Human organ evolution (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, April 20, 2018, 15:16 (767 days ago)

Deep divers have big spleens:

https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...


Researchers have identified a genetic variant that likely results in larger spleens among the Bajau people in Southeast Asia, conferring better endurance for free diving in the ocean. The study, published today (April 19) in Cell, is an uncommon example of natural selection in modern humans that likely occurred on the order of hundreds or thousands of years.

“'This is a fascinating example of how humans can, in a relatively short amount of time, adapt to a local environment,” says study coauthor Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley.

"The Bajau people live in villages scattered throughout Southeast Asia, spending much of their day using traditional spears and other simple equipment to collect fish and shellfish by free diving—holding their breath. They have subsisted on this hunting method for more than 1,000 years.

"The human body has a few tricks to increase the time spent underwater in an oxygen-deficient environment. One way is to boost red blood cell production, which allows for more efficient oxygen delivery to organs and tissues, or to expand their lung capacity. A third adaptation—which the authors describe for the first time today—is increasing the size of the spleen, which stores oxygenated red blood cells and contracts during diving to release the blood cells into circulation. (another article says it boosts oxygenated red cells by 9%)

***

"Ilardo and her colleagues found that the spleens of the Bajau people were about 50 percent larger compared to the Saluans, even while taking into account individuals’ gender, age, weight, and height.

"Next, the team compared the genomic sequences of Bajau and Saluan participants to those of the Han Chinese as a control, unrelated group. Scanning for variants, the group identified the top 25 polymorphisms that were unique to the Bajau genomes, suggesting natural selection pressures were at work. The study authors created a phylogenetic tree, calculating that the Bajau and Saluans diverged about 15,000 years ago, suggesting that the Bajau-unique genetic variants evolved some time after this divergence.

***

“'This work provides the first evidence for genetic adaptation in diving human populations and elucidates genetic pathways important in hypoxia tolerance,” Tatum Simonson, who studies the physiology and genetics of high-altitude adaptation at the University of California, San Diego Health Sciences, and was not involved in the work, writes in an email to The Scientist.

"The team’s top hit, a variant adjacent to the BDKRB2 gene, is the only other gene that has previously been found to be associated with a human diving response, but not with spleen size. “We have no idea what it does to change the diving reflex. That is something we would like to explore next,” says Nielsen."

Comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

Human organ evolution

by dhw, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10:17 (766 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Deep divers have big spleens:
https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...

DAVID’s comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

Yes indeed, but it confirms a pattern which runs through so many of these threads. Adaptation to the environment causes changes to the body, but we don’t know the extent to which the body can change itself. The divers didn’t tell their spleens to get bigger. Of course it may be that natural selection caused bigger spleens to outlive smaller spleens, but an alternative would be the process already observed elsewhere, i.e. that concentrated usage results in expansion of the organs used. With musicians and taxi drivers it’s parts of the brain, and with the divers it’s the spleen. One can envisage the same process occurring when land animals entered the water, and limbs became fins, or vice versa, with fish evolving legs out of fins. Not proven, of course, but there is a satisfying consistency in this hypothesis, and it still allows for your God as the inventor of the mechanism that makes it all possible.

Human organ evolution

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 15:19 (766 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Deep divers have big spleens:
https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...

DAVID’s comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

dhw: Yes indeed, but it confirms a pattern which runs through so many of these threads. Adaptation to the environment causes changes to the body, but we don’t know the extent to which the body can change itself. The divers didn’t tell their spleens to get bigger. Of course it may be that natural selection caused bigger spleens to outlive smaller spleens, but an alternative would be the process already observed elsewhere, i.e. that concentrated usage results in expansion of the organs used. With musicians and taxi drivers it’s parts of the brain, and with the divers it’s the spleen. One can envisage the same process occurring when land animals entered the water, and limbs became fins, or vice versa, with fish evolving legs out of fins. Not proven, of course, but there is a satisfying consistency in this hypothesis, and it still allows for your God as the inventor of the mechanism that makes it all possible.

It is possible that the explanation lies with the first that dived. Those with larger spleens were more productive and produced more divers. The process repeated over and over made the folks we have today. Pure Darwin which makes sense in this case. I see no parallel in those mammals that took to water. That has to be saltation.

Human organ evolution

by dhw, Sunday, April 22, 2018, 13:18 (765 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Deep divers have big spleens:
https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...

DAVID’s comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

dhw: Yes indeed, but it confirms a pattern which runs through so many of these threads. Adaptation to the environment causes changes to the body, but we don’t know the extent to which the body can change itself. The divers didn’t tell their spleens to get bigger. Of course it may be that natural selection caused bigger spleens to outlive smaller spleens, but an alternative would be the process already observed elsewhere, i.e. that concentrated usage results in expansion of the organs used. With musicians and taxi drivers it’s parts of the brain, and with the divers it’s the spleen. One can envisage the same process occurring when land animals entered the water, and limbs became fins, or vice versa, with fish evolving legs out of fins. Not proven, of course, but there is a satisfying consistency in this hypothesis, and it still allows for your God as the inventor of the mechanism that makes it all possible.

DAVID: It is possible that the explanation lies with the first that dived. Those with larger spleens were more productive and produced more divers. The process repeated over and over made the folks we have today. Pure Darwin which makes sense in this case.

Yes, as I said above (now bolded), that is natural selection. Nice to see you defending Darwin for a change! But the alternative origin seems equally possible to me: that usage resulted in expansion, which was passed on to following generations.

DAVID: I see no parallel in those mammals that took to water. That has to be saltation.

If particular usage can change the structure of the brain, and exercise can expand muscles, I don’t see why it can’t change other structures too, but the question is always to what extent, and in this case how quickly. The answer is that we don’t know. Given the choice between your God changing pre-whales’ legs into fins before they entered the water, and pre-whales entering the water with legs, and legs then changing into fins, I would opt for the latter, saltation or not. But of course that is a subjective view.

Human organ evolution

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 22, 2018, 15:20 (765 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Deep divers have big spleens:
https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...

DAVID’s comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

dhw: Yes indeed, but it confirms a pattern which runs through so many of these threads. Adaptation to the environment causes changes to the body, but we don’t know the extent to which the body can change itself. The divers didn’t tell their spleens to get bigger. Of course it may be that natural selection caused bigger spleens to outlive smaller spleens, but an alternative would be the process already observed elsewhere, i.e. that concentrated usage results in expansion of the organs used. With musicians and taxi drivers it’s parts of the brain, and with the divers it’s the spleen. One can envisage the same process occurring when land animals entered the water, and limbs became fins, or vice versa, with fish evolving legs out of fins. Not proven, of course, but there is a satisfying consistency in this hypothesis, and it still allows for your God as the inventor of the mechanism that makes it all possible.

DAVID: It is possible that the explanation lies with the first that dived. Those with larger spleens were more productive and produced more divers. The process repeated over and over made the folks we have today. Pure Darwin which makes sense in this case.

dhw: Yes, as I said above (now bolded), that is natural selection. Nice to see you defending Darwin for a change! But the alternative origin seems equally possible to me: that usage resulted in expansion, which was passed on to following generations.

Yes, possible.


DAVID: I see no parallel in those mammals that took to water. That has to be saltation.

dhw: If particular usage can change the structure of the brain, and exercise can expand muscles, I don’t see why it can’t change other structures too, but the question is always to what extent, and in this case how quickly. The answer is that we don’t know. Given the choice between your God changing pre-whales’ legs into fins before they entered the water, and pre-whales entering the water with legs, and legs then changing into fins, I would opt for the latter, saltation or not. But of course that is a subjective view.

Enlargement of muscles is a process unique to muscles. Brain plasticity is unique to the brain. Water habitat requires enormous anatomical and physiological changes well beyond the muscle or brain changes.

Human evolution; influence of our biome

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 23, 2018, 19:48 (703 days ago) @ David Turell

Resident good bacteria have influenced our evolution:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180621172437.htm

"Research tells us that the commensal or "good" bacteria that inhabit our intestines help to regulate our metabolism.

"In the intestine, digestive cells use an innate immune pathway to respond to harmful bacteria. But other intestinal cells, enteroendocrine cells, use the same pathway, known as IMD, to respond to "good" bacteria -- by fine-tuning body metabolism to diet and intestinal conditions.

"'Some innate immune pathways aren't just for innate immunity," says Watnick. "Innate immune pathways are also listening to the 'good' bacteria -- and responding metabolically."

"Watnick and her colleagues knew from their previous research that bacteria living in flies' intestines make a short-chain fatty acid, acetate, that is essential for the flies' own lipid metabolism and insulin signaling. Flies with no bacteria in their intestines (and hence, no acetate) accumulated fat droplets in their digestive cells. The lab of Norbert Perrimon, PhD, at Harvard Medical School had previously found similar fat droplets in flies whose enteroendocrine cells lacked tachykinin, an insulin-like protein important in growth, lipid metabolism and insulin signaling.

"'When there's a problem processing glucose or lipids, fats get stuck in these droplets in cells that are not designed for fat storage," she says.

***

"Watnick believes these fat droplets, whether caused by loss of intestinal bacteria, loss of tachykinin or loss of the innate immune pathway, are the equivalent of fatty liver. Their accumulation is a sign that the body cannot properly metabolize carbohydrates and fats. In essence, Watnick thinks these flies have metabolic syndrome, commonly associated with obesity and type 1 diabetes.

"How are intestinal bacteria, the innate immune system and metabolism related? Through a series of experiments, the team began to tease out exactly how bacteria exert their metabolic influence. They showed that:

"The innate immune pathway spurs enteroendocrine cells to produce tachykinin.

"In the absence of either bacteria or their breakdown product, acetate, no tachykinin is made.
When germ-free flies are given acetate, the innate immune pathway is reactivated and their metabolism normalizes.

"A specific innate immune receptor on enteroendocrine cells, PGRP-LC, is required to receive the acetate signal.

"'We know bacteria control our metabolism, but no one realized that bacteria were interacting with innate immune signaling pathways in enteroendocrine cells," says Watnick. "Maybe these pathways are really a system that allows cells to recognize bacteria for different reasons."

***

"Though Watnick would now like to confirm these findings in a mammalian model, the study further sketches out what appears to be a two-pronged interaction between our microbiome and our metabolism. Good bacteria ferment nutrients in our diet and release short-chain fatty acids like acetate, which help us optimize our use and storage of nutrients. Pathogenic "bad" bacteria do the opposite: They consume fatty acids, impeding healthful metabolism. An imbalance in our intestinal microbiome has been linked to obesity and sometimes contributes to malnutrition."

Comment: since is seen in fruit flies, it more than likely the bacterial mechanism was present in early primate ancestors and passed on to us. Both viruses and bacteria guided evolution.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 1

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2018, 23:41 (693 days ago) @ David Turell

Until it is understood how complex is our ability to speak, how the changes from the ape form are so different and require obviously a tremendous number of mutations, it becomes obvious we are highly different from apes, and much more than primates. We are a giant highly different step beyond. Please read the article for completeness provided by the diagrams and for the voluminous text which has new research beyond the book I've quoted from 1992:

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/why-human-speech-is-special--64351?utm_campaign=...

"as most speech scientists agree, there is no such thing as pure phonemes (though some linguists still cling to the idea). Discrete phonemes do not exist as such in the speech signal, and instead are always blended together in words. Even “stop consonants,” such as , [p], [t], and [g], don’t exist as isolated entities; it is impossible to utter a stop consonant without also producing a vowel before or after it. As such, the consonant [t] in the spoken word tea, for example, sounds quite different from that in the word to. To produce the vowel sound in to, the speakers’ lips are protruded and narrowed, while they are retracted and open for the vowel sound in tea, yielding different acoustic representations of the initial consonant.

***

"computer systems that recognize and synthesize human speech are commonplace. All of these programs, such as the digital assistant Siri on iPhones, work at the word level. What linguists now know about how the brain functions to recover words from streams of speech now supports this word-level approach to speech reproduction. How humans process speech has also been molded by the physiology of speech production. Research on the neural bases of other aspects of motor control, such as learned hand-arm movements, suggests that phonemes reflect instruction sets for commands in the motor cortex that ultimately control the muscles that move our tongues, lips, jaws, and larynxes as we talk. But that remains a hypothesis. What is clear about language, however, is that humans are unique among extant species in the animal kingdom. From the anatomy of our vocal tracts to the complexity of our brains to the multifarious cultures that depend on the sharing of detailed information, humans have evolved the ability to communicate like no other species on Earth.

***

" In the human body, the lungs serve as the bellows, providing the source of acoustic energy for speech production. The supra-laryngeal vocal tract (SVT), the airway above the larynx, acts as the pipes, determining the formant frequencies that are produced.

***

"During speech, however, the diaphragm is immobilized and alveolar air pressure is maintained at an almost uniform level until the end of expiration, as a speaker adjusts her intercostal and abdominal muscles to “hold back” against the force generated by the elastic recoil of the lungs.

"This pressure, in combination with the tension of the muscles that make up the vocal cords of the larynx, determines the rate at which the vocal cords open and close—what’s known as the fundamental frequency of phonation (F0), perceived as the pitch of a speaker’s voice.

***

Adult women produced formant frequencies that were higher for the same vowels because their SVTs were shorter than the men’s. Adolescents’ formant frequencies were higher still. Nonetheless, human listeners are typically able to identify these spoken vowel sounds thanks to a cognitive process known as perceptual normalization, by which we unconsciously estimate the length of a speaker’s SVT and correct for the corresponding shift in formant frequencies.

***

"In short, people unconsciously take account of the fact that formant frequency patterns, which play a major role in specifying words, depend on the length of a speaker’s vocal tract. And both the fossil record and the ontogenetic development of children suggest that the anatomy of our heads, necks, and tongues have been molded by evolution to produce the sounds that clearly communicate the intended information.

***

"In addition to the anatomy of the SVT, humans have evolved increased synaptic connectivity and malleability in certain neural circuits in the brain important for producing and understanding speech. Specifically, circuits linking cortical regions and the subcortical basal ganglia appear critical to support human language."

Comment: Go to 2

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 2

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2018, 23:51 (693 days ago) @ David Turell

The Evolution of this system is complex:

"In On the Origin of Species, Darwin noted “the strange fact that every particle of food and drink which we swallow has to pass over the orifice of the trachea, with some risk of falling into the lungs.” Because of this odd anatomy, which differs from that of all other mammals, choking on food remains the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the United States. This species-specific problem is a consequence of the mutations that crafted the human face, pharynx, and tongue so as to make it easier to speak and to correctly interpret the acoustic speech signals that we hear.

"At birth, the human tongue is flat in the mouth, as is the case for other mammals. The larynx, which rests atop the trachea, is anchored to the root of the tongue. As infants suckle, they raise the larynx to form a sealed passage from the nose to the lungs, allowing them to breathe while liquid flows around the larynx. Most mammalian species retain this morphology throughout life, which explains why cats or dogs can lap up water while breathing. In humans, however, a developmental process that spans the first 8 to 10 years of life forms the adult version of the SVT. First, the skull is reshaped, shortening the relative length of the oral cavity. The tongue begins to descend down into the pharynx, while the neck increases in length and becomes rounded in the back. Following these changes, half the tongue is positioned horizontally in the oral cavity (and thus called the SVTh), while the other half (SVTv) is positioned vertically in the pharynx. The two halves meet at an approximate right angle at the back of the throat. The tongue’s extrinsic muscles, anchored in various bones of the head, can move the tongue to create an abrupt 10-fold change in the SVT’s cross-sectional area. (See illustration)

***

" This gives the adult human supralaryngeal vocal tract (SVT) two parts of nearly equal lengths that meet at a right angle: the horizontal portion of the oral cavity and the vertical portion associated with the pharynx. At the intersection of these two segments occur abrupt changes in the cross-sectional area of the SVT that allow humans to produce a range of sounds not possible for infants and nonhuman animals.

"As it turns out, the configuration of the adult human tongue’s oral and pharyngeal proportions and shape allow mature human vocal tracts to produce the vowels , , and [a] (as in the word ma). These quantal vowels produce frequency peaks analogous to saturated colors, are more distinct than other vowels, and are resistant to small errors in tongue placement.5 Thus, while not required for language, these vowel sounds buffer speech against misinterpretation. This may explain why all human languages use these vowels.

"This anatomy also begins to answer long-standing questions in language research: How did human speech come to be, and why don’t other animals talk? In 1969, my colleagues and I used a computer modeling technique to calculate the formant frequency patterns of the vowels that a rhesus macaque’s SVT could produce, based on an estimated range of tongue shapes and positions. We found that even when the monkeys’ tongues were positioned as far as possible toward the SVT configurations used by adult human speakers to yield the vowels , , and [a], the animals could not produce the appropriate formant frequencies. Three years later, using X-ray videos showing the movement of the vocal tract during newborn baby cries, we refined and replicated this study and found that, although chimpanzees and human newborns (which start life with a monkey-like SVT) produce a range of vowels, they could not produce s or s. This finding has since been replicated in independent studies, including in 2017 by the University of Vienna’s Tecumseh Fitch and colleagues. Those scientists used current computer techniques that readily model every vocal tract shape that a macaque could produce, and the research team confirmed that monkey vocal tracts were incapable of producing these vowels.

***

"It is now apparent that a massive epigenetic restructuring of the genes that determine the anatomy of the head, neck, tongue, larynx, and mouth enhanced our ability to talk after anatomically modern humans split from Neanderthals and Denisovans more than 450,000 years ago. A few years ago, David Gokhman, then at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and colleagues reconstructed the methylated genomic regions of a 40,000-year-old Neanderthal fossil, an older Denisovan fossil, four ancient humans who lived 7,000 to 40,000 years ago, and six chimpanzees, comparing these with a methylation map of human bone cells assembled from more than 55 present-day humans. This comparison enabled the team to identify differentially methylated regions (DMRs) between the human and Neanderthal-Denisovan groups, and between humans and chimps.9,10 The researchers found that the genes that were most affected were those that controlled development of the larynx and pharynx, suggesting that epigenetic regulatory changes allowed the human vocal tract to morph into a shape that is optimal for speech.

"Of course, the fact that monkeys don’t talk like humans isn’t purely due to the physical limitations of their vocal tracts. They also lack the neural networks necessary for producing and processing speech. "

Comment: See 3 which covers mutations and neural change.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 3

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 04, 2018, 00:04 (693 days ago) @ David Turell

Mutation changes:

"One key contributor to the evolution of human speech is the FOXP2 transcription factor. Humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans share a mutation in the gene for FOXP2 that nonhuman primates lack. Early evidence of FOXP2’s role in human speech and language comes from studies of the KE family, a large extended family living in London in the second half of the 20th century. Some members had only one copy of FOXP2 and had extreme difficulty talking; their speech was unintelligible, and problems extended to orofacial motor control. They also had difficulties forming and understanding English sentences.

"The importance of FOXP2 has been further confirmed by knock-in mouse studies. When the human version of the gene for the FOXP2 transcription factor is inserted into mouse embryos, the animals exhibited enhanced synaptic connectivity and malleability in cortical–basal ganglia neural circuits that regulate motor control, including speech. The evolution of these circuits appears to have a deep evolutionary history going back to the Permian age, 300 million years ago. Avian versions of the FOXP1 and FOXP2 transcription factors act on the basal ganglia circuits involved when songbirds learn and execute songs.

"Exactly how the brain dictates the movement of the vocal tract to produce speech remains murky. Many studies have shown that “matrisomes” of neurons in the motor cortex are instruction sets for the motor commands that orchestrate a learned act. Assemblies of neurons in the motor cortex are formed when a task is learned, and these assemblies guide coordinated muscle activity. To sip a cup of coffee or type at a keyboard, for example, hand, arm, wrist, and other movements are coded in matrisomes. Similar matrisomes likely govern the muscles that move the tongue, lips, jaw, and larynx and control lung pressure during speech, but researchers are just starting to explore this idea. In short, brains and anatomy were both involved in the evolution of human speech and language.

"In 1971, Yale’s Edmund Crelin and I published our computer modeling study of a reconstructed Neanderthal vocal tract.14 We concluded that Neanderthals had vocal tracts that were similar to those of newborn human infants and monkeys and hence could not produce the quantal vowels [a], , and . However, the available archaeological evidence suggested that their brains were quite advanced, and that, unlike monkeys, they could talk, albeit with reduced intelligibility. We concluded that Neanderthals possessed both speech and language. In short, current research suggests a deep evolutionary origin for human language and speech, with our ancestors possessing capabilities close to our own as long as 300,000 years ago.

"Speech is an essential part of human culture, and thus of human evolution. In the first edition of On the Origin of Species, Darwin stressed the interplay of natural selection and ecosystems: human culture acts as an agent to create new ecosystems, which, in turn, directs the course of natural selection. Language is the mechanism by which the aggregated knowledge of human cultures is transmitted, and until very recent times, speech was the sole medium of language. Humans have retained a strange vocal tract that enhances the robustness of speech. We could say that we are because we can talk. "

Comment: Different folks do very different things with their languages which shows how flexible the speech mechanism can be: Hawaiian has almost no consonants, just 'l' and 'k'. In the Kalahari of Africa the bushmen use a click language. About 7,000 languages are recognized! The last paragraph indicates that we are much more than primates from a functional standpoint. We may look like apes, but the relationship stops there. Please read the whole article for deeper appreciation of my point: we are tremendously different in kind.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 3

by dhw, Wednesday, July 04, 2018, 11:25 (692 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Until it is understood how complex is our ability to speak, how the changes from the ape form are so different and require obviously a tremendous number of mutations, it becomes obvious we are highly different from apes, and much more than primates. We are a giant highly different step beyond.

I greatly appreciate the research you do and the vast variety of articles you provide to give me and others an ongoing education, but you really don’t have to go to all these lengths to demonstrate that we are “highly different from apes” and are a “giant highly different step beyond”. It is blindingly obvious from everything that we have created (and destroyed). Thank you for all the information, but there is nothing in these posts for us to discuss.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 3

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 04, 2018, 17:33 (692 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Until it is understood how complex is our ability to speak, how the changes from the ape form are so different and require obviously a tremendous number of mutations, it becomes obvious we are highly different from apes, and much more than primates. We are a giant highly different step beyond.

dhw: I greatly appreciate the research you do and the vast variety of articles you provide to give me and others an ongoing education, but you really don’t have to go to all these lengths to demonstrate that we are “highly different from apes” and are a “giant highly different step beyond”. It is blindingly obvious from everything that we have created (and destroyed). Thank you for all the information, but there is nothing in these posts for us to discuss.

I agree. I present these posts as evidence to be considered in the discussions about the presence of God and His role in evolution in line with the purposes of this website.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 01:09 (683 days ago) @ David Turell

A new theory proposes H. sapiens sprung up in several places in Africa and gradually coalesced into our current form:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/11/no-single-birthplace-of-mankind-say-sci...

" a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

***

"This continental-wide view would help reconcile contradictory interpretations of early Homo sapiens fossils varying greatly in shape, scattered from South Africa (Florisbad) to Ethiopia (Omo Kibish) to Morocco (Jebel Irhoud).

***

"The latest analysis suggests that this patchwork emergence of human traits can be explained by the existence of multiple populations that were periodically separated for millennia by rivers, deserts, forests and mountains before coming into contact again due to shifts in the climate. “These barriers created migration and contact opportunities for groups that may previously have been separated, and later fluctuation might have meant populations that mixed for a short while became isolated again,” said Scerri.

"The trend towards more sophisticated stone tools, jewellery and cooking implements also supports the theory, according to the paper...

***

“'Someone finds a skull somewhere and that’s the source of humanity. Someone finds some tools somewhere, that’s the source of humanity,” she said, describing the latest approach as: “‘Let’s be inclusive and construct a model based on all the data we have available.”

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, July 14, 2018, 02:15 (683 days ago) @ David Turell

A new theory proposes H. sapiens sprung up in several places in Africa and gradually coalesced into our current form:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/11/no-single-birthplace-of-mankind-say-sci...

" a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

***

"This continental-wide view would help reconcile contradictory interpretations of early Homo sapiens fossils varying greatly in shape, scattered from South Africa (Florisbad) to Ethiopia (Omo Kibish) to Morocco (Jebel Irhoud).

***

"The latest analysis suggests that this patchwork emergence of human traits can be explained by the existence of multiple populations that were periodically separated for millennia by rivers, deserts, forests and mountains before coming into contact again due to shifts in the climate. “These barriers created migration and contact opportunities for groups that may previously have been separated, and later fluctuation might have meant populations that mixed for a short while became isolated again,” said Scerri.

"The trend towards more sophisticated stone tools, jewellery and cooking implements also supports the theory, according to the paper...

***

“'Someone finds a skull somewhere and that’s the source of humanity. Someone finds some tools somewhere, that’s the source of humanity,” she said, describing the latest approach as: “‘Let’s be inclusive and construct a model based on all the data we have available.”

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

David: Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.


Sounds like the scattering at Babel. Within a few generations the dominant morphological traits of the group would be pretty much set. It would also explain a lot of other non-biological mysteries.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 04:43 (683 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

A new theory proposes H. sapiens sprung up in several places in Africa and gradually coalesced into our current form:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/11/no-single-birthplace-of-mankind-say-sci...

" a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

***

"This continental-wide view would help reconcile contradictory interpretations of early Homo sapiens fossils varying greatly in shape, scattered from South Africa (Florisbad) to Ethiopia (Omo Kibish) to Morocco (Jebel Irhoud).

***

"The latest analysis suggests that this patchwork emergence of human traits can be explained by the existence of multiple populations that were periodically separated for millennia by rivers, deserts, forests and mountains before coming into contact again due to shifts in the climate. “These barriers created migration and contact opportunities for groups that may previously have been separated, and later fluctuation might have meant populations that mixed for a short while became isolated again,” said Scerri.

"The trend towards more sophisticated stone tools, jewellery and cooking implements also supports the theory, according to the paper...

***

“'Someone finds a skull somewhere and that’s the source of humanity. Someone finds some tools somewhere, that’s the source of humanity,” she said, describing the latest approach as: “‘Let’s be inclusive and construct a model based on all the data we have available.”

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

David: Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.

Tony: Sounds like the scattering at Babel. Within a few generations the dominant morphological traits of the group would be pretty much set. It would also explain a lot of other non-biological mysteries.

To reach one cohesive phenotype, there would have to be inter group cross breeding. How does that happen if they are scattered into small enclaves?

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, July 14, 2018, 05:47 (682 days ago) @ David Turell

A new theory proposes H. sapiens sprung up in several places in Africa and gradually coalesced into our current form:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/11/no-single-birthplace-of-mankind-say-sci...

" a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

***

"This continental-wide view would help reconcile contradictory interpretations of early Homo sapiens fossils varying greatly in shape, scattered from South Africa (Florisbad) to Ethiopia (Omo Kibish) to Morocco (Jebel Irhoud).

***

"The latest analysis suggests that this patchwork emergence of human traits can be explained by the existence of multiple populations that were periodically separated for millennia by rivers, deserts, forests and mountains before coming into contact again due to shifts in the climate. “These barriers created migration and contact opportunities for groups that may previously have been separated, and later fluctuation might have meant populations that mixed for a short while became isolated again,” said Scerri.

"The trend towards more sophisticated stone tools, jewellery and cooking implements also supports the theory, according to the paper...

***

“'Someone finds a skull somewhere and that’s the source of humanity. Someone finds some tools somewhere, that’s the source of humanity,” she said, describing the latest approach as: “‘Let’s be inclusive and construct a model based on all the data we have available.”

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

David: Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.

Tony: Sounds like the scattering at Babel. Within a few generations the dominant morphological traits of the group would be pretty much set. It would also explain a lot of other non-biological mysteries.


David: To reach one cohesive phenotype, there would have to be inter group cross breeding. How does that happen if they are scattered into small enclaves?

Trade, most likely.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 15:18 (682 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

David: Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.

Tony: Sounds like the scattering at Babel. Within a few generations the dominant morphological traits of the group would be pretty much set. It would also explain a lot of other non-biological mysteries.


David: To reach one cohesive phenotype, there would have to be inter group cross breeding. How does that happen if they are scattered into small enclaves?


Tony: Trade, most likely.

Trade has been recognized as contact points.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 24, 2019, 20:39 (429 days ago) @ David Turell

Mainly from East Africa with an influence from South Africa according to new research:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190320101957.htm

"Modern Homo sapiens first arose in Africa more than 300,000 years ago, but there is great controversy amongst scholars about whether the earliest such people would have been 'just like us' in their mental capacities -- in the sense that, if they were brought up in a family from Yorkshire today, for example, would they be indistinguishable from the rest of the population? Nevertheless, archaeologists believe that people very like us were living in small communities in an Ice Age refuge on the South African coast by at least 100,000 years ago.

"Between around 100,000 and 70,000 years ago, these people left plentiful evidence that they were thinking and behaving like modern humans -- evidence for symbolism, such as the use of pigments (probably for body painting), drawings and engravings, shell beads, and tiny stone tools called microliths that might have been part of bows and arrows. Some of this evidence for what some archaeologists call "modern human behaviour" goes back even further, to more than 150,000 years.

***

"The Huddersfield-Minho team of geneticists, led by Professor Martin Richards at Huddersfield and Dr Pedro Soares in Braga, along with the eminent Cambridge archaeologist Professor Sir Paul Mellars, have studied the maternally-inherited mitochondrial DNA from Africans in unprecedented detail, and have identified a clear signal of a small-scale migration from South Africa to East Africa that took place at just that time, around 65,000 years ago. The signal is only evident today in the mitochondrial DNA. In the rest of the genome, it seems to have been eroded away to nothing by recombination -- the reshuffling of chromosomal genes between parents every generation, which doesn't affect the mitochondrial DNA -- in the intervening millennia.

