Re: tree-climbing hominids

David Froehlich (
Fri, 13 Oct 1995 13:21:48 -0500

On 12 Oct 1995, H. M. Hubey wrote:

> I don't know anything about that either. Are you saying that
> there's absolutely no determinism in evolution?

Yes there is no determinism in evolution. If you want to talk
determinism there is a perfectly nice dsicussion group called

> If there is as determinism then there's a direction and it's
> knowable. And that's the way it should be if it's a science.

There is no determinism so there is no direction

To quote Chris Brochu "YAAFI"

> What the hell good is a science that only seems to produce
> rationalizations (i.e. 20/20 hindsight) for only things that
> seem to have already happened but can't do any prediction at all.

Learn something about historical sciences.

> >"Predictability" in science does not necessarily operate at the level of
> >the process - it should also be valid for observations.
> What?

Exactly, you do not understand!!!!

Once more - we should be able to predict observations based on an
available pattern. The pattern we have suggests that hominids are
derived from forest-dwelling arboreal primates. Based on this pattern, I
would predict that hominid fossils between 5 myr and 2 myr will come from
forest-dwelling creatures that retain some characters from their arboreal
past. I would have made that prediction with or without knowledge of
australopithecine fossils. So far, every australopithecine fossil found
fulfills this prediction.

Even Karl Popper conceded that repeatability is at the level of
observation, not process. Because experimental science repeats
observations by repeating the process, confusion has arisen.

> >Paleoanthropologists have a model that predicts the presence of early
> >hominid remains, with tree-climbing ability and modest brain size, in
> >woodland habitats. So far, this prediction has held. If something wierd
> >were to turn up, we would have to amend our hypothesis.
> That's interpolation. Try extrapolation.
> Besides, if there's determinism and we know the rules,we can
> extrapolate into the future.

Extrapolation implies that you know what is going to happen in the
future. Now we are in the realm of ESP.

> If you don't think there's any determinism at all tell me
> if you think it would have been possible for quadrupeds to
> have created a civilization such as ours. Could aquatic animals
> done it, no matter how big their brains? How about flying
> smart birds?

Yes. Why not?

Are you a creationist masquerading in paleoanthro clothes?

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