Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Dragons

  1. Mar 20, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Around about 1980, Omni magazine published an article in which the author argued that dragons really did exist. At the time I was struck by the logic of many points made. The biggest question in my mind is how so many separate cultures produced such detailed and consistent accounts of these thought to be mythical animals.

    Animal planet is now playing a bit with this idea.
    http://animal.discovery.com/convergence/dragons/dragons.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2005 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Referenced on the program to show that biological mechanisms similar to those suggested already exist in nature.

    http://www.wcsscience.com/bombardier/beetle.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2005
  4. Mar 20, 2005 #3
    Where you watching animal planet tonight?
     
  5. Mar 20, 2005 #4

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes. In fact the dragon bit is still running.
     
  6. Mar 21, 2005 #5
    I just put it on and captain jean luke paccard is narrating! :rofl: How much of this is just sensantional promotionalism? I'm still looking at the site to see if it has any legitimacy!
     
  7. Mar 21, 2005 #6

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This is more for fun than fact. But the ideas explored are much like those suggested 25 years ago. It is difficult to imagine how completely separate cultures, who knew nothing of each other, somehow evolved nearly identical myths. Many detailed descriptions of dragons can be found.

    It is interesting to consider and not really so hard to believe. Consider for example that we just discovered the existence of an entire race of so called hobbits that co-existed with modern humans.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  8. Mar 21, 2005 #7
    I have always hoped they would find dragon remains.
     
  9. Mar 21, 2005 #8

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    1.Every single human culture knows about worms and serpents (i.e, they exist locally) , and, since a lot of the serpents are dangerous, people will be wary about them, tend to avoid them, or hold them in awe.
    That is, there are plenty of local circumstances which will impart a fear or awe of serpents in the local human population.
    2. Every culture met big creatures in their own neighbourhood (that might be bears, tigers or elephants), and precisely because these creatures are big, people will tend to treat them with some caution or fear.
    3. No human population prior to 20th century were able to master the skies, even though they could "master" the earth, and to some lesser extent, the water.
    Birds have in many cultures been revered/awed, and to some extent been envied due to their ability to fly ("to be as free as a bird" and so on)

    Now, 1,2,3 are all elements which you can find present in just about every culture, and they result from similar experiences in local, natural circumstances.

    Humans are imaginative and inventive, and combine their (local) experiences into insights, tales and myths.
    Is it really too far-fetched that the idea of a whopping big flying serpent (that is, combination of 1+2+3) could evolve in a lot of disparate localities?
    Since serpents, big creatures and birds are all creatures regarded with some degree of awe or reverence, the dragon myth can evoke an extraordinary rich set of connotations and emotions in all cultures.
    That is, the dragon is, and remains great story material; every culture can be seen as simply waiting for the ingenious story-telling individual who manages to conjure forth the dragon before his audience.

    Personally, I LOVE dragons (or at least, the idea of them!) but I find it more interesting to see the local variations of the myths.

    For example, the great slithering Norse serpent (Fafnir or the Midgardswyrm, for example), is quite a different creature from the Anglo-saxon fire-breathing flying lizard, or the extremely elegant and benevolent Chinese variety.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  10. Mar 21, 2005 #9

    Galileo

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Dragons exist in Indonesia.
    http://komodo.procombel.be/images/dragon.jpg

    They don't breath fire or fly, but they're awesome badass motherf***ers.

    Anyhoo, dragons are really cool. Especially the Chinese ones, with long slender bodies and kinda like moustache-tentacles.
     
  11. Mar 21, 2005 #10

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I know; I just love them (at least, when I can watch them from a safe distance on National Geographic..:biggrin:)
     
  12. Mar 21, 2005 #11

    matthyaouw

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  13. Mar 21, 2005 #12

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Perhaps we might assume that people described what they saw; rather than construct all sorts of convoluted arguments based completely on conjecture. I prefer parsimonious arguments.
     
  14. Mar 22, 2005 #13

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Speaking of what?
    Where is this purely conjectural basis?

    1. Do you seriously suggest that humans don't have an in-built fear of serpents?

    2. Do you say that big creatures have not been treated with respect/awe/caution?

    3. Do you deny that in a wide variety of cultures, flying creatures like birds have not been treated as somehow special, for example as messengers of the Gods?

    4. Do you deny that human story-telling is based on a creative re-weaving of the story-teller's experiences, insights and emotions?

    Where's the convoluted argument here?

    I find my argument on the simplistic side, rather than on the convoluted side.
    Secondly, it is naive, in the sense that it only uses obvious elements which are easily attested to be found in just about every culture.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  15. Mar 22, 2005 #14
    That is a good argument, now can you explain how many different cultures that never interacted came up with the aliens. Even if dragons have never exsisted, we might be able to make them in a mad scientist meets jurrasic park style. Once we can create chromosomes for scratch, and then put them in a embryo and put that in a machine that can act as a womb.

    Alot of the technology we need are not to far in the future. We can work with genes now and who knows what the government can do that they will not tell us. Scientist probally trying to grow clones in 'test tubes'. Who knows what scientist are doing in labs that are top sceret.
     
  16. Mar 22, 2005 #15

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    yes. Show me the proof.

    I don't think this has anything to do with the topic.

    Again, I don't think this has anything to do with the topic without really reaching.

    Do you deny that humans also report what they see?

    Your sugggestions are reasonable but that does not make them true, or even likely. It is just one possible explanation. But it is also naive to explain away anything not understood as fairy tales. This is no different that blaming the plague on evil spirits. What we see is that like our ancestors, we still grasp for familiar and comfortable explanations whenever confronted with a mystery. Also, the credible anomalies thread shows that human testimony is often quite reliable.

    I'm not arguing that dragons existed, I'm arguing that a lot of people say they did and we have no way to know. It is not reasonable to assume without proof that so much of written history is a lie. In fact it is the height of arrogance to do so.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  17. Mar 22, 2005 #16

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    So, I assume you think giants/ogres/trolls existed as well, since the legend of these big humanoids have sprung up all over the world?
    Since you, in your role as mentor chooses to give legitimacy to all sorts of non-sensical ideas (like dowsing), I don't think you're fit to be that.

    All you are offering the members of PF is the belief that once upon a time there were lots of huge, batwinged, fire-breathing reptiles swarming in the sky.
    That has nothing to do with being a skeptic or open-minded, it is the attitude of the brainless.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  18. Mar 22, 2005 #17
  19. Mar 22, 2005 #18
    I don't believe that Ivan neccisarily believes in all of the things that he posts in regards to here on PF. I think he just finds them fascinating subjects and thinks there may be something to some of them even if they aren't quite true as represented.
    The idea that there may have been something akin to dragons about at one time is not that far fetched. You do believe in dinosaurs right? or do you consider that nonsense as well?
    If you want to bring up openmindedness perhaps you should take a lesson first, or perhaps a lesson in not insulting people should be in order before that.
     
  20. Mar 22, 2005 #19

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    We just found hobbits and giants. Who's to say what the roots of such legends might be? Is it your position that all discoveries have been made? Should we listen only to your version of what's possible? Should we ignore history just because you say so?

    As for dowsing, I find it interesting that one of the only topics that I have a fairly firm opinion, and you come back time again. I said right away that my opinion was based on personal experience - I have no proof, just the word of a couple of family members who are sure that it works for them. Your attack is dishonest and unrepresentive of what I said.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
  21. Mar 23, 2005 #20

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=5196&page=2&pp=15
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Dragons
  1. U-2 Dragon Lady (Replies: 4)

Loading...