Re: AAT Theory

David L Burkhead (
9 Oct 1995 04:01:55 GMT

In article <> (H. M. Hubey) writes:
> (David L Burkhead ) writes:
>> Instead, we can argue about what number should be assigned. Same
>>tune, different lyrics.
>So it seems. do you seriously believe that numbers and measurement
>are only for physicists?

Show me a measurement. Numbers "assigned" by some subjective
"gut feeling" are meaningless.

>> "half-scientific or pre-scientific fields such as yours"? You
>>mean physics? Or did you even read my post where I _told_ you what my
>I guess I forgot or didn't read it.

I'm not surprised.

>> And there _is_ a definition, of a "fruit"--the biological
>>defintion--the ripened ovary of a flowering plant. It's when people
>We went thorugh something like this before. Recognizing an apple
>is easier than recognizing an apple tree for some people. And giving
>latin names to things doesn't make science.

Taht some people might have difficulty recognizing them is
immaterial. The _term_ has a precise meaning _in science_.

The "giving latin names" crack is irrelevant and a cheap shot.
It has nothing to do with my statement. It has nothing to do with
assigning precise definitions in scientific discussion. Your disdain
for "latin names" is apparent, but there is a _reason_ for such
nomenclature--to make sure that people holding a scientific discussion
are talking about the same thing. The only reason for discarding it
is so that one can _introduce_ fuzziness into a discussion. If you
_want_ your statement to mean several, mutually contradictory things
that's fine, but it's not science and it's not scientific discussion.

>In the end we are still forced to deal with objects which we
>are forced to recognize/perceive and usually through our
>sense organs. The closer we are to the action the easier it is.
>These ideas are better discussed in something like ai or
>philosophy of science groups.

So? We still define things precisely. Perhaps you think that
assigning a mass of, say, 10.00 kg to something should also be just as
imprecise as your "wing it" assignments of numbers to other things
(like the "fruitiness" of something--Oh, that' tempts me as ever a
straight line did.)

>> No. Every one of those is a fruit. As are cucumbers, squash,
>>pumpkins, tomatoes, snow peas (in the pod) and many other things that
>>are considered "vegetables" in colloquial speech. There is no such
>>"fuzziness" in scientific terminology.
>You're deliberately ignoring the main problem. YOu can't define
>any one of these things if you first require people to define
>ovary, ripe, plant, etc. YOu are using one dragon to slay another.
>That's the reason for the use of "voting" by people to try
>to comprehend how people comprehend.

And all of those things _are_ defined. And none of them have a
"value" assigned by somebody's "gut instinct.

>> But, the thing is, this was _not_ defined by voting. And anyone
>I hate to do this, but yes it was defined by "voting". Indeed
>everything in life is by voting. I didn't want to bring it
>up because I didn't want people to try the Feyerabendian escape.

You are, flat out, wrong. The assertion is wrong. It remains
wrong no matter _how_ many times you assert it. Buzzwords don't make
it right.

But, if you are going to claim that it was defined by voting,
then please point out to me where the election was held? What items
were on the ballot? What were the returns: How many voted "yea," how
many "nay," and how many abstained.

I suspect that you are using a private definition of "voting"
that does not match the general one. If so, perhaps you should supply
it so we can all be sure we are talking about. (_That's_ a subject
I've brought up before.)

>New scientific theories win by winning over the minds of
>people; not people in the street but scientists. Hopefully,
>the methods used by them are such that agreement points to
>the most likely solution, and is the closest thing to truth
>that we can agree on. It has a sort of hierarchical organization
>with the "experts" on top with the general population at the
>bottom (the usual triangular organization chart kind of thing.)

Once again, you demonstrate your profound ignorance of science
and how it works. This is nothing like how the scientific process
works. Scientific theories win by best explaining the data. When new
theories come along that better explain the data, they are, in
general, quickly gobbled up. Relativity explained the data better
than Newtonian mechanics. It quickly became the preeminant theory in
the field. Same thing for quantum theory.

