This just in: creationists deny the existence of dinosaurs!

December 14, 2011 • 10:55 am

We’re used to the familiar creationist trope of dinosaurs coexisting with humans, and we all remember the photo of P.Z. riding on a Triceratops at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.  At least those creationists have the decency to admit that dinosaurs were real, and that the fossils are real remnants of animals that once existed.

Well, you may not know that there’s an even loonier subset of creationists who flatly deny the existence of dinosaurs: one might call them Dino Denialists.  You can read all about them in a nice piece by Don Prothero at skepticblog. Prothero links to a website from this bizarre sect, “Dinosaurs: Science or science fiction?

Besides the usual attacks on radiometric dating and refutations of other creationist arguments that Biblical references to behemoths actually refer to dinosaurs, this site makes the bizarre claim that all the dinosaur fossils were fabricated by scientists.  Now even if that were possible (where is this factory that’s so busy turning out thousands of dino fossils?), why would scientists do it?. Prothero gives an explanation from the Dino Denial site:

What would be the motivation for such a deceptive endeavor? Obvious motivations include trying to prove evolution, trying to disprove or cast doubt on the Christian Bible and the existence of the Christian God, and trying to disprove the “young-earth theory”. Yes, there are major political and religious ramifications.

The dinosaur concept could imply that if God exists, he may have tinkered with his idea of dinosaurs for awhile, then perhaps discarded or became tired of this creation and then went on to create man. The presented dinosaur historical timeline could suggest an imperfect God who came up with the idea of man as an afterthought, thus demoting the biblical idea that God created man in His own image. Dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

Highly rewarding financial and economic benefits to museums, educational and research organizations, university departments of paleontology, discoverers and owners of dinosaur bones, and the book, television, movie and media industries may cause sufficient motivation for ridiculing of open questioning and for suppression of honest investigation. [DP: That’s a real laugher! Most paleontologists are poorly paid and cannot even get a job in paleontology!]

Prothero, a crack paleontologist and author of both popular and technical books on the paleobiology, then proceeds to take the argument apart. I’ll let you enjoy his critique, but here’s one snippet:

There is a long section, using quotes out of context from the Berkeley evolution website, that claims that scientists dreamed up the whole thing as a big scam to undermine religion. Never mind the fact that all the early dinosaur discoveries were made by religious people such as Gideon Mantell, Rev. William Buckland, Mary Anning, and Richard Owen, and many later paleontologists (like Edward D. Cope) were also quite religious. This writer knows how to clip little bits of simplistic web histories out of context, but doesn’t know enough history to know the difference.

This is Lying for Jesus, just as Holocaust denial is Lying for Hitler.  I really can’t fathom the mindset of people who can entertain theories like this, fabricating completely ridiculous theories to circumvent the most convincing empirical evidence.  I suppose it differs only in degree, but not in kind, from the mindset of people like Ken Ham or William Dembski.

h/t: Grania Spingies

106 thoughts on “This just in: creationists deny the existence of dinosaurs!

  1. How pathetically terrified these poor schmucks are of their own mortality that they would go to such lengths to convince themselves by convincing the world of the reality of their fantasies.



    1. Ben, as usual you’re missing the point. Christianity is more about practice than belief, more praxis than dogma, more about the moral insight of mythos than the factual claims of logos, and more about dinosaurs being an atheist lie.

      1. Ah, yes. Silly me.

        I suppose the approved approach for this case is to convince these cretinists that the reason there aren’t any more Wooly Mammoths is because they were unclean and therefore weren’t let on the Ark? And that this sort of gradualist theology is the only guaranteed way to get them to mouth faith in the Great Prophet Darwin?

        Well, I suppose it must be — there’s all that irrefutable evidence to support the accommodationist claims that theirs is the One True Way, after all….



      2. Ray, I call your attention to Jerry’s post from Dec. 12 entitled “Julian Baggini discovers that the faithful really believe that stuff.” How many IDiots do you think really accept ID, vs. those who actually believe the Bible stories but try to have it both ways because they want evolution to be wrong, or because they want to see themselves as being pro-science?

