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RE: Selling Science (was:The fossil record)

J. Jackson wrote... 
< It wouldn't matter if it were one or two bird-like theropods after and not
before - but ALL of them?  See...
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hall/2099/ManiStats.html> .

[Jeffrey Martz]  
     Again, what makes you think that all especially bird like theropods lived 
in the Cretaceous, just because there were more places preserving a good 
vertebrate fossil record then?  Ornithomimids and Oviraptids may have not 
developed until the Cretaceous, but this has little to do with dromeosaurs, 
which are known to extend at least from the early Cretaceous.  So what if  some 
bird-like groups evolved later?  The issue is if the group thought to be 
_ancestral_ to the bird-like group known as "birds" goes back further then 
their earliest known fossils.                         

< If you found 171 nasobrachs, varied in distribution, time and form,
gradually expanding over the 150 mys from a point diverging from "now", then 
"now" would be the most likely time for the origin of the nasobrachs.>

     Unless the global fossil record is as fragmentary for several million 
years before "now" as I outlined earlier, in which case the most likely time is 
"now or sometime before now".  Is the evolution of birdlike groups during the 
Cretaceous really so perfectly regular that it can be precisely extrapolated 
back to the Late Jurassic, and not before?  
< I can afford to do that in this field because I, like Greg, (and
George), never had to fill our minds with the orthodoxy.  No-one allowing
ourselves the freedom in the subject we have done would have found it easy to 
have graduated >

     I'm sorry, but this is baloney.  John Ostrom, who grew up with the "birds 
are descended from pseudosuchian" theory has never made the claim that "the 
orthodoxy" stifled his mind so that he couldn't see the obvious similarities 
between _Archaeopteryx_ and theropods.  When you say "filling your mind with 
orthodoxy", do you really mean "talking to people first hand about thier ideas 
and becoming intimately familiar with somebody's ideas besides your own?".  
After five years as an undergraduate and working and talking with 
paleontologists, no one has ever implanted a compter chip in my head that 
forces me to believe everything, or anything, that I hear.  You don't have to 
agree with everything you learn in order to graduate; just understand it.
     I am even aware of one graduate student in the vertebrate paleontology 
master's program of a certain university who is actually a creationist 
(although he doesn't publicise it).  He seems to be happy to take advantage of 
the resources of higher education in order to find evidence to overturn what he 
no doubt considers to be "the orthodoxy".  
If someone can get as far as graduate school believing in creationism, I am 
sure it is possible to do so thinking coelurosaurs are descended from 
_Archaeopteryx_ rather then vice versa.

LN Jeff