Modern Europe / 3 Ancient Populations

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“Modern Europeans are a mixture of three ancient populations related to Western hunter-gatherers (circled in green), early European farmers (circled in blue) and steppe pastoralists (circled in red). Researchers have, for the first time, been able to trace the key genetic changes that shaped modern Europeans.”

“However, the blue eyes that are often considered another hallmark of northern Europeans appear to have a far more ancient origin with our early hunter gatherer ancestors.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3330674/Europeans-owe-height-ASIAN-nomads-blue-eyes-hunter-gatherers-Ancient-DNA-plots-centuries-genetic-changes-shaped-modern-man.html#ixzz3t16tWrSO

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Early European / Evidence Neanderthal Interbreeding

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NATURE

Early European may have had Neanderthal great-great-grandparent

Genome of 40,000-year-old jaw from Romania suggests humans interbred with Neanderthals in Europe.

More Joy, Less Suffering / Social Cruelty

 

Only a society bereft of conscience can commit cruelty against its most helpless citizens.

Social humans have been waiting thousands of years for change, for miracles, for a massive destructive event that wipes out evil and replaces it with a supernatural theme park. Worse, too many are just looking for mass destruction. Social humans inhabit a fantasy dimension created by words; a dimension that exists solely in the human mind, but never in nature. Words are the destructive genie that escaped the bottle on the way to “modern civilization” – words distort reality and justify cruelty.

The majority of word concepts are so removed from reality that they mean nothing. Generic concepts are made up of generic words that obscure perception and defeat action. Words further war, poverty, and division: the word priests scream, scold, punish and pervert human behavior, and the result is that modern social humans can no longer distinguish what is harmful behavior from healthy behavior. Nor can societies judge those who commit inhumane behavior. “It’s all good.”

A better today is not difficult: Stop hurting people and animals. Stop trashing the earth. Just stop: no more studies, theories, laws, arguments, funding drives, religious excuses or waiting for miracles. Just stop. Give it a try: at least once each day, resist the urge to dismiss a real person as some extraneous blob in your peripheral vision; as someone who is in your way; as a object in an invisible class of people. Look around. Look at faces; see humanity. Stop harming others by ignoring that they exist. No one is “better” than you, nor “lesser” than you. Just stop.

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“Barriers To Assistance for the homeless mentally ill” from: A CARING WEBSITE. Message? It’s their fault.

According to a 2003 report released by the US Department of Health and Human Service, most homeless persons who suffer from mental illness do not necessarily need to be institutionalized if they have appropriate supportive housing options. [9] The problem lies in the fact that many severely mentally ill homeless persons are unable to access supportive housing and/or treatment services for both social reasons and reasons related to their impaired conditions. [8] Therefore, there exists both societal and self-imposed barriers to individuals with severe mental illness to receive assistance

Unbelievable! People choose to be severely mentally ill? Is being confined to a wheelchair a self-imposed barrier? What about being old and suffering dementia? How about disease caused by smoking? Do we refuse to treat these people?

Individuals suffering from severe mental illness face societal and self-imposed barriers to assistance. For example, the current lack of an effective system of mental healthcare represents a societal barrier to receiving mental health services. In addition to this, self-imposed barriers such as the intense paranoia that can accompany mental illness often leads severely mentally ill individuals to resist help from community services.

People do not CHOOSE to be paranoid. What so many refuse to understand is that people with severe mental problems don’t want “help” because “help” is being thrown into jail without the least concern for the person’s mental state or vulnerability. To become prey for vicious criminal inmates; to be subjected to chemical lobotomy, rape, beatings, stabbings  (or murder) is not treatment.

 

Disciplining Your “Crazed” Asperger Teenager

No, I’m not going to give this jerk any free publicity. Name Withheld. Edited for length.

Can you imagine the outrage if this person was addressing Black or Hispanic young people?

Hey! I was an Asperger teenager; this stuff is nuts!

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Your Asperger Teen / What an ugly monster!

Due to Aspergers-related attitudes and behaviors…many teens may also experience the following associated problems:

Criminal Activity—Pain, loneliness and despair can lead to problems with drugs, sex and alcohol. In their overwhelming need to fit in and make friends (?) Really? some Aspergers teens fall into the wrong high school crowds. “Average” teens who abuse substances will use the Aspergers teen’s naivety to get him to buy or carry drugs and liquor for their group. If cornered by a police officer, an Aspergers ( also African American teenagers?) teen usually does not have the skill to answer the officer’s questions appropriately. For example, if the officer says, “Do you know how fast you were driving?” an Aspergers teen may reply bluntly, “Yes,” and thus appears to be a smart-aleck.

