Eric Dubay and the paleontology conspiracy

Eric Dubay is the leader of an organization called the Flat Earth Research Society, some have probably heard of him. He wrote a book called The Flat Earth Conspiracy. Most of it is what I can assume to be nonsense about why he believes the planet is flat (though as I’m not a physicist or cosmologist I cannot respond to it in detail). I stumbled upon this rabbit hole of a topic specifically for his passages near the end of the book which he also summarizes in a YouTube video where he claims the fossil record of dinosauria is a hoax fabricated by free-masons to promote evolution and for monetary gain. Although I don’t believe most of what he is saying, it has given me a lot of anxiety because it attempts to defame an entire field of scientific study at its foundation, which is the trustworthiness of scientists and this has caused me to obsess over the topic for a while now.

I would like to discuss Dubay’s claims within the book and learn about the general topic of whether we can trust what is written within the scientific literature. How can we know for sure that I, or anyone else is being lied to?


Well, it’s not just dinosaurs but an entire history of life from Precambrian bacteria through Pleistocene mammoths. And the required conspiracy would require the active collaboration of thousands of paleontologists and collectors, not to mention a legion of fossil fabricators, for hundreds of years, without a single leak. And you can go see fossils yourself, in situ, embedded in rock, at thousands of locations around the world. How likely is that to be faked?

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From what I can gather he only thinks dinosaurs are hoaxed, not the entire fossil record. In his book, he gives all sorts of crazy explanations for some of the things you mentioned like bone planting, fabricating fossils from plaster, or just taking fragmented remains of modern animals and claiming they’re fossils of dinosaurs. The biggest reason I think as to why Dubay is so suspicious of paleontology is because they can’t be analyzed by what he refers to as the public or “independent researchers” whatever that means.

You can read “The Flat Earth Conspiracy” for more information as to his beliefs on this subject.

What would be the point of that? There are plenty of Mesozoic land vertebrates that aren’t dinosaurs.

It was my hope that others would read it so I didn’t have to.

You have a point. The two main reasons he gives are to make money off dinosaur related media and to prove evolution. Neither of these reasons seem like convincing motives to do the work of promoting such a massive hoax.

If it was to make money from media and merchandise why even go through the effort of convincing the public that these fabricated animals are real? It would be like if Game Freak spent massive amounts of money and decades worth of resources to try and convince people that Pokémon are actual creatures to sell video games.

To prove or promote evolution doesn’t really make sense as a motive either. Even if there was no fossil evidence of dinosaurs, the evidence supporting evolution would still be quite overwhelming. He claims that paleontologists “needed” dinosaurs to show how birds evolved, ignoring the fact that this was not the only group of animals speculated to be the ancestors of birds. The reason why birds are currently accepted as a variety of dinosaur is because of the ample evidence in their anatomical features. Paleontologists didn’t “need” for them to exist at all.


Good reason to just ignore him, I’d say.

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More damage to our society is done by the promoters of intelligent design. They have a bigger fan base than the flat earthers. Neither Behe’s claims about irreducible complexity or Meyer’s information-based arguments challenge Darwinian Evolution or any other branch of science. Both men are just the latest warriors in the 500 year long or so fundamentalist Christian war on science and the 160 year long smear campaign against Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution by natural selection. Nothing new to see here. What Meyer is doing damages our society and misleads the public, especially in the United States where science literacy is lower than in any other civilized country that I know of. If you believe that you are being constantly lied to about science or that scientists don’t know what they’re doing or they are protecting what they supposedly know is a bankrupt theory you are in danger of accepting the untruths of others. So you’ll likely deny man-made climate change, the efficacy of vaccines, medicines, stem cells, the reality of space travel and satellites, the shape and age of the earth and so on. Those who get deluded by people like Meyer can make mistakes in their private lives when raising children, purchasing insurance policies and probably most importantly, again especially in this nation, deciding which politicians they should support. So the scientific ignorance promoted by Meyer and friends multiplies exponentially.

21 posts were split to a new topic: Dinosaurs versus Flat Earth

All the available evidence connects them. So as a biologist, in your opinion am I the fraudster/hoaxer or the one falling for the fraud/hoax?

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Given that it comes from Isaiah I wouldn’t take the passages at face value. Much of it is highly symbolic and cryptic in nature so cultural and linguistic context needs to be taken into consideration as I doubt what Isaiah is saying is very literal.

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Looking at my personal copy of Strong’s concordance, the original Hebrew word that the authors of the King James Version translated into “unicorn” was Re’em. Although there may be a mythological origin to the word it also may have been referring to either oryxes, the wild ancestors of cattle, the aurochs, or rhinoceroses. Why the English scholars translated Re’em to mean unicorn I’m not sure.

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It’s not satire. He has an entire forum and YouTube channel that regularly uploads this kind of content.

5 posts were merged into an existing topic: Dinosaurs versus Flat Earth

Apologies for the clumsy topic split. I did the best I could. :neutral_face:


As far as your image goes two of them have erroneous conclusions from what I can gather.

The claim that Leviticus refers to bats as birds is erroneous because the maker of this meme does not understand the linguistic context. Bats and the list of bird varieties from that passage are referred to in Hebrew as “owph”, which referred to winged animals in general. Linguistic categories don’t always reflect cladistics and there’s nothing erroneous about that if the point of the passage wasn’t a scientific text about evolution , but simply a list of animals that were regarded as unclean and should avoid being eaten. It’s like berating someone for not referring to humans as fish. That’s technically true from a cladistic perspective but from a linguistic perspective of English, the word fish refers to completely separate aquatic animals.

