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Re: Not Enough Data

Subject: Re: Not Enough Data
From: "Jim McGinn"
Date: 29 Oct 2006 16:37:40 -0800
Newsgroups: sci.anthropology.paleo
Gerrit Hanenburg wrote:
> [email protected] wrote:
> >So, you're saying that my supposition that human intelligence,
> >consciousness, and communicativeness evolved gradually over millions of
> >years is speculative but that your supposition, for which there is no
> >positive evidence, that these abilities evolved instantaneously is not
> >wildly speculative?  Right
> I never maintained that "these abilities evolved instantaneously".

Yes, but that is because you don't maintain anything at all.

> >> >Science tells us to not let the evidence dictate conclusions.  (IOW,
> >> >don't let the evidence lead you by the nose.)
> >>
> >> Ultimately evidence is the answer to the questions posed by hypotheses
> >> (for example (simplified): was A. afarensis a biped? Answer: yes.
> >> Evidence: anatomy of postcranial fossil material and fossil
> >> footprints). In that sense the evidence does dictate conclusions.
> >
> >Is it not reasonable to assume that an animal that can construct tools/
> >weapons at 2.5 mya would also understand the basics of cultivation.  Is
> >this not a proper use of evidence?  Why not.  Be explicit.
> It's overinterpretation, inference beyond what the evidence can
> provide.

This is just stupid, Gerrit.  It's perfectly reasonable to interpret
the evidence as such.  You have no evidence that disputes it.  And it
answers questions which you just pretend to ignore.

I don't know what it required for Homo erectus to manufacture
> an Acheulean handaxe. I suppose they needed a certain intuitive or
> explicit knowledge of material properties, fracture mechanics,
> geometry. Rather specific knowledge that may have taken a long time to
> acquire and apparently went through a long period of stasis.

> There is
> no simple correlation between such a skill and other completely
> different abilities in an extinct species.

How do you supposedly know this?  It seems to me you are  drawing
conclusions on lack of evidence.

> The rather simple and static characteristics of the Acheulean toolkit
> does not exactly suggest a very creative, inventive and exploratory
> state of mind compared to the explosive development of toolkits in the
> upper paleolithic.

Come on Gerrit.  Listen to yourself.  You have no real dispute with
anything I'm saying.

> >Is absence of evidence for a supposition evidence that the supposition
> >is wrong?
> No.
> >Think about it.  It's all just common sense here, Gerrit.
> >You can't dismiss the possibility of something that may or may not have
> >happpened in the past based on no evidence

No response.

> >
> >> Thus, until we find evidence of graves associated with Homo erectus,
> >> we may assume that they didn't bury their dead (negative state).
> >
> >Or we can assume that they did and that we haven't yet found this
> >evidence, right?
> That position is impossible to falsify because the discovery of
> evidence can be postponed indefinitely, whereas the opposite
> assumption can be easily falsified be a single piece of evidence.
> (the assumption that there are no black swans is falsified by a single
> instance of a black swan, wheras the assumption that there exist black
> swans can never be falsified by a lack of evidence for black swans).

This is just stupid.  If we were doing a test your statement would
apply.  But we are not.

> >> They may have, but there's not even any evidence to make them suspect.
> >
> >Sometimes we have no choice but to resort to common sense and reason.
> >Is it reasonable to assume that an animal that can fashion tools would
> >be unable to realize the common sense benefits of some form of
> >cultivation?  It does not seem reasonable to me.  Are you suggesting we
> >cannot apply reason to the data?

No response.

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