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Re: Sheesh



I can see that this discussion is not likely to reach a consensus, so
I will put a sock in it before I put a foot in my mouth.  However, let
just get in a final statement before I retire from this fray (and I'm
sure Mike will do the same :-)

T. Michael Keesey writes:
>> I hate to disagree with you, Tom, but -- well -- I disagree.  I
>> don't see how this is any different from asking "I wonder why no
>> fish developed the ability to suckle their young".  If someone
>> asked that question, I wouldn't expect to see responses saying "One
>> subclade did", referring to Mammalia.
> 
> But how is this an interesting question? Surely the more interesting
> question is, "I wonder why only certain synapsids* developed the
> ability to suckle their young?"

That may or may not be a "more interesting" question.  But it is not
the one that I asked.  I don't believe that people should be able to
rewrite others' question in the name of preserving their own
terminological preferences -- or for any other reason.  If somebody
asks me one question, it is at best bad manners if I answer a
different one.

>> Just like "fish", the word "dinosaur" is an informal term that
>> everyone understands to represent a paraphyletic group.
> 
> That's not how I understand it. (Except in older or dated contexts,
> of course. As for nonscientific contexts, I submit that more often
> it refers to "extinct animal", "big, scaly reptile", "big monster",
> or even "antiquated thing" than specifically to "non-avian
> dinosaur".)

Then I accuse you of Spockism -- an intelligent man behaving stupidly
either to make a point or because the script demands it.

>>         Spock or Data is fired from his high-ranking position
>>         for not being able to understand the most basic
>>         nuances of about one in three sentences that anyone
>>         says to him.
>> 
>> Folks, we don't have to be like that.
> 
> I understood the original intent--I just found it to be off the mark.

If you understood it, that's what matters.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Don't blame Ulrika when England crashes to defeat at the hands of
         Nigeria.  Blame the Labour government" -- Tory MP Boris Johnson,
         _probably_ with tongue in cheek.