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Re: Layperson

Allan wrote:
> As a layperson myself, I can understand why most people can't keep up with the
> latest and greatest information about dinosaurs.  Most of us are inundated
> with information about our work, our family, the general useful things we need
> in life.  I personally read about 25 (and that may be too low a count)
> magazines a month, and only a handful are dinosaur related (most of them are
> .75 inches [2 cm] thick computer mags).
>         I applaud those efforts to get the average person involved in dinosaur
> science, and wish there were more - at least more that were successful and
> correct.
>         As an aside concerning Brontosaurus vs. Apatosaurus - while the 
> general
> public has apparently only realized in within the last 10 years (and some VERY
> recently) the scientific community has discussed and 'fought' about it for
> decades.  I think that the majority opinion began to swing to Apatosaurus in
> the mid to late 1970's.  The first 'popular' entertainment that I know that
> used the correct name was a Doctor Who episode (John Pertwee as the Doctor)
> that apparently aired in the UK in 1974, but over here in the early 1980's
> (Called 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs' - the models of the dinosaurs were
> unfortunately too familiarly wrong).
>         Personally, while I like Apatosaurus, and realize the rules governing 
> its
> precedence over Brontosaurus, I have to agree to a certain extent with Stephen
> J. Gould who wrote that the name Brontosaurus is such a good name, an apt
> name, and it should be kept.
>         I know that the general public is usually flabbergasted when told 
> that their
> favorite giant herbivore {I know, I know, some people REALLY like
> Indracatherium}, is no longer called Brontosaurus.  Now, imagine their chagrin
> when they hear mutterings about T. rex really being Dynamosaurus!!!
> (Personally, I think T. rex should stay - I think whatever evidence there is
> about Dynamosaurus is scant).
>         I think the general public has no clue about how science really 
> works.  We're
> taught in school that scientists get an idea, then they test it, then they
> publish it.  They don't realize the level of work involved with getting to the
> point where a hypothesis can be made, nor do they realize that part of science
> is that different people have different ideas that each feels is right.  This
> part confuses them.  They don't realize that the details are that important,
> and they don't understand how names and stories can change.  This is one the
> best things about science - and most people miss it.  The capacity for ideas,
> discussion (even heated), and for change is what makes science work.

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