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Re: Not-well-thought-out Paleo-positions.
Igor Stravinsky once said " The only real comment on a piece of music is
another piece of music."
I suppose that boils down to "set a good example."
Brian Franczyk and a number of other artists have taken it upon
themselves to do dino paintings that reflect the "latest" notions of
anatomical accuracy (which often change rapidly, mind you).
Some writers do the same thing. Or they try.
But unlike paintings which give a kind of immediate "viceral" thrill
when you see them, there seems to be a notable lack of "exciting"
scientifically accurate writing, partly because it requires more work
from the reader to interpret the text than it does to eyeball a drawing.
This has been a problem with the popularization of science from time
immemorial. Long words and Latin/Greek names just don't have the same
appeal as a painting of blood-dripping teeth.
It would be interesting to see if someone can find a way to keep slang
and scientific terminology and popular writing on an even keel the same
way an artist can do an "accurate" painting.
On a similar note, Ray Harryhausen once remarked to me that he still
doesn't like the idea of a T. rex holding its tail up. He liked when it
dragged on the ground. Just goes to show you we all -- even talented,
intelligent, thoughtful people -- have our opinions about what "feels"
> firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> > Paleo-types are not getting the point. All the whining about
> > 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
> > 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"
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