New book encourages critical thinking in paleontology

Pagnac 2019 brings some fresh views to paleontology courses.
“University dinosaur courses provide an influential venue for developing aptitude beyond knowledge of terrestrial Mesozoic reptiles. Examination of dinosaur paleontology can develop competence in information analysis, perception of flawed arguments, recognition of persuasion techniques, and application of disciplined thought processes.
Three methods for developing critical thought are outlined in this book.
  1. “The first uses dinosaur paleontology to illustrate logical fallacies and flawed arguments.
  2. The second is a method for evaluating primary dinosaur literature by students of any major.
  3. The final example entails critique of dinosaur documentaries based on the appearance of dinosaurs and the disconnect between scientific fact and storytelling techniques.”

Students are owed more than dinosaur facts; lecturers should foster a set of skills that equips students with the tools necessary to be perceptive citizens and science advocates.”

Here at PterosaurHeresies
readers are also provided a set of skills and tools to illustrate logical fallacies and flawed arguments, evaluate and criticize with authority past and present paleo literature and challenge studies flawed by taxon exclusion.

Four questions:

  1. Do paleontologists engage with those critical of their favorite hypotheses?
  2. Do paleontologists ever accept (after rigorous testing) critical thinking that overturns their own pet hypotheses and/or traditional paradigms?
  3. Do paleontologists disrespect critical thinking if it comes from certain sources (ignoring the readily available data while doing so)?
  4. Are paleontologists ever annoyed by the achievements of others?
  5. All of the above?

Take your time in answering these.
Hopefully the Pagnac book will indeed encourage critical thinking. We looked at the lethargy that has always surrounded paleontology here.

Pagnac D 2019. Dinosaurs: A Catalyst for Critical Thought Elements of Paleontology

1 thought on “New book encourages critical thinking in paleontology

  1. Amen. There is a serious lack of critical thinking today in paleontology, and, worse still, a lack of imagination.

    Consider the recent discovery of Lisowicia, most notably its enormous size at a time when giant dinosaurs also appeared (coincidentally), which came as a complete surprise to everyone (but not me).

    “Until now, gigantism in the Triassic appeared to be entirely a dinosaur adaptation, and previously known Triassic dicynodonts were substantially smaller. The discovery of Lisowicia suggests that general ecological factors may have been driving the process, rather than clade-specific attributes of dinosaurs.”

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