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Re: What Is Not a Dinosaur? (was re: Ankle Articulation in Pterosaurs)



At 03:34 AM 1/25/97 -0500, George O. wrote:
>I'm not grandstanding, just calling the paper as I see it. 
        Then may I respectfully suggest that you couch your oppinion in a
more constructive vein such as:
        "I don't understand why Novas claims (in the title) that he is
seeking to support dinosaur monophyly when he a priori define the Dinosauria
as monophyletic"
        I believe that this would cause there to be less "abrasiveness" and
more understanding, especially considering that the paper really does not
point out any flaw with cladistics, nor is it inherently flawed.

>Language is not a problem [...] He has been writing papers concerning
phylogenetic
>systematics of dinosaurs for much of this decade, so he's certainly not as
>new to the discipline as some. A serious published work must be taken at face
>value.
        So what you're saying then is that he is just plain stupid?  What
d'you suppose, George, makes a respected scientist set out to make a logical
gaff such as this?  For truly, there is a logical flaw in the paper.  Is Dr.
Novas just stupid?
        If this wasn't the point you were trying to make, I'd like to hear
what it was.  For the life of me, this seemed to be the major point of your
post, "The cladist made a boo-boo, and so now they all have egg on their
faces..."  Unless you seriously believe that all of the folks who helped him
out (including, I believe, Padian) are also in on this conspiracy against logic.

>Not the way I play it. Cladistics is bunk, to quote R. T. Bakker (1996 SVP
>annual meeting).
        I don't mean to be disrespectful of Dr. Bakker, but all men, great
and small, at some point in their lives say something silly.  The president
of IBM once said something to the effect that "no one would ever want a
computer on their desk."
        Perhaps you should like to provide a demonstration that cladistics
is bunk, rather than relying on the Word of Bakker.  Come to think of it,
you have tried to convince us all that cladistics is bunk.  Last time I
checked, you hadn't convinced anyone.

>Cladists imagine their system is God's (or Hennig's) gift to
>systematics, but they have thus far been unable to justify this stance to me.
        Have you tried comparing it to other methods?  You'll note that,
according to all accounts I've seen, morphological cladistic analysis tends
to correspond fairly well to genetic analysis, and both even share a few
things in common with traditional methods.  Thus, cladistic results are even
somewhat reproduceable, whereas results you claim are not.
        Now, look at this from my perspective, your results do not aggree
with the results of a large body of degreed professionals.  Who should I
defer to, especially in absence of your data withwhich to compare analyses?

And from another post:
>You mean Novas isn't on the list?? I wonder why that might be. I can't
>imagine that he cares one whit about what my opinion is of his paper.
        Perhaps he might if your oppinions were couched in a more
constructive manner.

        Wagner
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| 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             |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------+