‘ere There be Dragons

I’ve mentioned previously that I like to read blogs of those whom I disagree with. Included in that list are a couple of creationist blogs. Its interesting reading posts that lay out what I used to believe and balancing that with what science actually says. There is a very common theme and its basically creationist claims are weak on science and strong on apologetics. That may work for theology but it doesn’t cut it in the hard-nosed world of evidence based reality.

Every now and then a post will come along that flummoxes me and recently I had one of those over at Bible-Science Guy. Read it here, especially the embedded PDF, its not very long (http://biblescienceguy.wordpress.com/articles/2012-articles/2012-05-dragons/).

Basically its an attempt to link the myth of dragons into the biblical narrative and exit with something along the lines of Dragons were once real. Old myths, such as George slaying the dragon, are referenced along with obscure biblical references to Leviathans and the such. Other dragon traits such as fire-breathing, flying, gold hoarding and magical are quickly brushed over, if they are mentioned at all. The whole thing is a very intriguing read and the mental loops required to take it in as believable are quite fantastic.

I do especially like the cartoon image. The insinuation that they could have been in an egg really did make me chuckle. How did Noah sex the creatures that were in an egg?

In my creationist days I never once considered that dragons were anything but mythical. I don’t really see any reason why a creationist would consider otherwise to be honest. It just seems so silly. Its fine to speculate on the various reasons why the dragon myths came about, that’s a worthwhile field of study in my opinion. How myths and legends change over time and in retelling helps us learn more about what we as humans have become and shapes our understanding of language and belief.

The BSG post takes it all a step too far. What next I wonder, werewolves and vampires were real too? What about the yeti and the chupacabra?

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9 thoughts on “‘ere There be Dragons

    • Interesting collection of stories there. Some I am already familiar with. Its amazing how quickly people will jump to fantastical assumptions when faced with something strange or unknown. I know I’ve been guilty of that in the past.

      I guess that’s how people get sucked into conspiracy theories too.

  1. This is the effect of using the Bible as your primary means of checking evidence, not reality. They aren’t asking “is there evidence for people living with dinosaurs” but “does the Bible say it happened.”

  2. Hi, I believe there is something of a middle road between complete myth and literalness in this case. I find Adrienne Mayor’s hypothesis in “The first fossil hunters: paleontology in Greek and Roman times” rather attractive. She suggests that many Greek and Roman myths such as the cyclops were originally shaped by people finding fossils and seeing bones in caves of things like Mastodons which did live even on the island of Crete before man’s arrival. In the case of the Mastodon skull it has a large hole in the center of the forehead where the trunk was attached but not having a living mastodon to see people naturally tried to imagine what the organism that left that skull looked like. At some point someone says, my father said he saw one of those things alive 40 years ago and the legend begins to grow. Not understanding extinction, it would natural for people to believe that the skulls and fossils of large bones represented contemporary organisms. Similialry she explains the idea of dragons as dinosaur bones found in the gobi desert and often associated with gold deposits. Gold seekers would be apt to believe that these bones represented great creatures that were there to protect the gold. Even if they never say a living one they once again would likely believe that they existed in their time not the past. So dragons and cyclops are not literal beings but neither are they completely fictional characters but are based on what people may literally have believed to have been true.

    • I remember reading somewhere (so take it with a grain of salt) that the Chinese did in fact find dinosaur bones and believed they were dragon bones, grinding them up to be used in traditional remidies.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment.

      I imagine you are right. I have certainly heard of the mastedon link to cyclops and I think it is very plausible.

      I am sure many myths, such as dragons and unicorns have a basis in a misunderstanding of existing animals.

  3. On a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 indicates absolutely impossible, and 10 indicates absolutely certain, I’d put vampires and dragons at 1 and physics at 9. Can’t really justify the scale, but that’s the way I feel.

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