Creationists at the International Conference on Creationism admit feathered dinosaurs exist, so evolution is true!
So there's a new paper on feathered dinosaurs just presented at the ICC here in Pittsburgh, and I'm literally sitting in the audience as I write this. I had nothing to do with the writing of the paper, so this is an independent perspective. One point of the paper was that feathered dinosaurs exist, which I've known for a long time. No surprises there.
During the Q&A, there was a question about what this talk will mean for publicity and media. What will happen if the headlines read, "Creationists at the International Conference on Creationism admit feathered dinosaurs exist, so evolution is true!" Here's one thought about that: Admitting reality is never, ever bad. Never. Denying reality is very, very bad. We have more than enough evidence that there are feathered dinosaurs. More than enough. There's no legitimate reason to doubt the existence of feathered dinosaurs.
Beyond that, drawing the conclusion that evolution is true because feathered dinosaurs exist is just as absurd as concluding that evolution is true because any creatures exist. Consider these headlines:
- Creationists at the International Conference on Creationism admit egg-laying mammals exist, so evolution is true!
- Creationists at the International Conference on Creationism admit Neandertals exist, so evolution is true!
- Creationists at the International Conference on Creationism admit mammal-like reptiles exist, so evolution is true!
I think you can see the absurdity of this. The question is not whether such things exist but what their existence actually means. That's why baraminology is important. That's why we need to start thinking about patterns of life and the great chain of being and all those sorts of concepts. We need to think through the meaning of these creatures and the success of evolution at predicting the existence of such things. We do NOT have the luxury of picking and choosing what creatures actually exist. That's God's job.
I might add that those who are not creationists do not consider recognizing the existence of feathered dinosaurs as a capitulation to evolution. Case in point: Joel Duff does not draw that conclusion about me. Joel considers refusal to admit the reality of feathered dinosaurs as a hindrance to "the transition to a new YEC paradigm of understanding dinosaurs."
I know that many people will not listen at all to what I've written here, and that's the way these things go. But feathered dinosaurs aren't going away, and neither are the creationists who admit they exist. We should not proceed in this discussion with accusations and demonization of our fellows. We must not devour our own. There are too few of us, and this is not worth alienating those of us who recognize the reality of feathered dinosaurs.
God made feathered dinosaurs. Blessed be the name of the LORD!
McLain et al. 2018. Feathered dinosaurs reconsidered: new insights from baraminology and ethnotaxonomy. ICC 8:472-515.
Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.