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Re: F-W's Book- Amateur vs Prof and esoterica (Long)

On Sat, 23 Aug 1997 22:44:07 -0400 (EDT) Tompaleo@aol.com writes:
>It has occurred to me the fundamental problem of our time with regards 
>to SC
>is getting our message out. Getting the message out in it's proper 
>vernacular and when possible, pronunciation but where the content of 
>information is digestible to the masses. How do we do this? We take a 
>from Spileberg and his media minions.{snip}
> We 
>the Internet! We now have the ability to compete with the media nearly 
>on par
>if we only take the time to use this medium to our advantage! {snip}
Witness personal Web pages 
>constructed by
>many of us currently on the list! Here is your chance to be heard! to 
>your points without editorial bias from the media! Witness the advent 
>on-line journals. Journals accessible to anyone! To make this idea 
>come to
>fruition we MUST take a page from the media's own play book. Using the
>Internet (sensu lato) we should lead by example (as has been 
>suggested). By this I mean  that we return to our scientific roots 
>when we
>communicate with each other via mailing lists , on our own web pages, 
>anything that is accessible to the lay public, in the proper context 
>vernacular that is utilized by OUR field. And keep using it regardless 
>of the
>whines of a few out there who complain of it being too esoteric. By 
>this we would actually be doing those that read our posts a service by
>teaching the reader  if not indirectly , by our example alone. They 
>will be
>encouraged to investigate, look up or research things and above all, 
>(we) all benefit.  Those that for whatever reason object to the 
>will either adapt or go extinct. As long as paleontologists are the 
>force behind this medium, then we have a fighting chance against the 
>dudes' of  pop culture. If we stick to our guns, and not give in to 
>contemptible, mentally bankrupt "pop culture" maybe a few people will 
>notice.  No member of  this list is here because they were forced to 
>and my
>belief is that it will weed out "the men from the boys" so to speak. 
>The best
>way for students, amateurs and lay persons to learn paleontology, if, 
>that is
>why you are on this list,  is by _doing_ paleontology with all it's 
>Communicating in the vernacular of the field is essential to the field 
> So 
>we must
>use the tools we have at our disposal viz. a viz. the Internet, as our 
>to level the field with the mass media. Pound out the SC way 
>repetitively in
>everything we say and do publicly , lead by example, and some of it is 
>to rub off  After all, wasn't this the way students used to be taught 
>? We
>cannot stop human stupidity but we can mitigate some of it's effects! 

I agree, and would like to add that those of you endeavoring to make
these web pages scientifically correct would do a great service if you
could make them "teacher friendly".  You don't have to dumb them down,
but if you had a brief glossary somewhere, or a link to explain something
so a 4th grade teacher can interpret it for his or her class, or even
come up with dinosaur educational materials to get scientific concepts
across, you will also beat the media at their own game.  Get the right
information to the teachers and they can get it to the kids.  So many
teachers take what they see in the movies as fact and one teacher can
influence 30 kids at a shot, so us museum educators really have to work
at undoing the damage.  

One school librarian ordering the wrong books also does a lot of damage. 
Those of you really serious about getting scientifically accurate books
into the hands of the kids, how about buying good dinosaur books and
donating them to your local town library or school library?  Little
things like this go a long way.  How about conducting a workshop for
local librarians on how to tell the good dino books from the bad?

Teachers and librarians are hungry for this correct information.  Let's
do our best to get it to them.  The Dinosaur Society has done a good head
start by providing a list of approved books.  But we also need to teach
folks how to recognize the good ones too.

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.