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Just So stories and science



Dear Dinosaur Listers:

    A while back there was a discussion about "just so" stories and their 
place in scientific discourse and reasoning.
    I have just encountered a thought-provoking passage in John Gribbin's 
"Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality." This is a popularization 
of current thought about quantum physics and relativity. John Gribbin, with a 
Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Cambridge, was a Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at 
the University of Sussex while he prepared this book. On page 222 he writes, 
    " . . . All scientific models are simply Kiplingesque 'just so' stories 
that give us a feeling that we understand what is going on, without 
necessarily incorporating any ultimate answers about the universe."
    Granted that Gribbin is working with subatomic particles and energies, 
while dinosaur science is blessed with physical remains and solid rock 
matrices. Still, many students of dinosaurs are fascinated with possible 
behaviors and the operations of animal bodies long since dead and decayed. 
Perhaps there is a place for "stories that give us a feeling that we 
understand what is going on."

Peace and grace,

Bill Olewiler, OSL
United Methodist pastor
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