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Re: Extinction

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


Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)