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Free inquiry and debate



(On Wed, 21 Jun 1995 Greg Claytor wrote:)
>In Robert Bakkers book _Dinosaur Harasies_ he says early in 
>the book that he would be astonished if other VPs didn't get
>"angry" with some of his conclusions.  Being challenged seems to
>be part of the profession.

By my reckoning, dinosaurology is one of the healthiest sciences
as far as free and open debate goes.  Not so currently with some
other sciences like cosmology and particle physics where the
theories accepted by the majority (e.g. the Big Bang, "Grand
Unification", and "Universal Decay") are considered "holy
scripture" and the dissenters--even though they are legitimate and
respected scientists--are systematically stifled by authority,
mainly by refusing to publish their papers, but sometimes going so
far as blocking them from University research facilities.

I'm not saying this sort of thing is common in science--quite the
contrary!  But as an enthusiast of both astronomy and fossils I do
see Galactic Cosmology/Particle Physics and Dinosaurology as the
two contrasting extremes of the free-and-lively-debate spectrum. 
I hope that soon some Robert Bakker or John Ostrum of the Galaxies
will come along and "break the ice" and start the kind of
passionate and free debate that dinosaurology has enjoyed for the
last thirty years and that other sciences have had since Galileo.

                           -- Dave