Elaine Morgan's messages at the Aquatic Ape Theory discussion site


Allan Krill
12/21/21  

In December 2021 I discovered that Elaine Morgan had posted over 5000 messages on the discussion site AAT@groups.io. She posted most of these messages under the pseudonyms 'Rob Dudman' and 'Bill' in the years 2004 until her death in 2013. She also posted a few messages under her own name. 

'Bill' (alias 'm3d' alias 'm3dodds') posted 2992 messages from August 24, 2004 to June 30, 2013. 'Rob Dudman' posted messages (difficult to count) from Nov 2, 2004 to June 22, 2013.

Elaine suffered a stroke in February 2012. While she was recovering, there were no posts by 'Elaine' (Jan 31 - May 5); no posts by 'Bill m3dodds' (Feb. 16 - May 6); no posts by 'Rob Dudman' (Dec. 24 - May 10). After she recovered she kept posting messages until she died at the age of 92 on July 12, 2013. There is a youtube video of her, 60 days before she died. She is her clear-headed sharp-witted self. She is holding a pen, ready to take notes on a notebook in front of her. 

Elaine had been a script writer for BBC in the 1950s and 1960s. She enjoyed writing fictional dialogs and she was good at it. She had fun contributing to this AAT discussion site without most readers knowing of her involvement. She strongly opposed many of Marc Verhaegen's 'aquarboreal' interpretations and she wanted to avoid displaying their personal disagreements. 'Rob' and 'Bill' (or 'm3dodds') sometimes played devil's advocate for each other and for Elaine. That enabled her to debate Marc's views, and other opponents' views, and guide readers to journal articles and other information that she wanted to be included in the discussions.

In her book The Naked Darwinist (2008) Elaine expressed the idea of publishing opposing views of a debate using fictional characters "rather than let the whole debate be effectively gagged":

For a period of five years, New Scientist accepted articles from me about different aspects of the theory, at the rate of about one a year, until they received complaints that this was an unacceptably one-sided policy since they never printed articles critical of it. They said that was a fair criticism and returned my latest piece saying they could not accept any more unless and until some opponents of the theory chose to voice their views. I knew that would never happen - they had learned by experience that silence is golden. I rang up and offered to write some stringent attacks on AAT myself, under a pseudonym, rather than let the whole debate be effectively gagged. They thought not. I cannot blame them for not collaborating in such a subterfuge. It was many years ago and the ban has long since been lifted or forgotten.

Here are links to the 2992 messages by 'm3dodds' ('Bill'). Most of the messages are discussions between 'Bill' and her other fictional character 'Rob Dudman.'  Because of the messaging technology, it  is complicated to understand who is supposed to be writing in the dialogs. But, both 'Rob' and 'Bill' are Elaine, and there is a lot of interesting and useful information here: 

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