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Re: Raptor Unread and T. rex Gangrene
tI seems to me that the uproar over "The Ultamate Guide to T. rex" and
comparisons to Bakker's "Raptor Red" and Disney's garbage are very
appropriate. If Bakker were not "one of our own" vz-a-viz paleeontologist,
and just a fiction writer like Crighton would there be as vigorous an outcry?
I should say so! The fact that Bakker _is_ a paleontologist and produces
fiction bordering on the ludicrous purely for consumption by the media and
the masses is a discredit to the science! He should be chastized by his peers
andf it is the duty of the paleo-community to make their protests known
privately first and publicly later if it continues. From what I keep hearing
and reading about this otherwise nice guy, it does continue. He refuses to
subject any of his more plausible hypotheses or findings to the rigors of the
scientific method and peer review. He side-steps this by publishing his own
"journal", books rife with untested speculation, numerous appearances on
"documentaries" as the "expert" on all facets of so called "dinosaurology"
and some colorful but wierd stuff! I personally find him amusing and
entertining! The disinterested and uncaring media love him because he is very
entertaining (that's what the media are in buisness for right?) so who
cares if it's accurate? Even Disney has caved in to revisoinism for the sake
of profit (i.e. the historical inaccuracies in "Pocahantas" and the "warm
fuzzy stuff" of other shows) and I guess even a well trained paleontologist
will sell out for a price. As a devout capitalist, I can't fault him for that
but there is an ethical line to draw and that line should be drawn by his
So the aforementioned comparisons are very appropriate. Paleontology should
not sell out it's soul to attract the masses and I for one will have none of
it! The science will surely be doomed if it becomes commercialized to the
extent that Bakker has done. We shoulld not tolerate dumbed down,
pasteurized, homogenized bilge by the media and with at least Bakker's and
others tacit support. It's not necessary! Many of us (over 30) can remember
the books and toys related to dinosaurs that were around when we were kids.
At least they for the most part, reflected the current thinking of the time.
I still have my tail dragging dino figures. Had them for over 24 years and
they are sitting all around my study. We all know now that the dinos
apparently did not drag their tails! I wish I still had some of the first
dino books I ever had, I would pass them on to my children and grandchildren
rather than let them read Raptor Red, most astute kids will automatically
realize the incongruence and be stimulated to ask questions. That's what is
needed, not canned "semi-scientific" bilge!
Keep fiction and science (way) far appart!
Thomas R. Lipka
Despite the tone of my post, I have no ill feelings against Dr. Bakker. Just