Re: does hubey have a point?

H. M. Hubey (
9 Oct 1995 21:37:34 -0400

Alex Duncan <> writes:

>>Sheesh. AFter you've taken out math, DNA, chemistry, physics,
>>then what's left? Bone-gazing! So here we are again.

>You just listed most of the major aspects of paleoanthropology. To treat
>as subsidiary issues is another demonstration that you are ignorant.

1) you must be confusing arithmetic with mathematics
2) you certainly have a strange idea of what physics is since I've
never seen any physics in your posts
3) Chemistry is almost partially physics
4) Where is the DNA analysis in fossil bones
5) Finally if there is all of this as you say, then you should stop
your stupid bullshit. There are probably many people who post
here who know as much or more physics, math, chemistry than
you do. (Probably that includes me. That leaves you pretty much
as the lone expert bone-gazer!).

>>Why is the taxonomy such that it produces seven levels and not
>>six? Why not eight? There are ways of classifying things in

>I once suggested to Paul Crowley that he should wear a sign on his back
>that reads "ignorant". I suggest that Hubey should staple his to his

>1) Demonstrate that you read any of the papers I referenced.

I just got two of them and ordered the other 4. I briefly
glanced at the two I read. I see only the briefest glimmers
of hope in both that they even say anything. So far all I can
see is that it's in this stage:

Before this paper, those and only those who were either fortunate
enough to have either discovered these bones or have had the
opportunity to gaze at them for hourse in some setting could have
had even the smallest chance of being able to compare them. All
the rest would have to look at some photos in some books. Now
what these papers to is to make some measurements and plot
them (from various finds). INcluded (in one of them) are also
plots from modern humans (naturally we need a guide post) and
also a plot of the average so we can see the variations or
dispersions about the mean.

So if anyone wanted to theorize, the data finally seems to
be taking form in such a way as to enable everyone to do it
instead of those who've either been lucky enough to get
funds to go digging or those who've been able to get access
to the finds somehow (in some museum or some other way).
Now the paper is good,but for what? It's good because it
finally brings the finds into the purview of anyone who
can be interested in it and is thus democratic, instead of
being forced to read about the finders' opinions in some
books and then go full blast on USENET groups attacking those
who don't agree like a mad dog. Until papers like these
are published the finders get a jump on everyone since they
get to make the measurements, compare them to others and
then theorize (if necessary) before others can do it.
Naturally, this is like the workings of the medieval guilds
in which the skills were passed from father to son. It looks
like it's now possible for the raw data to be made available
to everyone. OF course, this makes it possible for things
like this to happen: Einstein never did any experiments. He
never spent any time in the lab. He didn't have lab connections
and he didn't need to look into museums. He simply worked
his theories to provide explanations for observed data in
others' experiments.

>2) Tell us how you would do it better.

Easy chump. Read a little about "morphing". YOu produce a
3-D image of what you start with and what you want to
wind up with. Then the computer program fills in the middle
in N frames so that there's a smooth movement from one form
to another. To apply this method you produce a 3-D image
of say, Lucy's foot. Then you take a modern human foot, and
digitize it to produce a virtual 3-D image. Then run the SW
so that the middle frames from Lucy to modern human are
filled. YOu can also do this starting from chimps to Lucy
or from the australopethicus to erectus or any one. YOu can
change the time frames to make them proportional to elapsed
time. Watching these will be a better bone-gazing experience
than digging them up.

Then the fun part comes. YOu can do this will all sorts of bones.
And you can do this with full bodies too. And then what. Well
this is where you can finally produce numbers which will
measure "distances" (morphologically) of skeletons from
other skeletons.

And that is what you want; "distances". Because the analogical
reasoning that is used is based on "similarity". And
the word "similar" really means that the "distance" between
the two is shorter than the distance between two that are
not similar.

And once you have these, you are cooking. Now all sorts of
things are possible because you have a metric space.
Ask T. Clarke, the mathematician, about what all this means.

PS. As for those papers you suggested, they are more or
less what I expected. In a couple of weeks I should have the
other four papers. And they, in all likelihood, are also
the same. If they are, get ready to be fried. Or else
start behaving properly. You're not the first person on
USENET who can't see the forest for the trees.

Pay attention to what I write. Don't read into it what you
want to read into it. What you comprehend is a function
of not only what i write but also your own capability.


Regards, Mark