[Taxacom] panbiogeography critique

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Mon Jun 29 13:29:52 CDT 2009


I agree that there is always some threshold of believability when the
majority accept a particualr view. But with panbiogeogrpahy its not just
about accepting a theory, its about accepting the reality of his
successful predictions of geological facts before they were known to
geologists. A 'theory' that anctipates the discovery of new 'facts' is
possibly better than one that does not.

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robin Leech [mailto:releech at telus.net]
> Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 1:15 PM
> To: John Grehan; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique
> 
> Many scientists, medical doctors and judges do not like to play
> in unproven waters.  Until J. Tuzo came along, continental drift
> was a nice idea, a curiosity.  But when the "how" of it all came
> to be explained, almost everyone jumped to the new ship almost
> immediately.
> What this means is that if you have a wonderful theory, one that
> explains things to you, but not to others, then you still have to
> explain the "hows" and "whys" of your theory.
> Robin
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Grehan" <jgrehan at sciencebuff.org>
> To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 9:44 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique
> 
> 
> > Not quite.
> >
> > By your own statement "Until J. Tuzo Wilson of the U. of Toronto, in
> > late 1963, in the Canadian Journal of Physics, elaborated and
explained
> > how drifting continents and plate tectonics go together, most
scientists
> > were still doubters".
> >
> > That's all I was saying. Not that there were not earlier supporters
> > among geologists and biologists.
> >
> > Even before Wegener's theory became widely accepted, Croizat was
saying
> > it was wrong about the Pacific as the biogeographic affinities of
the
> > Americas are not just with Europe and Africa, but also with east
Asia
> > and Australasia - a point of view that has received corroboration in
> > various tectonic analyses of the Pacific.
> >
> > John Grehan
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Robin Leech [mailto:releech at telus.net]
> >> Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 11:16 AM
> >> To: John Grehan; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique
> >>
> >> Hi John,
> >>
> >> You err here!  Wegener's 1912 book was written in German. At that
> > time,
> >> WWI
> >> was about to occur and this put a delay on exposure to North
American
> >> scientists.  Also, most North American scientists then, and even
now,
> >> cannot
> >> and do not read German.  As no person of consequence in North
America
> > paid
> >> any attention to Wegener's work, the concept of continental drift
lay
> >> quiet.
> >>
> >> It was not till the mid-1920s or so, when it was translated into
> > English
> >> that the drifting continents idea caught on.  But once it was in
> > English,
> >> it
> >> caught on fast.  Keep in mind also that plate tectonics play a part
> > here.
> >> Until J. Tuzo Wilson of the U. of Toronto, in late 1963, in the
> > Canadian
> >> Journal of Physics, elaborated and explained how drifting
continents
> > and
> >> plate tectonics go together, most scientists were still doubters.
J.
> > Tuzo
> >> also dealt with fault zones (e.g., San Andreas Fault).
> >>
> >> Even in 1964, if a geologist in Canada submitted a proposal for a
> > research
> >> grant to the National Research Council in Ottawa, and it involved
> > drifting
> >> continents, the chances of getting the grant were about 0.  By
1965,
> > if
> >> you
> >> were a geologist in Canada, and you DID NOT believe in continental
> > drift
> >> and
> >> plate tectonics, you were passe.
> >>
> >> It was the botanists who championed continental drift at a time
when
> > most
> >> zoologists poo-poohed it.  In fact some zoologists went so far as
to
> > say
> >> that the botanists used continental drift to explain what good
science
> >> could
> >> not.  In other words, used the explanation of continental drift as
a
> >> crutch.
> >>
> >> As a kid in Vernon, BC, during WWII, I can recall my Father showing
me
> > a
> >> globe of the world.  He showed how South America and Africa fit
> > together,
> >> and explained how they used to be one continent.  Further, that
some
> > of
> >> the
> >> insect groups and other animals were related.  Dad was a water
beetle
> >> specialist.
> >>
> >> Now, of course, the similarities in outline between Africa and
South
> >> America, indicating that the two continents were once one, have
been
> >> confirmed by matching and age-dating mafik dikes, soils, flora and
> > fauna.
> >>
> >> Robin
> >>
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "John Grehan" <jgrehan at sciencebuff.org>
> >> To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >> Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 6:39 AM
> >> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique
> >>
> >>
> >> >
> >> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> >> From: mivie at montana.edu [mailto:mivie at montana.edu]
> >> > It only took a few years for
> >> >> McClintock's work to go from surprising to central.  She hardly
> > spent
> >> > a
> >> >> lifetime in the wilderness, nor was she a self-promoter.  Didn't
> > need
> >> > to
> >> >> be, she was smart.
> >> >
> >> > The point about McClintock and Wegener is that they are examples
of
> >> > people who got it right, but were initially 'ridiculed' or
written
> > off
> >> > by the majority.
> >> >
> >> > McClintock my have gained relatively fast acceptance, but Wegener
> > did
> >> > not. If speed of acceptance is a reflection of 'smarts' then that
> > makes
> >> > Wegener pretty stupid. The point about Croizat is that he got
things
> >> > right about geology that his opponents did not. The
panbiogeographic
> >> > method continues to produce new insights into the historical
> >> > relationship between biological distribution and tectonics that
have
> > not
> >> > been anticipated in center of origin/dispersal/vicariance
approaches
> >> > used by most biogeographers.
> >> >
> >> > John Grehan
> >> >
> >> > _______________________________________________
> >> >
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> >
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> >
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