Re: The straw man.

Alex Duncan (
8 Nov 1995 01:04:47 GMT

In article <>
David Froehlich, writes:

>> You're a tad patronising here. I am fully aware of the process of
>> scientific method. The bottom line is that all unfalsified statements are
>> POSSIBLY true. Science can't tell you if something is true. Science can
>> tell you if something is false, and it hasn't done this for AAT yet. Has
>> it?
>I meant to be patronising. You imply that AAS is actually falsifiable.
>I on the other hand view it as an untestable model that attempts to
>explain some portions of the data. You are correct, all unfalsified
>statements are possibly true, however, for it to be science they must be
>testable. The gene labs of Opuichi III are equally unfalsified yet
>neither one of us would reasonably resort to such an explanation. You
>stated you wanted the truth and I told you to look somewhere else. Your
>statement reveals your thought processes and those thought processes
>limit your science.

Several points come to mind here. One is that falsification is in the
eye of the beholder. As far as I'm concerned, AAH is falsified. The
abundant evidence of terrestrial adaptations in fossil hominids, and
complete lack of aquatic adaptation in hominids, is sufficient for
falsification. Again, I can't resist drawing a parallel between AAH and
creationism. As far as people actively involved in the particular
sciences (paleoanthropology, evolutionary biology) are concerned, these
ideas were falsified a long time ago. Nonetheless, people who remain
ignorant of the evidence available find these ideas plausible. It is a
sad commentary on the state of education in this country.

A second point about falsification: it is not totality, and no one who
claims to be a scientist can think of it this way. Creationist ideas
could be "unfalsified" if god were to hold a press conference, and admit
all the nasty things he/she/it had done to trick us into entertaining
evolution as a serious idea. AAH could be unfalsified (in my view) by
the discovery of fossil hominids that had unambiguous skeletal
adaptations to aquaticism.

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086