Neanderthal inheritance helped humans adapt to life outside of Africa
Phys.org / November 10, 2016
Excerpt: All told, the new study identifies 126 different places in the genome where genes inherited from those archaic humans remain at unusually high frequency in the genomes of modern humans around the world. We owe our long-lost hominid relatives for various traits, and especially those related to our immune systems and skin, the evidence shows.
“Our work shows that hybridization was not just some curious side note to human history, but had important consequences and contributed to our ancestors’ ability to adapt to different environments as they dispersed throughout the world,” says Joshua Akey of University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
While the vast majority of surviving Neanderthal and Denisovan sequences are found at relatively low frequencies (typically less than 5%), the new analyses turned up 126 places in our genomes where these archaic sequences exist at much higher frequencies, reaching up to about 65%. Seven of those regions were found in parts of the genome known to play a role in characteristics of our skin. Another 31 are involved in immunity.
“The ability to increase to such high population frequencies was most likely facilitated because these sequences were advantageous,” Akey explains. “In addition, many of the high-frequency sequences span genes involved in the immune system, which is a frequent target of adaptive evolution.”
Generally speaking, the genes humans got from Neanderthals or Denisovans are important for our interactions with the environment. The evidence suggests that hybridization with archaic humans as our ancient ancestors made their way out of Africa “was an efficient way for modern humans to quickly adapt to the new environments they were encountering.”
Neanderthals mated with modern humans much earlier than previously thought
“One very interesting thing about our finding is that it shows a signal of breeding in the ‘opposite’ direction from that already known,” Siepel notes. “That is, we show human DNA in a Neanderthal genome, rather than Neanderthal DNA in human genomes.”
How can they NOT BE ancestors when their genes are present in contemporary Homo sapiens?
Full post discusses the treatment of Neandertal culture in archaeology: http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/neandertals/culture/jaubert-bruniquel-stone-circles-2016.html
Across the entire timespan of existence of Neandertals and the branch that gave rise to them, probably fewer than 50,000 of them existed at any time. I would not be much surprised if the true number was much smaller. If the average lifespan of a Neandertal was 20 years, maintaining a population of 50,000 individuals would require around 7 births per day. For the more than half million years this population and its ancestors existed, back past Sima de los Huesos to their common ancestors with Denisovans and African peoples, we can say there were as many as 1.3 billion Neandertals.
Weigh that against how little we know of them, how few pieces of their cultures they left for us. We do not know what the cultural production of an average Neandertal could have been, this is why the denominator is unknown. But it is evident that the fraction represented by the archaeological record is tiny.
The accompanying opinion essay by Marie Soressi is well worth reading, in it she reminds archaeologists of the limits of preservation:
These structures are among the best-preserved constructions known for the whole of the Pleistocene epoch, probably because they were sealed by calcite very soon after they were erected. When the best evidence is found in the best-preserved context, it serves as a reminder for archaeologists of how much we depend on preservation. The fact that some of the art of the period is also often found deep inside caves has been alternatively interpreted as a testimony of the preservation provided by the cave environment3 or as a result of spiritual preoccupations — the underground being a special place4. Perhaps we need to further consider the idea that the fuzziness of the Neanderthal record is due to a lack of preservation.
One might argue that the fact that we only find a tiny number of uniquely informative Neandertal-associated artifact is itself information. Surely, if the Neandertals had been more culturally productive, more modern, they would have left more of a record? Soressi’s essay addresses that argument to some extent, but I want to examine a slightly different point of view. The fact is, it’s hardly just Neandertals. We know very little about the ancient cultures of modern humans.
Which doesn’t prevent archaeologists from indulging in rampant “novel-writing” activities, based on zero evidence!
It’s been a human tradition and necessity, from way, way back in time, that “old humans” have a precarious existence, living moment to moment between the real terror of life in general, and the iffy proposition, “Will my children feed me or let me die?” And the terror of becoming feeble, helpless, useless and praying for an overdue death.
Suggested viewing: The film, The Ballad of Narayama, 1958. In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close …
There is another side to this: during most of human history, living to old age was a real accomplishment. Those who did so had likely hit the genetic lottery at birth, managed to survive Nature’s ruthless culling of infant children, and were the product of a proper lifestyle for a curiosity-driven bipedal ape; a steady adequate diet, moderate to strenuous daily exercise and lots of time for play, group learning and meaningful work, above and beyond survival. This scenario no longer prevails.
