A few years back, there was a little buzz about feathers found preserved in amber. The amber was dated according to evolutionary dating methods to be about 78 million years old putting it squarely in the “age of the dinosaurs.” The supposed age of the feathers earned them the moniker of “dinosaur feathers.”
Dinosaur-to-bird evolution is a much loved fantasy in the theory's narrative. You may have noticed over the last few years how dinosaurs are now being drawn to look more bird-like. Scales have been replaced with a bright plumage and the stubby arms of bipedal dinosaurs are being revamped to look like wings. A find like this seems to reaffirm evolutionists' suspicions about dinos becoming birds.
In a report about the find, The Atlantic made the following comments:
Researchers led by University of Alberta paleontologist Ryan McKellar say these specimens represent distinct stages of feather evolution, from early-stage, single filament protofeathers to much more complex structures associated with modern diving birds.... This discovery is a pretty significant find. It supports a model for the evolution of feathers that has previously relied on compression fossils that are difficult to interpret and have been hotly debated.
As usual, I have some of my own opinions about the find.
First, it's more than a little presumptuous to say, “these specimens represent distinct stages of feather evolution.” Isn't that a conclusion? If all these feathers existed contemporaneously, then can't it just as truthfully be said they simply represent various levels of complexity among feathers? They don't support evolution unless I interpret them according to evolution. I could do something similar with dogs. For example, I could arrange dog skulls in order from smallest to largest and say, “These skulls represent the stages of dog evolution from the chihuahua to the great dane.” If evolution were true, I would expect the least complex feathers to be much older than the most complex feathers. I certainly wouldn't expect all the “stages” of feather evolution to exist at the same time. It could happen, I suppose, but it's not predicted by the theory.
Next, what evidence do they have that these feathers even belonged to dinosaurs? The Atlantic headline clearly says, “Dinosaur Feathers Found in Amber Reinforce Evolutionary Theories” but in the text of the article they admit, “[The researchers] can't determine which feathers belonged to birds or dinosaurs yet.” Here's a thought – maybe none of them belonged to dinosaurs! Maybe they're all bird feathers. Some of these feathers are described as “nearly identical to those of modern birds.” So instead of being evidence that reinforces evolutionary theories, I could say it's evidence that modern birds existed simultaneously with their supposed ancestors. In other words, it's evidence against evolutionary theories.
Finally, there is nothing about creationism that predicts dinosaurs cannot have feathers. God created a variety of creatures. Many of them have certain features in common. When you talk about something like flight, birds have wings more similar to bat wings than insect wings. Even though God created birds with more features in common with bats than insects, it doesn't mean they're “more closely related” to bats. Likewise, there's no reason God could not have given dinosaurs a covering of some sort the same way He put feathers on birds and hair on mammals. Maybe they had a type of crude feather. Maybe they had complex feathers. Maybe they had some other fibrous structure that scientists are mistakenly calling, “proto-feathers.” Maybe they had none of these features and all the speculation of feathers on dinos is dead wrong. Whatever the case, it's not evidence against creation nor evidence for evolution.
I'll tell you exactly what scientists found – feathers in amber. That's the only “fact” in the story and, in some of the specimens, even that is suspect. The sensational headlines, the “evidence” for evolution, and the chest thumping by the researchers are all fluff.