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Re: Dinosaur extinction

In article <Pine.OSF.3.95q.980221193721.31255A-100000@tracy.umd.edu>,
John Bois <jbois@umd5.umd.edu> writes
>On Sat, 21 Feb 1998, Richard Keatinge wrote:
>> No.  Try reading "The Beak of the Finch" sometime, after the "Origin of
>> Species".  Natural selection was supported by rather little evidence in
>> Darwin's time - it was an ingenious speculation.  But it was testable
>> and has been tested. 
>This was the point I was trying to make!
>But with regard to testability it might be unreasonable to require
>experimental proof for paleontological hypotheses.  Weight of evidence
>might have to be enough.  With extinction, though, there is nothing
>beyond: Now you see 'em. Now you don't.
>And statistics.

And iridium layers, and the things you don't see (like, a really
satisfying unifying hypothesis for the K-T should include a reason for
dead dinos on widely-separated continents and for dead non-dinos on
continental shelves).  Your point about the experimental testability is
a good one, though.  I'd like to rerun the Cretaceous but can't. 

Richard Keatinge 

homepage http://www.keatinge.demon.co.uk