Old people were rare embodiments of success, and the equivalent of the Google search engine for their people. Whether or not “old” was counted as 30-70 years, that’s a lot of experience tucked away in one brain. Old Humans were knowledge sources and critical to family and group continuation. Extinction of bipedal ape species in the conquest of Earth environments is common; so common that Homo sapiens is reportedly, the Last Homo Standing. Thus, rarity + value to the group = success for the individual. RARITY is the point.
Old people are no longer rare! How many “old people” exist on earth today?
Way too many.
In Capitalist societies this creates a massive problem. Cultural concepts like wisdom, judgement, guidance, tradition, common sense – “eternal fact” – any knowledge that represents the totality of data processed for meaning by a human brain and stored in memory – information that has collected over generations, and as been re-examined and applied in the light of the challenges experienced in the ongoing present, has been utterly discredited as “old–fashioned” and is presently held to be the root of all social evil – the cause of all untidy human behavior, prejudice, and obstruction of a “free” global economy.
Suggested viewing: Rollerball, 1975 Trailer; full movie also available on youtube. https://youtu.be/E3BUMSY2xsQ?list=PLVb5Jn98DSgt81RpkL_y_6w8GR8emCfdJ
Communication in the new “data” paradigm is retarded at the “data” level. Processing for “meaning” in the modern world is a delusion: data collection, speed of transfer, stripping of context, and extreme abstraction do not create meaning but deny meaning. These current systems are so remote from human experience and comprehension, that even the most clever humans are forced into abject worship of the “magic allure and primacy of instant results” regardless of the utility of those results. No one is able to critically evaluate the consequences of relying on these extreme abstractions, and attempts to do so utilizing more abstraction (and more created data), by further processing and mathematical manipulation.
One stated goal of the “artificial intelligence community” is to duplicate the acknowledged superior range of functions that the average human brain is performing right now: and let’s not forget other magnificent versions of “operating systems” in living organisms that are active all over the planet, but “disappearing” due to our voracious need to convert “the universe” into data. A “species” is no longer a living form, but a genetic code that is stored; this is considered to be a valid substitute for the living organism, which is then “allowed” to become extinct.
Note: The “DNA code” is not the organism; you can have a recipe for chocolate cake, but it is not the cake! You can’t eat the recipe. You have to “create” the cake from actual ingredients. It’s the same “magical thinking” problem: neurotypicals believe in the “power” of words (codes, formulas, languages) to “create reality” – this is an infantile “magic spell” concept of reality.
The organic brain is the result of 3.5 billion years of tried and true research and development by natural evolutionary processes, but Man has declared it to be obsolete.
The “social value” of data collection and hoarding is the “discovery” that actual humans are unnecessary to the survival of Homo sapiens. Extinction is not a “possible or probable” hypothesis for the “last Homo standing” – it has already occurred. If Western Psychology and the tyranny of reductionist gene theory have their way, every last human will be found to be a defective organism produced by mistakes in the evolutionary substance of DNA – “Life” is a pathology that must be done away with in pursuit of a relentless goal; that of conformity to social abstractions.
The elevation of the mirage that “data is meaning” is the opposite of intelligent “synthesis”
Old People no longer have a “function” in human society except to consume pills, boost the use of medical intervention and life-extending technologies, to purchase temporary “youth products” and to be warehoused for profit, a scheme that is loosing the interest of society as a “growth industry” because keeping old people around in a “fake” state of health costs a boatload of resources vs. profit.
The human path to knowledge has been synthesis from seemingly chaotic distributions of data into “useable and meaningful” principles and practices, which inform and guide behavior toward individual and group survival.
This “path” both substitutes for, and enhances natural instruction (instinct) that is mostly lost due to extreme premature birth in our species, a deficit that is countered by the life-long learning functions that are made possible by the individual development of the brain and body outside the mother – and in the extremely challenging physical environment that life must negotiate. This environmental pressure is the most likely driver toward the complexity of an “open-system” human brain and our technical adaptability to almost every environment on Earth.
Our big brain is a both an asset and a liability. We’re clever enough to get ourselves into a heap of trouble, but not smart enough to avoid or fix our “creative” blunders.
That flaw that is evident in the elevation of “data as meaning” is the inevitable generation of more data; the more data, the more energy required to deal with all that rapidly increasing data. The result is not “meaning” but more data.
The Laws of Physics are not arbitrary. In fact, the “rules of the road” that nature sets are visible all around us and within us.
