Janice Boekhoff
 

Devotion

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

Mark 15:31-32

I was trained as a geologist and worked in the field for four years after graduation. After I quit work to stay at home with my kids, I attended a church class that helped me become a creationist, meaning that I now believe in a literal seven day creation by God and that the earth is a lot younger than a few billion years old.

Several of my previous colleagues found out about my creationist beliefs. Most were kind enough not to mock me to my face but a few did, in the hopes of convincing me of the error of my ways.

I’ll be honest, sometimes it made me angry that colleagues who used to respect me could show such disrespect because I didn’t agree with them. But when I want to shout against the disrespect of those who mock me, I remember that Jesus was mocked as well–even while he was dying. His only response to his persecutors was to forgive them for what they had done. Jesus knew that people would reject Him, yet He declared the truth every second of His earthly life.

Despite the voices that might say I’m crazy, ignorant or brainwashed, I’m not afraid to believe the Bible is true. Are you?

Dear Lord, thank you that You are truth and I need not search any further. I rejoice in the glory of Your creation and all those whom you created, including those people who mock me. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Fun Science Fact

Iguanodon Dinosaur photorealistic representation, side view.
 
ID 34872791 © Leonello Calvetti | Dreamstime.com

One of the things I love most about science is the constant learning and refinement of theories. In the historical sciences, like paleontology, this learning and refinement comes from two different sources: new discoveries and re-interpretations of old discoveries. To illustrate, I’d like to tell you the story of Iguanodon, one of the first dinosaur fossils to be scientifically described.

Iguanodon was found in 1822 by Mary Ann Mantell. Her physician husband, Dr. Gideon Mantell, gave the first written description of the creature in 1825. Iguanodon’s thumb spike was thought to be a horn on the forehead, making him more of a dino rhino. This mistake was corrected in 1878 when paleontologist Louis Dollo unearthed thirty-eight nearly complete Iguanodon skeletons. From this find, Dollo realized the spike belong on the thumb. He also discovered that Iguanodon’s back legs were much longer than the front and its tail was thick and heavy. These discoveries led to the modern interpretation of Iguanodon as able to stand on just its back legs or on all four if necessary.

It amazes me how advances in science bring us that much closer to understanding how God made these incredible creatures.

Reference: Ross, Marcus. Building a Better Dinosaur. Answers Magazine, Oct-Dec 2013, 8(4), p. 56-61.

Dinosaur to Bird Evolution, Part 1

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 ID 32027033 © Skripko Ievgen | Dreamstime.com

I have loved dinosaurs since I was a kid. I know, it’s weird. Because I’m a girl and I’m not supposed to love big, scaly critters with lots of teeth, but that’s okay, I’m fine with being weird (used to it, in fact). So, out of my love and devotion for dinosaurs, I have decided to call the month of May, Dinosaur Month on my blog.

Yes, I am aware that International Dinosaur Month is in October (although nobody seems to know who started this), and National Fossil Day is also in October (Oct. 15th), but I don’t want to wait. And it’s my blog, so you can’t stop me (no, I’m not sticking my tongue out).

If you happen to not like dinosaurs, you can still visit here on Mondays for the devotions (I can’t do all this month’s devotions about dinosaurs, sorry, it’s just too hard). Or you can feel free to visit here again in June, I won’t hold it against you.

Now, on to dinosaur related things. In school, I remember being taught about the general theory of evolution when I was pretty young, maybe in grade school, but certainly by junior high. And it actually made me love dinosaurs more. To think they had one ancestor, from a group called the Archosaurs, whose DNA changed and morphed into all the different amazing creatures we see at dusty dig sites or in museum displays. The idea itself seemed fantastical, and I love ideas.

The hypothesis of dinosaurs changing into birds came into fashion sometime while I was in college. I accepted it without question. For me, it meant that in a small way dinosaurs lived on, that somehow they outsmarted the gigantic meteor or the climate change or whatever actually killed them all off.

Skip ahead many years and I became a Christian. I continued to believe in evolution for several more years until I took a church class about creationism. I went into that class with the attitude of “prove this creation stuff to me.” And I was surprised by the evidence. In the next several posts, I’d like to share some of this evidence as it relates to dinosaurs. Some of this information has come from classes I’ve taken with creation scientists, some from creation magazines, and some of it from a presentation prepared by Helmut Welke, President of the Quad Cities Creation Science Association (thanks, Helmut). For more on the Quad Cities Creation Science Association, visit their website, http://www.qccsa.org/.

