Earlier we looked at Ezcurra et al. 2020 (December 09, 2020)
who made a chimaera of a lagerpetid and a protorosaur and called it a pterosaur precursor that walked on two toes close to dinosaurs. Ezxurra et al. cited Peters 2000, who recovered four pterosaur precursors using four previously published analyses, but Ezcurra et al. omitted those four taxa from their analysis.
On December 09, 2020
PhD Darren Naish (@Tetzoo) posted notice of the Ezcurra et al. 2020 paper to Twitter (Fig. 1). Several responses followed. Naish responded to one that referenced this blogpost (toward the bottom of Fig. 1).
Pseudoscientist: “a person who falsely or mistakenly claims to be a scientist.”
Scientist: “a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.”
Pseudoscience: “consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that are claimed to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method.”
The Scientific Method: “a process for experimentation that is used to explore observations and answer questions.” There are seven steps in the Scientific Method:”
- Report results
I would add eighth, ninth and tenth steps, but they must be done independently by others: 8. Repeat the experiment to confirm or refute findings. 9. Report any material omissions in the original study. And finally, getting back to the original authors: 10. Have the guts to publicly admit error, omission and oversight when appropriate. If possible, everyone, readers and authors alike, should do these in a precise, timely and public manner, while the original report is still in the news cycle. Not letting a myth proliferate is everyone’s responsibility. Not falling behind the cutting edge of research is also everyone’s responsibility.
I would not add the following steps to the scientific method: 1. ad hominem remarks, 2. name-calling. 3. prejudicial remarks, 4. hyperbole or 5. other middle-school pranks. People who decide future opportunities and book sales for all of us judge all of us on everything we do, including publicly visible tweets.
Click here for a list of topics characterized as pseudocience. Creation science is on that list. Phylogenetic analysis is not.