Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible

It's challenging to find certain types of science books (for kids or for adults) that don't delve into Darwinism and other theories taught as fact. Since lots of kids have a passion for dinosaurs, many Christian parents long to find dinosaur books that stick to facts (or at least present theories as theories). And if we can find a dinosaur book that offers a biblical perspective, even better. That's where The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible by Paul S. Taylor steps in.

The book begins by admitting that new information about dinosaurs is being unearthed regularly, and old ideas grow outdated when new facts are uncovered. Taylor explains how scientists come by their facts and theories: Primarily through fossils (usually partial, leading to some infamous mistakes, like Brontosaurus needing to be renamed because scientists put the wrong head on the creature). Taylor explains how difficult it is to know much about animals looking only at their bones - even if they are complete. The illustrations beautifully illustrate this by showing the many ways a peacock or dog skeleton could be interpreted if you'd never seen those animals before.

Next, Taylor asserts that dinosaurs must have been created by God "in the beginning" and explains how some scientists believe the Bible mentions dinosaurs. He explores theories about why dinosaurs went extinct (including a meteorite or the biblical flood). He explains why a fossil doesn't need a million years to form, how Noah may have taken dinosaurs on the ark, and what may have happened to dinosaurs after the flood (including climate change and hunting by man). He describes a few dragon and large creature legends from around the world that might be based on factual accounts of dinosaurs living on earth after the flood. He even touches upon the idea that in remote areas of the world dinosaurs might - perhaps - still be alive today.

Other ideas discussed include whether dinosaurs were meat eaters before the flood, what the biblical Leviathan might have been, and whether or not dinosaurs really were as ferocious as movies show them.

The illustrations are fantastic. They range from black and white photographs of actual fossils and cave drawings (that appear to show dinosaurs), to full color drawings of dinosaurs (with the note that they are only an artist's idea of what dinosaurs might have looked like), to detailed black and white drawings of legendary dinosaur-like "monsters."

What I Like: I love that the author is not ashamed to look at modern science with a polite but disagreeing eye. He never slams modern scientific theory, but explains the creationist point of view quite thoroughly. And - best of all - when something is a theory, he explains it as such, using words like "perhaps" or "some scientists think." The illustrations are also fascinating (especially the photos of actual fossils and reproductions of historical drawings of dinosaur-like animals).

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, but I think this book is best for kids 7 and up.

Publishing Info: David Cook, 1989; ISBN: 0781430712; hardback, $14.99

BUY NOW at ChristianBook.com for $11.99

OR at Amazon.com for $10.19


Homeschool Friend said...

Hi Kristina!

Excellent review! Thank you!

I want to share that Dinsoaurs by Design is another fabulous dinosaur book. We went through Dinosaurs by Design when my boys were 5 and 7 years old. They both loved it. I could tell they got alot out of it and so did I. I mention this b/c of your comment about The Great Dinosaur Mystery being geared more for older children. Maybe Dinosaurs by Design would be a good choice for those with younger chidlren.

Thanks for your reviews. I just LOVE this site.

Kristina said...

Thanks for the recommendation! You can also find other dinosaur books by either searching "dinosaur" in the search field (in the upper left corner of the blog) or by clicking the "Science and Nature" label under the "Browse by Topic" list on the right hand side of the blog.

Homeschool Friend said...

WOW! GREAT stuff! Thanks for letting me know that.

I LOVE science and nature!!!!

Kristina said...

Me, too. More importantly, so do most kids! As 2009 continues, keep an eye out for reviews of more science and nature books with a Christian viewpoint.