Re: DISCOVER/Neanderthal/Homo Sap.

H. M. Hubey (
6 Sep 1995 00:41:57 -0400 (Erin Miller) writes:
>will indeed evolve away from each other. Please cite your reasons for
>thinking otherwise.
The paragraph above and the paragraph below says what you are saying
except not in the same words as you use.

>>other isolated subpopulations.

>Again, you are saying the only way for two species to derive from one
>common ancestor is thru reproductive isolation?

I'm saying that this the splitter position.

>I don't follow your argument. You believe transitional types to exist, and
>therefore intermixing must have occurred, and that is the only
>explanation, correct?

If there are two distinct types and if there are transitional types
then it implies that the seemingly distinct types are the same
species, with the caveats

1) if we can't use bones to tell if certain groups of monkeys do
or do not belong to the same species
2) if we can't use bones [in a hypotethical case] that the bones
[dog bones] DO belong to the same species

then the whole idea of bone-eyeballing is/could be an exercise
in futility. Therefore assuming that skull-eyeballing actually
means something or that we want it to mean something because
that's all we got, then assuming that like the cases above
where the bones of several monkey species all look alike and that
the bones we see of what seem to be two species of humans
are not really many, many species of humans, then finally reducing
everything to the simple case of two_or_one, then I'd choose

That's the biggest problem with this whole fight. It's like
what Weyl said about the new developing field of the transfinites
of set theory "fog on fog". Nothing is certain to begin with, and
then more and more uncertainty keeps getting added, and we are
supposed to believe some truths as beyond doubt. It doesn't look
that way.

>Its been made by "others." So, you are not crediting such scientists as
>Trinkaus, Smith, Tattersall, Stringer, Mann, Wolpoff, Bar-Yosef, Heim, de
>Lumley (2), Mellars, Patte, Stewart, Gamble, Vallois, Vandermeersch, or

I didn't discredit anything or anyone. I gave an extremely cynical
review above. Let's keep our feet on the ground, and be objective
about what exactly we are dealing with and how much certainty
we have.

>evolution to someone who accepts as a given that there are no transitional
>fossils. You have no wish to debate that topic, it seems, so there is no
>way I could move beyond that issue.

This kind of thinking is difficult to separate from science
fiction or pseudo science like Feyerabend's arguments. It starts
like this; Well, you don't have any problems believing in electrons
but you can't see them. YOu don't have any problems believing
in electro-magnetic fields but you make calculations and using
them make TV's and radios? So then suppose angels and devils
existed. Then if they existed, they would have to forms other
than humans. Then......

It starts off nicely but step by step more and more fog is
introduced.. and eventually you'll wind up with something

If you look at extremes like dog bones vs humans or crocs
or birds, there are no problems. As they start come closer
and closer, then you're forced to look for smaller and
smaller differences. So far so good. It looks like any other
science. So we use microscopes and telescopes etc. But one
thing that does not get done is that we do not try to
measure differences smaller than the resolving power
of the instrument because the instrument has to fail
at that limit. IF we start to look at bones, we wind up
getting stuck looking at a single tooth, and wondering
what it means?

Do you deny that this is [could be] a serious problem?

>But then there is a lot of people who think that the "transitional"
>fossils are either ranges of variation, or transitional on the way to

Well then,there's the problem again.

Of what use is fighting over things like this when the resolving
power of the instrument has been shown to be even weaker than
that which one is trying to solve? It's like trying to split
a hair with a dull axe? What's the point without some back-up?

>rarely do you have cases where there is a great deal of difference in the
>skeleton and you DO have interbreeding. The only argument you've given for

So what? I already said that and assumed that everyone knows it
without having to listen to Tattersall who I'm sure is an
intelligent man. The problem is not when the differences are
large; it's when they are small. And how small is small? Can
you give me a number? or should I now quote Lord Kelvin on
the role of measurement in science?

>that so far is the domestic dog (or any domestic species) which is not
>very different at all except for size, and has been artificially bred.
>Your argument that if it could happen under artificial selection (and so
>far ONLY artificial selection, as you have not given an example of a range
>of skeletal variation with interbreeding except artificially bred animals)
>it therefore must be the most likely case I think has no basis in the
>forces of natural evolution.

For what purpose? The example accomplished its intent.

Why should every simple example do everything including
wash windows and make coffee :-)..


Regards, Mark