Observe the simple diagram below: “You” are the open system. You have boundaries, from the physical limits of your body to “mental” boundaries which depend on the “integrity” of your body. That means, you can’t properly engage the environment if your body is “disordered” by stress. What is stress? Disorder that is caused by not enough energy to maintain the “ordered organization of matter” that is you (Homeostasis). Not enough energy being introduced into your system? Disorder will follow. Too much energy being drained vs. energy being obtained? Disorder will follow. This applies to all types of open-systems.
It’s energy-in; energy used for maintenance and renewal; energy out (and waste products which must be dealt with). Contemporary modern social humans actively ignore or deny this simple fact.
The creation of “units of order” (the ever-increasing human population and associated domestic animals) obviously necessitates that more energy be added to the system. But importing energy by reallocating resources from one place to another, DECREASES ORDER in the “surroundings” from which one obtained the resources. The activities necessary to converting raw materials (less ordered) into manufactured goods, (highly ordered), and the movement of those goods and materials from one part of the planet to another, consumes vast amounts of energy, which decreases the energy available for basic system functions.
The “cost” of temporarily increasing order (rapid population increase-concentration in cities and the ever-increasing demand for food, water, shelter, governance, policing, material wealth, DECEASES ORDER IN THE SURROUNDINGS, from which energy is being drained, reducing the capacity of the environment to supply energy. More energy must be introduced into the “failing productivity” of the environment: the horrendous industrial farming system now in place is one result. Contrary to self-congratulatory insistence that we can game the “Laws of Physics” by increasing the volume of food produced in an imaginary never-ending upward trajectory, the energy available in inferior food (feed corn and corn syrup) DECREASES the amount of nutrition available to humans.
Hogging energy input, which is a dominant American practice, whether or not it’s by production of food, water, minerals, oil & gas fuels, plastics, and fertilizers, or vast military stockpiling of “dead end products” means INCREASED DISORDER IN THE SURROUNDING ENVIRONMENT (the rest of the planet) The Western practice of looting resources (all types of energy) disrupts pre-existing systems characterized by self-sustaining production and distribution of food, clean water sources, local government, healthy population numbers, and efficient trade. (No, not Utopia, but local production and control and the ways and means of meeting challenges).
American interference around the world destroys physical and cultural infrastructure; destroys local and regional food production, housing, clean water supplies and traditional human interdependence. Our ignorant self-interest increases disorder, which we then compound with more destructive activity – wars and “aid” (yikes!) – the awful consequences of which we blame on the victims of our stupidity!
The Laws of Physics are not negotiable: neither is the inevitable factor of entropy, as a sliding scale of return on energy use and production: using energy to convert “less ordered” materials into rigidly “ordered” objects, notably plastics and heavy-metal technology, which do not easily pass into disorder (break down into components – natural recycling) is nothing less than monumental stupidity.
The big question is: Why do we consider “energy-draining” behavior to be harmless to human beings? Why do we promote “energy-depleting” lifestyles as desirable or even socially mandatory? Why are modern humans addicted to creating ever more “disorder” due to the impossible delusion that more disorder will create order?
Old people? Our “wisdom input” is sorely needed.
Lyn Wadley / Her speciality is the African Stone Age: Middle Stone Age (which lasted from approximately 300,000 to 25,000 years ago) and Later Stone Age (the last 25,000 years). She began her career researching social and ecological issues during the past 25,000 years of the Later Stone Age in southern Africa. Data for her interpretations were obtained from sites in Namibia and South Africa. In particular, her Later Stone Age research centred on demographic mobility. She directed excavations at a suite of Holocene sites in the Magaliesberg, and subsequently spent eleven years excavating Rose Cottage Cave in the eastern Free State. Rose Cottage has a cultural sequence, beginning almost 100,000 years ago, with pulses of occupation until about 500 years ago. She is best known for her Middle Stone Age excavations in the rock shelter, Sibudu, KwaZulu-Natal, 1998 – 2011. This site has exceptional organic preservation. Final Middle Stone Age occupations of about 38,000 years ago are at the top of the sequence and the site has been excavated into deep layers with an age of approximately 77,000 years ago. The earliest occupations have not yet been reached. By the end of 2012, Sibudu was the subject of 72 peer-reviewed scientific papers, many of which are authored or co-authored by international collaborators. Amongst the novel data from the site is the oldest evidence for plant bedding and medicinal plant use in the world. –
Comment: She didn’t say the word “social” even once. If you watched this video and found the topic interesting, you’re likely Asperger-ish. A modern social human could not pay attention to “this boring stuff” and would have starved to death on Day 1, Life in the Stone Age.
