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Re: My apologies, but... physiology revisited



Mickey Rowe recently wrote:

>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.

One does not need to read the paper to know that a sample size of twelve
out of thousands is not statistically significant. No matter what is in the
paper, no matter what you say Mickey, this is a FACT. I agree that my
analogy may not have been ideal, in as much as it is an either/or that
doesn't account for potential variance, but this is the nature of the
argument that Ruben has evidently put: non-avian dinosaurs did not have
RTs, so therefore were ectothermic. All that is needed is _one_ exception
to diprove this contention, and as has been stated many times on this list,
such exceptions are known. You say that some exceptions are cited in the
article, and explained away by the presence of alternative mechanisms, but
does that not make it all the more possible that non-avian dinosaurs had
such mechanisms, so could have been endotherms without RTs?

Now as to you Mickey, who supposedly is using this argument as an example
to promote the "health" of this list, can you honestly say that you would
argue as strongly were these not your personal opinions? You acuse us of
dogma in supporting dinosaur endothermy, but are you not guilty of
dogmatically supporting dinosaur ectothermy? Why do you think, as you said
on one occasion in the past, the RTs are the the strongest evidence yet as
to dinosaur physiology, in the face of the massive weight of evidence to
the contrary? In my opinion, and I am sure the opinion of most other
unbiased observers, such a weight of evidence strongly outweighs this one
somewhat questionable piece of data.

Lee