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Re: The Last Dinosaur Book(long)



In a message dated 5/4/99 7:27:38 AM EST, nieuwlnd@let.rug.nl writes:

<< In all fairness, I think this point is not a valid one. You must separate
 the public and scientific images of dinosaurs; in the first case there is
 without question such a thing as 'the' dinosaur (single) as a metaphor for
 obsoleteness, sluggishness, etcetera . >>

I repeat, there is no such thing as "the" dinosaur. If there is, draw me a 
picture of it or show me its fossil bones. If the public imagines that there 
is such a thing, then the public is wrong and that's all there is to it. The 
only possible candidate that can be "the" dinosaur is the common ancestor of 
all of Dinosauria, and I'm sure that this concept is quite beyond the public 
imagination.

That fact that there is no such thing as "the" dinosaur, of course, doesn't 
stop humanist scholars from talking about it, as The Last Dinosaur abundantly 
shows, or halt its use as a figure of speech. Just as it didn't stop the Red 
Queen from imagining six impossible things before breakfast. It is rather 
convenient, in fact, that there is no such thing as "the" dinosaur, because 
then you can say all kinds of things about it, such as "the dinosaur is 
purple and green" and "the dinosaur is hundreds of feet long," and there is 
no way to disprove these statements, since there is nothing empirical to 
check them against.