Re: LUCY: ``Yes, we have no bananas!"

Nicholas Rosen (
12 Nov 1996 16:49:45 GMT

Ed Conrad ( wrote:

: To my mind, the ONLY physical anthropologist who possessed scientific
: integrity in a search for honest answers to legitimate questions about
: man's origin and ancestry was the late Dr. Earnest A. Hooton, longtime
: professor of anthropology at Harvard University.

: It says a lot about the man's integrity and intestinal fortitude when
: he could write a book, appropriately titled ``Apes, Men and Morons."

: Two quotes in his book stand out like beacons:

: > ``I can point to many anatomical features of man
: > in which the known courses of evolution can be
: > explained plausibly by the theory of natural
: > selection, but I do not know of one in which
: > it can be proved."

Well, strictly speaking, that's true. And it cannot be proved that the
fall of apples and the orbits of planets are caused by gravity -- it's
only a plausible explanation. It's so plausible, in fact, that every
informed person believes that Newton's Law of Gravity is a good
approximation to the truth, and similarly with evolution.

: > ``I am also convinced that science pursues
: > a foolish and fatal policy when it tries to keep up
: > its bluff of omniscience in matters of which it is sitill
: > woefully ignorant. Sooner or later the intelligent
: > public is going to call that bluff."

Bluff of omniscience? Science? Not so, sir. There may be scientists
guilty of arrogance, but science does not pretend to omniscience (unlike
certain religions). Science says: "This is what has been observed,
and this is what most scientists believe, because it's the simplest
hypothesis that fits the facts. We are willing to change our views if
you come up with a hypothesis which fits the facts better, or with new
observations which can't be explained by the current hypothesis. We
are not going to change our views just because you call us names."

Nicholas Rosen

Standard disclaimers apply. I'm not speaking for Boston University. Look,
when our esteemed Chancellor has an opinion on something, he doesn't need
me to express it for him.