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RE: science and philosophy

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
paul sparks
Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 8:11 PM
To: Dinolist
Subject: science and philosophy

Hi All, I have some comments on this discussion about science and

>>Anyhow to me that is entirely analogous to finding and describing new
fossils or conducting experiments on these fossils such as bone density.
Other folks and sometimes the same folks use this information to predict
hypotheses based on this and other information. Guess what this is the
same thing that is done in the so called hard sciences.<<

Well, yea. Those are 'testable' hands on, things. WE know the animal lived
because we have hard (hopefully hard) fossil evidence we can hold. No
argument there. We can do histological studies, etc. That is cold hard

>> You folks are no
different, no more philosophic, than any other science. In my mind this
area of study is more exciting than any other branch of science in
developing an understanding of the a most valued part of our world. Take
no back seat or devalue your worth, you work hard and think hard and
study hard in an area that is just as difficult as any other science.
Keep it up Paul sparks<<

BUT, when you try and figure out how the animal lived, what it looked like
(which I do because I'm an artist) things become less 'hard facts'. This is
when we go into a more 'thinking' (or in my view philosophical vain).
Cladistics is more of a genealogy to me (Science yes). Just place a begat in
between each 'genus' name. I really don't give a crap for most of it, I
really don't care, I'd rather just put Brontosaurus, Apatosaurus, and
Diplodocus in the family Diplodocidae and leave it at that and not worry
about which one came first (unless its geological in nature). You can read
more of how I feel in the archives.

No one has answered me how can we really 'test' whether or not Cryptovolans
could fly using modern living animals as examples. We can't can we? So we
have to take it on 'faith' it could? Or do we argue/philosophy/debate over
it? Neither side will ever be able to prove it either way, which is were the
'philosophy' I've been talking about comes in. Sure, we call it a theory,
but to me it's close to the same thing.

I'm really surprised on the amount of disdain, or even 'hate' towards
philosophy I've been reading on the list. I'm not saying paleontology isn't
a SCIENCE so don't go around saying I am.

I really hit a raw nerve with a lot of you. Where would the world be without
philosophers? Where would science be?

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