Darwin-L Message Log 4:64 (December 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.

<4:64>From WILLS@macc.wisc.edu  Thu Dec 16 17:32:56 1993

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 93 17:35 CDT
From: Jeffrey Wills <WILLS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Scientifc American
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

	As an Indo-Europeanist, I am disappointed to see Colin Renfrew again
given space by _Scientific American_ (Jan. 1994) for his controversial views on
the spread of language when other opinions could have been solicited.
	Renfrew, a distinguished Cambridge archaeologist who has always been
interested in models and the big picture, claims that evidence from
anthropology, genetics, and ecology give support to the "lumpers" in the
debates about the origins and spread of language. He mentions repeatedly that
the majority of linguists are not sold on his views (or the work of Greenberg,
Ruhlen, etc.), but he is undeterred. For those of us who think there is little
or no linguistic evidence relevant to populations before c. 5000 BCE, what are
we to do? We can't refute non-testable hypotheses. Any advice?
	Would others on the list care to evaluate Renfrew's article from their
own areas of expertise? I apologize for not summarizing the article in more
detail but I think that would come better from someone sympathetic to it.

	Jeffrey Wills

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