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I answered the question, whether dinosaurs are mentioned in the bible, with No.

Here is the question, my answer was deleted. After my answer, the question was extended, that not just the word 'dinosaurs' is of interest, but whether there are animals, described in the bible, with the same characteristics as dinosaurs, but wihtout specifying which characteristics are meant.
Please note, that dinosaurs have a lot of characteristics, which they share with today animals, so the question seems very imprecise at first glance. Part of the dinosaurs are flying dinosaurs, and nowadays birds are followers of those dinosaurs.

And of course birds are described in the bible.

Interestingly, 35 minutes after my answer Sven answered the question in a similar way. He first talks about the term 'dinosaurs', which was invented 1842, but the question was not about the term, and since the bible was not written in English, this information is misleading and only a red herring.

Then he mentions 3 places in the bible, which talk about different animals. This can of course never be a prove. If some part of the bible does not talk about dinosaurs, that doesn't mean that no other part of the bible does.

You can mention shepherds and fish, bullocks and donkeys, which aren't dinosaurs as well. It doesn't prove, that the bible does not mention dinosaurs, of course. In fact, the bible talks about fish, shepherds, bullock and donkeys, and they share attributes with dinosaurs, of course. Not to mention birds, like the pigeon.

It is just a red herring, to pretend that you disprove something, and it worked - the answer got 9 upvotes. Then there is a 3rd red herring, the findings of bones in China. almost 2000 years ago. (The cited page talks about at least 2000 years ago). But of course, China itself isn't mentioned in the bible, and was unknown in the antique, jewish culture. So which influence shall the finding of bones in China, over 2000 years ago have? Chewbacca.

But there are 5 citations in the answer, so it looks at first glance, like research, while all it is, is red herring.

But my answer was closed as not up to the quality standards expected on SE sites in general..

More so, Caleb wrote: The first claim would need some sort of citation, as it stands it's just a snide remark.

The first claim was:

No, they aren't. The fossils were found later.

Reading it as a snide remark is just happening inside your brain, Caleb - it isn't. But to prove the absence of a claim, I would need to cite the whole bible - a single sentence would only fit, if they were mentioned in the bible.

Okay - there could be an explicit claim in the bible, that dinosaurs aren't subject of the bible, but such a disclaimer would be self contradicting, wouldn't it?

And it woulnd't be the first and only place in the bible, where one sentence contradicts another one.

To my surprise, the reasoning about closing the question continues:

The second part is invalid anyway as pointed out be several folks that that particular word is newer than the bible, but the creature is surely older.`

So my claim, that fossils where found later, than the writing of the bible are invalid? So did the Chinese write the bible? Or the Greek? And when was the bible written? The younger part about 70 AD, but the older part is much older. That several folks pointed out that the word was invented much later is a weak disprove, that the fossils where found later - does he mean, that the fossils were found 5000 BC, but then the people waited 6840 years, to invent a name for them? Or, that from the age of the creatures, 235 to 65.5 million years ago, that they couldn't have been found later than the writing of the bible?

This part is very confuse.

My short answer provoked many comments, which got plenty of upvotes, but the answer itself was 1 times more downvoted than upvoted - I'm not able to find out, how many upvotes it received, but I remember some reputation gain.

However, the comments are quiet interesting, and are now hidden from the public. Especially interesting for me was, that the questioner, Jonathon Byrd, admitted in the comments, that he takes more writings than the bible literally, for example German myths:

@userunknown you are ASSUMING that dinosaurs lived before the german legends. I see those legends as evidence of dinosaurs. What evidence do you have that they are NOT the same?

The comments are also interesting insofar, as wax eagle mentions the sea monster there, before Sven imports them into his answer, only to conclude, that they are irrelevant.

Such YEC positions aren't commonly held in Europe; only very, very few people over here take the bible literally. In my opinion, if you don't stand dissent, you should not take your faith to a public argument.

My answer is short, precise and to the point. The deletion is an unfriendly act, escorted with bad arguments. I mistrust these arguments therefore, because I've seen Caleb as a reasonable, rational, well arguing person on other pages on SE.

  • 1
    For the record, your answer had +4/-5. – dancek Sep 20 '11 at 6:37
  • Thanks, dancek. – user unknown Sep 21 '11 at 0:33
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Whether intended or not, your answer came across as very pedantic and snide. If someone asks you "Can you give me a ride to the airport?", you don't answer "Yes." and walk away. It's the makings of a wry punchline, not a helpful answer.

A big part of this site is building a canon of the best possible answers on the subject… and community moderation plays a bit part of vetting and separating useful content from the rest. Once you realized "Oh, that's not what they meant", you could have posted all this information into improving your answer.

If you put as much time and information from this meta questions into your original post, it might have been an awesome answer. It sounds like a simple misunderstanding and lesson learned. I wouldn't take the vetting of answers personally. That's what this site is about.

  • Maybe you've overseen the sentence 'The fossils were found later'. So this is more the 'we don't have an airport, here' answer. So what do you believe is the question, which was meant, and why is the answer, which only explained, what would not be an answer (where to find the railwaystation, and a restaurant called 'airport', and repeated else, what I've said, received 9 upvotes? Because of the nice disclaimer? Imho, the noise/information ratio in that answer is very poor, but be it - I didn't downvote it. – user unknown Sep 21 '11 at 1:10
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Sorry, I didn't read everything you wrote in your Meta question. (TLDR).