"The migration signal makes good sense in terms of climate. For most of the last few hundred years, different parts of Africa have been out of step with each other in terms of the aridity of the climate. Only for a brief period at 60,000-70,000 years ago was there a window during which the continent as a whole experienced sufficient moisture to open up a corridor between the south and the east. And intriguingly, it was around 65,000 years ago that some of the signs of symbolism and technological complexity seen earlier in South Africa start to appear in the east.

"The identification of this signal opens up the possibility that a migration of a small group of people from South Africa towards the east around 65,000 years ago transmitted aspects of their sophisticated modern human culture to people in East Africa. Those East African people were biologically little different from the South Africans -- they were all modern Homo sapiens, their brains were just as advanced and they were undoubtedly cognitively ready to receive the benefits of the new ideas and upgrade. But the way it happened might not have been so very different from a modern isolated stone-age culture encountering and embracing western civilization today.

"In any case, it looks as if something happened when the groups from the South encountered the East, with the upshot being the greatest diaspora of Homo sapiens ever known -- both throughout Africa and out of Africa to settle much of Eurasia and as far as Australia within the space of only a few thousand years."

Comment: Adds to our knowledge as to how the different parts of Africa participated. Why the diapora at that point in time? Ready for it? Climate change?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, November 18, 2018, 15:06 (555 days ago) @ David Turell

As explored by an artificial simulation of how the brain probably handles language grammar:

http://maxplanck.nautil.us/article/341/brainwaves-encode-the-grammar-of-human-language?...

"Every day you hear at least some utterances you’ve never heard before. That you can understand them is partly due to the fact that they are structured according to grammatical rules. Scientists have found that the human brain may use the relative timing of brainwaves to encode and decode the structures in a sentence.

"Grammar is a way of structuring information that makes language an efficient way to communicate. Knowing the grammatical rules of our language allows us to say pretty much anything we want, including things we have never heard before by combining words to (new) sentences. Being able to learn and use grammar is unique to humans. But it also creates a challenge for the science of how the brain processes human language—how do our brains, essentially a bunch of cells in a network, represent something as abstract as grammatical rules?

"Scientists at the University of Edinburgh and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics study this question with the help of computer-based models. They constructed an artificial neural network that simulates key features of the brain, such as densely connected populations of neurons that show neural oscillations. Neural oscillations are wave-like patterns of activity that happen at different frequencies, some very fast and some slow. The relative timing of these neural oscillations can help the brain encode grammatical relationships between words in a sentence, as Andrea Martin and Leonidas Doumas report in a paper in PLOS Biology.

"By encoding words in one oscillation, and phrases in another, the brain can keep track of words and phrases at the same time. This demonstrates how something as complex as a sentence can be encoded in the neural currency of oscillations. A key finding of the new study is that these artificial neural networks, when fed example sentences, give off patterns of energy that mimic what the brain does when it processes a sentence. Martin, lead author of the study, says: “This work helps us understand how the brain solves a complex puzzle and why it gives off the activity patterns that it does when processing language.”

"In this exciting age of the brain, where we know more about our brains than ever before, being able to link basic experiences like speaking and understanding language directly to brain function is especially important. Linking our brains to our behaviors holds the key to understanding not only what it means to be human, but also to understanding how the (arguably) most complex computing device in the universe, the human brain, gives rise to our daily experiences. Such knowledge may also lead to biologically inspired advances in human-like artificial intelligence and computation."

Comment: A computer simulation that actually mimics the actual brain wave patterns, suggests this result is a true representation of how brain plasticity has adapted to handle language grammar. In describing the brain as 'arguably' the most complex, the article fudges on accepting that the brain is obviously the most complex result of evolution.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Monday, November 19, 2018, 10:07 (554 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "In this exciting age of the brain, where we know more about our brains than ever before, being able to link basic experiences like speaking and understanding language directly to brain function is especially important. Linking our brains to our behaviors holds the key to understanding not only what it means to be human, but also to understanding how the (arguably) most complex computing device in the universe, the human brain, gives rise to our daily experiences."

DAVID’s comment: A computer simulation that actually mimics the actual brain wave patterns, suggests this result is a true representation of how brain plasticity has adapted to handle language grammar. In describing the brain as 'arguably' the most complex, the article fudges on accepting that the brain is obviously the most complex result of evolution.

Perhaps more to the point in the context of so many of our discussions, it fudges on the origin of the consciousness that determines what use we make of language. It states explicitly that the brain gives rise to our daily experiences. I think most dualists would argue that our daily experiences are the result of the interaction between brain and soul. (I remain neutral on the subject.)

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, November 19, 2018, 15:08 (554 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "In this exciting age of the brain, where we know more about our brains than ever before, being able to link basic experiences like speaking and understanding language directly to brain function is especially important. Linking our brains to our behaviors holds the key to understanding not only what it means to be human, but also to understanding how the (arguably) most complex computing device in the universe, the human brain, gives rise to our daily experiences."

DAVID’s comment: A computer simulation that actually mimics the actual brain wave patterns, suggests this result is a true representation of how brain plasticity has adapted to handle language grammar. In describing the brain as 'arguably' the most complex, the article fudges on accepting that the brain is obviously the most complex result of evolution.

dhw: Perhaps more to the point in the context of so many of our discussions, it fudges on the origin of the consciousness that determines what use we make of language. It states explicitly that the brain gives rise to our daily experiences. I think most dualists would argue that our daily experiences are the result of the interaction between brain and soul. (I remain neutral on the subject.)

The article has obvious limitations, since it is a reductionist study of how the brain has modified to handle language and speech.

Human evolution; stone tools very early in Asia

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 18:49 (553 days ago) @ David Turell

A type of advanced stone tool is now found in Asia and dated to as much as 130-180,000 years ago:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181119160256.htm

"A study by an international team of researchers, including from the University of Washington, determines that carved stone tools, also known as Levallois cores, were used in Asia 80,000 to 170,000 years ago. Developed in Africa and Western Europe as far back as 300,000 years ago, the cores are a sign of more-advanced toolmaking -- the "multi-tool" of the prehistoric world -- but, until now, were not believed to have emerged in East Asia until 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.

"With the find -- and absent human fossils linking the tools to migrating populations -- researchers believe people in Asia developed the technology independently, evidence of similar sets of skills evolving throughout different parts of the ancient world.

***

"Levallois-shaped cores -- the "Swiss Army knife of prehistoric tools," Marwick said -- were efficient and durable, indispensable to a hunter-gatherer society in which a broken spear point could mean certain death at the claws or jaws of a predator. The cores were named for the Levallois-Perret suburb of Paris, where stone flakes were found in the 1800s.

***

"The researchers analyzed more than 2,200 artifacts found at Guanyindong Cave, narrowing down the number of Levallois-style stone cores and flakes to 45. Among those believed to be in the older age range, about 130,000 to 180,000 years old, the team also was able to identify the environment in which the tools were used: an open woodland on a rocky landscape, in "a reduced rainforest area compared to today," the authors note.

"In Africa and Europe these kinds of stone tools are often found at archaeological sites starting from 300,000 and 200,000 years ago. They are known as Mode III technology, part of a broad evolutionary sequence that was preceded by hand-axe technology (Mode II) and followed by blade tool technology (Mode IV). Archaeologists thought that Mode IV technologies arrived in China by migration from the West, but these new finds suggest they could have been locally invented. At the time people were making tools in Guanyindong Cave, the Denisovans -- ancestors to Homo sapiens and relative contemporaries to Neandertals elsewhere in the world -- roamed East Asia. But while hundreds of fossils of archaic humans and related artifacts, dating as far back as more than 3 million years ago, have been found in Africa and Europe, the archaeological record in East Asia is sparser.

***

"In the evolution of tools, Levallois cores represent something of a middle stage. Subsequent manufacturing processes yielded more-refined blades made of rocks and minerals that were more resistant to flaking, and composites that, for example, combined a spear point with blades along the edge. The appearance of blades later in time indicates a further increase in the complexity and the number of steps required to make the tools.

"'The appearance of the Levallois strategy represents a big increase in the complexity of technology because there are so many steps that have to work in order to get the final product, compared to previous technologies," Marwick said."

Comment: It looks as if advanced H. sapiens were more widespread over the world than just Africa and then Europe.

Human evolution; exercise helps the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, November 23, 2018, 21:03 (550 days ago) @ David Turell

We are still hunter-gatherers who evolved bodies to be maintained by exercise activities:

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/this-is-your-brain-on-exercise-64934

"Researchers have long recognized that exercise sharpens certain cognitive skills. Indeed, Maejima and his colleagues have found that regular physical activity improves mice’s ability to distinguish new objects from ones they’ve seen before. Over the past 20 years, researchers have begun to get at the root of these benefits, with studies pointing to increases in the volume of the hippocampus, development of new neurons, and infiltration of blood vessels into the brain. Now, Maejima and others are starting to home in on the epigenetic mechanisms that drive the neurological changes brought on by physical activity.

***

" Moses Chao, a molecular neurobiologist at the New York University School of Medicine, and colleagues recently found that mice that ran frequently on wheels had higher levels of BDNF and of a ketone that’s a byproduct of fat metabolism released from the liver. Injecting the ketone into the brains of mice that did not run helped to inhibit histone deacetylases and increased Bdnf expression in the hippocampus. The finding shows how molecules can travel through the blood, cross the blood-brain barrier, and activate or inhibit epigenetic markers in the brain.

***

"The result also offers support for the 58 clinical trials currently being done on exercise, cognition, and Alzheimer’s disease. There are nearly 100 ongoing trials, including Petzinger’s, investigating exercise’s role in easing Parkinson’s symptoms, and hundreds more looking at exercise as an intervention against depression. Some researchers are even testing the effects of exercise on aging.

“'An active lifestyle is not going to turn a 70-year-old brain into a 30-year-old brain,” says Petzinger. “But studying exercise’s effect on the nervous system could help researchers identify the best and most efficient strategy—whether it’s activity alone or activity paired with drugs—to maintain brain health as we age.'”

Comment: And the same thought applies to muscle health, since we are now not hunter-gatherers:

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/how-muscles-age--and-how-exercise-can-slow-it-64708

"In 1988, Tufts University’s Irwin Rosenberg coined the term “sarcopenia” from Greek roots to describe this age-related lack (penia) of flesh (sarx). Muscle aging likely has several underlying factors, including decreased numbers of muscle stem cells, mitochondrial dysfunction, a decline in protein quality and turnover, and hormonal deregulation. Loss of muscle mass is associated with—and possibly preceded by—muscle weakness, which can make carrying out daily activities, such as climbing stairs or even getting up from a chair, difficult for many seniors. This can lead to inactivity, which itself leads to muscle loss at any age. Thus, older people can enter a vicious cycle that will eventually lead to an increased risk of falls, a loss of independence, and even premature death.

"The good news is that exercise can stave off and even reverse muscle loss and weakness. Recent research has demonstrated that physical activity can promote mitochondrial health, increase protein turnover, and restore levels of signaling molecules involved in muscle function. But while scientists know a lot about what goes wrong in aging, and know that exercise can slow the inevitable, the details of this relationship are just starting to come into focus.

***

"Although the causes of muscle loss are numerous and complex, there is now copious evidence to suggest that exercise may prevent or reverse many of these age-related changes, whereas inactivity will accelerate muscle aging. Earlier this year, for example, Janet Lord of the University of Birmingham and Steven Harridge at King’s College London examined the muscles of 125 male and female amateur cyclists and showed that a lifetime of regular exercise can slow down muscle aging: there were no losses in muscle mass or muscle strength among those who were older and exercised regularly. More surprisingly, the immune system had not aged much either.

"Exercise’s influence on muscle health likely acts through as many mechanisms as those underlying age-related muscle loss and weakness. For example, the number of satellite cells can be increased by exercise, and active elderly people have more of these cells than more-sedentary individuals do. This is the reason why exercise prior to hip and knee surgery can speed up recovery in the elderly.

"Physical activity also affects the muscle’s mitochondria. A lack of exercise decreases the efficiency and number of mitochondria in skeletal muscle, while exercise promotes mitochondrial health.

***

"For now, regular exercise combined with good nutrition is still the most effective way to fight sarcopenia, and possibly aging overall."

Comment: The articles are filled with biochemical studies, if interested.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, November 25, 2018, 19:18 (548 days ago) @ David Turell

Recognizing speech starts in the womb. We are obviously programmed for language:

http://maxplanck.nautil.us/article/342/from-a-babys-cry-to-goethes-faust?utm_source=Nau...


"Speech is generally believed to start with our very first cry at the moment we enter the world. In fact, however, it begins much earlier. We can already understand individual sounds in the womb. From then on, it would appear that speech develops paradoxically in the course of life: We reach many milestones at a blazing pace in the first three years of life, while other language skills do not develop fully until adulthood. For the first time, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have described the exact nature of this path in a comprehensive model. The model is based on an innovative method that sheds light on how a 3-year-old’s brain processes speech.

"It might appear paradoxical: On the one hand, even newborn babies are able to distinguish acoustically between individual syllables such as “ma” and “pa,” and 3-year-olds can already understand simple sentences effortlessly. On the other hand, the ability to understand complicated formulations without difficulty, even if they consist of simple words, only develops in adulthood.

***

“'The regions of the brain responsible for processing speech and the connection between them, a kind of data highway, mature at different rates,” as Angela D. Friederici, director of the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute, explains.

***

"According to the model, a specific region of the cerebrum is involved in speech processing from the outset. Known as the left temporal lobe of the cerebrum, it enables us to differentiate “mama” from “papa” automatically in the space of just a few thousandths of a second. It can already process simple sentences consisting of a few words. Until around the age of 3, the temporal lobe is therefore the epicenter of speech.

"Only then is it gradually joined by a second central speech region, which forms part of the overall speech network, namely Broca’s area, which is located in the frontal region of the cerebrum. It is here that complex linguistic information is processed.

***

"With increasing age, Broca’s area is not only more strongly activated during speech processing, but also becomes more closely integrated in the overall speech network. This ability crucially depends on a bundle of nerve fibers known as the arcuate fasciculus, which forms a connection between these two speech centers, the left temporal lobe and Broca’s area. Only when this bundle of nerve fibers is mature are we able to process complicated sentences as quickly and efficiently as simple sentences. That does not happen until roughly toward the end of puberty.

***

"The findings were obtained thanks to an innovative method that was elaborated at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig. “For a long time, our knowledge of how the brain develops the ability to process complex language was sketchy. It seemed impossible to look into the brains of young children while they are processing speech,” she explains. It was thought that the usual technique of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is unsuitable for young children—especially because they find it difficult to hold their head still during the procedure.

"Friederici and her team succeeded in refining MRI measurements to the extent that it is now possible to peer into the brains of 3-year-olds. The key idea behind their method was to combine business with pleasure. They practiced keeping still with children as a game while the children watched an animated film. “This method paved the way for our current understanding of the development of our speech network,” she adds."

Comment: We come into this world ready to learn how to understand language. Of course I think designed that way .

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Monday, November 26, 2018, 11:44 (547 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: “'The regions of the brain responsible for processing speech and the connection between them, a kind of data highway, mature at different rates,” as Angela D. Friederici, director of the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute, explains.
***
"According to the model, a specific region of the cerebrum is involved in speech processing from the outset. Known as the left temporal lobe of the cerebrum, it enables us to differentiate “mama” from “papa” automatically in the space of just a few thousandths of a second. It can already process simple sentences consisting of a few words. Until around the age of 3, the temporal lobe is therefore the epicenter of speech.
"Only then is it gradually joined by a second central speech region, which forms part of the overall speech network, namely Broca’s area, which is located in the frontal region of the cerebrum. It is here that complex linguistic information is processed.

I can only go on thanking you for the astonishing range of articles you keep presenting to us, bringing us up to date with the latest findings in so many areas of our discussions.

This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, November 26, 2018, 19:05 (547 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES: “'The regions of the brain responsible for processing speech and the connection between them, a kind of data highway, mature at different rates,” as Angela D. Friederici, director of the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute, explains.
***
"According to the model, a specific region of the cerebrum is involved in speech processing from the outset. Known as the left temporal lobe of the cerebrum, it enables us to differentiate “mama” from “papa” automatically in the space of just a few thousandths of a second. It can already process simple sentences consisting of a few words. Until around the age of 3, the temporal lobe is therefore the epicenter of speech.
"Only then is it gradually joined by a second central speech region, which forms part of the overall speech network, namely Broca’s area, which is located in the frontal region of the cerebrum. It is here that complex linguistic information is processed.

dhw: I can only go on thanking you for the astonishing range of articles you keep presenting to us, bringing us up to date with the latest findings in so many areas of our discussions.

This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 15:33 (546 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.
My “in passing” comment could be added to the discussion under “Innovation, Speciation”.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 17:21 (546 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

dhw: My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.

What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 11:55 (545 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

dhw: My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 18:15 (545 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

dhw: My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

dhw: It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

You've jumped to minor plasticity in newly literate Indian women using a very complex brain they were given and plastically changed a little. Speech requires the complexity of the human brain starting 300,000 years ago. The eventually completed complex brain takes until 25 years old and may in part (I agree with you) mimic evolution of it.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, November 29, 2018, 10:08 (544 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

dhw: It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

DAVID: You've jumped to minor plasticity in newly literate Indian women using a very complex brain they were given and plastically changed a little. Speech requires the complexity of the human brain starting 300,000 years ago. The eventually completed complex brain takes until 25 years old and may in part (I agree with you) mimic evolution of it.

No one would doubt that speech requires greater complexity than non-speech, but we needn’t go over all that again. Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 29, 2018, 15:23 (544 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

dhw: It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

DAVID: You've jumped to minor plasticity in newly literate Indian women using a very complex brain they were given and plastically changed a little. Speech requires the complexity of the human brain starting 300,000 years ago. The eventually completed complex brain takes until 25 years old and may in part (I agree with you) mimic evolution of it.

dhw: No one would doubt that speech requires greater complexity than non-speech, but we needn’t go over all that again. Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Friday, November 30, 2018, 13:29 (543 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, November 30, 2018, 15:41 (543 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, December 01, 2018, 14:05 (542 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 01, 2018, 18:19 (542 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Sunday, December 02, 2018, 12:51 (541 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

DAVID: At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 02, 2018, 15:16 (541 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

DAVID: At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Monday, December 03, 2018, 14:02 (540 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

DAVID: At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

DAVID: Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

Fair comment. I should have stuck to our solar system and planet. Apologies for taking us off onto a different track. An interesting one, though. One has to ask: what was there before the Big Bang, if it ever happened? Nothing at all is also pure hypothesis, as is an eternal mind without a beginning. There is no way we shall ever know, unless your pure hypothesis is correct and your God reveals himself!

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, December 03, 2018, 16:55 (540 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

DAVID: At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

DAVID: Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

dhw: Fair comment. I should have stuck to our solar system and planet. Apologies for taking us off onto a different track. An interesting one, though. One has to ask: what was there before the Big Bang, if it ever happened? Nothing at all is also pure hypothesis, as is an eternal mind without a beginning. There is no way we shall ever know, unless your pure hypothesis is correct and your God reveals himself!

According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Tuesday, December 04, 2018, 14:14 (539 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

DAVID: Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

dhw: Fair comment. I should have stuck to our solar system and planet. Apologies for taking us off onto a different track. An interesting one, though. One has to ask: what was there before the Big Bang, if it ever happened? Nothing at all is also pure hypothesis, as is an eternal mind without a beginning. There is no way we shall ever know, unless your pure hypothesis is correct and your God reveals himself!

DAVID: According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

A strange volte face. According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

Human evolution; hominins late in Arabia

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 04, 2018, 18:01 (539 days ago) @ dhw

New stone tool findings:

https://www.livescience.com/64203-ancient-hominins-saudi-arabia.html?utm_source=lsa-new...

"Ancient human relatives lived on the Arabian Peninsula for an astonishingly long time — from about 240,000 to 190,000 years ago — and spread into the heart of the region by following its blue rivers and lakes, a new study found.

"These early human relatives persisted for so long that they could have run into some modern humans, or Homo sapiens, along the way, the researchers said in the study,

***

"'Early hominins had small brains and made crude tools," Scerri told Live Science. "However, later hominins had bigger brains and were more sophisticated. Instead of crudely banging rocks together to produce sharp-edged stone flakes, they created beautiful, symmetrical artifacts called hand axes."

"Large, expertly shaped cutting tools (such as hand axes) made by hominins are known as Acheulean tools. These instruments — called the "the Swiss army knife of prehistory" — date to 1.5 million years ago; they come from the longest-lasting tool-making tradition in prehistory, Scerri said. Because it's rare to find hominin bones, Acheulean tools are a great stand-in for hominins when trying to figure out when and where they lived, the researchers said.

"It's unclear which hominins made the hand axes in Saudi Arabia. "However, hominins that have been found with Acheulean tools include Homo erectus, who was probably a direct ancestor of humans," Scerri said.

***

"The dating revealed that hominins lived in Saffaqah as recently as 188,000 years ago, making it the youngest Acheulean site in southwest Asia, the researchers found. This finding is remarkable, because it shows that the Arabian Acheulean ended just before or at the same time as the earliest H. sapiens made it to the region, the researchers said.

"The international team used luminescence dating to determine the age of the tools. This method measures how much light is emitted from energy stored in certain types of rock and soils, as certain minerals store energy from the sun at a known rate, Scerri said.

"When these minerals are buried, they can no longer store this energy," she said. "By heating the minerals, the stored energy becomes emptied, and the amount of energy that is emptied gives a measure of a point in time when that mineral was last exposed to daylight."

"The research also revealed that these hominins spread throughout Saudi Arabia's landscape via its blue waterways. Although Arabia is a vast desert today, it was greener during several brief periods in the past.

"'The hominins making the Acheulean tools at Saffaqah seemed to have made their way into the heart of Arabia when these now-dry river networks and channels were active," Scerri said.

"But Saudi Arabia was turning dry again by about 188,000 years ago, she said. So, it's likely that "the hominins responsible for these stone tools were quite resilient in the face of environmental challenges," she said. "Although the site of Saffaqah was not a desert when these Acheulean hominins were there, it was probably still quite an arid environment.'"

Comment: Disappearance of a hominin type is not like turning off a light bulb. They die off slowly. That H. sapiens and H. erectus lived side by side suggests sapiens appeared with no intermediate forms. H. sapiens by direct creation is possible.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 04, 2018, 18:09 (539 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

DAVID: Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

dhw: Fair comment. I should have stuck to our solar system and planet. Apologies for taking us off onto a different track. An interesting one, though. One has to ask: what was there before the Big Bang, if it ever happened? Nothing at all is also pure hypothesis, as is an eternal mind without a beginning. There is no way we shall ever know, unless your pure hypothesis is correct and your God reveals himself!

DAVID: According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

dhw: A strange volte face. According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, December 05, 2018, 11:53 (538 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

dhw: A strange volte face. According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciosuness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 05, 2018, 20:22 (538 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

dhw: A strange volte face. According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciosuness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, December 06, 2018, 13:25 (537 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciousness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

DAVID: Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

I accept that as a good reason for your faith – but you have always acknowledged that it requires faith and not reason to accept one mystery as the answer to another.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 06, 2018, 19:33 (537 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciousness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

DAVID: Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

dhw: I accept that as a good reason for your faith – but you have always acknowledged that it requires faith and not reason to accept one mystery as the answer to another.

Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

Human evolution; another Australopithecus species? ignore

by David Turell @, Friday, December 07, 2018, 01:44 (537 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Friday, December 07, 2018, 01:55

Still under debate about it, but sure looks like it:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2187639-exclusive-controversial-skeleton-may-be-a-...

"More than twenty years after it was first discovered, an analysis of a remarkable skeleton discovered in South Africa has finally been published – and the specimen suggests we may need to add a new species to the family tree of early human ancestors.

"The analysis also found evidence that the species was evolving to become better at striding on two legs, helping us to understand when our lineage first became bipedal.

"The specimen, nicknamed “Little Foot”, is a type of Australopithecus, the group of hominins to which the famous fossil “Lucy” belonged. Lucy’s species is called A. afarensis, but we know of several other species of these human-like primates living in Africa around 2 million years ago, including A. africanus.

***
"The Little Foot fossil came to light in the 1990s. Ronald Clarke of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa was asked to go through a collection of bones from Sterkfontein Cave in South Africa. In 1994 he found that four foot bones, thought to belong to monkeys, actually resembled existing fossils belonging to the Australopithecus group.

"The foot bones were quite small, prompting Clarke’s now-deceased colleague Phillip Tobias to dub them “Little Foot”, in reference to the Bigfoot hominin that some believe roams North America.

"In 1997, Clarke and two colleagues found more of the skeleton encased in rock within the same cave. He began excavating it, a process that continued for over a decade. Because the fossilised bone flaked easily, Clarke chose to painstakingly remove the bones from the rock using only an air scribe – a tool that shoots out a thin jet of pressurised air.

***

"The result is a virtually complete skeleton that promises to tell us much about early human-like primates.

A flurry of initial studies, published at last, reveal that Little Foot was an elderly female, about 130 centimetres in height.

"According to a study led by Travis Pickering of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Little Foot had an arm injury. He suspects she fell onto an outstretched hand during her youth, and that the resulting injury troubled her throughout her life.

"Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool, UK and his colleagues have analysed how she would have walked. He says it is the first fossil of this age ever to have been discovered with its limbs fully intact.

“'This hominin had longer lower limbs than upper limbs, like ourselves,” says Crompton. This is an interesting finding, as the slightly older hominin Ardipithecus, which came before Australopithecus, had longer arms than legs – more like great apes do. “That means it was being selected for stride length in bipedalism,” says Crompton.

"Little Foot would not have been as good at carrying objects as we are. However, she would have been better at climbing trees than modern humans.

"That would have suited her home: a mix of tropical rainforest, broken woodland and grassland, through which she roamed widely.

A further paper examines the deposits in which Little Foot was encased and concludes that the fossil is 3.67 million years old, more than a million years older than previously thought. (my bold)

"Clarke has argued for over a decade that Little Foot does not belong to any of the known Australopithecus species, and should be named a new species in its own right. He favours calling it A. prometheus.

"The name was coined in 1948 by Raymond Dart, to describe a piece of skull found at Makapansgat in South Africa. Dart is a key figure in anthropology, because in 1925 he described the first Australopithecus specimen, the Taung Child. He used the fossil to argue that humans evolved in Africa. At the time most biologists thought our origins lay in Asia, and Dart was ridiculed for years until other discoveries confirmed that he was right.

"Clarke is convinced that many of the bones from Sterkfontein, including Little Foot, are not A. africanus, so he has resurrected the name A. prometheus. “There are many, many differences, not only in the skull but also in the rest of the skeleton,” he says. They include a flatter face than A. africanus, and larger teeth with a big gap between the upper canines and incisors.

"There is also Little Foot’s diet. Based on her teeth, she ate almost nothing but plants. “A. africanus was more omnivorous,” says Clarke."

Comment: The main thrust here to recognize is that this lady is Lucy's age in fossil time, but she has longer arms than legs and Lucy is longer arms. What this means is a that there were several lines of hominin development going on at different places in Africa in the same periods of time. Places of discovery, to remind us, Lucy is Northeastern Africa and Little Foot is South Africa. It suggests God liked diversity in evolving humans, just as He created diversity in the huge bush of like. I suspect the reason for the diversity in life is econiches for food, while I suspect He already knew what H' sapiens would be like when evolution got to that point..

Human evolution; another Australopithecus species?

by David Turell @, Friday, December 07, 2018, 01:45 (537 days ago) @ David Turell

Still under debate about it, but sure looks like it:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2187639-exclusive-controversial-skeleton-may-be-a-...

More than twenty years after it was first discovered, an analysis of a remarkable skeleton discovered in South Africa has finally been published – and the specimen suggests we may need to add a new species to the family tree of early human ancestors.

"The analysis also found evidence that the species was evolving to become better at striding on two legs, helping us to understand when our lineage first became bipedal.

"The specimen, nicknamed “Little Foot”, is a type of Australopithecus, the group of hominins to which the famous fossil “Lucy” belonged. Lucy’s species is called A. afarensis, but we know of several other species of these human-like primates living in Africa around 2 million years ago, including A. africanus.

***
"The Little Foot fossil came to light in the 1990s. Ronald Clarke of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa was asked to go through a collection of bones from Sterkfontein Cave in South Africa. In 1994 he found that four foot bones, thought to belong to monkeys, actually resembled existing fossils belonging to the Australopithecus group.

"The foot bones were quite small, prompting Clarke’s now-deceased colleague Phillip Tobias to dub them “Little Foot”, in reference to the Bigfoot hominin that some believe roams North America.

"In 1997, Clarke and two colleagues found more of the skeleton encased in rock within the same cave. He began excavating it, a process that continued for over a decade. Because the fossilised bone flaked easily, Clarke chose to painstakingly remove the bones from the rock using only an air scribe – a tool that shoots out a thin jet of pressurised air.

***

"The result is a virtually complete skeleton that promises to tell us much about early human-like primates.

A flurry of initial studies, published at last, reveal that Little Foot was an elderly female, about 130 centimetres in height.

"According to a study led by Travis Pickering of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Little Foot had an arm injury. He suspects she fell onto an outstretched hand during her youth, and that the resulting injury troubled her throughout her life.

"Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool, UK and his colleagues have analysed how she would have walked. He says it is the first fossil of this age ever to have been discovered with its limbs fully intact.

“'This hominin had longer lower limbs than upper limbs, like ourselves,” says Crompton. This is an interesting finding, as the slightly older hominin Ardipithecus, which came before Australopithecus, had longer arms than legs – more like great apes do. “That means it was being selected for stride length in bipedalism,” says Crompton.

"Little Foot would not have been as good at carrying objects as we are. However, she would have been better at climbing trees than modern humans.

"That would have suited her home: a mix of tropical rainforest, broken woodland and grassland, through which she roamed widely.

A further paper examines the deposits in which Little Foot was encased and concludes that the fossil is 3.67 million years old, more than a million years older than previously thought. (my bold)

"Clarke has argued for over a decade that Little Foot does not belong to any of the known Australopithecus species, and should be named a new species in its own right. He favours calling it A. prometheus.

"The name was coined in 1948 by Raymond Dart, to describe a piece of skull found at Makapansgat in South Africa. Dart is a key figure in anthropology, because in 1925 he described the first Australopithecus specimen, the Taung Child. He used the fossil to argue that humans evolved in Africa. At the time most biologists thought our origins lay in Asia, and Dart was ridiculed for years until other discoveries confirmed that he was right.

"Clarke is convinced that many of the bones from Sterkfontein, including Little Foot, are not A. africanus, so he has resurrected the name A. prometheus. “There are many, many differences, not only in the skull but also in the rest of the skeleton,” he says. They include a flatter face than A. africanus, and larger teeth with a big gap between the upper canines and incisors.

"There is also Little Foot’s diet. Based on her teeth, she ate almost nothing but plants. “A. africanus was more omnivorous,” says Clarke."

Comment: The main thrust here to recognize is that this lady is roughly Lucy's age in fossil time, but she has longer arms than legs and Lucy is longer arms. What this means is a that there were several lines of hominin development going on at different places in Africa in the same periods of time. Places of discovery, to remind us, Lucy is Northeastern Africa and Little Foot is South Africa. It suggests God liked diversity in evolving humans, just as He created diversity in the huge bush of like. I suspect the reason for the diversity in life is econiches for food, while I suspect He already knew what H' sapiens would be like when evolution got to that point..

Human evolution; another Australopithecus species?

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 04:57 (531 days ago) @ David Turell

“'This hominin had longer lower limbs than upper limbs, like ourselves,” says Crompton. This is an interesting finding, as the slightly older hominin Ardipithecus, which came before Australopithecus, had longer arms than legs – more like great apes do. “That means it was being selected for stride length in bipedalism,” says Crompton.

"Little Foot would not have been as good at carrying objects as we are. However, she would have been better at climbing trees than modern humans.

"That would have suited her home: a mix of tropical rainforest, broken woodland and grassland, through which she roamed widely.

A further paper examines the deposits in which Little Foot was encased and concludes that the fossil is 3.67 million years old, more than a million years older than previously thought. (my bold)

"Clarke has argued for over a decade that Little Foot does not belong to any of the known Australopithecus species, and should be named a new species in its own right. He favours calling it A. prometheus.

"The name was coined in 1948 by Raymond Dart, to describe a piece of skull found at Makapansgat in South Africa. Dart is a key figure in anthropology, because in 1925 he described the first Australopithecus specimen, the Taung Child. He used the fossil to argue that humans evolved in Africa. At the time most biologists thought our origins lay in Asia, and Dart was ridiculed for years until other discoveries confirmed that he was right.

"Clarke is convinced that many of the bones from Sterkfontein, including Little Foot, are not A. africanus, so he has resurrected the name A. prometheus. “There are many, many differences, not only in the skull but also in the rest of the skeleton,” he says. They include a flatter face than A. africanus, and larger teeth with a big gap between the upper canines and incisors.

"There is also Little Foot’s diet. Based on her teeth, she ate almost nothing but plants. “A. africanus was more omnivorous,” says Clarke."

Comment: The main thrust here to recognize is that this lady is roughly Lucy's age in fossil time, but she has longer arms than legs and Lucy is longer arms. What this means is a that there were several lines of hominin development going on at different places in Africa in the same periods of time. Places of discovery, to remind us, Lucy is Northeastern Africa and Little Foot is South Africa. It suggests God liked diversity in evolving humans, just as He created diversity in the huge bush of like. I suspect the reason for the diversity in life is econiches for food, while I suspect He already knew what H' sapiens would be like when evolution got to that point..

This comment is incorrect in that it reversed arm and leg length, which is clear in the article. Little foot had longer legs and is more advanced in bipedalism than Lucy who is younger in the timing of evolution.

New article really adds little::

https://www.livescience.com/64275-little-foot-hominin-excavated.html?utm_source=ls-news...

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 19:09 (525 days ago) @ David Turell

Her brain is both ape and human:

https://phys.org/news/2018-12-peering-foot-million-year-old-brain.html


"MicroCT scans of the Australopithecus fossil known as Little Foot shows that the brain of this ancient human relative was small and shows features that are similar to our own brain and others that are closer to our ancestor shared with living chimpanzees.

"While the brain features structures similar to modern humans—such as an asymmetrical structure and pattern of middle meningeal vessels—some of its critical areas such as an expanded visual cortex and reduced parietal association cortex points to a condition that is distinct from us.

***

"The endocast showed that Little Foot's brain was asymmetrical, with a distinct left occipital petalia. Brain asymmetry is essential for lateralisation of brain function. Asymmetry occurs in humans and living apes, as well as in other younger hominin endocasts. Little Foot now shows us that this brain asymmetry was present at a very early date (from 3.67 million years ago), and supports suggestions that it was probably present in the last common ancestor of hominins and other great apes.

"Other brain structures, such as an expanded visual cortex, suggests that the brain of Little Foot probably had some features that are closer to the ancestor we share with living chimpanzees.

"'In human evolution, when know that a reduced visual cortex, as we can see in our own brain, is related to a more expanded parietal cortex—which is a critical cerebral area responsible for several aspects of sensory processing and sensorimotor integration," says Beaudet. "On the contrary, Little Foot has a large visual cortex, which is more similar to chimpanzees than to humans."

"Beaudet and her colleagues compared the Little Foot endocast with endocasts of 10 other South African hominins dating between three and 1.5 million years ago. Their preliminary calculation of Little Foot's endocranial volume was found to be at the low end of the range for Australopithecus, which is in keeping with its great age and its place among other very early fossils of Australopithecus from East Africa.

"The study also has shown that the vascular system in Australopithecus was more complex than previously thought, which raises new questions on the metabolism of the brain at this time. This might be consistent with a previous hypothesis suggesting that the endocranial vascular system in Australopithecus was closer to modern humans than it was in the geologically younger Paranthropus genus. (my bold)

""This would mean that even if Little Foot's brain was different from us, the vascular system that allows for blood flow (which brings oxygen) and may control temperature in the brain—both essential aspects for evolving a large and complex brain—were possibly already present at that time," says Beaudet.

"Given its geological age of over 3 million years, Little Foot's brain suggests that younger hominins evolved greater complexity in certain brain structures over time, perhaps in response to increasing environmental pressures experienced after 2.6 million years ago with continuing reduction in closed habitats.

"'Such environmental changes could also potentially have encouraged more complex social interaction, which is driven by structures in the brain," says Beaudet. "

Comment: Little Foot is obviously a transitional form. But note my bold about the somewhat advanced vascular system. Advanced planning by God? Social relations were also dictated by hunter-gatherers groups which had to form for survival as small groups cooperation provided food and protection.Brain plasticity would have made brain changes as socialization progressed.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by dhw, Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 10:38 (524 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: The study also has shown that the vascular system in Australopithecus was more complex than previously thought, which raises new questions on the metabolism of the brain at this time. This might be consistent with a previous hypothesis suggesting that the endocranial vascular system in Australopithecus was closer to modern humans than it was in the geologically younger Paranthropus genus. (David’s bold)

Given its geological age of over 3 million years, Little Foot's brain suggests that younger hominins evolved greater complexity in certain brain structures over time, perhaps in response to increasing environmental pressures experienced after 2.6 million years ago with continuing reduction in closed habitats. (dhw’s bold)

"'Such environmental changes could also potentially have encouraged more complex social interaction, which is driven by structures in the brain," says Beaudet. (dhw’s bold)

DAVID:Little Foot is obviously a transitional form.

Yes, she provides yet more evidence of common descent.

DAVID: But note my bold about the somewhat advanced vascular system. Advanced planning by God?

If so, then why would he have bothered to introduce the less advanced system later on?

DAVID: Social relations were also dictated by hunter-gatherers groups which had to form for survival as small groups cooperation provided food and protection. Brain plasticity would have made brain changes as socialization progressed.

Delighted to see you acknowledging that this area of evolution was dictated by the survivability which you tell us plays little or no role in evolution. But I’m interested mainly in the two sections I’ve bolded. Increasing environmental pressures demand increased brain activity if the hominin is to survive – i.e. brain change is in response to new requirements. But the second bold suggests the reverse – that it is the brain that drives new activities. This is a contradiction. I would support the first bold: that environmental change requires new activities, and it is these activities that change the brain.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 18:45 (524 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES: The study also has shown that the vascular system in Australopithecus was more complex than previously thought, which raises new questions on the metabolism of the brain at this time. This might be consistent with a previous hypothesis suggesting that the endocranial vascular system in Australopithecus was closer to modern humans than it was in the geologically younger Paranthropus genus. (David’s bold)

Given its geological age of over 3 million years, Little Foot's brain suggests that younger hominins evolved greater complexity in certain brain structures over time, perhaps in response to increasing environmental pressures experienced after 2.6 million years ago with continuing reduction in closed habitats. (dhw’s bold)

"'Such environmental changes could also potentially have encouraged more complex social interaction, which is driven by structures in the brain," says Beaudet. (dhw’s bold)

DAVID:Little Foot is obviously a transitional form.

dhw: Yes, she provides yet more evidence of common descent.

OK


DAVID: But note my bold about the somewhat advanced vascular system. Advanced planning by God?

dhw: If so, then why would he have bothered to introduce the less advanced system later on?

We don't have Lucy's skull which would have been later . Where did you get observation? The article indicates an improvement from Paranthropus.


DAVID: Social relations were also dictated by hunter-gatherers groups which had to form for survival as small groups cooperation provided food and protection. Brain plasticity would have made brain changes as socialization progressed.

dhw: Delighted to see you acknowledging that this area of evolution was dictated by the survivability which you tell us plays little or no role in evolution. But I’m interested mainly in the two sections I’ve bolded. Increasing environmental pressures demand increased brain activity if the hominin is to survive – i.e. brain change is in response to new requirements. But the second bold suggests the reverse – that it is the brain that drives new activities. This is a contradiction. I would support the first bold: that environmental change requires new activities, and it is these activities that change the brain.

No change in your position. I do not believe survivability drives evolution.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by dhw, Thursday, December 20, 2018, 10:19 (523 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: The study also has shown that the vascular system in Australopithecus was more complex than previously thought, which raises new questions on the metabolism of the brain at this time. This might be consistent with a previous hypothesis suggesting that the endocranial vascular system in Australopithecus was closer to modern humans than it was in the geologically younger Paranthropus genus. (David’s bold)

DAVID: But note my bold about the somewhat advanced vascular system. Advanced planning by God?

dhw: If so, then why would he have bothered to introduce the less advanced system later on?

DAVID: We don't have Lucy's skull which would have been later . Where did you get observation? The article indicates an improvement from Paranthropus.

The section you bolded indicates that the system of the older hominin (Australopithecus) was closer to ours than that of the younger hominin (Paranthropus).

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 20, 2018, 21:47 (523 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: The study also has shown that the vascular system in Australopithecus was more complex than previously thought, which raises new questions on the metabolism of the brain at this time. This might be consistent with a previous hypothesis suggesting that the endocranial vascular system in Australopithecus was closer to modern humans than it was in the geologically younger Paranthropus genus. (David’s bold)

DAVID: But note my bold about the somewhat advanced vascular system. Advanced planning by God?

dhw: If so, then why would he have bothered to introduce the less advanced system later on?

DAVID: We don't have Lucy's skull which would have been later . Where did you get observation? The article indicates an improvement from Paranthropus.

dhw: The section you bolded indicates that the system of the older hominin (Australopithecus) was closer to ours than that of the younger hominin (Paranthropus).

You are correct but it appears others had a less advanced vascular system but was several million years younger. Note this from the article:

Beaudet and her colleagues compared the Little Foot endocast with endocasts of 10 other South African hominins dating between three and 1.5 million years ago. Their preliminary calculation of Little Foot's endocranial volume was found to be at the low end of the range for Australopithecus, which is in keeping with its great age and its place among other very early fossils of Australopithecus from East Africa.

Yet its vascular system is more advanced. ?Pre-planning by God?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by dhw, Friday, December 21, 2018, 10:32 (522 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: The study also has shown that the vascular system in Australopithecus was more complex than previously thought, which raises new questions on the metabolism of the brain at this time. This might be consistent with a previous hypothesis suggesting that the endocranial vascular system in Australopithecus was closer to modern humans than it was in the geologically younger Paranthropus genus. (David’s bold)

DAVID: But note my bold about the somewhat advanced vascular system. Advanced planning by God?

dhw: If so, then why would he have bothered to introduce the less advanced system later on?

DAVID: We don't have Lucy's skull which would have been later . Where did you get observation? The article indicates an improvement from Paranthropus.

dhw: The section you bolded indicates that the system of the older hominin (Australopithecus) was closer to ours than that of the younger hominin (Paranthropus).

DAVID: You are correct but it appears others had a less advanced vascular system but was several million years younger. Note this from the article:
"Beaudet and her colleagues compared the Little Foot endocast with endocasts of 10 other South African hominins dating between three and 1.5 million years ago. Their preliminary calculation of Little Foot's endocranial volume was found to be at the low end of the range for Australopithecus, which is in keeping with its great age and its place among other very early fossils of Australopithecus from East Africa."

DAVID: Yet its vascular system is more advanced. Pre-planning by God?

Here are two more quotes: "This would mean that even if Little Foot's brain was different from us, the vascular system that allows for blood flow (which brings oxygen) and may control temperature in the brain—both essential aspects for evolving a large and complex brain—were possibly already present at that time," says Beaudet.

"Given its geological age of over 3 million years, Little Foot's brain suggests that younger hominins evolved greater complexity in certain brain structures over time, perhaps in response to increasing environmental pressures experienced after 2.6 million years ago with continuing reduction in closed habitats.”

If the more complex vascular system is essential for developing a more complex brain, I don’t understand why the earlier hominin with the more complex vascular system had a less complex brain than the later hominin with the less complex vascular system. And as discussed under God’s purposes and methods, I don’t understand why a God who 1) is always in full control, and 2) has the one and only purpose of creating the brain of H. sapiens, would 3) design all these different combinations. Nor do you, so maybe one or more of your three assumptions is wrong.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by David Turell @, Friday, December 21, 2018, 16:22 (522 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are correct but it appears others had a less advanced vascular system but was several million years younger. Note this from the article:
"Beaudet and her colleagues compared the Little Foot endocast with endocasts of 10 other South African hominins dating between three and 1.5 million years ago. Their preliminary calculation of Little Foot's endocranial volume was found to be at the low end of the range for Australopithecus, which is in keeping with its great age and its place among other very early fossils of Australopithecus from East Africa."

DAVID: Yet its vascular system is more advanced. Pre-planning by God?

dhw: Here are two more quotes: "This would mean that even if Little Foot's brain was different from us, the vascular system that allows for blood flow (which brings oxygen) and may control temperature in the brain—both essential aspects for evolving a large and complex brain—were possibly already present at that time," says Beaudet.

"Given its geological age of over 3 million years, Little Foot's brain suggests that younger hominins evolved greater complexity in certain brain structures over time, perhaps in response to increasing environmental pressures experienced after 2.6 million years ago with continuing reduction in closed habitats.”

If the more complex vascular system is essential for developing a more complex brain, I don’t understand why the earlier hominin with the more complex vascular system had a less complex brain than the later hominin with the less complex vascular system. And as discussed under God’s purposes and methods, I don’t understand why a God who 1) is always in full control, and 2) has the one and only purpose of creating the brain of H. sapiens, would 3) design all these different combinations. Nor do you, so maybe one or more of your three assumptions is wrong.

We can't get around the point Little Foot had a somewhat advanced brain circulatory system. Progress toward H. sapiens apparently went at different speeds in different areas of Africa. I can't explain it clearly to you without assuming God may have been experimenting with different approaches to evolution of humans based on differing environments, differing circulatory arrangements. There is no reason not to entertain God as being somewhat of a tinkerer. No loss of full control, but as an experimenter working things out. Remember I don't view God as religions do, absolutely omniscient. Setting up an advanced circulation before enlarging the brain makes sense since evolution builds stepwise.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by dhw, Saturday, December 22, 2018, 11:32 (521 days ago) @ David Turell

I have shifted this discussion to "Divine purposes and methods".

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 18:43 (497 days ago) @ dhw

Interesting new finding about 'little foot':

https://www.livescience.com/64464-little-foot-moved-like-chimps.html?utm_source=lsa-new...

"An ancient human relative known as "Little Foot" likely walked more like a chimpanzee than like a modern human.

"Little Foot is an exceptionally well-preserved female Australopithecus — a genus in the human family tree — dating to 3.67 million years ago. Her near-complete skeleton, discovered in a cave in South Africa in 1994, was finally excavated in December after a 20-year effort (which the scientists described as a "miracle"), and close analysis of her skull enabled scientists to create 3D models of the tiny structures in her inner ear.

"This "bony labyrinth" holds important clues about balance and movement, researchers reported in a new study. In shape, Little Foot's inner-ear structure is "substantially different" from early Homo species, suggesting that she moved differently — perhaps more like our closest primate relatives, chimpanzees.

***

" For the study, the researchers scanned the interior of Little Foot's skull and used the data to construct 3D models of her inner ear. They then compared the models with the inner ears of 17 early hominin specimens, 10 extant humans and 10 chimpanzees.

"The scientists discovered that Little Foot's ear canals differed greatly from those in human ears, and they were also very different from another hominin group known as Paranthropus, which lived at the same time as early humans. In fact, Little Foot's canals were distinctly "ape-like," resembling those of chimpanzees. This suggests that the way Australopithecus moved likely had something in common with chimps, according to the study.

"Our analysis of the inner ear might be compatible with the hypothesis that Little Foot and the Australopithecus specimens in general were walking on two legs on the ground but also spent some times in the trees," Beaudet said.

"The shape of Little Foot's cochlea — a hearing organ deep inside the ear that senses vibrations — also differed from that in Homo species, implying that Australopithecus interacted with their environment differently than their human cousins, the researchers reported."

Comment: For me this study shows the vast number of ways humans differ from apes, and why design is required

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 13:21 (496 days ago) @ David Turell

"The shape of Little Foot's cochlea — a hearing organ deep inside the ear that senses vibrations — also differed from that in Homo species, implying that Australopithecus interacted with their environment differently than their human cousins, the researchers reported."

DAVID’s comment: For me this study shows the vast number of ways humans differ from apes, and why design is required.

It is perfectly reasonable for you to make such comments, but I think it is also perfectly reasonable for me to respond. There is no doubt that we differ from apes in a vast number of ways, just as we resemble them in a vast number of ways. Every complexity suggests design, but do you believe your God deliberately designed Little Foot’s cochlea and then separately designed your own? And if so, why do you think your God deliberately designed a different cochlea for Little Foot when all he really wanted to do from the very beginning was design your cochlea?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 13:46 (496 days ago) @ dhw

"The shape of Little Foot's cochlea — a hearing organ deep inside the ear that senses vibrations — also differed from that in Homo species, implying that Australopithecus interacted with their environment differently than their human cousins, the researchers reported."

DAVID’s comment: For me this study shows the vast number of ways humans differ from apes, and why design is required.

dhw: It is perfectly reasonable for you to make such comments, but I think it is also perfectly reasonable for me to respond. There is no doubt that we differ from apes in a vast number of ways, just as we resemble them in a vast number of ways. Every complexity suggests design, but do you believe your God deliberately designed Little Foot’s cochlea and then separately designed your own? And if so, why do you think your God deliberately designed a different cochlea for Little Foot when all he really wanted to do from the very beginning was design your cochlea?

Because God used an evolutionary method requiring little steps and big jumps/gaps as history of evolution teaches us.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 11:58 (495 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: For me this study shows the vast number of ways humans differ from apes, and why design is required.

dhw: It is perfectly reasonable for you to make such comments, but I think it is also perfectly reasonable for me to respond. There is no doubt that we differ from apes in a vast number of ways, just as we resemble them in a vast number of ways. Every complexity suggests design, but do you believe your God deliberately designed Little Foot’s cochlea and then separately designed your own? And if so, why do you think your God deliberately designed a different cochlea for Little Foot when all he really wanted to do from the very beginning was design your cochlea?

DAVID: Because God used an evolutionary method requiring little steps and big jumps/gaps as history of evolution teaches us.

I’m glad to hear that you incorporate little steps in your theory. Unfortunately, what we now have is that your God deliberately designed Little Foot’s cochlea, and then separately designed your cochlea, although he only wanted to design your cochlea and could have done it if he had wanted to since he is in full control. The reason why he used this method is that this is the method he used. Furthermore, what you call an “evolutionary method” is in fact a method of separate creation. I’m sure you will understand why I don’t regard this explanation as very enlightening!

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 19:59 (495 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: For me this study shows the vast number of ways humans differ from apes, and why design is required.

dhw: It is perfectly reasonable for you to make such comments, but I think it is also perfectly reasonable for me to respond. There is no doubt that we differ from apes in a vast number of ways, just as we resemble them in a vast number of ways. Every complexity suggests design, but do you believe your God deliberately designed Little Foot’s cochlea and then separately designed your own? And if so, why do you think your God deliberately designed a different cochlea for Little Foot when all he really wanted to do from the very beginning was design your cochlea?

DAVID: Because God used an evolutionary method requiring little steps and big jumps/gaps as history of evolution teaches us.

dhw: I’m glad to hear that you incorporate little steps in your theory. Unfortunately, what we now have is that your God deliberately designed Little Foot’s cochlea, and then separately designed your cochlea, although he only wanted to design your cochlea and could have done it if he had wanted to since he is in full control. The reason why he used this method is that this is the method he used. Furthermore, what you call an “evolutionary method” is in fact a method of separate creation. I’m sure you will understand why I don’t regard this explanation as very enlightening!

I'm concerned with analyzing God's works and methods. The little steps are adaptations within species and the big steps are speciation. Little Foot is a definite new species compared to previous forms and the cochlea is one of changes in the new species. In evolution we don't find God leaping from stage one whales to stage eight whales all at once, therefore it is stepwise as Darwin imagined, but not designed by a drive from survival, but designed as surviving by design in advance of the new step.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Friday, January 18, 2019, 10:22 (494 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: For me this study shows the vast number of ways humans differ from apes, and why design is required.

dhw: It is perfectly reasonable for you to make such comments, but I think it is also perfectly reasonable for me to respond. There is no doubt that we differ from apes in a vast number of ways, just as we resemble them in a vast number of ways. Every complexity suggests design, but do you believe your God deliberately designed Little Foot’s cochlea and then separately designed your own? And if so, why do you think your God deliberately designed a different cochlea for Little Foot when all he really wanted to do from the very beginning was design your cochlea?

DAVID: Because God used an evolutionary method requiring little steps and big jumps/gaps as history of evolution teaches us.

dhw: I’m glad to hear that you incorporate little steps in your theory. Unfortunately, what we now have is that your God deliberately designed Little Foot’s cochlea, and then separately designed your cochlea, although he only wanted to design your cochlea and could have done it if he had wanted to since he is in full control. The reason why he used this method is that this is the method he used. Furthermore, what you call an “evolutionary method” is in fact a method of separate creation. I’m sure you will understand why I don’t regard this explanation as very enlightening!

DAVID: I'm concerned with analyzing God's works and methods. The little steps are adaptations within species and the big steps are speciation. Little Foot is a definite new species compared to previous forms and the cochlea is one of changes in the new species.

And so you have your God separately designing Little Foot’s cochlea, and then separately designing your cochlea, although he only wanted to design your cochlea and could have done so if he’d wanted to because he is always in full control. The reason why he separately designed the two cochleas is that his method was to separately design two cochleas.

DAVID: In evolution we don't find God leaping from stage one whales to stage eight whales all at once, therefore it is stepwise as Darwin imagined, but not designed by a drive from survival, but designed as surviving by design in advance of the new step.

Transferred from my earlier post under “Big brain evolution”, so do please re-read:

dhw: I don’t know how you can possibly stick to your dogma that survival “never pushes evolution”, when even your own unproven hypothesis claims that your God deliberately designed one innovation after another to enable organisms to survive under new conditions, and their purpose was to enable life forms to survive until he could produce the only life form he actually wanted to produce, which was you and me. The difference between us here is that you have the innovations/adaptations being designed (by your God) in anticipation of their being needed for survival under new conditions, whereas I have them being designed (by intelligent cell communities) in response to their being needed for survival under new conditions. In both cases, survival is the prime reason for each innovation.

DAVID: And that response to natural demands for survival is pure Darwin.

Firstly, why do you think your God specially changed pre-whale legs into fins and then made them go into the water if the fins were not designed to improve their chances of survival in the water? Secondly, you seem to think that the name Darwin automatically negates any argument. What do you find so unthinkable in the proposal that organisms change in accordance with the requirements of their surroundings, and that these changes are made because they might improve their chances of survival?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, January 18, 2019, 22:18 (494 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I'm concerned with analyzing God's works and methods. The little steps are adaptations within species and the big steps are speciation. Little Foot is a definite new species compared to previous forms and the cochlea is one of changes in the new species.

dhw: And so you have your God separately designing Little Foot’s cochlea, and then separately designing your cochlea, although he only wanted to design your cochlea and could have done so if he’d wanted to because he is always in full control. The reason why he separately designed the two cochleas is that his method was to separately design two cochleas.

His method I have constantly stated is to gradually create new species by evolving the parts of previous species. Make fun of it if you wish, but it is perfectly understandable.


DAVID: In evolution we don't find God leaping from stage one whales to stage eight whales all at once, therefore it is stepwise as Darwin imagined, but not designed by a drive from survival, but designed as surviving by design in advance of the new step.

Transferred from my earlier post under “Big brain evolution”, so do please re-read:

dhw: I don’t know how you can possibly stick to your dogma that survival “never pushes evolution”, when even your own unproven hypothesis claims that your God deliberately designed one innovation after another to enable organisms to survive under new conditions, and their purpose was to enable life forms to survive until he could produce the only life form he actually wanted to produce, which was you and me. The difference between us here is that you have the innovations/adaptations being designed (by your God) in anticipation of their being needed for survival under new conditions, whereas I have them being designed (by intelligent cell communities) in response to their being needed for survival under new conditions. In both cases, survival is the prime reason for each innovation.

DAVID: And that response to natural demands for survival is pure Darwin.

dhw: Firstly, why do you think your God specially changed pre-whale legs into fins and then made them go into the water if the fins were not designed to improve their chances of survival in the water? Secondly, you seem to think that the name Darwin automatically negates any argument. What do you find so unthinkable in the proposal that organisms change in accordance with the requirements of their surroundings, and that these changes are made because they might improve their chances of survival?

He evolves these parts in advance to assure survival. The driving force is design and survival has to be a necessary byproduct so each stage of evolution can continue. Obvious.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, January 19, 2019, 13:06 (493 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I'm concerned with analyzing God's works and methods. The little steps are adaptations within species and the big steps are speciation. Little Foot is a definite new species compared to previous forms and the cochlea is one of changes in the new species.

dhw: And so you have your God separately designing Little Foot’s cochlea, and then separately designing your cochlea, although he only wanted to design your cochlea and could have done so if he’d wanted to because he is always in full control. The reason why he separately designed the two cochleas is that his method was to separately design two cochleas.

DAVID: His method I have constantly stated is to gradually create new species by evolving the parts of previous species. Make fun of it if you wish, but it is perfectly understandable.

I am not making fun of his method, but of your interpretation of his method. You keep sneering at Darwin’s concept of gradual speciation, but now suddenly species are created gradually. I don’t know what you mean by “evolving” the parts, since you have told us that Little Foot is a new species, God specially designed its cochlea, and he creates every species de novo (the opposite of gradually). There is simply no consistency here or in your interpretation of your God’s purpose (to create H. sapiens), your belief that he is in full control, and that his method of creating the one thing he wants to create is to create lots of different things, including Little Foot and its cochlea, and eight stages of whale – see below.

DAVID: And that response to natural demands for survival is pure Darwin.

dhw: Firstly, why do you think your God specially changed pre-whale legs into fins and then made them go into the water if the fins were not designed to improve their chances of survival in the water? Secondly, you seem to think that the name Darwin automatically negates any argument. What do you find so unthinkable in the proposal that organisms change in accordance with the requirements of their surroundings, and that these changes are made because they might improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: He evolves these parts in advance to assure survival. The driving force is design and survival has to be a necessary byproduct so each stage of evolution can continue. Obvious.

Design is not a driving force! The driving force is the purpose of the design! And if something is designed for the purpose of ensuring survival – whether the designing anticipates a threat to survival or takes place in response to the threat – it is obvious that survival is the motive for the design. It is therefore absurd to argue that the motive for the design is not a driving force. (In both scenarios, you and I agree that the change has been designed, i.e. does not occur by chance).

