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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Arched Necks In Dinosaur Fossils: Is Water to Blame?

Posted by jlwile on February 28, 2012

The position of the head and neck in this fossil is common among dinosaur fossils (Click for credt).

Relatively complete dinosaur fossils are fairly rare. Additionally, fossils in which the bones are essentially preserved in their proper arrangement (called fully articulated fossils) are even more rare. However, among these rare, fully-articulated fossils, there is a common feature: the head is often thrown back, curving the neck, as shown in the fossil on the left. This is so common it has its own scientific term. It is called the opisthotonic posture. Since it is so common among dinosaur fossils, it has been recognized for a long time. Indeed, the first reference to it in the scientific literature can be traced to a German paper that was written by A. Wagner back in 1859.1 Since then, paleontologists have been trying to figure out what causes this unusual “death pose.”

This investigation has produced a lot of speculation, but in the end, a study that was published in 2007 seemed to have settled the issue. It was done by a veterinarian, Dr. Cynthia Marshall Faux, and a vertebrate paleontologist, Dr. Kevin Padian. That seems like a perfect team when it comes to figuring out what’s going on here. The veterinarian would understand the various physiological and anatomical features of living vertebrates and how they would change during the death process, and the paleontologist would understand the details regarding the fossilization process. Their conclusion was:2

It is not postmortem contraction but perimortem muscle spasms resulting from various afflictions of the central nervous system that cause these extreme postures.

So according to Faux and Padian, the opisthotonic posture occurs at or near the time of death (perimortem) due to problems related to the central nervous system. It has nothing to do with what happens after death (postmortem). Their study got a lot of press and was considered by some to be the final say on the matter.

That is, until last year.

In November of 2011, Alicia Cutler reported on the results of experiments in which she used dead chickens to study the effects of various postmortem conditions on the posture of the skeletal remains. She found that when dead chickens were laid out in sand, nothing really happened to the posture of their skeletons. However, when the dead chickens were immersed in fresh water, they went into the opisthotonic posture in a matter of seconds. This indicates that the death pose of fossil dinosaurs might be the result of postmortem water exposure. I saw the news story I linked above not long after it came out, but I decided not to write about it, since the results were presented at a meeting. I generally like to have a paper to read before I comment on studies that have been done.

Well, as far as I can tell, Cutler has not written a paper about her results, but sedimentologist Dr. Achim Reisdorf and palaeontologist Dr. Michael Wuttke have. They wrote a detailed paper reviewing all the work that has gone on related to this issue as well as their own experiments and investigations. They come to a conclusion that is very similar to Cutler’s.

In their paper, they examine two very well-preserved fossils that exhibited the opisthotonic posture and decide that what they see cannot be reconciled with the conclusions of Faux and Padian. However, such analysis contains a lot of speculation, to which the authors freely admit. To me, the more convincing aspect of their study is that they performed experiments similar to, but more detailed than, the ones done by Cutler, while still giving Cutler credit for her work. They confirm that when dead chickens are placed in water, they quickly attain the opisthotonic posture, and they even demonstrate the anatomical details as to why this happens. They also confirm that those same anatomical details are found in the dinosaurs that are typically found in the opisthotonic posture.

In the end, they conclude:3

From what has been presented above, it can be concluded that the formation of the “opisthotonic posture” in subaquatically deposited carcasses of long-necked and longtailed reptiles is the result of a postmortem process…this posture must be seen as a normal phenomenon that occurs during subaquatic gradual embedding of these sorts of carcasses.

In other words, right now, the fact that so many articulated dinosaur fossils are found in the opisthotonic posture is probably related to specific postmortem changes that occur as a result of being buried in watery sediment. Of course, that fits in perfectly with the idea that these dinosaur fossils are the result of the actions of a worldwide Flood.


1. Wagner A, “Über einige, im lithographischen Schiefer neu aufgefundene Schildkröten und Saurier,” Gelehrte Anz königl Bayer Akad Wiss 69:1-69, 1859.
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2. Faux CM, Padian K, “The opisthotonic posture of vertebrate skeletons: post-mortem contraction or death throes?,” Paleobiolology 33:201–226, 2007.
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3. Achim G. Reisdorf and Michael Wuttke, “Re-evaluating Moodie’s Opisthotonic-Posture Hypothesis in Fossil Vertebrates Part I: Reptiles—the taphonomy of the bipedal dinosaurs Compsognathus longipes and Juravenator starki from the Solnhofen Archipelago (Jurassic, Germany),” Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 92:119-168, 2012.
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53 Responses to “Arched Necks In Dinosaur Fossils: Is Water to Blame?”
  1. Sensei Mitch says:

    Hello Noah, we need to do something about this Dinosaur infestation…

    Of course we Christian’s understand there were other reasons for the flood too! It is always nice to have some scientific proof to use in arguments.