        1. I was actually quoting Mr. Bagginni’s article — except for the last bit that I added as a joke. (I suppose I should have attributed the quote, but I figured Ben would see it immediately anyway.)

          I think most ‘moderate’ Christians can accept the opening chapters of Genesis as mostly allegorical — as long as their god is still the creator in some sense. And so ID is a way to have a form of creationism which still appearing to accept some aspects of the scientific view: the immense age of the Earth, the long history of life, descent from common ancestor(s), etc.

          The actual TOE of course is an unguided process in which ‘god’ (intelligent or not) plays no role whatsoever. This is just not acceptable to most Christians (or to most other theists, as far as I can tell).

          For those who are unwilling to compromise on a plain reading of the first 11 chapters of Genesis, ID is completely unacceptable.

  2. Damn, and to think the fundies ponied up all those tithing dollars to build all those creationist ‘Dino-Worlds’ for nothing.

    I guess this means that ‘The Flinstones’ no longer counts as a documentary either?

    It’s just getting too hard to know where to put yer faith nowadays, lol…

  3. Mary Anning: How a Simple Englishwoman Led the Plot to Destroy Christianity

    available from Creation Ministries Publications, $29.95 plus shipping and handling

    OK, I just made that up. Or did I?

  4. Slightly off topic, but I can’t help remembering…

    When my son was just a little fellow he had his own word for dinosaurs… “Bice” (or “Byce” or “Biece”… I’m not sure… he never spelled it for us). The same word applied to front end loaders and all manner of large trucks.

        1. Bouse, Arizona library wifi won’t allow access to the WEIT* website due to content, however, will allow access to that squid and whatnot site. They also have no (as in none) broadcast or cable television. Poor childrens.

          *@ last winter at least.

          1. Well, at least they have an RV Park. And Google map/photo shows that they have plenty of bice, at least of the large truck type.

            Those would be Bicesaurus house, I think.

  5. OK, so their position on dinosaurs is quite clear. But what I want to know is where do they stand on Vendobiontans, Archaeocyathids, Trilobites and Labyrinthodonts, not to mention Pelycosaurs, Rudists, Enantiornithines, Glyptodonts, and….and….

    Oh my God, this thing goes deeper than we thought!!!

  6. Are these the same people who believe that the earth doesn’t rotate, but is the center of the universe around which all other heavenly bodies move, or is this a different set of wackos? L

      1. Correction: not an outright denier, but one who blathers on about all kinds of supposed “anomalies” in Apollo photos and such.

  7. Yes, science is just a conspiracy of atheists making stuff up to discredit religion. Except, you know, when theists point out that a lot of scientists were or are religious.

    Is he saying that since the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs is a reason they never existed? The Bible never mentioned the Americas either, so I guess I’m not really in Cleveland right now. Or, their book of fairy tales is crap.

      1. That’s why it never rains there. It would wreak havoc with the cardboard.

        Of course, that would explain the town in Blazing Saddles. I didn’t realize Mel Brooks was doing an expose.

    1. From the impression you get reading the bible, the Palestinian area is a vast place, brimming with huge pagan empires, against which the Jews struggle to build their own mighty empire. Then when you look at the map, you realize that its an area around the size of New Jersey and you start wondering just how dumb people had to be to get lost in the Sinai for 40 years, and how deluded such a tiny country had to be to think it would be able to overpower the vast kingdoms around it.

  8. The fossil-making sweat shops are all located in China, where they can be produced and shipped for just pennies. And China is a communist nation with an atheistic agenda…

    Now it’s all coming together!

    1. No,not China: I can tell you where all those dinosaurs are actually made: they are made by a small company in Oxfordshire run by my younger brother, who made a number of dinosaurs for the BBC series on those beasts. He’s not very fond of fundies.

