Re: tree-climbing hominids

David Froehlich (
Sun, 15 Oct 1995 16:18:11 -0500

On 13 Oct 1995, H. M. Hubey wrote:

> >Yes there is no determinism in evolution. If you want to talk
> >determinism there is a perfectly nice dsicussion group called
> Another pointless low blow which requires a similar reposte. First, we
> have this problem of what you mean by determinism. Second, that already
> puts you at odds with your own field's researchers. Check out the
> Cambridge Encyclopedia of HUman Evolution (CEHE). As for me, the question
> hangs on the definition of determinism. Given the same change in the
> conditions, ceteris paribus, the same results will be obtained. that
> makes it deterministic. It can't be any other way. YOu can chew on
> this all you want.
But you assume that the conditions are the same. Are they? I wouldn't
disagree that given the same conditions and the same starting point
similar results are likely. But by your statements, we should be able to
predict the weather (similar starting conditions, similar results
correct?) As near as I can find out, weather prediction is pretty good
for tommorow, and absolute crap for next week or next month.

Please note the use of the word similar above rather than same. I think
it is an important distinction.

> >Learn something about historical sciences.
> Oxymoron. History and science don't belong together. That explains
> your problem.

Let me list the various historical sciences and lets see if you think
they are all crap.


to name just a few
(sorry if I missed anybodies pet historical science, I just hit the high

As near as I can figure you deliberately misinterpreted me (par for the
course) just to make a rhetorical point.

> >Once more - we should be able to predict observations based on an
> >available pattern.
> >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.
> You're confused. In the empirical sciences, the process is
> repeated, and the problem with some sciences is that their
> laboratory is too big and they can't repeat the experiments so
> that all they have to go on is to make theories based on patchy
> data. In this the field resembles economics. And yet in another
> respect, it's better than economics because there are more
> measureable things. What's lacking are the measurements.

Not too big, there is a temporal component. When you design your time
machine then we might be able to address the process questions. Try
reading the previous post again.

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

like I said ESP. (I know, cheap shot)

> Besides, now I'll take you at your word literally and show you
> some predictions so as to make you understand the differences
> between "science" and "science". I predict that in 2000 AD/CE
> 1) WAter will boil at 100C
> 2) water will freeez at 0C
> 3) Sun will rise in the east every morning
> 4) all life will be based on hydrocarbons
> 5) the laws of electromagnetism will continue to hold
> 6) digital computers will continue to function
> 7) semiconductors will still operate correctly so that we can
> build transistors..
> .... you want anymore? I now expect you to certify me as an someone
> with powers of ESP.

Yes, but will you have a son or a daughter?, blue or brown eyes?, bigger
or smaller than you? Once again you misinterpret (probably on purpose to
make your rhetorical point). Are any of these observations of biological
systems? Here is a good one, what will the average temperature of the
Earth?, how thick will the ozone layer?, which species will survive? can
the current environment in Africa persist without megaherbivores (re. the
keystone species threads on this newsgroup)?

Can you answer any of these questions?

> >Are you a creationist masquerading in paleoanthro clothes?
> No, but you seem to be an emotional young boy masquerading around
> as a knowledgeable grown up.

I won't even bother with this.

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