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Re: Peering at review

Greg Paul (GSP1954@aol.com) wrote:

<About PR in general, back in the 80s I came up with the wild and wacky
notion that a number of predatory dinosaur groups were secondarily
flightless. What was I thinking?! Fool that I was I published the idea in
84 and 88. In both cases in nonPR venues. I remember folk giving me heck
for doing so, and for coming up with such a silly notion anyway. Even had
to take the uncinates I was putting on dromaeosaur skeletons off in some
cases - the ones present on the fighting Velociraptor in the classic
quarry photo?. Mere optical illusion.>

  Yup, know what you're saying. Adding them to *Deinonychus* I could argue
with, and many other taxa show no evidence for it, but I've seen others
add full details and conjured hypothetical structures to animals that are
not supported in the specimens offered. Even restoring skull material from
missing data based on some phylogenetic scheme. One example may be the
type *Cathayornis yandica* skull, which lacks definition in the posterior
region aside from numerus plates and rods. Little of which can be
attributed to squamosals, quadrates, pterygoids, palatines,
quadratojugals, or jugals, but you see them crop up all over the place.
Peer review (not the formal scientific pattern, but in general, just
anyone with a bit of knowledge) can add information and permits us to be
much more concise if some other data out there can advance our work, or
permit alternate, equivalent assumptions to be made that can then be
tested. Essential peer review is not the referee system, where they say
yea or neigh to publication, but even then is still essential to a
critical analysis. A wise man said once to me: "There's nothing like
having your thesis ripped up in front of you to destroy your personality"
... but it builds a better science. Otherwise, science isn't helped by any
jack-an-ape theory being advanced (and I'm not talking about Greg's) when
the strength of the argument or the science involved is crap.

<Anyhow, it is doubtful that the secondarily flightless hypothesis would
have gotten past PR.>

  Why? The book is fine. I get the really odd impression from listening to
arguments by Tracy, George, and yourself among the prominent voacalists
that  peer review will destroy something outside of "dogmatic" thought,
defining dogma as anything generally held to be true within a strict
group. Meaning, not your stuff. But as others have said and I said above,
formal peer review in most journals 2ndF could be published, it is not
about beliefs, its about data. Maybe Georgre resents it because BCF has
not been received well by other scientists, but thats based on data, not
personal ideals.

<As for the 'Pauline' hypothesis, it sees secondarily flightless,
post-Archaeopteryx dinosaurs as derived avepod dinosaurs as well as birds,
 not as part of an avian clade distinct from the Dinosauria, or at the
base of dinosaurs.>

  Ah, i see the Pauline Hypothesis as also encompassing an no-content
defining structure of a particular animal as being more real than any
content that any two taxa define by their existence. And the almost
apparent rejection of many terms on aesthetic groups. No more
maniraptorans, theropods, etc. They're all just avepodans and avepectorans
... or the equivalents thereof. Its just curious, is all.


Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

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