Archive for the ‘Homo’ Category

Philosophy Suggests That Advanced Homo Is From Eurasia

April 27, 2019

The spark of a correct guess is often drowned into a sea of wrong guesses. I am going to give here an example of the philosophical method, the method of the artful guesses, used in paleontology, on human origins. The official story goes this way: man originated in Africa, nothing to see, let the professionals do their work. it’s probably wrong.

But a philosopher will say this to a specialist: how do you know that man evolved in Africa? Usual answer: because that’s where the fossils are from.  My counter-objection: conservation bias. And a philosopher would add: why did man evolve so fast? Usual answer: natural selection (as if there was another… even human selection is natural, Homo being part, a meta part, but still a part of nature!) My counter-objection: how to we know there was no accelerator of evolution?

At this point our friend the official paleontologist of the old school will become suspicious: accelerator? And the philosopher will point at technology, the companion and extension of Homo. To live in the most hospitable regions of East Africa, once one has found how to limit losses due to ferocious animals, one doesn’t need technology absolutely: one can just frolic in the buff.

Not the case in Europe, which, for most of the last 2.7 million years was too cold to live without clothing, fire, shelter, etc. And europe was probably Homo occupied for at least two million years (date at which varied Homo Ergaster fossils were found in the Caucasus, a place quite cold in winter in Dmanisi, Georgia. Hominid fossils as well as stone tools were found throughout the 1990s. The fossils looked similar to those of Homo erectus. But in 2000, an unusual jaw was found; its size and shape didn’t quite match H. erectus or any other known hominid that lived about 1.8 million years ago. So the team named Homo georgicus. Since then, more bones belonging to H. georgicus have been unearthed.

Homo Georgicus Female Looking At You Boy, 2 millions years across, and Saber Tooth Tigers Don’t Faze MeMore recently, a completely new Homo species was found in the Philippines, and some Australian researchers have started to claim the human occupation is at least 120,000 years old. Obviously, the hypothesis long-favored in China that human origins are from all over, is gaining ground.

And a philosopher will say: how come that was not obvious all along? Just look at a map, and think!

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Out Of Africa? Not So Sure, Even If Anglo-Saxon Saint Darwin Proposed It:

Once an English gentleman passed by East Africa, found it quite old, and decreed that man came out of East Africa. n his 1871 book The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin suggested that the hominin group originated in Africa – an idea most anthropologists believe today, because beliefs are easier to remember. But Darwin also wrote that the group may have arisen in Europe because, at that time, fossils of large apes had already been uncovered there.

 

Now, indeed, the climate in East Africa; typical dry, high altitude, is prospitious for preserving fossils. So naturally very old hominin fossils were found there. It is a case of all the drunks finding all the keys below all the lamps.

 

Hominins are a group of primates that includes modern humans, more or less extinct humans like Neanderthals and Denisovans, our immediate ancestors, and more distant species such as the mysterious Homo Antecessor, Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, and earlier species on extinct branches, including australopiths like the famous Lucy. It is harder to find their fossils in Europe, because the climate and soils there were harder for fossil conservation.

 

So what happens? Rare fossils are found in temperate areas, and many of them… don’t fit the “Out of Africa” story. For example one, just one, fossil found in Italy looks ancestral to some forms found in Africa. Fossils of a 7.2-million-year-old ape called Graecopithecus that once lived at Nikiti in Greece seems to have small canines, plus hominin-like “fused” roots to one of its premolars. In 2017, a team cautiously concluded that Graecopithecus might be a very early hominin.

Under this scenario, the 8 to 9-million-year-old Nikiti ape could represent a group of “proto-hominins” that gave rise to hominins in Europe, represented by Graecopithecus at 7.2 million years old. Hominins then would have migrated into Africa around 7 million years ago.

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Conservation Bias Beware:

Conservation of things can introduce a “conservation bias”. An example: the Egyptian desert climate preserves old paint very well. However, Egyptians were not the only ones using paint in the past. The “Picts” of Scotland who confronted the Romans were called that way, the “Painted” (Picti) because they were covered with colors. Due to damp Scotland, those colors didn’t get preserved (although they beat the Romans)… Nor was the Picts’ writing. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t write… they wrote.

In general fossil are not conserved well in a wet, biologically active climate.