How the Bat-Crap-Crazy (Neurotypical) Mormons tell it:
See this page in the original 1992 publication. Authors: Garrow, Thomas; Chadwick, Bruce A.
LDS BELIEFS. The Book of Mormon, published in 1830, addresses a major message to Native Americans. Its title page states that one reason it was written was so that Native Americans today might know “what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers.”
The Book of Mormon tells that a small band of Israelites under Lehi migrated from Jerusalem to the Western Hemisphere about 600 B.C. Upon Lehi’s death his family divided into two opposing factions, one under Lehi’s oldest son, Laman (see Lamanites), and the other under a younger son, Nephi 1 (see Nephites).
During the thousand-year history narrated in the Book of Mormon, Lehi’s descendants went through several phases of splitting, warring, accommodating, merging, and splitting again. At first, just as God had prohibited the Israelites from intermarrying with the Canaanites in the ancient Promised Land (Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3), the Nephites were forbidden to marry the Lamanites with their dark skin (2 Ne. 5:23; Alma 3:8-9). But as large Lamanite populations accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and were numbered among the Nephites in the first century B.C., skin color ceased to be a distinguishing characteristic. After the visitations of the resurrected Christ, there were no distinctions among any kind of “ites” for some two hundred years. But then unbelievers arose and called themselves Lamanites to distinguish themselves from the Nephites or believers (4 Ne. 1:20).
The concluding chapters of the Book of Mormon describe a calamitous war. About A.D. 231, old enmities reemerged and two hostile populations formed (4 Ne. 1:35-39), eventually resulting in the annihilation of the Nephites. The Lamanites, from whom many present-day Native Americans descend, remained to inhabit the American continent. Peoples of other extractions also migrated there.
The Book of Mormon contains many promises and prophecies about the future directed to these survivors. For example, Lehi’s grandson Enos prayed earnestly to God on behalf of his kinsmen, the Lamanites. He was promised by the Lord that Nephite records would be kept so that they could be “brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation” (Enos 1:13).
The role of Native Americans in the events of the last days is noted by several Book of Mormon prophets. Nephi 1 prophesied that in the last days the Lamanites would accept the gospel and become a “pure and delightsome people” (2 Ne. 30:6). Likewise, it was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the Lamanites will at some future time “blossom as the rose” (D&C 49:24).
After Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem, he appeared to the more righteous Lamanites and Nephites left after massive destruction and prophesied that their seed eventually “shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity” (3 Ne. 21:5). He also stated that if any people “will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob [the descendants of the Book of Mormon peoples], unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance”; together with others of the house of Israel, they will build the New Jerusalem (3 Ne. 21:22-23). The Book of Mormon teaches that the descendants of Lehi are heirs to the blessings of Abraham (see Abrahamic Covenant) and will receive the blessings promised to the house of Israel.
THE LAMANITE MISSION (1830 – 1831). Doctrine and a commandment from the Lord motivated the Latter-day Saints to introduce the Book of Mormon to the Native Americans and teach them of their heritage and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just a few months after the organization of the Church, four elders were called to preach to Native Americans living on the frontier west of the Missouri River (see Lamanite Mission of 1830-1831).
The missionaries visited the Cattaraugus in New York, the Wyandots in Ohio, and the Shawnees and Delawares in the unorganized territories (now Kansas). Members of these tribes were receptive to the story of the Restoration. Unfortunately, federal Indian agents worrying about Indian unrest feared that the missionaries were inciting the tribes to resist the government and ordered the missionaries to leave, alleging that they were “disturbers of the peace” (Arrington and Bitton, p. 146). LDS pro-Native American beliefs continued to be a factor in the tensions between Latter-day Saints and their neighbors in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, which eventually led to persecution and expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from Missouri in 1838-1839 and from Illinois in 1846 (see Missouri Conflict).
RELATIONS IN THE GREAT BASIN. When the Latter-day Saints arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847, they found several Native American tribal groups there and in adjacent valleys. The Church members soon had to weigh their need to put the limited arable land into production for the establishment of Zion against their obligation to accommodate their Native American neighbors and bring them the unique message in the Book of Mormon.
