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Redefining The Terms
Bias And Propaganda
By Jordan P. Niednagel
© - 1/04

Bias and propaganda rear their ugly heads in many different ways. Sometimes it's subtle, and sometimes it's obvious. In most cases, it's obvious. As TA has stated many times before, however, everyone has a bias. One individual's bias may be weaker than another individual's bias, but alas, bias remains. Truly, it's only human nature, and therefore all one can hope to do is try to bridal his or her bias for the purpose of observing facts, or science, objectively.

A fossil display located at the Museum of Western Colorado's Dinosaur Valley, USA, can be described as nothing less than propaganda. Why? Because it counteracts, head on, a central belief that most creationists adhere to; and worse, it does so by fabrication.

Dangerous Ground

Merely setting up a display that contradicts creation science isn't a crime, of course. If you have valid evidence for your theory, present it, and let the facts speak for themselves. However, when you begin to redefine the terms in order to promote your evidence ... worse yet, to actually redefine the terms that even your colleagues haven't redefined ... and worse yet, to do it in order to simply put down other beliefs that you don't agree with, one begins to tread dangerous ground.

To the right, you can see the aforementioned museum display for yourself. They have defined a fossil as "Any evidence of life more than 7,000 years old."
What? Where did they get this definition? As we shall see, not from a host of other possible sources.

Take Chambers Science and Technology Dictionary, for example. It defines a fossil as "The relic or trace of some plant or animal which has been preserved by natural processes in rocks of the past." Or, taking an internet hop over to, we see a fossil defined as "A remnant or trace of an organism of a past geologic age, such as a skeleton or leaf imprint, embedded and preserved in the earth's crust." Although it mentions "a past geologic age," it gives no minimum timetable. How about The Hutchinson Dictionary of Science? "Remains of an animal or plant preserved in rocks. Fossils may be formed by refrigeration (for example, Arctic mammoths in ice); carbonization (leaves in coal); formation of a cast (dinosaur or human footprints in mud); or mineralization of bones, more genially teeth and shells."

So again, where did this figure of 7,000 years come from? Certainly not from the majority of possible resources. It also ignores the many examples of relics or traces of life that have been preserved in recent history.

In case the reader is unaware, the majority of young earth creationists believe the world to be only 6,000-7,000 years old (by adding up the chronologies in the Bible). So, either we have an uncanny coincidence on our hands, or an outright propaganda attack. Common sense tells us the obvious answer.

If the common definition of a fossil were "Any evidence of life more than 7,000 years old," the display wouldn't be such a shock. But because it's not the popular definition (nor even close), the display is, for lack of a better word, a joke.


If museums around the world can suddenly start redefining the terms, we're in for an intellectual disaster. Granted, the world of science is an ever-changing arena, and terms and definitions are subject to change. To quickly turn and swim against the tide, however, while most of those around you (in your camp) are still swimming with the tide, is folly.

The ugly head of bias has, in this case, revealed itself all too clearly.



1. David Catchpoole, B.Ag.Sc.(Hons,) Ph.D., Fossil Folly, Creation, p. 45, December-February, 00-01.

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