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RE: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged

After what Olson has stated in print, I don't think the wording in this thread 
is unfair...

"One of the rituals of the Birds-Are-Dinosaurs-Movement (BADM) is to hold 
periodic symposia to reaffirm the belief that birds really are dinosaurs, much 
as Southern Baptists hold revival meetings."

"Just as a revival tent is not the haunt of free-thinkers, there are few 
authors in this book who depart from the true path and numerous papers consist 
of the cladogram-thumping dogma we have come to expect from the more insistent 
proponents of the BADM. Kevin Padian, the Elmer Gantry of the theropod crusade, 
is an author on no fewer than four contributions, which does nothing to 
diminish the impression of the whole volume as a dreary, sectarian tract from 
the Kingdom Hall of Hennig’s Witnesses."

"In the meantime, however, the birds-are-dinosaurs equation has achieved cult 
status and has become a sociological phenomenon embodying vigorous religious 
and political components and strongly influenced by economics. Ornithologists 
reading Prum’s (2002) ‘‘Perspectives in Ornithology’’ should be
aware that there is much more going on here than a conflict of scientific 
hypotheses and methods."

"The whole underpinning of the BADM is cladism, a systematic formulation 
elevated to a religion years ago and with adherents as fervent as any biblical 

"On the other hand, opponents who are not members of the faith can be handily 
stigmatized as heretics whose views should be ignored simply because they 
refuse to accept the ‘‘only’’ methodology."

"If Caudipteryx is not a feathered dinosaur, what about all those other 
supposed feathered dinosaurs from China that the public has recently been 
bombarded with? To be succinct, there are none. The whole story is essentially 
a hoax."

"Ornithologists should exercise caution in accepting anything written about 
avian evolution by theropodists for the simple reason that few of them really 
know very much about birds, ornithology, or avian anatomy."

"Prum’s own essay is little more than naked proselytizing, designed to cajole 
the heathen onto the path of enlightenment. Like a harassed politician,
Padian (p. 485) blames the media for helping to keep controversy alive and 
bemoans the fact that the BADM agenda is diminished by what he regards as an 
inappropriate attempt on the part of reporters to achieve balance and fairness."

Olson, 2002. Review of New Perspectives on the Origin and Early Evolution of 
Birds. Proceedings of the International Symposium in Honor of John H. Ostrom. 
The Auk. 119(4), 1202–1205.

If the BANDits/ABSRDists/MANIACs had any interest in actually learning as 
opposed to reinforcing their hypothesis, I'm sure we'd feel differently toward 
them.  The fact is they continue to make the same errors in their papers, 
showing either incompetence or dishonesty.  Examples abound...


Mickey Mortimer
The Theropod Database- http://home.comcast.net/~eoraptor/Home.html

> Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2010 17:41:18 -0800
> From: ron.orenstein@rogers.com
> To: david.marjanovic@gmx.at; dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged
> Look, I accept that the evidence for the dinosaur-bird link is strong and that
> some of those who feel otherwise may not be objective on the issue. However,
> the assumption I am getting is that because Feduccia, Olson et al are almost
> certainly wrong on this one their entire careers are suspect. I happen to be 
> an
> ornithologist, not a dino person, by training, and I know Storrs Olson
> personally (though we do not meet often), and I would like to point out that
> Storrs is a distinguished ornithologist with a career of valuable research
> behind him, including important work on avian taxonomy and island avifaunas 
> that
> may be as unfamiliar to dinosaur biologists as some dinosaur work is to
> ornithologists. Calling him and others like him "unmentionables" (or comparing
> them to creationists) and even hinting that they have compromised their 
> degrees
> by taking an unpopular stand (and, I admit, defending it less well than they
> might) is in my view unfair and unhelpful (and I will admit that Feduccia in
> particular has himself crossed that line in the other direction, but that
> doesn't make this sort of ad hominem stuff acceptable).
> If the papers we are discussing do not make their case it should be (and may
> well be) because their science is wrong, not a priori because their views are
> unacceptable or because they can be tagged with a pejorative label.
> And I should add that this particular rant is not aimed at anyone in 
> particular,
> least of all Dr, Marjanovic whom I am delighted to see joining the ranks (such
> as they are) of Ph.D. holders (including guys like me).
> Ronald Orenstein
> 1825 Shady Creek Court
> Mississauga, ON L5L 3W2
> Canada
> ________________________________
> From: David Marjanovic 
> To: DML 
> Sent: Mon, December 6, 2010 8:04:57 PM
> Subject: Re: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged
> My previous attempt was probably truncated for some people.
> > I have always found the BANDit papers highly reminiscent to
> > creationist writings. Omitting recent research because it totally
> > invalidates their points is a classic method used by both groups.
> Let me quibble with that "because". In my Internet experience, the
> Unmentionables routinely omit recent research ("recent" often meaning
> "everything from the last few decades, and almost everything from the last
> several decades") because they have no clue it has ever been done -- they 
> don't
> even get the idea that it _might_ ever have been done. Genuine ignorance in
> concert with intellectual laziness must not be underestimated.
> >From reading things like Feduccia's 1996 book (ninety-six, not seventy- and 
> >not
> even eighty-), which blithely states as a matter of fact that hadrosaurs were
> aquatic (and therefore had much better preservation potential than 
> tyrannosaurs,
> making the predator-prey ratios useless), I get the strong impression that the
> same is true of BANDits as well. They are not interested in anything but 
> birds,
> so they don't know anything about anything but birds.
> The big fat difference is that the BANDits are professional scientists. We 
> must
> expect them to know better, and I _mean_ "must". When I got the degree of
> Master, and again when I got the degree of Doctor, I had to _sign an oath_
> stating (among other things) that I will keep my knowledge of my fields of
> research up to date and that I will form my opinions on scientific matters _in
> general_ based on the best of my knowledge and conscience. That was a
> prerequisite for my degrees becoming legally binding.
> So far, I'm not calling for anyone's degree to be revoked.* Let's blame the 
> peer
> reviewers instead: when they (as it strongly appears) failed to insist that
> Lingham-Soliar read and cite Li et al. (2010), they failed at their (unpaid)
> job.
> * AFAIK, revoking a degree is generally considered next to unthinkable in the
> USA. Over here, it does happen when severe breaches of the mentioned oath 
> occur.