Archaeopteryx by the Numbers

Here’s an article from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) that provides some insight into how bias plays into different worldviews, such as evolution and creation. The idea that bias creeps into science isn’t new. This has even been acknowledged by prominent evolutionists (Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin) for some time now; nonetheless, there are still many who actively deny this.

As a creationist, I’m well aware of my biases. I believe God created the heavens and earth in six ordinary days, and this belief impacts my interpretation of the evidence. But many evolutionists fail to see the bias in their own worldview, which is naturalism; they interpret the evidence through their own filter, yet believe they’re being objective.

The article from ICR discusses a flying animal with wings and feathers called archaeopteryx. But what, exactly, is it? Depending on whom you ask, it may be considered a flying reptile, a dinosaur, or a bird. Evolutionists have come up with terms like “non-avian dinosaur” and “avian dinosaur” to distinguish between dinosaurs and birds and have blurred the line between the two. Of course that serves an evolutionary purpose, and that’s where bias creeps in.

ICR investigated analytics used by evolutionists to place fossils into certain classifications. One might think mathematical formulas are objective, but it’s not that simple. There may be objective measurements- such as the length of a fossil, or how many teeth or claws it has, but there are other factors which are not objective, like the assigned cutoff values, which could be strict or loose. A biased person must make a choice. The article considers some other subjective factors- like the importance placed on certain traits, and which formula to use. All these allow for bias in the final results.

Most creationists would consider archaeopteryx to be a bird, while most evolutionists would say it’s a reptile. Who’s right? Well, that would depend on which party is using the correct data sets, and that’s impossible to know with absolute certainty.

This is one good reason why it’s so important to understand bias in science. Interpreting the evidence isn’t as cut-and-dry as many evolutionists make it out to be. Therefore, it’s helpful to be aware of our own biases so that we may be more likely to see the holes in our own arguments.

Fortunately, as a creationist, I believe the Bible provides some hints and guides us in the right direction. It doesn’t tell us if archaeopteryx is a bird or reptile, but it does tell us that God created flying creatures according to their kinds on Day Five of creation, and land animals- including dinosaurs- on Day Six. Therefore, since all animals were created according to their kind, the one thing we can rule out with certainty is evolution.

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