Fact or interpretation? When you read popular science items, keep that question in the forefront of your mind. Why? Well, because much of what you read is just the researchers’ interpretation of what they have discovered—not fact. And there was a news item that appeared recently that’s a perfect example of this.
Headlines hailed the Brazilian fossil discovery as the “‘great grandfather’ of Diplodocus and Brontosaurus!,” a missing link in the evolution of the largest creatures to ever roam earth (the long-necked sauropods). This new dinosaur is believed to have been seven feet long, bipedal, and had an elongated neck. Because of the elongated neck and the 230-million-year age assigned to the fossil, the researchers believe this new species “is a missing link in the family tree” of sauropodomorphs.
The facts are that researchers in southern Brazil found a few fossilized bones from what may be a new species of dinosaur.
Now, let’s separate the facts from the interpretation. The facts are that researchers in southern Brazil found a few fossilized bones from what may be a new species of dinosaur. They’ve reconstructed the scant remains and then assumed the size, diet, and stance of the dinosaur. They then take that reconstruction (which may, or may not, be accurate—they didn’t find even close to an entire skeleton, after all), and interpret it through the lens of their evolutionary worldview. Every creature must fit into the evolutionary tree of life, so, since this one may have an elongated neck, it therefore must be a precursor to the later long-necked quadrupeds.
But such an interpretation isn’t demanded by the evidence at all! It’s simply another attempt to explain all of life through a particular lens. That’s why worldview makes such a difference in interpreting fossils. When we examine the same evidence through the lens of God’s Word, we understand this new dinosaur is a member of one of the kinds God created and was buried during the global flood just 4,350 years ago. Same evidence, different interpretation because of different starting points.
Don’t be alarmed by headlines declaring a new “missing link” has been found. Read the article and ask yourself, “What’s fact and what’s interpretation?” Then use God’s Word as the starting point for your thinking so you can correctly interpret the facts.
Oh, and your worldview determines not only how you interpret such evidence but also how you decide your morality!
Get More Answers on Answers News
This item was discussed yesterday on Answers News with cohosts Patricia Engler, Rob Webb, and Bryan Osborne. Answers News is our twice-weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience and broadcast on my Facebook page and the Answers in Genesis Facebook page. We also covered the following topics:
- Crocodile fossil had baby dinosaur in its stomach.
- COVID relief funds go to Planned Parenthood?
- Do parents have rights over trans-identifying kids?
- And more!
Be sure to join us each Monday and Wednesday at 2 p.m. (ET) on my Facebook page or the Answers in Genesis Facebook page for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.