“The Extinction of Dinosaurs”
“Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs” was written by Stephen Jay Gould. In this essay, he discusses what science really is and three different theories of the extinction of dinosaurs and how valid they are. According to Gould, “Science, in its most fundamental definition, is a fruitful mode of inquiry, not a list of enticing conclusions.” Out of the three theories of the extinction of dinosaurs, Gould, only believes that one of them is true science. If it is not science, then it is just a useless speculation that ca not be tested. The three theories of the extinction of dinosaurs fall under the themes: sex, drugs, and violence. The sex theory deals with dinosaur’s testes. Testes can only function in certain temperatures. So after the Cretaceous period, it caused the dinosaur’s testes to function and led to their extinction by sterilization of males. The drug theory is concerned with an overdose. Dinosaurs ate angiosperms that contained psychoactive agents. Their livers could not detoxify the substances and the dinosaurs die of massive overdose. The violence theory pertains to a disaster. Dust blocked the sunlight because a large comet struck the earth. Therefore, photosynthesis was suppressed, world temperatures were lowered, and dinosaurs became extinct.
Gould believes that the sex and drug theories are speculations and the violence theory is actual science. “Yet one represents expansive science, the other restrictive and untestable speculations,” says Gould. There are still many questions about the sex and drug theories and there is not enough information to prove them right or wrong. On the other hand, the violence theory contains evidence and can be tested.
Gould, Stephen J. “Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs” 50 Essays. Ed. Samuel Cohen. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2011
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