The quote in my journal is from Bertrand Russell, although I prefer this one; “[t]he trouble with the world is stupid people are cocksure and the intelligent are doubtful.” This is so true and is exemplified by my previous post. The statement is written authoritatively, yet is in several instances well off the mark. Although I am jumping the gun there is an elegant example of the cocksureness of Ponatahi School’s taken from point nine:
Update: The February 2011 National Geographic stated that the archaeopteryx, whose well developed feathers causes a problem for dino to bird dating, was probably such a good flier, that it probably could take off from the ground. Well done National Geographic! We hope that the corrections flow down to the texbooks, but this may be hoping too much
Firstly, there is a clear misunderstanding of how science works. Science is a work in progress, and as Russell said, the intelligent are doubtful. Scientists are usually tentative in presenting their results and others are often quick to scrutinise new or unusual results. Furthermore, taking something from National Geographic as scientific consensus is unwise. When an idea is proposed in science is remains a testable hypothesis and tends to stay out of text books until it has very strong evidence to support it. Therefore, suggesting that text books should be changed based on presumably a single study is not generally going to happen. Sorry Ponatahi but you are hoping probably too much.
Note: I make no comment on the validity of the findings of the original study from which Nat Geo got their information because I have read neither the Nat Geo nor the original paper/s. I am suggeting rather that one must always be careful of scientific ‘facts’ published in popular press.