The Dinosaur Extinction Scenario

Fifty years ago, Thomas Kuhn came up with a philosophy for science that challenged the traditional viewpoint at the time. Fifty years later, his philosophy has captured the hearts and minds of many scientists.

Instead of using science philosophies such as “empirical falsification” to see if it will stand up to the test of time as highly regarded British philosopher Karl Popper believed, Kuhn on the other hand was an advocate of science being a puzzle to be solved that was conducted by bias researchers with occasional questioning of the paradigm, which may lead to a shift as a result of its complexity. Kuhn’s approach provided the establishment with more control over hindering new ideas of interpreting the data or coming up with new theories. .

There is a fundamental difference between operational science and historical science. Historical science is where various worldviews (different biases) can look at the same evidence but come up with different conclusions. And these conclusions are always based mostly on circumstantial evidence!

Lyellian geology (which came from James Hutton’s book “Theory of the Earth” ) had a substantial influence on Charles Darwin who read the three-volume series “Principles of Geology” by Charles Lynell. Lyellian geology eventually replaced “flood geology” which was the prevailing viewpoint for a long time that is based from the Bible.

Its principle known as “uniformitarianism” postulated that the same natural processes that operate now have always operated in the past along with the same rates, with the same laws. Recently, in Science Magazine, claims of a Mexican crater named Chicxulub being responsible for the dinosaurs demise!   This hypothesis flies in the face of prevailing views about gradualism. The prevailing viewpoint in the scientific community 30 years ago was unwilling to consider anything outside its paradigm! A far cry on claiming that scientists are happy to be wrong because there is more to learn!

Luis Alvarez whose father proposed the impact hypothesis which claims that is how Dinosaurs went extinct rebuked those who protected the puzzle of gradualism.

In Live Science

“The main culprit behind the end of the dinosaurs is now widely accepted to be an extraterrestrial collision of epic proportions, one that left behind the gargantuan crater of Chicxulub at Mexico. Evidence for this theory grows more ironclad over time –  yet only 30 years ago it was often thought to be nonsense.

“It took a long battle to win many scientists over, researchers say. One of those researchers is University of California at Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez, who recalls the resistance to his team’s claim that such a major change could happen abruptly instead of gradually.”

“It flew in the face of the position that geologists and paleontologists at the time had for gradual explanations for everything that happened in the Earth’s past, a position that went by the name of uniformitarianism,” said Walter Alvarez. “The notion that this mass extinction was caused by an impact, or even the notion that there was a sudden mass extinction, raised a lot of dispute at the time, and people strongly challenged the idea.

Catastrophic changes is more in line with flood geology than with gradualism. But what about this dinosaur extinction scenario? Is it plausible because more researchers are accepting it? No! This hypothesis is flawed, for example, scientists used assumption-laden dating and then forced that data into another flawed assumption-laden dating for its conclusion. Then there is the impact itself which leaves a major question mark, if true, an impact like that would have affected other animals and insects as well, not just dinosaurs!

The impact wasn’t a smart bomb which is able to limit its destruction to a certain area with a certain effect. So how could this impact at that level of destruction just select the dinosaurs for extinction while not affecting other animals? It’s not logical! The research does suggest, “other factors may have played an important role…” But what are those other factors that could be considered? Because the impact hypothesis without direct observations of what happened, is not realistic!  Thus, this prevailing viewpoint is wrong too, just like gradualism!

The Bible provides evidence of what happened in the past which is a lot better than going into it, totally blind!

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8 thoughts on “The Dinosaur Extinction Scenario

  1. Michael: “And these conclusions are always based mostly on circumstantial evidence!”

    Of course not. Yet more nonsense from you, Michael.

  2. How anyone can think that the Earth went from one person (Adam) with presumably just one language to billions of people with hundreds if not thousands of languages is beyond me.
    You have to be a real idiot to actually think we went from CroMagnon –> Neanderthal –> Stone Age –> Bronze Age –> Renaissance –> Industrial Revolution –> Digital Revolution in just 6000 years.

    If we co-existed wih them, then why are there no cave paintings of dinosaurs? I can’t imagine your average caveman would bother to paint something as boring as a horse or buffalo but then ignore the T-Rex that just chased him all the way home. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Check my blog to see my thoughts on this…I guarantee they make a lot more sense!

  3. One has to wonder, what is the point of this post?

    > Michael begins with a confused and incorrect presentation of Kuhn’s views on science.
    > Then he derails to an unrelated diatribe about operational v historical science.
    > Next, he forces a bizarre linkup of Kuhn to geologic uniformitarianism.
    > Contravening the previous point, Michael doubts—or maybe he doesn’t—the asteroid hypothesis for the KT mass extinction.
    > Finally, he totally misrepresents the extent of this extinction, as lame evidence for special creation.[1]

    These misjoined topics evidence an incoherent mental process, and should be discussed separately.[2]

    .

