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A Word on ABSRD





Tim,
I'm not going to defend Feduccia's viewpoint on the origins of birds, because I don't think he has either made a particularly strong case for his position or against the theropod theory. But there is still enough doubt that I am not going to dismiss his views either.
I think it is too extreme to call what Feduccia and Martin do "pseudoscience", much less compare it to something like phrenology. I have expressed my hopes that the "Birds Came First" Theory is actually true, because it could very well turn out that "birds" (not Aves) did evolve from very primitive dinosaurs or even dinosauriforms, and that each of the two extremes (ABSRD, as you call it) and BAM (birds are maniraptors) only had half the story all along. Whether we then expand Aves to include maniraptors is a bridge we will have to cross if and when we get there.
In any case, I wouldn't be quite so confident about BAM that I would label the other side "pseudoscience", as it might come back to haunt you someday. Granted, Larry Martin's mantra (of Garbage In, Garbage Out) has been overused, but it does have an element of truth to it. Whether BAM is totally right or not, today's cladistic algorithms will probably be considered extremely primitive a few decades hence, and there's probably a lot more computer garbage being generated than you might think.
----Ken Kinman
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