Re: Bipedalism and theorizing... was Re: Morgan and creationists

Paul Crowley (
Tue, 02 Jul 96 23:46:32 GMT

In article <> "Phillip Bigelow" writes:

> > Are all theories about the Big Bang and black holes pseudo-scientific
> > arm-waving?
> Not all. Only those particular Big Bang and black hole theories that are
> not testable. The ones that are not testable belong in the trash-can.

Sure. But I'm sure you'd accept that there's no clear dividing line.
Some can get good backing, others hardly any; but most are in a large
grey area where the evidence varies from the fairly good to the
extremely uncertain -- and in most cases you can't say just how good
or bad the apparent evidence really is.

> Note, however, that I didn't say that they are the "right" theories; I
> just noted that they pass the litmus test for rigorousness.

I'm sure you won't be able to say what this "litmus test" is.

> > For example: Did early (bipedal) hominid females carry their infants
> > in the ventral position or in their arms or did they (like h.s.s.)
> > mostly leave them down in a safe place?
> Such ancient behavior is untestable, and therefore will forever be
> unresolved, because it lacks both real evidence and unambiguous evidence.

On the basis of our observation of the behaviour of bipedal hominid
females (i.e. h.s.s.) we could estimate probabilities; let's say
ventral position=5% carrying in arms=10% putting down=85%
(this is off the top of my head; I'm sure with more thought a much
more scientific estimate could be made.)

Of course, this is one question. Essentially we are deciding between
the scenarios of the Mosaic and modified AAT. So there are many other
related questions, such are "What's the likelihood of (proto)chimps
occupying the same woodland biome?" and "Could early hominids
compete with (proto)chimps?" and "Would a bipedal stance have been a
favourable adaptation in a woodland biome?" and "Why are there so
many hominid fossils?" and "Why are they found in such a variety
of paleobiomes?" and "Why do so many appear to be young adults?"
and "What was the hominid change in diet that lead to the change
in dentition?" and "Why are their teeth so worn?" and "Why does h.s.s.
sweat so much?" and "Why does h.s.s. have such a weak sense of smell?"
and "What environment enabled h.s.s. to drink so much water?" and
"Why are there so few h.s.s. fossils before 15kya?" and "Why are there
so many shell middens on geologically raised coastlines?" etc., etc.

Putting all these and other questions into formats enabling
percentage probabilities, you'd get answers that were at least
as sensible and scientific as in most disciplines based on
interpreting evidence from the past.

> In which case, I get really bored with such mindless speculation REALLY
> FAST, and I will wander over to ideas that show better promise of being
> tested and/or falsified.

It's no more mindless, speculative, untestable or unfalsifiable than
most accepted theories in most disciplines.