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Ask a Vertebrate Paleontologist and Marine Mammal Biologist Questions!


Off-Topic Discussions

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

So... real-world Africa is largely bereft of extant wolf/Canis lupus specimens. Digging around, I can't seem to confirm that Golarion's Garund is similarly nearly wolf-free, but that's fine. My question: If I was to stick a version of the African golden wolf in limited spots in Garund, do you have any off-the-top-of-your-cranium suggestions on morphological/physiological and/or behavioral changes to such a wolf?

Edit: Also, thanks for this thread.

Well...Jackals really are just tiny wolves, and jackals can be found over pretty much every bit of non rainforest Africa. So I would model any Garundi wolves off those (or just use the African Golden Wolf)


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By the way I literally just typed out that reply while sitting in the whale warehouse at Smithsonian. Scanning whale skulls entails a lot of sitting and waiting for things to finish on the computer...


I have a question: How do you meaningfully interact with people who, despite (literally) tons of empirical evidence, still loudly assert that evolution isn't real (or that Earth is 6,000 years old, and other nonsense)?


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bugleyman wrote:

I have a question: How do you meaningfully interact with people who, despite (literally) tons of empirical evidence, still loudly assert that evolution isn't real (or that Earth is 6,000 years old, and other nonsense)?

Very carefully, and exactly how depends on the context

I really have only had to deal with this while a museum docent, and even then only rarely. If I over here a falsehood I try to correct it. Mostly I just try to be respectful, steer the conversation away from religion, and keep it focused.

It's also important to know WHO to engage with. Some folks won't ever change there mind. There was a Young Earther who would always set up a table in the Union on Friday's during the school year. I always avoided that table because I knew the guy was was an extreme case and immune to any attempt at logic. As an example, he preached that NASA was a big government cabal aimed at hiding the truth that the earth was flat and the stars with just fixed points of light in a globe that surrounded the earth.

Of course talking about evolution online is pretty much the same as debating anything online, and usually carries its own caveats.

I've never had to deal with this as a teacher thankfully. Most of my teaching in the near future will be undergraduate Human Anatomy, so I don't see this changing soon (Although teaching human reproductive anatomy carries its own challenges!)


MMCJawa wrote:
bugleyman wrote:

I have a question: How do you meaningfully interact with people who, despite (literally) tons of empirical evidence, still loudly assert that evolution isn't real (or that Earth is 6,000 years old, and other nonsense)?

Very carefully, and exactly how depends on the context

I really have only had to deal with this while a museum docent, and even then only rarely. If I over here a falsehood I try to correct it. Mostly I just try to be respectful, steer the conversation away from religion, and keep it focused.

It's also important to know WHO to engage with. Some folks won't ever change there mind. There was a Young Earther who would always set up a table in the Union on Friday's during the school year. I always avoided that table because I knew the guy was was an extreme case and immune to any attempt at logic. As an example, he preached that NASA was a big government cabal aimed at hiding the truth that the earth was flat and the stars with just fixed points of light in a globe that surrounded the earth.

Of course talking about evolution online is pretty much the same as debating anything online, and usually carries its own caveats.

I've never had to deal with this as a teacher thankfully. Most of my teaching in the near future will be undergraduate Human Anatomy, so I don't see this changing soon (Although teaching human reproductive anatomy carries its own challenges!)

Thank you. I was feeling particularly down about public regard for science because of [redacted -- something that happened today, but could be construed as political] and your reply made me feel somewhat hopeful. ;-)


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Honestly apathy is a bigger problem for me than people claiming pseudoscience. I regularly encounter students that just can't seem to care about or show any interest in anything beyond the minimum they need for an passing grade.

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