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Re: ptero endothermy

I apologize in advance--my daddy always told me not to discuss politics or
religon and never to argue with David Peters, but I just can't help myself!

----- Original Message -----
From: "david peters" <davidrpeters@earthlink.net>
To: "Jaime A. Headden" <qilongia@yahoo.com>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Cc: <davidrpeters@earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2004 2:37 PM
Subject: Re: ptero endothermy

> >From Jaime H[eadden]:
>  When I first heard that science prefers the shortest, simplest
> explanation, I beleived it ... until I saw more complex arrangements and
> directed challenges to that tenet in the fossil record, so I realized
> Occam's Razor cannot be applied literally to a conclusionary subject, but
> only to the methodological subject to arrive at a conclusion. Hence
> Doyle's addage: "when all other data has been removed, what remains, no
> matter how impossible, must be the answer."
> This is applicable variously. In Dave's case, I do not disbeleive the
> prolacertiform argument, but rather the presentation of this as fact.
> Doggedly applied "fact."
> [to which David Peters replied]>>>>> Well, because it is fact... until
someone out there finds otherwise. It's as much a fact as any other
relationship testable by a cladogram.

It is ludicrous to suggest that the "prolacertiform hypothesis of pterosaur
ancestry" is a fact simply because it was the result of the most recent
cladistic analysis.  Yes it is a fact that a certain cladogram or cladograms
may be most parsimonious for a given data matrix and algorithm, but that
does not mean that the cladogram bears any resemblance to the actual
relationships of the included taxa.  The old adage about computer programs,
"garbage in, garbage out", also applies to the specialized case of parsimony
analyses.  As I discussed on this list back in 2001, my examination of
Peters' analysis revealed many problems in interpretation and coding.

> JH: Personally, it looks strong that pterosaurs are prolacertiforms;
> Dave has also advanced nearly every other Triassic "parareptile" as a
> pterosaur ancestor, and no one has yet adopted this. This does mean Dave
> is the odd man out on the matter, right or wrong, and I think it warrants
> a critical review.
> [to which David Peters replied]>>>>> Yeah!  Let's have it!

Okay.  Firstly, I have already critically reviewed the photointerpretation
methodology upon which Peters has based much of the coding that went into
his cladistic analysis (see
http://www.bridgeport.edu/~cbennett/Critique.html), and come to the
conclusion that the methodology is flawed.  If the methodology is flawed,
then it follows that codings based upon it may not be reliable.  As many
know, Peters has ignored or dismissed my criticisms.   Secondly, as Dave
Unwin has already mentioned, there is a critical review of Peters' cladistic
analyses working its way toward publication, and it not only reviews Peters'
analysis, but it highly critical of it.


S. Christopher Bennett, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Basic Sciences
College of Chiropractic
University of Bridgeport
Bridgeport, CT  06601

"Savor the sun--but when the clouds come make animals"  (Hexum)