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Re: The (ugh!) "Voyager" dino-show...



    This is a bit harsh. Let's look at some of the positive features of this 
episode.

> misidentified Eryops, a Permian amphibian, as a mammal-reptile link

    How many viewers had ever heard of _Eryops_ before this, much less seen a 
reconstruction on a 
television programme? How many might be curious enough to look up some 
information on the beast 
for themselves? Actually, they characterized _Eryops_ as "a last common 
ancestor" of reptiles and 
mammals.

> and a Parasaurophulus as a dinosaur "of the genus Hadrosaur"

    I cringed, too. But, then, you don't normally hear the word "hadrosaur" 
bandied about on TV, 
either.

> third of the program before becoming so sickened that I turned it to an 
> origami program, Hell, 
> anything's better than "Voyager"!

    The real theme of the episode was the saurian molecular palaeontologist's 
attempts to show his 
species originated on a distant planet (i.e., Earth), contra "Doctrine," which 
asserted they had always 
inhabited their "Quadrant," and that the saurians shared "47 genetic markers" 
with humans. His conflict 
with Authority resulted in his being condemned by his society's religious 
leaders, who refused to accept 
scientific evidence that conflicted with tradition. It was a saurian version of 
Galileo's trial, and the 
palaeontologist was forced to recant his ideas, abandon his research, and 
switch to metallurgy, a field in 
which he had no interest.
    Sure, there was dumbing-down and hokeyness; yet, the writers' message of 
evolutionary 
relationships, science against superstition, and the obstinate, willful refusal 
of vested religious interests 
to consider evidence objectively may have sparked some independent thinking on 
the part of a few 
viewers. "Voyager" is meant to be entertainment, not a documentary.
                                         --------------------
                                             -= Tuck =-
                                          tuckr@digital.net
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