[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

RE: Origins (was: Re: Sharovipteryx)



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Ralph Chapman
>
> How about some other opinions from other pros and enthusiasts, this is a
> really important point to nail down.

Wow, how to add to that?

Well, one possibility is to recommend some general reading material.  The
following is a book about science, but not per se a "how to do science"
book.  It has lots of very readable essays about various topics, although
not dinosaurs (sad to say):

Sagan, C. 1995.  The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark.
Random House, 457 pp.

Especially useful is the chapter "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection", which
discusses logical fallacies and the scientific toolbox.  Among the tools
are:
*Independent confirmation of the "facts" whereever possible;
*Substantitve debate on the evidence;
*There are no authorities; only experts (i.e., ideas by merit, not by
source);
*Use multiple working hypotheses;
*Try not to get overly attached to your own hypothesis!!;
*Quantify;
*Occam's Razor;
*Spin only falsifiable hypotheses

Have a good weekend, folks.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843