  9. LOL, a lot of dinosaur fossils were found long before there was such a thing as the theory of evolution. How stupid do you have to be to deny their existence???

  10. In antiquity, as today, people occasionally stumble on fossilized remains of animals from eras in the distant past.
    In antiquity, however, they didn’t have access to paleontology to tell them that the gigantic fuukin humerus-looking bone the farmer unearthed belonged to a brontosaur. It looked for all the world like the gigantic humerus bone of OTHER, contemporary, familiar beasts; just WAY bigger.
    Since they didn’t have science to supply the correct interpretation, they did the best they could, and decided that GIANTS had indeed trod the land.
    Who could blame ’em? The explanation fit the data.

    1. And giants are mentioned in scripture:
      Genesis 6:4
      Numbers 13:33
      Deuteronomy 2:11, 2:20, 3:11, 3:13
      Joshua 12:4, 13:12, 15:8, 17:15, 18:16
      2 Samuel 21:16, 18, 20, 22
      1 Chronicles 20:4, 6, 8
      Job 16:14

          1. Ha! That’s just what they want you to think.

            You’ve never seen Neil Armstrong and Sue Hendrickson in the same place at the same time, have you? Well, have you?

            Ye gods, the conspiracy is everywhere! Everywhere, I tell you!


      1. No, no. All that actually shows is the paleontologists *planting* the damned things in the ground.

        You can see it if you squint your eyes just right.

          1. What happens when you play country music backwards? You get your truck, your dog and your woman back. (Stolen from the TV series Homicide).

  11. Thanks, Jerry.
    Thanks for turning me into an alcoholic wreck.
    I mean, I actually followed the link and actually read all that demented bat dung.
    Now it’s going to take an uninterrupted diet of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters from now till Boxing Day to get over this load of fetid dingo’s kidneys:

    The possibility exists that living dinosaurs never existed. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).
    The choice between believing the word of man, the evolutionists, or the word of God, the Bible, is a matter of faith.

    The clearest enunciation of the most abject renunciation of reason I’ve been exposed to in a long time.

  12. Within creationism there are:
    Young earthers and old earthers,
    Strict and partial literalists and now,
    Dino affirmers and deniers.

    One hope they quit accepting without question and start thinking.

  13. I felt a little guilty clicking on the link as I didn’t want to encourage someone to write more when they see inflated page hits. Not to worry though – judging by his phat web design skillz, I doubt he knows how to put a counter on it.

    On topic, back when I was a lad and attended a bible summer camp, one of my camp councilors firmly believed that fossils were put on earth by Satan to pull us away from God.

  14. One of the craziest things I ever read was the account of a minister who was told by one of his flock that UFO were atheist time machines that planted fake evidence for evolution.

    Eddie Izzard’s Jesus and the dinosaurs is always good for a laugh though

  15. They really need to join forces with this group:

    Galileo Was Wrong is a detailed and comprehensive treatment of the scientific evidence supporting Geocentrism, the academic belief that the Earth is immobile in the center of the universe. Garnering scientific information from physics, astrophysics, astronomy and other sciences, Galileo Was Wrong shows that the debate between Galileo and the Catholic Church was much more than a difference of opinion about the interpretation of Scripture.

    Scientific evidence available to us within the last 100 years that was not available during Galileo’s confrontation shows that the Church’s position on the immobility of the Earth is not only scientifically supportable, but it is the most stable model of the universe and the one which best answers all the evidence we see in the cosmos.

    1. They had a conference last year – I downloaded the flyer. I think it was held at (or near) Notre Dame. The organization is based in (wait for it…) Texas!

  16. I’ve also heard that the devil put the bones there to draw people away from god and that god put the bones there to test peoples’ faith in him. No doubt all these bullshit stories are “divine truth” – and people wonder why intelligent folks generally laugh at religion.

    1. “I’ve also heard that the devil put the bones there to draw people away from god”

      Well it worked on you. You got it wrong so you are going to hell.