Depression and Acting Out—The teenage years are more emotional for everyone. Yet the hormonal changes of adolescence coupled with the problems outlined above might mean that an Aspergers teen becomes emotionally overwhelmed. Childish tantrums reappear. Boys often act-out by physically attacking a teacher or peer…Suicide and drug addiction become real concerns, as the teen now has access to cars, drugs and alcohol.

Inability to “Be a Teen”—An Aspergers teen typically does not care about fads and clothing styles (concerns that obsess all others in their peer group). Aspergers teens may neglect their hygiene and wear the same haircut for years. Boys forget to shave; girls don’t comb their hair or follow fashion. (The horror! The Horror!) Some Aspergers teens remain stuck in a grammar school clothes and hobbies such as unicorns and Legos, instead of moving into adolescent concerns like FaceBook and dating. Aspergers boys often have no motor coordination. This leaves them out of high school sports, typically an essential area of male bonding and friendship.

School Failures—Many Aspergers teens with their average to above average Iqs can sail through grammar school, and yet hit academic problems in middle and high school. They now have to deal with four to six teachers, instead of just one… Aspergers student now has to face a series of classroom environments with different classmates, odors, distractions and noise levels, and sets of expectations. Aspergers teens with their distractibility and difficulty organizing materials face similar academic problems as students with Attention Deficit Disorder. A high school term paper or a science fair project becomes impossible to manage because no one has taught the Aspergers teen how to break it up into a series of small steps.

Sexual Issues—Aspergers teens are not privy to street knowledge of sex and dating behaviors that other teens pick up naturally. (Yes, it’s preferable for kids to learn about sex in the streets!!) This leaves them naive and clueless about sex. (Sex education does not exist – Christians forbid it – only street sex. Boys can become obsessed with Internet pornography and masturbation. They can be overly forward with a girl who is merely being kind, and then later face charges of stalking her.

An Aspergers girl may have a fully developed female body and no understanding of flirtation and non-verbal sexual cues, making her susceptible to harassment and even date rape. (Just like all those other women who are raped – it’s the victim’s fault)

Social Isolation—In the teenage world where everyone feels insecure, teens that appear different are voted off the island. Aspergers teens often have odd mannerisms… talks in a loud un-modulated voice, avoids eye contact, interrupts others, violates their physical space, and steers the conversation to her favorite odd topic. Another appears willful, selfish and aloof, mostly because he is unable to share his thoughts and feelings with others. Isolated and alone, many Aspergers teens are too anxious to initiate social contact. Many Aspergers teens are stiff and rule-oriented and act like little adults, which is a deadly trait in any teenage popularity contest.

Friendship and all its nuances of reciprocity can be exhausting for an Aspergers teen, even though he wants it more than anything else. One teenager ended a close friendship with this note: “Your expectations exhaust me. The phone calls, the talks, all your feelings… it’s just too much for me. I can’t take it anymore.”

As the years go by, are you seeing your Aspergers child rapidly becoming reduced to a person who is surviving on:

  • Anger
  • Being a mistake
  • Depression
  • Hate
  • Isolation
  • Low self esteem
  • Resentment
  • Sadness
  • Self hate

Have you heard your Aspergers teenager say things like:

  • “I am a mistake.”
  • “I am dumb.”
  • “I am useless.”
  • “I hate myself.”
  • “I wish I was dead.”
  • “What is wrong with me?”
  • “Why was I born?

If so, then alarm bells should be going off.

My XXXXXX eBook is guaranteed to (a) improve your teen’s behavior and self-esteem, and (b) empower parents and assist them in starting to enjoy their amazing Aspergers teens. Parenting strong-willed, defiant teens with Aspergers is tough!  If you don’t know how, that is…

 

 

 

 

 

Theory of Mind / Alvin I. Goldman

Excellent “behind the scenes” analysis of mindreading theories – of interest generally, but in particular for those humans accused of lacking this elusive and essential “socially normal human” ability. If only the people doing the theorizing were aware that human animals possess many ways of “knowing.”