Brigham Young taught that kindness and fairness were the best means to coexist with Native Americans and, like many other white Americans at the time, he hoped eventually to assimilate the Indians entirely into the mainstream culture. He admonished settlers to extend friendship, trade fairly, teach white man’s ways, and generously share what they had. Individuals and Church groups gave, where possible, from their limited supplies of food, clothing, and livestock. But the rapid expansion of LDS settlers along the Wasatch Range, their preoccupation with building Zion, and the spread of European diseases unfortunately contravened many of these conciliatory efforts.
A dominating factor leading to resentment and hostility was the extremely limited availability of life-sustaining resources in the Great Basin, which in the main was marginal desert and mountain terrain dotted with small valley oases of green. Although Native Americans had learned to survive, it was an extremely delicate balance that was destroyed by the arrival of the Latter-day Saints in 1847. The tribal chiefs who initially welcomed the Mormons soon found themselves and their people being dispossessed by what appeared to them to be a never-ending horde, and in time they responded by raiding LDS-owned stock and fields, which resources were all that remained in the oases which once supported plants and wildlife that were the staples of the Native American diet. The Latter-day Saints, like others invading the western frontier, concerned with survival in the wilderness, responded at times with force.
An important factor in the conflict was the vast cultural gap between the two peoples. Native Americans in the Great Basin concentrated on scratching for survival in a barren land. Their uncanny survival skills could have been used by the Mormons in 1848, when drought and pestilence nearly destroyed the pioneers’ first crops and famine seriously threatened their survival.
The Utes, Shoshones, and other tribal groups in the basin had little interest in being farmers or cowherders, or living in stuffy sod or log houses. They preferred their hunter-gatherer way of life under the open sky and often resisted, sometimes even scoffed at, the acculturation proffered them. Nor did they have a concept of land ownership or the accumulation of property. They shared both the land and its bounty-a phenomenon that European Americans have never fully understood. The culture gap all but precluded any significant acculturation or accommodation.
Within a few years, LDS settlers inhabited most of the arable land in Utah. Native Americans, therefore, had few options: They could leave, they could give up their own culture and assimilate with the Mormons, they could beg, they could take what bounty they could get and pay the consequences, or they could fight. Conflict was inevitable. Conflict mixed with accommodation prevailed in Utah for many years. Violent clashes occurred between Mormons and Native Americans in 1849, 1850 (Chief Sowiette), 1853 (Chief Walkara), 1860, and 1865-1868 (Chief Black Hawk)-all for the same primary reasons and along similar lines. Conflict subsided, and finally disappeared, only when most of the surviving Native Americans were forced onto reservations by the United States government.
Still, the LDS hand of fellowship was continually extended. Leonard Arrington accurately comments that “the most prominent theme in Brigham’s Indian policy in the 1850s was patience and forbearance…. He continued to emphasize always being ready, using all possible means to conciliate the Indians, and acting only on the defensive” (Arrington, p. 217). Farms for the Native Americans were established as early as 1851, both to raise crops for their use and to teach them how to farm; but most of the “Indian farms” failed owing to a lack of commitment on both sides as well as to insufficient funding. LDS emissaries (such as Jacob Hamblin, Dudley Leavitt, and Dimmick Huntington) continued, however, to serve Native American needs, and missionaries continued to approach them in Utah and in bordering states. Small numbers of Utes, Shoshones, Paiutes, Gosiutes, and Navajos assimilated into the mainstream culture, and some of that number became Latter-day Saints. But overall, reciprocal contact and accommodation were minimal. By the turn of the century, contact was almost nil because most Native Americans lived on reservations far removed from LDS communities. Their contact with whites was mainly limited to government soldiers and agency officials and to non-Mormon Christian missionaries.
RELATIONS IN RECENT TIMES. Beginning in the 1940s, the Church reemphasized reaching out to Native Americans. The Navajo-Zuni Mission, later named the Southwest Indian Mission, was created in 1943. It was followed by the Northern Indian Mission, headquartered in South Dakota. Eventually, missionaries were placed on many Indian reservations. The missionaries not only proselytize, but also assist Native Americans with their farming, ranching, and community development. Other Lamanite missions, including several in Central and South America and in Polynesia, have also been opened. Large numbers of North American Indians have migrated off reservations, and today over half of all Indians live in cities. In response, some formerly all-Indian missions have merged with those serving members of all racial and ethnic groups living in a given geographical area.