    Michael, when I train beginning patent attorneys, I first require that they write a single sentence that embodies the overall novel concept of each invention, before they write any other part of the patent application. This ensures that the application will follow a logical sequence, without wandering off into irrelevant or inconsistent topics. You might try this approach.

    ========================

    [1] As does Coppedge in Michael’s source: “Evaluating the Chicxulub Impact Dinosaur Extinction Hypothesis” (Feb. 10) ,

    [2] I realize that the reason for the first 3 points above is to give the impression that you did at least a little more than merely copy your CEH source. But all you accomplished was to verify again that wandering away from these sources only demonstrates your ignorance of the subject matter.

  4. Let’s start with the easiest topic of Michael’s mélange.

    So how could this impact at that level of destruction just select the dinosaurs for extinction while not affecting other animals? It’s not logical!

    Of course it’s not logical. That’s because it’s risibly false.
    But Michael merely parrots his source here—

    None of these confident storytellers is explaining why an impact selectively killed off all dinosaurs but not mammals, birds, and insects…. [1]

    This presents yet another illustration of why creationists should not cite other creationists. A 10-second glance at Wikipedia would demonstrate the stupidity of this assertion—

    “A wide range of species perished in the K-Pg extinction. The most well-known victims are the non-avian dinosaurs. However, the extinction also hit other terrestrial organisms, including mammals, pterosaurs, birds,[9] lizards,[10] insects,[11] and plants.[12] In the oceans, the K-Pg extinction devastated the giant marine lizards (Mosasauridae), plesiosaurs, fish,[13] sharks, mollusks (especially ammonites) and many species of plankton. It is estimated that 75% or more of all species on Earth vanished.[14]

    (Op. cit., “Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event”)

    =======================

    [1] The subsequent phrase of the CEH source asserts that the impact hypothesis does not explain “how catastrophes generated elephants, giraffes and whales out of shrews.” However, the same Wikipedia reference plainly states that—

    Yet the devastation caused by the extinction also provided evolutionary opportunities. In the wake of the extinction, many groups underwent remarkable adaptive radiations. Mammals in particular diversified in the Paleogene,[15] producing new forms such as horses, whales, bats, and primates. Birds,[16] fish[17] and perhaps lizards [10] also radiated.

    The species—both animal and plant—that went extinct left many open ecological niches, providing ample opportunities for exploitation by different species. In addition, many paleontologists believe that a number of major ecosystems were already under stress before the KT impact. Therefore, the old species could not merely reappear in their previous forms, without significant changes.

  5. There is a fundamental difference between operational science and historical science. Historical science is where various worldviews (different biases) can look at the same evidence but come up with different conclusions. And these conclusions are always based mostly on circumstantial evidence!

    This is a retread of Michael’s oft-repeated diatribe against “historical” science. Besides his eccentric mistaken definition of the term, he needs to remember that his own worldview of creationism is historically based, as well.

    He also should recall that criminals often executed with only circumstantial evidence. How many murders are actually witnessed? And, of those that are, recent research shows that eye-witness accounts are frequently full of errors and misapprehensions.

    To allow only evidence that can be reproduced in the controlled of a laboratory is to nullify many fields of knowledge. How would one learn anything about the sun without duplicating a sun here on earth? Michael would aver that we can know nothing about major earthquakes without actually manipulating them in a controlled environment.

    Ironically, Michael is oblivious to the fact that everyone—including himself—bases most of their actions only upon inferences from circumstantial evidence. Why does he stop for a red traffic light, other than because he knows, from purely circumstantial evidence, that the other direction displays a green light, and that a car may zip across the intersection without slowing, or even watching for, his car? Why is he confident that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, apart from the inference of past experience? Why does he climb a flight of stairs without testing each tread first—other than from inferences about their load-bearing capabilities?

    Science routinely infers past events from present evidence, including field observations, models, and controlled tests. The more evidence discovered that supports and inference, the more likely it is to be true. Especially when consistent evidence arises from multiple different sources or from independent areas of inquiry.

    Creationists beat this subject to death—-even though they themselves offer no evidence for a six-day special creation other than a theologically suspect interpretation of an ancient text.

    Truly, the pot calls the kettle nigrescent when creationists diss “historical science.”.

  6. Instead of using science philosophies such as “empirical falsification” to see if it [sic] will stand up to the test of time as highly regarded British philosopher Karl Popper believed, Kuhn on the other hand was an advocate of science being a puzzle to be solved that was conducted by bias [sic] researchers with occasional questioning of the paradigm, which may lead to a shift as a result of its complexity. Kuhn’s approach provided the establishment with more control over hindering new ideas of interpreting the data or coming up with new theories. .

    A palpably false statement of Kuhn’s views. It is as though Kuhn’s words were strained through Michael’s optic nerves and were there puréed in his brain and spooned out to his keyboard as random slop.

    Popper’s and Kuhn’s views were not “on the other hand” to each other. They address two different subjects; Kuhn does not differ with Popper’s position on falsifiability.

