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DR. Bakker, and the "Raptor Red" media circus



Hello all,

Last night, in some obscure event to promote "Raptor Red", Dr. Bakker was
featured online on AOL.  I was so unimpressed I could hardly stand to stay
online, but I did. What did I learn? Well, for one thing these media events
are slanted for the benifit of the 'special' guest and not those asking
questions. He used the term "Brontosaurus" several times, preached his
bacteria extinction theory as though it were proven fact, and generally
misinformed an already too misdirected public. He was charming and talkitive,
but failed to use facts or terms even I know (and that's very low on the
paleo scale of learning).

He was in Medicine Bow, Wyoming and at the Virginian Hotel, supposedly. I was
one of the first ten people to 'attend' this room, and I asked if he was
working a sauropod I discovered (and reported) at Como Bluff, and whether
Brent Breithaupt(WY GS) had contacted him about it. If you're thinking I got
no response you are correct and may go to the head of the class. I saw not
one serious question addressed, and the majority leaned toward promotion of
his book. One of the people in my row labeled him the Don King of VP, and I
feel sorry for Mr. King. No I'm not bitter, but rather saddened to see this
sort of thing happening to VP. Popularity wins out over science, and
promotion of "Raptor Red" is more important than ethics and facts. Would any
of you professionals ignore a question regarding a confirmed find, less than
five miles from you?

Don't get me wrong folks, I'm sure he is a great paleontologist, but his word
is not law. I honestly think there are several members of this list that
could have done a far better job of hosting this discussion. Of course none
of us have written a book we are sure will become a "big screen hit". Am I
wrong to be critical of the spreading of half-truths and unproven ideas as
the gospel according to Bakker? If so I'm really wrong.

I think I begin to see the distain for us AOLer's some of you feel, but with
this sort of thing going on please have mercy.

Go ahead and shoot your flames, if you feel you must. Just bear in mind that
no paleontologist has the right to represent his ideas as facts without the
data to back it up, and Dr Bakker went well beyond that last night.

Roger A. Stephenson
lightwaves@aol.com  (8/22/95   5:00pm.)