underwater space aliens

Alex Duncan (aduncan@mail.utexas.edu)
21 Oct 1995 17:48:17 GMT

In article <hubey.814224985@pegasus.montclair.edu> H. M. Hubey,
hubey@pegasus.montclair.edu writes:

>>A more
>>realisitic statement would be that the route for the change must not be
>>maladaptive at any step (or at least not too maladaptive). There is
>>every reason to think that a great deal of what happens in evolution is
>>random, and happens when newly evolved features are not selected for or
>This third category is produced because we cannot tell simply
>by looking (or any other way, at least these days) if the
>change was adaptive (positive) or maladaptive(negative). But
>regardless of whether we know which it is, it is one of them
>almost all the time.

Please tell us, oh wise one (who thinks horses' knees bend backwards) how
you know this. Been reading some biology texts lately? Seems pretty
unlikely, as you still show no signs of knowing shit from shinola. There
are many features of all organisms that can vary without having any
effect whatsoever on the adaptive fitness of the organism. (This has been

>This is like the philosophical problem of whether a sound
>has been made by a falling tree is nobody heard it. Sure
>there's a sound; nobody heard it, that's all.

Well, no it isn't. I repeat, the idea that features can vary without any
adaptive effect on the organism HAS BEEN TESTED AND FOUND TO BE TRUE.

>>As far as naked bipedalism goes: you seem fixated on the idea that
>>functional hairlessness and bipedalism must have evolved at the same
>>time. This is not a fixation shared by paleoanthropologists.
>Is there any evidence one way or the other, aside from the usual
>analogy? IOW do they say there was hair because the skull
>looked a lot like a chimp? Hasn't this kind of thinking bitten
>the dust at least once before i.e. brain growth lead to bipedalism
>or something like that because it required tool use etc etc....

The "brain growth led to bipedalism" model was reflection of European
prejudices about how things SHOULD happen (according to them), and was
developed with no reference to the way the world actually works. The
idea that australopiths were hairy is simple analogy. They're chimp-like
animals, living in environments similar to the ones that chimps live in.
Knowing that, and since we can postulate no adaptive reason why they
should have lost their hair, it seems most reasonable to suggest that
they had hairy bodies.

Alternatively, we could remove ourselves from the realm of reasonable
observation and analogy, and suggest that they were functionally hairless
because space aliens manipulated their genomes, or because they were so
well adapted to an aquatic niche that they lost their hair WHILE SHOWING

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086