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*To*: <dinosaur@usc.edu>*Subject*: Re: "running" elephants - locomotary analoges*From*: philidor11@snet.net*Date*: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 22:06:32 -0400*Reply-to*: philidor11@snet.net*Sender*: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu

HP Marjanovic wrote: <However, the more garbage we put in, the smaller the probability that it will be consistent. The larger the set of speculations, the higher the probability that one will contradict others.> You're assuming that the speculations arise independently, without any direct connection. However, if other speculations or even the prnciples used to derive the other speculations are known to someone developing a new idea, and if that 'innovator' wishes to be consistent with the prior ideas, then the results will probably be consistent. Given a set of premises, principles, you and I could develop ideas which were consistent with each other. If a new observation contradicted any of the ideas we had reasoned, then we could make only such changes in our ideas as would allow for the observation. The premises themselves would be untouched. We could do all this without ever conversing. What I'm describing is, of course, a closed system, one which cannot suffer ultimate refutation. It's based not on the existence of unlocateable agents, but on irrefutable logical principles. = = = Original message = = = HP Philidor wrote... > Using an example from the discussion, a conclusion that pterosaurs > above a certain size couldn't fly would be based on general principles, > but the material of which the bones were made is unknown. While it is unknown to a certain degree (we can test if the mineral is hydroxyapatite...), phylogenetic bracketing is there to give us an idea about what the precise composition of the collagen could have been like, and then there are fossils (like the azhdarchid IIRC tibia with a velociraptorine tooth in it) to give us an independent idea on the mechanical strength of the bone. > Because part of the material necessary to draw > a conclusion is wrong, the result is wrong. Sure. > Which is an elaborate way of saying garbage in, garbage out. > A problem will arise when there exists a set of self-consistent > speculations which happen to be factually wrong (if observations could > be made). In that case, a whole range of different approaches to a > problem using subsets of those speculations will produce consistent > results, apparently confirming the speculations. However, all that will > actually be confirmed is that the erroneous speculations are logically > consistent. > Consistent garbage in, consistent garbage out. However, the more garbage we put in, the smaller the probability that it will be consistent. The larger the set of speculations, the higher the probability that one will contradict others. -- +++ GMX - Mail, Messaging & more http://www.gmx.net +++ Bitte l~cheln! Fotogalerie online mit GMX ohne eigene Homepage! ___________________________________________________________ Sent by ePrompter, the premier email notification software. Free download at http://www.ePrompter.com.

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