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Extinction



Van Smith asks how any sane person can question any longer that an impact
knocked off the dinosaurs.

The answer is that it is the job of all scientists to question anything
like this with great vigor. I personally feel an impact was a rather
major factor in the extinctions - although perhaps not the only major
factor. However, if I can come up with any argument against evidence put
forth in support of the impact theory, you bet I'll make it. If the impact
theory can't hold up against the argument then it'll fall, if it can, then
it will be stronger.

Despite pronouncements of a done deal in the press, there is a huge amount
of additional work that needs to be done and I'm rather happy there are
skeptics out there doing their best to argue against impacts - it'll keep
us from getting sloppy and lazy and accepting all sorts of things that
make sense within the theory at the time but may be wrong. I know there
has been significant discussion related to whether deposits really are
big tsunami deposits or have other explanations, whether the Ch. impact
is the correct age, etc. I think we'll be more convinced 10 years from now
and not less but not only encourage all of us to try and kill the theory
but get some odd pleasure from seeing the energy of the discussion. It's
what keeps science vital and non-religious.

So, questioning the impact theory is the only sane approach - even for those
who think it'll make it through the discussion. Some have gotten too
personal in the discussions and have made their own well-being too dependent
on others accepting or rejecting the theory, which makes them get nasty
at times. So here I agree with Bakker's attempts to come up with other
theories and argue against this one. The only problem is that, if you have
another theory you also have to go through the same process which is long
and hard. But that's no problem at all, just science...

Ralph Chapman, NMNH