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Theory of Mind   /  Alvin I. Goldman

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science  Edited by Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels, and Stephen P. Stich

Print Publication Date:

Jan 2012

Subject:

Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind

Online Publication Date:

May 2012

DOI:

10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195309799.013.0017

Abstract and Keywords

The article provides an overview of ‘Theory of Mind’ (ToM) research, guided by two classifications. The first covers four competing approaches to mentalizing such as the theory-theory, modularity theory, rationality theory, and simulation theory. The second classification is the first-person/third-person contrast. Jerry Fodor claimed that commonsense psychology is so good at helping predict behavior that it is practically invisible. It works well because the intentional states it posits genuinely exist and possess the properties generally associated with them. The modularity model has two principal components. First, whereas the child-scientist approach claims that mentalizing utilizes domain-general cognitive equipment, the modularity approach posits one or more domain-specific modules, which use proprietary representations and computations for the mental domain. Second, the modularity approach holds that these modules are innate cognitive structures, which mature or come on line at preprogrammed stages and are not acquired through learning. The investigators concluded that autism impairs a domain-specific capacity dedicated to mentalizing. Gordon, Jane Heal, and Alvin Goldman explained simulation theory in such a way that mind readers simulate a target by trying to create similar mental states of their own as proxies or surrogates of those of the target. These initial pretend states are fed into the mind reader’s own cognitive mechanisms to generate additional states, some of which are then imputed to the target.

Pre-pub PDF can be found at rutgers.edu

Alvin I. Goldman, Department of Philosophy and Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University

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Short version? Lots of words – nothing concrete.

Do birds and other types of animals need “theories” and “concepts” to understand another’s behavior?  Mimicry and synchronization do just as well or better, than human communication. First, one would have to prove that humans are really good at mindreading – but if this were true, con artists, liars and sociopaths would not have such an excellent record of fooling social humans.

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Imitation as a means of understanding the “state” of another individual. This is a very common method in the arts and sports. To see and copy creates an intuitive understanding and expression of what humans are up to. 

Visual Thinking / The Iliad

HOMER / THE ILIAD, translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Books 1990

An impression when reading The Iliad – an “Asperger type” use of language: Visual, concrete, specific, detailed.

Book Nine / The Embassy to Achilles
Lines 217-228

My comments in black.

So Ajax and Odysseus made their way at once

where the battle lines of breakers crash and drag, (description of sea waves eroding shoreline or beach; a geomorphological observation)

praying hard to the god who moves and shakes the earth (Poseidon is the destructive force produced by earthquakes)

that they might bring the proud heart of Achilles

round with speed and ease.

Reaching the Myrmidons shelters and her ships, (Myrmidons means Ant Men or Ant Swarm. There are myths as to how the name came about, but as with many myths, they are later concoctions to explain forgotten literal origins. It makes sense that the ant reference is literal – that Achilles’ men behaved like a swarm of ants when attacking – seemingly numberless and in total coordination.

they found him there, delighting his heart now,

plucking strong and clear on the fine lyre–

beautifully carved, its silver bridge set firm —

he won from the spoils when he raised Eetion’s city. (not a generic lyre, but a specific object with its own history)

Achilles was lifting his spirits with it now,

singing the famous deeds of fighting heroes… (the warrior as artist and poet)

The identity of Homer remains a mystery. Was “he” one poet, several, or a tradition of spoken performances memorized  over centuries until The Iliad was written down, possibly in the 8th C. BCE?

I think that The Iliad is a “song” composed by the warriors themselves following a traditional format. Each man sang the events of his day; described what he saw; who was killed and how; by whom, with which weapons, so that individuals took their place within the chaotic context of actual battle. It seems likely that men made up “reports” on the spot, and performed them for the survivors of the day’s battle, as they cooked their evening meal around the bonfires, drank wine and recovered from shock and injury. How else would the battle have been recorded from so many personal viewpoints and physical locations at the same time? These individual “song snap shots” would have been collected and spread around the Greek world by returning warriors and taken to any location where Greeks traveled.

Battlefields are chaotic: any group of men fighting on one front may be totally out of touch with what is going on elsewhere, even with modern communications. The Ancient Greeks had nothing except eyewitness accounts, and indeed the first 250 pages read like a casualty report, unrelenting in the accurate descriptions of each death, the man’s origin, family, and history as a warrior, as well as the “spoils” taken by the killer – Helmets, shields, armor, weapons, horses, chariots. Armies had “helpers” assigned the task of returning loot to the respective camps. Loot was an essential component of a warrior’s reputation, and in The Iliad is accounted for, piece by piece.    

Greek vase painting, scenes from Trojan War; often tell the story like a slide show.

Greek vase painting of scenes from the Trojan War. The story sequence is presented as if it’s a slide show.

