The 'Not-our-hypothesis' (NOH) syndrome

Allan Krill

There is sometimes a tendency in computer programming to not be interested in developments that were invented by competitors. This is called the Not-invented-here syndrome. There is a similar tendency in science: researchers generally do not want to work with a competitors' hypotheses. "That's their hypothesis, we're not going to help them test or develop it." I think we can call this the 'Not-our-hypothesis' syndrome.  

As T. C. Chamberlain explained in 1890 scientists often have 'parental affection' for the hypotheses they use. In the interest of efficiency, scientists typically choose to avoid Chamberlain's recommendation of using 'multiple working hypotheses'. 

In the history of the aquatic ape hypothesis, none of the originators or promoters were paleoanthropologists. 
Alister Hardy (1960) was a marine biologist.
Carl O. Sauer (1962) was a geographer.
Desmond Morris (1967) is a zoologist.
Elaine Morgan (1972) was a feminist script writer. 

Any discussion of the unorthodox aquatic hypothesis would only distract and detract from the work of leading paleoanthropologists. It was not their hypothesis. 

The attitude of paleoanthropologists still seems to be: "If this had been true, one of us would have thought of it."
(Graham Richards 1991: The refutation that never was: the reception of the aquatic ape theory, 1972-1987, in Roede, et al. The Aquatic Ape: Fact or Fiction?)