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a possible 21st century paleo(bio)ontological creed for dinosaurologists
In the July 1948 issue of Scientific Monthly, Clarence
R. Wylie Jr. published a poem "Paradox", which was
later used as a frontpiece for The Anatomy of
Mathematics by Kershner & Wilcox 1950 (one of the most
elegant books ever written). With apologies to Mr
Wylie, I have changed it a little here-and-there to
suit my thematic purposes:
Not truth, nor certainty. These I foreswore
In my novitiate, as young women and men called
To the holy order of Palaeontology must abjure
"If...then...", this only I assert;
And my successes are but pretty chains
Linking twin doubts, for it is vain to ask
If what I postulate be justified,
Or what I prove possess the stamp of factuality.
As Einstein has said, the mathematics of our
Dreams are revelations of uncertainty of
Knowledge, proving there is no
Yet bridges stand, fossil are found and mounted,
Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen and Phil Tippett's
Dinosaurs walk and breathe when we stop to listen;
And we no longer crawl
In two dimensions. And such triumphs stem
In no small measure from the power this
Evolutionary/bifurcation game theory,
Played with the thrice-attenuated shades
Of things, has over their originals.
How frail the wand, but how profound the spell...
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