Apologetics and dinosaurs

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Dinosaurs were a type of reptile that existed 231 to 66 million years ago and, at the time, were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates. Dinosaur species of that time are now extinct. Modern birds are descended from a subgroup of dinosaurs and are, in a sense, still dinosaurs.

Large fossilized bones have mystified people for centuries. In the early 1800s, Gideon Mantell and Richard Owen realised that the fossils belonged to extinct animals and plants. The fossils are buried in rock layers that geologists claim take hundreds of millions of years to form. This theory rules out young Earth creationism and is also a key piece of evidence for evolution. Religious thinkers have since tried to reconcile the existence of fossils or dinosaurs with their scripture and doctrine.

Dinosaurs went extinct since the great flood[edit]

A significant proportion of young Earth creationists believe that God created dinosaurs and co-existed with humans. Apologists argue that monsters described in the Bible are possibly dinosaurs. Dinosaurs went extinct some time after the great flood.

"[The Bible] also tells us why we no longer see them today: the worldwide Flood of Noah’s day destroyed most of these creatures (as well as everything and everyone that breathed air and dwelt on land that were not inside the Ark), and the rest slowly died out because of the changing environment and the spread of humanity from Babel. [1]"

Apologists attempt to explain how the fossils came to be buried in rock that takes hundreds of millions of years to form, but their claims are not accepted by mainstream science.

God created dinosaur bones but no dinosaurs[edit]

One idea, called the Omphalos hypothesis, suggests that God created the earth relatively recently but with the appearance that it is very ancient. The possible motive for God's action is either God can't be defined or a test of faith. Formerly, this view had some popularity but has not fallen out of favour. The argument is intended to undermine the evidence for evolution.

"God doesn't want to let gullible people into heaven, so he tests you with dinosaur bones to make sure you actually know how to think for yourself not just listen to experts."


  • It's begging the question, assuming atheists haven't already "thought for themselves", and examined the evidence.
  • It's begging the question additionally, assuming there's a god to "test" us, at all.
  • The claim is not falsifiable, and thus cannot be considered within a scientific context.
  • It's in violation of Occam's Razor, in that the simpler explanation is that dinosaurs died and fossilized, without an additional agents and motivations.
  • It's accusing atheists of engaging in the argument from authority. Accepting the claims is based from evidence and skepticism, not because "experts" said so.
  • Given a choice between evidence and logic-based claims by experts, and no-evidence and illogical-based claims from religious sources, it's a far better choice to go with the evidence.
  • This scenario makes God a deceiver.

Satan created dinosaur bones but no dinosaurs[edit]

The possibility that Satan created dinosaur bones is sometimes discussed on apologist Internet forums but the argument is generally not used by apologists.

"When dinosaur fossils were first being unearthed en masse and dated at millions/billions of years old, some young earth creationists claimed the fossils were a satanic deception intended to make us believe that Earth was billions of years old and that evolution is true.[2]"


  • There is no evidence for the claim and one might as well say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is trying to trick them with the Bible.
  • Dinosaur bones existed prior to an understanding of fossils, and presumably prior to the time the Bible was written. Prior to knowledge of extinctions, misunderstood fossils helped support Biblical stories, such as mistakenly interpreting partial fossil evidence to be bones of giant people.
  • Most fossils are not of creatures generally considered remarkable. Did Satan take the time to fossilize ordinary clams? If so, why would God allow the radical alterations to the planet's surface necessary to account for large fossil beds, and wouldn't that make Satan co-creator of the earth? Did Satan just fake dinosaur bones? If so, it does nothing to attack evolution in general.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]

v · d Common objections to atheism and counter-apologetics
Personal   Why are you trying to tear down other people's faith? · Why can't everyone just have their own beliefs? · What are your qualifications? · Atheists believe in nothing · You are a communist · Why do atheists inspire such hatred? · That's not my God
Religious   That's not in my Bible · They're not true Christians · You just want to sin · Atheists know there is a God · It takes more faith to disbelieve than it does to believe · God doesn't believe in atheists · Science is a faith · Atheism is a religion · Atheists worship materialism · Hypocrisy of celebrating religious holidays · Atheism is based on faith · Religious belief is beneficial
Science and logic   You can't prove God doesn't exist · Science can't touch god · God can't be defined · So you think we came from nothing / pondsoup / monkeys? · If God didn't create everything, who did? · That might be true for you, but its not true for me · Religion is another way of knowing · Apologetics and dinosaurs