Fossils are somewhat unique. They don’t show up a few years after you bury a pet in the backyard. You may find a bone skeleton, but not a fossil, unless the bone is replaced by minerals from the earth. These replacement processes occur by a variety of means, but they typically are coincident with a catastrophic, geological event.
In Darwin’s time, the mid 19th century, there were only a few fossils, so he was optimistic that when more were found, his hypothesis of macroevolution, from simple, one celled organisms to humans, would be proven out. Fossils of creatures representing the transition from one species to another (think cat to dog, etc.), would be the proof. Unfortunately, today, on the order of a million fossils exist – over 250,000 in the Field Museum of Natural History alone – and none of them support the existence of any transitional forms, between species. Thus, by one of (the human cell being of irreducible complexity, is another ) Darwin’s own criteria, his hypothesis of macroevolution, is not valid. David Berlinski, noted philosopher, educator, and author, estimates that over 50,000 recognizable creatures would have been necessary for the evolution of one species into another. Statistically speaking, a few fossils, somewhere in such a sequence, should have been found, if they exist. In his opinion, there is no conclusive example of fossils for such a transition.
The most exciting of the existing fossils are the big dinosaurs – witness the popularity of the Jurassic Park series of motion pictures and the traffic around the fossilized skeletons, or their replicas, in places like the Field Museum of Natural History, in Chicago, where I was amazed ! So dinosaurs were real, because we have real, fossilized skeletons of them. The “T-Rex” in the room, however, is, how old is it? Radiometric dating, even with its potentially flawed postulates, is largely irrelevant for fossils, as “radioactive elements are common only in rocks with a volcanic origin, and so the only fossil-bearing layers that can be dated radiometrically are volcanic ash layers. These layers may help to date layers of sediment, oft described as the “Geological Clock”. Briefly, the argument is circular – fossils found in a given layer, are older or younger than those is an adjacent layer.
Sedimentary layers, historically, were given names (Cambrian) and ages (500 million years ago) based on what fossils were found in them, and vice versa. However, the clock is broken and can’t even tell relative time, as like fossils in one part of the world are found in inverted layers in another location. How can one explain this apparent discrepancy – a worldwide flood, of geologic proportions meets two criteria. A good example is a rapid, catastrophic event, like the Biblical flood, for mineral infusion, under pressure, followed by a turbulent recession of the waters. One sequence of layers, with its fossils to be, is deposited at one site, and a difference sequence of layers at another site.
My good friend, John Whitcomb, changed my entire perspective on dragons – from mythology to a justifiable existence. He focuses on the (Biblical) Creator chastening Job (Ch. 40-41) for his lack of understanding of His Creation – sound familiar? He cites both behemoth and leviathan as examples of His creativity. Whitcomb concludes that behemoth, identified by some commentators as a hippopotamus, is actually a brontosaurus (or dinosaur of like size), based its physical size, enabling it to stand in the Jordan River at flood stage (Job 40:15-24). Thus, we have a reasonable account of a dinosaur in the Bible.
More interesting is the leviathan – called a crocodile by some commentators. There are six references to it in the Bible. Based on the descriptions therein, it is possible that leviathan could refer to two (or more), similarly, frightening creatures. The fascinating one, to me, is the fire breathing leviathan with its thick, shard like skin (Job 41:19-24).
As we have fossils of presumably flying dinosaurs, all we need for a dragon is an ignition source and a gas to ignite. Consider the flammable methane we produce as the result of our food digestion process. Reroute the soft tissue of our GI tract – ooh, bad breath – and ignite it, et voila ! For a spark source, we have, in existence today, beetles that produce sparks. Incorporate a like mechanism in the mouth of our dragon and, “Houston, we have ignition”. Neither the rerouted soft tissue of the GI tract nor the sparking mechanism, would necessarily fossilize, so we could already have a fossil of a dragon and not know it. What else might we be missing because our worldview doesn’t allow us to “consider the possibility”?