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Re: My apologies, but... physiology revisited



 From: "Mickey P. Rowe" <mrowe@indiana.edu>

 > I'm now washing my hands of Stan Friesen on the subject of Ruben et
 > al.'s recent paper in _Science_.  If even after all this he cannot see
 > the impropriety of assessing a paper without reading it,

I *did* read, some weeks ago, and cannot remember all the details.
If I get the time to go through my old issues of _Science_ I may
read it again.  But I do not see how that will change my opinion
any, as there is no indication that they address any of my concerns.

 > > The argument they are trying to make is of the following form:
 > >
 > >    1: Endothermy requires (implies) large RT's (E => RT)
 > >    2: Dinosaurs lack large RT's
 > >    Ergo: dinosaurs were not endothermic.
 > >
 > > Now, for this to work they have to demonstrate that #1 is true
 > > *without* *exception*.  It is NOT sufficient that it be true on
 > > average.
 > 
 > If Stan had read the paper he'd know that there are other references
 > available about respiratory turbinates.

Yep, and none of them show #1 to be true.  They cannot, as it is false.
There are extant (living) counterexamples.  At least one, the fulmar,
has been cited in this series of articles *twice* (three times now).

Do they address these counterexamples?  No.  The best they do is
cite a handful of papers that superficially appear to support their
position.

[ If you were familiar with the paper you wouldn't keep making a fool
  of yourself this way, Stan. -- MR ]

Perhaps if I have time in a couple of weeks or so I will do a literature
search based for responses to the articles on RT's that they cite. I
bet I will find articles disputing every finding that woudl support
the truth of #1 above.  (Such a search is, unfortunately, time consuming,
and I can generally only get to a research library about once a month
nowadays, so I cannot make any promises, as getting the lastest dinosaur
references has priority).

 >  In living animals it seems reasonable to conclude that some method
 > of water retention is necessary for endothermy.

Maybe.  But then how do you explain a lizard that has as high a level
of water retention as a mammal???

[ If you were familiar with the paper you wouldn't keep making a fool
  of yourself this way, Stan. -- MR ]

 >  In greater than 99% of said animals, that function seems to be
 > carried out by RT's even though developmental studies indicate that
 > these structures were evolved independently in birds and mammals.
 > It may not be true that RT's are required for endothermy, but if
 > dinosaurs had a different way of maintaining respiratory water while
 > breathing as much as birds and mammals then one would wonder why
 > birds evolved RT's.

RT's may be more efficient, or have a lower cost to maintain, or
be less prone to other ills than the other mechanisms.  One cannot
easily tell without knowing what such other mechanisms might be.

 >  In any case, Stan's analysis above is a straw man since Ruben et
 > al. are practicing science not mathematics.

Scientific arguments must still be valid syllogisms.  Logic errors
are still logic errors, even in science.

 > ... If (after reading it) Stan has real objections to the paper, he
 > should submit them to the editors of _Science_. ...

I *did* read it.  I read *all* articles on dinosaurs in _Science_.
[I have a subscription to that journal, so I eventualy get to
all interesting articles in it, as I do not have to wait to go to
the library].

[ My recommendation to you is to be more patient.  We can wait for you
  to re-read the paper.  Had you done so earlier you'd have saved us
  all a lot of grief. -- MR ]

swf@elsegundoca.ncr.com         sarima@ix.netcom.com

The peace of God be with you.