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Re: Origins (was: Re: Sharovipteryx)



In a message dated 5/25/00 12:44:09 PM EST, rowe@psych.ucsb.edu writes:

<< The essence of science is not the telling of stories that make sense; it 
is the testing of ideas with empirical observations.  If no observations can 
recognizably be used to test an idea then the idea is not scientific.  And 
the purpose of this list is to provide a forum for the discussion of dinosaur 
*science*.  >>

Then you might as well close the list, because there is absolutely >no< 
empirical way to test >any< of the scenarios, hypotheses, theories, and so 
forth that have been brought forth in dinosaur paleontology over the past two 
centuries with respect to dinosaur behavior or evolution, period. >All< these 
things are Just So Stories, some perhaps based on a bit more detailed 
analyses than others, but conjecture nonetheless, since we have no way to go 
back in time to observe what actually occurred, measure internal temperatures 
and observe feathers, track how dinosaurs evolved, and note how dinosaurs 
behaved. It's >all< conjecture, with only the most outrageous hypotheses 
(such as flying giant sauropods) excluded and only the most obvious 
conclusions (such as that dinosaurs laid eggs) fully substantiated. These 
debates will continue endlessly with no hope of resolution; it's not even 
possible to assign a >probability< of correctness to a hypothesis. The only 
empirical things in this science are the actual specimens we find, from which 
we can draw only the most elementary inferences. Face it: Nature is full of 
counterexamples to every plausible scenario, and there's no reason to expect 
that this was not as true during the Mesozoic as it is today.