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Re: Not-well-thought-out Paleo-positions.

Darryl <dinoguy@interlog.com> wrote:

>I think the point you may have missed is that the arguement about not liking
>the pop culture dinosaurs IS well thought out.  It just disagrees with your

The reason I say that the argument is NOT well thought out is that it is
from a specialists point of view only and is not fully understanding the
point of view of of a member of the general population who is more
concerned with what's going on in Melrose Place or the NFL.

>An expert in anything will try to give the correct information to
>the world whenever they see the subject they are so fond of being screwed
>up.  When the children pronounce words wrong in my class, do math problems
>incorrectly, or label their "parts of the body" sheet in an incorrect manner
>(no matter what words are used at home), I correct them.

Yeah but if dinosaurs are not their "passion" they will not retain the
information no matter how important it is to you that they do.

>We try to expose them to as much as possible, hoping that some
>of it sinks in.  One cannot be forced to learn.

Yes, now you're on the right track. One cannot be forced to learn so it
really doesn't matter if pop-culture bastardizes things or not. If you LOVE
a subject you're going to know the difference. If you don't love a subject,
you're not going to know and you're not going to care.

>>No one cares about dinosaurs as much as dinosaur people do. They don't care
>>about the distinction between Deinonychus and Velociraptor and nothing is
>>going to change that because they don't really give the whole issue a
>>second thought.
>This is why people who are passionate about a subject should speak up.  If
>we do not, only false information will be learned.

My point is that outside of a specialized community, it doesn't matter one
way or the other if the details are not completely accurate. Plain and
simple, just doesn't matter...

>The problem with pop culture is that most people see it as truth.

Then the problem is that most people are not very intelligent. I've said
this before; most people hold many, many, many misconceptions about the
universe they live in.

I think the hardest thing to accept for those who continue to complain is
that not everyone cares about the same things as we do with the same

Larry dunn1@IDT.NET wrote:

>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.

I've heard this part of the argument and I think that within the Paleo
community you have an established set of rules and it makes sense to
develop a protocol and bust people when they break the rules. But when the
argument leaks out into villifying people outside the community such as
Spielberg or Chrichton and their work (JP) then I think the position is not
well thought out. An interesting situation that may be relevant here is
that vietnam vets were all upset and beside themselves that Stallone played
Rambo on the big screen because he's a draft dodger. They absolutely hate
the idea that Stallone plays Rambo. I see the irony of the whole situation.
But that's what actors do. They play things that they are not. The
relevancy here is that when Ellie, a paleobotanist in JP says "Trike" it's
not a real paleo-type breaking protocol. It's an actor in pop-culture. If
you say, well that doesn't matter because people take her as the real
thing, then we're back to the fact that people who don't have a real
passion for your subject have many, many, many misconceptions and it
doesn't matter.

>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.

That's right! Arguing against it is unrealistic and I'd take it even a step
further; I think it's counter-productive because it turns some people off
when you nit-pick over the difference between T-Rex and T. Rex in a movie.

>But some people will become casually interested in dinosaurs and may
>even investigate them a bit to learn more about them.

Exactly. I think you have to be a little bit sophisticated to realize that
ripping JP and LW is biting the hand that feeds you if you're a paleo-type.
I think its good to point out the flaws but its dumb to go ballistic over
it and throw the baby out with the bath water. I say this because these
films, while factually flawed (they're allowed because they're not
documentaries) have generated a great deal of interest in your subject. I'm
sure these products of pop culture have inspired many children and probably
some adults to investigate dinosaurs more thoroughly and learn the truth
about what is currently known and thought about the dinosaurs by YOU the
EXPERTS. And to those who never have more than a casual interest it doesn't
matter what misconceptions they hold.

>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.

And better is out there for them to find it! I think it's healthy for
people to have to dig (paleo pun intended) for the truth. You can't spoon
feed people truth. They really have to desire it or it has diminished
meaning. Popularized books will lead the truly interested to more scholarly
books all the way to paleo journals if the passion is truly there. And
sometimes it may all start with a little boy or girl seeing a movie like
Jurassic Park or The Lost World or reading a novel like Raptor Red...
...And while to the expert these experiences contain annoying inaccuracies,
you have to remember that we're not all at the same levels of development.
Most people are beginners or novices or just really not interested in the
details. I think these lower levels of popularization work fine as stepping
stones to higher knowledge and as pure entertainment.

Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:

I wrote:

>>All the whining about raptor-this and t-rex that isn't going to change
>>human >>nature.

>What most people call "human nature" is actually "human stupidity." And no,
>that's not going to change much, either--except perhaps to increase in
>quantity and virulence.

Georgie boy! You are right. Let's face it, we humans as a race are really
pretty stupid. We're not much smarter than the apes and the dolphins are
probably smarter than us. As an exercise, try imagining what it's like to
walk around with a brain that only has an I.Q. in the 85-105 range. Pretty
scary eh?!! Well, that's ninety-five percent of us.

In general, this why I think it's a waste of time to worry about the dino
misconceptions that the general population holds. And condescending to this
population is too easy so why do it?

Your Pal,
S.S. Lazarus