Bad science: Creationists claim Beowulf is an “eyewitness account” of dinosaurs existing with humans.
The stupid, it burns.
Recently geologist Andrew Snelling, the Director of Research for Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, argued that Beowulf, the Old English epic poem that dates between the 8th and 11th centuries, is evidence of humans and dinosaurs interacting.
For the record, Beowulf is a work of fiction.
SF Gate reports that in this month’s Louisville Magazine, reporter Charles Wolford recounts a surreal exchange between Answers in Genesis geologist Andrew Snelling and himself last year at the Noah’s Ark theme park, the monument to Creationism in Williamstown, Kentucky.
[AiG’s Dr. Georgia] Purdom introduced me to geologist Andrew Snelling, who followed Ken Ham to the U.S. from Australia and for the last nine years has been the director of research for Answers in Genesis. I said,
“There were dinosaurs on the Ark, right?” Snelling nodded. “Right.”
“Then why aren’t there dinosaurs today?”
“Dinosaurs went extinct after they left the Ark. After the Flood, we had the Ice Age. We had a radically different world. Some creatures weren’t able to adapt. But most cultures in the world have some legend about dragons, and these dragons are actually a good description of dinosaurs. The Chinese, for example — their dragons are depicted on scrolls pulling the chariots of emperors. And there was a story called Beowulf in which the king slays a dragon, and this happened in Norway.”
“So you take Beowulf to be evidence of dinosaurs existing?”
“Yes,” Snelling said. “It was an eyewitness account.”
In other words, this “scientist” is arguing that the dragon in Beowulf is actually a dinosaur, and as such constitutes legitimate evidence that humans interacted with dinosaurs.
Creationists believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. This includes the notions that the Earth was created 6,000 to 10,000 years ago and that the Flood destroyed all life on Earth, save for Noah, his family and the creatures on the Ark.
However, in reality the earliest ancestors of humans have only been on the planet for 6 million years, while the last dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.
It is, of course, ludicrous to suppose Beowulf, or any work of fiction, is an “eyewitness account” of anything. Yet creationists are often driven to make ludicrous claims in defense of their ludicrous beliefs.
And it would be funny if it were not so serious. The anti-intellectual, anti-science sentiment of Christian fundamentalists who preach the gospel of Creationism is all too popular. For example, MIke Pence, America’s next vice-president, rejects evolution and believes creationism provides the “only rational explanation for the known universe.”
In fact, Pence is such a supporter of Biblical creationism, that he wants it taught in public school science classes around the country.