based on a TV show I was watching and noted it has characteristics that make it a good example of the limits of scientific knowledge.
Carnotaurus knowledge is based on one specimen found in Argentina. And check this out, it was inside a hematite concretion. I didn't know that hematite, a form of iron ore, could be formed by sedimentation. But it happens around springs and other areas with suspended minerals. And thanks to the relatively unique preservation of Carnotaurus we also know the texture of its skin
I couldn't explain how a dinosaur fossil was preserved in iron ore if I didn't know that iron ore can be formed by sedimentation. Loons
probably use this as an example that paleontologists don't know what they are talking about.
Scientists can also make educated guesses on basic morphology of related species, which is the case with Carnotaurus. This does not rule out revisions based on new fossil evidence. The more specimens we have of this critter the more accurate our educated guesses become.
There's nothing better than primary evidence, like bones. Geological stratification
is a complex topic, but while the rocks can be confusing, they don't lie. Opponents of evolution have only to find fossils in the "wrong" strata to disprove evolution. Unfortunately for those opponents, over 200 years of paleontology has yet to find this type of inconsistency.
Science is structured to be self-correcting. Yesterday's Lysenkoism
is today's Evopsych
and tomorrow's Psychohistory
. Without the controls of peer review and criticism we get stuck with propaganda.
Lysenkoism wasn't science, it was ideology. Any evidence that refuted Lysenkoism was suppressed. Eventually the science of genetics was allowed to be practiced in Russia again, because otherwise they'd have continued to fall behind the rest of the world.
Similarly, evolutionary psychology is a current darling among some who enjoy the comfort of its' 1950's version of reality it values above all others. Evolutionary psychology is a valid subject of study, but in my mind seems to fall in the same field that anthropologists study.
Anthropologists study current and past human civilizations by either direct observation or digging. Evolutionary psychologists poll college students. Which of these forms of data would you suspect has more validity?
Evopsychs like twin studies, even though we know much of the twin study data is faulty
. Evopsychs love gender differences, but their research seems to get lost in the static of cultural relativity. They spend time trying to show that rape is a valid reproductive strategy without considering the ramifications of their research.
Evopsych folks attempt to explain gender and racial differences through evolution. They then get branded as misanthropes and racists. Why are we picking on them? Evidence, or the lack thereof, is the main problem, along with models of behavior. One of the tasks of a researcher is to illustrate you've ruled out other hypotheses that have better fit for your subject.
So when you start with a hypothesis that men make more money than women because they are more evolutionarily fit, you better do your homework. By which I mean sifting through the mountains of data collected by anthropologists over centuries. I'm still not convinced much of what evopsych tells us is inherited isn't just cultural bias. In fact, it's obvious to many that most evopysch research starts with a cherished opinion and the researcher merely cherry picks evidence to support discredited opinions on the poor, women and minorities. Social dogma, similar to the religious dogma we see with creationists.
I don't see any evopsych people working closely with primatologists, which to me seems an obvious place to start to tease out cultural versus inherited characteristics. If I was a department chair I'd challenge the evolutionary psychologists to go back to first principles. You can't bake a cake without flour. You can't call youself a scientist when the evidence you claim supports your theories is suspect. And like that sad lump of material that people try to pass off as gluten free cake*, evopsych isn't well respected. Something's missing, and all the college student polls in the world aren't going to correct it.
I'll even throw a "bone" to the evopsych folks. Take a good look at the research that says that women were the primary cave painters. You've got primary evidence in the form of artist hand impressions. Just don't go out beyond what your data suggests. This still doesn't explain gender pay differences, for instance.* I've had some decent gluten free desserts, just don't call it cake. :)