  2. Seth says:

    That’s amazing! The idea of a worldwide flood is sometimes hard to grasp because it seems impossible; comparing it to the little bitty floods nowadays. I’m really excited about science right now just because there are so many things that we dont know. Mainstream science seems to not see this.

  3. jlwile says:

    Sensei Mitch, I wouldn’t say that this is scientific proof of a worldwide Flood. I would just say that the scientific evidence is consistent with the idea that these fossils were formed in a worldwide Flood.

  4. jlwile says:

    Seth, I see where you are coming from. However, I suggest that studying the little bitty floods that happen today gives us a really good idea of just what a worldwide Flood would have been able to accomplish geologically. For example, I think the creationist work at the Mount St. Helens eruption (which ended up producing a local flood) has taught us quite a bit about what a worldwide Flood could do!

  5. Jake says:

    What were the timescales involved in the experiment with chickens? Were they submerged immediately after death, or were they subjected to “subaquatic gradual embedding”?

    Also, what are the usual environmental prerequisites for fossilization? Is it possible for the fully-articulated fossil samples to form above water?

  6. jlwile says:

    Good questions, Jake. The chickens were bought dead. Half of them were frozen when they were bought and then thawed. Nevertheless, they all adopted the pose within seconds of being put in water. Based on their anatomical analysis, the authors suggest that the pose would happen even if the chickens were put in water many days after dying, as long as a specific ligament (the ligamentum elasticum) had not yet decayed.

    It is difficult to come up with the “usual requirements” for fossilization, since it isn’t something that is easy to study firsthand. However, getting rid of oxygen is a big factor, since there are a lot of aerobic decomposers. Also, burial is important to shield the remains from weathering and to act as a barrier against other decomposers. For the fossil to be fully articulated, you need the burial to be rapid enough that the bones don’t get moved around after the ligaments that hold them together decompose. This should be able to happen above water, such as burial in volcanic ash or in a sandstorm.

  7. J.S. says:

    As residents of a southern state, we have many lizards running around, and I’ve seen more than one dried-up lizard carcass lying around the back patio whose neck is arched back in what appears to be the opisthotonic position. I wonder if anyone’s done any experiments with freshly deceased chickens to see what happens to their necks in a normal, above-ground environment?

  8. jlwile says:

    Good question, J.S.! Reisdorf and Wuttke (authors of the main study), as well as Cutler, looked at what happens with chicken carcasses in above-ground situations. They saw nothing like the opisthotonus posture develop. They could only get the opisthotonus posture using water.

  9. J.S. says:

    Maybe it’s a reptilian thing–I’ll have to keep my eyes open, and do some photo-documenting!

  10. W. Brown says:

    I wonder, J.S, if that’s because they died during a rainstorm or in a puddle? That would explain the posture’s presence in the dead lizards….

  11. jlwile says:

    J.S., photodocumenting is a great idea. I would be happy to post your results here if you would like. Perhaps the right amount of photodocumentation will answer W. Brown’s question.

  12. Kevin N says:

    Of course this is also completely consistent with the dinosaurs dying in any sort of water environment, such as streams, lakes, or swamps. Dinosaurs that died elsewhere, such as on a hillside, had almost zero chance of being preserved as fossils. This leads to a bias in the fossil record: only those creatures that died in areas of active deposition (usually aquatic) were likely to be preserved.

  13. jlwile says:

    You’re right, Kevin. You can explain around the data by saying that there is a bias in the fossil record. However, I prefer models in which you don’t have to explain around the data.

  14. J.S. says:

    W. Brown, I recall seeing them lying around the patio, which is very well-drained, so I don’t think they died in a puddle. I’ll keep my eyes open and send Dr. Wile any photos I might get.

  15. J.S. says:

    Kevin N., I’m with you in that I think whether or not the animals were submerged when they died is equivocal as to whether they were killed by a global or local flood, or whether they died and were buried in situ by normal depositional processes. To me, the greater issue is why do we find mass fossilization at all? Many fossil-containing layers are attributed to the work of local floods, but as far as I know, no one has documented contemporary burial/preservation of organisms by local floods on the order of the accumulations found in the fossil record.

  16. W. Brown says:

    Yes.. Jay didn’t specifically say that this was evidence for Global Flooding, just that it was consistent with it. It, like virtually all evidence, can be interpreted many ways.
    And hmm, J.S… Are there usually rainy days preceding the observance of the lizards in this position?

  17. J.S. says:

    W. Brown, what I did realize is that at least one was found next to our pool. Could be that one of my kids scooped a drowned lizard out and left it on the pool deck. I’m alerting them all to notify me of any dead lizard sightings, either in the pool or out of it. Maybe this calls for a crowdsourced dead lizard survey!

