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Darwin-L Message Log 3:9 (November 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<3:9>From LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU  Tue Nov  2 07:20:48 1993

Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1993 07:20:48 -0600
From: "JOHN LANGDON"  <LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: scientific and popular explanations / human evolution

In message <93Nov2.041057eet.143930-7@utu.fi>  writes:

> In my opinion the field of human evolution should acknowledge that a rival
> hypothesis has been proposed, that it has raised quite some discussion, and
> that it should be either proven wrong or accepted.

In what I hope is a final word, let me repeat (since obviously you missed it):
We will never prove the AAT wrong and never can. Nor can we disprove Chariot of
the Gods or Killer Apes or Elvis Sighted in Outer Space. This does not mean
that we must or should accept them. You have a mistaken perception of the
nature and capability of science.

I don't think that paleoanthropology denies that a rival hypothesis has been
proposed. It has raised some discussion. It has been rejected as unlikely
(certainly more unlikely than the accepted models) for good reasons, given the
broadest picture. The fact that most paleoanthropologists found it too weak to
merit serious discussion in print does not mean that they rejected it without
consideration.

Yes, there are hypothesis in print and currently accepted that will have to be
changed. Yes, many great ideas were rejected almost unanimously before they
were finally accepted. Continental drift is the classic example. But there are
an awful lot of bad ideas that are also rejected unanimously. Rejection is not
a sign of prejudicial treatment by the establishment nor a stigma of martyrdom.
Most of the time, rejection means the idea doesn't stand up.

I suggest you take a couple of courses in human evolution with an open mind and
figure it out for yourself.

JOHN H. LANGDON      email LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY    FAX  (317) 788-3569
UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS   PHONE (317) 788-3447
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46227

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