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RE: Feduccia: the same old story...
I defend Scott's right to have his say as well. And he can be wrong too
Since this is turning into a serious discussion, then I have a few
import points to reiterate (I wrote most of this on the vertpaleo list
in 1999 to defend John Ruben of the intellectual censorship by the
Program Committee of SVP). For those of you who do not know, John Ruben
is in the Feduccia camp of non-dinosaur origin of bird. Regardless of
what you individual feel about Feduccia, Ruben, Martin, etc. they have
done vertebrate paleontology a great service by forcing the
theropod-origins of bird supporters to more closely examine the data.
The science behind the theropod-bird link is far better now than it was
5 years ago, which in turn was far better than a decade ago. Playing
devil's advocate is a good thing: it is a form of testing hypotheses and
that is the essence of science. It is also what separates science from
As Scott has acknowledged, Feduccia's manuscript was peer reviewed. None
of us know who the reviewers were or what they wrote. However, I am
certain that the paper is better than the original manuscript. It is
fine that you disagree with Feduccia, but be very careful that you don't
become guilty of intellectual censorship. It is a fine line that is
And now back to my usual flippancy.............
Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D.
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology/
Department of Earth Sciences
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80205
for PDFs of some of my publications, as well as information of the Cedar
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 4:08 PM
To: Ken Carpenter; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Feduccia: the same old story...
Ken Carpenter wrote: "Regarding Fedducia and others, I will defend his
right to be wrong (to
paraphrase Voltaire). So let him have his say."
Hmm...I would also defend his right to be wrong, but I don't think I
can defend his right to get a few things in this most recent paper
through peer review.
It's not ok to address old arguements (e.g. homeotic frameshift of
manual development) and ignore new data that corroborates it. It's
certainly not ok to quote mine and make it look like an author is
saying the opposite of what he intended, as they did to GP.
I'm also not sure it's kosher to make grandiose claims like "... while
paleontologists employing cladistic methodology use a list of a hundred
or more characters that link birds and theropods, most are simple
binary designations, one step removed from the organisms. The vast
majority are plesiomorphic, not qualifying as Hennigian
synapomorphies..." without, you know, some real discussion of that
methodology and some support for the diea that hey are all
Not to say that there should be formal censorship of particular
veiwpoints, but I don't think we need to lower standards just to let
certain view points in, which I feel has happened with Fedducia's last
paper or two on the subject.
Of course, I defend Ken's right to disagree with me on this point... ;)
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
110 Carter Ranch Rd.
Thermopolis, WY 82443