The claim that Leviticus references lagomorphs as animals that chew the cud is not erroneous because again, linguistic context. Just because we only define “chewing the cud” today in English as only pertaining to artiodactyls with four chambered stomachs does not mean the Hebrew word used here had the same exact meaning. Lagomorphs engage in cecotrophy, which means some of their pre-digested feces are expelled and re-eaten during their sleep cycle. It’s similar enough to chewing the cud as a process that ancient people could have referred to the two actions similarly as it involves chewing on already digested food and this makes sense based off the Hebrew word used to mean chew “alah” which also refers to the action of going up. Isn’t that what both rumination and cecotrophy are? Pre-digested food going up out of the animal?


They say there is no DNA from Dinosaurs… I thought there was… So I don’t know how a biologist would know one way or the other as to the link to Dinosaurs. They would have a link to everything since they use DNA Unless there is some new way to have life on earth.
My issue is the Idea that one leads to the other in a evolutionary way. This would suggest it doesn’t. Rather than the Genome expanding it seems to be shrinking.

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So, based on your expertise in biology, biologists are incapable of learning anything without DNA?

Genomes routinely do both.

Here are a few references. The genome/cell size thing:

Feathered dinosaurs:

Relationships determined based on bones:

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You were wrong about the DNA. But since morphology is largely a product of DNA acting in development, we can use morphological characters — features of bones, mostly — to estimate relationships too, and have done so for a couple hundred years now. In fact, T. H. Huxley was the first to notice the relationship. Or more obviously, there are all those fairly recently discovered dinosaur fossils with feathers to consider.

Not true. Sometimes genomes expand, sometimes they shrink. As it happens, bird genomes are rather small as vertebrates go, and so, it appears, were dinosaur genomes. (It happens that there’s a correlation between cell size and genome size, and cell size can be estimated from the holes left in bones by the cells that make and remodel the bones.) Most differences are in the amount of junk DNA, though, not anything relevant to what you might consider “complexity”.

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{I think my comments here are reply to a @Boris_Badenoff post which may have been a casualty of the topic split. I am largely dealing with the “winged creature” classic fallacies he posted as an image in one of his posts.}

I expected a thread beginning with Eric Dubay and the Flat Earth Society and an alleged “paleontology conspiracy” to go quickly off the rails. Yet, against my better judgment, I am going to weigh in (briefly, with just one response) before the various tangents get any more strange than they already are.

As to the image entitled, “Serious Errors in the Bible”, I’m not particularly interested in debating the entire Bible inerrancy topic but I do groan a bit when these four well-worn Internet-popular tropes are bandied about when each of them betrays a lack of basic linguistics knowledge which should be easily grasped by an ungraduate major in that field (assuming they’ve completed the appropriate 300-level courses.) Before I briefly explain, I’ll further set the table with this:

I agree that the aforementioned passages have absolutely nothing to do with dinosaurs. Indeed, nothing about them points to dinosaurs. Nevertheless, your argument is deeply flawed. Even though the word dinosaur was not coined until 1842, that doesn’t automatically render impossible a discovery of similar fossils by some ancient people which might have led them to assume that such beasts existed (or even continued to exist in their day.) Furthermore, it wouldn’t matter what those ancient peoples might have called those beasts. Tangible things in the real world don’t rely on their linguistic labels for their existence. Labels are no more than that: a convenience, a way for humans to refer to something using a term an audience understands in at least a general way.

No. Not even close. Just as anti-evolution creationists often demonstrate negligible knowledge of evolutionary processes and knowledge, far too many Bible-bashers display similar shortcomings in the basics of linguistics and translation. I will turn to a few specifics momentarily but first I can’t help but enjoy this conspiracy theory handwaving:

I will admit that I sometimes may be guilty of enjoying a well-spun conspiracy theory tale almost as much as those who truly believe them but I spent too many years involved professionally in the scholarship of ancient languages and their translation to let these fun but misinformed classics slip by unanswered. I will be brief because I’ve covered these in depth on multiple occasions on this Peaceful Science forum (and many others) or the past several years:

(1) “The Fowl has four legs Leviticus 11:20-21”

The underlying Hebrew word was translated as “fowls” by the KJV Bible translators of 1611 because “flying winged creature” doesn’t read all that smoothly. Most translations after 1611 have tended to use words like “winged insects” for two reasons: (a) the ancient Hebrews referred to just about all flying creatures (whether they be birds, insects, or bats) using the same noun label, and (b) the surrounding context of Leviticus 11:20-21 point towards the winged insect subset of that Hebrew word `OPH.

The KJV translators did a reasonably good job considering the paucity of Hebrew lexiocographical tools available to them from the late 16th and early 17th century but it is laughable to suggest that they produced a better rendering of this passage than all of the better equipped tanslators of the centuries which followed. (Facts and sound scholarship explain these differences, not lame conspiracy theories.)

(2) “The Bat is a Bird. Leviticus 11:13 &19”

First, please note the implied significant elipsis between Leviticus 11:13 and 11:19. No doubt that great distance helps explains why Bible translators have tended to use the concise and convenient word “bird” instead of the more technically accurate English equivalent, “winged creature” (which would have treated bats more comfortably according to the taxonomy conventions of modern English.) Secondly, now that you know that the underlying Hebrew word is `OPH (“winged creature”) as explained in #1 above, you should abandon the silly conspiracy theory explanation.

Oops. I had planned to go ahead and debunk the other two items in the meme image but I just had a pop-up reminder that I have a dinner appointment so I’m going to leave the 3rd and 4th claims of the image to a quick search for my posts on them in the Peaceful Science archives. (Besides, I don’t enjoy repeating myself fielding the same old conspiracy theory arguments.)