[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: My apologies, but... physiology revisited



On the subject of recent messages about endothermy Nick Longrich
writes:

> the fingers shouldn't point one direction only. 

I agree.  Around here it seems that Terry and I are the only ones
pointing the finger the other way.  Why did no one complain when Lee
McLean wrote:

] any idiot can tell that Ruben's sample size is inadequate.

??  Lee's support for his appraisal:

] To use this list's favourite example, if you have a thousand
] marbles, half of which are red and the other half black, picking
] only three could very easily result in them all being black on the
] first try and all red on the second. What does this tell us?
] Obviously nothing of any consequence, except that the sample size is
] not statistically significant.

The analogy is totally inappropriate.  Here's a better one.  Imagine
that you have a die with 10,000 sides.  You want to find out if the
die is loaded.  You roll it four times.  On each of those four
occasions the die lands on the same side.  Yes, it's possible that the
die really is fair, and it would be a good thing to keep rolling it if
you want a more solid answer.  However, given the four rolls you know
about, how much would you be willing to bet that the fifth roll will
yield a different number?  No, that analogy's not perfect either, but
it's better than the one that Lee gave.  The rest of Lee's message
consisted of similar misunderstandings of Ruben's and his colleagues'
claims, but nobody here had anything to say about them.  My impression
is that it's because most people would prefer not to hear "both
sides".  I'm *trying* to instill some balance.

Back to Nick:

>       I don't know the answer. But what Jones and Ruben argue flies
> in the face of about a dozen arguments in favor of endothermy and
> fails to explain these observations.

To paraphrase Nick's later writing: If eventually we develop a truly
robust model of dinosaur ectothermy, you can be sure that contemporary
arguments purporting to demonstrate dinosaur endothermy will be
addressed on the way.  I think one of the things that *really* irks
the OSU crowd is that they think they've already done so for most all
of these "dozen" arguments and few seem willing to hear them out.  As
I've tried to make plain multiple times I'm not committed to either
dinosaur endothermy or dinosaur ectothermy.  I think we need more
information.  And not just more measurements of bird nasal passages
which seems to be the only thing many of you want.

>       Notice also that Jones argues that pterosaurs were cold
> blooded (56th annual JVP abstracts of papers), [...] I missed that
> one, though, so maybe he had something to say beyond what appears on
> the surface to be complete ignorance of the evidence in this case.

I'm not going to keep getting in the middle of these things.  If you
want to ask him I suggest you ask him yourself (if you haven't
already).  But if you do, I strongly recommend that you tone it down
or you're likely to get the same treatment that Guy got.  I can't
blame Terry too much.  How would *you* react to accusations that you
are incompetent and/or dishonest in carrying out your job?

--
Mickey Rowe     (mrowe@indiana.edu)