K5.10 Duel of AJAX & HECTOR Louvre, Paris, Attic Red Figure Shape: Kylix Painter: Signed by Douris Date: ca 485 – 480 BC

It is my impression that The Iliad is composed of literal eye-witness accounts: whoever described the events was there, up close and personal.

The warriors were extremely attached to family, clan, friends and anyone linked through personal history: knowing who was killed or injured during the battle was essential, and would have been reported by messengers or runners who disseminated information around the battlefield and camps. A standard form of report – concise, brief, up to date would have been vital to strategy. Was any of this written down at the time? Probably not: I don’t think there is a single reference to writing.

The effect is like a movie shot by many cameras, including scenes and flashbacks from other films, as if each character carries a portfolio of video clips that become part of his or her identity.

Later in the poem, there is a change of style, a certain inauthenticity of image, that impresses me as someone trying to copy the formula of an eyewitness account, but failing.  The literal and comprehensive visual presentation, on-the-spot immediacy and lack of abstract concepts lead me to one conclusion:

The Homeric Greeks were visual thinkers.

 

 

 

Self-Education / Hunter-Gatherer Play

https://www.chicagoideas.com/videos/560

Link to videos by Peter Gray, Evolutionary Psychologist on “natural learning.” Hunter-gatherer children learn everything they need to know to be competent adults through self-guided play. He advocates the end of schools as we know them.

Is his a “pie in the sky” vision of education? I know that I would have flourished in a hunter-gatherer “learn as you play” environment. Asperger children do self-educate (we spend our entire lives self-educating), which is what that gets us “banished” from the rigid, narrow, suffocating and infantalizing public school regime. So if you are the parent of an Asperger, child, find a “hunter-gatherer” learning situation for them, or create your own.

As for modern social children, many could benefit from this style of self-education, if they had access from an early age and were protected from the overwhelming social indoctrination spewed out by the media, advertising, popular entertainment and public schools. I do suspect that a scary percentage of American children are struggling with domesticated (neotenic) brains, a condition that stalls perceptions of the environment at “magical thinking.” This unrealistic thought pattern supposedly “goes away” as the child develops reason, logic and analytical skills (these must be taught) but even a cursory review of typical Americans shows that thinking skills are learned by very few individuals. Emotional obsessions have become the basis for behavior, even among “educated” people.

In addition, American culture seeks to retain childhood dependence in its members and substitutes (demands) a regime of social behavior that replaces true adult behavior. (If you buy this product, it will transform you into an adult, or keep you from becoming an adult, so that you will be young forever.) The last thing that the individuals and corporations at the top of the “greed” pyramid want is an independent-minded, self-sufficient population of functioning adults.

For related magical thinking and juvenalization/neoteny  posts: please use search.  

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The Efé are a group of hunter-gatherer people living in the Ituri Rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Efé children often play a game known as Osani.

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“You play Osani by sitting in a circle, feet touching, all connected. Each player in turn names a round object like the sun, the moon, a star, an eye  and then goes on to name a figurative expression of roundness the family circle, a baby in the womb, or the cycle of the moon. As players fail to come up with a circular term they are eliminated from the game until only one player remains.”

Note that this is a visual memory game: the challenge is to identify (image) specific objects and phenomena, a process that develops knowledge of physical reality; a form, its translation into three dimensions and what is the result of that form in motion. This is visual-spatial learning.  

Denisovan / Tibetan Introgression High Altitude Adaptation

FROM: Institute of Human Origins http://www.becominghuman.org For full article go to Nature

Ancient Denisovan genes enable modern Tibetan to handle high altitude

August 14, 2014

The authors of a paper in Nature this week  conclude a modification of a haplotype found in the Denisovan genome apparently has given modern Tibetans (and their ancestors) an adaptation to high altitude, thus avoiding the hypoxia thinner air causes in individuals lacking this genetic combination.

“Haplotype” is defined as a set of DNA variations, or polymorphisms, that tend to be inherited together. A haplotype can refer to a combination of alleles or to a set of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) found on the same chromosome. “Hypoxia” (also known as Hypoxiation or Anoxemia) is a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. Hypoxia may be classified as either generalized, affecting the whole body, or local, affecting a region of the body.