Continental drift, OTOH, did _not_ explain the data better than
the current theories of the time. It "explained" certain _aspects_ of
the data (such as the fit of continental shelves to each other,
matching rock strata and fossils, etc.), but completely failed on
other data (such as the great difficulty involved in a granite
continent plowing through a basalt sea bed). It was not until a _new_
theory came along that _did_ explain the data better (which by this
time included data on moving sea bed as well) that plate tectonics was
quickly accepted by geologists.

Funny thing is, once the data clearly supports one theory over
another, that theory quickly dominates in the field. It's the _data_
that drives the acceptance not anything as open-ended (and subject to
just about any meaning you care to attach to it) as "capturing of
minds." The only "capturing of minds" involved is that there are a lot
of people out there who spend a lot of time and effort trying to find
theories that fit the data better than other theories.

>I could leave it here but then, that makes science like art,
>fashion or voodoo. OF course, there's a difference, but it
>gets more and more hazy. And some fields which we say are
>scientific are somewhere in between the two extremes.

Which just goes to show that you understand neither science, nor
art, nor fashion, nor voodoo.

BTW, _which_ two extremes? You list four. And they're all different.

>>... deleted
>>to their diet quite readily. Humans, OTOH, _don't_ get added to diet.
>>Thus, the claim above is once again demonstrably false.
>I'll cut it short. Wolves will be eating humans if they could find
>enough of them hanging around and (with the usual caveats.....)
>It's getting tiring..

Yes, it is getting tiring. It would get less tiring if you would
not keep _repeating_ false statements. Humans spend a great deal of
time in wolf habitats. If the wolves can't find humans hanging around
in their habitats, then they must be the most blind creatures on the
face of the Earth. They aren't, therefore they _do_ find humans
hanging around. But they _don't_ add humans to their diet. Thus,
your statement is wrong--proof by contradiction.

>> Go to your local library and look up !Kung. Until very recently
>In with the lions or is it poetic licence? Besides how do you
>compare this with chimp size animals with small brains?

If you don't know where the !Kung live (they live in one of the
more arid "savanna" environments--with lions, giraffe, and many other
animals) then you demonstrate once again that you simply do not know
what you are talking about.

And what has brain size to do with it? The question is whether
someone with, essentially, sticks and stones, can live in the savanna
among lions. It was _your_ test. They live it. Therefore, your test

>>to have food airlifted in, or perhaps get special permission from the
>>government to let us hunt?
>sorry. You have to go there naked. If you want sticks and stones
>you have to find them there in the savannah. And naturally both
>sexes must be there, and must also have children. YOu can hang around
>the water hole during the day and hide (somewhere) at night :-)..

So I have to deal with game wardens (who have high powered
rifles, jeeps, and helicopters and _shoot_ poachers)? Sorry, _lions_
I'll deal with. _Humans_ are another matter.

>> Tell you what. If you can solve those problems, I'll take you up
>>on your offer--_if_ you will likewise spend the same year
>>standing/wading waist-deep in croc infested waters.
>I don't expect to go where there are crocs. I never said that it
>would be easier in croc infested waters. I don't expect that every
>place in Africa was infested with crocs. On the other hand
>the savannah animals would need to hang around water holes and
>couldn't go too far from them, especially considering the liters
>of water they'd be sweating during the day.

>The ideal location would be some place where the ocean met the
>forest where they could take advantage of both.

The only way to find, even now, water where you can stand/wade in
waist-deep waters six-eight hours a day (necessary if your "AAH" is to
work) is in croc infested waters. The only African waters _not_
infested with crocs at the time in question were too _cold_ for crocs,
which meant that they were too cold for that kind of aquatic activity
(for a human sized or smaller, hairless hominid). But tell you what.
If, instead of croc infested waters you want to stand in cold water
all day, I'll accept that as an adequate substitute.

Alternately, if you want to imagine some magical place warm
enough for those hairless little aquatic apes, then I can imagine
someplace without lions, ne?

David L. Burkhead

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