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RE: Who says dromaeosaurs can't fly?

-----Original Message-----
From: Luis Rey [mailto:luisrey@ndirect.co.uk]
Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2002 12:20 PM
To: dino.hunter@cox.net; dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: 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
> '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
> 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
you can) what you have in front of your eyes. There are things like
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,

Then in your argument I'm doing Pop Science and not real science. See my
poster (if you're able to make it to this years SVP) and you'll see that
that had steamed from an IDEA after looking at a drawing of the skull of
Tanystropheus. I did no actual 'science' before that on the animal, but now
I have.

>>  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
strict, methodological rules. Which or whose rules? I would accept those
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

Then the only dinosaur that has feathers are birds, and Sinosauropteryx,
Beipiaosaurus etc, doesn't have feathers because they are not like MODERN
feathers? The argument on that is on going...

> >>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
> (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
> 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
the only good  one.  That is why Paleontology is renewing itself constantly
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

That is one of the things I like about Paleontology, it is always in a flux
and new things are coming out. If only I could tell you some of them...:)

>  >>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
> of the time, it's been them...

>>Well. Can't say that I haven't had a hard time myself(for many, many
but that is a purely personal matter that if wrongly applied can only
the value of your argument at the end.<<

Not to me, but then, that's me :)

>>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...<<

Right, but some of them will think you're a nut and since you don't have the
education, you don't know what you're talking about. You want some names? I
can give you them.

> >>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
are you accusing them of not having 'convictions'?<<

No, it's just that don't say your for one thing in one sentence than take
the other side in paragraphs.

>>Or are you just accusing them of not taking your side?<<

Truthfully I couldn't give a flying @(**&& whether they did or not.

>>Can we really have absolute convictions regarding anything in

Hmm, I can think of a few paleontologist off the top of my head I'd like you
to ask that to :)

> >>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
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.<<

As do I and I even change my mind. I didn't believe any dinosaur would have
had feathers. Even spoken against it (way back when Greg Paul, Bob Bakker
first illustrated theropods with feathers). But now, more than ever I know
I'm wrong.

Luis Rey

Tracy L. Ford
P. O. Box 1171
Poway Ca  92074