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Ask Google About What Happened to the Dinosaurs, And It Will Cite the Bible

If you have a few minutes today, go ask Google what happened to the dinosaurs. It will bring a smile to your face.

If you go search right now, chances are you will see that the Google-approved explanation is drawn from a creationist website:

google what happened to the dinosaurs


Google has been endorsing that source for going on three weeks now, but there are reports that the endorsed link has changed during that time.

From what I can find online, Greg Laden was the first to notice this issue on the 26th (Twitter notwithstanding). Search Engine Roundtable picked up the story the next day, and reported that Google was endorsing a scientific answer. However, Motherboard reported on 10 June that this term had returned to the top spot, and the CBS Sacremento reported that it was gone again the next day.

And we’re still seeing that answer today.

It’s not clear whether that link is being endorsed because of divinely good SEO or because it is the most-clicked link for that search term,  but I can add that the same link is the lead result on Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo.

It’s curious that no one else bothered to check other search engines, because that was the clue that convinced me that this is most likely the result of really good SEO.  The site in question is probably paying for a service which improves how the site ranks in search engines, and it could also be boosting its rank by getting Christian groups to link to it (backlinks are still the root of all SEO).

And of course, by this point that link is keeping its position thanks to all the press coverage, but if you like you can still try to get Google to stop endorsing it.

Underneath the endorsement box you will find an option for Feedback.  Click it and you will be able to tell Google that the answer is wrong:

feedback google

I don’t think this is going to do much, though; that link is the first result in several search engines, including Google. That makes this less a problem of Google’s algorithm than that one site is particularly effective at SEO.

Even if it is removed, it’s still going to be the first result. What’s more, I’d bet it will be back in the endorsement box by the end of the week.

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jjj June 14, 2015 um 5:53 pm

Google is very stupid lots of times but then again it’s just not made to answer questions.
Go ask if god is real, maybe try is evolution fake or are aliens real, is abortion wrong is global warming a myth and it keeps going.

Anthony June 14, 2015 um 9:56 pm

At least the correct answers come up when searching on other terms ("how did the dinosaurs die", "how did the dinosaurs go/become extinct"). Still, good SEO or not, sad that someone’s concerted effort to spread misinformation for religious fundamentalism reasons results in something blatantly incorrect…

Brandon M. June 15, 2015 um 4:00 am

Interesting post, Nate.

But in all fairness, your title seems a little misleading.

Google doesn’t "cite" the Bible; it cites the creationist website, answeresingenesis, which holds to the "young earth theory" interpretation of the creation account–just one of the major three or four Christian interpretations of the creation/Genesis account in the Bible.

In fairness to you though, you did make it very clear in the article that this was purported by the AiG website.

I just thought your title might lead some of your readers to think this is indeed what the Bible teaches on Dinosaurs.

AiG might be right; but there’s certainly room for other views within orthodox Christianity, making the age of the earth truly an intramural debate among Christians. I wish the folks over at AiG would realize this and be more charitable with those who believe in an old earth: both Christian and non-Christian. There are many major teachings of Scripture which are worth fighting for, the age of the earth and what happened to the dinosaurs certainly do not qualify.

In case you, or any of your readers are interested, I put a link to a short pdf booklet (as my website, just click my name) which explores the major Christian views of the creation/Genesis account. I found it helpful, though it can get a little technical at times, and hope it might serve you and/or your readers well if chosen to read.

Sorry for the book!

Hope I expressed, somewhere in all those words, why I thought the title was a bit misleading. I hope you’ll understand as well.

Kind regards,

Nate Hoffelder June 15, 2015 um 5:44 am

I thought about this, and I think I’m fine.

Google doesn’t cite the creationist site; Google quotes the site – which cites the book of Genesis.

So I think I’m fine.

Brandon M. June 15, 2015 um 12:48 pm

Ah, I see; you’re right–I missed that distinction.

Nevertheless, the info I posted should still be helpful to let your readers know that faithful biblical interpretation doesn’t necessitate the view put forth by AiG.

Thanks for all your posting,

MSR June 15, 2015 um 5:40 am

It’s not a question of whether you 'believe' the earth is old. The earth is measurably old. Fact. Here the English language falls down. We need an alternative word to 'believe' otherwise every conversation we have must use a word with strong religious connotations.

Brandon M. June 15, 2015 um 12:41 pm

MSR, your right that the earth is indeed measurably old, but "believe" it or not, other things can account for apparent-age other than actual length of days.

For example, a woman who lives in south Africa, works in a field in direct sunlight, may have the markings of a 50 year old, but only be 35–her aging was mainly due to her hard work and exposure to the sun.

I know that analogy is not perfect, but I trust that you’ll get my point.

Same can be true for the earth. Just as God created Adam (as a grown man) he must have certainly looked older than an infant at day one ; so the earth too may have an apparent-age older than it actually is, due to being created with apparent-age (like Adam & Eve) or perhaps due to weathering of various sorts (like the woman in South Africa).

Also, I get what you’re saying about the word "believe," but your in the same boat I’m in– I use the word "believe" because I believe that the created world is the handiwork of God, thus all conversations about His world have theological implications.

You choose not to use the word "believe" because of your interpretation of facts, and thereby "believe" there must be another cause for the physical world other than God–a "religious belief" too.

Hope that helps,

Claude June 15, 2015 um 11:29 am

By the way, it also "works" in french : qu’est-il arrivé aux dinosaures.

Don't Ask Google "Who Runs Hollywood" | The Digital Reader July 27, 2016 um 1:18 pm

[…] A similar incident occurred around the release of Jurassic World. If you asked Google "what happened to the dinosaurs", it quoted a creationist website which cited the Bible. […]

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