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Impenetrable Africa:

Subtropical areas are one thing:  they typically have a wet season, are endowed with savannah park, and are easy to penetrate. Full tropical areas, though, are much less welcoming of human travel. A further problem is that most of the savannah park is crisscrossed by forest galleries, forests built around water ways. A simple forest gallery in Africa is more than a wall. It’s a chain of obstacles with obscurity, exuberant vegetation, tse tse flies, dangerous animals, snakes, spiders, crocs, ambushes… A forest gallery, with its profusion of trees and lianas, not to say leopards and giant carnivorous rats, can make hundreds of meters, and sometimes kilometers of nearly impassable jungle.

Forest galleries partition a lot of the tropics into small pockets which don’t communicate with each other.Hence the profusions of extremely varied languages in Africa. (In my quasi-native Senegal, six languages ruled, some tonal, others not; they are mixed, with pockets all over!)

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Gigantic Eurasia, Garden of the Gods, Easy Travel:

But then look at a map: the regions of East Africa susceptible of maximum accelerated human evolution (temperate, high altitude reasonably wet) are a small fraction, no more than 5% of what Eurasia offered… Once enough technology to resist the cold had been invented. Then wet, temperate Eurasia, presented an enormous area in which human groups could evolve, trade, compete, exchange ideas. Moreover, as I said, to just subsist in Eurasia one was technologically spurred more than elsewhere… namely in the tropical areas.

Most of the world temperate area is located in Eurasia, and particularly in Europe. Very little is found in Africa.

Eurasia, instead is easy to travel across… if one is a Mongol, some would object. Indeed, there is a giant steppe from Hungary to Korea, and the Huns and Mongols used it, a lot. But they were not the first to do so. The Indo-Europeans did this, much earlier. From West of Mongolia, in the Altai, they could go west to Europe, south to India, and east to China. And they did. Not coincidentally, the first Denisovan was found at Denis’ cave, in the Altai.

It is known that many advances of Chinese civilization were launched by European types originating from the Altai, 5,000 years ago. I suggest the same mechanism of dissemination of people and ideas was at work already two million years ago. A hint is that Chinese scientists claim to have discovered human usage of fire, in China, 1.3 million years ago.

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Conclusion: If one visited from another star system, one would find likely that humanity emerged in the largest continent, Eurasia. All the more as it was more challenging technologically, and the easiest to trade people, goods and ideas. Call that the anti-Tasmanian Effect. The Tasmanian effect is that an isolated society which has it all too easy, will devolve (Tasmania is temperate and got isolated after the last glaciation):

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/tasmanian-effect/

The anti-Tasmanian effect is that a maximally exposed mental maelstrom of a society will be most creative. But that carries over, with roughly the same mathematics to phenotypes: a maximally exposed phenotype maelstrom of an hominin population will be phenotypically most varied, enabling the evolution of most successful types, and thus becoming the main engine of evolutionary progress..  

Thus Neanderthals invented the burning of fossil fuels, 80,000 years ago in Europe (an interest of living in an extremely old continent rather than much younger continents or islands full of volcanoes). Europe was the best place to have a big debate on what were the best technologies, for two million years. Now, of course, citizens of nearly all countries can run air conditioning, talk and even see at a distance. But this is now. The most natural place for Homo species to evolve more was Eurasia. This is what philosophy says…

Science will follow and figure out the details, to be certain.

Darwin RIP…

Patrice Ayme

 

NEW IDEAS: NOT FROM CROWD HOWLING TOGETHER. CREATIVITY: WAR AGAINST CROWDS, Yesterday’s Culture…

November 10, 2018

DARK IMPULSES ENABLE INDIVIDUAL CREATIVITY, HENCE CURIOSITY, COLONIZATION, THUS HOMO. AS LOVE IS A GIVEN, THIS HYPER AGGRESSIVITY, AT THE ROOT OF HOMO, CAUSES AN AMBIVALENCE…

Evolution is not Politically Correct. Evolution just is. But evolution is our creator. Some have said: we are not evolution. Yes we are not just evolution, we are also the culture ourselves and our predecessors, evolved. But still, we have to understand this evolutive part we are entangled with… and which gave birth to our cultural capability, if not directly, our culture.  

New Ideas, wisdom, or even the love of wisdom, never come from a crowd howling together. However, we now live in times of crowds howling together on social networks, sharing silliness, superficial love and “likes”. But, even more enthusiastically, those crowds share hatred towards those they don’t want to understand, so that they can hate some more. Genuine creators have to make war to those brutish crowds, otherwise they won’t be able to create anew, that is above and superior.