  18. W. Brown says:

    Haha yes! That’s very cool. Family science projects are always the most fun. =)

  19. Darcy says:

    Dr. Wile,

    Thanks for another excellent and informative posting! I’d like to translate it into Portuguese. May I?

    God bless!

  20. gracekalman says:

    That’s extremely fascinating! I wish we had lizards around where I live. Visiting Pensacola Christian College for College Days, I observed a trend among male students consisting of walking around with a lizard hanging from one’s ear. According to my sister, once you get them to bite, they don’t let go. Someone should do experiments to see why!

  21. jlwile says:

    Darcy, please feel free to do so. If you don’t mind, please post the link here when it is done.

  22. jlwile says:

    Grace, there are certain lizards, like the Tokay Gecko, that are known to bite down and hold on for even an hour or so. Even they eventually let go, however. I think the instinct is that the longer they keep biting down, the more likely they are to subdue what they are fighting. Not all lizards have this behavior.

  23. L.W. Dickel says:

    I guess I missed the part where any of these authors suggest that a global flood 6,000 years ago is probably responsible for these “death poses”. Would someone mind highlighting that part?

    And I guess that I missed the evidence that the specific ancient myth of Noah’s flood is responsible for killing the dinosaurs and not one of the many other ancient myths describing floods.

    Isn’t mythology fun, boys and girls?

  24. jlwile says:

    L.W., the authors didn’t mention a global Flood. Also, I don’t know anyone who thinks it happened 6,000 years ago. The generally-accepted time for the Flood is around 4,500 years ago.

    Thanks for the link. I have always thought that mythology is fun, especially when it supports real history. The myriad of flood myths from around the world support the Genesis Flood account very well. Thanks for the supporting evidence!

  25. W. Brown says:

    Of course they didn’t mention a flood. To do so would be simply conforming the data to ideology, since nothing is definitively “flood evidence” in this case. For that matter, nor is it “old earth” evidence, because it can be explained by each system of belief with equal validity. Nor did Dr. Wile mention that it was evidence for a global flood. All he said was that it fits in with the prediction made by the theory that he prefers. I think you would miss a lot fewer things if you actually read the articles. I love how you throw verbal vitriol at peer-reviewed scientific papers that are written by scientists who disagree with you, and then try to use wikipedia to illustrate things. Also, periods go inside of quotation marks.

  26. L.W. Dickel says:

    “The generally accepted time for the Flood is around 4,500 years ago”

    Generally accepted by actual “fellows” of accredited scientific organizations on planet earth?


    Generally accepted by deluded religious zealots who have allowed their minds to be enslaved by Stone Age superstition?


    And those ancient flood stories that predate the myth of Noah’s flood by centuries must mean that God apparently committed genocide and infanticide on completely helpless men, women and children more than just once!! Isn’t that beautiful!!?

    Praise God for drowning innocent children and infants on multiple occasions!!!!!!

  27. L.W. Dickel says:


    I think it’s time for your dementia medication.

  28. jlwile says:

    L.W., you seem to be forgetting that I already corrected your mistaken notion that there are no young-earth creationists who are fellows in scientific societies. As I already informed you, there are several young-earth creationists who are fellows in scientific societies:

    Dr. Paul Garner, fellow of the Geological Society of London

    Dr. Raymond Damadian, fellow of The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
    Incidentally, Dr. Damadian was also awarded the United States’ National Medal of Technology and the Lincoln-Edison Medal. He is also in The National Inventors Hall of Fame alongside Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright brothers.

    Dr. Andy McIntosh, fellow of The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, The Institute of Energy, and The Institute of Physics

    Since you don’t seem to remember this, I will add one more, to help you remember:

    Dr. Ian Macreadie, Fellow of Australian Society for Microbiology

    So yes, the generally-accepted date for the Flood is accepted by actual fellows of accredited scientific organizations on planet earth.

    You also seem to be confused about how history works. Let me try to clear up that confusion. When a historical account is written, it is often well after the events took place. Thus, there may well be stories that predate the account, but that doesn’t mean the stories are talking about another event. It also doesn’t necessarily mean the stories are more accurate than the written account. Thus, the fact that many Flood legends predate the account of the Flood in Genesis does not mean they are talking about a different Flood. Nor does that mean those stories are more accurate than the account in Genesis. In fact, according to James E. Strickling, a statistical analysis of the various Flood legends shows that the Genesis account is probably the most accurate. (James E. Strickling, “A Statistical Analysis Of Flood Legends,” Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal 9(3):152-155, 1972)

    Thanks once again for pointing out the evidence that supports the Genesis account of the Flood.

    I will also once again point out that when you insult people (like W. Brown) rather than addressing their arguments, you are merely demonstrating the weakness of your case.

