Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan

Phillip Bigelow (
Thu, 29 Dec 1994 19:03:18 GMT (Phil Nicholls) writes:

>I have now read Morgan's _Scars of Evolution_ (prior to this I had
>relied exclusively on her two other books, _Ascent of Woman_ and
>_The Aquatic Ape_. ). The features she discusses can only be
>considered exclusively aquatic if you use such a broad definition
>of aquatic that you are no longer talking about a single niche.
>The result is a circular argument:

>Q: Why do humans have features A,B and C while apes do not?
>A: Because they have an ancestor that was aquatic.
>Q: What evidence is there for aquatic ancestry?
>A: Humans have features A,B and C, etc., while apes do not.

>Philip "Chris" Nicholls Department of Anthropology

Well put. The circular logic that the Aquatic Ape proponents use can only
be pulled-off because they use poorly-defined definitions. Depending on who
is posting on this thread, "semi-aquatic" can be anything from lying on a
beach or river bank and eating shellfish, all the way up to those who define
"semi-aquaticness" as someone who wades and does occassional swimming for a
significant part of the day. Depending on who's attack they are responding
to, they will re-define "semi-aquatic" to suit their needs. That really
isn't science. In order to adequately test a theory or hypothesis, you have
to define it succinctly, first.