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Re: Bad as opposed to BADD

At 11:18 AM 10/30/96 -0500, Senor Olshevsky wrote:

>There is no way to tell, by examining the statements themselves,
>whether they are true, false, improbable, or un-parsimonious. And just

        Taken by themselves.  No one on this list will read the summary of
"BCF" which I presented *by itself*.  Many of us understand the basic
concepts of modern evolutinoary theory, dinosaur paleontology, parsimony,
and basic scientific method.  When viewed in this context (which is the
context which I, and certainly many others, view your theory), the rewording
I presented does highlight the flaws in your theory.

>because a theory can be summarized in a single sentence is no reason to
>consider the theory trivial or insignificant.

        That is *certainly* not what I implied by the statement I made.  I
was pointing out how clearly and concisely the statement summed up your
theory, and how, when summed up, the flaws in the theory are brought closer
to the surface.  This has nothing to do, in my opinion, with the
relationship of brevity to triviality *or* significance.  Perhaps *you*
ought to take your own advice and start reading other people's postings more

>Your statement thus reveals a prejudicial attitude toward BCF that I
>think results from not paying enough attention to what I've been
>saying this past year and blindly, uncritically accepting the BADD
>paradigm, such as it is.

        Obviously, because, goes your reasoning, if I *were* paying
attention, I'd see the light.  I guess I am  flattered, since you are
supposing that I am intelligent enough to comprehend your theory, and
obviously I'm just not paying attention.  Well, have you been paying
attention to anything I've written for the past couple months?  I have
considered you theory, as a whole and point by point (and, yes, once or
twice I may have missed the meaning of a minor point here and there), and
argued with you on each point and the whole.  My eyes were wide ("Temba, his
arms wide!"), my critical circuits on, my tongue quick to the task of saying
I agreed with you when I did. I'm sorry, but you have not convinced me.  I
think I'd feel better if you attributed this to my ignorance, as I find it a
little insulting to be told I wasn't paying attention after all the time I
spent debating your theory.

>>         Not _completely equivalent_, currently equivalent.  For example, if
>> Feduccia believed in cladistics, I'm sure he would disagree.
>Whether or not Feduccia believes it to be true makes no difference.

        It makes all the difference.  To him, or let's just say to a
"hypothetical cladist who doesn't believe in the dinosaur-bird link (as
Gauthier or Padian see it)", modern birds are not decended from the most
recent common ancestor of _Megalosarus_ and _Iguanodon_, but by definition,
they are descended from the most recent common ancestor of _Tirceratops_ and
a hummingbird.  Hence, for this hypothetical scientist's phylogenetic
hypothesis, birds are or are not dinosaurs depending on whether he uses the
Padian/Holtz definition or the Olshevsky definition.

>And the word "completely" is redundant, used deliberately for
>emphasis. The two clades are indeed currently completely
>equivalent. "Currently" and "completely" are not mutually exclusive

        Sorry, to me completely implies "unquestionably" when you write it.
We could argue this one all night.  Sufficed to say, you imply that the two
definitions are interchangeable, which is clearly not the case.  This is why
the Forces of Cladism are trying to set down priority rules, so that there
is some stability and folks don't go running around using their own
definitions (no matter how much better they are.  I do not believe that the
ICZN's plenary powers extend to higher taxa, but if they do, perhaps someday
it will be possible to appeal Ornithosuchia and Dinosauria).

[ "Darmok and Jelad, at Tenagra!" -- MR ]

| Jonathan R. Wagner                    "You can clade if you want to,     |
| Department of Geosciences              You can leave your friends behind |
| Texas Tech University                  Because your friends don't clade  |
| Lubbock, TX 79409                               and if they don't clade, |
|       *** wagner@ttu.edu ***           Then they're no friends of mine." |
|           Web Page:  http://faraday.clas.virginia.edu/~jrw6f             |