  29. W. Brown says:

    I don’t think it’s weakness demonstrated as much as it is total and complete lacking in the department of argument…

  30. L.W. Dickel says:

    Hey Jay, hear’s what the Geological Society of London, which Paul Warner is apparently a member, states as their mission statement:

    Science’s business is to investigate the constitution of the universe, and cannot pronounce on any concept that lies “beyond” nature. This is the meaning of “agnostic”, the word coined by former GSL President Thomas Henry Huxley, to describe a scientist’s position of being “unable to know”. This Society has therefore long operated according to the view that religion and science only become incompatible with each other when one attempts to trespass upon the domain of the other.

    The idea that the Earth was divinely created in the geologically recent past (“Young Earth Creationism”); attempts by Young Earth Creationists to gain acceptance for what they misrepresent in public as corroborative empirical evidence for this view (“Creation science”); and the allied belief that features of the universe and of living things are better explained as the direct result of action by an intelligent cause than by natural processes (“Intelligent Design”), represent such a trespass upon the domain of science.

    The Geological Society of London is the oldest national learned society for the Earth sciences in the world, and embodies the collective knowledge of nearly 10,000 Earth scientists worldwide. On their behalf it wishes, during the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth, to place on record the following facts as being long established beyond doubt.

    Planet Earth, along with the other planets in the Solar System, was formed approximately 4560 million years ago.
    Life has existed on Earth for thousands of millions of years. It has evolved into its current form by a combination of genetic variation and natural selection – and is likely to go on doing so for as long as it continues to exist.

    Close study of the structure and organisation of living animals and plants clearly indicates their common ancestry, and the succession of forms through the fossil record, as well as the genetic record contained in every living organism, provides powerful evidence of the reality of evolution.

    How do you suppose that they would feel about Mr. Garner’s views on earth’s history?

  31. L.W. Dickel says:

    And Jay, allow me to quote what Philosopher Michael Ruse said about Dr. Damadian being excluded from the Nobel Prize:

    “I cringe at the thought that Raymond Damadian was refused his just honor because of his religious beliefs. Having silly ideas in one field is no good reason to deny merit for great ideas in another field.”

    Did you catch that, Jay? “Having silly ideas in one field is no good reason to deny merit for great ideas in another field.”

    I applaud Dr. Damadian’s accomplishments in MRI’s, but that is irrelevant to whether his creationist views are nutty and silly and not accepted by the overwhelming majority of his peers.

    And the same goes for the other creationists that you mentioned. You can point to nothing that they have contributed to our scientific knowledge through their creation silliness. You can’t list a single paper that even once mentions creationism that was published by the very organizations to which these creationists belong !! Not even their OWN SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATIONS publish or support their creationist nuttery!!! Do you not get this?

  32. L.W. Dickel says:

    And Jay, the idea of you instructing anyone on the specifics of how history works is about like an Amazon tribesman giving a lecture describing Einstein’s theory of relativity.

    And as usual you trot out another creationist who couldn’t get his nuttyness published in an accredited scientific journal if his life depended on it!

    “A Statistical Analysis of Flood Legends”. Now what rigorous scientific organization published this fount of astonishing information? Oh, yes, of course. The Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal.


    I bet it’s really tough to be elected a “fellow” there, isn’t it, Jay!?

    And if W. Brown ever posts an actual argument instead of just blithering nonsense, I’ll be glad to address him.

  33. jlwile says:

    L.W., Paul Garner is not a member of the Geological Society of London. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of London. This is important, because I already told you that once, and then in your previous comment on this thread, you claimed that fellows of scientific organizations did not believe in the Genesis Flood. In fact, I had already told you of three who did, and I listed a fourth in my reply to you on this thread. This illustrates two things: (1) once confronted with facts that you don’t like, you forget them and (2) you haven’t really investigated this issue much, since you don’t even know how well-respected many young-earth creationists are in their scientific fields.

    I expect that the Geological Society of London doesn’t like Paul Garner’s views on earth history, which makes his being a fellow in that society even more important. Even though the Geological Society of London is predisposed to dislike Paul Garner, he is still a fellow in the organization. That obviously means the Geological Society of London really respects his scientific work!

    It is not surprising that Dr. Ruse thinks Dr. Damadian’s views are silly. Dr. Ruse follows the majority rather than following the data. However, there are many, many scientists from many, many different fields who do not think his views are silly. I listed them for you previously. Since you seemed to forget about the fact that young-earth creationists are fellows in scientific organizations, you might have forgotten the large number of highly-qualified young-earth creationists as well.

