Re: Refs, please... was... Re: AAT Theory

H. M. Hubey (
9 Oct 1995 01:31:26 -0400 (David L Burkhead ) writes:

> No. It doesn't take "time." It takes _data_. Good data, and
>theories that explain the data well, are generally quickly accepted.

I guess Quantum Theory wasn't accepted because there wasn't
enough data????

>In my own field, claims are usually made about the difficulty
>relativity and quantum theory had in getting accepted. These claims
>are almost completely wrong.

I guess you have to ask <name> [I can't remember his name now
it might have been Planck] why he said something like:
"It's a mistake to think that.... what usually happens is that
a younger generation grows up familiar with it and..."

I'll get the exact quote and author when I get to the office.

> That's rubbish too, as I've explained before. Definitions are
>made by the people who find them useful. These people make sure to
>clearly outline their definition (when it's different from a standard
>one), and if others find it useful, they will use it. No "voting" is
>involved. You can use nearly any definition you _want_ so long as you
>can explain it clearly.

WEll, since you find it so easy to keep arguing, I can't stop
now :-).. Definitions are already there. Check any dictionary.
The "scientific definitions" sometimes are out of operationalism,
sometimes forced by people who think that they are necessary and
sometimes not even clear.

> But since voting in science is meaningless, your "votes" are
>likewise meaningless. How about coming up with references instead?

You have missed the point entirely. IT's exactly because they're
is no agreement that most of the verbal arguments that people
are having are not coming to any conclusions. One group defends
the status quo rather vociferously but there is no clear cut
data/evidence that supports that view, certainly no more than
the AAT. They keep changing things, and then claim that AAT'ers
change things and it disqualifies them but not the SST'ers.

So it's pointless to ask for references. It's meaningless.

>Or about about a methodology which defines those numbers. If the
>numbers are just based on your subjective "gut feeling" then they are
>no better than the words they replace, and are probably worse since
>they provide the impression of precision where none actually exists.

Here we are again. What you call "gut feeling" I called
skeleton-eye-balling; and another called bone-gazing. All I
wanted to do was to put the real argument in perspective by
asking people to give numbers. We can then discuss why one says
it should be, say 5, and another 6.

> No, you're just big on deriding scientists period.

I have great respect for scientists. I hope to be one someday.
(Some probably think I already am one.) But I am great on
deriding pompous and obnoxious asses.

> Oodles of reasons have been produced for it. You just don't seem
>to want to listen to them.

None of them better in any way than the one that's got the
water in it, and most of them worse.

> A: How cold did it get at night? How cold does it actually get
>in the savannah?

It could reach near zero in the desert. It might even reach zero.
If the "savannah" was "hot and dry" that for sure means that it
would be colder at night than if it was moist. I've been in
dry weather in the middle of the summer in which it was impossible
to stand in sunlight during the day but I had to use a blanket at
night to stay warm. Under these conditions there must have been
a particularly good reason to lose the fur. Now if the humanoids
did not need to lose their fur in the hot and moist forest
then why would they start to lose it in dry savannah?

>together when it _does_ get cold (an established human custom in many
>cold climes) to conserve/share body heat?

If you already don't have fur, you can huddle all you want.
The question is the conditions that led to its loss.

> A: Explain why tree-dwellers would have an advantage in the
>water with their erzatz-Titanic swimming stroke and pathetic wading
>hydrodynamics. They'd be neither man nor fish. (_Far_ more apropos
>here than when you used it.)

Because, once again

1) It would be easier for them to adopt the erect stand since
the water would support them. Chimps don't have their hips directly
underneath them. It's harder for them to stand up erect and their
muscles would tire sooner. It would be hell for them to carry
anything bipedally. This would not happen in water.

2) It would free their arms to carry things around in water and
manipulate them.

3) The survival value of long legs has been told already.

4) The soft flat feet seems ideal for sand walking. Check the
camel's feet.

5) It would be easier to defend themselves since their arms
would be free and the predators would be at a disadvantage.
The stick swinging would work much better here than in the
open land.

6) There's be no reason to have grasping feet and hence
no loss of survival value if the grasping toe disappeared.

I can probably add more..but it all revolves around the
simultaneous positive feedback toward the new anatomy while
the negative feedback is there since the short footed ones
and short ones would die. Since we are not great runners,
the value of long legs on land remains low. Nobody mentions that
they'd need long legs to swing sticks and make noises against
lions. Nobody says they needed long legs to outrun lions.
So why are their legs growing longer on land? And then of course
there's the "significant tree-climbing ability". If the need
for tree climbing was still around, why were they becoming
bipedal on land? To run? No. To swing sticks? No.

> B: Who said there were no trees? Are we back to the treeless,
>waterless savannah strawman that others have tried to bring up?

Fine. Bring the trees. Bring the significant tree-climbing too.
They why the long legs and why bipedalism?

>level of bipedalism, therefore there is no advantage to being able to
>stand more upright (immediately gaining some mechanical advantage),

OF course it's real. Nobody claims that they beat lions with the
sticks. Who was it who was claiming threatening gestures and
screaming? Was it you? Did you or anyone claim that they made
spears and killed lions? No! Wanna change your mind?

>being able to walk longer periods in an upright position (and carrying
>stick/stone/baby/whatever with them), expending less energy in bipedal
>locomotion (from a more efficient gate), and being able to spend more
>time with their head poked above the high savannah grasses to see what
>might be coming at them?

They could not have carried things too far nor would they have
had to if you claim they were in the forest. IF so, then there
should be no chimps etc. Why would they have to walk far? Are
you saying that they ran from one tree to another in the
savannah? And how far did they run to the waterhole? As for
looking over the tall savannah grasses, one of them would have
screamed others would have been warned. Unless of course, you
want to contend that they were smart enough not to scream and
they used stealth. Even then the advantage of being tall is not
that great. They could have stood on top of mounds like the
prairie dogs or they could have climbed trees. After all, in
your savannah, they'd have to hang around trees so they
could scamper up to escape predators.

> This is, quite simply, wrong. Postulating that traits we _see_,
>behaviors we _know_ exist, and environments we _know_ were inhabited
>could combine to produce the results we see are _not_ in the same
>category as making up whole new environments out of whole cloth and
>postulating that traits that _no one_ has ever seen come out of that
>environment as being caused by it.

It might not be the same. But it could be even a higher order
of thinking. After all, what brought about QM ? What kind
of revolutionary thinking led to it? Besides, it's not necessary
to see some animal do things to think that it could be done.
There are two reasons why we use it. One is that analogical
thinking is ingrained in us. It's a kind of a monkey-see,
monkey-do. The other is that it's easier than being creative.
When we see things we can't imagine, we no longer have to try
to imagine it. It's easier. If we don't see it, then our
task is more difficult; we have to imagine it.

Think about languages. If you only speak a single language,
start to think about what other things would you like to
see in English. After that read about some of the strange
and exotic things languages do, and if you are honest you
will see that they do things which you couldn't even imagine
could be done in a language. After seeing some languages, then
you might start to think about what other strange things
languages might have but yet haven't found in any language.
Could those things exist in a real language?


Regards, Mark