Under “Lichens”:

QUOTE: The very notion of different organisms living so closely with—or within—each other was unheard of. That they should coexist to their mutual benefit was more ludicrous still. This was a mere decade after Charles Darwin had published his masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, and many biologists were gripped by the idea of nature as a gladiatorial arena, shaped by conflict.[/b] (David’s bold)

DAVID: The major point of this article is that Darwin championed the idea of evolution through conflict, struggle, and the ability to survive. The point of the article is that much of life shows cooperation and that conflict may not be that important.

How often do you have to be reminded that Lynn Margulis – following on from other authors who had posited symbiosis as a a vital part of the evolutionary process – specifically repudiated Darwin’s idea of conflict as the major driving force. Here is a quote: “The view of evolution as a chronic bloody competition among individuals and species, a popular distortion of Darwin's notion of "survival of the fittest," dissolves before a new view of continual cooperation, strong interaction, and mutual dependence among life forms. Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking. Life forms multiplied and complexified by co-opting others, not just by killing them.”

We have long since agreed on this. But why do you bracket it with the ability to survive? Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: Evolution can certainly mean each step is designed for survival as obviously must happen or there would be no evolution. Viewed this way, since there is no proof survival is the driving force…

If something is designed for survival, to make sure life continues, how can you say the motive for each design is not the driving force?

DAVID….it must be taken as a weak argument. And puts natural selection as a concept in a tenuous position. It can only exert its influence on what is presented by evolving forms. Like survival, it cannot be seen as driving evolution.

We have long since agreed that natural selection does not create anything and is not a driving force. Why do you keep roasting these old chestnuts?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 19, 2019, 19:33 (493 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: He evolves these parts in advance to assure survival. The driving force is design and survival has to be a necessary byproduct so each stage of evolution can continue. Obvious.

dhw: Design is not a driving force! The driving force is the purpose of the design!

Exactly. Design implies a designer with a purpose

dhw: And if something is designed for the purpose of ensuring survival – whether the designing anticipates a threat to survival or takes place in response to the threat – it is obvious that survival is the motive for the design.

If the purpose is a goal through evolution to create a specific life form, survival is necessary but not a primary force. The purpose is! Design for survival is a byproduct of the purposeful design of teh designer.


Under “Lichens”:

QUOTE: The very notion of different organisms living so closely with—or within—each other was unheard of. That they should coexist to their mutual benefit was more ludicrous still. This was a mere decade after Charles Darwin had published his masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, and many biologists were gripped by the idea of nature as a gladiatorial arena, shaped by conflict.[/b] (David’s bold)

DAVID: The major point of this article is that Darwin championed the idea of evolution through conflict, struggle, and the ability to survive. The point of the article is that much of life shows cooperation and that conflict may not be that important.

dhw: How often do you have to be reminded that Lynn Margulis – following on from other authors who had posited symbiosis as a a vital part of the evolutionary process – specifically repudiated Darwin’s idea of conflict as the major driving force. Here is a quote: “The view of evolution as a chronic bloody competition among individuals and species, a popular distortion of Darwin's notion of "survival of the fittest," dissolves before a new view of continual cooperation, strong interaction, and mutual dependence among life forms. Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking. Life forms multiplied and complexified by co-opting others, not just by killing them.”

We have long since agreed on this. But why do you bracket it with the ability to survive? Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: Evolution can certainly mean each step is designed for survival as obviously must happen or there would be no evolution. Viewed this way, since there is no proof survival is the driving force…

dhw: If something is designed for survival, to make sure life continues, how can you say the motive for each design is not the driving force?

See above.


DAVID….it must be taken as a weak argument. And puts natural selection as a concept in a tenuous position. It can only exert its influence on what is presented by evolving forms. Like survival, it cannot be seen as driving evolution.

dhw: We have long since agreed that natural selection does not create anything and is not a driving force. Why do you keep roasting these old chestnuts?

I simply presented the essay as view with which I agree, and it shows how Darwin's concepts poisoned future reasoning. I think your reasoning uses the concept of struggle for survival far beyond its usefulness.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Sunday, January 20, 2019, 12:26 (492 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: He evolves these parts in advance to assure survival. The driving force is design and survival has to be a necessary byproduct so each stage of evolution can continue. Obvious.

dhw: Design is not a driving force! The driving force is the purpose of the design!

DAVID: Exactly. Design implies a designer with a purpose.

“Exactly” what? The driving force is not design but the motive for the design.

dhw: And if something is designed for the purpose of ensuring survival – whether the designing anticipates a threat to survival or takes place in response to the threat – it is obvious that survival is the motive for the design.

DAVID: If the purpose is a goal through evolution to create a specific life form, survival is necessary but not a primary force. The purpose is! Design for survival is a byproduct of the purposeful design of the designer.

So your designer did not design the whale’s fin to help the whale to survive in water; he designed it so that he would be able to design the human ear, pelvis, brain and bipedalism.

Under “Lichens:

DAVID: The major point of this article is that Darwin championed the idea of evolution through conflict, struggle, and the ability to survive. The point of the article is that much of life shows cooperation and that conflict may not be that important.

dhw: How often do you have to be reminded that Lynn Margulis – following on from other authors who had posited symbiosis as a a vital part of the evolutionary process – specifically repudiated Darwin’s idea of conflict as the major driving force. […]
We have long since agreed on this. But why do you bracket it with the ability to survive? Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

Not answered.

dhw: If something is designed for survival, to make sure life continues, how can you say the motive for each design is not the driving force?

DAVID: ...it must be taken as a weak argument. And puts natural selection as a concept in a tenuous position. It can only exert its influence on what is presented by evolving forms. Like survival, it cannot be seen as driving evolution.

dhw: We have long since agreed that natural selection does not create anything and is not a driving force. Why do you keep roasting these old chestnuts?

DAVID: I simply presented the essay as view with which I agree, and it shows how Darwin's concepts poisoned future reasoning. I think your reasoning uses the concept of struggle for survival far beyond its usefulness.

Your hatred of Darwin simply blinds you to obvious truths. Please answer the question above: why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 20, 2019, 18:34 (492 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If the purpose is a goal through evolution to create a specific life form, survival is necessary but not a primary force. The purpose is! Design for survival is a byproduct of the purposeful design of the designer.

dhw: So your designer did not design the whale’s fin to help the whale to survive in water; he designed it so that he would be able to design the human ear, pelvis, brain and bipedalism.

Glib response. Just accept the obvious. From simple to complex in evolution can be created in stepwise fashion .

Under “Lichens:

DAVID: The major point of this article is that Darwin championed the idea of evolution through conflict, struggle, and the ability to survive. The point of the article is that much of life shows cooperation and that conflict may not be that important.

dhw: How often do you have to be reminded that Lynn Margulis – following on from other authors who had posited symbiosis as a a vital part of the evolutionary process – specifically repudiated Darwin’s idea of conflict as the major driving force. […]
We have long since agreed on this. But why do you bracket it with the ability to survive? Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

Not answered.

I accept Margulis. I always have. Of course there is cooperation. Note my presentation of lichens. Lichens have a purpose in that they break down lava rock on the way to soil for plants. Everything in evolution fills God purposes to eventually create humans. And He must design for survival if his method is to continue .


dhw: If something is designed for survival, to make sure life continues, how can you say the motive for each design is not the driving force?

DAVID: ...it must be taken as a weak argument. And puts natural selection as a concept in a tenuous position. It can only exert its influence on what is presented by evolving forms. Like survival, it cannot be seen as driving evolution.

dhw: We have long since agreed that natural selection does not create anything and is not a driving force. Why do you keep roasting these old chestnuts?

DAVID: I simply presented the essay as view with which I agree, and it shows how Darwin's concepts poisoned future reasoning. I think your reasoning uses the concept of struggle for survival far beyond its usefulness.

dhw: Your hatred of Darwin simply blinds you to obvious truths. Please answer the question above: why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

I don't hate Darwin. He opened up an area for research and discussion by making us all recognize we got here by evolution. His antiquated arguments were reasonable enough at his time in life, but they need to be fully abandoned as we learn what he theorized as causing evolution is totally wrong. I only hate what his followers have created in a religion of Darwinism to protect his out-of-date ideas.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Monday, January 21, 2019, 13:40 (491 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If the purpose is a goal through evolution to create a specific life form, survival is necessary but not a primary force. The purpose is! Design for survival is a byproduct of the purposeful design of the designer.

dhw: So your designer did not design the whale’s fin to help the whale to survive in water; he designed it so that he would be able to design the human ear, pelvis, brain and bipedalism.

DAVID:Glib response. Just accept the obvious. From simple to complex in evolution can be created in stepwise fashion.

Of course it can! How does that support your contention that your God did not design the whale’s fin in order to help the whale survive in water, but in order to enable him to design the human ear, pelvis etc.? This raises the next question, which you keep refusing to answer:

dhw: Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: I accept Margulis. I always have. Of course there is cooperation. Note my presentation of lichens. Lichens have a purpose in that they break down lava rock on the way to soil for plants. Everything in evolution fills God purposes to eventually create humans. And He must design for survival if his method is to continue.

So the purpose of organisms cooperating or of your God specially designing dinosaurs to eat one another, and turning pre-whale legs into fins, and teaching monarch butterflies the route to safety, and camouflaging cuttlefish, and specially designing 50,000 different spider webs had nothing to do with helping those organisms to survive, but it was to help those organisms to survive! Because if those evolutionary developments hadn’t been specially designed to help those organisms to survive, your always-in-control God couldn’t have stuck to his self-imposed timetable of specially designing H. sapiens after 3.5+ billion years.

DAVID: I simply presented the essay as view with which I agree, and it shows how Darwin's concepts poisoned future reasoning. I think your reasoning uses the concept of struggle for survival far beyond its usefulness.

dhw: Your hatred of Darwin simply blinds you to obvious truths. Please answer the question above: why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: I don't hate Darwin. He opened up an area for research and discussion by making us all recognize we got here by evolution. His antiquated arguments were reasonable enough at his time in life, but they need to be fully abandoned as we learn what he theorized as causing evolution is totally wrong.

Abandoning ideas such as random mutations as the cause of innovation, and nature never jumps, is in my view very reasonable. That is not the same as “fully” abandoning his ideas. I’m actually surprised to hear that you still recognize that we got here by evolution, when in a recent post you believed that your God “creates species de novo”, but perhaps this is no more surprising than your insistence that survival is not a driving force for evolution even though you think your God specially designed innovations in order to help the organisms survive (as above), or your reluctance to answer questions such as: why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: I only hate what his followers have created in a religion of Darwinism to protect his out-of-date ideas.

I agree that some of Darwin’s ideas are out of date (as above), but some are not. I also hate it when both theists and atheists distort Darwin’s ideas and pretend that evolution is incompatible with religious belief when he explicitly pointed out that it wasn’t.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, January 21, 2019, 15:33 (491 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID:Glib response. Just accept the obvious. From simple to complex in evolution can be created in stepwise fashion.

dhw: Of course it can! How does that support your contention that your God did not design the whale’s fin in order to help the whale survive in water, but in order to enable him to design the human ear, pelvis etc.? This raises the next question, which you keep refusing to answer:

dhw: Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

Survival is required for evolution to continue. Survival is designed into the process by God.


DAVID: I accept Margulis. I always have. Of course there is cooperation. Note my presentation of lichens. Lichens have a purpose in that they break down lava rock on the way to soil for plants. Everything in evolution fills God purposes to eventually create humans. And He must design for survival if his method is to continue.

dhw: So the purpose of organisms cooperating or of your God specially designing dinosaurs to eat one another, and turning pre-whale legs into fins, and teaching monarch butterflies the route to safety, and camouflaging cuttlefish, and specially designing 50,000 different spider webs had nothing to do with helping those organisms to survive, but it was to help those organisms to survive! Because if those evolutionary developments hadn’t been specially designed to help those organisms to survive, your always-in-control God couldn’t have stuck to his self-imposed timetable of specially designing H. sapiens after 3.5+ billion years.

Welcome to the clear history of evolution. Survival is obviously required for evolution to continue. "Struggle for survival" does not drive evolution.


DAVID: I don't hate Darwin. He opened up an area for research and discussion by making us all recognize we got here by evolution. His antiquated arguments were reasonable enough at his time in life, but they need to be fully abandoned as we learn what he theorized as causing evolution is totally wrong.

Abandoning ideas such as random mutations as the cause of innovation, and nature never jumps, is in my view very reasonable. That is not the same as “fully” abandoning his ideas. I’m actually surprised to hear that you still recognize that we got here by evolution, when in a recent post you believed that your God “creates species de novo”, but perhaps this is no more surprising than your insistence that survival is not a driving force for evolution even though you think your God specially designed innovations in order to help the organisms survive (as above), or your reluctance to answer questions such as: why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

Cooperation helps survival, but you keep insisting survival drives evolution and that is a concept that is unproven.


DAVID: I only hate what his followers have created in a religion of Darwinism to protect his out-of-date ideas.

dhw: I agree that some of Darwin’s ideas are out of date (as above), but some are not. I also hate it when both theists and atheists distort Darwin’s ideas and pretend that evolution is incompatible with religious belief when he explicitly pointed out that it wasn’t.

Which of Darwin's ideas do you cling to? Both of us accept that we evolved as he championed. Anything more?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 11:21 (490 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: Cooperation helps survival, but you keep insisting survival drives evolution and that is a concept that is unproven.

And

DAVID: Survival is required for evolution to continue. Survival is designed into the process by God.

I would have thought that for most people the role of survival as a driving force is blindingly obvious, and even you keep agreeing that the purpose of cooperation between organisms, the development of fins, camouflage and migration– whether designed by your God or designed by the cell communities themselves – is to ensure survival! If you wish to add to this your personal and inexplicable belief that your God’s reason for wanting the whale to survive in water, the cuttlefish to survive predation, and the monarch butterfly to survive the winter, was that if they hadn‘t, he couldn’t have waited 3.5+ billion years in order to specially design you and me, that’s up to you. But it does not alter the fact that the purpose of the fin, the camouflage and the migration was to improve chances of survival, and for most of us the purpose of something is the driving force behind its coming into being.

The next section of your post deals with the same conflation of the blindingly obvious purpose of survival, which you keep acknowledging, with the overall purpose you impose on your God of filling in 3.5+ billion years of life before he specially designs the only thing he actually wants to design.

DAVID: I only hate what his [Darwin’s] followers have created in a religion of Darwinism to protect his out-of-date ideas.

dhw: I agree that some of Darwin’s ideas are out of date (as above), but some are not. I also hate it when both theists and atheists distort Darwin’s ideas and pretend that evolution is incompatible with religious belief when he explicitly pointed out that it wasn’t.

DAVID: Which of Darwin's ideas do you cling to? Both of us accept that we evolved as he championed. Anything more?

Sometimes you say you accept evolution, but sometimes you insist that every innovation was specially designed and you subscribe directly to Creationism: “I think God creates species de novo in an evolving order.” I don’t know what you meant by an evolving order, but de novo could hardly be clearer. I accept common descent, the influence of the environment on speciation, survival as the driving force (which entails cooperation as well as competition), and natural selection as a neat term to explain the survival of organs and organisms (but NOT to explain speciation). I am only against random mutations as the cause of innovations, and Darwin’s insistence that “natura non facit saltus”.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 16:55 (490 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: Cooperation helps survival, but you keep insisting survival drives evolution and that is a concept that is unproven.

And

DAVID: Survival is required for evolution to continue. Survival is designed into the process by God.

dhw: I would have thought that for most people the role of survival as a driving force is blindingly obvious, and even you keep agreeing that the purpose of cooperation between organisms, the development of fins, camouflage and migration– whether designed by your God or designed by the cell communities themselves – is to ensure survival! If you wish to add to this your personal and inexplicable belief that your God’s reason for wanting the whale to survive in water, the cuttlefish to survive predation, and the monarch butterfly to survive the winter, was that if they hadn‘t, he couldn’t have waited 3.5+ billion years in order to specially design you and me, that’s up to you. But it does not alter the fact that the purpose of the fin, the camouflage and the migration was to improve chances of survival, and for most of us the purpose of something is the driving force behind its coming into being.

Our difference is that I view God as driving evolution step by step which makes survival a non-driving force

dhw: I agree that some of Darwin’s ideas are out of date (as above), but some are not. I also hate it when both theists and atheists distort Darwin’s ideas and pretend that evolution is incompatible with religious belief when he explicitly pointed out that it wasn’t.

DAVID: Which of Darwin's ideas do you cling to? Both of us accept that we evolved as he championed. Anything more?

dhw: Sometimes you say you accept evolution, but sometimes you insist that every innovation was specially designed and you subscribe directly to Creationism: “I think God creates species de novo in an evolving order.” I don’t know what you meant by an evolving order, but de novo could hardly be clearer. I accept common descent, the influence of the environment on speciation, survival as the driving force (which entails cooperation as well as competition), and natural selection as a neat term to explain the survival of organs and organisms (but NOT to explain speciation). I am only against random mutations as the cause of innovations, and Darwin’s insistence that “natura non facit saltus”.

Fine. Common descent is a step-wize development of more and more complexity. As above I view God as the driver designer.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 13:09 (489 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: Cooperation helps survival, but you keep insisting survival drives evolution and that is a concept that is unproven.
And
DAVID: Survival is required for evolution to continue. Survival is designed into the process by God.

dhw: I would have thought that for most people the role of survival as a driving force is blindingly obvious etc. etc.

DAVID: Our difference is that I view God as driving evolution step by step which makes survival a non-driving force.

No it doesn’t. In your hypothesis, of course your God is the driving force behind the creation of life and evolution. The doer is the driving force behind the deed, and the reason for the deed is the driving force behind the doer. In your hypothesis, survival is the driving force behind your God’s decision to specially design whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and monarch butterfly flight paths. The fact that you believe your always-in-control God specially designed these means of survival in order to provide econiches for life forms to eat one another (= your food argument on the genome thread) so that he could fill in 3.5+ billion years before specially designing the only thing he wanted to specially design – you and me – does not alter the obvious fact that survival is the reason for inventing means of survival. The reason for doing something is the driving force for doing it. And so even in your strange hypothesis of 3.5 billion years of divine procrastination, it is absurd to claim that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”, which was the starting point of this particular discussion.

You then asked me which of Darwin’s ideas I “cling” to, and I gave you a complete list of those I accepted and those I rejected.

DAVID: Fine. Common descent is a step-wize development of more and more complexity. As above I view God as the driver designer.

I know you do. Sometimes you even view God as having specially designed every step and every species “de novo” although you claim to believe in evolution and common descent. Anyway, you asked me which of Darwin’s ideas I “cling” to, and I answered you.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 19:28 (489 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Why do you think organisms cooperate if it’s not in order to improve their chances of survival?

DAVID: Cooperation helps survival, but you keep insisting survival drives evolution and that is a concept that is unproven.
And
DAVID: Survival is required for evolution to continue. Survival is designed into the process by God.

dhw: I would have thought that for most people the role of survival as a driving force is blindingly obvious etc. etc.

DAVID: Our difference is that I view God as driving evolution step by step which makes survival a non-driving force.

dhw: No it doesn’t. In your hypothesis, of course your God is the driving force behind the creation of life and evolution. The doer is the driving force behind the deed, and the reason for the deed is the driving force behind the doer. In your hypothesis, survival is the driving force behind your God’s decision to specially design whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and monarch butterfly flight paths.

Total misinterpretation of my clearly stated position. God's driving force is His purpose to produce humans through a process of evolving ever-complex organisms. Survival must be included in the progressive designs or evolution cannot proceed. This is a nuanced view that seems to escape you, probably because you do not have a view of God similar to mine.

dhw: The fact that you believe your always-in-control God specially designed these means of survival in order to provide econiches for life forms to eat one another (= your food argument on the genome thread) so that he could fill in 3.5+ billion years before specially designing the only thing he wanted to specially design – you and me – does not alter the obvious fact that survival is the reason for inventing means of survival. The reason for doing something is the driving force for doing it. And so even in your strange hypothesis of 3.5 billion years of divine procrastination, it is absurd to claim that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”, which was the starting point of this particular discussion.

Your usual trope. Of course God seems to have procrastinated if He decided to chose evolution as his means of creation. Why won't you allow Him the right to make that choice? It is what history tells us, and doesn't require your fanciful theories about God wildly human desires.


dhw: You then asked me which of Darwin’s ideas I “cling” to, and I gave you a complete list of those I accepted and those I rejected.

DAVID: Fine. Common descent is a step-wize development of more and more complexity. As above I view God as the driver designer.

dhw: I know you do. Sometimes you even view God as having specially designed every step and every species “de novo” although you claim to believe in evolution and common descent. Anyway, you asked me which of Darwin’s ideas I “cling” to, and I answered you.

I don't understand you. My view of God's control is obviously a form of common descent, one you don't like, but that doesn't change its validity as a viewpoint.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, January 24, 2019, 10:30 (488 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I would have thought that for most people the role of survival as a driving force is blindingly obvious etc. etc.

DAVID: Our difference is that I view God as driving evolution step by step which makes survival a non-driving force.

dhw: No it doesn’t. In your hypothesis, of course your God is the driving force behind the creation of life and evolution. The doer is the driving force behind the deed, and the reason for the deed is the driving force behind the doer. In your hypothesis, survival is the driving force behind your God’s decision to specially design whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and monarch butterfly flight paths.

DAVID: Total misinterpretation of my clearly stated position. God's driving force is His purpose to produce humans through a process of evolving ever-complex organisms. Survival must be included in the progressive designs or evolution cannot proceed. This is a nuanced view that seems to escape you, probably because you do not have a view of God similar to mine.

I certainly don’t share your view that your God specially designed whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and monarch flight paths in order to produce humans through a process of “ever-complex” organisms, and like yourself I cannot understand why he would impose a 3.5+ billion-year schedule upon himself (see below) to create the only life form he wanted to create. But of course I agree that evolution could not have proceeded if every life form died out – regardless of where it was leading! That is why – even if your God exists and designed every single life form etc. – the reason for all the individual innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that constitute the history of life and evolution is to improve chances of survival. And that is why it is absurd to claim that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”, which was the starting point of this particular discussion

DAVID: Your usual trope. Of course God seems to have procrastinated if He decided to chose evolution as his means of creation. Why won't you allow Him the right to make that choice? It is what history tells us, and doesn't require your fanciful theories about God wildly human desires.

If God exists, of course he chose evolution as his means of creation. What I am contesting is your right to insist that he only wanted to create H. sapiens, and imposed a 3.5+ billion-year waiting time on himself, and only created all the other life forms so that they could eat one another until his self-imposed waiting time was over. “Wildly human desires” are your mantra whenever I challenge your logic (not God’s), as in this exchange taken from the “Genome complexity” thread on the same subject:

dhw: Your idea is that your always-in-control God specially designed a bush of food to fill in 3.5+ billion years of life until he could specially design the only thing he wanted to design. I suggest that the helter-skelter bush is the result of him wishing to create a helter-skelter bush. We needn’t go into the “humanizing” reasons we both hypothesize.

DAVID: But all you have done is look for humanizing reasons. There is no reason for humans with consciousness to appear unless God desired that result of evolution.

If your God exists, there is no reason for the higgledy-piggledy bush to appear unless he desired that result of evolution. Why is that a “humanizing” reason, and the appearance of humans is not a “humanizing” reason. Why would he want a higgledy-piggledy bush to appear? I can’t give you a reason without “humanizing him”. Why would he want humans to appear? Give me a reason without “humanizing” him. You can’t. That’s why you came up with: he wants us to think about him, to have a relationship with him, to admire what he has created. And so it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that since history shows us a higgledy-piggledy bush, your God may have wanted a higgledy-piggledy bush, and we needn’t go into the “humanizing” reasons we both hypothesize.

dhw: You then asked me which of Darwin’s ideas I “cling” to, and I gave you a complete list of those I accepted and those I rejected.

DAVID: Fine. Common descent is a step-wize development of more and more complexity. As above I view God as the driver designer.

dhw: I know you do. Sometimes you even view God as having specially designed every step and every species “de novo” although you claim to believe in evolution and common descent. Anyway, you asked me which of Darwin’s ideas I “cling” to, and I answered you.

DAVID: I don't understand you. My view of God's control is obviously a form of common descent, one you don't like, but that doesn't change its validity as a viewpoint.

Your view changes from day to day. How can you reconcile common descent with “I think God creates species de novo in an evolving order” (January 16)? If he modifies existing species (= common descent), then speciation is not de novo!

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 24, 2019, 21:07 (488 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: In your hypothesis, of course your God is the driving force behind the creation of life and evolution. The doer is the driving force behind the deed, and the reason for the deed is the driving force behind the doer. In your hypothesis, survival is the driving force behind your God’s decision to specially design whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and monarch butterfly flight paths.

DAVID: Total misinterpretation of my clearly stated position. God's driving force is His purpose to produce humans through a process of evolving ever-complex organisms. Survival must be included in the progressive designs or evolution cannot proceed. This is a nuanced view that seems to escape you, probably because you do not have a view of God similar to mine.

dhw: But of course I agree that evolution could not have proceeded if every life form died out – regardless of where it was leading! That is why – even if your God exists and designed every single life form etc. – the reason for all the individual innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that constitute the history of life and evolution is to improve chances of survival. And that is why it is absurd to claim that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”, which was the starting point of this particular discussion

Have you presented any actual evidence?


dhw: Your idea is that your always-in-control God specially designed a bush of food to fill in 3.5+ billion years of life until he could specially design the only thing he wanted to design. I suggest that the helter-skelter bush is the result of him wishing to create a helter-skelter bush. We needn’t go into the “humanizing” reasons we both hypothesize.

DAVID: But all you have done is look for humanizing reasons. There is no reason for humans with consciousness to appear unless God desired that result of evolution.

dhw: If your God exists, there is no reason for the higgledy-piggledy bush to appear unless he desired that result of evolution. Why is that a “humanizing” reason, and the appearance of humans is not a “humanizing” reason. Why would he want a higgledy-piggledy bush to appear? I can’t give you a reason without “humanizing him”. Why would he want humans to appear? Give me a reason without “humanizing” him. You can’t. That’s why you came up with: he wants us to think about him, to have a relationship with him, to admire what he has created. And so it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that since history shows us a higgledy-piggledy bush, your God may have wanted a higgledy-piggledy bush, and we needn’t go into the “humanizing” reasons we both hypothesize.

The h-p provides the necessary food. Of course God needed to create the bush.


dhw: I know you do. Sometimes you even view God as having specially designed every step and every species “de novo” although you claim to believe in evolution and common descent. Anyway, you asked me which of Darwin’s ideas I “cling” to, and I answered you.

DAVID: I don't understand you. My view of God's control is obviously a form of common descent, one you don't like, but that doesn't change its validity as a viewpoint.

dhw: Your view changes from day to day. How can you reconcile common descent with “I think God creates species de novo in an evolving order” (January 16)? If he modifies existing species (= common descent), then speciation is not de novo!

My view is quite fixed. You misinterpret my use of de novo. Each species is a new species although it certainly may be a modification. It may have come from a previous form but it still is something new. I use it is the Latin sense of something new from something in the past.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Friday, January 25, 2019, 10:52 (487 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: God's driving force is His purpose to produce humans through a process of evolving ever-complex organisms. Survival must be included in the progressive designs or evolution cannot proceed. This is a nuanced view that seems to escape you, probably because you do not have a view of God similar to mine.

dhw: But of course I agree that evolution could not have proceeded if every life form died out – regardless of where it was leading! That is why – even if your God exists and designed every single life form etc. – the reason for all the individual innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that constitute the history of life and evolution is to improve chances of survival. And that is why it is absurd to claim that “there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution”, which was the starting point of this particular discussion

DAVID: Have you presented any actual evidence?

What do you want me to do? Should I cut off the whale’s fins and tail, remove the cuttlefish’s camouflage, stop the monarch butterfly from migrating, go round snipping out the web-making equipment of 50,000 types of spider, and then report back to tell you how long they survive? You claim that your God specially designed all these innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, and did so to enable the organisms to SURVIVE until his mysteriously self-imposed waiting time of 3.5+ billion years had elapsed, and only then could he design the only thing he wanted to design. "Have you presented any actual evidence?" If the purpose of an innovation, lifestyle or natural wonder (whether specially designed by your God or not) is to help the organism to survive, it is patently absurd to say that survival plays no role in evolution.

DAVID: My view of God's control is obviously a form of common descent, one you don't like, but that doesn't change its validity as a viewpoint.

dhw: Your view changes from day to day. How can you reconcile common descent with “I think God creates species de novo in an evolving order” (January 16)? If he modifies existing species (= common descent), then speciation is not de novo!

DAVID: My view is quite fixed. You misinterpret my use of de novo. Each species is a new species although it certainly may be a modification. It may have come from a previous form but it still is something new. I use it is the Latin sense of something new from something in the past.