    You say, “You can point to nothing that they have contributed to our scientific knowledge through their creation silliness.” However, that is just not true. If you learn about how Damadian invented the MRI, you will find he had to go against the accepted science of the time. In fact, physicists said that their calculations showed that his invention would never work. However, he went ahead and followed the data rather than the view of the majority. I expect his experience as a young-earth creationist allowed him to do that. In addition, Dr. Ian Macreadie is one of the most important AIDS researchers in the Southern Hemisphere. Here is what he says about viruses:

    I actually don’t believe God created viruses as separate entities, I believe they were a part of the DNA in cells. Some evolutionists put viruses down as a predecessor of cells, but that doesn’t work, because they need to have the machinery of cells to reproduce. I actually see viruses as genetic garbage, having escaped from cells way back, as a result of mutation, environmental damage—part of the Curse on creation.

    Since much of his research is on viruses, this view directly affects his research, which is probably why he is such a successful scientist!

    In addition to history, I think you might be confused on how science progresses. Let me try to clear up that confusion as well. You see, science generally progresses when someone goes against the accepted ideas in the field. An excellent example of this comes from Dr. Dan Shechtman. His research showed that there were such things as quasicrystals, even though the accepted view in the field was that quasicrystals were impossible. He was ridiculed for his views. Dr. Linus Pauling said of him, “There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.” Even the head of his own research group asked him to quit for bringing shame to the group. Nevertheless, he continued to push his “silly” views, and we now know that quasicrystals do, indeed, exist. Dr. Shechtman won the Nobel Prize specifically for going against the accepted views of science and pursuing the data, regardless of where it leads. It may very well be that Garner and the three other fellows of scientific organizations that I listed are the Shechtmans of their fields. Science isn’t about peer pressure. It is about following the data. You need to learn that.

    You might think that me teaching you history is “like an Amazon tribesman giving a lecture describing Einstein’s theory of relativity.” However, I have had to teach you two things already. In a previous thread, you didn’t know anything about how important dung burning has been throughout human history. In this thread, I had to teach you that when once source predates another, it is not necessarily discussing separate events. You thought that because the flood legends that support the Genesis Flood account predated it, they must be talking about a different event. I had to teach you that this is not the case. Thus, this “Amazon tribesman” of which you speak must know relativity really well!

    I note that as is the case with W. Brown, rather than actually discussing the issues related to Strickling’s statistical analysis of the flood legends, you simply insult him. This just shows that like W. Brown’s serious arguments, you can’t seem to answer Strickling’s arguments. Once again, this simply demonstrates how weak your case really is. Strickling’s analysis shows quite clearly that the Genesis Flood account is the one supported by the various flood legends around the world, and you can’t even attempt to argue against it. Thanks once again for confirming the fact that the various flood legends of the world offer strong supporting evidence for the historical account of the worldwide Flood as given in Genesis.

    I would like to point out to my readers the pattern that L.W. usually follows. It is typical of most who hold to an idea based on fervent belief rather than based on investigation and rational analysis. He first makes statements that he thinks are true but are demonstrably false. When he is shown that his statements are false, he then tries to change the subject. When that doesn’t work, he descends into insults, which are the last resort of those who have no support for their views. Then, he gives up altogether. Unfortunately, throughout this entire process, he doesn’t really learn anything. As a result, when he tries again on another topic, he often uses arguments that were demonstrated wrong in a previous discussion. These are the mental gymnastics it takes for a person to believe something based on what he wants to believe instead of the evidence. If you are wondering what there is to learn from L.W.’s comments, here is at least one important lesson: If you believe things based on what you want to believe rather than on the evidence, you will probably end up acting like L.W. That should be reason enough for you to go out there and look at the evidence!

  34. Jonathan B. says:

    I found it amusing that the London Geological Society says in their mission statement that ‘This is the meaning of “agnostic”, the word coined by former GSL President Thomas Henry Huxley, to describe a scientist’s position of being “unable to know”.’ Only to later say ‘On their behalf it wishes, during the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth, to place on record the following facts as being long established beyond doubt.’

  35. J.S. says:

    Dr. Wile, in this discussion, you are also presenting a model of patience and charity in responding to critics that we all could benefit from–thank you!

  36. jlwile says:

    Excellent point, Jonathan! It is amazing how many scientists give lip service to the fact that science can’t prove anything, but then they make pronouncements indicating that it has.

  37. jlwile says:

    Thank you, J.S. I have not always been good about that, but I am learning.

  38. gracekalman says:

    L.W. should read The Irrational Atheist! I’d love to see his reaction.

  39. Elizabeth says:

    That is completely fascinating!! Thanks for sharing

  40. L.W. Dickel says:

    As usual Jay, you do nothing but blither inane absurdities.

    Yes, there are actual scientists who believe in the stupifying absurdity of young earth creationism. And some of them even are members or fellows of prestigious scientific organizations. But not one of the creationists that you trot out has ever been able to publish a single article regarding their asinine creationist beliefs in the organizations to which they belong!! And you can’t seem to name one, despite my repeated requests to do so.

    You can continue to blather about their accomplishments in other fields, but you can’t offer a single example of one of these people who have had their creationist nuttery published in anything other than creationist websites!!

