Re: Who Killed the Australopithecines?

Dave Oldridge (
6 May 1995 14:38:44 -0300

In article <>, (BARD) wrote:
> In article <>,
> APB <> wrote:
> >In article <>
> > (BARD) writes:

> >This is a science newsgroup. Part of scientific discourse
> >involves providing references or data to support your assertions.
> >If you have no data or references to provide then your claim
> >is invalid.

> You have a narrow and quite pedestrian understanding
> of how we acquire knowledge.

If this is all the evidence you have to offer, one may well speculate on
whether you actually have an idea to offer or are just in here trolling
for flames. It's pure ad hominem.

> Hard to imagine students becoming inspired once exposed to
> your Milquetoast thinking.

Followed by more of the same.

> Why is it you worship mediocrity so?

What is so "mediocre" about insisting that the scientific method be
applied in science. I'm sure there's any number of writer's newsgroups
where fantasy might be the order of the day, but in science such
thinking is only a starting point. You have to get beyond the
fantasizing and start finding physical evidence or NOBODY is going to
listen to you for long. Simply spewing out "neat" ideas as fast as they
come to you isn't mediocre, it's so bad it's difficult to name it
science at all.

Let's back off a bit and look at this whole question again.

Your hypothesis: H. (name your species) killed off all the

The null hypothesis: The australopithecines became extinct due to their
numbers dwindling from natural causes.

Now, let's get a little bit specific. I take it you mean that H.
habilus or H. erectus actually hunted down and killed the
australopithecines, either for food or out of malice.

By natural causes *I* mean the usual list of things that organisms die
from, including starvation, disease, predation, murder, accident--you
name it--in normal proportions.

Now, note that there is no reason to assume that the usual list of
things was ever NOT in operation. It is your hypothesis that is
claiming something special happened. Without physical evidence for
that, it remains nothing more than an interesting hypothesis. It may
even be a true one but, lacking physical evidence, it won't get any
further than that. So, if your THAT charged up about it that it drives
you to post peurile ad hominem attacks in usenet groups, why not ask
yourself if your THAT charged up about it that you will go out and do
the necessary field work to FIND that physical evidence. It will also
help you to ask yourself what kinds of physical evidence might convince
you that your hypothesis is wrong and look for those things, too.

Now it may be that you find neither, in which case your question still
remains open. Or it may be that you'll add a new chapter to our
knowledge of hominid anthropology.
Dave Oldridge