Monday, August 23, 2010

Analyzing the title of the Senter study

Even the title of the Senter (2010) study is misleading.
Here is the title:
"Using creation science to demonstrate evolution: application of a creationist method for visualizing gaps in the fossil record to a phylogenetic study of coelurosaurian dinosaurs"

The first thing to notice is the identification of CMDS as a "creationist method". This is a bizarre thing to say, particularly when Senter himself says:
"It should be noted that ANOPA and CMDS are not strictly creationist techniques. They are mathematical techniques, and mathematics has no creed. "
So we can dismiss that misconception.

The second thing to note is that the title also implies that the study "demonstrates evolution", when in fact it demonstrates the independence of the Birdlike cluster and the Tyrannosaur cluster. In other words it demonstrates that birds are not related to coelurosarian dinosaurs (Tyrannosaurs, Compsognathidae etc).
So the title would be correct if it said something like:

"Using science to demonstrate independence: application of a statistical method for visualizing and quantifying gaps in the fossil record to a phylogenetic study of coelurosaurians."

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