    You think Strickling’s work is so impressive, Jay? Well then show me a single article about his “statistics” of the Noah flood that he had published in anything other then silly creationist blogs!

    But you can’s do that, of course. Because people with your beliefs are laughed at and considered deluded nutters by the overwhelming majority of scientists on planet earth!!
    And for good reason. Because they don’t have the data to back up their absurd ideas. All they have is religious, fundamentalist nonsense. You and your fellow creationists have decided to allow your minds to be enslaved to the primitive lunacy espoused by the goat sacrificing ancients that wrote your bible.

    And Jonathan B., some things are “unknowable” by the scientific community, but the age of the earth and evolution are not in that category.

  41. jlwile says:

    L.W., it is interesting that you claim I am blithering “inane absurdities,” but you can’t refute a single thing I say. Instead, I have to continue to point out where you are wrong.

    Once again, you are incorrect that young-earth creationists do not publish their ideas in the standard, peer-reviewed literature. For example, young-earth creationist Leonard Brand published two studies in the standard, peer-reviewed literature using his assumptions of Flood geology to explain footprints in the Coconino Sandstone [Brand, L., Field and laboratory studies in the Coconino Sandstone, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 28:25–38, 1979, Brand, L. and Tang, T., Fossil vertebrate footprints in the Coconino Sandstone (Permian) of northern Arizona: Evidence for underwater origin, Geology 19:1201–1204, December 1991.]

    More recently, young-earth creationists Chase Nelson and J.C. Sanford published a genetic modeling study using young-earth creationist ideas. [Chase W Nelson and John C Sanford, “The effects of low-impact mutations in digital organisms,” Theoretical Biology and Medical Modeling, 8:9, 2011 ]

    In addition, I already listed other studies published by young-earth creationists in the literature of the scientific organizations to which they belong. I am sure you have forgotten that, since you seem to ignore any facts that go against your ideology.

    Once again, you need to actually investigate these issues. That way, you won’t make such obviously incorrect statements.

    Strickling’s work is impressive. One way I can see that is that you can’t refute it. Instead, all you can do is complain about where it is publised. This is why it is rather silly for you to say that young-earth creationists “don’t have the data to back up their absurd ideas. In fact, you are the one with no data to back up your claims. That’s why you can’t address the data and are forced to resort to insulting people – because you have no data to back up your ideas (at least, no data that is actually correct!).

  42. Jonathan B. says:

    “And Jonathan B., some things are ‘unknowable’ by the scientific community, but the age of the earth and evolution are not in that category.”

    May I ask why not?

  43. L.W. Dickel says:

    Hey Jay, just keep trotting out your creationist loons and I’ll keep knocking them down! It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

    What you failed to mention about the articles that you referred to is that the authors never once bring up their creationist nuttery as a possible explanation to support their hypothesis! The “great Noah flood” is never mentioned. Young earth creationism is never once mentioned. Why do you supposes that is, Jay? I think we know, don’t we?

    Here’s something for you to do, Jay. Highlight a single sentence in a peer reviewed article that specifically mentions creationism or Noah’s flood as supporting data for any hypothesis. If you creationist nutters are so proud of your “scientific hypothesis” then you should be more than willing to refer to it in actual scientific journals. But you NEVER DO!!!!!

    And please allow me to reprint what Martin Lockley, a Professor of Geology at the University of Colorado and the founder/director of the Dinosaurs Tracker Researchers Group, has to say about your Leonard Brand and his book, “Faith, Reason, and Earth History”.

    “Leonard Brands recent book, ‘Faith, Reason, and Earth History’, provides a fascinating insight into the complex and muddled attempts of creationists to interpret the vertebrae track record and the fossil record in general. It show us, on one hand, a very curious mix of what appear to be a few genuine attempts by creationists to do good science, or at least better science than they have done in the past, and, on the other hand, what appear to be quite ridiculous and extraordinarily naive interpretations of classic geological localities such as the Grand Canyon. The latter interpretations are so “incredible” to professional geologists and paleontologists, that it is hard not to conclude that Brand and his creationist colleges are either very poorly informed on geological matters, or willfully overlooking obvious evidence that is readily available to any student with an introductory textbook.

    In many cases, alas, this latter, deliberate bias is clearly introduced in order to promote a misguided (and unscientific) agenda that seeks to show that the bible is rigid literal truth. I am reluctant to make this charge of deliberate bias, but one can show that Brand has too frequently failed to cite replies to his work that challenge his creationist-inspired hypothesis”

  44. L.W. Dickel says:

    Hey Jay, are there any other creationist loons that you want to mention so that I can demonstrate how the actual accredited scientific community demolishes their ridiculous work?

    And Jonathan B., do yourself a favor and expose your mind to something besides loony creationist blogs. Seriously, read critiques of the ideas of creationists by actual scientists who are not afraid to specifically state their ideas and hypothesis’ in peer reviewed journals and books.