      These days, the common fundie explanation is that god is the one wandering around planting the fossils. Letting satan do it gives too much power to satan and not enough credit to god.

      The fundie god has a very boring life.

      1. “The fundie god has a very boring life.”

        Of course. The last thing they want is for god to see what they are up to. Keep ‘im busy!

  17. I posted about that site on my blog hours ago. One time I visited that site in my struggle to understand how creationists deal with dinosaurs stupidly and debunked all those dinosaur claims they made. It was and still is one of the worst sites out there for dinosaurs…. THE STUPID! IT BURNS!

    Dinosaur Deniers

  18. Scientific facts are true; even if you don’t believe they are. Science isn’t a religion, belief is irrelevant. Dinosaurs existed regardless of creationists’ opinions on the matter.

  19. I’ve walked through the storage areas of a natural history museum/research collection, and all I can say is, a lot of people did a hell of a lot of work making those fake fossils, labeling them, putting them in trays and boxes, and hiding them in the basement so no one could see them, which seems kind of like a lot of effort for not much payoff.

    I mean, if I was going to discredit Christianity, I’d take all the evidence for Jesus–his tomb, his many writings in his own hand, the letters from all those people who knew him, the annals from those Roman historians where they talk all about him, and I’d hide THEM instead. That’d show ’em.

  20. Given species lifespans dinos etc are clearly the Christian god’s best idea ever.

    Humans — not so much. We’re so dum and likely to heat shock ourselves outta existence — but with a whole lotta bling!

    1. Except that no one species of dinosaur lasted the full 160 or so million years that dinosaurs were around, but some probably lasted longer than humans have so far. True mammals appeared about 30 million years after the first dinosaurs, so they (we?) have been around almost as long (or slightly longer if you don’t count birds). But mammals certainly haven’t dominated terrestrial habitats for as long as the dinosaurs did.

      I love the JBS Haldane quip about God having an inordinate fondness for beetles (even if it is apocryphal). Haldane was talking about the number of species, of course. But if God is more of a biomass kinda guy, he clearly prefers krill.

  21. any chance those “creationists” are actually wry satirists making a mockery of the climate denialists’ claim that global climate change is a conspiracy by scientists trying to get rich off of grant money?

    sounds like the same idiotic argument to me.

    1. If you look at enough groups of reality deniers, you start to realize that they’re really all the same at their most basic levels.

  22. These New Creationists are not helping the cause. They’re never going to persuade atheists to come to Jesus by telling them they’re stupid for believing in dinosaurs.

    Instead, they should be like me and focus on the common ground that we share with atheists: that dinosaurs are cool!


    Ken Hovind, aka Inmate 3952723

  23. A friend of mine told me that a girl he was dating believed this hokum. The idea that dinos are simply a marketing scheme was new to me. The worst thing was that not only did she not believe in the existence of dinosaurs but she worked as a secretary at our agency where she was surrounded by scientists. Yikes!

    Then he told me with some relief that he had finally managed to get out of the relationship, which was the only good news in the whole discussion!

    1. I used to play D&D with a guy who was like that as well- one of the best moments in that campaign came when the DM finally booted him from the group.

  24. Shhhhhh!!!

    As a young man a made a boat load of money traveling the globe and burying fossils that we created in the lab. Many a winter was spent injecting synthetic fossilized bones into sedimentary rock (the process is still very secret, but for money I will tell you). From the arctic, to the Gobi, and to the Awash Valley, I’ve been to them all. Digging, planting fossils, and covering it up so that it looks millions of years old, even to trained paleontologists. The work paid well because it was difficult, just try carting a fossilized T rex around.

    Yes, those were the days…now I sell swampland in Florida.

