Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dinosaurs and... Beowulf?

One of my favorite podcasts, MonsterTalk, has once again touched upon dinosaurs, and it's a real doozy. In an interview with researcher Eve Siebert, the MonsterTalk crew discusses attempts to demonstrate a short timeline for Earth's history and the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans with the legendary story Beowulf. I'd never heard of this particular line of reasoning from Young Earth Creationists, and though I thought that the pretzel twists of creationist thinking would never surprise me again, this has done it.

Siebert explains that since YEC proponents seize upon any mention of dragons or similar monsters as referring to dinosaurs, Beowulf is fair game. Creationist writer Bill Cooper, author of a book called After the Flood, conjectures that Grendel was a young Tyrannosaurus. Why? Beowulf tears off Grendel's arm, and therefore it must be small and weak. You know. Like the arm of a Tyrannosaurus. You've surely heard about how comically impotent T. rex arms are, right?

AB. SURD.

There is much more to this, and I recommend listening to the entire episode. As usual, Blake Smith, Benjamin Radford, and Karen Stollznow do a terrific job of digging into monster lore.

Previous posts mentioning MonsterTalk:

18 comments:

  1. As always, picking and choosing - the story makes a point of discussing how strong Grendel was, and how he and Beowulf grappled.

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  2. "It must have been a Tyrannosaurus. That's one of the 3 extinct animals I've heard of."

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  3. Oh man, the "Grendel was a Tyrannosaurus" theory. I'd heard that this was actually a thing before. That article linked to this page. And that page, in turn, contains the following couldn't-make-it-up-if-I-wanted-to quote:

    "Dear Lord, we know that you created all things even the terrible T. rex. We thank you that we are not menaced by this creature today yet his spiritual counterpart, the Devil and his angels, are still there to bother us. We thank you for Jesus Christ who gave us the power to overcome this monster. Amen."

    I don't even...?

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    1. I always go back and forth between linking to those sites, usually refrain. But that quote.. that's just golden.

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    2. What I'm wondering is how, according to the YECs, "J. R. Tolkien...showed that Beowulf was a factual account, not a fiction and that Grendel was most likely a T. rex." What's next, arguing that "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" was based on a true story & thus proof that non-avian dinos lived at the same time as humans?

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    3. In retrospect, something w/more nostalgia & dino vs. human action (E.g. "One Million Years B.C.") would've made a better movie reference. Aw well.

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  4. Saw this a few weeks ago when I covered Bambiraptor: http://www.creationtoday.org/what-is-the-truth-about-dinosaurs/

    Same argument I believe. I don't want to belittle people that believe this, but some of the things they say make it hard not to think snarky things about them.

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    1. Well, if anything deserves belittling...

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    2. Probably true, but I try to go with live and let live as long as they don't attack my theories outright. I just think of it as a ridiculous interpretation of the bible and an old English poem. Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation, even if it is a bit ludicrous. If anyone tries to push that interpretation into the school curriculum I'll be right there in the crowd against it though, because it is ludicrous.

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  5. Bewowulf vs. a juvenile Tyrannosaurus might be quite entertaining material for a movie, though. At least until it bit off Beowulf's head after he tried to rip its not at all weak or feeble despite its size arm.

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  6. Crichton wrote a book ("Eaters of the Dead", adapted to film as "The Thirteenth Warrior") where Grendel (or actually a tribe, the "wendol") were late-surviving Neandertals. BIT MORE PLAUSIBLE.

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    1. That's what that one was about? That was one of the few Crichton books I didn't read in my teenage Crichton spree. I don't know why I would have read "Rising Sun" over that one, but that's what happened.

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    2. The 13th Warrior (the Antonito Banderas movie that lots of people have told me is awful) is based off of that. I think it's pretty good, but that's just my opinion.

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  8. Because, contrary to what we were led to believe at Uni, "Beowulf" is just so obviously a factual account and not a work of fiction ...

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  9. "Small and Weak" enough to be the size of a man's arm and strong enough to lift the man twice over. Tyrannosaurids sure have weak arms.

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  10. I don't know about anyone else, but Beowulf and dinosaurs is simply crying out to be illustrated, surely? T. rex isn't Grendel; it's his mount!

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    1. Niroot, sounds like you're channelling Frank Frazetta there!

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