  45. jlwile says:

    L.W., you aren’t doing a very good job of knocking down the creation scientists I list. In fact, the more you talk about them, the better they look. After all, rather than addressing their arguments, all you can do is make incorrect statements about them or insult them. The only one that knocks down is you!

    You claim that “the authors never once bring up their creationist nuttery as a possible explanation to support their hypothesis.” Of course, that’s not true. You are saying this because you haven’t actually read any of the references. As I told you previously (and once again, you forgot), the authors do, indeed, mention their creationist views right there in the peer-reviewed literature. The Snelling article I referenced for you before mentions variable radioactive half-lives, a staple in young-earth creationism. The Brand references I gave you mention that in his view, the Coconino Sandstone was laid down in a flood, not by wind, as is the current consensus. Once again, that is a staple in young-earth creationism. Certainly Noah’s Flood isn’t mentioned, but that’s because the peer-reviewed literature is rather dogmatic. As Dr. Günter Blobel, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, pointed out, the main problem one encounters in one’s research is “when your grants and papers are rejected because some stupid reviewer rejected them for dogmatic adherence to old ideas.” The New York Times said that his statement, “drew thunderous applause from the hundreds of sympathetic colleagues and younger scientists in the auditorium.”

    I think this is where you are most confused about how science works. You seem to think that all you have to do is find a scientist who agrees with you or a group of scientists who agree with you, and that means you hold to a scientific view. Obviously, that’s not the case. The way to evaluate science is to actually look at the data yourself. You don’t seem to be willing to do that, which leads you to all sorts of misconceptions about science. I have done my best to try to educate you so as to clear up your misconceptions, but unfortunately, you don’t seem very willing to learn, since you keep repeating errors that I have already corrected.

    So you found someone who doesn’t like young-earth creationists to bad-mouth Dr. Brand’s book. That’s not very surprising. Let’s see what another accredited scientist says about the same book. As Dr. Kurt P. Wise, a Harvard-trained paleontologist who studied under evolutionary high priest Stephen Jay Gould says:

    Faith, Reason, and Earth History makes a substantial contribution to creationist literature. It is the most philosophically sophisticated book on the subject and a must read for anyone interested in creationism and the origins controversy.

    So now you have two opposite opinions from two highly-qualified scientists. Like the Sanford book you unsuccessfully tried to trash earlier, then, if you want to find out who is right, you will actually need to read the book. Of course, based on your past behavior, I doubt that you actually will.

    I appreciate your offer to find other people to trash the excellent scientists who make up the young-earth creationist community, but there is really no need. You see, I actually read the other side, so I know the lies that are told about young-earth creationists. As you can see from my “links to investigate” section, I read young-earth creationists, old-earth creationists, intelligent design advocates, and materialistic evolutionists. You can also see this by looking at the books that I review on this blog or by the wide variety of references I cite. In the end, rather than relying on the opinions of others, I actually look at the data as presented by all sides of the scientific controversy on origins. Based on that, I have come to the conclusion that young-earth creationism is the most scientifically reasonable of the views. Given the many errors you have made over and over again in our various discussions on this blog, it is clear to me that you have not looked at all sides. In fact, it seems to me that you are avoiding looking at any side except the one that agrees with your preconceived notions. I wonder why…

  46. L.W. Dickel says:

    And here we go again.

    In response to the challenge that creationists never have the courage to actually mention their creation nuttery in their published articles, you again trot out Peter Harrison’s book.

    And again, you dishonestly misrepresent what Harrison actually states in his book. Here is what Peter Harrison has to say about his own book:

    “The central concern of this book is to illustrate the ways in which THE MYTH of the Fall informed discussions about the foundations of knowledge and influenced methodological developments in the nascent natural sciences.”

    Did you catch that this time, Jay? Harrison calls “the Fall” a myth. He is not saying that the Fall is an actual event that has affected the natural world. You are misrepresenting what this author is saying, and since I pointed this out to you in a previous post I can only assume that you are intentionally being deceitful. And shame on you, sir.

    And the fact that you once again chose to quote from a creation nutter like Kurt Wise in order to lend support to another creationist is hilarious!!

    Here’s what Kurt Wise has said regarding his creationist beliefs:

    “Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young earth creationist because that is my understanding of Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.”

    Is that what you call an objective, reasoned scientist, Jay?
    Someone who is only interested in conforming his facts to fit around the bible? How pathetically sad.

    If you really did read all sides with an actual open mind, then there is no way that you would be a deluded young earth creationist nutter. But you, like Wise, start off with the deluded belief of an inerrant ancient holy book, and simply twist the actual facts to fit your preconceived religious brain washing.