Can’t escape War: war is tied in to the essence of the human project, curiosity.War is tied in to the essence of the human project, curiosity: that’s not really a problem, it’s tied in with Homo (or then Homo itself is viewed as a problem, and that’s nihilism). However, it’s a problem if, as “humanism” so far did, it’s ignored. Christianism viewed evil of curiosity, the original sin, tellingly contradicting Zoroastrianism.

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Stupid people howling with relish didn’t start yesterday: just look at the way Christianism took over the Greco-Roman empire, one burned library at a time. More recent examples: generations ago, philosophy was heavily contaminated by so-called brainless structuralism, or “French Theory”, a medieval harking back to the times of no-thinking (which lasted more than a millennium before that, thanks to Bible). Before structuralism it was Marxism, Stalinism, Nazism, Fascism which destroyed debate, and replaced it by lethal mob rule. Now, things are getting worse: increasing plutocratization depends upon stupidification (and thus the push towards controlled social networks, Communitarianism, Islamization, etc.). Wisdom, and its love, are on the wane.

Communitarianism is an enemy of wisdom and mental creativity. It categories people, and make these categories what’s most primordial about people. Instead of categorizing people, one should categorize ideas. If an idea is good, wherever it comes from, it’s a good idea. Roughly all thinkers have had some good ideas at some point, even Hitler or Saint Augustine! Thinking is about ideas, not howling together.

John Michael Gartland commented: “Thank You. One of the most astute observations I have seen in a long time. The insane fanaticism of the tribal political party narrative with no deviation from the party scriptures permitted no matter how fantastically fictional and politically convenient, steeped in the fantasy of something masquerading as the common good and self-righteousness has become a worldwide contagion.”

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A dirty little secret of humanity is that, absent friendship, one can always befriend hatred itself. As social networks, paradoxically, have increased loneliness, they incite more individuals to partake in hatred and pack attacks. Hence the increasing venom in said social media!

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In the Spanish Civil War, Republican forces arguably had more losses fighting each other than the devastation that they suffered from the Nazi and Italian fascist armies and Franco’s rebel army. The entire take-over of Spain by mass murdering lethal, church allied fascism, was financed by US plutocrats and corporations (many car companies and oil companies such as Texaco, which provided the Nazi air force in Spain all the fuel it needed to transport Franco’s army…

By allying itself with Islamists now, the left is making the error it did then, allying itself with Stalinists! Stalin and his goons ordered the killing of all the left. At the time, Stalin was secretly in a crucial military alliance… with the Nazis, on Russian soil.

Actually, the present alliance with Islamists is even worse than the alliance with Stalinists: the Soviets could claim to foster a new system of thought. A new man, let alone a new woman. Attacking the USSR in 1941, Italian tankers were amazed to find female Soviet tank officers, killed in action.

Instead, Islam was a new ideology… In 632 CE, in savage and primitive Meccan Arabia, which had been kept away from the major civilizing influences from all around (to the north, Rome, north-west, Egypt, north-east, Persia, west in Ethiopia, south in Yemen, and east in India). The Muslim prophet, speaking in the name of the great vegetable in the sky, ordered men to change in such a way it led to a demographic explosion, most militarily profitable (for example it was suggested not to kill girls, and have sex with slave girls…)

The success of Islam long baffled top Christians, such as this Byzantine emperor who debated an old Muslim scholar. In 1391 CE Manuel II Palaiologos debated a Persian scholar and recorded the exchanges in a book he authored (See dialogue 7 of “Twenty-six Dialogues with a Persian”) in which the Roman Emperor stated: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” Right, the whole point!

Many Muslims were offended by this characterisation of Muhammad, and protested against it. For others it may simply have been false indignation or the assumption that non-Muslims had been offended by it, and they had to look outraged, to keep the reputation of Islam as peace.

In his book, Manuel II, apparently a personal acquaintance of “god”, continues: “God is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”

Well, we know better. Our creator is biological evolution and our creator used war to conquer the world, and shape up our genetic and epigenetic. War made us, not just love. Islam understood that perfectly well, hence its success.

War, hatred and extermination have propelled humanity through evolutionary gauntlets (leaving lots of genocides behind). Evolution intelligently selected those strategies, from the first ape who braved the savanna, and forged human neurology with them. Ignoring them is ignoring not just wisdom, but incoming fate!

Humanity is more complex, and more perverse, than humanitarianism has imagined so far. Ignoring that complexity ignores the opportunity new technology (“social networks”) offers for old fashion hatred. There is an architecture an evil, and humanity was built with it.

