Mark Twain and creationism

Glenn links to an article about the Creation Museum, which has dinosaurs roaming the earth with Adam and Eve. Feh. Mark Twain beat the Creationists by a century, with the Diary of Adam and Eve.

MONDAY NOON.–If there is anything on the planet that she is not interested in it is not in my list. There are animals that I am indifferent to, but it is not so with her. She has no discrimination, she takes to all of them, she thinks they are all treasures, every new one is welcome.

When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity; that is a good sample of the lack of harmony that prevails in our views of things. She wanted to domesticate it, I wanted to make it a present of the homestead and move out. She believed it could be tamed by kind treatment and would be a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet high and eight-four feet long would be no proper thing to have about the place, because, even with the best intentions and without meaning any harm, it could sit down on the house and mash it, for any one could see by the look of its eye that it was absent-minded.

Still, her heart was set upon having that monster, and she couldn’t give it up. She thought we could start a dairy with it, and wanted me to help milk it; but I wouldn’t; it was too risky. The sex wasn’t right, and we hadn’t any ladder anyway. Then she wanted to ride it, and look at the scenery. Thirty or forty feet of its tail was lying on the ground, like a fallen tree, and she thought she could climb it, but she was mistaken; when she got to the steep place it was too slick and down she came, and would have hurt herself but for me.

Was she satisfied now? No. Nothing ever satisfies her but demonstration; untested theories are not in her line, and she won’t have them. It is the right spirit, I concede it; it attracts me; I feel the influence of it; if I were with her more I think I should take it up myself. Well, she had one theory remaining about this colossus: she thought that if we could tame it and make him friendly we could stand in the river and use him for a bridge. It turned out that he was already plenty tame enough–at least as far as she was concerned– so she tried her theory, but it failed: every time she got him properly placed in the river and went ashore to cross over him, he came out and followed her around like a pet mountain. Like the other animals. They all do that.

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18 Responses to Mark Twain and creationism

  1. sean says:

    I have never seen, in my searching, anything that says that dinosaurs didn’t live at the same time as humans. It is postulated, with little or no evidence by the part of evolutionists, but how do they “prove” it? By radio carbon dating which is accurate out to 50,000 years max (this assumes static levels of C13 which they dont know either, but just assuming for arguments sake…)? I like to talk with freinds about the invincibility of evolution, because they are so sure they are right about certain things, with no evidence to back it up. The reasoning goes something like this, “assuming my postulate is true, then this is the case, and I must be right”. :)

  2. You do realize, Sean, that my post was put up for laughs, not to debate creationism?

    However, have at it, folks.

  3. sean says:

    Beyond the evolution/creation debate, I think there is good evidence that humans and dinosaurs were contemporaries. Just interesting, I think.

  4. Well, for sure, it makes great B movies. Who here can’t appreciate The Valley of the Gwangi? Or The Lost World? Or the King Kong flicks?

  5. whiskey says:

    I’ve never understood the creation v evolution debate. Nowhere in the bible does it say we must believe that every word of the bible is a literal rdepresentation. “If you are baptised and believe,” is the bible’s requirement for salvation, not do you believe that the earth is only 6 thousand years old. Whether you believe in a literal interpertation or that parts of the bible are representational is not a litmus test for Christianity. Perhaps these two fighting factions ought to do a little less arguing and a little more reading the importance of faith and grace.

  6. Sterling says:

    One problem is that the concepts are so muddied. A lot of people use “evolution” to mean both materialist origins and materialist change process, which conflates two very different things. For example, I have a problem with the idea of a purely materialist origin of complex life and the cosmos – just as do creationists. However I do not have a problem with a materialist process of natural selection as the driver of species change.

    The fossil record supports natural selection (though not as strongly as generally presented in the media) but it is silent on origins.

  7. sean says:

    Sorry, if I think this is fun, but… Whiskey, the flip side of that is the reactionary nature of evolutionary belief. It has huge holes, but who cares about that, it Must be true.

  8. Mark Twain is brilliant. I had this book of quotations and whenever you laughed out loud, likely as not, it was a Twain quote.
    Evolution is a fine theory. I bet it’s accurate to a large degree, but those who run around acting as if it’s a proven fact while making fun of creationist are, IMHO, over reaching.
    Besides evolution may have well been the device God used to create the world and the myriad of wee and not so wee beasties that inhabit it.

  9. George says:

    I know for a FACT that dinosaurs co-existed with humans.

    I sat in the classrooms of several.

  10. Bill H says:

    Billions and billions of years ago God said let there be light and there was a very, very big kabooooom!

    When Eve said to Adam “Here hold this while I slip into something more comfortable” the world became far more interesting.

  11. Scott says:

    In the beginning, there was nothing. And God said, “Let there be light!” And there was still nothing, but you could see it.

  12. madbob says:

    sean –
    You are making the joke, like Mr. Twain of old, no?
    50k years is a mere tick o’ the clock in the scheme of history. Try 65M years or more, and even the margin of error becomes meaningless.
    We should all take whiskey’s advice – Christianity is about faith, not interpretation of the written word.
    Accept science – the application of which makes this electronic conversation possible. Amen.

  13. FrankGBoston says:

    I want to know where monkeys came from. What did they evolve from?

