more on tautology

Alex Duncan (
8 Nov 1995 12:46:45 GMT

In article <47p3qk$> Tom Clarke, writes:

>>Can you say "tautology"?
>I think you are taking advantage. A loaded syllogism is a dangerous
>thing in amateur hands.
>If AAT had been replaced by "Elaine Morgan's writings" then
>there would have been no tautology.

I am not taking advantage, and the argument remains tautological no
matter what I replace the term "AAT" with. The point is that AAH (in my
understanding) is seeking to demonstrate that hairless skin, subcutaneous
fat and tear shedding are aquatic adaptations. Thus, these features
can't be used in an argument to demonstrate that another animal has
aquatic ancestors without the argument becoming tautological. If you do
so, what you're trying to prove is assumed at the start. It is very
similar to the argument:

1) god made everything

2) since everything exists, it proves the existence of god.

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