An Indian seminary program was initiated to teach the gospel to Native American children on reservations, in their own languages if necessary (see Seminaries). Initially, Native American children of all ages were taught the principles of the gospel in schools adjacent to federal public schools on reservations and in remote Indian communities. The Indian seminary program has now been integrated within the regular seminary system, and Indian children in the ninth through twelfth grades attend seminary, just as non-Indian children do.
The Indian Student Placement Services (ISPS) seeks to improve the educational attainment of Native American children by placing member Indian children with LDS families during the school year. Foster families, selected because of their emotional, financial, and spiritual stability, pay all expenses of the Indian child, who lives with a foster family during the nine-month school year and spends the summer on the reservation with his or her natural family. Generally, the children enter the program at a fairly young age and return year after year to the same foster family until they graduate from high school.
From a small beginning in 1954, the program peaked in 1970 with an enrollment of nearly 5,000 students. The development of more adequate schools on reservations has since then reduced the need for the program and the number of participants has declined. In 1990, about 500 students participated. More than 70,000 Native American youngsters have participated in ISPS, and evaluations have shown that participation significantly increased their educational attainment.
In the 1950s, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then an apostle, encouraged Brigham Young University to take an active interest in Native American education and to help solve economic and social problems. Scholarships were established, and a program to help Indian students adjust to university life was inaugurated. During the 1970s more than 500 Indian students, representing seventy-one tribes, were enrolled each year. But enrollment has declined, so a new program for Indian students is being developed that will increase the recruiting of Native American students to BYU and raise the percentage who receive a college degree. The Native American Educational Outreach Program at BYU presents educational seminars to tribal leaders and Indian youth across North America. It also offers scholarships. American Indian Services, another outreach program originally affiliated with BYU, provides adult education and technical and financial assistance to Indian communities. In 1989, American Indian Services was transferred from BYU to the Lehi Foundation, which continues this activity.
In 1975, George P. Lee, a full-blooded Navajo and an early ISPS participant, was appointed as a General Authority. He was the first Indian to achieve this status and served faithfully for more than ten years. Elder Lee became convinced that the Church was neglecting its mission to the Lamanites, and when he voiced strong disapproval of Church leaders, he was excommunicated in 1989.
The Church has always had a strong commitment to preaching the gospel to Native Americans and assisting individuals, families, communities, and tribes to improve their education, health, and religious well-being. Programs vary from time to time as conditions and needs change, but the underlying beliefs and goodwill of Latter-day Saints toward these people remain firm and vibrant.
It’s a big state! Room for every body…
In the ancient world a common greeting among travelers was, “Which gods do you worship?” Deities were compared, traded, and adopted in recognition that strangers had something of value to offer. Along with the accretion of ancestor gods into extensive pantheons, an exchange of earthly ideas and useful articles took place. Pantheons were insurance providers who covered women, children, tradesman, sailors and warriors – no matter how dangerous or risky their occupations; no matter how lowly. Multiple gods meant that everyone had a sympathetic listener, one that might increase a person’s chances for a favorable outcome to life’s ventures, large and small.
In The Iliad …
…the gods are manifestations of physical states; the rush of adrenalin, sexual arousal, and rage. For the Homeric male, these are the gods that must be obeyed. There is no power by which a man can override the impulse-to-action of these god forces. The gifts of the notorious killer Achilles originate in the divine sphere, but he is human like his comrades; consumed by self pity and emotionally erratic.
In Ancient Greek culture, consequences accompanied individual gifts. Achilles must choose an average life (adulthood) and obscurity, or death at Troy and an immortal name. Achilles sulks like a boy, but we know that he will submit to his fate, because fate is the body, and no matter how extraordinary that body is, the body must die. Immortality for Homeric Greeks did not mean supernatural avoidance of death. To live forever meant that one’s name and deeds were preserved by the attention and skill of the poet. In Ancient Greek culture it was the artist who had the power to confer immortality.
There was no apology for violence in Homeric time. The work of men was grim adventure. Raids on neighbors and distant places for slave women, for horses and gold, for anything of value, was a man’s occupation. The Iliad is packed with unrelenting gore, and yet we continue to this day to be mesmerized by men who hack each other to death. Mundane questions arise: were these Bronze Age individuals afflicted with post traumatic stress disorder? How could women and children, as well as warriors not be traumatized by a life of episodic brutality? If they were severely damaged mentally and emotionally, how did they create a legacy of poetry, art, science and philosophy? Did these human beings inhabit a mind space that deflected trauma as if it were a rain shower? Was their literal perception of reality a type of protection?
