April 7th, 2008


*Fangirls Robert Bakker*

Once again, paleontologist Robert Bakker shows just what an amazingly cool and insightful guy he is:

Q: [Switek] Finally, as someone who works with the "bones of contention" and the fossil record, what do you think about the current controversy surrounding evolution in the United States? How can we do a better job of communicating science to the public?

A: [Bakker] We dino-scientists have a great responsibility: our subject matter attracts kids better than any other, except rocket-science. What's the greatest enemy of science education in the U.S.?

Militant Creationism?

No way. It's the loud, strident, elitist anti-creationists. The likes of Richard Dawkins and his colleagues.

These shrill uber-Darwinists come across as insultingly dismissive of any and all religious traditions. If you're not an atheist, then you must be illiterate or stupid and, possibly, a danger to yourself and others.


There's a lot of discussion about this lately on Scienceblogs, and probably other places as well, specifically in relation to some drama happening around the release of Ben Stein's new bullshit . . . um, film, "Expelled." It's been quite interesting to follow, but also a bit disheartening as some of the pro-evolutionists can be quite strident, something which is one of my biggest pet peeves about the science community - at least those parts of it with which I'm familiar. Science and spiritual belief are NOT mutually exclusive, even though loads of people on both sides seem to believe that they are.

Bakker, btw, is my favorite paleontologist. IMO, he kicks Jack Horner's butt. :P I've heard them both speak and Horner's personality didn't engage me. (That's a nice way of saying I thought he came across as more than a bit self-involved). Bakker, on the other hand, is funny and articulate and really great with children. Plus, I tend to agree with his theories. He was one of the first to be vocal about the warm-bloodedness of dinosaurs, and I think he's also suggested that dinosaurs be included in the class Aves (although right now I can't find anything on the internet to confirm this; I'm pretty sure I read it somewhere a while back, though).