The paper by Emilia Huerta Sanchez and others is summarized in the abstract as follows:
“As modern humans migrated out of Africa, they encountered many new environmental conditions, including greater temperature extremes, different pathogens and higher altitudes. These diverse environments are likely to have acted as agents of natural selection and to have led to local adaptations. One of the most celebrated examples in humans is the adaptation of Tibetans to the hypoxic environment of the high-altitude Tibetan plateau. A hypoxia pathway gene, EPAS1, was previously identified as having the most extreme signature of positive selection in Tibetans and was shown to be associated with differences in haemoglobin concentration at high altitude. Re-sequencing the region around EPAS1 in 40 Tibetan and 40 Han individuals, we find that this gene has a highly unusual haplotype structure that can only be convincingly explained by introgression of DNA from Denisovan or Denisovan-related individuals into humans. Scanning a larger set of worldwide populations, we find that the selected haplotype is only found in Denisovans and in Tibetans, and at very low frequency among Han Chinese. Furthermore, the length of the haplotype, and the fact that it is not found in any other populations, makes it unlikely that the haplotype sharing between Tibetans and Denisovans was caused by incomplete ancestral lineage sorting rather than introgression. Our findings illustrate that admixture with other hominin species has provided genetic variation that helped humans to adapt to new environments.”

Biology

noun: introgression; plural noun: introgressions

  1. the transfer of genetic information from one species to another as a result of hybridization between them and repeated backcrossing.

Some years ago a cave called Denisova in the Altai mountains of Siberia yielded a partial finger bone dated to around 70,000 years ago. Altitude and low temperatures preserved enough DNA  for researchers from the Max Planck Institute to analyze. These scientists were able to reconstruct the individual’s genome and announced that while genetically similar to Neanderthal remains found in the region, these were sufficiently different so as to  be distinct from both Neanderthals and modern humans. The individual was designated a “Denisovan” but cannot be assigned a formal species designation because the protocols by which scientists distinguish species were adopted before modern genetic analysis. Differences in the size, shape and function of bones are used to establish genus and species attribution (for example, Australopithecus robustus is distinguished from Homo habilis on the basis of cranial and facial characteristics, among other things). While scientists can make a genetic distinction they cannot assign a species name to the bones found in the Denisova cave.

Enough genetic material was extracted from the middle joint of the pinky finger from the left hand to determine the individual was a young female with brown eyes and hair but until more bones are found that can be related reliably to the Denisovan girl, we cannot speak of Homo denisovensis (or similar) but simply say the people to whom she was related were “Denisovans”.

Has anyone thought of looking for introgression of archaic DNA, especially related to visual processing, in Asperger individuals?

The Problem of Species Boundaries / Humans

One of the first obstacles I encounter when reading about human origins is the lack of consensus on where to place species boundaries for modern Homo sapiens sapiens, archaic Homo sapiens, and a bunch of human, but not-quite-human humans. As a geologist, I find this lack of a coherent description bizarre.

The Theory of Plate Tectonics set in motion a dynamic planet and gave geologists a platform for understanding earth’s dynamic history and has provided a basis for exploring planetary geology. This revolution happened rather quickly, as old and new data blended into a fabulous new paradigm. This type of revolution does not seem to be on the horizon in life sciences.

The question remains: What is a species?

The study of Man has benefitted from quite a few changes in available technologies and a boom in genetics, and yet – not much movement seems to have taken place in formulating how “species is applied to humans history. A religious notion lingers which requires that an absolute barrier exist between “us” and “them.” Modern humans have declared themselves unique, whatever did the creating. A species of hominid is put up for election as “direct ancestor” and then is defeated by argument alone. The need to removing a conceptual wall between “us” (the mini-god) and “them” (the homely grunters and shamblers) has taken on the power of a phobia: We really don’t want to have a direct ancestor (which we must have had). To be joined to pre-existing animal life would mean that we are mortal, not little gods.

As an Asperger, who does not identify with the social hierarchy and pyramid climbing, I am quite comfortable being an animal, a primate, an ape, a human. In fact, when pondering the survival talents of Homo erectus and other wild humans, I find myself feeling rather pleased at having such magnificent ancestors.

The-Neanderthal-Encampment-by-Zdenek-Burian-1960 imagesdaynes

TOP – Old School Cave Men / Neanderthals.

BOTTOM: Upscale Neanderthal family. Once it was discovered that ancient Europeans had sex with Neanderthals, the N’s had to be reverse-engineered as decent and intelligent White People. Elizabeth Dayne’s makeover of a Neanderthal family is lovely, but it owes much to Christian religious art. This portrait could easily be titled: “The Neanderthal Holy Family – Mary, Joseph and Baby Bam Bam.”