To demonstrate here the aggressivity of advancing wisdom, let’s victimize Albert Einstein a bit. Einstein famously said:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (One could call this definition, “Einstein Insanity”). Guess what? Nonlocality predicts that, indeed, doing the same thing all over again, will lead to different results. And that’s how the universe work, experiences & logic show. So Einstein was as wrong as wrong can be. He missed the point entirely, by assuming the veracity of its opposite, which is false. And Einstein was clever enough to realize that what he called “spooky action at a distance”… could be true, by just evoking its possible existence.

Tying evil, strife and mental creativity exaggerated? No. Unavoidable. Morality and the principle of precaution have to admit it.

So I was just nasty to Einstein, in a sense (after all, I’m saying I see something that could be seen in Einstein’s day and age… And Bohr saw some of it…). I can do better: I can spite all mathematicians between Euclid and Bolyai. Gauss made a point to spite Bolyai, daring to say that recognizing and flattering Bolyai’s work would be to flatter himself… as he had, he claimed, secretly got the same results (but didn’t reveal them as he “feared the cries of Boeotians”, a classic allusion to Athens northern neighbors… whom Athenians thought honorable to view as stupid). Here is Gauss, in full nastiness mode: “To praise it would amount to praising myself. For the entire content of the work…coincides almost exactly with my own meditations which have occupied my mind for the past thirty or thirty-five years.” In 1848 CE Bolyai discovered that Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky had published a similar piece of work in 1829 (but only on hyperbolic geometry). Discouraged by Gauss, Bolyai published only 24 pages, ever, out of the 20,000 pages of math he wrote…

In reality, after Euclid, mathematicians forgot that there was a wheel, a sphere, or even a cushion: Aristotle’s works contain SIX (6) theorems of non-Euclidean geometry (one hyperbolic, the rest elliptic). For all to see! Thereafter, in spite of these demonstrated theorems, an idiotic debate on the parallel axiom unfolded, for 21 centuries . Even worse, Non-Euclidean geometry had been used to measure Earth with great precision, around 300 BCE, in Marseilles, by Pytheas!

In the same vein, I have dared to stand all of mathematics on its head, and shake, by pointing out the infinity axiom makes no sense.

Any debate, in a sense, is a fight. Refusing all and any fighting, is refusing all and any debate. Hence, refusing us, the essence of what made us. It shouldn’t be a debate…

Patrice Ayme

Hating Tech? Hate Man!

July 30, 2018

Rampages against technology are fashionable: after all, we, and our entire world, depends upon it. Dependents are prisoners of their benefactor(s). The unwise will resent that. Technology is worse than a drug, then: it is the life support system of the most advanced apes who ever were. It is even more: our soul? The world-changing apes world-changed, and evolved for, and from, technology. If we have a creator specific to our species, here it is! Technology is out mother, father, what makes us possible. Hating our provider, our god: how pleasing!

Homo, the genus, and genius, is inseparable from technology. Saying technology doesn’t help, or doesn’t even help define what is human, is to have understood nothing to the genus Homo. Socrates took a stance: he posed as an anti-science, anti-tech, even anti-mental creativity type. Socrates refused even to write: after all, that’s tech too. But for his living, he depended upon an inherited stock portfolio, and his plutocratic friends and fiends. And, when, as a wealthy hoplite, he killed the enemy, it was because of his technologically superior, and very expensive armor and weapons. I can’t afford, as Socrates did, to be a hypocrite.

Diogenes too, was an anti-tech, anti-progress hypocrite: he lived in a barrel: that’s advanced technology, an expensive Gallic import… soon Gallic armies would battle down into Greece, thanks to their superior weapons due to superior metal works. Diogenes also had a dog:  another advanced technology, a Genetically Modified Organism, whose carefully twisted mind makes him love and obey his master. The reason Diogenes didn’t have to battle giant European Cave Lions was that those had been driven to extinction, thanks to superior weapons.

Also Athens existed, and could feed Socrates and Diogenes, because it imported grain from the Black Sea, two weeks of shipping away (at best). Or from Cyrenaica. Attica was too dry to feed the largest Greek city. And Athens paid back, with superior tech. Demosthenes, the philosopher, inherited also from his father. His 40 slaves were making advanced tech, sold throughout the Mediterranean. As I said, it paid for food of the last Athenian dog. It goes without saying that this imperial organization rested on the mightiest army and navy, which had persuaded cities such as Byzantium to reasonably cooperate…

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The more human we get, the more tech we get, and live from:

So on tech we go.
An interest of technology is to solve problems, which can’t be solved otherwise, lest we want to use massively the oldest methods, like cannibalism. There are countless examples, in history, of populations which have been reduced to zero, as needed by the sustainable ecological load.

