Re: Hair and AAS

H. M. Hubey (
14 Oct 1995 02:51:21 -0400 (Phil Nicholls) writes:

>>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.

Perhaps some AAT'ers can change the binary issue to nonbinary
and make a better effort.

>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.

Only if its intensity of presence in all mammals can be shown to
be equivalent (somehow). First we'd need to know if the intensity
of the presence of the diving reflex correlates with anything
like size, weight, evolutionary scale, hairiness, whether the
animal is nocturnal/diurnal, etc etc. WE might also want to
know its intensity variation with age, and water temperature
and a whole bunch of other things that I can't even think
of right now. It's only after this that we can begin to see
if this intensity can be increased via training and again
find some relationships between all the variables. Without
all of this, we're stuck with a boolean yes/no and it doesn't
cut it. Maybe some people can spot greater or lesser effects in
other animals but I don't see it.

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

What would be evidence of hominids occupying water? What would be
evidence of some animals occupying the air except wings which
would show up on the skeleton. If we found animals in a forest
environment do we assume that they must be all tree-climbers?

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

What exactly is your idea of a problem with animals having some
affinity with water like hippos or elephants. Don't elephants
also these days "officially" live in a savannah environment?
SHould the hominids have had closeable nostrils and webbed feet
which you'd naturally want to be plainly visible in the fossils?

>>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.

I don't understand why people keep trying to play dumb. The problem
is not that "you" (whoever "we" is) have problems; it's that "we"
have problems. I remember a story told by my mother when I was
little. Some guy, during WW2, was trying to communicated with
some other refugee but couldn't handle the language of the
other guy. When someone who saw the problem tried to tell him
he quited him by saying "Hush, I know what I'm saying."..
"Well" said the other guy "you might know what you are trying to
say, but the other guy listening to you doesn't".

The problems of verification, confirmation, falsification,
and theory building have been beaten to death in many places
and many people. Most people who do this use formal logic.
The one field which everyone points out and tries to emulate
as "the epitome" of science (i.e. physics) doesn't resemble
anything like paleo.. When you can fit equations to data and
calculate coefficients to six decimal places, worrying about
whether an experiment confirms or verifies a theory takes
second place for the simple reason that even if the equations
don't describe reality, it seems that somebody certainly must
have gone through a lot of trouble to make life behave as if
it really does obey those equations :-)..

Now show me/us your equations and the perfect fit of your
data or stop sighing. Who do you think you're fooling?


Regards, Mark