Author: Ken Ham (published, July 2020)
Dinosaurs of Eden is a children’s book published (July 2020) by AiG. The book is full of misinformation. In the book, Ken Ham makes numerous hypothetical claims but softens them with ambiguous adverbs (like “maybe” or “perhaps”). All the while, Ham attempts to portray him as the expert on dinosaurs. He is in the know and he understands the Bible. Without a doubt, any child reading his book will believe that the hypothetical suggestions (the “maybes” or “perhaps”) are intended to be truthful.
Below, I highlight the 5 most glaring examples of deception in the book:
1. Dinosaurs of Eden distorts the truth about dinosaur paleontology and diversity
Ken Ham compares paleontologists and geologists to the doubting scoffers of 2 Peter 3: 5-6. He argues that “They don’t WANT to believe.” (his emphasis, p. 53). He then references God’s fierce judgment. So he sets a tone for the young reader- “believe in the contemporary scientific dinosaur paradigm at your own risk. Mess up and believe in millions of years and God will get you.”
Earlier, Ham writes,
“Scientists have made up over 600 names of dinosaurs but there were probably less than 50 kinds of dinosaurs. Many names are given to a piece of bone or a skeleton in a different country or a different size dinosaur…at most 100 dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark.” (p. 29)
The author implies that scientists are simply arbitrarily naming bits of bone or adding names to dinosaurs of different sizes. His suggestion is plainly false. His statement misrepresents the thorough process which paleontologists follow to name a new species. It also misrepresents the diversity and differences within various “kinds” of dinosaurs. Most puzzling. He contradicts his own published data! In Dinosaurs of Eden he states that there were probably 50 dinosaur kinds. On an AIG post from 2000, he states that there were probably 55 dinosaur kinds. But on this 2018 presentation at the Ark Encounter, Georgia Purdom states that there are between 60 and 80 dinosaur kinds!
Those numbers are literally double from what AiG presented in July 2020. Did we somehow lose half of the dinosaur kinds in a year?
Screenshot from Aig video
Another example of misrepresenting dinosaur research is on p. 45-46. Here, Ham presents a hypothetical interview between a “secular scientist” named Mr. Scientist and a child. After a series of questions about animal extinction, the child asks Mr. Scientist a challenging question.
Q: Well then can you tell me what happened to the dinosaurs?
A: Dinosaurs! What happened to them? We don’t know! We haven’t really got a clue! It’s a mystery! They died out millions of years ago!
Of course, for many decades there was lack of consensus about the various factors into dinosaur extinction. But even laypeople know that scientists did have a clue- lots of clues. And over the last ten years, studies of the Chixiclub crater have provided a strong, strong case for dinosaur extinction as a result of an asteroid. I’m sure that most people are aware of the theory, but if not here is a Smithsonian article and a NOVA video that document the recent core-drills that were done in the crater. Although other YECs may disagree with the asteroid extinction theory, some accept it was a part of the global flood disaster. And regardless, no YECs believe that scientists say that they have “no clue” how dinosaurs went extinct.
2. Dinosaurs of Eden claims that dinosaurs and humans coexisted within the last 4,300 years as recently as 1405 AD (possibly even the present!).
Ham believes that dinosaurs were created on Day 6 of the universe, roughly 6,000 years ago. Also, humans were made on that day. Then all dinosaurs diversified over 1,500 years. Then 4,500 years ago a global flood destroyed all but a remnant (50/55/60/80??) kinds of dinosaurs. But, Ham doesn’t think that dinosaurs went extinct. He attempts to show that dinosaurs persisted throughout history alongside humans- possibly even into the modern era.
First, Ham suggests that the story of St. George “maybe” was a true story about a knight killing a dinosaur (see image below). The Welsh flag which has a dragon is another “proof” in support of this theory. ( p. 10)
Ham suggests that there is “LOTS of evidence that dinosaurs lived with man during the past 4,300 years.” (p. 33-34) For example, he suggests that descriptions of a dragon in 1405 A.D. England were likely a dinosaur. Specifically, he suggests Dilophosaurus or Cryotophosaurus.
He suggests that a Utah Indian petroglyph is a sauropod (fully debunked by P. Senter here). In reference to the sketchy petroglyph, Ham states clearly, “evolutionists won’t accept the obvious- Indians saw dinosaurs!” (p. 34).
Later, he suggests that it would not surprise him if the mythical Mokele-Mbembe of Congo folklore is a living dinosaur. Possibly a sauropod. He implies that a seismosaurus or some small population of sauorpod continues to live in 2020. No evidence exists for this claim. At all.
Another example, of dino-human coexistence, is his Tower of Babel description. Ham states. “As people dispersed (across the world) they likely took some of their favorite animals with them. Perhaps some took dinosaurs.” Suggesting that humans had animals in some fashion captive. (p. 43)
In summary, the”LOTS of evidence” that Ham provides proving dino-human coexistence are stories from mythology, cryptozoology, and unsourced fictional accounts.
p. 10- St. George killing a “dragon”
2. Dinosaurs of Eden reads modern discoveries of paleontology onto Old Testament Scripture.
Ham quotes Isaiah 27:1 …” and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.” And Psalm 74:13 …” you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.”
