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Re: bauplan convergence (EXTREMELY SARCASTIC!)



Wow, Matt, settle down a bit! My post said nothing
like what you seem to think. You guys actually doing
the scientific work that I can't wait to hear about
are legends in my eyes - and no, I am definitely NOT
being sarcastic!

My point was that some, (not all), of the posts on
this particular thread were so speculative as to have
crossed the line into near fantasy - that's all. 

More importantly, this area of biology, (ie trying to
reconstruct the history of life on this planet), by
its very nature has to employ largely historical
methods, not experimental. (Obviously there are some
particular questions where an experimental methodology
can be applied, but at the end of the day we have to
admit that these animals that so fire our imaginations
are long dead and gone, and the fact is we will
actually never know the answers to many of the
questions we would most like to have answered.)

 All we can do is form our opinions based on the best
evidence available - which is where you guys come in
so vitally - but these will be opinions based on
individual assessments of the balance of
probabilities.

I'm just concerned that there seems to be an attitude
in some quarters that if you are not doing science
like the physicists and chemists, then you are not
doing REAL science, which seems to make some people
want talk like physicists and chemists so they will
appear like "real" scientists.

You work in a field where much will be untestable.
This doesn't make it nonsense, and it doesn't make
non-science, (despite what some extreme Popperians and
post-modernists would have us believe). You simply
will never be able to subject Archie to a series of
tests that will determine whether or not it was a
strong flyer. We can speculate using the information
gained from the scientific work done by you and your
colleagues, and a majority opinion will no doubt form,
but we will not have proved anything. 

But that's life, that's the nature of the work and we
cannot do anything but operate within the limitations
placed upon us by history and circumstance.

Don't you think that the acquisition of knowledge is
important? I'm sure you do, and that is what your work
is about.

So mate, stay in your lab and keep doing the important
science you are doing. Any offence caused to you and
other scientists was unintentional, and I apologize to
you and any others who may have taken my comments the
wrong way.

Garth


--- Matthew Bonnan <mbonnan@hotmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Yeah, let's all give up and go to the beach.  Hey,
> Mickey, just can this 
> DinoList thing.  What a tremendous waste of time. 
> Since none of us were 
> alive to see any of this stuff, there's absolutely
> no way to test anything 
> that happened in the past.  What are we all
> thinking?  In fact, get rid of 
> SVP.  Just of a bunch of folks throwing out
> untestable nonsense.  Let's give 
> up the ghost on this one already.
> 
> Well, back to my waste-of-time graduate work. 
> Sheesh, I shoulda done 
> something more pragmatic! =P
> 
> Matt Bonnan
> 
> >From: Garth Godsman <maniraptor@yahoo.com>
> >Reply-To: maniraptor@yahoo.com
> >To: Dinosaur Mailing List <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> >Subject: Re: bauplan convergence
> >Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 22:42:58 -0700 (PDT)
> >
> >Ditto!
> >
> >Some of the posts in this thread have verged on the
> >ridiculous, with talk of testing one strange
> >hypothesis after another.
> >
> >We are not dealing with an experimental science
> here,
> >but rather a historical science. I think some
> people
> >on this list have paid way too much attention to
> >Popper and/or the post modernists for their own
> good.
> >
> >Garth
> >
> >--- Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:
> > > In a message dated 6/19/00 3:30:14 PM EST,
> > > dannj@alphalink.com.au writes:
> > >
> > > << I've pretty much given up speculating on the
> > > origin of bird flight.
> > >  There are just too many possible variables and
> too
> > > little direct
> > >  evidence. You might as well ask how turtles
> > > developed shells: it
> > >  requires the scapulae to somehow end up on the
> > > inside of the rib cage.
> > >  How the heck did that ever happen? Sometimes I
> > > think logic is entirely
> > >  the wrong approach to studying evolution. >>
> > >
> > > I'm afraid I have to agree with you on this
> point,
> > > strongly. Speculating on
> > > the whys and wherefores of the evolution and the
> > > possible behavior of fossil
> > > animals is simply a giant waste of time. Either
> the
> > > answers are entirely
> > > obvious or the answers are simply impossible to
> >confirm.
> >
> >
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