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Re: Not-well-thought-out Paleo-positions.
> Paleo-types are not getting the point. All the whining about raptor-this
> and t-rex that isn't going to change human nature. Sorry. You can toss and
> turn all you want but it isn't going to change. This position is not well
> thought out.
The point is that many professing to be paleo-types are themselves
using these terms, and that this is a bad thing for laypeople's (this
term is not meant to be elitist, as to a great extent it includes
me!) understanding of dinosaurs.
Pop culture degrades things to a greater or lesser extent to make the
things in question more immediately exciting in an effort to
popularize them (and thus sell more of them). There's no denying
that or turning it back -- it's not even necessarily a bad thing.
In any event, there's no copyright on dinosaurs and they can be
popularized freely. Arguing against this is unrealistic.
But some people will become casually interested in dinosaurs and may
even investigate them a bit to learn more about them.
Traditionally, investigation of something we become intrigued by in
our pop-culture surfing results in a better understanding of the
thing in question, and a recognition that the pop culture portrayal
though fun was not right on the money.
Here's an example: I became interested in military history as a kid
by watching war movies, but it didn't take much investigation on my
part to see the stereotypes and inaccuracies in the movies I enjoyed.
This was because I found military histories in bookstores that were
accessible for a kid to read yet set the record straight.
The problem with dinosaur studies has become that the next level of
knowledge for people who have lasting curiosity has become
popularized as well. Books calling dromaeosaurs "raptors" don't
bring anything new to the interested amatuer. Unfortunately, the
next level of knowledge basically sells out to the pop culture image
rather than being something new, real and refreshing. Those laypeople
with lasting curiosity deserve better.
Paleontology's primary purpose is in my eyes educational. Bakker is
right -- H. sapiens sapiens studies dinosaurs because dinosaurs are
so damned interesting. Those dedicated to studying dinosaurs should
really educate rather than use catchy phrases from pop culture
because these phrases are by nature a comprimise and less than the
best we have to offer. This charge is particularly important to
those bridging the gap between people who enjoy movie dinosaurs
and those really intrigued who make the effort to find out more.
Let's really give them more, not more of the same.
"Atheism: a non-prophet organization"