A lot of your views are indeed fixed. Lots of species are now old, and so I presume you mean that each new species is a new species, which I suspect we would all agree on. But if you create something de novo, it means you create it from scratch, not that you modify something that already exists. Creationists believe that their God created each species separately, or de novo (= anew, afresh, from the beginning), whereas evolutionists believe that all species evolved out of earlier species. You are as aware of this as I am. Even with my limited knowledge of Latin, I don’t know how “de novo” can mean “from something in the past”.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, January 25, 2019, 21:46 (487 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Have you presented any actual evidence?

dhw: What do you want me to do? Should I cut off the whale’s fins and tail, remove the cuttlefish’s camouflage, stop the monarch butterfly from migrating, go round snipping out the web-making equipment of 50,000 types of spider, and then report back to tell you how long they survive? You claim that your God specially designed all these innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, and did so to enable the organisms to SURVIVE until his mysteriously self-imposed waiting time of 3.5+ billion years had elapsed, and only then could he design the only thing he wanted to design. "Have you presented any actual evidence?" If the purpose of an innovation, lifestyle or natural wonder (whether specially designed by your God or not) is to help the organism to survive, it is patently absurd to say that survival plays no role in evolution.

Twisting and turning again. I never said it played NO role in evolution. To repeat: species must be designed to survive or evolutionary advances will stop. The driving force is a designer who is fully aware of the necessity of survival. I do not accept survival as a driving force, and I don't expect you to become a research scientist. Just find me a factual report that proves evolution is driven by survival. It is a Darwin concept, never proven, and I know you know that.


DAVID: My view of God's control is obviously a form of common descent, one you don't like, but that doesn't change its validity as a viewpoint.

dhw: Your view changes from day to day. How can you reconcile common descent with “I think God creates species de novo in an evolving order” (January 16)? If he modifies existing species (= common descent), then speciation is not de novo!

DAVID: My view is quite fixed. You misinterpret my use of de novo. Each species is a new species although it certainly may be a modification. It may have come from a previous form but it still is something new. I use it is the Latin sense of something new from something in the past.

dhw: A lot of your views are indeed fixed. Lots of species are now old, and so I presume you mean that each new species is a new species, which I suspect we would all agree on. But if you create something de novo, it means you create it from scratch, not that you modify something that already exists. Creationists believe that their God created each species separately, or de novo (= anew, afresh, from the beginning), whereas evolutionists believe that all species evolved out of earlier species. You are as aware of this as I am. Even with my limited knowledge of Latin, I don’t know how “de novo” can mean “from something in the past”.

No need to argue about de novo. In Latin it is something new. Dictionaries support there usage: Roget's thesaurus : anew, afresh

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, January 26, 2019, 13:49 (486 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Have you presented any actual evidence?

dhw: What do you want me to do? Should I cut off the whale’s fins and tail, remove the cuttlefish’s camouflage, stop the monarch butterfly from migrating, go round snipping out the web-making equipment of 50,000 types of spider, and then report back to tell you how long they survive? You claim that your God specially designed all these innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, and did so to enable the organisms to SURVIVE until his mysteriously self-imposed waiting time of 3.5+ billion years had elapsed, and only then could he design the only thing he wanted to design. "Have you presented any actual evidence?" If the purpose of an innovation, lifestyle or natural wonder (whether specially designed by your God or not) is to help the organism to survive, it is patently absurd to say that survival plays no role in evolution.

DAVID: Twisting and turning again. I never said it played NO role in evolution.

I haven’t got time to go through all your past posts, but this has been an ongoing theme. The quote I noted down for future reference was from 11 December under “Introducing the brain; complexity: autopilot: “As I see it there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution, if humans are used as an example.” At the time, this had nothing to do with the subject under discussion, and I responded: “Why you keep harping on about survival is a mystery to me, except that it is part of your Darwinphobia.” But we needn’t quibble over it, since you continue to insist, as below, that survival is not a driving force:

DAVID: To repeat: species must be designed to survive or evolutionary advances will stop. The driving force is a designer who is fully aware of the necessity of survival. I do not accept survival as a driving force, and I don't expect you to become a research scientist. Just find me a factual report that proves evolution is driven by survival. It is a Darwin concept, never proven, and I know you know that.

Nothing is proven – not even the existence of God or the theory of evolution. Why have you ignored the point I put to you earlier? If there is a God, then of course he is the driving force behind life and evolution. That is not the issue. The doer is the driving force behind the deed, and the motive is the driving force behind the doer. If you set out to make a fortune, you are the driving force behind the business, and love of money is the driving force for your creating all the elements which will make the business successful. Whatever may have been your God’s motive in starting life and evolution, the purpose, motive or driving force for creating all the individual elements (innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders) – according to your own hypothesis – was to enable the organisms to survive. If purpose or motive is not a driving force, then I really don’t know what is.

dhw: How can you reconcile common descent with “I think God creates species de novo in an evolving order” (January 16)? If he modifies existing species (= common descent), then speciation is not de novo!

DAVID: You misinterpret my use of de novo. Each species is a new species although it certainly may be a modification. It may have come from a previous form but it still is something new. I use it is the Latin sense of something new from something in the past.

dhw: …if you create something de novo, it means you create it from scratch, not that you modify something that already exists. Creationists believe that their God created each species separately, or de novo (= anew, afresh, from the beginning), whereas evolutionists believe that all species evolved out of earlier species. You are as aware of this as I am. Even with my limited knowledge of Latin, I don’t know how “de novo” can mean “from something in the past”.

DAVID: No need to argue about de novo. In Latin it is something new. Dictionaries support there usage: Roget's thesaurus : anew, afresh.

Thank you for repeating the definition I already gave you in my answer (now bolded). Absolutely nothing to do with “something from the past”, and absolutely in line with Creationism as opposed to evolution. I presume your use of the term was simply a mistake, then, and you do believe in common descent as opposed to your God creating species de novo, so we can drop it.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 26, 2019, 18:43 (486 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Twisting and turning again. I never said it [survival] played NO role in evolution.

dhw: I haven’t got time to go through all your past posts, but this has been an ongoing theme. The quote I noted down for future reference was from 11 December under “Introducing the brain; complexity: autopilot: “As I see it there is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution, if humans are used as an example.” At the time, this had nothing to do with the subject under discussion, and I responded: “Why you keep harping on about survival is a mystery to me, except that it is part of your Darwinphobia.” But we needn’t quibble over it, since you continue to insist, as below, that survival is not a driving force:

DAVID: To repeat: species must be designed to survive or evolutionary advances will stop. The driving force is a designer who is fully aware of the necessity of survival. I do not accept survival as a driving force, and I don't expect you to become a research scientist. Just find me a factual report that proves evolution is driven by survival. It is a Darwin concept, never proven, and I know you know that.

dhw: Nothing is proven – not even the existence of God or the theory of evolution. Why have you ignored the point I put to you earlier? If there is a God, then of course he is the driving force behind life and evolution. That is not the issue. The doer is the driving force behind the deed, and the motive is the driving force behind the doer. If you set out to make a fortune, you are the driving force behind the business, and love of money is the driving force for your creating all the elements which will make the business successful. Whatever may have been your God’s motive in starting life and evolution, the purpose, motive or driving force for creating all the individual elements (innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders) – according to your own hypothesis – was to enable the organisms to survive. If purpose or motive is not a driving force, then I really don’t know what is.

We are close together, but there is a major nuance of difference. Survival is required but does not drive evolution to force new advances in complexity. I view God as the designer with the prime purpose to create beings with consciousness. That consciousness at the human level is not required for survival is demonstrated by all the other primates. I repeat survival as a driving force is not proven and never will be. I will continue to believe in a designer with an identifiable purpose.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Sunday, January 27, 2019, 12:35 (485 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] Whatever may have been your God’s motive in starting life and evolution, the purpose, motive or driving force for creating all the individual elements (innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders) – according to your own hypothesis – was to enable the organisms to survive. If purpose or motive is not a driving force, then I really don’t know what is.

DAVID: We are close together, but there is a major nuance of difference. Survival is required but does not drive evolution to force new advances in complexity.

I did not say it forced advances in complexity – I do not regard fins as more complex than legs. But I believe that if the pre-whale’s legs turned into fins, that was because fins improved its chances of survival in water.

DAVID: I view God as the designer with the prime purpose to create beings with consciousness. That consciousness at the human level is not required for survival is demonstrated by all the other primates.

We have both agreed a thousand times that since bacteria have survived, NOTHING else was “required” for the survival of life itself. I don’t understand why suddenly you are confining evolution to humans. Once multicellular organisms evolved, there was diversity, and all kinds of innovations were designed (by your God or by my cell communities) to improve chances of survival – leading to all the different econiches (see below under “Neanderthal”) that existed thousands of millions of years before humans arrived.

DAVID: I repeat survival as a driving force is not proven and never will be. I will continue to believe in a designer with an identifiable purpose.

I repeat: (a) none of our hypotheses about God or about evolution are “proven”, and (b) if you think the purpose of or motive for an invention is not a driving force, then I don’t know what is. And if God exists, of course he has a purpose, but you are in no better a position than I am to identify it or to read the thoughts behind his method for achieving his purpose.

Under “Neanderthal
QUOTE: "And so we have consistently mistaken survival and extinction with biological superiority or inferiority. That is why we have incessantly sought differences to explain our observations. We are here and they are not and so we must seek differences to explain the data. (David's bold)

DAVID: […] Note my bold. Survival does not indicate natural superiority. We still do not know all the reasons for survival and therefore for evolution to newer 'better' forms. Evolution is not driven by a need for survival. On the other hand it is obvious there is a drive for evolution to proceed.

The fact that we don’t know why Neanderthals as such did not survive has absolutely nothing to do with the reason why new organs, lifestyles and natural wonders have originated throughout the history of evolution. Superiority or inferiority are not the point either. As you yourself keep emphasizing, all econiches depend on a hierarchy. For the econiche to survive, the “inferior” organisms must also survive or the “superior” ones will perish. You simply refuse to recognize the obvious fact that if innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders help organisms to survive, then survival is the obvious reason for their existence, no matter how they came into being. And it is patently absurd to say that the reason for something coming into existence is not a driving force.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 27, 2019, 19:44 (485 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We are close together, but there is a major nuance of difference. Survival is required but does not drive evolution to force new advances in complexity.

dhw: I did not say it forced advances in complexity – I do not regard fins as more complex than legs. But I believe that if the pre-whale’s legs turned into fins, that was because fins improved its chances of survival in water.

It seems you have just agreed survival does not drive evolution.


dhw: I repeat: (a) none of our hypotheses about God or about evolution are “proven”, and (b) if you think the purpose of or motive for an invention is not a driving force, then I don’t know what is. And if God exists, of course he has a purpose, but you are in no better a position than I am to identify it or to read the thoughts behind his method for achieving his purpose.

I'm not reading more than He desired to create humans. And I accept His choice in evolving us.


Under “Neanderthal
QUOTE: "And so we have consistently mistaken survival and extinction with biological superiority or inferiority. That is why we have incessantly sought differences to explain our observations. We are here and they are not and so we must seek differences to explain the data. (David's bold)

DAVID: […] Note my bold. Survival does not indicate natural superiority. We still do not know all the reasons for survival and therefore for evolution to newer 'better' forms. Evolution is not driven by a need for survival. On the other hand it is obvious there is a drive for evolution to proceed.

dhw: The fact that we don’t know why Neanderthals as such did not survive has absolutely nothing to do with the reason why new organs, lifestyles and natural wonders have originated throughout the history of evolution. Superiority or inferiority are not the point either. As you yourself keep emphasizing, all econiches depend on a hierarchy. For the econiche to survive, the “inferior” organisms must also survive or the “superior” ones will perish. You simply refuse to recognize the obvious fact that if innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders help organisms to survive, then survival is the obvious reason for their existence, no matter how they came into being. And it is patently absurd to say that the reason for something coming into existence is not a driving force.

Old material. Obviously survival must occur or nothing will evolve. Of course thre is a driving force. God the designer

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Monday, January 28, 2019, 13:52 (484 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We are close together, but there is a major nuance of difference. Survival is required but does not drive evolution to force new advances in complexity.

dhw: I did not say it forced advances in complexity – I do not regard fins as more complex than legs. But I believe that if the pre-whale’s legs turned into fins, that was because fins improved its chances of survival in water.

DAVID: It seems you have just agreed survival does not drive evolution.

How do you reach that conclusion? If the reason for legs turning into fins is to improve chances of survival, then the evolution of fins is driven by the drive to survive or to improve chances of survival!

dhw: I repeat: (a) none of our hypotheses about God or about evolution are “proven”, and (b) if you think the purpose of or motive for an invention is not a driving force, then I don’t know what is. And if God exists, of course he has a purpose, but you are in no better a position than I am to identify it or to read the thoughts behind his method for achieving his purpose.

DAVID: I'm not reading more than He desired to create humans. And I accept His choice in evolving us.

You keep telling us that his desire to create humans was his one and only purpose, and his method was to spend 3.5+ billion years not creating humans. You “accept” that he follows your own non-logic. And you still haven’t told me why you think the motive or purpose for doing something is not a driving force.

dhw: The fact that we don’t know why Neanderthals as such did not survive has absolutely nothing to do with the reason why new organs, lifestyles and natural wonders have originated throughout the history of evolution. Superiority or inferiority are not the point either. As you yourself keep emphasizing, all econiches depend on a hierarchy. For the econiche to survive, the “inferior” organisms must also survive or the “superior” ones will perish. You simply refuse to recognize the obvious fact that if innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders help organisms to survive, then survival is the obvious reason for their existence, no matter how they came into being. And it is patently absurd to say that the reason for something coming into existence is not a driving force.

DAVID: Old material. Obviously survival must occur or nothing will evolve. Of course thre is a driving force. God the designer.

And you persist in ignoring the point that I keep making over and over again: yes, if God exists he must have created life and evolution and in that sense he is the driving force. But the purpose of means of survival is to enable organisms to survive, so even if he designed every single one, their purpose was survival. Now please tell us at last why you think the purpose or motive for designing something is not a driving force.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, January 28, 2019, 14:39 (484 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I repeat: (a) none of our hypotheses about God or about evolution are “proven”, and (b) if you think the purpose of or motive for an invention is not a driving force, then I don’t know what is. And if God exists, of course he has a purpose, but you are in no better a position than I am to identify it or to read the thoughts behind his method for achieving his purpose.

DAVID: I'm not reading more than He desired to create humans. And I accept His choice in evolving us.

dhw: You keep telling us that his desire to create humans was his one and only purpose, and his method was to spend 3.5+ billion years not creating humans. You “accept” that he follows your own non-logic. And you still haven’t told me why you think the motive or purpose for doing something is not a driving force.

I have accepted that God's purpose or motive was to evolve human beings. That is a driving force from my viewpoint.


dhw: The fact that we don’t know why Neanderthals as such did not survive has absolutely nothing to do with the reason why new organs, lifestyles and natural wonders have originated throughout the history of evolution. Superiority or inferiority are not the point either. As you yourself keep emphasizing, all econiches depend on a hierarchy. For the econiche to survive, the “inferior” organisms must also survive or the “superior” ones will perish. You simply refuse to recognize the obvious fact that if innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders help organisms to survive, then survival is the obvious reason for their existence, no matter how they came into being. And it is patently absurd to say that the reason for something coming into existence is not a driving force.

DAVID: Old material. Obviously survival must occur or nothing will evolve. Of course thre is a driving force. God the designer.

dhw: And you persist in ignoring the point that I keep making over and over again: yes, if God exists he must have created life and evolution and in that sense he is the driving force. But the purpose of means of survival is to enable organisms to survive, so even if he designed every single one, their purpose was survival. Now please tell us at last why you think the purpose or motive for designing something is not a driving force.


And you persist in not recognizing that evolution is a process that would grind to a halt unless the ability to survive is built into each successive level of new organisms.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 13:58 (483 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You keep telling us that his desire to create humans was his one and only purpose, and his method was to spend 3.5+ billion years not creating humans. You “accept” that he follows your own non-logic. And you still haven’t told me why you think the motive or purpose for doing something is not a driving force.

DAVID: I have accepted that God's purpose or motive was to evolve human beings. That is a driving force from my viewpoint.

You have not “accepted” it, you believe it, but if it’s true, then of course that would be a driving force. But according to you, his purpose or motive in designing whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and the monarch’s flight path was to enable them to survive so life could go on for 3.5+ billion years until he could design the only thing he wanted to design. Whatever may be the purpose or motive for doing something is its driving force. Once again, if God exists, he is the driving force behind life and evolution, and his wish to enable organisms to survive is the driving force behind what you believe to be the special designs that enable them to do so.

dhw: […] you persist in ignoring the point that I keep making over and over again: yes, if God exists he must have created life and evolution and in that sense he is the driving force. But the purpose of means of survival is to enable organisms to survive, so even if he designed every single one, their purpose was survival. […]

DAVID: And you persist in not recognizing that evolution is a process that would grind to a halt unless the ability to survive is built into each successive level of new organisms.

Of course I recognize that evolution would have ended if new organisms had not survived! How does that come to mean that the purpose or motive behind each individual evolutionary change was not survival? And how does that lead to your conclusion that the purpose or motive for change is not a driving force?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 17:36 (483 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You keep telling us that his desire to create humans was his one and only purpose, and his method was to spend 3.5+ billion years not creating humans. You “accept” that he follows your own non-logic. And you still haven’t told me why you think the motive or purpose for doing something is not a driving force.

DAVID: I have accepted that God's purpose or motive was to evolve human beings. That is a driving force from my viewpoint.

dhw: You have not “accepted” it, you believe it, but if it’s true, then of course that would be a driving force. But according to you, his purpose or motive in designing whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and the monarch’s flight path was to enable them to survive so life could go on for 3.5+ billion years until he could design the only thing he wanted to design. Whatever may be the purpose or motive for doing something is its driving force. Once again, if God exists, he is the driving force behind life and evolution, and his wish to enable organisms to survive is the driving force behind what you believe to be the special designs that enable them to do so.

It seems you are understanding what I believe. It is not illogical.


dhw: […] you persist in ignoring the point that I keep making over and over again: yes, if God exists he must have created life and evolution and in that sense he is the driving force. But the purpose of means of survival is to enable organisms to survive, so even if he designed every single one, their purpose was survival. […]

DAVID: And you persist in not recognizing that evolution is a process that would grind to a halt unless the ability to survive is built into each successive level of new organisms.

dhw: Of course I recognize that evolution would have ended if new organisms had not survived! How does that come to mean that the purpose or motive behind each individual evolutionary change was not survival? And how does that lead to your conclusion that the purpose or motive for change is not a driving force?

The driving force is God using evolution to create humans. Survival is simply a secondary requirement as you admit.

Human evolution; how our eyes see light-dark contrast

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 23:06 (483 days ago) @ David Turell

By little unnoticed movements:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/we-see-contrast-because-our-eyes-are-always-moving

"Contrast sensitivity function – which is different to visual acuity – is the minimum amount of light and dark that we need to see to detect an object or pattern.

"Until now, researchers have thought that seeing contrast relies on eye optics and brain processing. However, a new study, published in the journal eLife, reveals that tiny eye movements play a critical role.

“'Historically these eye movements have been pretty much ignored,” says Michele Rucci, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester in the US. “But what seems to be happening is that they are contributing to vision in a number of different ways, including contrast sensitivity function.”

"If we fix our eyes on a single point, the world may appear still. But microscopically, our eyes are always moving – known as “fixational eye movements”. Without these movements continually refreshing visual input to the retina, an image can fade from view.

"To test the role of eye movements in detecting contrast, the researchers showed five females aged 21-31 with normal vision gratings with black and white stripes, making them progressively thinner – known as spatial frequency – until volunteers could no longer see separate bars.

"When they simulated the task in a computer model of the retina and associated neurons, the researchers found that contrast sensitivity was only achieved when they included the eye movements.

“'When we don’t include this movement factor in the computer model, the simulated neurons don’t give the same responses that the subjects do,” says Rucci.

"It’s a bit like the system involved in our sense of touch, explains lead author Antonino Casile from the Italian Institute of Technology.

"To feel the texture of a surface, it is not enough to just touch it – we also need to move our fingers along the object. We process information from the interaction between our fingertips’ tactile sensors and movement.

'Similarly, contrast sensitivity results from the interaction between the sensory process in the brain’s visual system and the motor process of eye movement, Casile says.

"The findings, write the authors, “are highly robust, bear multiple consequences, and lead to important predictions”.

“'Vision isn’t just taking an image and processing it via neurons,” says Rucci. “The visual system uses an active scheme to extract and code information. We see because our eyes are always moving, even if we don’t know it.'”

Comment: I'm sure previous ancestors have this same ability long before humans arrived. I am aware that my eyes are constantly moving, if only to keep them moist. but I never noticed tiny changes As described.

Human evolution; how our eyes see light intensity

by David Turell @, Monday, August 19, 2019, 00:24 (282 days ago) @ David Turell

A toally new cell function is described:


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190818101642.htm

"Scientists are shedding new light on the importance of light-sensing cells in the retina that process visual information. The researchers isolated the functions of melanopsin cells and demonstrated their crucial role in the perception of visual environment. This ushers in a new understanding of the biology of the eye and how visual information is processed.

"The back of the human eye is lined with the retina, a layer of various types of cells, called photoreceptors, that respond to different amounts of light. The cells that process a lot of light are called cones and those that process lower levels of light are named rods.
Up until recently, researchers have thought that when light struck the retina, rods and cones were the only two kinds of cells that react. Recent discoveries have revealed an entirely new type of cells, called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs). Unlike rods and cones, ipRGCs contain melanopsin, a photopigment that is sensitive to light. While it has been established that ipRGCs are involved in keeping the brain's internal clock in sync with changes in daylight, their importance in the detection of the amount of light had not yet been well understood.

***

"In the study, the authors showed how cones and melanopsin combine to allow the perception of brightness. In order to better assess the contribution of melanopsin to the detection of light, the melanopsin's signals were isolated from cones and rods. This separation allowed for more accurate observation of the melanopsin signal alone. Visual stimuli were carefully designed and positioned in order to specifically stimulate the light-sensitive chemical. Also, the researchers used tracking software to measure study participants' pupil diameters under each visual stimulus. This served as a way to determine the relationship between brightness perception and the actual visual stimulus intensity on the retina.

"The researchers were able to show that the varying brightness levels of an image that was perceived is a sum of the melanopsin response and the response that is generated by the cones. The former is a linear readout and the latter is not. The results also show that melanopsin is not a minor contributor in brightness perception. Rather, it is a crucial player in brightness perception."

Comment: The retina is shown to be even more complex in this newly recognized cell with its very special light sensing protein. Not by chance.

Human evolution; how our brains create images

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 18:55 (279 days ago) @ David Turell

A complex relationship with the visual cortex:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-mathematical-model-unlocks-the-secrets-of-vision-20190...

"This is the great mystery of human vision: Vivid pictures of the world appear before our mind’s eye, yet the brain’s visual system receives very little information from the world itself. Much of what we “see” we conjure in our heads.

“'A lot of the things you think you see you’re actually making up,” said Lai-Sang Young, a mathematician at New York University. “You don’t actually see them.”

***
"The eye acts as a lens. It receives light from the outside world and projects a scale replica of our visual field onto the retina, which sits in the back of the eye. The retina is connected to the visual cortex, the part of the brain in the back of the head.

"However, there’s very little connectivity between the retina and the visual cortex. For a visual area roughly one-quarter the size of a full moon, there are only about 10 nerve cells connecting the retina to the visual cortex. These cells make up the LGN, or lateral geniculate nucleus, the only pathway through which visual information travels from the outside world into the brain.

"Not only are LGN cells scarce — they can’t do much either. LGN cells send a pulse to the visual cortex when they detect a change from dark to light, or vice versa, in their tiny section of the visual field. And that’s all. The lighted world bombards the retina with data, but all the brain has to go on is the meager signaling of a tiny collection of LGN cells.

***

“'But the brain doesn’t take a picture, the retina does, and the information passed from the retina to the visual cortex is sparse.”

"But then the visual cortex goes to work. While the cortex and the retina are connected by relatively few neurons, the cortex itself is dense with nerve cells. For every 10 LGN neurons that snake back from the retina, there are 4,000 neurons in just the initial “input layer” of the visual cortex — and many more in the rest of it. This discrepancy suggests that the brain heavily processes the little visual data it does receive.

“'The visual cortex has a mind of its own,” Shapley said.

***

"These “feed forward” models were easier to create, but they ignored the plain implications of the anatomy of the cortex — which suggested “feedback” loops had to be a big part of the story.

***

"Young, Shapley and Chariker demonstrated that their feedback-rich model was able to reproduce the orientation of edges in objects — from vertical to horizontal and everything in between — based on only slight changes in the weak LGN input coming into the model.

“[They showed] that you can generate all orientations in the visual world using just a few neurons connecting to other neurons,” Angelucci said.

***

"In 2018, the three researchers published a second paper in which they demonstrated that the same model that can detect edges can also reproduce an overall pattern of pulse activity in the cortex known as the gamma rhythm. (It’s similar to what you see when swarms of fireflies flash in collective patterns.)

"They have a third paper under review that explains how the visual cortex perceives changes in contrast. Their explanation involves a mechanism by which excitatory neurons reinforce each other’s activity, an effect like the gathering fervor in a dance party. It’s the type of ratcheting up that’s necessary if the visual cortex is going to create full images from sparse input data.

***

"While their model is far from uncovering the full mystery of vision, it is a step in the right direction — the first model to try and decipher vision in a biologically plausible way.
“People hand-waved about that point for a long time,” said Jonathan Victor, a neuroscientist at Cornell University. “Showing you can do it in a model that fits the biology is a real triumph.'”

Comment: Babies see upside down and backward, but their brains are gradually taught to see reality. The visual cortex learns over time to effectively make the pictures. No 'free will' folks will point to this as proof they are right. But this is the only way a biological system can give proper results.

Human evolution; the brain differs from all others

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 22, 2019, 01:03 (279 days ago) @ David Turell

A newly studied 20 myo monkey brain reveals clues as to brain evolution:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/lifting-the-lid-on-primate-brains?utm_source=C...

"A fossilised primate skull the size of a chicken egg has yielded insights into how primate brains – including our own – evolved.

"The 20-million-year-old near-complete skull is a rare specimen. It belongs to Chilecebus carrascoensis, a primate that scampered around the Chilean Andes during the Miocene.

"The species is a member of the New World monkeys, or platyrrhines, a group found in Central and South America which today includes marmosets, capuchins and spider monkeys.

***

"Weighing in at around eight grams, Chilecebus had a brain roughly the size of a marmoset’s.
However, unlike a marmoset’s brain, which has quite a smooth surface, Chilecebus’s brain had seven pairs of grooves – sulci – on its surface.

"The presence of sulci is usually associated with larger, more cognitively advanced brains. The Chilecebus brain suggests size and brain folds don’t go hand in hand.

"Other anatomical features also seem to evolve independently.

***

"The findings support the idea that the primate brain evolves in a complex “mosaic” fashion, with different functional regions evolving independently of others.

"New World monkeys split from the other main group of primates, the catarrhines, more than 40 million years ago. This group includes the Old World monkeys of Asia and Africa – baboons and mandrils and the like – and apes, to which our own lineage belongs.

"In both groups, brain size has increased over time – a situation of convergent evolution.
But the comparison also reveals just how weird human brains are.

“'Only within the human lineage are the brains exceptionally enlarged,” says Ni. Human brains enlarged three times more than would be predicted based on the evolutionary trajectory of other lineages". (my bold)

Comment: Note my bold. Our brain evolved in a different trajectory.

Human evolution; how our brains create images

by David Turell @, Monday, September 30, 2019, 19:31 (239 days ago) @ David Turell

More studies on how the brain helps us see what we need to see, by pruning away the extraneous
objects:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/your-brain-chooses-what-to-let-you-see-20190930/

"Scientists have long known that our sensory processing must automatically screen out extraneous inputs — otherwise, we couldn’t experience the world as we do. When we look at our surroundings, for instance, our perceived field of view holds steady or moves smoothly with our gaze. But the eye is also constantly making small movements, or saccades; our visual system has to subtract that background jitter from what we see.

“'Automatic suppressive types of mechanisms take place … through large swaths of the brain,” said Richard Krauzlis, a neuroscientist at the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. “Basically all over the place".

"And automatic background subtraction, it turns out, can also manifest in intriguing, unexpected ways. Take a counterintuitive finding that Tadin and his colleagues made in 2003: We’re good at perceiving the movements of small objects, but if those objects are simply made bigger, we find it much more difficult to detect their motion.

***

"The brain prioritizes the detection of objects that are more important for us to see, and those tend to be smaller. To a hawk hunting for its next meal, a mouse suddenly darting through a field matters more than the swaying motion of the grass and trees around it. As a result, Tadin and his team discovered, the brain suppresses information about the movement of the background — and as a side effect, it has more difficulty perceiving the movements of larger objects, because it treats them as a kind of background, too.

***

"Other researchers had previously reported that there’s not much difference between how well seniors observe the motion of a small object and the motion of a larger one. Because of this, Tadin and his colleagues predicted that older people would have problems spotting small moving objects against a moving backdrop — and that’s exactly what they found. Still, with a few weeks’ training, the test subjects got much better at recognizing that motion.

***

"What these results highlighted, he added, is that our sensitivity to larger moving objects is lower “because that’s the strategy our brain uses to make smaller moving objects against those backgrounds stand out more.”

It’s the same strategy (executed by a different mechanism) that the brain uses in goal-directed attentional processes: It gets rid of information that’s distracting or less useful in order to make the more relevant inputs stand out.

“'Before attention gets to do its job,” Tadin said, “there’s already a lot of pruning of information.” For motion perception, that pruning has to happen automatically because it needs to be done very quickly. “Attention can do the same thing in much smarter and more flexible ways, but not so effortlessly.”

