david l burkhead (
10 Jul 1996 14:45:57 GMT

In article <> James Borrett <> writes:
>david l burkhead wrote:

>> Are wading birds a mammalian species? This one is news to _me_.

>Obviously not. But there are semi-aquatic animals that don't have an
>instinctive ability to swim.

So? The original statement was about _mammalian_ species. A
"refutation" that doesn't include any mammals is no refutation. Also,
don't all these non-swimming wading birds _fly_? (I certainly don't
know of any that neither fly nor swim.) I would think that ability
would, in itself, be enough to change the rules completely.

>> As a matter of fact, humans _do_ have a pretty good "instinctive"
>> _ability_ to climb trees. Nobody _taught_ me to climb trees when I
>> was a kid. I managed that quite on my own as soon as I was physically
>> able to manage it (and was quite a terror to my parents from that).
>> And if humans _did_ have an instinctual ability to swim, there
>> would be a lot of swimming instructors out there put out of work. You
>> don't have to be _taught_ something that's instinctive.
>I know just as many rock-climbing instructors as I do swimming
>instructors. I'll admit that I don't know any wading instructors, so we
>must have an instinctive ability to wade. Anyway, this could indicate the
>reverse of what you're thinking because the presence of lots of swimming
>instructors means that swimming is a very popular sport, more popular
>than tree-climbing. They don't climb trees at the Olympics.

So now you change the claim from tree climbing to rock climbing.
But note also what those "rock climbing" instructors teach. What they
teach is more comparable to the "intermediate" and "advanced" swimming
classes. I don't know many people who have to be taught the basics of
climbing, the "beginning swimming" type stuff. Yet there are many
people out there who are simply unable to keep themselves on top of
the water without training. That simply would not be necessary if
swimming were "instinctive." Yet with climbing, as someone else has
pointed out, is something that kids do ubiquitously. From a very
early age they climb on just about everything. Trees are just one
more thing to climb.

And that "they don't climb trees at the Olympics" doesn't seem to
have much of anything to do with the subject at hand.

And however popular swimming is has no real bearing on whether or
not it's instinctive. After all bustles were once very popular in
Western society. Does that mean bustles are instinctive? How about
hoop skirts and frock coats?

Besides, how does the presense of instructors for something which
must be taught demonstrate relative popularity (in terms of numbers
who engage in the activity) of something which need not be taught (and
thus does not require instructors)?

David L. Burkhead "If I had eight hours to cut down a tree, I'd spend seven sharpening
FAX: 330-253-4490 my axe." Attributed to Abraham
SpaceCub Lincoln