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Re: Origins (was: Re: Sharovipteryx)



In a message dated 5/28/00 7:15:05 AM EST, qilongia@yahoo.com writes:

<<   Urge to defend a rigorous test, yes, but not to an
 hyposthesis itself. It's not an entity, it deserves no
 compassion, and levelling such at it is a useless
 endeavor. What would have happened had Cope _not_
 removed the skull from the tail of his plesiosaur? Had
 he grown attached to the idea of the skull's placement
 instead of admitting Marsh was right, it is largely
 possible he would have been mocked outright... >>

I never said a person should become >irrationally< attached to a hypothesis! 
Once the hypothesis is falsified, and there's little hope of showing that the 
purported falsifications are themselves incorrect, it's time to kiss the 
hypothesis goodbye. But if you have no passion about the hypotheses that you 
offer, you become little more than a "hypothesis machine." A hypothesis worth 
defending is worth defending vigorously and with passion.

On this list, I vigorously and passionately defended the hypotheses that 
segnosaurs were prosauropods. One must make certain that the holes that 
people are trying to blast in a hypotheses really do exist, and all too often 
the holes people tried to blast in the segnosaurs-as-prosauropods hypothesis 
simply were not there (mistakes in papers, mistakes in anatomy, etc.): The 
falsifications were themselves falsified. But eventually enough evidence 
accumulated that segnosaurs were theropods, so I bid farewell to the 
segnosaurs-as-prosauropods idea, no problem.

In paleontology, too many people have given up on worthy hypotheses too soon: 
e.g., the dinosaur-bird connection, which everyone thought had been falsified 
by Heilmann.