"Together, these processes — both the automatic bottom-up ones and the more conscious top-down ones — generate the brain’s internal representation of its environment. It is what Ian Fiebelkorn, a cognitive neuroscientist at Princeton University, refers to as a “priority map,” with peaks and valleys that dictate where attentional resources should be aimed.
Through learning and training, he said, top-down goals continue to “manipulate that map, amplifying or suppressing the peaks” that represent salient properties of a stimulus.

"When it comes to how and what we perceive, Tadin said, “there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that we just take for granted.'”

Comment: However secondhand the brain makes our perceptions, we successfully navigate our environment as our progress shows. As a biological representation of our surroundings, it works, and that is all that counts.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, January 30, 2019, 13:17 (482 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have accepted that God's purpose or motive was to evolve human beings. That is a driving force from my viewpoint.

dhw: You have not “accepted” it, you believe it, but if it’s true, then of course that would be a driving force. But according to you, his purpose or motive in designing whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and the monarch’s flight path was to enable them to survive so life could go on for 3.5+ billion years until he could design the only thing he wanted to design. Whatever may be the purpose or motive for doing something is its driving force. Once again, if God exists, he is the driving force behind life and evolution, and his wish to enable organisms to survive is the driving force behind what you believe to be the special designs that enable them to do so.

DAVID: It seems you are understanding what I believe. It is not illogical.

No it’s not. It is totally logical that the doer is the driving force behind the action, and the purpose is the driving force behind the doer. The purpose of fins, camouflage and migration is survival, and it is therefore illogical to say that survival is not a driving force in evolution. Thank you. Your other illogicality is dealt with on the “Big brain” thread.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 30, 2019, 17:26 (482 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have accepted that God's purpose or motive was to evolve human beings. That is a driving force from my viewpoint.

dhw: You have not “accepted” it, you believe it, but if it’s true, then of course that would be a driving force. But according to you, his purpose or motive in designing whale fins, cuttlefish camouflage and the monarch’s flight path was to enable them to survive so life could go on for 3.5+ billion years until he could design the only thing he wanted to design. Whatever may be the purpose or motive for doing something is its driving force. Once again, if God exists, he is the driving force behind life and evolution, and his wish to enable organisms to survive is the driving force behind what you believe to be the special designs that enable them to do so.

DAVID: It seems you are understanding what I believe. It is not illogical.

dhw: No it’s not. It is totally logical that the doer is the driving force behind the action, and the purpose is the driving force behind the doer. The purpose of fins, camouflage and migration is survival, and it is therefore illogical to say that survival is not a driving force in evolution. Thank you. Your other illogicality is dealt with on the “Big brain” thread.

You have the argument totally backward. I accept that God is the doer and He wants to evolve humans. Survival has to be designed into each stage or evolution stops. Survival is required but the driver is God. It is illogical to you because you do not see the driving mechanism as I do.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, January 31, 2019, 12:19 (481 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] if God exists, he is the driving force behind life and evolution, and his wish to enable organisms to survive is the driving force behind what you believe to be the special designs that enable them to do so.

DAVID: It seems you are understanding what I believe. It is not illogical.

dhw: No it’s not. It is totally logical that the doer is the driving force behind the action, and the purpose is the driving force behind the doer. The purpose of fins, camouflage and migration is survival, and it is therefore illogical to say that survival is not a driving force in evolution. Thank you. Your other illogicality is dealt with on the “Big brain” thread.

DAVID: You have the argument totally backward. I accept that God is the doer and He wants to evolve humans.

Not “accept”. These are your beliefs. For argument’s sake, I am accepting God’s existence, but a) questioning your belief that his sole purpose was to produce H. sapiens (see “Big brain evolution”), and on this thread b) questioning your belief that survival is not a driving force in the process of evolution.

DAVID: Survival has to be designed into each stage or evolution stops. Survival is required but the driver is God. It is illogical to you because you do not see the driving mechanism as I do.

Of course life has to survive or it stops. Once more: I see TWO driving mechanisms in your scenario: 1) Your God as the creator is the driving force behind life and evolution. 2) The reason for his designing all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders is to ensure that life SURVIVES. The reason for doing something is a driving force. Concrete example: if, as you believe, your God designed pre-whale fins, the reason for his doing so was to enable the pre-whale to improve its chances of survival in the water. How can you possibly argue that the reason for doing something is not a driving force?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 31, 2019, 14:54 (481 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] if God exists, he is the driving force behind life and evolution, and his wish to enable organisms to survive is the driving force behind what you believe to be the special designs that enable them to do so.

DAVID: It seems you are understanding what I believe. It is not illogical.

dhw: No it’s not. It is totally logical that the doer is the driving force behind the action, and the purpose is the driving force behind the doer. The purpose of fins, camouflage and migration is survival, and it is therefore illogical to say that survival is not a driving force in evolution. Thank you. Your other illogicality is dealt with on the “Big brain” thread.

DAVID: You have the argument totally backward. I accept that God is the doer and He wants to evolve humans.

Not “accept”. These are your beliefs. For argument’s sake, I am accepting God’s existence, but a) questioning your belief that his sole purpose was to produce H. sapiens (see “Big brain evolution”), and on this thread b) questioning your belief that survival is not a driving force in the process of evolution.

DAVID: Survival has to be designed into each stage or evolution stops. Survival is required but the driver is God. It is illogical to you because you do not see the driving mechanism as I do.

dhw: Of course life has to survive or it stops. Once more: I see TWO driving mechanisms in your scenario: 1) Your God as the creator is the driving force behind life and evolution. 2) The reason for his designing all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders is to ensure that life SURVIVES. The reason for doing something is a driving force. Concrete example: if, as you believe, your God designed pre-whale fins, the reason for his doing so was to enable the pre-whale to improve its chances of survival in the water. How can you possibly argue that the reason for doing something is not a driving force?

Wrong nuance of meaning. When you drive your ancient VW you are careful not to crash. That is caution about necessary survival. God drives evolution with the same caution about survival of the organism s created.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Friday, February 01, 2019, 13:57 (480 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Of course life has to survive or it stops. Once more: I see TWO driving mechanisms in your scenario: 1) Your God as the creator is the driving force behind life and evolution. 2) The reason for his designing all the innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders is to ensure that life SURVIVES. The reason for doing something is a driving force. Concrete example: if, as you believe, your God designed pre-whale fins, the reason for his doing so was to enable the pre-whale to improve its chances of survival in the water. How can you possibly argue that the reason for doing something is not a driving force?

DAVID: Wrong nuance of meaning. When you drive your ancient VW you are careful not to crash. That is caution about necessary survival. God drives evolution with the same caution about survival of the organism s created.

I don’t think this image helps us very much, but hey ho. The driving force behind the design of brakes, lights, windscreen wipers, seat belts etc. was to improve my chances of survival (and those of other drivers, pedestrians etc.) as I go hurtling along through streets, traffic, darkness, rain and snow. Meanwhile, back to your hypothesis, in which the driving force behind your God’s design of fins, camouflage and migration routes was to improve survival chances for whales, cuttlefish and monarch butterflies, just as apparently he designed my late wife’s pelvis, my hunter’s/escaper’s legs, and now even our skin colour (see below) to improve our chances of survival. Yes, if your God exists he is the driving force behind life and evolution. But why do you refuse to acknowledge that the purpose behind a design is also a driving force?

Under “skin color
QUOTES: "Why is folate so important? The nutrient plays a role in DNA activities, but its major impact is on evolutionary fitness — one’s ability to survive and reproduce — through fetal development.

"[..] vitamin D became a problem. Like folate, this vitamin is important for evolutionary fitness. It facilitates absorption of calcium, necessary for healthy bones and immunity.

"A range of skin colors evolved at different times, in different populations, as human spread across the globe. In addition to these genetic biological changes, groups have also developed cultural adaptations to deal with variable sunlight. For instance, we can consume diets rich in folate and vitamin D. We can also build shelters, wear clothing and slather sunscreen to block UV rays."

All of which make it crystal clear that the purpose is survival. The driving force behind our building of shelters, our clothes and our sunscreen is our desire to improve our chances of survival, and likewise the driving force behind variations of skin colors.

DAVID: These studies certainly appear to explain why our species adapted light or dark skin. Since folate is so important to reproduction, I would suspect it was more of a driving force than Vitamin D in producing this adaptation. (dhw’s bold)

And so the requirement for folate to aid reproduction was a “driving force”. Just like the requirement for fins to aid swimming etc. etc. Crystal clear again.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, February 01, 2019, 14:44 (480 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Wrong nuance of meaning. When you drive your ancient VW you are careful not to crash. That is caution about necessary survival. God drives evolution with the same caution about survival of the organism s created.

dhw: I don’t think this image helps us very much, but hey ho. The driving force behind the design of brakes, lights, windscreen wipers, seat belts etc. was to improve my chances of survival (and those of other drivers, pedestrians etc.) as I go hurtling along through streets, traffic, darkness, rain and snow. Meanwhile, back to your hypothesis, in which the driving force behind your God’s design of fins, camouflage and migration routes was to improve survival chances for whales, cuttlefish and monarch butterflies, just as apparently he designed my late wife’s pelvis, my hunter’s/escaper’s legs, and now even our skin colour (see below) to improve our chances of survival. Yes, if your God exists he is the driving force behind life and evolution. But why do you refuse to acknowledge that the purpose behind a design is also a driving force?

Because I view God as the driver, and survival a secondary requirement since evolving organisms must survive for each advance to occur. Again a difference in nuance.


dhw: Under “skin color
QUOTES: "Why is folate so important? The nutrient plays a role in DNA activities, but its major impact is on evolutionary fitness — one’s ability to survive and reproduce — through fetal development.

"[..] vitamin D became a problem. Like folate, this vitamin is important for evolutionary fitness. It facilitates absorption of calcium, necessary for healthy bones and immunity.

"A range of skin colors evolved at different times, in different populations, as human spread across the globe. In addition to these genetic biological changes, groups have also developed cultural adaptations to deal with variable sunlight. For instance, we can consume diets rich in folate and vitamin D. We can also build shelters, wear clothing and slather sunscreen to block UV rays."

dhw: All of which make it crystal clear that the purpose is survival. The driving force behind our building of shelters, our clothes and our sunscreen is our desire to improve our chances of survival, and likewise the driving force behind variations of skin colors.

DAVID: These studies certainly appear to explain why our species adapted light or dark skin. Since folate is so important to reproduction, I would suspect it was more of a driving force than Vitamin D in producing this adaptation. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: And so the requirement for folate to aid reproduction was a “driving force”. Just like the requirement for fins to aid swimming etc. etc. Crystal clear again.

Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, February 02, 2019, 14:21 (479 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Yes, if your God exists he is the driving force behind life and evolution. But why do you refuse to acknowledge that the purpose behind a design is also a driving force?

DAVID: Because I view God as the driver, and survival a secondary requirement since evolving organisms must survive for each advance to occur. Again a difference in nuance.

DAVID (re skin colour): These studies certainly appear to explain why our species adapted light or dark skin. Since folate is so important to reproduction, I would suspect it was more of a driving force than Vitamin D in producing this adaptation. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: And so the requirement for folate to aid reproduction was a “driving force”. Just like the requirement for fins to aid swimming etc. etc. Crystal clear again.

DAVID: Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

So you agree that the driving force for your God’s design of fins, camouflage and patterns of migration was survival, but God’s one and only purpose in designing all of these was to enable them to eat and be eaten (to survive or not to survive) until he could design humans, which apparently means that survival is a driving force but is not a driving force.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 02, 2019, 18:47 (479 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Yes, if your God exists he is the driving force behind life and evolution. But why do you refuse to acknowledge that the purpose behind a design is also a driving force?

DAVID: Because I view God as the driver, and survival a secondary requirement since evolving organisms must survive for each advance to occur. Again a difference in nuance.

DAVID (re skin colour): These studies certainly appear to explain why our species adapted light or dark skin. Since folate is so important to reproduction, I would suspect it was more of a driving force than Vitamin D in producing this adaptation. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: And so the requirement for folate to aid reproduction was a “driving force”. Just like the requirement for fins to aid swimming etc. etc. Crystal clear again.

DAVID: Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

dhw: So you agree that the driving force for your God’s design of fins, camouflage and patterns of migration was survival, but God’s one and only purpose in designing all of these was to enable them to eat and be eaten (to survive or not to survive) until he could design humans, which apparently means that survival is a driving force but is not a driving force.

Quibbling again. Survival is a secondary requirement for evolution to continue to its goal

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Sunday, February 03, 2019, 10:14 (478 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID (re skin colour): These studies certainly appear to explain why our species adapted light or dark skin. Since folate is so important to reproduction, I would suspect it was more of a driving force than Vitamin D in producing this adaptation. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: And so the requirement for folate to aid reproduction was a “driving force”. Just like the requirement for fins to aid swimming etc. etc. Crystal clear again.

DAVID: Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

dhw: So you agree that the driving force for your God’s design of fins, camouflage and patterns of migration was survival, but God’s one and only purpose in designing all of these was to enable them to eat and be eaten (to survive or not to survive) until he could design humans, which apparently means that survival is a driving force but is not a driving force.

DAVID: Quibbling again. Survival is a secondary requirement for evolution to continue to its goal.

Sorry, but the quibble is entirely yours. If organisms don’t survive, there is no evolution, and an immediate driving force is a driving force.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 03, 2019, 14:50 (478 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID (re skin colour): These studies certainly appear to explain why our species adapted light or dark skin. Since folate is so important to reproduction, I would suspect it was more of a driving force than Vitamin D in producing this adaptation. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: And so the requirement for folate to aid reproduction was a “driving force”. Just like the requirement for fins to aid swimming etc. etc. Crystal clear again.

DAVID: Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

dhw: So you agree that the driving force for your God’s design of fins, camouflage and patterns of migration was survival, but God’s one and only purpose in designing all of these was to enable them to eat and be eaten (to survive or not to survive) until he could design humans, which apparently means that survival is a driving force but is not a driving force.

DAVID: Quibbling again. Survival is a secondary requirement for evolution to continue to its goal.

dhw: Sorry, but the quibble is entirely yours. If organisms don’t survive, there is no evolution, and an immediate driving force is a driving force.

I will continue to view survival as a requirement of design driven evolution.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Monday, February 04, 2019, 13:15 (477 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID (re skin colour): These studies certainly appear to explain why our species adapted light or dark skin. Since folate is so important to reproduction, I would suspect it was more of a driving force than Vitamin D in producing this adaptation. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: And so the requirement for folate to aid reproduction was a “driving force”. Just like the requirement for fins to aid swimming etc. etc. Crystal clear again.

DAVID: Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

dhw: So you agree that the driving force for your God’s design of fins, camouflage and patterns of migration was survival, but God’s one and only purpose in designing all of these was to enable them to eat and be eaten (to survive or not to survive) until he could design humans, which apparently means that survival is a driving force but is not a driving force.

DAVID: Quibbling again. Survival is a secondary requirement for evolution to continue to its goal.

dhw: Sorry, but the quibble is entirely yours. If organisms don’t survive, there is no evolution, and an immediate driving force is a driving force.

DAVID: I will continue to view survival as a requirement of design driven evolution.

Of course. You can’t have evolution without survival. I’m afraid that does not mean an immediate driving force is not a driving force. Why don’t we leave it at that?

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, February 04, 2019, 15:22 (477 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID (re skin colour): These studies certainly appear to explain why our species adapted light or dark skin. Since folate is so important to reproduction, I would suspect it was more of a driving force than Vitamin D in producing this adaptation. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: And so the requirement for folate to aid reproduction was a “driving force”. Just like the requirement for fins to aid swimming etc. etc. Crystal clear again.

DAVID: Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

dhw: So you agree that the driving force for your God’s design of fins, camouflage and patterns of migration was survival, but God’s one and only purpose in designing all of these was to enable them to eat and be eaten (to survive or not to survive) until he could design humans, which apparently means that survival is a driving force but is not a driving force.

DAVID: Quibbling again. Survival is a secondary requirement for evolution to continue to its goal.

dhw: Sorry, but the quibble is entirely yours. If organisms don’t survive, there is no evolution, and an immediate driving force is a driving force.

DAVID: I will continue to view survival as a requirement of design driven evolution.

dhw: Of course. You can’t have evolution without survival. I’m afraid that does not mean an immediate driving force is not a driving force. Why don’t we leave it at that?

Fine. you still don't accept a designer.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by dhw, Tuesday, February 05, 2019, 08:59 (476 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

dhw: So you agree that the driving force for your God’s design of fins, camouflage and patterns of migration was survival, but God’s one and only purpose in designing all of these was to enable them to eat and be eaten (to survive or not to survive) until he could design humans, which apparently means that survival is a driving force but is not a driving force.

DAVID: Quibbling again. Survival is a secondary requirement for evolution to continue to its goal.

dhw: Sorry, but the quibble is entirely yours. If organisms don’t survive, there is no evolution, and an immediate driving force is a driving force.

DAVID: I will continue to view survival as a requirement of design driven evolution.

dhw: Of course. You can’t have evolution without survival. I’m afraid that does not mean an immediate driving force is not a driving force. Why don’t we leave it at that?

DAVID: Fine. you still don't accept a designer.

I will keep your agreement for future reference, in case you bring up “survival” again as an issue. My agnostic non-acceptance/non-rejection of a designer is irrelevant.

Human evolution; "Little foot's" balance mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 05, 2019, 15:26 (476 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Immediate driving forces are part of the pattern of survival for the overall purpose of evolution to the goal, humans. Crystal clear.

dhw: So you agree that the driving force for your God’s design of fins, camouflage and patterns of migration was survival, but God’s one and only purpose in designing all of these was to enable them to eat and be eaten (to survive or not to survive) until he could design humans, which apparently means that survival is a driving force but is not a driving force.

DAVID: Quibbling again. Survival is a secondary requirement for evolution to continue to its goal.

dhw: Sorry, but the quibble is entirely yours. If organisms don’t survive, there is no evolution, and an immediate driving force is a driving force.

DAVID: I will continue to view survival as a requirement of design driven evolution.

dhw: Of course. You can’t have evolution without survival. I’m afraid that does not mean an immediate driving force is not a driving force. Why don’t we leave it at that?

DAVID: Fine. you still don't accept a designer.

I will keep your agreement for future reference, in case you bring up “survival” again as an issue. My agnostic non-acceptance/non-rejection of a designer is irrelevant.

Yes, we will agree to disagree into the future.

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 16:06 (392 days ago) @ David Turell

Ardipithicus is a million years older than Lucy and has a monkey-like foot:

https://phys.org/news/2019-04-human-ancestors-grounded-analysis.html

"'Our unique form of human locomotion evolved from an ancestor that moved in similar ways to the living African apes—chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas," explains Thomas Prang, a doctoral candidate in New York University's Department of Anthropology and the author of the study, which appears in the journal eLife. "In other words, the common ancestor we share with chimpanzees and bonobos was an African ape that probably had adaptations to living on the ground in some form and frequency."

"The way that humans walk—striding bipedalism—is unique among all living mammals, an attribute resulting from myriad changes over time.

"'The human body has been dramatically modified by evolutionary processes over the last several million years in ways that happened to make us better walkers and runners," notes Prang.

Much of this change is evident in the human foot, which has evolved to be a propulsive organ, with a big toe incapable of ape-like grasping and a spring-like, energy-saving arch that runs from front to back.

***

" Prang, a researcher in NYU's Center for the Study of Human Origins, focused on the fossil species Ardipithecus ramidus ('Ardi'), a 4.4 million-years-old human ancestor from Ethiopia—more than a million years older than the well-known 'Lucy' fossil. Ardi's bones were first publicly revealed in 2009 and have been the subject of debate since then.

"In his research, Prang ascertained the relative length proportions of multiple bones in the primate foot skeleton to evaluate the relationship between species' movement (locomotion) and their skeletal characteristics (morphology). In addition, drawing upon the Ardi fossils, he used statistical methods to reconstruct or estimate what the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees might have looked like.

"Here, he found that the African apes show a clear signal of being adapted to ground-living. The results also reveal that the Ardi foot and the estimated morphology of the human-chimpanzee last common ancestor is most similar to these African ape species.

"'Therefore, humans evolved from an ancestor that had adaptations to living on the ground, perhaps not unlike those found in African apes," Prang concludes. "These findings suggest that human bipedalism was derived from a form of locomotion similar to that of living African apes, which contrasts with the original interpretation of these fossils."

"The original interpretation of the Ardi foot fossils, published in 2009, suggested that its foot was more monkey-like than chimpanzee- or gorilla-like. The implication of this interpretation is that many of the features shared by living great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans) in their foot and elsewhere must have evolved independently in each lineage—in a different time and place.

"'Humans are part of the natural world and our locomotor adaptation—bipedalism—cannot be understood outside of its natural evolutionary context," Prang observes. "Large-scale evolutionary changes do not seem to happen spontaneously. Instead, they are rooted in deeper histories revealed by the study of the fossil record." (my bold)

Comment: This shows how uniquely different we are. we came from apes but we are not apes. My bold above is to show this is a Darwin interpretation

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by dhw, Wednesday, May 01, 2019, 08:54 (391 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: "The way that humans walk—striding bipedalism—is unique among all living mammals, an attribute resulting from myriad changes over time."

"'The human body has been dramatically modified by evolutionary processes over the last several million years in ways that happened to make us better walkers and runners," notes Prang.

"'Humans are part of the natural world and our locomotor adaptation—bipedalism—cannot be understood outside of its natural evolutionary context," Prang observes. "Large-scale evolutionary changes do not seem to happen spontaneously. Instead, they are rooted in deeper histories revealed by the study of the fossil record." (David’s bold)

DAVID: This shows how uniquely different we are. we came from apes but we are not apes. My bold above is to show this is a Darwin interpretation.

Yes, it is a Darwin interpretation, and since it is based on the fossil record – which you do not dispute – it is clear evidence that in this particular case, Darwin was right. You seem to think that the very mention of his name invalidates any research that supports him. You are then left with no idea why your God, whose sole purpose was to create H. sapiens, should have chosen to use such an itty-bitty method, when according to you he knows exactly what he wants and has the power to get it through a dabble (think of your favourite pre-whale having its legs turned into flippers before it enters the water). However, with the Cambrian in mind, I agree that the claim you have bolded is far too general.

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 01, 2019, 20:01 (391 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES: "The way that humans walk—striding bipedalism—is unique among all living mammals, an attribute resulting from myriad changes over time."

"'The human body has been dramatically modified by evolutionary processes over the last several million years in ways that happened to make us better walkers and runners," notes Prang.

"'Humans are part of the natural world and our locomotor adaptation—bipedalism—cannot be understood outside of its natural evolutionary context," Prang observes. "Large-scale evolutionary changes do not seem to happen spontaneously. Instead, they are rooted in deeper histories revealed by the study of the fossil record." (David’s bold)

DAVID: This shows how uniquely different we are. we came from apes but we are not apes. My bold above is to show this is a Darwin interpretation.

dhw: Yes, it is a Darwin interpretation, and since it is based on the fossil record – which you do not dispute – it is clear evidence that in this particular case, Darwin was right. You seem to think that the very mention of his name invalidates any research that supports him. You are then left with no idea why your God, whose sole purpose was to create H. sapiens, should have chosen to use such an itty-bitty method, when according to you he knows exactly what he wants and has the power to get it through a dabble (think of your favourite pre-whale having its legs turned into flippers before it enters the water). However, with the Cambrian in mind, I agree that the claim you have bolded is far too general.

My point is the author's 'deeper histories' may simply be viewed as God in action. That
certainly fits the Cambrian Gap you have noted..

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by dhw, Thursday, May 02, 2019, 09:34 (390 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "'Humans are part of the natural world and our locomotor adaptation—bipedalism—cannot be understood outside of its natural evolutionary context," Prang observes. "Large-scale evolutionary changes do not seem to happen spontaneously. Instead, they are rooted in deeper histories revealed by the study of the fossil record." (David’s bold)

DAVID: This shows how uniquely different we are. we came from apes but we are not apes. My bold above is to show this is a Darwin interpretation.

dhw: Yes, it is a Darwin interpretation, and since it is based on the fossil record – which you do not dispute – it is clear evidence that in this particular case, Darwin was right. You seem to think that the very mention of his name invalidates any research that supports him. You are then left with no idea why your God, whose sole purpose was to create H. sapiens, should have chosen to use such an itty-bitty method, when according to you he knows exactly what he wants and has the power to get it through a dabble (think of your favourite pre-whale having its legs turned into flippers before it enters the water). However, with the Cambrian in mind, I agree that the claim you have bolded is far too general.

DAVID: My point is the author's 'deeper histories' may simply be viewed as God in action. That certainly fits the Cambrian Gap you have noted.

It is a prime example of itty-bitty evolution, proven by the fossil record, though we have always agreed that Darwin was wrong to claim that “Natura non facit saltum”. I’m glad you now accept that Darwin’s itty-bitty theory is at least partly true, and of course you are still left with the problem of how to reconcile this with your own anthropocentric interpretation of evolution as summarized above.

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 02, 2019, 15:17 (390 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "'Humans are part of the natural world and our locomotor adaptation—bipedalism—cannot be understood outside of its natural evolutionary context," Prang observes. "Large-scale evolutionary changes do not seem to happen spontaneously. Instead, they are rooted in deeper histories revealed by the study of the fossil record." (David’s bold)

DAVID: This shows how uniquely different we are. we came from apes but we are not apes. My bold above is to show this is a Darwin interpretation.

dhw: Yes, it is a Darwin interpretation, and since it is based on the fossil record – which you do not dispute – it is clear evidence that in this particular case, Darwin was right. You seem to think that the very mention of his name invalidates any research that supports him. You are then left with no idea why your God, whose sole purpose was to create H. sapiens, should have chosen to use such an itty-bitty method, when according to you he knows exactly what he wants and has the power to get it through a dabble (think of your favourite pre-whale having its legs turned into flippers before it enters the water). However, with the Cambrian in mind, I agree that the claim you have bolded is far too general.

DAVID: My point is the author's 'deeper histories' may simply be viewed as God in action. That certainly fits the Cambrian Gap you have noted.

dhw: It is a prime example of itty-bitty evolution, proven by the fossil record, though we have always agreed that Darwin was wrong to claim that “Natura non facit saltum”. I’m glad you now accept that Darwin’s itty-bitty theory is at least partly true, and of course you are still left with the problem of how to reconcile this with your own anthropocentric interpretation of evolution as summarized above.

I view nothing about the Athropithicus developments as itty-bitty. The quote above specifically states "large scale evolutionary changes' come from past history. You see iity -bitty, I don't.

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by dhw, Friday, May 03, 2019, 12:12 (389 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It is a prime example of itty-bitty evolution, proven proven by the fossil record, though we have always agreed that Darwin was wrong to claim that “Natura non facit saltum”. I’m glad you now accept that Darwin’s itty-bitty theory is at least partly true, and of course you are still left with the problem of how to reconcile this with your own anthropocentric interpretation of evolution as summarized above.

DAVID: I view nothing about the Athropithicus developments as itty-bitty. The quote above specifically states "large scale evolutionary changes' come from past history. You see iity -bitty, I don't.

QUOTES: "The way that humans walk—striding bipedalism—is unique among all living mammals, an attribute resulting from myriad changes over time. (dhw’s bold)

"'The human body has been dramatically modified by evolutionary processes over the last several million years in ways that happened to make us better walkers and runners," notes Prang. (dhw’s bold)

If the fossil record shows that bipedalism and the human body reached their final form as a result of myriad changes and dramatic modifications, how can you honestly claim that this is not an itty-bitty process?

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by David Turell @, Friday, May 03, 2019, 19:22 (389 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: It is a prime example of itty-bitty evolution, proven proven by the fossil record, though we have always agreed that Darwin was wrong to claim that “Natura non facit saltum”. I’m glad you now accept that Darwin’s itty-bitty theory is at least partly true, and of course you are still left with the problem of how to reconcile this with your own anthropocentric interpretation of evolution as summarized above.

DAVID: I view nothing about the Athropithicus developments as itty-bitty. The quote above specifically states "large scale evolutionary changes' come from past history. You see iity -bitty, I don't.

QUOTES: "The way that humans walk—striding bipedalism—is unique among all living mammals, an attribute resulting from myriad changes over time. (dhw’s bold)

"'The human body has been dramatically modified by evolutionary processes over the last several million years in ways that happened to make us better walkers and runners," notes Prang. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: If the fossil record shows that bipedalism and the human body reached their final form as a result of myriad changes and dramatic modifications, how can you honestly claim that this is not an itty-bitty process?

Have you forgotten, from the fossils we have the brain size jumped 200cc each time it enlarged, which then involves birth canal problems as well as skull enlargements. Not tiny steps at any point.

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by dhw, Saturday, May 04, 2019, 13:45 (388 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It is a prime example of itty-bitty evolution, proven proven by the fossil record, though we have always agreed that Darwin was wrong to claim that “Natura non facit saltum”. I’m glad you now accept that Darwin’s itty-bitty theory is at least partly true, and of course you are still left with the problem of how to reconcile this with your own anthropocentric interpretation of evolution as summarized above.

DAVID: I view nothing about the Athropithicus developments as itty-bitty. The quote above specifically states "large scale evolutionary changes' come from past history. You see iity -bitty, I don't.

