Re: AAT Theory

20 Sep 1995 13:26:22 GMT

Jim Moore's argument with regard to the acceptance of continental drift
prior to the discover of patterns of sea-floor spreading rings a bit
hollow to someone who observed the paradigm shift from a ring-side seat at
UCSD. The continental drift advocates mostly came from the Southern
Hemisphere, where the evidence was stronger and they could find jobs.
Being a CD advocate in the Northern Hemisphere during the 1950s was like
being a sociobiology advocate in anthropology during the 1980s--you had to
be independently wealthy and even then it was useful to be thick-skinned.
Although I don't agree with the deconstructionists about their view of
science, it does have a germ of truth.

On the other hand, there is that Three Stooges routine:

#1: "They called Einstein a nut; they called Steinmetz a nut; They called
Schultz a nut..."

#2: (breaking in) "Who was Schultz?"

#1: (without drawing a breath) "He was a nut!..."

Remember, even paranoids have real enemies...

My take on the AAT is that it is a beautiful theory, murdered by ugly
facts. There are a lot of people out there who have come up with similar
theories, and the test of their intellectual honesty is how they deal with
inconvenient facts. The evidence currently coming from East Africa is
rapidly narrowing the window of opportunity for the AAT (and for a number
of more mainstream theories). I'll leave it at that.

Harry Erwin
Home Page: (try a couple of times)
PhD student in comp neurosci: "Glitches happen" & "Meaning is emotional"