Women will forever be drawn to the essential physicality of Homeric man. He is the original sexual male; the man whose qualities can be witnessed in the flesh. His body was a true product of nature and habit. Disfiguring scars proved his value in battle. Robust genes may have been his only participation in fatherhood.
Time and culture have produced another type of man, a supernatural creature with no marked talent, one who can offer general, but not specific, loyalty. Domestic man, propertied man, unbearably dull man, emotionally-retarded man. In his company a woman shrivels to her aptitude for patience and endurance, for heating dinner in the microwave and folding laundry. Her fate is a life of starvation.
Noble Penelope reduced to a neurotypical nag.
Harvard Business Review / Organizational Culture (Consider the PURITAN ORIGINS of Harvard University.)
How Hardwired Is Human Behavior?
by Nigel Nicholson
For comparison: See Previous Post / William James on Instinct
This article on “evolutionary psychology” may be truthfully labeled a “marketing tool” for promoting the myriad “services” that Evo Psychs offer to business, corporations and institutions for improving the control over their “stone age” employees.
Message? You can take the employee out of the Stone Age, not the Stone Age out of the employee.
Note the “sales pitch” Format of this Article: From info for writers on why to use “weasel Words”: Use ‘weasel words’ to modify statements, weakening any real meaning or force. This allows you to say anything without offending anyone or putting yourself into danger of being contradicted. Use weasel words assertively and their weakness will often all but disappear; Weasel words give you a way out, should anyone criticize you or make any counter-claim.
Article: Weasel words and deceptive claims
New fields of science don’t emerge in a flash, and evolutionary psychology—sometimes called modern Darwinism—is no exception. But over the past several years, evolutionary psychology as a discipline has gathered both momentum and respect. A convergence of research and discoveries in genetics, neuropsychology, and paleobiology, among other sciences, evolutionary psychology holds that although human beings today inhabit a thoroughly modern world of space exploration and virtual realities, they do so with the ingrained mentality of Stone Age hunter-gatherers. Homo sapiens emerged on the Savannah Plain some 200,000 years ago, yet according to evolutionary psychology, people today still seek those traits that made survival possible then: an instinct to fight furiously when threatened, for instance, and a drive to trade information and share secrets.
Human beings are, in other words, hardwired. (‘pop-sci” claim that compares the human brain to a computer is not legitimate)
That said, evolutionary psychologists do not argue that all people are alike underneath (but, they proceed with this assumption, as do “other” psychologists!) The discipline recognizes the individual differences caused by a person’s unique genetic inheritance, as well as by personal experiences and culture. Further, like other scientific theories—the Big Bang and global warming, to name two—evolutionary psychology is the subject of fierce debate. (See the insert “Evolutionary Psychology: A Convergence of Research and Controversy.”) NICE TRICK! Elevate your piss-poor opinions to the “level” of PHYSICAL SCIENCE – and bingo – Evo Psych is not only legitimate, but places itself in the scientific “big leagues” with physics, chemistry and all that “big important stuff”. Indeed, proponents and opponents of the field are becoming increasingly numerous and vocal.
Evolutionary Psychology : A Convergence of Research and Controversy
The central proposition of evolutionary psychology—that human beings retain the mentality of their Stone Age forebears—gathers its strength from six convergent sources of scientific research. (The tactic? Elevate your field, not only as “legitimate science” but position it as SUPERIOR TO the disciplines listed, because Evo Psych “subsumes” these disciplines, AND THEIR CONTENT under it’s Big New Magic Umbrella!)
Anthropology. By studying societies past and present, Darwinian anthropologists are identifying cultural universals with regard to gender relations, art and ritual, language and thought, and trading and competition. Patterns that recur across all societies, regardless of time and place, are thought to have a strong biogenetic origin. (Selectively construct a universal pattern and then say, “Oh look; a universal pattern!”)
Behavioral Genetics. Scientists in this field, drawing on research in genetics and on a growing number of studies on twins and adopted children, focus their research on the hereditary components of the mind. They have identified, for instance, several genes thought to control human dispositions, including aspects of temperament and cognitive skills. (WOW! How many weasel words can be crammed into two short sentences? This outlandish “appropriation” and extreme generalization of genetic research is intended to “prop up” Evo Psych nonsense. I’m sure the Bio-Gen people are happy to have the Evo Psych people save them the “trouble” of explaining their own research.