    Kuhn’s normal science does not portray its practitioners as “biased” or inferior to revolutionary science. His book in fact takes pains to praise normal science for its puzzle-solving prowess, and notes that most of the progress of science has occurred under its regime. Normal science comprises filling in the current paradigm by gathering additional evidence. Some paradigms have never undergone a revolution, and have no need of one.

    Paradigm shifts have nothing to do with the “complexity” of a current theory.[1] Kuhn instead spoke of accumulating anomalies. But, even here, he advocated persisting with the current theory unless a better theory emerged which explained all of the evidence for the current theory, as well as its anomalies.

    Michael’s most egregious mistake is that he thinks Kuhn’ approach is normative, rather than descriptive. Kuhn most certainly did not exert any “control over hindering new ideas … or coming up with new theories,” nor did he wish to. He was merely relating how science had been practiced over the previous two centuries. In fact, as noted above, he felt that most progress had been made under existing paradigms.[1] Both normal and revolutionary science have their place—revolutions are appropriate only in certain circumstances.

    By this time, I seriously doubt that Michael will ever understand Kuhn—or any of the philosophy of science—because he brings too much wrongheaded baggage to the effort.

    =================

    [1] Michael seems to think that complexity is the same as unreliability of a theory. And yet he revels in the complexity of living organisms as evidence in favor of his theory of special creation. Go figure..

    [2] It may—or may not—be interesting that Kuhn borrowed this word from linguistics, a usage that few people even recognize today.

  7. “[The impact hypothesis] flew in the face of the position that geologists and paleontologists at the time had for gradual explanations for everything that happened in the Earth’s past, a position that went by the name of uniformitarianism,” said Walter Alvarez. “The notion that this mass extinction was caused by an impact, or even the notion that there was a sudden mass extinction, raised a lot of dispute at the time, and people strongly challenged the idea.” [Excessive emphases deleted]

    The kind of uniformitarianism that required absolutely everything in the earth to have been formed by gradual processes from time immemorial at unvarying rates went out with the nineteenth century.[1] Yes, there were several previous theories that more gradual processes had brought on the KT extinction.[2] Why? Because until 1980, there was no evidence for any sudden event of sufficient magnitude within that time period. Even for some while afterward, many thought that the impact could not have produced enough devastation to utterly wipe out 75% of the world’s species. When the location and size of the actual crater were identified in 1990, and evidence of a stupendous tsunami rolled in, however, the paradigm shift accelerated. A current paper in Science[3] seems to wrap up the case. Other factors may still have contributed to the mass extinction,[4] but the impact was the proximate cause.

    This is yet another instance where scientific theory follows the evidence. As the data accumulated, more and more workers were convinced that the new paradigm was the correct one, and that older theories were at best subsidiary causes. Creationism, of course, simply disregards contrary data, in a triumph of blind dogma over fact.

    ================

    [1] Even though most popular dictionaries still retain this outdated definition. See my Feb. 3 comment.

    [2] But by no means unvarying processes, or processes that had existed since God was a child.

    [3] Pälike, “Impact and Extinction” Science 339:655-656 (8 Feb. 2013)

    [4] There is evidence that a number of ecosystems had become fragile prior to the impact, for example.

  8. Catastrophic changes is more in line with flood geology than with gradualism. But what about this dinosaur extinction scenario? Is it plausible because more researchers are accepting it? No! This hypothesis is flawed, for example, scientists used assumption-laden dating and then forced that data into another flawed assumption-laden dating for its conclusion.

    Although the KT extinction was catastrophic, the evidence points away from a global flood. Michael just made this up. Michael, how would a global flood that upended all the continents and created jagged mountain ranges and rifts, how would such a violent event produced a world-wide thin, even layer of a mineral that is otherwise not found anywhere on the earth? Stupid.

    After trying to convince us that the asteroid-impact hypothesis properly replaced more gradualist theories,[1] Michael now attempts to persuade us that this new paradigm is incorrect.

    He does not vouchsafe any evidence he believes shows it to be incorrect, but merely claims that it has to be wrong because no one witnessed it. (Michael, there are a lot of things you believe that you didn’t witness.) Well, and that dating of the impact is “assumption-laden.” This view entirely disregards the evidence underpinning that dating. The recent Science paper[1] describes several different methods for timing the impact very precisely: 66.038+/-0.049 million years ago for the impact tektites, and 66.043+/-0.043 Mya for the boundary itself.

    The Bible provides evidence of what happened in the past which is a lot better than going into it, [sic] totally blind!

    Michael, you are the only one who is totally blind.

    ==============

    [1] As noted previously, ecological instability may also have conmtributed: “Renne et al. suggest that brief cold snaps in the late Cretaceous were stressful to an ecology adapted to the long-lived preceding hothouse climate, and that the Chicxulub impact delivered a final coup de grâce to ecosystems, shifting the planet permanently into a new state.” (Op. cit.)

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