Re: intellectually empty?

27 Jul 1995 20:33:05 GMT

I tried to post this yesterday, and the server refused it for some reason...

Alex Duncan ( sez:
`Yes! I admit it! I used the phrase "intellectually empty".

`It's been pointed out that I tend to get a little overzealous in my
`critiques. Perhaps intellectually empty is not the correct phrase to use
`in this case. "Observationally impaired" might work better (some of the
`AAT folks obviously have impressive intellects).

`But why did I use the phrase in the first place? There are several
`reasons, all revolving around what the AAT proponents see as "evidence"
`that supports their hypothesis.

[.....list deleted.....]

My objection was not to reasoned debate, nor even dismissal of
the hypothesis, if well justified. I simply object to the idea
that there is no merit to speculation which cannot presently
be resolved using fossil evidence. Consider, for instance, the
discrediting of the `man the noble hunter' school of theories
of human origin, in favour of the slinking carcass thief. Neither
has any fossil support, but the latter is a better match to
the probable abilities of a nascent biped looking for a new
niche. While probably never demonstrable as it stands, the
scavenger idea may lead to further speculations which prove
ultimately useful. Of course it also has contemporary implications,
which reflect the evolution of social values since the beginning
of the century when the hunter theme was dominant.

There are lots of aspects of human or pre-human behaviour
which we could speculate on, and thence arrive at models
which might ultimately be predictive. Here's one: male
humans tend to be very adept at throwing stones; moreso
than females, though not without exceptions. What's the
likelihood that some substantial portion of the Oldowan
choppers were also projectiles...

========================================================================== <== faster % Pete Vincent % Disclaimer: all I know I
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