Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fake Fossils? Or Just Fake News?

Regarding the normally-smart comic strip Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

This is at least the second cartoon SMBC has run on what is apparently a thought-cliché: (some) Christians believe that dinosaurs never existed and the archeological evidence to the contrary was contrived by Satan to trick humanity into believing in evolution.

Except . . . I went DuckDuckGoing about trying to find a source for this and came up empty. I found plenty of (presumably atheist) websites making this claim about Christians, and plenty of Christian websites refuting or disavowing it. I found not one attributable Christian source making this claim (although I was momentarily taken in by the parody site "Landover Baptist"). I found not one by-name attribution among the accusers.

That said, it's a big country. It's probable that everything that could be said has probably been said by somebody somewhere. In this case, I first heard about this "theory" in 1992-93 from my Orthodox Presbyterian Sunday school teacher, again for the purpose of refuting it. It did not then occur to me to ask him where he had heard it, whether from a Christian expressing such a belief or from a non-Christian claiming a Christian had said it. But in any case, the story pre-dates the internet, which I suppose is a point in favor of its veracity.

So I open this up to my last dozen readers: can anybody trace the origin of this story? An article, speech, book, etc. expressing the belief that dinosaur fossils are the devil's work? Alternatively, the anti-Christian originating the libel? Please let me know in the comments.


heresolong said...

I'm going to say I heard this floated as a possibility in the late 70s or possibly early 80s. It was not, however, seriously discussed, just brought up as a "what if". I also remember another theory that floated around that God could just as easily have created the whole world with a fossil record so that we would have to have faith in order to believe. Again, no serious discussion. My bona fides? My father is an Old Testament theologian of some repute. I suspect that if it were a serious argument it might have come up once or twice in my household.

Dr. Φ said...

Heresolong: Thanks for your comment; I did see it, and I apologize for not replying earlier. So, yeah, something once toyed with among laity, not something ever adopted by a church. But somehow it made a leap into non-believers' pop-history of religion.