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RE: [pws@psparks.us: PT article]




Paul Sparks wrote:

I read the David Peters article in the lastest issue of PT (dec/jan
issure 75). I found the discussion very straight forward and clear and
the conclusions made a lot of sense.

I would aver that, while Prehistoric Times is a worthwhile read, it is NOT a scientific journal. There is no peer review. Now, this does not necessarily invalidate any or all of David Peters' conclusions. But I would impress upon you that without independent corroboration, his PhotoShop method of elucidating hidden bones and structures in fossils should be regarded with extreme caution. This is not an ad hominem attack on DP; but the essence of science is reproducibility. In other words, you must ask yourself the question "If I were to follow the same method with the same materials would I get the same result?" To date, nobody but DP has seen these hidden structures, and the PhotoShop method is apparently only successful in his hands. This is what Jaime was saying, and I have to agree.


Most scientific papers have a "Methods and Materials" section. It's usually the driest part of a paper (to write, as well as to read!), but it's purpose is to provide explicit instructions for replicating the research that is presented. When the research cannot be replicated by an independent party, then the scientific value of the research must be called into question. I am studiously avoiding saying that DP is wrong, or that his method is incorrect. What I am saying is that independent corroboration is *essential* for science to move forward. Unlike beauty, science does not lie in the eye of the beholder. It must be demonstrable and reproducible.

However, there has been some
should I say un-hp like comments on this note and related
material. Most of it was based on the method that Dave used to
untangle the fossil. I am certainly not any great shakes on this area
but what he showed made sense and I was able to visualize embryos and
young fossil to go along with the adult which was much more difficult
to see clearly.

Yes, but unless you actually visualized these embryos &c yourself in the original fossil specimen using DP's method, then your opinion does not carry any more weight than his. Any study can be made to sound convincing. But science sets the bar much higher than that.


That does not mean that he is correct, but it does
mean that comments of seeing superman and other wise ass comments was
to my mind clearly un called for.

I didn't make the superman comments - my comments were more along the lines of the Red Baron. Be that as it may, DP is making some fairly brazen claims here. He has found the legs of _Longisquama_, for example, in a specimen in which only the front half of the body is preserved (to everybody else's eyes, anyway). Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The PhotoShop method for discerning unseen structures has not risen to the occasion, thus far.


I suggest that many of you might be better advised to read it for yourselves.

I'll make a deal. I'll read the _Prehistoric Times_ articles if you read the scientific literature on these fossils. It always helps to read more than one point of view. However, given the heterodox nature of the findings in question, neither of us should be convinced until we have verified the conclusions ourselves.


Cheers

Tim