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Re: DINOSAUR digest 444

In replying to the undying thread about private ownership of fossils, Paul
Willis said:

... but the question is, who are the rightful owners? If fossils are
parts of the collective heritage of all people, who has an individual right
to remove them from the public domain?

Another poster expressed the same thought but used the phrase "national

This is the spot where such discussions often bog down in mutual
misunderstanding. Characterizing fossil material, or anything else, as
"collective heritage of all people" or "national treasure" or any similar
phrase is arguing your conclusion. It parses to "it shouldn't be privately
owned because it shouldn't be privately owned."

Unfortunately, many disputants fail to realize the fallacy that has crept
into the discussion and just shout at each other, verbally or LIKE THIS :-)

There are arguments for public ownership of fossils, but saying that they
ARE "national treasures" is merely an expression of opinion unless and
until the law defines "national treasure" and adds fossils to that class,
as it has in some countries.

 Steve Jackson - yes, of SJ Games - yes, we won the Secret Service case
  Learn Web or die - http://www.sjgames.com/ - dinosaurs, Lego, Kahlua!
          The heck with PGP keys; finger for Geek Code. Fnord.