He states that they were, “probably the great sea reptiles like mosasaurs or Plesiosaurus.”
He then states that Isaiah 30:6 …” and the flying fiery serpent” may be a reference to flying reptiles like Pteranodon.
Ironically on the same page, Ham quotes Proverbs 30:5- “Every word of God proves true.”
Ham ignores the context of the Bible verses that more closely align with serpents or snakes. He also ignores the fact that no Jewish scholars, or Christians for the past two thousand years imagined that those verses referred to dinosaurs, marine reptiles, or pteranodons. He does not provide any alternative explanation and lays a foundation that will be confusing for a child. For a full explanation of biblical usage of “Leviathan and flying serpents” read here.
3. Dinosaurs of Eden claims that dinosaurs were all created vegetarian
Ham argues that dinosaurs like T-rex were created vegetarian, not carnivorous. To do so, Ham compares T-Rex teeth to Pandas and Marine Iguanas. Ham essentially conflates all from canine teeth that appear sharp. He completely ignores paleontology, physiology, basic dentition, and the study of microwear on tooth enamel. The most egregious comparison is when he notes that even children need a fork and sharp knife to cut up vegetables like carrots and potatoes. (p. 17) For the most detailed rebuttal of his theory see this article: Dino-Dang: The Melon Rex Myth; Senter
5. Dinosaurs of Eden lies about research on dinosaurs and feathers
Ham equates feathers with evolution
Some may argue that the prior four examples are not intentionally deceitful. However, the final example cannot be understood in any other way.
**”**Evolutionists believe dinos evolved into birds. Once, they found a fossil with feathers on it in China. If such a fossil really existed they would say it is a transitional form. But when they studied it closely they found out it didn’t have feathers at all…A different fossil that actually had feathers was found to be part of a bird fossil that had been glued together with a part of a dinosaur one!” (p. 49)
Ham then states,
“Many evolutionists believe blindly that the Bible is not true and God doesn’t exist. They go so far as to say that the hummingbirds you see at the feeder are actually living dinosaurs.” (p. 49)
He even uses 1 Corinthians 15: 39 to try and illustrate that birds and reptiles do not share the same “flesh.”
The other examples in this post were irritating, but the deceit of Ken Ham in this section is blatant. Ham uses the example of the fraudulent archeoraptor fossil (that was disproved by other “secular scientists”) to cast doubt on the existence of feathered dinosaurs. He injects atheism and anti-theist attitudes towards the Bible into a conversation about dinosaurs and feathers. His intentions are clear, you cannot believe in the Bible and believe that dinosaurs had feathers. He is wrong.
Ham ignores the fact that many YECs are open to the idea. Popular young YouTube Guzman1611 has a video with YEC Dr. Matt McClain here that describes dinosaurs and feathers. There is a 2018 YEC article on Dinosaurs and Feathers here that argues for feathered dinosaurs. Phillip Senter used YEC baraminology here to show dinosaurs were feathered. The YEC biologist whose work he cited is Todd Wood. You can read Todd Wood’s response here. Todd Wood does disagree with Senter’s conclusion that dinosaurs and birds are related phylogenetically, BUT he still believes that dinosaurs had feathers. See Wood’s blog post here.
Why would Ham write such a misleading book- for Children! I think it relates to his views of culture and Christianity. Notice the divisive ideas Ham inculcates in his readers. People who believe in millions of years have no faith. People who believe in evolution do not fear God. People who “trust” science and not God’s word are your enemies. Throughout the book, “evolutionists” and “secular science” are referred to as “They.” His language communicates the idea that the people who think dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago are against God and against the Bible, and against the truth. It is us against them.
Ken Ham uses short snippets of Bible quotes as a blunt instrument throughout the book. Ham cherry-picks Bible verses that often have ZERO relationship to the subject within the original context of the Biblical narrative. The Bible is treated as a book of propositional facts. Sadly, Ham’s book teaches a child to look at science with suspicion and, perhaps, even resentment. Ham wants the debate to remain distinctly divided. He has no patience for a Christian worldview that is informed, complimented, or integrated with 21st-century science.
Conservative Christian historian Mark Noll laments the milieu of YEC and science in his book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Noll notes that the strategies of YECs confuse the ongoing dialogue between Christianity and empirical science. His book documents the evolution of Western evangelicalism over the last 100 years. I find his assessment of YEC and it impact on young Christian minds to be an apt closing to this post. Please read:
Creation science has damaged evangelicalism by making it much more difficult to think clearly about human origins, the age of the earth, and mechanisms of geological or biological change. But it has done more profound damage by undermining the ability to look at the world God has made and to understand what we see when we do look. Fundamentalist habits of mind have been more e destructive than individual creationist conclusions. Because those habits of mind are compounded of unreflective aspects of 19th-century procedure alongside tendentious aspects of fundamentalist ideology, they have done serious damage to Christian thinking (p. 196).
tldr; Ken Ham watched too many episodes of The Flintstones growing up