A Grown-Up Guide To Dinosaurs (A Book Review)

When Audible released their July selections of original works, this one caught my eye.

As a child, growing up in a firmly “Young Earth Creationist” home, my understanding of evolution, including the story of dinosaurs, was warped. Anything I might have learned always came with the disclaimer from my parents, and other well-intentioned YEC adults, that I couldn’t believe what I was being taught. The scientific community, I was told, had an agenda to undermine Biblical truth. And so, rather than allow science to be an authority, I was instructed to filter any and all scientific gleanings through our understanding of Scripture.

This meant rejecting any concept of world old enough to see life evolve.

It meant believing that scientists, who dedicated their entire lives to studying the things none of us had ever really studied (outside of pre-approved apologetic texts on the topic), did not actually know what they were talking about.

I was taught that, even if a scientist may truly believe what they are talking about, they are blinded by their sin and are left unable to see the truth regarding the origins of the universe and the world in which we live.

This worldview was also deeply intertwined with the gospel. The earth and all its creatures couldn’t have possible evolved the way science says they did, because if that were true then… what were we to do with the origin stories in Genesis? Could evolution and the Garden of Eden co-exist? Surely not, I was assured. Because, if that were the case, then we couldn’t trust the Biblical account of Creation. We couldn’t trust New Testament accounts that referred back to the origin narratives. We’d have to throw out our entire Bible.

We couldn’t have that.

And so, the end result of all of that was that when I began to deconstruct, one of the topics I’ve been very hesitant to pour much energy into unlearning/relearning was the topic of evolution. I was too afraid of the impact it might have of my own understanding of the Bible and Scripture itself. My childhood brainwashers teachers had done their jobs well. They had groomed me to fear investigation of the truth.

Over time, as my view of the Bible itself shifted, I became less anxious about re-examining my thoughts on Young Earth Creationism Vs. Evolution. If my faith cannot withstand scientific investigation, how strong is it really?

Enter “A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs” which is narrated by evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod.

Garrod guides his listeners through a series of episodes in which he examines everything from the division of the supercontinent of Pangea all the way to the extinction event in which most dinosaurs were killed. Along the way, he interviews many scientists and experts in the field.

Topics in this series include: the discovery of the evolution of dinosaur into modern-day birds, how we know the size of dinosaurs (including an explanation about why there is controversy about which dinosaur was the largest!), theories about the birthing/raising of dinosaur young, the different eras in which dinosaurs have lived on the earth and how the world has evolved with them.

This was one of the first times I’ve been able to enjoy a resource like this without that pesky voice in the back of my head telling me to be cynical about dating practices because “we know” the world is not that old. Or hearing that same voice scoffing at the certainty with which these experts made their claims.

I was able to be truly curious about the topic and really listen to what was being said. I enjoyed being able to learn something that had been off-limits to me for decades.

This audio series represented freedom to me. And as such, I loved it.

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