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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...

>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.

>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...]

And, to Greg Paul: sorry to hear that your ideas never made it to the media.
Why, if they did, people might think _Velociraptor_ when they see a
man-sized dromaeosaurid? ;-)

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...

>Which philosopher of science ever said only a "professional's" theories
>count?

Not one, to my knowledge.  Indeed, it is the antithesis of science.

>>The feathered nonavians had long been predicted by non-BCFers: you should
>>have seen Ostrom strutting around at the press conference (and correctly
>so).
>
>
>I'm pleased he was happy.  However I don't expect him or Kevin Padian, when
>referred to in the role of world experts, ever to mention K-BCF. . . which
>incidentally is adhered to by a respectable section of frequent contributors
>to this list.

Yep.  It sure is.  In fact, it's progenitor, a certain Gregory Paul, is a
frequent contributor to the list.  (What?  You mean George Olshevsky didn't
come up with that idea?  Why, I never...  Why, if he did, why wouldn't he
mention it in his work.  Oh, wait, he does).  A suggestion: if you haven't
done so, read the appropriate sections of Olshevsky's _Mesozoic Meanderings
#2_ (that's the right one, isn't it, George), and (since it seems you
haven't done so), find that difficult-to-obtain _Predatory Dinosaurs of the
World_.

There is also the whole situation of confusing scenarios of the position of
birds within theropod phylogeny and scenarios of bird flight origins, but
that's a whole other kettle of fish.

>
>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...

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661