It is time to let go of the idea of ‘living dinosaurs’
The thought that dinosaurs might be living in some long-forgotten corner of the world has fanned the flames of curiosity for a long time. Many of our supporters believe it is true, and we have done much to support the possibility over the years. However, it is time for a critical reassessment.
Since biblical creationists are already held to a double standard, we should seek to find the best arguments. At the same time, we must be free to allow older, outdated arguments to wither on the vine, when we find them. Science changes, but the Bible does not. Thus, we deny that the Bible is a scientific textbook, since textbooks always contain mistakes and always become outdated! But when the Bible does touch on scientific aspects, it is always accurate, because the One who inspired it knows all the science that there is to know. Our Arguments we think creationists should not use page and this response to a critic serve as a clear record that we want to use the best arguments. We are also willing to contradict what we may have said in the past when an argument becomes untenable. We believe that ‘Living Dinosaurs’ has become one of those arguments.
This is an emotional argument for many people. Human nature makes us look for the ‘magic bullet’ or ‘knockout punch’ evidence. For many, this seems to be wrapped up in their faith that the Bible is true. But we have said many times that we should not put our faith in science. The propositions of Scripture, and what can be logically deduced from them, should be held strongly, but models that creationists have developed to elucidate them should be held loosely. Remember that the Lord Jesus Himself reminded us that some will not believe even if one was to rise from the dead (Luke 16:31), and we have multiple eyewitness testimony that this event occurred. We already have tons of evidence to refute the evolutionary view of dinosaurs and to support the correct biblical view that dinosaurs did not die out millions of years ago such as:
- Dinosaur soft tissue
- Dinosaur DNA
- Carbon-14 in every dinosaur sample that has been tested (see Radiocarbon in dino bones: International conference result censored, and the documentation in Dire Dragons)
We can deduce from the Bible that the earth is not millions of years old (science agrees, by the way), that God created many different ‘kinds’ of living organisms, and that two of every (unclean) kind were on Noah’s Ark. Scripture does not speak directly about dinosaurs, nor should we assume it is a comprehensive book on animal taxonomy, but we have enough evidence to conclude that dinosaurs certainly existed. If we are to fit them into biblical history, they would have been on the Ark, because they were air-breathing land animals, and therefore they would have been alive at least early in the post-Flood era. We note that many land animals have gone extinct. The promise God made to preserve animals on the Ark was a general promise, not a specific claim that every species, or indeed every kind, would remain on the earth indefinitely. Indeed, extinction is just another reminder of the Fall and how the earth is subject to continuing decay.
And the Bible has depictions of some fascinating creatures such as the behemoth in Job 40:15–18, which seems to fit the description of a sauropod dinosaur, such as Dreadnoughtus. No living creature has a tail that could be compared to the cedar, the largest tree in the middle-east.
The evidence is strong that they lived in the post-Flood era, and there is nothing that categorically tells us they must be extinct, so the idea that they might still be alive is tantalizing.
This brings us to a discussion about cryptozoology. This is, literally, the ‘study of hidden animals’. It is an attempt to prove that creatures widely regarded as extinct or imaginary are actually alive but merely hidden. Such creatures are called ‘cryptids’. CMI has printed multiple articles on this subject over the years, based on information then available, and we do not regret having written them. While we have never claimed that dinosaurs are still alive today, we have always remained open to the possibility of finding one. Why wouldn’t we be?
However, we have now had decades to verify the claims. To date, not a single one has been confirmed. Keep in mind that this is not for a lack of looking. And as time goes by, it is increasingly unlikely that we will ever find one. What about the argument, “One can only say they don’t exist today if we could explore every inch of the earth at the same time.” This is actually nonsensical, because we could apply it to anything that we want—even non-existent or imaginary things like fairies that people believed in over 100 years ago (based upon alleged eyewitness testimonies).
In addition, unlike the oceans, which are more difficult to explore due to the extreme depths and lack of light, we have explored essentially the entire surface of the earth. From time to time we have found weird and wonderful creatures and species that we did not even know existed, but these have generally been small creatures, and they usually belong to an already-known taxon, such as the okapi (a member of the family Giraffidae, named in 1901) and the saola (a muntjac ‘discovered’ by a son of Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s, it was finally found alive in Vietnam in 1992). In the case of dinosaurs, we know what to look for. We have their fossils (meaning they are dead), and we have pretty much explored the whole planet.
But the areas that are least explored (e.g. the Congo and West Papua) are the places where dinosaurs are supposedly living today, so we are left in a difficult situation. Good people are reporting on living dinosaurs in areas that are so remote that it is not easy to validate the claims. Yet, even though these reports go back decades, there are never secondary sightings, ergo, none have been validated. That is a critically important point. It is not like no humans live in these places. Loggers, explorers, drug runners, poachers, and subsistence farmers regularly traipse the back woods areas of the world. It is nearly impossible to find places not impacted by humans, thus observed by humans. In the 1800s, people went to the western US looking for living dinosaurs. They were not there. There were other sightings over the years and multiple expeditions to remote areas looking for dinosaurs. They were never found.
Due to the tension between the verbal reports and the absence of hard evidence, we hesitate to simply throw everything out. But our position is no longer “wait and see”. Instead, it is time to say that living dinosaurs no longer exist unless there is proven evidence to the contrary, otherwise claims that dinosaurs must still exist will be used by the evolutionists as yet another club with which to beat creationists.
This does not mean we reject the idea that dinosaurs previously lived with man, only that they are extremely unlikely to be living today, and there are strong creationist scientific reasons for saying so. Reporting responsibly and cautiously on alleged eyewitness accounts is not unreasonable, so long as we don’t exaggerate or overdo it. For instance, if someone heard about Mokele-Mbembe (a sauropod-like creature reported to be living in the Congo basin of Africa) and wanted to check out how strong the evidence was, or how weak, it would not be irresponsible if our website, meant to be a definitive source of biblical creationist ideas, had articles on it, based upon the trustworthiness of the report.
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