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Re: Who says dromaeosaurs can't fly?

> "Tracy L. Ford" wrote:

> >Test. Yes, test, but who makes the test? There is not SET test. There is a
> 'belief' or an 'idea', then we go from there. But we really really can't
> 'test' fossils. Alls we know is the animal once lived, but that's it really.
> We can't test, probe, cut up, etc a living animal, we can't run DNA (well,
> maybe if Schweitzer is correct), we don't know their color, so we have to
> speculate.

Nobody has said anything about prohibiting speculation of course...but
speculation comes after you have described  or tested objectively (as much as
you can) what you have in front of your eyes. There are things like comparative
anatomy and geology, and what we could call 'paleo forensics' applying all
sorts of physical, quantifiable tests. And then we may reach tentative
'philosophical'(if you like) conclusions.
Putting ideas first and then trying to shoehorn the evidence into them may
sound a good idea as pop science and (sometimes) make researchers look as a
'prophets'' but normally this is hardly what we could consider real, valuable
science.  One thing is doing popular science books (with all the good things
that can come of it) and another completely different is  technically
describing new specimens in the scientific literature to which we should apply
strict, methodological rules. Which or whose rules? I would accept those ones
that show that you are describing a natural object >first< with the lest
possible prejudices. That is for example: Don't call an external integument
'feathers' in a technical paper unless you can clearly show and demonstrate
that they are (as compared to what we can easily define as a known  'feather').

That is what I call technical jargon.

> >>If hypotheses are not bound to be falsifiable and tested we are doing
> religion
> not science.<<
> >Your right, so how can these things be falsified? How can they really be
> shown wrong? There is no concret, no doubt way to do it. It's not like math
> (No I don't what to start that thread again!), which says 2 + 2 = 4,
> paleontology can't do that. I'm not saying anything against Paleontology by
> the by.

Precisely for that we need some flexible but coherent methodology. We still can
do as many tests as we'd like and venture the conclusions that will convince
us, at least partially.
Because all tests would still have a considerable margin  of error, then I
would be even more doubtful of taking a hard line and pretend that my theory is
the only good  one.  That is why Paleontology is renewing itself constantly as
evidence creeps in  and the boundaries of all theories are surpassed. We may
reach the bottom sometimes, but always alert at the production of new evidence.

>  >>We can forcefully argue for our own convictions or the results of
> our research but (theoretically at least) I refuse to be drawn into a sort
> of Feduccia personal thing: "Them or Us".<<

> Well, for me, working in paleo as little as I do/can, I've felt the majority
> of the time, it's been them...

Well. Can't say that I haven't had a hard time myself(for many, many years),
but that is a purely personal matter that if wrongly applied can only  diminish
the value of your argument at the end. However, minorities can also have a
'sting' value for conformists and can also (at the end) become majorities. If
only we people didn't marry to our ideas...

> >>By what you are describing then Holtz and Headden ARE doing science.<<
> Never said they weren't. I'm just saying, don't say you think something is
> possible in one sentence than take two paragraphs to say it's not.

But  in your own understanding,  Paleontology is not a 'hard science', its
difficult to test with rigor and is very difficult to falsify its hypotheses...
are you accusing them of not having 'convictions'? Or are you just accusing
them of not taking your side? Can we really have absolute convictions regarding
anything in Paleontology?

> >>And yes, who says dromaeosaurs couldn't fly?  I'd say me... depending on
> the dromaeosaur, of course.<<
> Ture, not all of them, but because not off of them did, doesn't mean we
> should say, none of them could fly, climb trees, etc.

Yes. But I still will listen to the arguments against my ideas if they are well
backed and well presented. After all I could also simply be wrong . The only
way of countering arguments is with well thought (and well backed) arguments
against them.

Luis Rey

Visit my website on http://www.ndirect.co.uk/~luisrey