Comparative Ethology. Comparing the mating, status-seeking, and social behaviors of monkeys, chimpanzees and other primates, scientists in this field have observed systematic patterns of behavior and analyzed where they reveal parallels in human behavior. In particular, they shed light on our basic programming for sexual politics and cooperative behavior and analyzed where they reveal parallels in human behavior. (Monkey see, monkey do: if you claim that prior research has already proven your agenda, well –you can just proceed as if you have actually proven whatever it is that you are claiming to be ‘true” about human behavior”)
Neuropsychology. Using a variety of methods, including electrical stimulation, brain surgery, imaging techniques that film the brain in action, scientists in this field try to understand which parts of the brain control emotions and how chemicals in the brain affect thoughts and sensations. (And??)
Paleontology. Based on their analysis of fossils and ancient human remains, paleontologists believe they have discovered evidence of how human beings lived and how their characteristics adapted to the environment they inhabited. (Mumbo? Jumbo! This is pathetic – not how evolution works.)
Social Psychology. Studying social behavior in experiments and field studies, scientists have tested theories in evolutionary psychology (Total B.S.) about the conditions under which human beings cooperate, compete, and behave aggressively. Their findings about universal patterns suggest which impulses and reactions (that is; instinct and emotions) are hardwired into the human psyche. (WOW! Just how does one “wire” an abstract notion like the psyche? A positively supernatural activity! LOL Also, there is no “proof” that a computer is remotely close to modeling the brain; in fact, the brain is incredibly more complex than any artificial machine – this is “popular jargon” of the tech analogy brain = computer)
Even with the convergence of findings in these disciplines, (even with the pile of BS we just presented) the field of evolutionary psychology is controversial. Some scientists for instance, believe that evolutionary psychology overstates the biogenetic origin of cultural mores and norms and understates the capacity of learning and language to shape human nature. (which it does) (Tactic? Appear to be “evenhanded or objective about your gross flaws) Further, evolutionary psychology clearly challenges what some religions, including Christianity, believe about the creation and free will. (Setting Evo Psych against “religion” does not lend credence to Evo Psych: this is an illegitimate argument)
And finally, the tenets of evolutionary psychology also directly dispute a great deal of popular management theory, which contends that people can change their personalities if correctly trained or motivated. Thus, evolutionary psychology may not be the only lens through which managers choose to view their work and their world, but it is a challenging perspective that calls for a closer look. (Here we finally have the intent of this article, and it’s the classic claim of all Puritanical despots: We are the elite experts: We know your “business” better than you do, and evolution (formerly; “god”) is on OUR SIDE: our “magic secrets” will save you tons of money. Instead of trying to educate and train your idiot employees, which is useless, because “evolution” (God) has decreed that they will forever be Stone Age idiots, we will share with you how to manipulate them; for a price, of course.)
But evolutionary psychology is by now well established enough to merit examination. Understanding evolutionary psychology is useful to managers because it provides a new and provocative way to think about human nature; (not “new” – this is standard archaic social hierarchy crap) it also offers a framework for understanding why people tend to act as they do in organizational settings. Put another way, evolutionary psychology, in identifying the aspects of human behavior that are inborn and universal, (original sin) can explain some familiar patterns. It sheds light on why people behave in ways that don’t appear to be beneficial to themselves or to their businesses.
Evolutionary psychology goes so far as to raise the questions: How might organizations be designed to work in harmony with our biogenetic identity? and Are modern-day executives managing against the grain of human nature?
This article is an extremely cynical use of language, which poses as “modern science” but is the same old Puritan dogma: a human-hating belief system that insists on control over the behavior of the “sinful” bone-headed peasants by THE ELITES!
Very interesting! Several lectures – arguments as to which species ought to belong to “Homo”.
Reassessing earlier notions of the “Human mess” Busting assumptions is good!
Modern human growth curve? Extended “childhood” – think neoteny. The age of “Turkana boy” is estimated here as 7-8 years old; the previous consensus is about 12 years old. This greatly influences the “growth curve” hypothesis.
We can’t seem to shake this notion that 2 million years of ‘homo” evolution was aimed at producing modern humans; ie all the “others” were failures. Each organism has its place to fulfill in the “web” of life forms – WE ARE NOT THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS – That is a MYTHIC NARRATIVE WHICH HUMANS HAVE CREATED. Evolution is not about “ultimate success” of one species with the “rest of nature” just hanging around for us to exploit! That idea has led us on the path of to destroy life on earth. We may prove to be the Biggest Evolutionary failure possible!