I’ll do my best to keep this down to earth because I’m sure most of you out there aren’t geologists. So, here are a few of the issues with the theory of dinosaur to bird evolution:

1)      Lack of transitional forms

This means scientists don’t see bird-dinos or dino-birds. If evolution gradually changed dinosaurs into birds, there should be intermediate forms between the two. These transitional forms just aren’t found in the fossil record. Back in the day of Darwin, paleontologists said we simply hadn’t found enough fossils and that transitional forms would turn up. Millions of fossils later, we still have no transitional forms.

Archaeopteryx is sometimes heralded as the missing link between dinosaurs and birds, but there isn’t any evidence this animal was anything more than a bird. It has the characteristic longer forelimbs and shorter hind limbs of a bird, but its supposed dinosaur ancestors show no evidence of their body proportions transitioning in this way.

A few dinosaur fossils have been found with fuzzy material on the bone, which some paleontologists have interpreted as left over feathers. However, further study has shown this material to be fossilized collagen filaments from skin not feathers.

2)      Feathers versus scales

Feathers differ markedly from scales in structure and growth. Feathers grow from tube-like follicles similar to hair follicles and are attached at knobs on the bone. Scales are not individual structures like feathers, but rather comprise a continuous sheet on the surface of the body. When scales shed, they shed as an entire sheet. In contrast, feathers grow and are shed in matched pairs. The structure is very different, as well. The feather vane is made up of hundreds of barbs, each bearing hundreds of barbules interlocked with tiny hinged hooks. This structure is much more complex than the relatively simple structure of reptilian scales. Is it reasonable to believe one evolved into another?

3)      Dinosaur digits

At first glance, dinosaur and bird hands look similar in that they both have three fingers, but the problem is they aren’t the same three fingers. As the embryo develops in both birds and dinosaurs, two of the five fingers are lost and three are retained. Dinosaurs retain digits one, two and three (digit one is the thumb), while birds retain digits two, three and four. So, birds and dinosaurs have mismatched fingers. If they evolved from each other, you’d expect their fingers to have evolved together, as well. This difference suggests it’s almost impossible for them to be related.

In the post next week, I’ll discuss more problems with the hypothesis of dinosaur to bird evolution. For now, what do you think? Does it sound possible for dinosaur scales to evolve into bird feathers? How would you account for the difference in finger development?

Additional Resources: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/did-dinosaurs-turn-into-birds

Devotion

The way of a fool seems right to him,

But a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 12:15

Are you teachable? At every age, we are learning all the time whether we try to or not. We need to be open to the right kind of teaching. Jesus gave us many examples of how to live out our lives, but if we aren’t studying His example then we’ll learn from whatever else we are paying attention to. We must surround ourselves with God’s teachings and those people who would speak God’s wisdom into our lives.

Sometimes we think it’s okay to watch bad movies, gossip just a little, listen to songs with offensive lyrics, or hang out with people who like to cause trouble. But are we influencing others for Jesus or are we being influenced? We need to be careful what and who we are leaning from. Otherwise our reliance on God will slowly fade away and then all which is left is the influence of the world.

Dear Lord, help us to surround ourselves with people who share Your wisdom. Help us to learn Your ways and don’t let us become so prideful that we think we know it all. We thank you for Your wonderful example. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Fun Science Fact

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 ID 31615927 © Corey A. Ford | Dreamstime.com

For some reason, this goofy looking dinosaur is one of my favorites. Parasaurolophus, which means “Crested Lizard,” was discovered in 1922 and is named for the large crest that comes off its head. The crest was hollow and extended backward as much as six feet. It may have been used to make fog-horn like sounds, enhance its sense of smell or in mating displays. No one knows for sure.

Parasaurolophus, one of the duck-billed dinosaurs, grew up to 40 feet long and 8 feet tall, weighing around 2 tons. It was a plant eating, bipedal dinosaur that probably got down on all fours to forage for plants.

Originally, paleontologists thought the crest served as a snorkel and that this dinosaur must have spent time in the water. But since there is no nostril at the top, this theory has been dismissed. Also, fossilized stomach contents have shown digested land plants, suggesting Parasaurolophus spent more time on land where it ate pine needles, leaves and twigs.

The whole group of duck-billed dinosaurs look to me like gigantic cows. Which makes me wonder how a dinosaur Big Mac would have tasted?

Reference: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/dinos/Parasaurolophus.shtml

 

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