Re: AAT Theory

Paul Crowley (
Thu, 05 Oct 95 23:10:38 GMT

In article <450oe2$> "chris brochu" writes:

> In article <450jm9$> Thomas Clarke,
> writes:

> >More literary/scientist style clashing.

> I vigorously disagree. The difference is not literary, but procedural.

I agree with Chris here. (Nice to see you're back, BTW. Hope your
supervisor hasn't broken too many fingers!) The literary/science
distinction is false. Bad thinking or poor expression in any field
is just bad thinking and poor expression. And conversely for the
good stuff. Clarity of thought, dedication to logic and respect for
evidence are recognisably similar (and rare) in all fields. Good guys
are usually good wherever they choose to work. Bad ones are useless

But I don't agree with him (as usual) on the rest:

> AAS supporters, conversely, have given us a moving target:

< reasonably accurate account of "moving target" snipped >

There's nothing wrong with this. It's very unusual to get a
scientific theory right straight off. You propose a broad idea based
on an intuition from some limited evidence; then as the theoretical
and evidential objections arrive, and as new positive evidence and
better ideas come in, you refine and refine. It can be an iterative
process over decades. If anything, it's the mark of sound theory.
The fact that there is very little going on like this on the other
"theories" is a mark against them.

Actually a good analogy would be the theories about the disappearance
of the dinosaurs. Some really bad ideas were standard for a century
or more: "The little mammals ate their eggs", "their bodies got too
big for their brains", "the mammals got too smart", "it got too cold",
"exploding supernova", etc. Then one good idea came along. There
was intense opposition to it; it did change in response to new ideas
and new evidence. And it won out in the end. (Or is there still
resistance in Paleontology departments?)