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Re: recent K mammal postings




On Thu, 21 May 1998, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

> To clear things up for the list,

I am sure the list appreciates your consideration of their sensibilities.
How about a little consideration for mine.  This attack is
puzzling to me. I have said nothing to you nor anyone else that warrants
what follows. 

> My recent response to J. Bois might seem a bit harsh to some new readers on
> the list.  Don't let this stop you from posting serious and sincere
> questions: we'd love to see them.

I took no real offence at your "recent response".  But I must say the
present one has hit the spot!
 
> The individual in question here, however, has been posting to this list and
> several others for a couple of years now on matters concerning Mesozoic
> mammals.  What is so frustrating is the observation that, despite his
> obvious interest in the subject, he doesn't seem to have bothered to make
> even a cursory glance at the scientific literature on the subject.

On what basis do you make this claim?  I own a well thumbed copy of
Mesozoic Mammals.  And I have a copy of Benton, have read The Flaming
Cliffs, keep up with mammal finds as they appear in the journals...

> Okay, so he isn't a paleontologist.  Nevertheless, if I were going to spend
> a lot of time over a period of years posting to a science fiction listserve
> group and talk a lot about Isaac Asimov, I might want to actually read some
> of his stuff first.  Then I might not make comments such as "Oh, Asimov
> didn't write very much stuff" (an analogous comment to "Paleontologists
> hardly ever look for mammals in C. [by which I assuming he meant
> "Cretaceous", not "Carboniferous"] rocks").

This is just bulldust!  Aside from the lame analogy, it was not me that
said: "Paleontologists hardly ever look for mammals in Cretaceous rocks."
I was quoting Hedges, remember, and asking whether Chris Brochu believed
this was an ignorant statement.  Such comments as Hedges' and Benton's
are off the cuff.  Are they being careless, provocative?  I can't really
believe it of Hedges (and am startled that you seem to believe it of me)
that he has never heard of Archibald, Clemens. I am capable of giving
them the benefit of the doubt that what Hedges' _means_, for example, is
not that they never or even
hardly ever look, rather, that there is nowhere near enough active
hunting in this field--that his data supports increased
funding.   (I don't mean to argue, by the way, that other research
ought to suffer).  You seem to think I am disingenuous when I ask
questions
designed to give me a bearing on the relative amount of research going on 
in the field. I assure you it is very difficult for a layman to
know this.  You listed several of them earlier, many of which I _am_
familiar with.  But I do not know how this compares with, say, the number
of dinosaur workers.  So I read Hedges' comments and think the following:
this guy submits papers to a respected, peer reviewed journal, he might
know what he's talking about. My way of finding out was TO ASK!!  The
answers, including yours, are informative and I am sure there are some of
us out here who are grateful for your opinions--and to me for eliciting
them.

> In other words (and this applies to an even more general level): do your
> homework.

And if the lecture is finished here might I suggest that you demonstrate a
little more class.  The charge of not doing my homework does _not_ apply
in this instance.  And a general charge without specificity from one in
your position relative to mine is nothing much more than an abuse of
power. The suggestion that I have shown a pattern of ignorance on
several different lists is defammatory (without specifying, that is).  I
_occasionally_ contribute to sci.bio.evolution.  I believe I am in good
standing there.  This is also the case at sci.bio.paleontology. It is true
that I have learned a great deal both from posts on this list, and
readings suggested on it also.  You suggested in another post that my view
could use a little Windex.  Then stop spraying me with Mace!