The answer you provided about dinosaurs is basically:

A grep of the Bible for 'dinosaur' has no hits.

This is not a useful answer. If it was a useful answer, it would mean the question itself was not useful (for showing lack of research).

You are correct in asserting that Sven's answer is not proof that dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible. However, he does bring up most (maybe all?) of the Bible verses that are often cited as "possibly referencing dinosaurs." So while I would not consider his answer proof that the Bible doesn't mention them (he doesn't actually make that claim anyway), I think his answer is useful in a way that yours was not.

I believe your answer could be fleshed out to make it useful--but that's what Caleb already said.

Whether your first statement was snide or not, I don't know. I must trust you that you did not intend it that way. But when I read your answer, I wondered if you were being snide. So there's at minimum, room for mis-interpretation there.

If it weren't for the potentially snidely-interpreted remark, I would probably have just down-voted, rather than deleted your answer. But that's me. I can't speak for @Caleb.

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Yes, it was I who deleted your answer.

Let's break down a couple reasons why I did so. I know you are capable of putting together detailed arguments (this meta diatribute is evidence of that), yet your answer in it's entirety was this:

No, they aren't. The fossils were found later.

A lot of bible pages have search tools, where you can search for 'dinosaurs', but you won't find anything.

Also for the record since you only include fragments of it in your complaint, the comment I left before deleting was this:

This answer really isn't up to the quality standards expected on SE sites in general. The first claim would need some sort of citation, as it stands it's just a snide remark. The second part is invalid anyway as pointed out be several folks that that particular word is newer than the bible, but the creature is surely older. Overall this doesn't add value to the question here and is just collecting flags. If you'd like to turn it into a real answer and flag it for re-opening you may.

Here are some things I considered:

  • An argument that an answer was valuble because of interesting comments will not save an answer from deletion. Comments are disposable.

  • The question was edited to clarify what the OP was trying to learn. The only point your answer addressed was the one point that the OP specifically noted was irrelevant to what he was asking. My comment left you the option of fixing the answer so that it addressed the question being asked.

  • With -5 votes and 2 not-answer flags, it was clear the community felt there was something wrong with the post. Obviously at some level, a "one liner" wasn't being taken as a quality answer to that question. If you don't feel deletion is the answer you are welcome to flesh out a full answer that addresses the edited question, not just the old version.

  • I will take your word for it that you did not intend the remark to be snide, but you should take my word for it that it sounded that way. As it stands, many people will read it that way. My comment wasn't meant to be derogatory, and since I did it just before deletion it was really a private comment to you rather than a public criticism. You're welcome to try to phrase an answer that won't come off that way, or even get the community to help you word it.

  • I think you still did not got the point. I did claim, that you could use search tools, and fail for the word 'dinosaurs', but the main point was not about the word, but about the findings, which were made later (in the cultural scope where the bible was known). And you're confusing quality and quantity of the answer if you measure quality in lines. – user unknown Sep 21 '11 at 0:47
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    The last paragraph deserves an answer on it's own. You declare your interpretation as common standard when you write "... take my word for it that it sounded that way." - That is your prejudice "that it sounded for you that way" would have been appropriate. My English isn't very well, but well enough to tell you, that there are 2 very short sentences, where most of your interpretation falls back to you. It's all in your head, and you're punishing me for your fantasies. – user unknown Sep 21 '11 at 0:55
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    @userunknown I'm not punishing you. In fact nobody is punishing you. And while I did act in part on a possible interpretation of your statements, think the many users that have pitched in here have born me out that it's not all in my head. Have you read how everybody here has offered suggestions about how you could write a good answer that doesn't come across the way yours did? – Caleb Sep 21 '11 at 8:47
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It would be nice to know the exact text of your answer for such a meta question. But in my opinion an answer that just states that the word "dinosaur" doesn't appear in the bible is not a real answer to the question. Even before the rewrite, we can assume that people know that the term "dinosaur" is far, far newer than the bible, so the question must be interpreted to be asking about the animals we know as dinosaurs, not about the term itself.

Going strictly by the term "dinosaur" is additionally problematic because you're looking at an english translation. So even if the term dinosaur would appear, this would be a recent interpretation of the original, and not any proof that dinosaurs were mentioned in the bible.

You may be answering a very strict, literal interpretation of the question, but I would argue that this is not the real question. I think deletion as "not an answer" is therefore defensible.

If the comments are valuable, a moderator can copy them into chat so that the discussion can be continued there and the comments preserved.

  • I added the full texts involved in my response. I would be happy to migrate comments from the answer to chat, but I actually don't know how to do that yet. – Caleb Sep 20 '11 at 8:25
  • @Caleb We can't do that yet, I was suggesting a simple copy & paste, that is a bit ugly, but it works. The comment to chat migration is dev-only at the moment. – Mad Scientist Sep 20 '11 at 8:32
  • Aaaa, in that case the OP can also do that, as can some of the high-rep users that can see deleted posts such as the author of the comments mentioned. – Caleb Sep 20 '11 at 8:56
  • You too did not mention, that my second sentence is not about the word 'dinosaurs', but 'The fossils were found later.'? I don't know how to express this in a more simple way. – user unknown Sep 21 '11 at 1:03
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I am sorry I misinterpreted the tone of your answer. Forgive me for implying that you were trying to be snide.

Please fix up your answer so that it addresses the change made to the question in revision 2 instead of just the original version, then flag it for me to undelete.

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