Re: AAT Theory

J. Moore (
Thu, 7 Sep 95 17:40:00 -0500

HMH> (J. Moore) writes:

HMH> >So you agree with Morgan that the fossil record is irrelevant to
HMH> >the subject of paleoanthropology. Very bizarre contention, that.

HMH> Not. Einstein said something like "No amount of experimentation can
HMH> prove me right but a single experiment can prove me wrong."

HMH> I asked you once "What is proof?"
HMH> I am asking again.

What do you think it is? I'm not here to argue semantics with a
games-player. On the off chance that you only appear to be one,
but actually are not, we continue...

HMH> >HMH> What would be considered fossil evidence *for* AAT?

HMH> >Obviously, indications of an aquatic existence. You couldn't
HMH> >figure that out yourself?

HMH> :-)..
HMH> Like what, webbed feet? Diving reflex? Ah yes, you said "fossil".
HMH> So what would you like, dorsal fins?

Shouldn't it be up to AATers to suggest them? They're the ones
who say that an aquatic past caused massive changes to our
skeletal structure, but only in ways that look exactly like what
we'd see from a land-based transition. But ah yes, they feel the
fossil record is irrelevant.

HMH> >HMH> What would be considered fossil evidence *against* AAT?

HMH> >First, understand that the question I'm answering here is whether
HMH> >fossil evidence could possibly help or hurt the AAT. Unlike Morgan's

HMH> First, understand that saying "understand" or "do you
HMH> understand?" is extremely impolite. If I was in a nasty
HMH> mood, I'd have a few choice words.

Feel free to act as you wish. I wanted to make it very clear just
what question I was answering, i.e., not "what would I expect the
CA to look like", nor even "the likelihood of it happening either
way", but instead simply whether any conceivable "fossil
evidence could possibly help or hurt the AAT", contrary to
Morgan's expressed views. If you really feel you need to take
offense at my wishing to clarify my position, go ahead.

HMH> >understood that if our ancestors were actually shore-dwelling
HMH> >waders and swimmers, we would expect to be up to our ears in
HMH> >hominid fossils, which we are not. (On that subject note that

HMH> Why is that? ARe the shores around today the same shores
HMH> as millions of years ago? And how do we know where the shores were
HMH> except by use of the same theory since nobody was
HMH> around millions of years ago?

Perhaps if you want to argue about a subject, you might want to
get some minimal grounding in that subject first. The reason we
would naturally expect to find many many many fossils of
shore-dwelling waders and swimmers is that they would be in the
ideal habitat to become fossils. Other areas are much poorer for
this purpose. It has nothing to do with where shorelines are
*now*. In fact, perhaps the best place to *find* fossils is in
seasonally dry places, where some form of seasonal erosion (such as
heavy rains, or seasonal winds) exposes them, but a long dry season
leaves them exposed and more or less in place and unweathered.
This is why so many fossils are found in "wouldn't want to live
there" places like central Alberta or interior eastern Africa.
The best place to *make* fossils, OTOH, are shorelines; so much so
that we find many fossils of definitely non-aquatic animals such
as horses and camels in such deposits.

HMH> >Morgan and other AATers propose that australopithecines at least
HMH> >as late as "Lucy" were indulging in this lifestyle in inland
HMH> >waters.)

HMH> So? Humans have lived around inland rivers and lakes for
HMH> thousands of years, and could have lived there even earlier.

Yes indeed, as do many other land mammals, but Morgan views living
"around inland rivers and lakes" as greatly unusual behavior which
requires throwing out all current paleoanthropological theory.

HMH> >Now, just off the top of my head, for instance, if we found
HMH> >fossils of the common ancestor we share with African apes, and it
HMH> >turned out to be as bipedal as australopithecines, that would be
HMH> >extremely strong evidence against the AAT. The AAT says that

HMH> No it doesn't.

It doesn't? It doesn't say that predominately bipedal hominids could
not have evolved on land? Morgan spends two chapters of *The Scars
of Evolution* on this subject. The AAT claims that bipedalism and
other features we (purportedly) do not share with African apes *had
to have evolved in an aquatic environment*. That, in fact, *is* the
theory. You apparently are quite unaware of the content of the
very thing you're defending.

HMH> First, bipedalism itself is a lumped-parameter characterization of set
HMH> which is derived based on indirect evidence. There's
HMH> a general way in which we can view evolution (simplified
HMH> of course,
<snipped: bizarre rendition of nonsense version of evolution>

HMH> So at best parts of AAT go away and that they were already
HMH> "bipedal" when they went into the water.

And I'm sure that's exactly what AATers would try to do. But a
central tenet of the AAT is that land-based divergence *cannot*
have happened, and that bipedalism had to have happened as part
and parcel of an aquatic lifestyle that also caused many other
changes we don't share with apes. If you remove that prop, you
don't have any parts left; you've got a theory that's fallen and
can't get up.

HMH> >predominately bipedal hominids could not evolve on land, and that
HMH> >they evolved at the same time and place as many features which are
HMH> >derived compared to the African apes. If the CA was predominately
HMH> >bipedal, it would make this combination impossible.

HMH> Well, if the UILI (use it,lose it) scenario were to apply
HMH> here, I'd find it hard to see how these puny things could have survived
HMH> the cats without even being able to breed like marmots or rabbits :-)..

You obviously haven't bothered to read any posts in this newsgroup
on the subject. Suffice it to say that this subject has been
dealt with (to say the least). We have evidence that land-based
hominids could've survived the predators in their environment just
fine, but that we have no such evidence that these putative aquatic
hominids could have survived theirs. Find the back posts and read
them, if you really want to know about it.

HMH> >Perhaps you could explain why the AAT is
HMH> >supposed to be granted this special preferential treatment?

HMH> AAT is not special.

Isn't it? It is a theory whose proponents are apparently allowed
to make claims without refs, or with incomplete or misrepresented
refs, and to not address critical problems in the theory that are
pointed out, and in general to not hold themselves to the same
standards they demand from others. Sounds pretty special to me.

HMH> >wrote it up, that you're probably actually looking to just play
HMH> >semantic games instead of actually looking at what science can

HMH> I wouldn't do that. To me much of the rancor that presently
HMH> plagues some of these groups are "semantic" games. Sometimes much
HMH> semantics passes for science, for there isn't much else.
HMH> Regards, Mark

Perhaps I'd be more likely to believe you if I'd seen some evidence of
your having tried to acquaint yourself with the subject before you
started posting.

Jim Moore (

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