeleton appears to make no contribution to an understanding either of his demise or any other creature’s.

Never mind a global flood or a biblical creation.

But if AiG ever does make a compelling argument that some “real science” actually supports a case for a global flood and/or a biblical creation, we are sure scientists of all sorts will be very interested to hear it.