Last week, Edgar Nernberg made news for finding a fossil as he was excavating ground for a new house:
While that might be enough to generate a few headlines, there was a tremendous amount of press for this story because Hernberg is a Creationist. In other words, a man who believes the Earth is about 6,000 years old found a fossil that’s tens of millions of years old. Hilarious.
To his credit, though, Nernberg knew that he wasn’t capable of doing much with the fossil (and I wouldn’t be either), so he turned it over to paleontologist Darla Zelenitsky of the University of Calgary. Her team plans to clean up the fossils, analyze them, and put them on display.
Now look at how Creationist Ken Ham is spinning this whole story.
He’s arguing that a Creationist made an important scientific discovery — not ironically — as if the two are genuinely linked together:
… Bill Nye “the Science Guy” and evolutionists like him claim that if students are taught creation and not evolution, they can’t be real scientists. Bill Nye claims that the teaching of creation will undermine scientific achievements. But here is a creationist who did real observational science (probably better than what many evolutionists would do) by recognizing the fossil he discovered — and a world-class one at that.
Just to be clear, what Nernberg did was not science. It was pretty much dumb luck. His religious beliefs are only incidental; it’s not like his Creationist views led him to the fossil. There was no science whatsoever involved in the discovery.
Science is what Zelenitsky’s team will be doing from this point forward. Science is what may lead teams of paleontologists to figure out where certain kinds of fossils might be in order to conduct a dig.
But finding a fossil in a hole and turning it over to an expert? That doesn’t require very much expertise.
I guess we shouldn’t really be surprised that the man behind the Creation Museum doesn’t recognize what real science looks like.
(Image via University of Calgary)
(Edit: I had called the scientists digging up fossils “archaeologists” when I should’ve said “paleontologists.” My mistake. I’ve corrected it in the piece. Thanks to Juda for pointing that out!)