Charles Darwin, chicken, chickenosaurus, common descent, common design, Darwinism, dinochicken, dinosaur, evolution, fact, Fuzale Rana, intelligent design, Jack Horner, Jurassic Park, materialism, paleontology, Science, theory, Tim Berra
I was listening to the radio on my way to work this morning, and the morning DJ’s were talking about a paleontologist named Jack Horner who wanted to create a “dinosaur” by manipulating the genes of a chicken.
I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs, going back to when I first learned about them in kindergarten. I was also interested in how Horner was going to get a dinosaur from a chicken. Once I got the chance, I researched the story online.
In an interview with Wired magazine, Horner claimed:
Birds are descendants of dinosaurs. They carry their DNA. So in its early stages, a chicken embryo will develop dinosaur traits like a long tail, teeth, and three-fingered hands. If you can find the genes that cancel the tail and fuse the fingers to build a wing—and turn those genes off—you can grow animals with dinosaur characteristics.
The Wired interviewer (Damon Tabor) responded:
It’s a romantic idea, that dinosaurs can live on in bird form.
Romantic? I would say fantastic. I don’t mean fantastic as a compliment; what I mean is:
1.a : based on fantasy : not real
b : conceived or seemingly conceived by unrestrained fancy
c : so extreme as to challenge belief : unbelievable; broadly : exceedingly large or great
Now, I will say that if anyone is going to do it, it’s Jack Horner. He was a consultant for the Jurassic Park movies, and apparently was the inspiration for the character Dr. Alan Grant. He is best known for discovering the first dinosaur eggs in Montana during the 1970s. His discoveries provided powerful evidence that dinosaurs were social animals who cared for their young in colonies–much like modern birds.
Darwinists began to believe that dinosaurs were the ancient ancestors of birds. Many dinosaurs had similar bone structure to birds, and starting in the 1990s, scientists began to discover fossil remains of feathers in dinosaurs. This seemed to lend credence to evolutionary theory.
Recently, scientists made the amazing discovery of dinosaur feathers preserved in amber.
So how dare I call Jack Horner’s idea of making a “dinochicken” fantastic?
I’m not convinced that Darwinistic macroevolution is a scientific fact. A better explanation than common descent from a common ancestor is common design from a common designer.
Biochemical systems are, in their essence, information based systems. Common experience teaches us that information derives from intelligent agency. Therefore, by analogy, one could argue that the information in biochemical systems emanates from a Creator.
This is not the only argument for common design, but it is a good one. Information only comes from minds. The physical laws of nature are not sufficient to explain the intricate code we call DNA. It has taken intelligent men years to unravel its mysteries and map genomes.
In his book, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, Dr. Tim Berra used the Chevrolet Corvette to illustrate evolution. He said,
If you compare a 1953 and a 1954 Corvette, side by side, then a 1954 and a 1955 model, and so on, the descent with modification is overwhelmingly obvious. This is what paleontologists do with fossils, and the evidence is so solid and comprehensive that it cannot be denied by reasonable people.
This illustration became known as “Berra’s blunder.” Although the look of the Corvette changed over the years, we know for a fact that this was the result of design! Berra’s illustration illustrates common design better than it illustrates common descent.
So when paleontologists claim that feathers are proof of common descent, or that dinosaurs can be retro-engineered from chickens, we have good reason to question Darwinian theory. Common descent is by no means the only valid explanation, since a common designer would most likely use good designs more than once. Design explains the fact that DNA and other biochemical systems are information based much better than matter + time + chance.
While this certainly doesn’t knock Darwinism out of the park, it does cast doubt on the idea that evolution is “both theory and a fact.”