As it is, we use much more planet than we have. We need another planet, or we need to quickly consume, say, 90% of humanity (the latter can easily be done, though… thanks to tech, both as an exterminator, and a redemptor).

Colonizing Mars would double the land area at our disposal. And yes, it can be done: there are giant ice cliffs on Mars: water was the big problem to terraform Mars. Up to last year, Mars looked desiccated, and it appeared one would have to crash comets into it to bring water. Now, no more. All we need is a mighty energy source. That too, tech could bring us: controlled thermonuclear fusion, already used in decent airports, looms, ever closer: a thermonuclear reactor connected to the grid is feasible… if we spent, say 100 billion dollars (5% US or EU yearly GDP).

The Counties of Alameda and Contra Costa (“AC”), in the San Francisco Bay Area form together AC Transit, which has purchased dozens of Fuel Cell Electric Buses. Those buses refuel hydrogen at dedicated service stations. Their waste? Water! Those buses aren’t just zero emission, they are the ideal complement of the photovoltaic energy rising in California. Some cities of AC provide free PV installations.

Elon Musk is an entrepreneur: he takes science invented by much deeper minds, and turns it into profitable technology. True, he got favored by Obama, in a shameless manner… while Obama killed important technologies such as Fuel Cells… to leave room to Musk, and other Silicon Valley friends Obama had (now busy making him rich). True the plutocratic connection between Musk and tech monopolies and the Obama administration was disgusting, and many involved should how be prosecuted. I wrote extensively against Musk and Bezos in the past, because they go so much help from the Obama White House. However, the fact is now both of these two plutocrat have made an important technological advance: rockets can be reused! “Space Shuttle” launches used to cost 1.5 billion dollars (yes, billion, with a b… per launch). Musk thinks he could launch a much bigger rocket for six million dollars. Indeed, doing the math, the cost of launch should be no more than a jumbo jet transcontinental flight… if the rocket is sophisticated enough.

Yet, the transition from deep science to a deeper socio-economy shouldn’t be neglected: they are entangled. No advancement of the socio-economy, no advancement of science, and reciprocally.

Rome failed because it couldn’t get going the science it needed, because its exaggeratingly fascist, pathetically impotent socio-economy (the combination of slavery and autocracy, too strong for enabling the People to contribute, not enough to crush plutocrats). Now, of course, the Romans weren’t too brainy to start with… and they kept Greece too subjugated, before finally snuffing it by mad theocracy (when the Academies were ordered closed by a Roman emperor.)

In the Tenth Century, new cultivars, of beans for the Franks, and of rice for the Vietnamese/Chinese, made a better fed Europe and East Asia forge ahead as ever more domineering civilizations… New cultivars are new technology…

Facebook is a different problem from the space adventures of Musk and Bezos. First, Facebook has no added value: all it does is spy, and find new fixes for its addicts (Instagram). Facebook is horrendously unethical, and a return to a primitivism worse than the Middle Ages. Facebook has indeed decided to censor artwork from the Middle Ages… “even if it has educational value“… Facebook grotesquely asserts. No wonder, it’s led by an uneducated grabster, used to wrap presidents around its little robotic fingers…

In general plutocracy is killing civilization. Always has, always will. However, the grandeur of Bezos’ and Musk’s missions is such, one has to make a grudging exception for them, as long as they keep on going… to Mars. That doesn’t mean we have run out of targets: all the financial derivative sector, worth 1,400 trillion dollars (yes, with a t, $1,400 thousand billions) should be destroyed. It is because it doesn’t exist in China, that China has become the world’s greatest economic power… Financiers bootstrapping themselves so they can crush us when they come down… What’s worse?
Patrice Ayme

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For comic relief, one can read Massimo Pigliucci’s and Correy Mohler’s”Diogenes the Cynic vs Elon Musk
What wisdom could the great Cynic offer to our modern-day Alexander?“. Dogs can bark, but thinking deep is not their forte… So I thank Massimo for the spark to the blistering critique above… And indeed, first, to compare Musk to Alexander the Great is beyond grotesque: Alexander is a serious, not to say mass lethal, subject. Musk is cute, but basically completely replaceable (first, consider Bezos, who is coming up with similar rockets…)