|The divine comedy|
Many creationists believe in human-dinosaur coexistence, i.e., that since humans have been around since the beginning of time, they necessarily coexisted with nonavian dinosaurs. This is even shoehorned into a belief that dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible (e.g., the Behemoth from Job, dragons). The open disagreements with creationists fall mostly on how the dinosaurs were kept on Noah's Ark—how the Ark would have been large enough, how they died out afterwards, and so on. A further sub-group have also claimed that dinosaurs aren't extinct and that there were recent findings of dinosaurs in the remote places of Earth. An example is Kent Hovind who believes that today's lizards are dinosaurs that have lost the genes for largeness,[note 1] as if that's how genes work. The more insane believe that dinosaurs are Satan's own creation. According to "Tobacco Truthers", smoking killed all the dinosaurs, as revealed by Gary Larson in "The Far Side." Carl Everett, a former MLB player, also said dinosaurs did not exist and that their fossils are fakes.[note 2]
Why this is bollocks
There's nothing particularly special about dinosaurs in this case. There are countless extinct species, some coming after the nonavian dinosaurs went extinct, many coming before that. Insects, for example, date back to around 400 million years ago; a number of the extinct prehistoric species are far larger than modern equivalents due to higher atmospheric oxygen concentrations, as insects don't possess respiratory systems that allow them to grow to an indefinite size. Without the higher oxygen concentration, such species would not survive — but at the same time, such higher oxygen concentrations would be less conducive to the existence of other species. Human coexistence with these species is certainly more problematic for creationists, but dinosaurs are in the popular imagination for being large land animals unlike any that currently exist, so they remain as a great image for creation museums to use.
The particular problem with human-dinosaur coexistence is the same problem presented by all flood geology. Namely, that in the fossil record there is absolutely no trace of human remains found in the layers where dinosaur fossils are found. There are no modern animals mixed in with dinosaur remains; there are no dinosaur remains mixed in with more modern animals. In fact, the fossil record is remarkably well-ordered for being supposedly, according to creationists, put down by a devastating and chaotic flood. Additionally, the "flood" doesn't explain that non-terrestrial fossils have been found before (Mosasaurs, Plesiosaurs, Pachycormiformes, just to name some of the cool ones.)
In the real world (or, "Why it matters")
In June of 2012, journalists discovered that publishers of fundamentalist Christian textbooks would begin issuing textbooks claiming the Loch Ness Monster is a real live plesiosaur.[note 3] These texts would be used by Christian schools and homeschoolers to promote denialism of the theory of evolution. One critic believed that they would be used in at least thirteen American states.
To add to the problem, Louisiana placed 13 Christian schools who use such textbooks on its list of approved alternative private schools paid for with tax-funded vouchers.
How did all the animals including dinosaurs fit inside Noah's ark
The Bible mentions that Noah took two of every kind of animal. He did not say to take two of every species of animals. Genesis 6:19-20 "19: You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20: Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive." An example would be that Noah only needed two felines. He did not need two of every species of felines. That means Noah did not take in lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, sabertoothed
tigers cats, panthers, jaguars, and every other species of felines. He needed at least one lion and a tiger or one lion and a jaguar. Noah may not have taken aboard the original primary strain of every animal kind, preferably just two of the same kind that carries all the genetic codes that make up all their descendant species. Noah needed two of every kind of dinosaur. Of course, dinosaurs grew extremely large. However, Noah only needed two juveniles of every kind of animal. Juveniles would fit into the ark perfectly (for certain values of "perfectly"). If Noah had two of every kind of adult animals, that would create a problem as most animals grew large. Whether most dinosaurs were reptiles, we know that reptiles never stop growing. Noah only needed young dinosaurs. We know those marine animals did not need to be in the Ark to survive in the oceans. Creationist researcher John Woodmorappe illustrated that Noah had on board the Ark representatives from about 8,000 animal genera, or 16,000 individual animals. Genesis 6:15 "This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits." A lot of Christians fail to consider this. Many churches depict Noah's Ark filled with adult animals. It is ignorant to believe that every kind of adult animal would fit perfectly inside the ark. Juveniles are smaller and need less space. They sleep more and eat less. The young animals inside the Ark should be grown enough not to need their mother's milk.
Of course, if you're tempted to actually believe that bit of tripe, it's worth knowing that it requires a sort of hyper-evolution, with speciation happening at a phenomenal rate over the next several thousand years. It's also worth considering that, sort of by definition, these different species of cats, birds, etc. could not have interbred and had viable offspring, which sort of nips that sped-up evolution in the bud.
Not all people who believe in human-dinosaur coexistence are necessarily creationists, but simply ignorant and believed what they saw on The Flintstones. The cure for this is simple: education.
For the pedants in the audience
These days, biologists regard modern birds as extant dinosaurs. Although the popular image is that dinosaurs were like lizards, there are a lot of differences between large reptiles seen today (e.g., the Komodo dragon, crocodiles, and so on) and dinosaurs. The legs of all extant lizards and crocodiles, for example, sprawl out to the sides while all dinosaur species have their legs extending directly below the body. Upright bipedal dinosaurs (theropods), then, have more in common with the bone structures of large birds than of modern reptiles. There's significant evidence that dinosaurs had lungs closer in operation to modern birds for improved efficiency, especially in larger dinosaurs for which mammalian and modern reptilian lungs simply wouldn't have worked. The embryonic and evolutionary origins of scales and feathers are also practically identical, and many non-avian dinosaurs had feathers not too dissimilar to those of modern birds.
In fact, dinosaurs are defined[note 4] as everything descended from the most recent common ancestor of Triceratops and its descendants, including… Passer domesticus. The house sparrow. There's your human-coexisting dinosaur and who is actually mentioned in the Bible.
- Dinosaur denialism
- The Mysterious Origins of Man - an entire documentary dedicated to proving man and dinos co-existed
- Jurassic Park - more scientifically accurate than the bible
- Paluxy River tracks
- Unicorn - much more real according to (some versions of) the bible
- xkcd has offered at least one interesting observation on this subject.
- ↑ Ignore that this would be evolution happening and run with it, m'kay?
- ↑ Were you seriously expecting someone who was on the Red Sox to be intelligent or something? ...Then again, he was smart enough to NOT play for the Yankees, otherwise stated as the Yankees had the good sense not to sign him.
- ↑ Ignore that this is a salt-water creature that they claim are living in a fresh water environment. If they were right, that would probably require evolution to happen.
- ↑ There is, of course, fiddling around the edges of this. See dinosaur.
- ↑ Why do people laugh at creationists? (part 7): In which Hovind claims that a Triceratops was a Jackson's Chameleon
- ↑ WTF?
- ↑ Bible Answers Live Question Archive:Are dinosaurs Satan's animals?
- ↑ https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=gary%20larson%20real%20reason%20dinosaurs%20extinct&tbs=imgo:1
- ↑ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/cover/news/2000/07/19/everett_flashback/
- ↑ McKin, Claire. "Loch Ness monster cited by US schools as evidence that evolution is myth", Edinburgh Scotsman website, published and accessed 26 June 2012.
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/louisiana-students-loch-ness-monster-disprove-evolution_n_1624643.html
- ↑ Take a gander at this thread at Godlike Productions; even they think it is stupid. Mostly.
- ↑ Natural History Museum — What were dinosaurs?
- ↑ Pharyngula - Dinosaur lungs