QUOTES: "The way that humans walk—striding bipedalism—is unique among all living mammals, an attribute resulting from myriad changes over time. (dhw’s bold)
"'The human body has been dramatically modified by evolutionary processes over the last several million years in ways that happened to make us better walkers and runners," notes Prang. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: If the fossil record shows that bipedalism and the human body reached their final form as a result of myriad changes and dramatic modifications, how can you honestly claim that this is not an itty-bitty process?

DAVID: Have you forgotten, from the fossils we have the brain size jumped 200cc each time it enlarged, which then involves birth canal problems as well as skull enlargements. Not tiny steps at any point.

Some steps are small (why do you suddenly ignore the history of bipedalism?) and some are large, but they are all itty-bitty if you believe that your always-in-control God’s sole purpose was to produce H. sapiens. Do you really think that a larger brain or a different shaped/sized birth canal is an innovation? Why bother with these “myriad” interim stages of brain, pelvis, big toe etc.? And why bother with the complexities of the whale if all he wanted was humans? The answer is that in both cases you have no idea, but you insist that this was his chosen method of designing the only thing he wanted to design.

Human evolution; Arthropithicus walking on ground

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 04, 2019, 19:06 (388 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: It is a prime example of itty-bitty evolution, proven proven by the fossil record, though we have always agreed that Darwin was wrong to claim that “Natura non facit saltum”. I’m glad you now accept that Darwin’s itty-bitty theory is at least partly true, and of course you are still left with the problem of how to reconcile this with your own anthropocentric interpretation of evolution as summarized above.

DAVID: I view nothing about the Athropithicus developments as itty-bitty. The quote above specifically states "large scale evolutionary changes' come from past history. You see iity -bitty, I don't.

QUOTES: "The way that humans walk—striding bipedalism—is unique among all living mammals, an attribute resulting from myriad changes over time. (dhw’s bold)
"'The human body has been dramatically modified by evolutionary processes over the last several million years in ways that happened to make us better walkers and runners," notes Prang. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: If the fossil record shows that bipedalism and the human body reached their final form as a result of myriad changes and dramatic modifications, how can you honestly claim that this is not an itty-bitty process?

DAVID: Have you forgotten, from the fossils we have the brain size jumped 200cc each time it enlarged, which then involves birth canal problems as well as skull enlargements. Not tiny steps at any point.

dhw: Some steps are small (why do you suddenly ignore the history of bipedalism?) and some are large, but they are all itty-bitty if you believe that your always-in-control God’s sole purpose was to produce H. sapiens. Do you really think that a larger brain or a different shaped/sized birth canal is an innovation? Why bother with these “myriad” interim stages of brain, pelvis, big toe etc.? And why bother with the complexities of the whale if all he wanted was humans? The answer is that in both cases you have no idea, but you insist that this was his chosen method of designing the only thing he wanted to design.

Evolution requires steps to reach a goal. No matter how hard you try to make the steps as small, the design requirements and the gaps in forms is very large. Each step in whale evolution is the result of highly complex phenotypical and physiological design steps. In my view as God chose evolution to reach His goal of large-brained humans He knew He had to provide a larger bush of eco-niches to feel everyone on the way over lots of time. I don't know why you cannot see that as totally logical?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Friday, December 07, 2018, 13:45 (536 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciousness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

DAVID: Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

dhw: I accept that as a good reason for your faith – but you have always acknowledged that it requires faith and not reason to accept one mystery as the answer to another.

DAVID: Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with background – unless you now wish to claim that every doctor, biologist, biochemist etc. shares your faith. I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept the design argument as good reason for faith, and it is one of two major influences (along with psychic experiences) that leave me open to the possibility of a God. But in all these discussions you simply refuse to acknowledge the reason why I myself cannot take that leap of faith, as bolded above.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, December 07, 2018, 21:14 (536 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciousness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

DAVID: Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

dhw: I accept that as a good reason for your faith – but you have always acknowledged that it requires faith and not reason to accept one mystery as the answer to another.

DAVID: Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

dhw: It has nothing whatsoever to do with background – unless you now wish to claim that every doctor, biologist, biochemist etc. shares your faith. I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept the design argument as good reason for faith, and it is one of two major influences (along with psychic experiences) that leave me open to the possibility of a God. But in all these discussions you simply refuse to acknowledge the reason why I myself cannot take that leap of faith, as bolded above.

A survey, a number of years ago, found 40% of physicians are believers. I acknowledge your problem.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, December 08, 2018, 10:09 (535 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

dhw: It has nothing whatsoever to do with background – unless you now wish to claim that every doctor, biologist, biochemist etc. shares your faith. I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept the design argument as good reason for faith, and it is one of two major influences (along with psychic experiences) that leave me open to the possibility of a God. But in all these discussions you simply refuse to acknowledge the reason why I myself cannot take that leap of faith. [...]

DAVID: A survey, a number of years ago, found 40% of physicians are believers. I acknowledge your problem.

Thank you. I wonder how many of the remaining 60% are atheists and how many are agnostics.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 08, 2018, 22:14 (535 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

dhw: It has nothing whatsoever to do with background – unless you now wish to claim that every doctor, biologist, biochemist etc. shares your faith. I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept the design argument as good reason for faith, and it is one of two major influences (along with psychic experiences) that leave me open to the possibility of a God. But in all these discussions you simply refuse to acknowledge the reason why I myself cannot take that leap of faith. [...]

DAVID: A survey, a number of years ago, found 40% of physicians are believers. I acknowledge your problem.

dhw: Thank you. I wonder how many of the remaining 60% are atheists and how many are agnostics.

Have no idea

Human evolution; a gene for primate brains

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 09, 2018, 00:32 (535 days ago) @ David Turell

Found in a new study. Our brains are different than other mammals:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181206120047.htm

"University of Otago researchers have discovered information about a gene that sets primates -- great apes and humans -- apart from other mammals, through the study of a rare developmental brain disorder.

"Dr Adam O'Neill carried out the research as part of his PhD at the University of Otago, under the supervision of Professor Stephen Robertson, discovering that the PLEKHG6 gene has qualities that drives aspects of brain development differently in primates compared to other species.

"'Broadly speaking, this gene can be thought of as one of the genetic factors that make us human in a neurological sense,"...

***

"Their results showed that the particular genetic change that disabled a component of this gene (PLEKHG6) altered its ability to support the growth and proliferation of specialised stem cells in the developing brain. In addition, some of these cells also failed to migrate to their correct position in the growing "mini-brain" during the first few weeks of brain development.

"Professor Robertson says it has been known for a while that these stem cells behave differently between primates/humans and other animals, but understanding what genes regulate these differences has been a mystery.

"Adam's achievement has been to show that this particular component of the PLEKHG6 gene is one such regulator that humans have 'acquired' very recently in their evolution to make their brains 'exceptional'."

"Dr O'Neill says there are very few genetic elements that are primate specific in our genome, so this discovery adds to a very short list of genetic factors that, at least in one sense, make us human."

Comment: A lucky chance break? If that is the case all of the preparatory steps to reach the point where primates could appear are lucky contingencies. Doubtful.

Human evolution; a gene for primate brains

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 17:52 (532 days ago) @ David Turell

Found in a new study. Our brains are different than other mammals:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181206120047.htm

"University of Otago researchers have discovered information about a gene that sets primates -- great apes and humans -- apart from other mammals, through the study of a rare developmental brain disorder.

"Dr Adam O'Neill carried out the research as part of his PhD at the University of Otago, under the supervision of Professor Stephen Robertson, discovering that the PLEKHG6 gene has qualities that drives aspects of brain development differently in primates compared to other species.

"'Broadly speaking, this gene can be thought of as one of the genetic factors that make us human in a neurological sense,"...

***

"Their results showed that the particular genetic change that disabled a component of this gene (PLEKHG6) altered its ability to support the growth and proliferation of specialised stem cells in the developing brain. In addition, some of these cells also failed to migrate to their correct position in the growing "mini-brain" during the first few weeks of brain development.

"Professor Robertson says it has been known for a while that these stem cells behave differently between primates/humans and other animals, but understanding what genes regulate these differences has been a mystery.

"Adam's achievement has been to show that this particular component of the PLEKHG6 gene is one such regulator that humans have 'acquired' very recently in their evolution to make their brains 'exceptional'."

"Dr O'Neill says there are very few genetic elements that are primate specific in our genome, so this discovery adds to a very short list of genetic factors that, at least in one sense, make us human."

Comment: A lucky chance break? If that is the case all of the preparatory steps to reach the point where primates could appear are lucky contingencies. Doubtful.

The original paper summary:

The mammalian neocortex has undergone remarkable changes through evolution. A consequence of
such rapid evolutionary events could be a trade-off that has rendered the brain susceptible to certain neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric conditions. We analyzed the exomes of 65 patients with the structural brain malformation periventricular nodular heterotopia (PH). De novo coding variants were observed in excess in genes defining a transcriptomic signature of basal radial glia, a cell type linked to brain evolution. In addition, we located two variants in human isoforms of two genes that have no ortholog in mice. Modulating the levels of one of these isoforms for the gene PLEKHG6 demonstrated its role in regulating neuroprogenitor differentiation and neuronal migration via RhoA, with phenotypic recapitulation of PH in human cerebral organoids. This suggests that this PLEKHG6 isoform is an example of a primate-specific genomic element supporting brain development.

https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/pdf/S2211-1247(18)31775-3.pdf

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 13, 2018, 14:37 (530 days ago) @ David Turell

This much seems well established but how actual language started is still problematic:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2018/12/07/where-does-language-come-from/#.XBJqq...

"There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates. (my bold)

"Next is our tendency to communicate for the sake of communicating. To encapsulate this, biologist Fitch used the German word Mitteilungsbedürfnis, “the drive to share thoughts.” Whereas chimps use a finite set of calls and gestures to convey the essentials — food, sex and danger — humans talk to bond and exchange ideas, and strive to ensure we’re understood. Most researchers attribute this difference to an idea called “theory of mind,” the understanding that others have thoughts. Chimps demonstrate more limited theory of mind, whereas humans know that other humans think things — and we’re constantly using language to uncover and influence those thoughts.

"The last difference is hierarchical syntax. Phrases and sentences have nested structure and these provide meaning beyond the simple sequence of words. For instance, take the sentence: “Chad, who was out to lunch with Tony, was late to the meeting.” Hierarchical syntax processing allows us to correctly interpret that Chad was late to the meeting, even though “Tony” is closer to the verb “was late.” Over 60 years ago and still today, linguist Noam Chomsky proposed hierarchical syntax as the key to language.

"So hypotheses for language origins must explain (at least) these three traits: precise vocal learning and control, overtly social communication and hierarchical syntax."

Comment: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by dhw, Friday, December 14, 2018, 10:37 (529 days ago) @ David Turell

"There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates.
(David's bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

I really don’t think there are many people who would say that we are exactly the same as our fellow primates, and I doubt if many people would say that elephants are the same “kind” as whales or ants or the duckbilled platypus. Yes, we are different, and our language is a million times more complicated than that of our fellow animals, and we are self-aware and very clever. But that still doesn’t mean that your God’s sole purpose from the very start was to create us, and that elephants, whales, ants and the duckbilled platypus were specially designed simply to provide food until he could specially design us.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Friday, December 14, 2018, 15:26 (529 days ago) @ dhw

"There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates.
(David's bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

dhw: I really don’t think there are many people who would say that we are exactly the same as our fellow primates, and I doubt if many people would say that elephants are the same “kind” as whales or ants or the duckbilled platypus. Yes, we are different, and our language is a million times more complicated than that of our fellow animals, and we are self-aware and very clever. But that still doesn’t mean that your God’s sole purpose from the very start was to create us, and that elephants, whales, ants and the duckbilled platypus were specially designed simply to provide food until he could specially design us.

Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top pf the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by dhw, Saturday, December 15, 2018, 11:59 (528 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates.
(David's bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

dhw: I really don’t think there are many people who would say that we are exactly the same as our fellow primates, and I doubt if many people would say that elephants are the same “kind” as whales or ants or the duckbilled platypus. Yes, we are different, and our language is a million times more complicated than that of our fellow animals, and we are self-aware and very clever. But that still doesn’t mean that your God’s sole purpose from the very start was to create us, and that elephants, whales, ants and the duckbilled platypus were specially designed simply to provide food until he could specially design us.

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top pf the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 15, 2018, 14:25 (528 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates.
(David's bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

dhw: I really don’t think there are many people who would say that we are exactly the same as our fellow primates, and I doubt if many people would say that elephants are the same “kind” as whales or ants or the duckbilled platypus. Yes, we are different, and our language is a million times more complicated than that of our fellow animals, and we are self-aware and very clever. But that still doesn’t mean that your God’s sole purpose from the very start was to create us, and that elephants, whales, ants and the duckbilled platypus were specially designed simply to provide food until he could specially design us.

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top pf the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

dhw: I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

What is logical to me is illogical to you. What you describe is what we see. All I have done is said God did it. God can do it any way He wants.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by dhw, Sunday, December 16, 2018, 11:46 (527 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top of the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

dhw: I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

DAVID: What is logical to me is illogical to you. What you describe is what we see. All I have done is said God did it. God can do it any way He wants.

If you had only said God did it, there would be no problem. But you insist that he specifically preprogrammed or personally dabbled every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder over 3.5+ billion years, and did so for the sole purpose of providing food until he specifically designed H. sapiens – his only goal for creating life. You can’t explain why he “chose” this method, even though he was always in full control and could have done it any way he wanted. If you can’t think of an explanation, how can you say it is logical to you? In the four theistic alternative explanations I have given you, which you acknowledge to be logical, God still did it, and in the hypothesis that I have offered, your God could still have done it by inventing the original mechanisms that propelled evolution. But you reject all these logical God-did-it possibilities in favour of the one you can't understand.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 16, 2018, 14:45 (527 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top of the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

dhw: I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

DAVID: What is logical to me is illogical to you. What you describe is what we see. All I have done is said God did it. God can do it any way He wants.

dhw: If you had only said God did it, there would be no problem. But you insist that he specifically preprogrammed or personally dabbled every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder over 3.5+ billion years, and did so for the sole purpose of providing food until he specifically designed H. sapiens – his only goal for creating life. You can’t explain why he “chose” this method, even though he was always in full control and could have done it any way he wanted. If you can’t think of an explanation, how can you say it is logical to you? In the four theistic alternative explanations I have given you, which you acknowledge to be logical, God still did it, and in the hypothesis that I have offered, your God could still have done it by inventing the original mechanisms that propelled evolution. But you reject all these logical God-did-it possibilities in favour of the one you can't understand.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 16, 2018, 15:09 (527 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top of the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

dhw: I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

DAVID: What is logical to me is illogical to you. What you describe is what we see. All I have done is said God did it. God can do it any way He wants.

dhw: If you had only said God did it, there would be no problem. But you insist that he specifically preprogrammed or personally dabbled every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder over 3.5+ billion years, and did so for the sole purpose of providing food until he specifically designed H. sapiens – his only goal for creating life. You can’t explain why he “chose” this method, even though he was always in full control and could have done it any way he wanted. If you can’t think of an explanation, how can you say it is logical to you? In the four theistic alternative explanations I have given you, which you acknowledge to be logical, God still did it, and in the hypothesis that I have offered, your God could still have done it by inventing the original mechanisms that propelled evolution. But you reject all these logical God-did-it possibilities in favour of the one you can't understand.

The first bold above is the nubbin of our disagreement. In analyzing God's methods and motives, a conclusion will depend upon one's concept of God. All of both our proposals are logical. I view God as more controlling and purposeful than you do, and therefore favor the proposals I've given. You can't explain God any more than I can. What is logical to you is logical to me. It is not an issue of my understanding. You have misunderstood my comment about God and His use of evolution (second bold). My thought has always been, why did He evolve life if He had the capability to do direct creation as in Genesis? Since it happened it was obviously His choice of method of creation. And as I sit here answering you, I am as far removed from apehood as anything you can imagine. We are the current endpoint. If God used evolution to guide creation and we are the current result, I just accept it as a logical conclusion that we have been His purpose all along. And furthermore, where does evolution go in the future? Superhumans? Same endpoint! Flying humans? We already have that. Case closed.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by dhw, Monday, December 17, 2018, 11:37 (526 days ago) @ David Turell

I have combined this thread with "Divine purposes and methods".

Human evolution; how we became marathoners

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 21:30 (525 days ago) @ dhw

A gene has been found, which allowed us to run down prey. We sweat, they don't:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/simple-genetic-mutation-helped-humans-become...

"Roughly two million to three million years ago, a primate moved from the forest to the savanna. It grew longer legs, larger muscles and wider feet. It developed sweat glands that allowed it to remain cool under the blazing African sun. It was also around this time, according to recent research, that a mutation in a single gene called CMAH spread throughout the species. Now a study in mice supports the idea that this genetic tweak enabled humans to run long distances and hunt their prey to exhaustion.

"According to biologist Ajit Varki of the University of California, San Diego, the mutation rendered the CMAH gene completely inactive. Varki wondered if there was a link between this genetic event and a knack for long-distance running. Because all humans share the same nonfunctional gene, he could not simply compare the running abilities of people with different versions of it. But he had spent years studying mice bred to have the same CMAH inactivation as humans to gain insight into diabetes, cancer and muscular dystrophy. Varki's work suggested a link between CMAH loss and muscle biology, but he needed proof.

“'For about 10 years I've been trying to convince somebody in my lab to put these mice on a treadmill,” Varki says. When he finally did the experiment, “lo and behold, without any training, [the CMAH-deficient mice] were one and a half times better at running.” The rodents' muscles—especially those in their hind limbs—used oxygen more efficiently and were more resistant to fatigue.

"In 2004 Harvard University biologist Daniel Lieberman had hypothesized that running—as opposed to bipedal locomotion alone—played a major role in human evolution. Lieberman, who was not involved in the new mouse research, says it is “the first really good, careful genetic study that fits our predictions” about running's role in the rise of modern humans."

Comment: You can easily overheat your dog by jogging with him at a distance that is too far. On two feet we obviously needed this ability to run down game. We trded hair for sweat glands. It is another way we are different in kind rather than degree from apes and monkeys.

Human evolution; are we a danger to the Earth?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 25, 2018, 00:42 (519 days ago) @ David Turell

This op-ed thinks so:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6420/1242

"Earth is in the throes of a mass extinction event and climate change upheaval, risking a planetary shift into conditions that will be extremely challenging, if not catastrophic, for complex life (1). Although responsibility for the present trajectory is unevenly distributed, the overarching drivers are rapid increases in (i) human population, (ii) consumption of food, water, energy, and materials, and (iii) infrastructural incursions into the natural world. As the “trends of more” on all these fronts continue to swell, the ecological crisis is intensifying (2–4). Given that human expansionism is causing mass extinction of nonhuman life and threatening both ecological and societal stability, why is humanity not steering toward limiting and reversing its expansionism?

"The rational response to the present-day ecological emergency would be to pursue actions that will downscale the human factor and contract our presence in the realm of nature. Yet in mainstream institutional arenas, economic, demographic, and infrastructural growth are framed as inevitable, while technological and management solutions to adverse impacts are pursued single-mindedly. Although pursuing such solutions is important, it is also clear that reducing humanity's scale and scope in the ecosphere is the surest approach to arresting the extinction crisis, moderating climate change, decreasing pollution, and providing sorely needed leeway to tackle problems of poverty, food insecurity, and forced migration

***

"The planetwide sense of entitlement bequeathed by a supremacist worldview blinds the human collective to the wisdom of limitations in several ways, thereby hindering efforts to address the ecological crisis by downscaling the human enterprise and withdrawing it from large portions of land and sea.

***

"The reigning human-nature hierarchical worldview thus hinders the recognition that scaling down and pulling back is the most farsighted path forward. Scaling down involves reducing the overall amount of food, water, energy, and materials that humanity consumes and making certain shifts in what food, energy, and materials are used. This quantitative and qualitative change can be achieved by actions that can lower the global population within a human-rights framework, shrink animal agriculture, phase out fossil fuels, and transform an extractionist, overproducing, throwaway, and polluting economy into a recycling, less busy, thrifty, more ecologically benign economy. (my bold)

***

"To pursue scaling down and pulling back the human factor requires us to reimagine the human in a register that no longer identifies human greatness with dominance within the ecosphere and domination over nonhumans. The present historical time invites opening our imagination toward a new vision of humanity no longer obstructed by the worldview of human supremacy. Learning to inhabit Earth with care, grace, and proper measure promises material and spiritual abundance for all."

Comment: Please note my bold above. It points out how bubbled-headed this Utopian opinion-piece comes across. Only in a dictatorship of Communist China was ever birth controlled! When I was born the Earth had two billion folks. We are now over seven billion in less than ninety years. But guess what is happening? In the West birth rate is below replacement rate all on its own. It is the other folks who are multiplying and producing those numbers. Third world countries need help in modern economic development As that happens the birth rate will drop as it has elsewhere. Experts estimate a sustainable human population is best around ten billion.

Any thoughts, anyone?

Human evolution; are we a danger to the Earth?

by dhw, Thursday, December 27, 2018, 09:59 (516 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: The reigning human-nature hierarchical worldview thus hinders the recognition that scaling down and pulling back is the most farsighted path forward. Scaling down involves reducing the overall amount of food, water, energy, and materials that humanity consumes and making certain shifts in what food, energy, and materials are used. This quantitative and qualitative change can be achieved by actions that can lower the global population within a human-rights framework, shrink animal agriculture, phase out fossil fuels, and transform an extractionist, overproducing, throwaway, and polluting economy into a recycling, less busy, thrifty, more ecologically benign economy. (David’s bold)

"To pursue scaling down and pulling back the human factor requires us to reimagine the human in a register that no longer identifies human greatness with dominance within the ecosphere and domination over nonhumans. The present historical time invites opening our imagination toward a new vision of humanity no longer obstructed by the worldview of human supremacy. Learning to inhabit Earth with care, grace, and proper measure promises material and spiritual abundance for all."

DAVID’s comment: Please note my bold above. It points out how bubbled-headed this Utopian opinion-piece comes across. Only in a dictatorship of Communist China was ever birth controlled! When I was born the Earth had two billion folks. We are now over seven billion in less than ninety years. But guess what is happening? In the West birth rate is below replacement rate all on its own. It is the other folks who are multiplying and producing those numbers. Third world countries need help in modern economic development As that happens the birth rate will drop as it has elsewhere. Experts estimate a sustainable human population is best around ten billion.

Any thoughts, anyone?

Human arrogance, ignorance, greed and lust for power are certainly posing a huge threat to the overall ecosystem on which our survival depends. And I think we would all agree that “Learning to inhabit Earth with care, grace, and proper measure promises material and spiritual abundance for all”. But the “Utopia” does not depend on birth control alone, and regulating birth does not depend on help in modern economic development. On the contrary, modern economic development is precisely what has triggered many of the other threats the author has listed, and for which we in the West are the prime culprits, having set the example for “extractionist, overproducing, throwaway, polluting economies”. I don’t think our own drop in birth rate has anything to do with our concern for the future of the planet or with modern economic development. There has been a huge cultural shift, and many western folk now are far more focused on their careers, their lifestyles and/or simply earning a living than on making children, whereas even today a woman with no children is not seen as fulfilled in many non-western societies. Perhaps the answer is education, but that does not necessarily mean western education. Ancient cultures have a lot to teach us about respect for Nature. So how can Utopia be achieved? To be blunt, I don’t think it can. Ant society is probably the nearest life can get. (But Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is a scary example of a Utopia I don't think any of us would want.) If God exists, he may have a few ideas of his own!

Human evolution; are we a danger to the Earth?

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 27, 2018, 22:25 (516 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES: The reigning human-nature hierarchical worldview thus hinders the recognition that scaling down and pulling back is the most farsighted path forward. Scaling down involves reducing the overall amount of food, water, energy, and materials that humanity consumes and making certain shifts in what food, energy, and materials are used. This quantitative and qualitative change can be achieved by actions that can lower the global population within a human-rights framework, shrink animal agriculture, phase out fossil fuels, and transform an extractionist, overproducing, throwaway, and polluting economy into a recycling, less busy, thrifty, more ecologically benign economy. (David’s bold)

"To pursue scaling down and pulling back the human factor requires us to reimagine the human in a register that no longer identifies human greatness with dominance within the ecosphere and domination over nonhumans. The present historical time invites opening our imagination toward a new vision of humanity no longer obstructed by the worldview of human supremacy. Learning to inhabit Earth with care, grace, and proper measure promises material and spiritual abundance for all."

DAVID’s comment: Please note my bold above. It points out how bubbled-headed this Utopian opinion-piece comes across. Only in a dictatorship of Communist China was ever birth controlled! When I was born the Earth had two billion folks. We are now over seven billion in less than ninety years. But guess what is happening? In the West birth rate is below replacement rate all on its own. It is the other folks who are multiplying and producing those numbers. Third world countries need help in modern economic development As that happens the birth rate will drop as it has elsewhere. Experts estimate a sustainable human population is best around ten billion.

Any thoughts, anyone?

dhw: Human arrogance, ignorance, greed and lust for power are certainly posing a huge threat to the overall ecosystem on which our survival depends. And I think we would all agree that “Learning to inhabit Earth with care, grace, and proper measure promises material and spiritual abundance for all”. But the “Utopia” does not depend on birth control alone, and regulating birth does not depend on help in modern economic development. On the contrary, modern economic development is precisely what has triggered many of the other threats the author has listed, and for which we in the West are the prime culprits, having set the example for “extractionist, overproducing, throwaway, polluting economies”. I don’t think our own drop in birth rate has anything to do with our concern for the future of the planet or with modern economic development. There has been a huge cultural shift, and many western folk now are far more focused on their careers, their lifestyles and/or simply earning a living than on making children, whereas even today a woman with no children is not seen as fulfilled in many non-western societies. Perhaps the answer is education, but that does not necessarily mean western education. Ancient cultures have a lot to teach us about respect for Nature. So how can Utopia be achieved? To be blunt, I don’t think it can. Ant society is probably the nearest life can get. (But Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is a scary example of a Utopia I don't think any of us would want.) If God exists, he may have a few ideas of his own!

Medically woman who put off birth into their 30's or 40's are doing a great disservice to themselves, by making more complications in pregnancy and birth. But this points out is DHW's comments. Humans do what humans want to do for themselves with thinking more widely.

Human evolution; our dads are different than ape dads

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 21:02 (495 days ago) @ David Turell

A new study shows how different:

https://aeon.co/essays/the-devotion-of-the-human-dad-separates-us-from-other-apes?utm_s...

"Among our close animal relatives, only humans have involved and empathic fathers. Why did evolution favour the devoted dad?

***

"So necessary is this trait to the survival of our species that it is underpinned by an extensive, interrelated web of biological, psychological and behavioural systems that evolved over the past half a million years. Yet, until 10 years ago, we had neglected to try to understand this trait, due to the misguided assumption that it was of no significance – indeed, that it was dispensable. This trait is human fatherhood,

***


"To understand the role of the father, we must first understand why it evolved in our species of ape and no other. The answer inevitably lies in our unique anatomy and life history. As any parent knows, human babies are startlingly dependent when they are born. This is due to the combination of a narrowed birth canal – the consequence of our bipedality – and our unusually large brains, which are six times larger than they should be for a mammal of our body size.

***

"This has meant that, to ensure the survival of mother and baby and the continued existence of our species, we have evolved to exhibit a shortened gestation period, enabling the head to pass safely through the birth canal. The consequence of this is that our babies are born long before their brains are fully developed. But this reduced investment in the womb has not led to an increased, compensatory period of maternal investment after birth. Rather, the minimum period of lactation necessary for a child to survive is likewise drastically reduced; the age at weaning of an infant child can be as young as three or four months. A stark contrast to the five years evident in the chimp. Why is this the case?

"If we, as a species, were to follow the trajectory of the chimpanzee, then our interbirth interval (the time between the birth of one baby and the next) would have been so long; so complex and so energy-hungry is the human brain that it would have led to an inability to replace – let alone increase – our population. So, evolution selected for those members of our species who could wean their babies earlier and return to reproduction, ensuring the survival of their genes and our species. But because the brain had so much development ahead of it, these changes in gestation and lactation lengths led to a whole new life-history stage – childhood – and the evolution of a uniquely human character: the toddler.

***

"But 500,000 years ago, our ancestors’ brains made another massive leap in size, and suddenly relying on female help alone was not enough. This new brain was energetically hungrier than ever before. Babies were born more helpless still, and the food – meat – now required to fuel our brains was even more complicated to catch and process than before. Mum needed to look beyond her female kin for someone else. Someone who was as genetically invested in her child as she was. This was, of course, dad.

"Without dad’s input, the threat to the survival of his child, and hence his genetic heritage, was such that, on balance, it made sense to stick around. Dad was incentivised to commit to one female and one family while rejecting those potential matings with other females, where his paternity was less well-assured.

***

"Mothers, still focused on the production of the next child, would be restricted in the amount of hands-on life experience they could give their teenagers, so it was dad who became the teacher.

"This still rings true for the fathers whom my colleagues and I research, across the globe, today. In all cultures, regardless of their economic model, fathers teach their children the vital skills to survive in their particular environment.

***

"Fathers are so critical to the survival of our children and our species that evolution has not left their suitability for the role to chance. Like mothers, fathers have been shaped by evolution to be biologically, psychologically and behaviourally primed to parent. We can no longer say that mothering is instinctive yet fathering is learned.

"The hormonal and brain changes seen in new mothers are mirrored in fathers. Irreversible reductions in testosterone and changes in oxytocin levels prepare a man to be a sensitive and responsive father, attuned to his child’s needs and primed to bond – and critically, less motivated by the search for a new mate. As a man’s testosterone drops, the reward of chemical dopamine increases; this means that he receives the most wonderful neurochemical reward of all whenever he interacts with his child.

