Nothing is Made Up

That’s the impression I’m getting from Brian’s latest article, Rare Fossil Pterosaur a Reminder of Native Legends – not even stories of flying monsters.

Rhamphorhynchus and fish - click through for more

You will presumably have seen by now the picture of the Rhamphorhynchus pterosaur with a fish in its belly being held by another, larger fish. If you haven’t, for some reason the image above isn’t displaying correctly, so get that fixed.

Having nothing much to say on the topic – he doesn’t even try to claim that the pterosaur was caught in the fast moving waters of the flood, possibly for fear of having to make up a way for that to actually happen – he instead tries to argue that some Native American myths mean that people once saw these animals, and they co-existed with humans:

For instance, the Sioux Nation has a rich tradition of passing down stories orally from generation to generation. Some of their legends tell of large flying reptiles that hunted water creatures.

Although many Native Americans associated these “thunderbirds” with mystical origins and powers, ancient ancestors of these people groups could have witnessed actual creatures. The Reverend Gideon Pond was the first resident missionary among the Dakota Sioux of Minnesota. Fossil historian Adrienne Mayor quoted Pond, who wrote in the late 1830s, “Many stories are told of these beings and their mortal combats.”

The Dakota Sioux called the thunderbirds “wakinyan,” and they could point out “collapsed river bluffs, very common along the Missouri River, as places where Thunder Birds had swooped down to attack Unktehi [a monstrous water reptile] and its relatives.”

Yes, but the problem here is that these “wakinyanswere birds – they had feathers, for goodness sake. Pterosaurs didn’t have feathers. And at ~two feet, this Aspidorhynchus fish was (it’s now extinct, of course) no river monster.

The German find was not as huge as the creatures portrayed in the legends, but fossils show that some pterosaurs had wingspans up to 40 feet. Fossils also show that huge water reptiles, perhaps like those in the Native American stories, once existed. And according to the Bible, all these creatures were made during the same creation week along with mankind, so they all co-existed for many years.

Yes, and some of them would have been on the ark – so why no pterosaurs in the bible? Why none at all in existence now, when there are so many birds?

The most striking similarity between this fossil discovery and the legends is more in behavior than in size. Eberhard Frey and Helmut Tischlinger published the fossil description in the online journal PLoS One. They wrote, “Large Aspidorhynchus thus could grab a skimming Rhamphorhynchus by just raising the head through the water surface. The specimen presented here strongly suggests that Aspidorhynchus actually did exactly this.”

And this is a “striking” behavioural similarity? Similar to what? He never explains. The paper is here, btw.

This unique set of fossils appears to corroborate ancient Native American legends of flying reptiles that fished the water’s surface and of sea creatures that in turn preyed on the flyers. Evolution has no explanation for any such eyewitness accounts, but both the legends and fossil data are easy to interpret in the framework of a young world in which pterosaurs and humans lived at the same time.

Tell me, why should evolution have an explanation for this? Unless he means memetics, or evolutionary psychology, which I doubt he is and would anyway be unlikely to give a good answer. Why is it even so pressing? Brian himself had to admit that “ancient ancestors of these people groups could have witnessed actual creatures.” (emph. added.) His case is not exactly very strong

In reality, what we have is a myth of large birds, possibly arising from the existence of real large birds. Or perhaps it was made up entirely – were there unicorns and leprechauns on the Ark, Brian? I think not.

Young Earth creationists need to cease citing myths in support of their beliefs. Not only can myths be made up but it draws attention to the fact that their own beliefs are myths also, but nevertheless ones that they try to hold on to at all costs.

3 thoughts on “Nothing is Made Up

  1. The obvious explanation for many legendary beasts is that ancient people found their fossils and told stories about them. Thus Giants come from stories about elephant/mammoth bones, griffins are from Protoceratops fossils, sea-monsters are from mosasaurs and basilosaurs. The ancients weren’t as stupid as their modern day worshippers and filled their sacred texts with tales derived from fossil lore.

  2. Am I the only one who sees a major flaw in their reasoning behind Rhamphorhynchus being the basis for these legends. A flaw they actually point out themselves.

    “The German find was not as huge as the creatures portrayed in the legends, but fossils show that some pterosaurs had wingspans up to 40 feet.”

    So physically, these specimens were nothing like the legends but behaviourally they kinda were. So the legends are therefore true? NO!

    Legend says dragons can fly. Birds can fly but look nothing like dragons. Therefore dragons exist.

  3. Read “Fossil Legends of the First Americans” by Adrienne Mayor (Princeton University Press, 2005) for the scientific interpretations of these Native American myths being misused by creationists.

Thoughts?

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