Re: Tears, and the Underwood.

Elaine Morgan (
Tue, 21 Nov 1995 13:42:03 GMT

In article: <48bk5q$> Alex Duncan
<> writes:
> > >
> May I provide an analogy? I don't have a very good idea what it was
> the Irish folks who claimed to see elves (pixies? I don't remember the
> exact term) in the previous few centuries were actually seeing. (I
> probably should say I don't know what the source of the claims was,
> rather than suggest they were actually "seeing" something.) Does it
> necessarily follow that since I don't have an explanation for what they
> were seeing, they were probably really seeing elves?

It is not a very good analogy, Alec. Very few people claim to have seen
elves or to believe in them. The things AAH sets out to explain are not
of this class. Can you find anyone who does not believe that humans weep
tears of emotion? Doesn't believe in the adam's apple? Doesn't believe we
have less body hair than a gorilla?
> Since when does the plausibility of one argument depend upon the
> or plausibility of opposing arguments?

It doesn't. It is perfectly permissible for scientists to say : We don't
know the answer to this question, but we are looking for it. It is less
permissible to say :"I reject your explanation as implausible; but ha-ha,
you can't call mine implausible beause I haven't got one, and I intend to
play safe by never having one, and hoping that the question will now sink
into oblivion."