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Re: Defending Photoshop

David Peters (davidrpeters@earthlink.net) wrote:

<To Jaime who put his eye close to the fossil cast looking for clues: I don't
think the human brain can disentangle the chaos enough to discern what you
think you should see. Much like, no human can create a cladogram in his/her
mind. You simply have to do the tracing and _then_ see what you get. It is
non-traditional. And it will be frustrating to those who think they should just
'see' something.>

  Yet we must interpret a tracing as better after artificially modifying a
photograph or whatever printing media we wish to base such a tracing from? We
are still "looking for clues" whether it is with a pencil tool, line you,
camera lucida, or naked eye, so the subjectivity is nonetheless omnipresent.
And given the resolution of photos and what I was able to see, there wasn't
much of a difference. I had the benefit of examining some photos before AND
after seeing the cast and I must say, there wasn't a whole lot of difference
involved save a better understanding of the topography of the thing. Rather,
you get a sense of how certain areas are both above or below the bedding plane,
and thus would not preserve the fossils. Anyone who examines a laminating
strate will tell you that these are compressive regions that hold fossils
within or between layers, never through them, so one will not find traces of
the fossils just as the surface of an unsplit Solnhofen slab doesn't tell you
if there's a fish or pterosaur in it until you crack the thing open.

  So I will repeat my argument: This isn't about the tools, it's about the
interpreter, and is yet another reason why personal examination should be used
to base these theories on, not tracings in Photoshop. Note that, once again, I
use Photoshop, but I do so merely as an illustrative tool, not an investigative


Jaime A. Headden

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

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