Re: punc eq and AAS

David Froehlich (
Sat, 7 Oct 1995 17:09:36 -0500

On 6 Oct 1995, H. M. Hubey wrote:

> Have you heard of anyhone showing up in some hospital and wanting
> a job as a physician (without a medical degree), or wanting to
> work as a rocket-scientist for NASA (without an appropriate
> degree)? No. Why not?

Why not? because we want decisions made by people qualified and informed
about the nature of the problems. As you seem to suggest in you multiple
AAS posts, the scientific endevours should be conducted by people
untrammeld by the halls of acedemia. If so, I would be glad to take out
your gall bladder.

So what are your qualifications? It seems to work both ways. If you are
ignorant of a subject you should probably ask questions to correct your
ignorance rather than make unsupported claims about the nature of the data.

> We don't have problems with seeing that lizards look like lizards
> and birds look like birds. Even without measurements with
> instruments, the sub/semi/unconscious guesses of the human brain
> is enough to satisfy us that they are different,and that one does
> not "need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows."

A perfect example of how your simple minded classification would not work
is the case of caecilians, amphisbaenids, snakes and aistopods. All of
which are vermiform and in your simple minded classification would all be
snakes. Which demonstrably not all are.

Another example is that of the birds and non-avian dinosaurs. When you
look at all of the relevant fossils, the distinction between bird and
nonbird is so smeared that some animals defy classification. Your
simple-minded classification would also probably list crocodiles and
lizards as the same thing, when crocs are more closely related to birds.

This is not fuzzy logic. This is based on rigorous, repeatable,
quantifiable techniques of many kinds.

> Besides, like all the previous arguments, this argument itself
> can be turned around. If bone-gazing does provide info then it
> also provides it for AAT. If it doesn't, then it's pointless
> to use it against AAT.

That is the point. If you accept the validity of the data then AAS

> The same problem over and over again. The trick is probably
> to recognize the limits of the method, and its resolving
> power.

Yes! Do I try and tell you exactly what was going on? No, all I am
trying to point out is that the data does not fit the AAS and all you are
trying to tell me is that if the data does not fit the hypothesis it
should be ignored.

Real Good Science!!!!!!

> 1) One does not need to read the originals (altough I've read
> some Darwin long time ago) for if this were true, then I'd hav
> to learn my physics from Newton. I've looked at his books, and
> they are terrible (for today). Holiday, or even Sears is much
> better. So asking people to read Dart, Jolly, Darwin is either
> silly or pretentious or maybe even ignorant. If the scientific
> content of something is so low that it only works if the works
> are read in the original, they are not worth reading at all.
> On the other hand, physics is always physics,and it doesn't
> matter who wrote the book. Calculus always comes through, no
> matter who wrote the book and in which language it was written.

I am not asking you to read everything, all I am asking you is that you
have a reasonable grasp of the subject before you try to discuss it with

Sure Calculus can be taught in any language. What you need to do is
crack a book or get somebody to teach you calculus before you tell the
world that math doesn't work.

> 2) Asking people to read 100 books one like another is a waste
> of time. Much verbiage is much like other verbiage. If
> there is something very important it should be relatively
> easy to put it into some kind of order and present it as a plot
> or an equation. I've seen and read such books.

Verbiage is just that. You miss the point though in that you are trying
to do math without learning about arithmetic.

> 3) Much of the background material which is now intruding into
> this area (like thermal problems, DNA, chemistry) are not
> in the province of paleontology. Many of us have already
> have this knowledge and don't need to read hominid journals.

Sure all of this is useful. In fact it may oneday tell us alot more
about what is going on. The problem is that you do not have a grasp of
these subjects as they apply to paleoanthro.

> 4) Much of the arguments so far are either about meanings of
> words or about nothing, or are about repetetion of things
> once told/heard. It won't be over easily.


> For example, when I first started following this thread,
> >there were claims that the mammalian diving reflex provided some unique
> >information for supporting an aquatic period between non human
> >anthropoids and humans, yet when this was thoroughly shot down, he
> >ignores it or demands more rigor. The AAS presents a moving target. So
> 1) It wasn't shot down, and certainly not thoroughly. It's
> still unanswered. What the problem is that people take it only
> in binary: it is or it isn't. That's not how it works in real
> life. There are degrees of things. Good grief, even the concept
> of "aquatic ape" is one of degree. And so is the concept of
> "arboreal". They had to come down every once in a while, and still
> do.

Excuse me? Are you reading the same posts that I am? If a feature is
plesiomorphic (primitive) then using to support AAS is ludicrous.

> Give me the name of one single article that youy think definitely
> destroys AAT. I promise to read it.

Yeah sure, just like you read all of Alex Duncan's articles on the
australopithecine foot. Oh, excuse me, I am sorry, they weren't worth
your time. How about Aiello and Deans textbook since you obviously need
to learn more about paleoanthro.

> Besides, the problems are more complicated. We need to know
> the temperature of the earth, the size of the ice caps, the
> water temperature, the humidity of the region etc before some
> of the arguments for or against could be discussed clearly.
Funny thing. We actually know alot of this information. Look in any
geochemistry book or read some recent articles in geosciences (Geology,
GSA Bulletin, Paleo-cubed(Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology,

Read!!! your freudian ignorance is showing ;-)

David J. Froehlich Phone: 512-471-6088
Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory Fax: 512-471-5973
J.J. Pickle Research Campus
The University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712