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RE: Was: Wukongopterus and Darwinopterus, now phylogenetics etc.

> Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 16:33:54 -0600
> From: davidpeters@att.net
> To: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> CC: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Was: Wukongopterus and Darwinopterus, now phylogenetics etc.
> On Nov 29, 2009, at 6:17 AM, David Marjanovic wrote:
>>> Every right tree we hypothesize will admit
>>> new taxa as they are discovered with no change to the rest of the
>>> tree topology.
>> No, why? I've seen back-and-forth changes happen with corrections, why 
>> shouldn't they also happen with addition of taxa? I can't think of a good 
>> example right now, but I think I've seen that happen, too...
> For the moment you have complete knowledge of every living thing. You snap 
> your fingers and POW the tree of life is assembled. That's the "right tree." 
> Oops, there's a new taxon that just came to light, let's see it goes right 
> here... voila. No change to the tree. In fact, that new taxon fills a gap 
> left over from earlier. That's what I'm talking about.
  Okay.  Let's go with that.  Let's say you have complete knowledge of every 
living thing (except two)
 ...and then someone hands you those two:  the tuatara and the flying lemur.
(or would the Hoatzin be better?)
>>> Getting closer and closer to the The Truth should be the push.
>> That's not how science works.
>> First of all, suppose you discover the truth. How can you figure out that 
>> what you've found is in fact the truth? By comparing it to the truth, which 
>> you don't have?
>> Science is not a quest for truth, it's a quest for falsehood. It tries to 
>> eliminate all possibilities that are impossible, and then all those that are 
>> too improbable (unparsimonious); but there are just too many of those 
>> (including lots that nobody has ever thought of) for this approach by 
>> elimination to lead to a single answer with full certainty.
> Funny. I wish I could tell you all the people who did NOT first spy the moons 
> of Jupiter, but what does that matter? I can only tell you of Gallileo G. 
 There's a difference for becoming famous for doing nothing, and detecting a 
>>> All we're looking for are simple models for complex processes
>>> taking millions of years and just as many generations.
>> "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."
>> -- Albert Einstein
>> You advocate making them simpler than possible. Inevitably you get wrong 
>> answers. :-|
> Again with the unfounded insults! David, if you're going to tell me I get 
> wrong answers, you have to point out which are wrong (and by inference, the 
> rest will be right!) Simpler than possible? Isn't that, by definition, 
> "impossible"?
  I could be wrong, but I think that that was his point.

>>>> Presuming you mean everything should be unordered and ignored for
>>>> correlations, there are quite a few manuscripts in the cladistics
>>>> literature that suggest otherwise.
>>> Posting your question back to you: how did they know they were more
>>> right than wrong when they concluded?
>> You should read more Systematic Biology and journals like that. Simulation 
>> studies to see if a method works are normal these days in biology. There are 
>> several papers in the June 2003 issue of JVP that explore the "problem" of 
>> missing data in phylogenetic analysis by simulation.
> I'm trying to avoid the abstract and concentrate on reality.
  Then why do you keep advocatign simplifying things?
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