Re: pseudoscience and fossils

Scott H Mullins (
13 Jan 1995 18:16:43 GMT

In article <3f5t1d$> (Phil Nicholls) writes:
>In article <3f3pmg$>,
>Scott H Mullins <> wrote:

>I think the original point had to do with general trends in
>pseudoscience and while the details of each case are similar
>the end result is the same. You end up with lots of followers
>with a fanatically devotion to their theory. In the case of
>V., that devotion extended to the author as well.

I may well be guilty of being out of touch with anthropological
fanatics, but I don't see anything like the same result from
the aah _yet_. I know you're familiar with the V'ist crowd
over on t.o so you might be able to understand the point I'm
trying to make (even if I'm wrong).

Perhaps I should point out that I am spectacularly unconvinced
by the aah, as I am with most biological "just-so" stories.
However, I reached that opinion mostly through your (Phil Nicholls)
factual critiques of the aah (the recent sweat gland post was
especially good), not through mud-slinging and guilt-by-association
rhetorical ploys. I can't view Mr. Bigelow's post to which I
responded in any other light. Such attacks, as contrasted with
Mr. Bigelow's more recent tool-use post (ungentle though it is),
only benefit the proponents of the aah.

>There is a good deal of biological determinism in the aah
>also. Human cultures that drive their living from the sea
>have women who can swim and dive with great skill NOT because
>they are trained to do this from an early age but because
>they evolved from aquatic apes and are able to put old
>genetic baggage to use. Humans like fish NOT because they
>have an opportunity to eat fish that other primates lack
>(thought I know of several species that do eat seafoods) but
>because of their aquatic ancestry.

I agree that there could be an element of politics involved
in the support for the aah.

>Ardrey never developed much of a following and until recently
>neither had Morgan. Then again, Ardrey didn't have internet.

IMO it is unproductive to fight political intrusions into
science with political counter-attacks. If a hypothesis is
wrong or misguided it is not because of its political or
social ramifications.