Re: There's a point...

J. Moore (
Sun, 6 Aug 95 12:09:00 -0500

JM> J. Moore ( sez:
JM> Yet Einstein's views aren't the be all and end all either, as better
JM> information is always possible, permitting better working
JM> theories. The AAT, as does creationism, views this fundamental,
JM> necessary and extremely useful feature of science as a crucial
JM> failing.

Vi> Jeez, another pointless slander. Theories don't hold views,
Vi> their proponents do. As for hostility to new ideas...pot. kettle.
Vi> <== faster % Pete Vincent

1. In order for this to be pointless slander, it would have to be not
only pointless but also defamatory and untrue. Not only is there
a point to this, it simply is *not untrue*. Look at how the AAT has
been presented here, in particular by Morgan:

Morgan post from 12 April 95:
EM> The fact remains that none of the ideas stands up to close
EM> examination, and that none of them gets endorsed by a majority of the
EM> peer group as sufficiently persuasive to make further speculation
EM> redundant. They keep on producing new explanations at the rate of about
EM> one a year recently. They run them up the flagpole waiting for someone
EM> to salute and say "Eureka! This is the answer!" Nobody says it.

EM> You are only saying what one reviewer said, that we have a plethora of
EM> theories about bipedalism rather than the paucity that AAT suggests.
EM> Can't you see it comes to the same thing? If Newton had emerged from
EM> his laboratory with nine alternative explanations of why the apple
EM> fell everyone would have felt that the answer was still up for grabs.

Morgan post from 30 June 95:
EM> When you told your son that the explanation of bipedalism is now being
EM> hotly debated, did you mention that it has been hotly debated for over
EM> a hundred years, and did he ask you why it was taking so long?

>From these examples of Morgan's arguements, you can clearly see
that she expects scientific questions to have definitive answers
which end all debate. But science is actually the *process of
debate*. Her using Newton as an example is exactly why I used
Newton and Einstein as examples in my post. Whereas she sees all
debate on gravity ending with Newton, we know that it did not end
at all, and that Einstein, among others, came up with better, more
accurate explanations. We also know that the debate did not end
with Einstein's better ideas -- it's ongoing, and with science, no
end to this debate can be in sight. That is the *essential* nature
of science, and it is this essential nature of science as a process
which Morgan wishes to deny to the science of the study of human

2. As for my alleged "hostility to new ideas...pot. kettle", well,
this is *actual* slander, in that it's both defamatory *and*
untrue. ;-) If I *was* hostile to new ideas, one wonders how
I got along so wonderfully well living and working with an
anthropologist whose ideas have been called "radical" and
"definitely *outre*".

3. I do know that "Theories don't hold views, their proponents do",
but I didn't want to deny to Pat and Troy the possibility, however
remote, that they are capable of independent thought. It does
seem, as seen in the examples given above, that in pro-AAT arguments
the denial of this essential process of science is a common element,
just as is another, also creationist-like, feature seen in much of
Morgan's work: the assumption that because paleoanthropology hasn't
provided *the definitive answer* and is instead still debating (as
it should, indeed, as it *must* to be science), the answers they
produce must be thrown out in favor of the AAT.

Time and again she uses this tactic: she builds a strawman version
she calls either "Savannah Theory" or "Standard Theory", knocks it
down, then suggests that the only alternative is the AAT. This is
very like the manner that creationists use, as you can see if you
simply substitute "AAT" for "creationist" in the following quotes:

"The creationists would have us throw out the proverbial baby with
the bathwater, but one does not need to throw out an entire system
of theories because one of the postulates is currently undergoing

"They preferred to intimate that there is something fundamentally
wrong with evolutionary theory and that creationism is the logical

"...creationists assume that there are only two alternatives,
creation and evolution, so destroying the credibility of evolution
would necessarily enhance that of creationism. Such a strategy
might seem illogical to anyone familiar with the recent
development of scientific theories and with the wide variety of
creationist and evolutionist theories that have been or might be
proposed. It is not possible to establish one theory merely by
criticizing another one."

If you read the online debate and Morgan's published work, you
will see distinct threads of similiarity with this creationist
view or tactic.

Jim Moore (

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