  25. After leaving the university and the secular Sweden in 2009, I have lived in the world most Earthlings see. The belief in conspiracy theories, ghosts, that mushrooms come from outer space, black magic etc etc is still a reality to the vast majority of people. This applies not only to poor Thais with four years in school, and who never travels further than 4 km, but also to many westerners whom I meet in my daily work in a botanical garden. Sometimes I feel despair, that we have not moved much ahead since Voltaire, so I need your comments and Jerry’s blog to stay sane in a whirlpool of spirits, deities and lunatic imaginations. Education, including logical thinking, is crucial to build a loving society capable of solving problems.

    Eric Danell

  26. I can only suppose that the Dino-Deniers™ have never seen a fossil in its original matrix of rock. Nor have they talked with a paleontological technician who has spent days, weeks, months, patiently removing the matrix to free the fossil itself.

    Sadly, none of them will take the trouble to check up behind the scenes. Like all the religious cranks, they daren’t expose themselves to facts that might, just might, suggest that their religious beliefs (if that is what they are) are at odds with reality.

  27. Somehow I’m only a little surprised. Theists can come up with more dumb things than you can imagine.

    1. 26% of US fundies are Geocentrists who claim the earth is orbited by the sun.

    2. There are still some Flat Earthers around. Most are Moslem fundies these days. The Nigerian murder sect Boku Harum, is one.

    3. Some Moslems reject the Cloud Theory of Rain. Because it says in some old book that Allah provides the rain.

    4. 40% of the US population thinks jesus will come back on his Second Genocide mission by 2050. Despite the fact that he is 2,000 years late already and may not have even existed.

  28. Well it had to be someone to invent Dinosaur Denial. But Dinosaurs are only part of a vast ancient biosphere stretching back 3.7 billion years.

    And its been done, old hat now. In the neverending quest to dial up the craziness, xians will have to go further.

    1. A common fundie belief is that the moon is a self illuminated disk because that is in Genesis. Moon denial, done.

    2. Another common fundie belief is that UFO flying saucers exist and are piloted by demons from hell. Done.

    3. Trilobite denial.

    4-X. Synapsid denial. Pterosaur denial. Ancient amphibian denial. Extinct mammal denial. Placoderm denial. Hmmmm, maybe just general fossil denial.

    5. Astronomy denial. According to the bible, the sky is just a dome and the stars are just lights stuck on it. It has doors so when god gets mildly angry at us, he can open them and pour water on us.

    If it is dumb and silly, the religious creationists can find it and say it.

    1. Anything that have potential to reduce your weekly tithes are denial-targets ..

      (life is already hard as it is now, you know)

  29. There is one huge problem (of many) with this wacko’s “theory”.

    I have a few fossils on my deck. I found them myself here and there. Nothing all that dramatic, a lot of petrified wood, a lot of marine fossils embedded in limestone, and a few ancient mammal bones and teeth found on a beach near me.

    This is not at all unusual, especially for science types. And I know, I didn’t manufacture them, wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to do so. A few of them, I dug out of the limestone myself.

  30. Sad that this person seems to see “Dinosaurs” completely without any evolutionary context. If he can discredit “Dinosaurs” he’s discredited evolution, he thinks. Not a scintilla of understanding of the evolutionary context in which dinosaurs fit – all the other animals leading up to them and away from them and contemporary with them, all the plants likewise and their interactions with the dinosaurs while they were on the earth together. I blame the shops attached to science museums for selling all those decontextualised dinosaurs.

  31. One doesn’t know where to begin dealing with such craziness. Wonder how he would deal with the Christian Mary Schweitzer and her work with soft tissues recovered from dinosaur bones? Seems odd that she would be in on the conspiracy.

    1. Well, obviously she’s not “really” a “Christian” since she’s PART OF THE CONSPIRACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!iiii

  32. Someone’s logic chip isn’t working quite right :

    Besides the usual attacks on radiometric dating

    Very usual indeed.

    this site makes the bizarre claim that all the dinosaur fossils were fabricated by scientists.

    If the dinosaurs were fabricated, then why does he need to attack the process of radiometric dating? Clearly the dates themselves are fabricated too, so what’s the point in the attacking the process of what is clearly a complete fabrication.

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