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Occam, Turn the Key and Shut it Off ...



Kris Kripchak (MariusRomanus@aol.com) wrote:

<I hope this clears things up.>

  I do not think so. Scott made a prediction, as did others, on either the
arboreal or terrestrial origins of flight, of the flapping mechanic, the
development of feathers, and their shape as aerodynamic devices, whether
or not they are related. Each of these is being explored. Billy Ockham's
premise is inately connected to each.

<I invoked Occam's Bulldozer as a way of pointing out that we have a lot
of ideas being put forth right now concerning  _Microraptor_ that seem to
have the sole purpose of avoiding a prediction... This avoidance,
apparently, is based off of the inability to clearly see how the next
steps in the obviously mosaic-like evolution of flight took place. This
premise is taken even further to mean that since we can't understand how
certain aspects of theropod flight evolved, given the fossil record that
we now have at our disposal, new additions and all... this somehow
automatically says that certain things, whatever in the world they may be,
did or did not take place.>

  Actually, it appears that people are trying to find out how *Microraptor
gui* satisfies or disproves several theories, not shoehorning theories
onto it. Rather inelegant speech, but pointed, I think. Principally, both
theories require some morphological adaptations that are found each in *M.
gui*, but not all of one theory to the exclusion of the other. The
problem, as pointed out by others, is the idea that both are mutually 

  Incidentally, the general nature of a mosaic evolutionary situation is
the absence of a clear path that can be traced, but rather random
beneficial and adaptational mutations. Billy Ockham suggested the simplest
explanation would be the most simple, in that of a single path from Point
A (example: *Ornitholestes*) to Pain B (example: *Confuciusornis*) would
be the most easiest to explain -- problematically, this idea is not always
right, and though the Razor can be applied to most things, it is a logic
excercise, and evolution may not be following a simple, single path, but
various ones. Trying to make *Microraptor* fit on this single line, rather
than letting it stand on its own two feet (as it were), is a prime example
of destroying the principle innately. As with the stick insect wing
evolution, stating that one form's wings are the precedent for all forms'
wings is now a falsehood, despite being logical, and the dual or
triplicate evolution of avian-style wings among many bird-like theropods
or even after the evolution of birds themselves.

  Data shows the Razor is wrong, sometimes. What you have left is leaving
the whole alone, and applying the Razor to the minutiae, rather than the
majority, and get a clearer sense of development rather than leading one
to "beleive" in particular paths of evolution that must have occured.

  Cheers,

=====
Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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