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Re: _Night Comes to the Cretaceous_



Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 98-08-08 13:04:10 EDT, jwoolf@erinet.com writes:
>
> << I know it's published, because it's all _been_ published by people with
>  credentials.  All the versions of the impact theory that I've seen fail to
>  explain:  >>
>
> <<lotsa stuff snipped>>
>
> We're not interested here what >didn't< get killed. We're interested in what
> >did< get killed, and why. What >did< get killed was all the dinosaurs and
> lots of other organisms. What killed them was an asteroid impact and its
> aftereffects. >Anything< that survived was >just plain lucky<.

Illogical.  The extinction was selective: all nonavian dinosaurs, but no
birds; mammals hurt but not wiped out; cold-water organisms less
affected than tropical ones; marine reptiles more heavily hit than fish;
etc.  A good shorthand way of describing the extinction on land is that
pure ectotherms (amphibs and lower reptiles) and pure endotherms (birds
and mammals) survived, and everything with a metabolism in between was
wiped out.  The fact that the extinction was selective indicates there
is a *reason* why some groups survived and others did not.  I want to
know what that reason was.  The asteroid impact scenario doesn't say. 
Therefore, I find the impact scenario an inadequate solution to the
problem.

Regarding your other statement: 

> It hasn't escaped my notice that some of the same people who go after strict
> and rigid numerical parsimony in cladograms with a vengeance also happily
> concoct the most complicated, unparsimonious explanations for the K-T mass
> extinction, when the most parsimonious explanation has been available for more
> than two decades.

The Law of Parsimony says that the simplest explanation which covers
_all_ the facts is preferable over more complicated explanations.  The
impact scenario is not parsimonious as long as it fails to explain all
the facts. 

And it hasn't escaped my notice that certain people have a habit of
ASSuming that if I object to some aspects of a certain methodology or
hypothesis, I object to the whole thing.  

-- Jon W.