Re: AAT Questions...

J. Moore (
Mon, 24 Jul 95 17:43:00 -0500

Vi> I do not agree, however, with Jim Moore, who says that if there are no
Vi> predictions about skeletal anatomy which can be made, the theory is
Vi> `intellectually empty'.
Vi> <== faster % Pete Vincent

I certainly *did not* say this.
Pete, please be more careful about putting words in peoples' mouths;
it can make them testy.
(Alex Duncan used the phrase "intellectually empty".)

It's funny that you should mistakenly choose my name to associate
with this statement, actually, because I would argue strenuously
against such a notion. Not just when used in the case of the AAT,
but with any theory of human origins (and such statements *are* in
fact made about human evolutionary theories by "bone guys").

The method of comparisons of similarities and differences between
us and our close relatives is a valid and fruitful method in hum
evo, and not all features can be necessarily linked with bones and
stones evidence. In fact this is one reason bones and stones
folks often fall down in constructing details of human evo theory.
Using one type of evidence to the exclusion of others is a faulty
method, altho avoiding it does require a lot of work which
sometimes people just don't want to do. Another problem here
arises from giving one type of work "veto" power over other lines
of evidence, instead of the more difficult but almost always more
accurate integration of all lines of evidence, even when some seem
at first to be contradictory.

These problems in method are part of the problem with the AAT,
along with an extreme adaptionist outlook (to the point of being
a non-evolutionary view, ironically), a "pick and choose" method
of evidence gathering in which one picks the features one sees
(often inaccurately) as being "aquatic" and ignoring other
fetaures that are in fact "aquatic" and are seen in many if not
all aquatic mammals (and which ironically are in fact due to
convergent evolution, unlike many of the features the AAT claims
are "aquatic" and due to convergent evolution).

Jim Moore (

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