Do you believe in dinosaurs?

On of my earliest memories is from when I was at primary school. I must have been about 5 years old at the time, and I had just heard about dinosaurs. I can’t remember how I heard about them. Perhaps my parents had given me a book about them. That’s probably the sort of thing that parents do for 5-year-olds, right?

Anyway, I was fascinated by the whole idea¬†(as I expect most kids of that age are), and at school I asked my teacher “Do you believe in dinosaurs?”

The teacher was smart enough to spot that I was asking a¬†question with some rather poor assumptions behind it, and helpfully and patiently explained to me why it’s not really a question of belief. Dinosaurs, she explained, were an established fact, as seen from abundant evidence from the fossil record. Belief didn’t come into it: dinosaurs existed.

I understood what my teacher explained to me, and learned an important lesson that day. Some things are not about belief: they are about facts. In fact looking back on this with the benefit of 40-odd years of hindsight, I think perhaps that lesson was the single most important thing I ever learned at school (yes, even more important than that thing about ox-bow lakes). It’s a shame I can’t remember the name of the teacher, because I’d really like to thank her.

But it’s even more of a shame that so many people who don’t believe in global warming or who do believe in homeopathy or similar didn’t have such a good primary school teacher as I had.

3 thoughts on “Do you believe in dinosaurs?”

  1. yes, I have often countered the climate denier who says he does not “believe” in AGW by saying it is not about belief – but evidence & observation – backed up by data

    science is the antithesis to belief

  2. On the other hand I know climate change believers who say they do “believe” in AGW and have been countered by climatologists (they don’t all support AGW…) saying it is about evidence!

    They asked me to consider the Vostok ice cores that show temperature rising first, not CO2 over several cycles. Or the proxy measurements of ancient temperatures that show a much hotter Earth is normal, what we have now is a chaotic interglacial climate, much colder than “normal”. It is interesting to hear a proper counter argument, trust me!

    I came here and read the analysis of the Brexit vote, very interesting, great site!

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