  47. jlwile says:

    L.W., you seem to be confused again. I am sorry. I will try to be more explicit so as to keep you from getting so confused. I was not referring to Harrison’s book. However, since you brought it up again, I will point out that Harrison makes it clear that science flourished specifically because scientists thought the Fall actually did occur. Thus, far from being the idiotic idea you seem to think it is, the reality of the Fall was instrumental in the development of science.

    What I was referring to is a fact that comes later in the comment. Since you seem to forget any facts that demonstrate the errors in your views, let me remind you of it:

    You claim that the published articles I gave you did not support creationism in any way. That indicates you didn’t read them. As the article by Snelling and others says:

    “We view this seeming paradox as a hint that nuclear decay processes may have been occurring more rapidly during the interval in which these granites were cooling.”

    This is, of course, a specifically young-earth creationist concept. In addition, the research on the Coconino Sandstone was based on the mechanisms of Flood Geology, which is (once again) a specifically young-earth creationist concept.

    Thus, unlike you are trying to claim, young-earth creationists do discuss their creationist ideas in the peer-reviewed literature. As anyone reading this thread can see, this is not the first time I have corrected this errant view of yours.

    You say that it is hilarious for me to quote one young-earther in support of another. However, you are simply quoting another young-earth hater in support of your young-earth-hating views. So you are doing exactly what I am doing, but for some reason, you don’t find what you are doing to be hilarious. That’s the problem with opinions, L.W., you can find all sorts of people with all sorts of opinions. That’s why a real scientist looks at the data, regardless of its source. Unfortunately, that’s not something you are willing to do. So once again, there is one highly-qualified scientist who thinks Brand’s book is garbage. There is another who thinks it is a must read and is incredibly important. How will you know who is right? You will need to read the book for yourself. It is just unfortunate that you are unwilling to challenge your preconceived notions by doing that.

    You also seem to be confused about what Dr. Wise said. He did not say that he would conform the facts to fit around the Bible. He said, “if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.” In other words, he would admit to the facts, but he would continue to believe in a young earth because of Scripture. Those are, indeed, the words of an objective, reasoned scientist, because he will admit to the facts, even when they go against his preconceived notions. That’s more than I can say for many people!

    I really love your last comment: “If you really did read all sides with an actual open mind, then there is no way that you would be a deluded young earth creationist nutter.” Does that sound like a statement that comes from someone with an open mind? I actually do look at all sides with an open mind. When I started my serious education in science, I was an atheist. Thus, I certainly didn’t start off with a belief in the Bible. Also, I am perfectly comfortable with theistic evolution, which views Genesis 1-11 as allegory rather than historical narrative. You can see that by reading other posts on my blog. The problem is that the scientific evidence doesn’t seem to support an old earth or evolution. That’s why I am a young-earth creationist. Of course, the reason I know that science doesn’t support an old earth or evolution is because I have actually looked at all sides in the debate. Your comments demonstrate that you have not. Thus, it is rather obvious who in this discussion has looked at all sides with an open mind!

  48. Jonathan B. says:

    “And Jonathan B., do yourself a favor and expose your mind to something besides loony creationist blogs. Seriously, read critiques of the ideas of creationists by actual scientists who are not afraid to specifically state their ideas and hypothesis’ in peer reviewed journals and books.”

    This in no way answers the question I asked you. Don’t tell me you’re unable to answer my simple question!

  49. jlwile says:

    Jonathan, I am not surprised that L.W. didn’t answer your question. He is long on insults but very, very short on substance, and when he tries to produce something substantial, it is usually wrong. I do hope he actually tries to answer your question, but I seriously doubt that he will.

  50. Jason says:

    Hello Dr Wile,

    I had no access to the paper by the latter two scientists you referred to, so I referred to this link below.

    It says that tests were done on carcasses/mostly skeletal remains of their test subjects.

    For a large part, yes, I would agree that a flood would be a n admissible reason for the consistent creation of such arched-neck fossils. I must however disagree with the usage of a global flood – local floods are more likely for me, if a flood argument were to be fielded.

    Personally, for full disclosure, I don’t believe that humans and dinosaurs existed in the same time period. I would actually agree most with Kevin N.’s point above – that there was a bias in the fossil record.

    Yet, it is not a cause of explaining “around” the evidence – it is the evidence. Fossil formation itself requires the presence of water, silt, etc. so it would be clear that most (if not all) fossils formed would have had be exposed to such aquatic conditions. No fossils were thus found having straight necks, because to have a straight neck, you would need a dry environment, and a fossil wouldn’t be formed in a dry environment.

    As far as conclusions go, the only conclusion that should be drawn/hypothesis to be strengthened is that water must be present for fossils to form. (ie. don’t conclude that there must have been a global flood just because there was water at the time of fossil formation.)

    Much thanks for reading my comment, dear sir,
    Best Regards and God Bless.

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