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Re: [evol-psych] A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution and AbruptClimate Change

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  • Norman K. McPhail
    ... Can you be more specific about Calvin s ideas that you find most objectionable and explain exactly what you think is half-baked about them? NKM
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 31, 2002
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      "C. Loring Brace" wrote:

      > Unfortunately I am afraid that he probably has not dealt with such
      > matters. Calvin has found himself a niche in the popular book market, and
      > is making a tidy little living out of it. He does not really generate
      > best-sellers, but his books sell well enough so his publishers are always
      > willing to take on another. It is a kind of pot-boiler pop-science
      > market. He generates one half-baked idea after another and embellishes it
      > in rambling but readable prose, and makes it the subject of another
      > middle-brow production. In effect, it doubles his salary.
      >
      > C. L. Brace

      Can you be more specific about Calvin's ideas that you find most
      objectionable and explain exactly what you think is "half-baked" about
      them?

      NKM
    • Norman K. McPhail
      Dr. Brace: Thanks for your specific comments on the hand ax and climate change ideas Calvin advocates. I m in the process of reviewing the A. K. Behrensmeyer
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 1 9:49 AM
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        Dr. Brace:

        Thanks for your specific comments on the hand ax and climate change
        ideas Calvin advocates. I'm in the process of reviewing the A. K.
        Behrensmeyer et al. paper, but I could not get access to either the
        Kingston or the Whittaker/McCall pieces. If you have a web site address
        or a copy you can forward, I would appreciate it.

        Norm McPhail

        "C. Loring Brace" wrote:
        >
        > On Thu, 31 Jan 2002, Norman K. McPhail wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > > "C. Loring Brace" wrote:

        > >
        > The climatic changes as a driving force for vertebrate and more recently
        > hominid evolution derives from the outlook of Richard Swan Lull in 1917,
        > and the more recent application to the hominid picture has been championed
        > by Elisabeth Vrba, now also at Yale. The actual data supporting Vrba's
        > model have been convincingly critiqued by John D. Kingston et al. in
        > Science 264:955-959 (May 13, 1993) and by A. K. Behrensmeyer et al. in
        > Science 278:15899-1594 (Nov. 28, 1997). Calvin also picked up the idea
        > that Middle Pleistocene hand-axes were used as projectiles, although how
        > even the robust Middle Pleistocene humans could throw them hard enough for
        > that tear-drop shape to have had any aerodynamic advantage is impossible
        > to imagine. Calvin actually suggested that they were hurled in discus
        > fashion and functioned as a kind of "killer Frisbee" lobbed over herds of
        > massed animals where they might just hit something on the way down
        > (1990:243-244). John Whittaker and Grant McCall treated this in
        > "Handaxe-hurling hominids: An unlikely story" in Current Anthropology
        > 42(4):566-572 (Aug.-Oct. 2001). These are some of the specific bases of
        > my feeling that Calvin's charming scenarios qualify as being called
        > "half-baked."
        >
        > C. L. Brace
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