Re: Hair and AAS

Phil Nicholls (
Fri, 13 Oct 1995 02:41:50 GMT (H. M. Hubey) graced us with the following

>David Froehlich <> writes:

>>Remember testability is the hallmark of science.

>If you want to pursue this line try some philosophy of science

The issue is important in all newsgroups that discuss scientiific
issues. It is not an obscure point of science but the primary means
of weeding out "just-so stories" from actual scientific hypotheses.

>>Note that when the diving reflex was held up to this question it failed.

>It only fails if binary. The variables are not binary; there are
>degrees of the reflex and it clearly hasn't failed.
>We need more info.

The diving reflex is presented as a binary issue: humans supposedly
have it, other animals don't.

>>Implication) diving reflex is a primitive feature for all mammals

>Possible. What needs to be done is to test the degree of the
>reflex against all sorts of variables, and nobody has shown
>that anything of the type has been done.

>Conclusion: inconclusive.

I'm afraid not. You see, if it is present in a wide variety of
mammals (it turns out to be present in any mammal that can be trained
to dive into the water) then regardless of the other variables you
wish to consider we have to conclude that it is a primitive feature of
all mammals. Variation in the degree to which this characteristic is
expressed does not alter that.

>>So, what testable observations does AAS make and how does it explain the
>>evidence better?

>It's a story like the SST. And the pieces of evidence point to
>it as well as the savannah. I find it easier to believe the AAT
>than the savannah.


That hominids occupied the savannah is a fact. The extent which this
may have been responsible for various aspects of human morphology is
debated, but hominid occupation of savannahs is not. This is the
environment with which most species of Australopithecus and Homo
habilis (sensu lato) are associated.

There is not evidence of hominids occupying bodies of water. None,
nada, zip.

>BTW, what was the environment of where Lucy was found ? WAs
>there a big lake there at one time, and forests?

Yes, there WAS a big lake. Does this make Lucy aquatic in your mind?
Do you know what a savannah is?

>>Remember that testability is the hallmark of scientific endevour.

>EXplain this more clearly so we are sure that you mean what
>we think you mean.

I don't think "we" have a problem with it. You seem to be the only
one confused or bothered by this.

Phil Nicholls
"To ask a question you must first know most of the answer"
-Robert Sheckley