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RE: birds are birds, dogs are dogs

--- "King, Norm R" <NKing@usi.edu> wrote:

> If you grabbed your
> neighbor by the arm as he/she
> walked by and asserted that "strict cladists believe
> paraphyletic groups are
> inherently bad," which of course wouldn't mean a
> thing to him/her, that
> would be about like asserting that a canary is a
> dinosaur.  

Given the disparate nature of terminology and usage in
everyday life of these two statements, I'd say this is
not similar at all.

> You're just
> flaunting your "superior" knowledge, using some
> secret code words to do it.

How can the "superior knowledge" be flaunted if the
accostee doesn't understand the terms themselves?

Canary is understandable.  Dinosaur is as well.  It's
not hard to explain the similarities in general terms,
and therefore not confusing to do so.  That it can be
potentially confusing doesn't make it confusing for

> >But that doesn't change the reality of it, and
> there's
> absolutely no real reason to not call birds
> dinosaurs<
> 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?

Because some things are worth doing, regardless of how
hard it is to do them.  For e.g. it's certainly not
easy to go to college and work full time, so why don't
I just work full time?  Because it's worth it to me to
finally get a degree and pursue my interest with a
plan to making a career in the sciences.

Stictly, however, I'd like to know how many people are
_really_ going to be alienated by expressing the
notion that dinosaurs are birds.

> >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 think you're taking my comment too negatively; to
put it another way, most people have been taught to
think one way in high school (or earlier), and don't
explore the subject further than that; like it or not,
people do tend to be lazy, and take the path of least
resistance when it comes to thinking about a topic
they may necessarily have little interest or time in
exploring more fully for themselves.

I already have some experience in this.  (Though not
directly related to this discussion, I have been asked
by otherwise perfectly sensible people if bugs evolved
from dinosaurs.)

> >Why don't you just call it "Tweetles"?  That's
> certainly more specific than
> calling it a canary.<
> You're overdoing it.  

Probably.  But some generalizations are as true as the

>You can answer the question.

The question's rhetorical.  

> 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.

So, does that mean I can say theropods are the bird
kind of dinosaur or just some theropods?  And which
theropods can't I say are the bird kind of dinosaur? 
Is this line arbitrary, or is it clearly marked?

.oO=-Oscar Quill is a nom de something for Scott Elyard-=Oo.
|    "The picture of a faithful alligator boundin' into    | 
|      daddy's lap ain't one the public is ready for."     |
|              --Walt Kelly (Beauregard)                   |
| Comic:         www.oscarquillandcoyle.org                |

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