[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: birds are birds, dogs are dogs



> Well, if we want to communicate for some other purpose than proving that
> birds are dinosaurs, rather than just riling people up, then we won't call
> them dinsoaurs.  Why make things hard, and why risk alienating people?

    I didn't think that calling birds dinosaurs was any harder then calling
them animals.  If our brains can fathom the meaning of these words, so can
anyone else's.

> >What is boils down to, at least as far as I can tell,
> is a bunch of lazy social biases.<
> See, you DO think you're superior to the ignorant, boorish public.

    I don't think I'm superior to anyone (at least, not over what to call
birds) but I agree with him.  Why is it all right to include birds in
"animals" and "vertebrates", but not the more closely related "dinosaurs",
if not because of bias?

> I use this very analogy in my classes and in presentations I make on the
> connection between birds and dinosaurs.  Birds are to (other) dinosaurs as
> bats are to (other) mammals.  One of my points here is that if you label a
> bat as merely a mammal, the image that imparts to any sensible person will
> not be that of a tiny flying animal; more likely it's the image of a dog
or
> cow or human.  Likewise, if you label a bird as merely a dinosaur, the
image
> will be that of a huge lumbering monster.  We should try to communicate
> better than that, and, as Tom Holtz said, appropriately for our audience.

    What is more appropriate then honesty?  Dinosaurs were not all big
lumbering monsters, regardless what the sensible people think.  Is the
purpose of education to expand minds and get people to think in different
ways, or just put things in the terms they expect to hear?

> Birds are descended from dinosaurs--everybody can accept that.  But to my
> audiences, birds are birds!  Which is absolutely true and correct.  To say
> otherwise is not only unnecessary, it is wrong.  Are they dinosaurs, too?
> Of course--they are the BIRD kind of dinosaur.  That explanation works.

    "they are the BIRD kind of dinosaur"... oh, you mean birds are
dinosaurs.

LNJ
*****************************************************************
A psychic is an actor playing the role of a psychic.
-Psychologist-magician Daryl Bem

It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.
-Margaret Bonnano
*****************************************************************
Jeffrey W. Martz
Graduate student, Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University
3002 4th St., Apt. C26
Lubbock, TX 79415
http://illustrations.homestead.com/Illustration.html