Re: Auditory Exostosis and Skeletal Evidence for the AAT

David Froehlich (
Fri, 13 Oct 1995 13:39:22 -0500

On 13 Oct 1995, Andrew Lancaster wrote:

> This is a side issue, and maybe not equally important to everyone
> but..
> On 9th Oct David Froelich mentioned the philosophy of science and
> that any theory needs to propose falsifiable hypotheses.
> From the a background in the discipline mentioned let me say that
> many in the philosophy of science regard that very remark in the
> same way he regards the Aquatic ape theory. No, not even that. It
> is still the most popular university course line, but it is less
> and less tenable.
> The problem is that no-one can point to any major scientific
> discoveries that really happened that way.

The point I think I was making is that while the "discovery" may be a
leap of intuition, how do we then accept or reject that hypothesis?

Yes science is a high level debate, but you still nead evidence and that
evidence may either be consistent with the hypothesis or may reject it.
>From a statistical standpoint, you either fail to reject the null or you
reject the null (in this case, the null is the hypothesis you are
attempting to test).

> The current trend is towards seeing science as a high level
> debate - held on course to some extent by good intentions, but
> always obeying the laws of good rhetoric.

Good rhetoric? Have you read some of the posts here lately, or for that
matter read any of the rhetoric in Systematic Biology or Cladistics?
Some of that rhetoric gets down to name calling (sounds familar around here).

> I bring it up because: Making these new "rules" to disqualify
> people IS an example of rhetoric, it is not example of a way
> forward. As far as I can see, DF's argument didn't need the
> comment at all.

I am not making up rules to reject the AAS, rather I am applying the
rules that are current in my area of interest (systematics). If a new
paradigm comes along, the methods applied in my area may change, but
applying them to other hypotheses that impinge upon my expertise is not
just changing the rules.

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