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Re: Extinction

On Fri, 21 Apr 1995, Mickey Rowe wrote:

> I should probably stay out of this, but...  Van Smith, we've generally
> been a very congenial group around here, and I'd like to see it stay
> that way.  However, in my opinion, you're making that difficult.  In
> your first appearance here you wrote (among other things):
> > How can any sane, informed person, believe anything else but that
> > the KT extinction was caused by an impact with an extraterrestrial
> > object?
> The obvious implication is that you are an informed, sane person, and
> anyone who disagrees with you is lacking in one or both of those
> categories.  There are times when I wish I had that kind of self
> confidence, but right now I'm glad I don't.  In any case, let me
> implore you one more time to read the Williams paper you've been
> directed to at least twice.  If you really want to know why a "sane,
> informed person" might not be as cocksure as yourself, you'll see
> things there such as the concluding paragraph:
>      The decline in both numbers and kinds of dinosaurs suggested by
>   the combined evidence of the channels and the sparseness of the last
>   few meters of the Hell Creek Formation are consistent with a gradual
>   decline (however steep) or possibly an accelerating decline, but not
>   a catastrophic one.  This distribution is not consistent with either
>   the predictions of Alvarez's own test or the more discriminating
>   predictions based on taphonomic considerations.  In failing these
>   tests, Alvarez's argument has not been proven wrong, but it has been
>   shown to lack credibility.  It fails the all important argument of
>   the burden of proof--there is simply no evidence _for_ a
>   catastrophic mass extinction.
> Read the whole paper.  Then tell us how you've softened your stance,
> or tell us why you think Michael Williams is either insane or
> uninformed. 
> Thanks,
> -- 
> Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)

The problem is that William's statement about the decline has no evidence 
to back it up.   Personally, I have seen no evidence presented that there 
was a 
gradual decline of dinosaurs at any scale in the Hell Creek.  In fact, 
the only field study of the Hell Creek designed to test the hypothesis 
rejected a gradual decline.