    If monkeys didn’t evolve, then God must have created them also, along with humans (or, God created monkeys and then had us evolve from them – smile).

    So, trace back. What is the last animal that evolved, before God decided to create the “next” one. Did some animals evolve from the other animals (and plants and bugs) that God created?

    If some animals evolved, and others were created, why did God choose to meddle with some but not others?

    If no animals evolved, then they were and are all created. So, there is God, creating new viruses and bacteria, just to get around antibiotics and our immune systems and kill us. A vengeful God.

    I prefer to think of a loving God who supports evolution and doesn’t go around creating things to make us miserable.

  14. In any case, both the creationists and evolutionists misunderstand what is going on. Technically, G-d could have just created the universe with this message already on my screen.

    The whole point of creation from nothing is that G-d could have created the universe with all the animals in their herds, etc, the trees fully mature, and everything in its place.

    The “fossil record” would be part of the creation of a mature Earth. In any case, science cannot deal with what came before until we can go back and look.

    For an analogy, consider a model ship built with the “rivets” in place.

  15. Warmongering Lunatic says:

    Um, no, they don’t use radiocarbon for dinosaur fossils. They use multi-chemical dating methods, like uranium-lead dating. And these do not depend on constant ratios; they instead depend merely on the constancy of the laws of chemistry and physics.

    For example, zircon and lead do not chemically combine in crystals, while zircon and uranium do. So if you find lead atoms in a zircon crystal, you’ve found uranium that has radioactively decayed into lead. So the amount of lead plus uranium in a zircon crystal is equal to the amount of uranium that was originally incorporated into the crystal. Since we know the half-life of uranium, measuring the ratio of uranium to lead in the crystal tells you how long the uranium has been in the crystal, and thus how old the crystal is.

    Another example is potassium-40/argon-40 dating. Argon, a noble gas, doesn’t chemically combine with anything. Potassium readily combines with lots of stuff. So all the argon-40 in a sample is decayed potassium-40; with the half-life known, the ratio of undecayed potassium-40 to argon-40 tells you how long ago the mineral formed.

    Anyway, there are dozens of specific versions of this general dating method, good for different time windows, and the results from them are consistent with each other. Accordingly, under the assumption that the natural laws of the universe have not radically changed over time, we can be quite confident in the accuracy of radiometric dating.

  16. Michael Lonie says:

    Sean and Duderino,
    Sorry, you are wrong.

    At its basis the Theory of Evolution states that organisms reproduce by descent with variation, which is an observable fact. Much of Darwin’s writings consist of documenting this. More organisms are born, hatched or otherwise come into existence than can survive, as anyone who has looked at the egg mass laid by a frog can see. The next generation will be propagated by those who survive the hazards they face, such as predation and parasitism. another fact. That’s what natural selection is, if you don’t like it take it up with The Lord, since that is the way Nature works and, if you want to postulate that He created Nature, that is the way He made it.

    As for dinosaurs contemporary with humans that is hokum. Rocks are layered, and which are earlier and which later can be worked out by geologists without any assumptions about the evolution of organisms. All dinosaur fossils are below all human fossils stratigraphically, by a wide margin. Therefore dinosaurs and humans were not contemporaneous. End of story.

    Now to confirm this we now have radiometric dating by means of radioactive isotopes (other than Carbon-14). These confirm that the last dinosaur fossils are older than 65 million years old, and that the earliest human fossils are no more than about three million. And that is using a very generous interpretation of human, to include species of genus Homo that could not be regarded as modern humans at all. So this confirms the conclusions of stratigraphy.

    As for the silly idea of a Young Earth, radiometric dating shows that rocks exposed on the Earth’s surface have ages up to 3.8 billion years old. Anybody who wants to contradict this had better have his new and improved theory of nuclear physics ready to present, because the same ideas that tell us that nuclear bombs explode and nuclear power plants produce power tell us that those rocks ar that old. Nuclear physics has been well tested and is accurate. You got a problem with that?

    I suspect that I have been responding to trolls, but felt the need to do so anyway. Creationism is bunk. If you believe The Lord created the universe, He designed the universe’s living organisms to change over generations by evolution, including among its mechanisms natural selection. Get over it.

  17. Rahel says:

    I see no contradiction between the idea of evolution and the idea that God created the universe.

    Evolution may be one of many engines that God used, and still uses, in the universe’s creation. Who are we to say that it can’t be? That’s limiting God!

  18. Micheal Loonie
    How is what I wrote different from what you believe?
    Or does my observation that evolution can not be scientifically proven make me a “troll”?
    BTW I have no dog in this fight. I couldn’t care less how things about, just so long as they did. In fact I think the whole debate is kind of childish. You with your science, which you BELIEVE, the creationist, with their scriptures, which they believe, arguing over something none of us will ever know for sure; why does anything exist and where did it come from to begin with. Michael may answer with all the alacrity of a precocious four year old that there was this primordial ooze and protein rich blah blah blah and five billion years later Rosie leaves the view. Great, I’ll buy that, with two provisos: 1. Prove it. 2. Tell me where did the atoms that made up the ooze come from? Until you can prove your theories and come up with a plausible ontological explanation, all your petulant rants, no matter how “scientifically” based are merely assertion of your faith over that of the creationist, at least the creationist have music at their shindigs.

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