Re: Elaine Morgan's response

Ralph L Holloway (
Mon, 10 Jul 1995 21:41:17 -0400

I've erased the previous posts and am too lazy(right now) to go to the
Archives for this thread. What I remember is that the context in which
Dennet's book was mentioned and people such as Wilson, Dawkins, Pinker,
Calvin (actually, the last wto or three were mentioned by Mr. Dooley,
weren't they?) was that they, unlike palaeoanthropologists who have
devoted their research lives to the question of the evolution of human
bipedalism, do not roll up their eyes regarding the AAT. My sense was
that these people were mentioned as open to the possibility that AAT was
as viable an alternative to conventional theory as any other. I thought
these people were being mentioned as favorable to the AAT position. If I
misread these posts, I apologise.
As for AAT, no, I don't subscribe to it, but I do respect your
right to pursue it and/or any other aspect of the human condition that
pleases you. I am an anthropologist, and to my senses much of what has
transpired here re: AAT has had an almost religious-like quality to it.
Not surprising, actually. I can be damn near religious in my own
defense of my pet theories on the evolution of the human brain too. I
am not a paean of diplomacy, and I guess my attribution of those
concurring with your position as "defenders of the faith" is possibly
extreme, and I apologise for any hard feelings I've caused. This does
not, however, mean that I agree with the way the arguments have been
handled by your "defense team". Nor do I believe listing a set of
"unexplained" characteristics as if it were necessary for conventional
palaeoanthropological theory to explain them is more than a defensive
posture. Perhaps someday the evidence will come out in favor of AAT; I
personally have more faith that some of the UFO tales will be proven
true than that conventional theory will be eclipsed because it can't
explain swimming motions in babies, ear form, hair patterns, downward
pointing nostrils and the like. I want to see some evidence of aquatic
adaptations in the earliest hominids and in their antecedent hominoids
before I lose my healthy skepticism. In for a penny in for a pound I
guess, so, no, Elaine, I won't be dropping out that soon...
Ralph Holloway.