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Re: OCCAM'S RAZOR & THERIZINOSAURS



--Original Message--  From: Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. Date: 31 July 1998 23:16
Subject: Re: OCCAM'S RAZOR & THERIZINOSAURS


>At 07:51 PM 7/31/98 +0100, John Jackson wrote:
>>>>Yup.  Three wierd discoveries within twelve months, and only George
>>>>"Cassandra" Olshevsky's theories predicted them all.  Spooky eh?
>>>>
>>>
>>>Very curious statement...
>>
>>
>>Come on Tom - when are you going to give him some credit for his
>>predictions?
>
>Hey, it isn't I don't give him credit for his predictions: I just question
>whether he is the *only* one to have predicted them all.  See below.
>
>>After all, prediction surely is an important part of that
>>fully-agreed-upon unchanging entity you suggest "science" is!
>
>Funny, I seem to remember stating often and loudly that science is a system
>of hypothesis testing about the natural world.  Ah, well...

Well all right; a brief check back suggests you have advocated a flexible
developmental view of science.  However, I still think George hasn't been
given any credit for his predictions.  Anyone subscribing to the current
view of evaluating theories should place him up near the top.  Instead he
couldn't be, in terms of acknowledgement, any lower.


You make a valid list of predictors for *any of* discoveries 1, 2 or 3, but
since I said *all*, there wasn't any point.




>>It would have been a bit mean to have named all the people who hadn't
>>predicted:
>>
>>1)  Sinosauropteryx's fluffy stuff
>>
>>2)  Caudipteryx (& Protarchaeopteryx)'s feathers
>
>Which were predicted as far back as Bakker's 1975 Dinosaur Renaissance
paper
>in Scientific American (which some of you kids out there might not have
>read, but was a goddam important piece in its time.  Hell, Ral Partha even
>made a few lead figures from it!!).  For another example, John McLoughlin's
>1979 _Archosauria: A New Look at the Old Dinosaur_ is resplendant with
>feathered theropods.  And there was this little known work called
_Predatory
>Dinosaurs of the World_ by some obscure artist named "Gregory Paul" to
>consider: more on that below.
>
>Neither of these works, however, were contingent on a pre-Archie BCF
hypothesis.
>
>>3)  The early Jurassic "therizino..."
>
>>And by the way, I'm not trying to get at professionals
>>(yet), I just wish they would play the game and allow the theory(s) which,
>>by the currently accepted philosophy (prediction power) is doing best, *to
>>appear in print at least once!*
>
>See above.

Oh yes, some theories predicting feathered dinos have appeared in print -
but that wasn't the question.  The issue is when we are going to see
anything about secondary flightlessness (or indeed any theories espoused by
George) in respectable scientific journals - or especially in summaries of
the field by "accepted experts"?



>>It's a good job dino palaeontology is only a branch of entertainment and
so
>>doesn't really matter. . . otherwise, doing the watertight job of keeping
>>ideas out of the media which don't suit you would look like an excellent
>>piece of conspiracy and corruption.
>
>[An aside: Mickey, just in case you thought I was joking...]

You're not by any chance seeking to censor me for pointing out the
undeniable de facto censorship job that has been done on secondary
flightlessness are you?


>And, to Greg Paul: sorry to hear that your ideas never made it to the
media.

No - I have never seen any broaching of the topic of secondary
flightlessness anywhere, in any medium, except in _Mesozoic Meanderings_,
_PDW_,  Darren's _Fortean Times_ article  (and of course George and Luis
Rey's websites.)  However, the endless hypocrisy of people using GSP's
artwork to illustrate their contrasting arguments, because they look so
realistic, (because the thought processes behind them are so unusually
valid) is all too sickeningly common.

>Why, if they did, people might think _Velociraptor_ when they see a
>man-sized dromaeosaurid? ;-)

Good rhetoric, but still rhetoric.



>Furthermore, if I had that kind of control over the media, you'd think the
>words "Arctometatarsalia" and "Maniraptoriformes" might be a bit better
known...


I think they are becoming very widely known, though I'm not criticising you
for not mentioning the secondary flightlessness theory.  You are however
already known to the media as an authority, and the time will soon come if
it hasn't already when you will be asked to summarise a field where
secondary flightlessness ought to be mentioned.  I have no doubt that you
will actually; for some time I've seen you as the professional most likely
to lead the subject into full view.


I am by the way the proud owner of both  _Mesozoic Meanderings #2_ , and
_Predatory Dinosaurs of the World_.



>>Actually I'm a bit wobbly on pre-Archae-BCF, and I'm not quite *the* high
>>priest even of K-BCF (though perhaps '. . .a . .'), and I'll own up to
>>knowing very nearly nothing about segnosaurs and absolutely nothing about
>>the early J jaw.
>
>Okay.  So, of the three predictions that only George could make, two were
>predicted as early as 1975 by Bob Bakker, and the third you know absolutely
>nothing about.  But you're SURE that only George could have come up with
>this all...

We'd have saved a lot of time Tom if you hadn't confused "any" with "all".
But it did almost serve to obscure the sad fact that the Secondary
Flightlessness theory has been airbrushed in order to protect cladism!


John V Jackson    jjackson@interalpha.co.uk