Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dinosaurs Are...

Thanks to coworker Alison for tipping me off to this little tidbit:


Not included in the screencap are such gems as "dinosaurs are a hoax" and "dinosaurs are oil." This doesn't, of course, mean that each of these search terms arise from people looking to confirm their own beliefs. And Google's ranking criteria are famously opaque.

But just in case, I'll try to elbow my way into these search results.
  1. Dinosaurs are Jesus ponies! This is a pretty funny joke about creationist attempts to square the geologically calculated age of the Earth with whatever arbitrary method they've pulled from the Bible. Join the facebook group or buy a tee shirt.
  2. Dinosaurs are fake. Okay, sure. Be that way. If you really, truly believe this, it indicates a pretty sharp divide between our respective worldviews. I don't have much to say other than that I personally trust in the methods of science to reveal as much about the natural world as the limits of human perception and technology can allow. If you want to say that dinosaurs are fake, that the moon is an especially sizable portion of Vermont cheddar, or that reality is an elaborate simulation made to keep up us placid while sentient machines harvest us for energy, have at it.
  3. Dinosaurs are still alive. In a sense, yeah. The weight of the scientific evidence shows that birds are the descendants of theropods. Where does the dinosaur end and the bird begin? After all, evolutionary theory has demonstrated that we're all descended from a common ancestor, so drawing the line between two directly related lines of organisms is pretty arbitrary. But it's a useful tool for discussing forms of life, and sometimes it's just as useful to say "humans are apes" or "birds are dinosaurs."
  4. Dinosaurs aren't real. See "dinosaurs are fake."
  5. Dinosaurs are birds. You've flipped the two critters here. Birds have a dinosaur ancestor, as it says above, but that doesn't mean that all dinosaurs were birds. There were even very bird-like bodyplans in dinosaurs that can only be considered their cousins.
  6. Dinosaurs are a hoax. See "dinosaurs are fake."
  7. Dinosaurs are oil. Think smaller. A popular misconception because of the term "fossil fuel" and the old Sinclair logo. Oil is derived from ancient organic matter, and it takes a heck of a lot of biomass produce the petroleum we've been chugging in huge quantities for the last 200 years or so. Coal is derived from swampy forests and shallow seas about 350 million years ago. Oil comes from ancient zooplankton and algae which accumulated on the seafloor over huge amounts of time, mixed with mud, and were buried under ever greater amounts of sediment. In order for there to have been enough dinosaurs - or any other large animal life - to create that much oil, they would have to have been literally tripping over each other or piled high. That's just not how ecosystems work. The majority of life in an ecosystem is going to be the small, humble things that can turn the sun's energy into food. That's where your fossil fuels are going to come from. Not from dinosaurs. Unless you consider them... (cue fancy fairy-dust chimes from all those soft rock ballads) fossil fuel for the imagination.
  8. Dinosaurs are sweet. Yeah, duh!
  9. Dinosaurs are awesome. Among the most awesome of awesome things!

6 comments:

  1. "Dinosaurs are not extinct at this day in history and a poem or two to get the best deal for this Single Family House in the Big Apple to the punch by going beyond the call of the wild type and mutant strains were grown in the presence of a large number of people." - Google Scribe autocomplete composition starting with the phrase "Dinosaurs are" as with most such experiments it thereafter descends into a vortex of corporate legal gibberish...

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  2. "Dinosaurs will Die in Chinese Mine Explosion."

    Ha! I've never messed with scribe. This is a good distraction, and it couldn't have come at a more critical moment.

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  3. I have a headache... <:(

    I once met a person -NOT a creationist, curiously enough- who firmly believed that dinosaurs are fake. Apparently, paleontologists are just making it all up to be rich and famous.

    To this day, I am angry at myself for being too utterly dumbfounded to come up with a good sarcastic response to this. ("Oh, yeah! Rich and famous like... uh... you know... that guy... give me a minute..." or pointing at a turkey and screaming "holy s**t, dinosaurs are real?!?")

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  4. I love how they think palaeontologists are rich and famous.

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  5. I've tried that before. At one point there was also "dinosaurs are made up by the cia".

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  6. I'm not comment on the high frequency of the "fake", "hoax", "aren't real" searches, but kind of want to start doing fake Google searches for ridiculous "Dinosaurs are..." phrases so you can do a follow up post to this ranking.

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