***

"Men have evolved to father and to be an equal but crucially different part of the parenting team. By not acknowledging who they are or supporting what they do, we are really missing a trick. Some 80 per cent of men aspire to become fathers. I believe it is time we made the effort to get to know who they really are."

Comment: Very long extremely interesting article. It all seems to be the fault of such a huge brain size and the time to become adult.. No ape does this.

Human evolution; our 7-8 hour sleep pattern is not ape-like

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 24, 2019, 20:13 (488 days ago) @ David Turell

Parts of the world still have several periods of sleep, but most of the advanced world it is one long patch of seven-plus hours. No apes or other animals are like this:

http://discovermagazine.com/2019/jan/to-sleep-perchance-to-evolve?utm_source=Yesmail&am...

"First off, we sleep less. While humans average seven hours, other primates range from just under nine hours (blue-eyed black lemurs) to 17 (owl monkeys). Chimps, our closest living evolutionary relatives, average about nine and a half hours. And although humans doze for less time, a greater proportion is rapid eye movement sleep (REM), the deepest phase, when vivid dreams unfold.

***

"While the costs of sleep are obvious — an animal is vulnerable to predators and other threats, and loses opportunities to find food and mates — the benefits are not. Different hypotheses about why we need sleep include neural development and upkeep, memory processing and immune defense, but there’s no consensus.

"Sleep habits also differ drastically among species. Elephants get by with two hours of shut-eye, while armadillos need 20. Researchers have found several factors that influence these variations in sleep patterns. For example, animals with high metabolisms sleep less — presumably because they spend more time awake and eating. And animals with bigger brains spend a greater portion of sleep in REM.

***

"In a 2018 study in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Samson and colleague Charles Nunn, an anthropologist at Duke University, employed a sophisticated statistical method to compare the sleep patterns found in 30 primate species, including our own. They found, says Samson, that humans are significant “evolutionary outliers.” We sleep less but spend about 10 percent more of our total sleep time in REM than expected. Human sleep is shorter and deeper — in other words, more efficient — than that of our closest relatives.

"The finding supports a hypothesis proposed by the duo in 2015: Efficient sleep gave our hominin ancestors an evolutionary edge. By shortening total duration, hominins reduced their time as unconscious targets for predators, and added waking hours to complete essential tasks, like learning, securing resources and maintaining social bonds.

"It’s also still unknown when our ancestors evolved this unusual sleep pattern. Samson speculates it may have emerged when they became too large to sleep in trees, roughly 2 million years ago with Homo erectus. While other apes avoid predators by building arboreal nests, it’s possible that hominins sleeping on the ground evolved more efficient sleep to allow them to spend more time awake — and on the alert for potential threats.

"Based on nearly 70 studies across cultures, including those without electricity or 9-to-5 workdays, Samson and Nunn determined that humans sleep an average of seven hours out of every 24. But, says Samson, “where it gets tricky is that when you look across cultures, the way those seven hours are expressed can be pretty flexible.”

"In contemporary industrialized societies, people typically sleep for one continuous bout. But other cultures divide sleep over multiple sessions, through daytime napping or two nighttime episodes, separated by about an hour of wakefulness.

The latter was the norm for humans before the Industrial Revolution, according to research by historian Roger Ekirch. In preindustrial documents, Ekirch identified over a thousand mentions of so-called first and second sleep, and activities done between, such as chores, prayers, even visiting neighbors. Found in newspapers, court records, diaries and literature, from Homer’s Odyssey to Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the references permeate more than 2,000 years of recorded culture.

"The habit of segmented sleep was shed by the early 1900s, likely due to artificial lighting and changing societal views that equated single-bout sleep with productivity and prosperity. Yet Ekirch believes it persists, among Westerners who spontaneously wake in the middle of the night, “a persistent echo of a pattern of sleep ... dominant for literally thousands of years.”

***

"According to the sentinel hypothesis, staggered sleep evolved to ensure that there was always some portion of a group awake and able to detect threats.

***

" In a 2017 study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Samson gave activity trackers, which can approximate sleep time, to a community of Hadza hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. Over 20 nights, there were only 18 one-minute periods when everyone was asleep. Most of the time, about 40 percent of the group was active.

"The study “suggested there’s some type of mechanism set in place where there’s individuals alert, protecting everyone, while most everyone is asleep,” says Samson. This could explain how our ancestors avoided danger while enjoying deep, REM-packed sleep.

"It also fits the idea that the pattern emerged around 2 million years ago, when ancestors like H. erectus abandoned the safety of trees for a fully terrestrial life. Efficient, sentinel-style sleep may have then spurred advances in brain power, technology and social cooperation seen in later hominins. "

Comment: this is an other way we differ from all primates. Our brain seems to require it.

Human evolution; our faces are smaller, show more emotion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 01:46 (407 days ago) @ David Turell

Interesting proposal involving living in cities and the ease of getting food, et c.:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/face-facts-we-have-evolved-to-communicate

"Writing in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, an international team proposes that our faces evolved not just because of factors such as diet and climate, but also to provide more opportunities for gesture and non-verbal communication.

"'We can now use our faces to signal more than 20 different categories of emotion via the contraction or relaxation of muscles", says Paul O'Higgins, from the University of York in the UK.

"'It's unlikely that our early human ancestors had the same facial dexterity as the overall shape of the face and the positions of the muscles were different.

"The researchers traced changes in the evolution of the face from the early African hominins to the appearance of modern human anatomy and conclude that they are the result of a combination of biomechanical, physiological and social influences.

"Human faces are more slender that those of other hominins, and they have a smoother forehead with more visible, hairy eyebrows capable of a greater range of movement. This allows us to express a wide range of subtle emotions, including recognition and sympathy.

***

"The human face has been partly shaped by the mechanical demands of feeding and over the past 100,000 years they have been getting smaller as our developing ability to cook and process food led to a reduced need for chewing, the researchers say.

"This facial shrinking process has become particularly marked since the agricultural revolution, as we switched from being hunter gatherers to agriculturalists and then to living in cities – lifestyles that led to increasingly pre-processed foods and less physical effort.

"'Softer modern diets and industrialised societies may mean that the human face continues to decrease in size", O'Higgins says. "There are limits on how much the human face can change…for example breathing requires a sufficiently large nasal cavity.

"'However, within these limits, the evolution of the human face is likely to continue as long as our species survives, migrates and encounters new environmental, social and cultural conditions.'"

Comment: Interesting concept. We certainly use voice, hands and facial expressions to express ourselves. These are minor changes; we are still H. sapiens sapiens and I think only minor changes of this sort are all that will happen in the future. See the illustrated skulls on the website

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism;English

by David Turell @, Monday, April 22, 2019, 01:24 (401 days ago) @ dhw

English is considered very complex:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/social-sciences/it-s-official-english-is-a-genuinely-weird-l...

"Some computational linguists have, however, used data in the World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS) to explore which languages might be considered the “weirdest”. This was not just a value judgement: they systematically compared the information in the WALS website for 239 languages from different parts of the world.

"Their aim was to find out which languages had the largest number of features that differed most from other languages. In this survey, English came in 33rd position out of 239 languages. So it was definitely “weirder” than over 80% of the other languages in the survey.

***

"English probably sounds a little “weird” to many speakers of other languages. According to the WALS, the average number of distinctive speech sounds in the world’s languages is about 25-30 – known as “phonemes”. Pirahã, an indigenous language spoken in the Amazon region of Brazil, has an unusually small set of phonemes. It has eight consonants, and just three vowels: /i/, /a/ and /o/. In contrast, Taa – also known as !Xóõ) is a language in southern Africa which has more than 100 phonemes, including many different types of click sounds. Sign languages, such as British Sign Language or American Sign Language, do not use sounds at all. Signs are, instead, composed out of combinations of handshapes, movements of the hands, and locations on or near the body of the signer.

"English has more phonemes than many languages, with around 44, depending on which variety of English you speak. It has an unusually large set of vowel sounds – there are around 11. According to WALS, most spoken languages only have between five to six vowel sounds. This is part of the reason that English spelling is fiendishly complicated, because it has inherited five letters for vowels from the Roman alphabet and speakers have to make them work for more than twice that number of sounds.

"English has some comparatively unusual consonant sounds as well. Two sounds, those represented by the “th” in “bath” and “bathe” respectively, are found in fewer than 10% of the languages surveyed in WALS. In fact, these two sounds are generally among the last sounds acquired by children, with some adult varieties of English not using them at all.

'English grammar is also “weird”. English uses varying word orders to distinguish between questions and statements – meaning that the subject of the sentence precedes the verb in statements. Take the phrase “life is a box of chocolates” for example. Here, the order is subject (“life”) followed by the verb (“is”). In the question, “is life a box of chocolates?”, the order of these elements is reversed.

"In a WALS survey of 955 languages, fewer than 2% of languages in the sample used English-like differences in sentence structure for questions. Over 50% of the languages added a question particle to differentiate a question from a statement.

In Japanese, for example, you add the question particle “ka” to a statement to turn it into a question. The second most common strategy in WALS was to change the intonation pattern, such as changing a falling intonation pattern (for a statement) to a rising one (for a question). In contrast, Mixtec (an indigenous language of Mexico) is a highly atypical language because it does not use any grammatical strategy to distinguish between questions and statements.

"That said, it is impossible to conclusively make the argument that English is, or isn’t, “weird” because all the data needed to make this judgement is not available. As several thousand languages have not yet been included in WALS, this means WALS can only be used to compare English with a small proportion of the estimated 7000 languages in the world today. So more language documentation is ultimately needed to give a better understanding of the world’s amazing linguistic diversity.

Comment: Only humans use the invented 7,000+ languages that exist. Different in kind, no question. We each have the capacity to learn all we wish. As for 'weird English', it conveys meanings in words more exactly than almost all other languages with over 550,000 words and counting.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism;English

by dhw, Monday, April 22, 2019, 09:26 (400 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: English is considered very complex:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/social-sciences/it-s-official-english-is-a-genuinely-weird-l...

QUOTE: "Some computational linguists have, however, used data in the World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS) to explore which languages might be considered the “weirdest”. This was not just a value judgement: they systematically compared the information in the WALS website for 239 languages from different parts of the world.
"Their aim was to find out which languages had the largest number of features that differed most from other languages. In this survey, English came in 33rd position out of 239 languages. So it was definitely “weirder” than over 80% of the other languages in the survey.

This must be one of the “weirdest” projects ever to be awarded a research grant. They forgot to mention that English is therefore less “weird” than under 20% of other languages, which of course proves…exactly what? And why is this “weird”? The largest number of different features is the largest number of different features.

DAVID: Only humans use the invented 7,000+ languages that exist. Different in kind, no question. We each have the capacity to learn all we wish. As for 'weird English', it conveys meanings in words more exactly than almost all other languages with over 550,000 words and counting.

Yes, that is very true: only humans use human languages. And I agree that bacterial, insect, fish, bird, animal languages are different in kind from human language. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know enough of the 7000+ human languages to confirm that English conveys more meanings than 80% of them. However, having spent a lifetime speaking, writing, studying and lecturing on the English language, I can confirm that it is constantly evolving and provides a wonderfully complex system with a vast potential for expression. Out of respect for my European friends, I must also confirm that the same can be said of French, German and Spanish. I shall now apply for a grant to further my research into the weirdest uses of research grants.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism;English

by David Turell @, Monday, April 22, 2019, 15:27 (400 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: English is considered very complex:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/social-sciences/it-s-official-english-is-a-genuinely-weird-l...

QUOTE: "Some computational linguists have, however, used data in the World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS) to explore which languages might be considered the “weirdest”. This was not just a value judgement: they systematically compared the information in the WALS website for 239 languages from different parts of the world.
"Their aim was to find out which languages had the largest number of features that differed most from other languages. In this survey, English came in 33rd position out of 239 languages. So it was definitely “weirder” than over 80% of the other languages in the survey.

This must be one of the “weirdest” projects ever to be awarded a research grant. They forgot to mention that English is therefore less “weird” than under 20% of other languages, which of course proves…exactly what? And why is this “weird”? The largest number of different features is the largest number of different features.

DAVID: Only humans use the invented 7,000+ languages that exist. Different in kind, no question. We each have the capacity to learn all we wish. As for 'weird English', it conveys meanings in words more exactly than almost all other languages with over 550,000 words and counting.

dhw: Yes, that is very true: only humans use human languages. And I agree that bacterial, insect, fish, bird, animal languages are different in kind from human language. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know enough of the 7000+ human languages to confirm that English conveys more meanings than 80% of them. However, having spent a lifetime speaking, writing, studying and lecturing on the English language, I can confirm that it is constantly evolving and provides a wonderfully complex system with a vast potential for expression. Out of respect for my European friends, I must also confirm that the same can be said of French, German and Spanish. I shall now apply for a grant to further my research into the weirdest uses of research grants.

I was quoting from the book, The Mother Tongue, 1990, which gave a history of the language.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism;

by David Turell @, Friday, May 01, 2020, 15:48 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

A connection in humans to the frontal cortex is found to have early evidence in macaques from 20-25 million years ago:

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/speech-20-million-years?rebelltitem=4#rebelltitem4

"Researchers find traces of something like our arcuate fasciculus in macaque brains.

"Since the last ancestor we shared with macaques was 25-30 million years ago, this would push speech way back.

"The study suggests human speech began in the auditory cortex and eventually extended to include the executive-function areas of the brain.

"As far as we know, humans alone are capable of speech as we know it, with words and sentences. This has to do, scientists believe, with a pathway in the brain we possess. Now a new and controversial study reports the presence of this same pathway, albeit in less pronounced form, in macaques. Given that our last shared ancestor with these monkeys was 25-30 million years ago,

***

"The fuss is about a neural pathway in humans called the arcuate fasciculus, or AF, that traverses our prefrontal cortex and frontal lobe. Recent research suggests it has connections to other brain regions as well.

"'This is a pathway that interconnects brain regions that are important for language. If this pathway or some of these regions it interconnects are damaged because of stroke or brain degeneration a person might immediately (because of stroke) or progressively (because of dementia) lose the ability to understand or to produce language," Petkov tells Newsweek.

***

"For the study, international teams of European and US scientists pored through new imaging data of humans looking for evidence of this pathway in other regions. They found a segment of it, unexpectedly, in the auditory complexes of both brain hemispheres, though most strongly identifiable in the left one. Says Petkov, "To be honest, we were really quite surprised that the auditory system has this privileged pathway to vocal production regions in frontal cortex." He adds, "That in itself tells us that there is something special about this pathway. The link to projection from the auditory system to frontal cortex regions, which in humans supports language, is fascinating."

***

"Finding an AF-like pathway in macaques may not even represent their earliest development, notes Petkov, who points out, "there may be more brain 'fossils' yet to be discovered with even earlier evolutionary origins. Or it may be discovered that the origin of this pathway traces back even further if another brain "fossil" is found.'"

Comment: Tracts in the brain have to begin development somewhere in time as evolution progressed to produce humans and their ability to have speech and language. As always I view this a God's preplanning for the future

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, May 02, 2020, 10:23 (24 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "Finding an AF-like pathway in macaques may not even represent their earliest development, notes Petkov, who points out, "there may be more brain 'fossils' yet to be discovered with even earlier evolutionary origins. Or it may be discovered that the origin of this pathway traces back even further if another brain "fossil" is found.'"

DAVID: Tracts in the brain have to begin development somewhere in time as evolution progressed to produce humans and their ability to have speech and language. As always I view this a God's preplanning for the future.

I agree totally with your first sentence, because I believe in common descent. What mystifies me is that your now totally hands-on God apparently only wanted to directly design H. sapiens, but first he had to directly design the arcuate fasciculus 20-25million years ago, and then all the other bits and pieces over the next umpteen millions of years just to produce our voices. Fortunately, you’ve given us your answer to the mystery under “David’s Theory of Evolution”.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 02, 2020, 16:04 (24 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "Finding an AF-like pathway in macaques may not even represent their earliest development, notes Petkov, who points out, "there may be more brain 'fossils' yet to be discovered with even earlier evolutionary origins. Or it may be discovered that the origin of this pathway traces back even further if another brain "fossil" is found.'"

DAVID: Tracts in the brain have to begin development somewhere in time as evolution progressed to produce humans and their ability to have speech and language. As always I view this a God's preplanning for the future.

dhw: I agree totally with your first sentence, because I believe in common descent. What mystifies me is that your now totally hands-on God apparently only wanted to directly design H. sapiens, but first he had to directly design the arcuate fasciculus 20-25million years ago, and then all the other bits and pieces over the next umpteen millions of years just to produce our voices. Fortunately, you’ve given us your answer to the mystery under “David’s Theory of Evolution”.

I am still surprised at your surprise. I've always said God speciated. In the book we worked on Atheist Delusion, there is a section you will remember on a vertebral change from 20+ million years ago that foretold upright posture. I always point out pre-planning when I see it. Do you deny the possibility that God planed ahead as He designed advances in evolution? Pre-planning, advanced programming, dabbling are all just reasonable guesses as to His methodology. You always debate them as if they were written on stone, when they can't be.

Human evolution; language and abstract concepts

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 17:32 (532 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 17:54

Our language ability allows us to have abstract concepts:

https://mindmatters.ai/2018/12/how-is-human-language-different-from-animal-signals/

"A hallmark of human beings is the ability to use language. No other species of animal has language, although other species are capable of understanding and communicating quite a few things. Yet (non-human) animal communications cannot properly be called language. A closer look at human language and animal communication, and at the function language serves for us reveals important things about the human mind and about what it is to be human.

***

"A designator, however, is a kind of sign that differs in a very important way from a signal. A designator points to an object, but it does so abstractly, not concretely. The spoken or written word “cat” has nothing physically to do with a cat. Unlike a gesture (pointing to a cat) or making the sound “meow”, the letters C-A-T feature nothing that concretely links the word to the animal. You only know what “cat” designates if you understand the word as used in English. By contrast, you could understand a signal like pointing to a cat or saying “meow” even if you spoke no English. Designators differ from signals in that they point to objects—things or concepts—abstractly.

"Language is the systematic use of designators—the rule-based use of abstract signs. That is why a lion’s roar, an ape’s gesture, or a bird’s song are not really language. They are signals. A signal is not rule-based (signals have no grammar) and signals are concrete, not abstract.

"Only humans have language because only humans are capable of rule-based abstract signing. Animals can often employ complex signals but no animal uses rule-based designators. Animals that can be trained to communicate using “language” (such as parrots or apes) are using words as signals, not as designators. For example, you can train your dog to go fetch the leash when you say “Do you want to go for a walk?” because he has learned to fetch the leash in response to those sounds, which he hears as a signal. He does not understand them as a grammatical construction and will certainly not go on to discuss the weather forecast with you. His communication is concrete, not abstract.

***

"What is the purpose of language? Why does man, and no other animal, use language in addition to signals? As linguist Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the purpose of language is not essentially to communicate. Signals work well for communication. Language permits more complex communication under some circumstances but some signals are quite complex and serve to facilitate communication quite well. Sign language, which is mostly a system of signals, is a quite effective means of communication, even of conveying abstractions, but it is not (except when it signs the alphabet) language. It is derived from language.

"The purpose of language is not primarily to communicate. The purpose of language is to enable man to think in a human way. Man alone is capable of abstract thought—thought about concepts that are universals, and not particular things. Man thinks about justice, and about mercy, about politics and imaginary numbers, and about countless concepts that are not particular physical things. This is abstract thought, and only humans think abstractly.

"Animals are limited to thought about particulars. Dogs think about the food in their bowl. Humans think about nutrition. Dogs think about the good feeling they get when they are petted. Humans think about joy and love in an abstract sense. Both humans and animals have the capacity to think about particulars. Only humans also have the capacity to think about abstract concepts.

"Every thought is about something. All thought is intentional, in the technical philosophical sense that it points to something. Thoughts about particular things—physical objects in the environment, imagination, or memory—are akin to signals.

"But humans cannot think abstractly using signals. A signal points to a physical thing—a physical (or imagined or remembered) object. An abstract concept, such as mercy or justice, is not a physical thing. In order to think abstractly, we must use abstract signs—designators—to point to the conceptual objects of our thoughts. Consider: How could we contemplate mercy if we did not have the word “mercy,” if our thoughts were restricted to concrete objects (akin to signals)? We could imagine situations, persons, or objects that might be associated with mercy but we couldn’t contemplate mercy itself unless we had a word for it. Mercy isn’t a physical thing we can point to.

"Language, which is the rule-based use of abstract designators, is essential for abstract thought because only designators can point to things that have no concrete physical existence. Only human beings think abstractly, and language is what makes abstract thought possible."

Comment: This clearly shows humans are different in kind, not degree. Only we have abstract thought and are aware we are aware. See: Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 17:32

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 05:19 (454 days ago) @ David Turell

Some animals can mimic our speech but only humans have coordinated speech and language:

https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/mind/2019/why-speech-human-innovation

"It’s true that humans, and humans alone, evolved the complex set of voice, hearing and brain-processing skills enabling full-scale sophisticated vocal communication. Yet animals can make complicated sounds; parrots can mimic human speech and cats can clearly convey that it’s time for a treat. Many animals possess an acute sense of hearing and are able to distinguish random noises from intentional communication. So even though only humans possess the complete linguistic package, the components of language ability “have very deep evolutionary roots,” says Fitch, of the University of Vienna.

"Much of the physiological apparatus for hearing and speaking is found in all land-dwelling vertebrates — the tetrapods — including mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. “Humans share a significant proportion of our basic machinery of hearing and vocal production with other tetrapods,”

"Life-forms occupying numerous branches of the tree of life possess anatomical tools for producing and perceiving vocal communication. Where human ability exceeds our predecessors, Fitch says, is the sophistication of the brain circuitry adapted to the uniquely human capacity for complex linguistic expression.

***

"Among the tetrapods, mammals evolved much more sensitive hearing, able to cope with a wider range of frequencies and therefore more able to process nuances of vocalizations. Humankind’s primate ancestors, for instance, possessed highly capable hearing ability. “There is nothing about the human ear that is strikingly different from that of other primates,” Fitch writes. “Our peripheral hearing apparatus was in place, in our primate ancestors, in essentially modern form long before we evolved the capacity for speech.”

***

"Besides all that, parrots and many other bird species, some bats and even elephants can mimic vocal sounds. So humans’ distinctive speech can’t depend solely on vocal production ability. Considering all the evidence, the vocal and auditory skills of various animals tell a tale of multiple preludes to the human speech story. That tale reveals that humans acquired speech not via anatomical innovation for vocalizing and hearing, but by novel neural connections that control the anatomical hardware.

"After all, speech requires more than producing and perceiving sounds. A speaker’s brain must decide what sounds to produce and issue instructions for producing them to the body’s vocal apparatus. And a listener’s brain must be able to decode auditory signals it receives and then issue commands for a vocal response. People are skillful at producing sounds in response to other sounds — it’s why you can repeat a word out loud after the first time you hear it.

"Such controlled vocalization of a word is different from just making noise. Most animals possess neural circuitry for producing “innate” vocalizations: Dogs bark, squirrels chatter and seagulls squawk. Even humans have their own innate vocalizations, including crying, laughter and screams. But among primates, only humans have the “capacity to produce novel, learned vocalizations beyond the innate call repertoire,” Fitch notes.

"Today the dominant hypothesis explaining that ability is the presence of special connections between brain regions involved in controlling speech and hearing. Innate calls — in humans and all other mammals — are initiated by direct signals from the brain stem. Indirect messaging from the cortex (the brain’s more advanced outer layer) enables voluntary suppression or production of innate calls. Unlike other animals, humans possess direct connections between nerve cells in the cortex and the nerve cells that control the muscles operating the larynx. Some apes and monkeys have direct connections from cortex to the muscles controlling the lips and tongue, but not to the muscles controlling the larynx. (Circuitry connecting the auditory cortex to the motor cortex also seem more extensively developed in humans.)

***

“'The genetic underpinnings of … [neural] connections involved in human vocal control are virtually unknown,”

***

“'Language is more than speech,” said Friederici, director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, in Leipzig, Germany. “Speech … uses a limited set of vowels and consonants to form words. Language, however, is a system consisting of words … and a set of rules called grammar or syntax to form phrases and sentences.”

"Nonhuman primates can learn the meaning of individual words, she notes, but aren’t capable of combining words into meaningful sequences of any substantial length. That ability also depends on circuitry connecting different parts of the brain, current research by Friederici, collaborators and other scientists is now showing.

"Understanding that circuitry depends on comparing the cellular architecture and nerve fiber tracts of the human brain with the brain of animals with lesser linguistic power. So in a way, scientists may be able to ask animals for clues not only to the evolution of speech, but to language skills more generally as well. Sort of like going straight to the source and asking the horse."

Comment: As usual we are different in kind, not degree, as vocal animals have lots of the parts we have but not the brain controls.

Human evolution; early upright posture

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 28, 2019, 18:55 (453 days ago) @ David Turell

New anatomic studies review the ability to walk upright and climb trees:

https://phys.org/news/2019-02-upright-human-ancestors.html

"Scott W. Simpson, Ph.D., led an analysis of a 4.5 million-year-old fragmentary female skeleton of the human ancestor Ardipithecus ramidus that was discovered in the Gona Project study area in the Afar Regional State of Ethiopia.

"The newly analyzed fossils document a greater, but far from perfect, adaptation to bipedalism in the Ar. ramidus ankle and hallux (big toe) than previously recognized. "Our research shows that while Ardipithecus was a lousy biped, she was somewhat better than we thought before," said Simpson.

***

"The new analysis, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, thus points to a diversity of adaptations during the transition to how modern humans walk today. "The fact that Ardipithecus could both walk upright, albeit imperfectly, and scurry in trees marks it out as a pivotal transitional figure in our human lineage," said Simpson.

"Key to the adaptation of bipedality are changes in the lower limbs. For example, unlike monkeys and apes, the human big toe is parallel with the other toes, allowing the foot to function as a propulsive lever when walking. While Ardipithecus had an offset grasping big toe useful for climbing in trees, Simpson's analysis shows that it also used its big toe to help propel it forward, demonstrating a mixed, transitional adaptation to terrestrial bipedalism.

"Specifically, Simpson looked at the area of the joints between the arch of the foot and the big toe, enabling him to reconstruct the range of motion of the foot. While joint cartilage no longer remains for the Ardipithecus fossil, the surface of the bone has a characteristic texture which shows that it had once been covered by cartilage. "This evidence for cartilage shows that the big toe was used in a more human-like manner to push off," said Simpson. "It is a foot in transition, one that shows primitive, tree-climbing physical characteristics but one that also features a more human-like use of the foot for upright walking." Additionally, when chimpanzees stand, their knees are "outside" the ankle, i.e., they are bow-legged. When humans stand, the knees are directly above the ankle—which Simpson found was also true for the Ardipithecus fossil.

Comment: this an obvious transitional fossil, but full blown speciation requiring design. I don't believe the cells of the common ancestor of chimps and humans could conceive of how to design a foot and spine and pelvis for bipdal movement.

Human evolution; diet change and 'f', 'v' speech ability

by David Turell @, Monday, March 18, 2019, 00:08 (436 days ago) @ David Turell

A softer diet and development of upper teeth overhang allowed the easier use of labiodental sounds:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/you-sound-how-you-eat-speech-evolved-as-diet-changed

"A surprising new study has revealed that diverse sounds produced by human speech not only evolved after Neolithic times, but also stem from biological alterations in the human bite as a result of eating softer diets.

"The findings contradict the theory that the range of human sounds has not changed since Homo sapiens emerged about 300,000 years ago. Linguistic diversity was also commonly thought to evolve independently of biological changes.

"In 1985, linguist Charles Hockett suggested that labiodentals – the class of speech sounds including ‘f’ and ‘v’ in English – might have evolved as diets became softer with the move away from hunting and gathering towards agriculture and industrialised food processing.

"These changes, he said, altered the human bite so that new sounds were easier to produce.

"Damian Blasi and Steven Moran, researchers from the Department of Comparative Linguistics at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, thought the proposal was intriguing.

***

“'So, we set out to test whether we could find such a link between diet, bite and labiodentals.”

"Enlisting a highly interdisciplinary team to investigate, he and colleagues analysed the distribution of labiodentals in contemporary languages.

"They studied how sounds changed through time in the diverse family of Indo-European languages – which includes English, Hindi and Spanish – then modelled the cost of producing labiodentals in a computational model of speech, and scoured paleoanthropological evidence.

"Their investigations revealed that labiodental sounds arose recently, and that they did indeed stem from changes in diet and bite just as Hockett hypothesised.

“'Soft diets led to a preservation of overbite and overjet, which characterises the majority of the bites that people have nowadays,” Blasi explains. These rendered labiodental sounds low cost, or “easy” to produce.

“'Since our upper teeth protrude from our mouth, they can touch the lower lips with very little effort,” he says.

“'Before, heavy wear diets produced an edge-to-edge bite so the upper teeth didn’t protrude, and hence it was harder to produce those sounds. Try it yourself – put your upper and lower teeth in contact then try to produce an ‘f’.”

"The team’s research suggests that the sounds originated not long before the Bronze Age in Europe and Asia. They suspect they emerged from bilabials, another class of speech sounds which include, for instance, ‘b’.

"The authors explore how labiodentals might be “useful” sounds for communicating.

“'They are clearly distinguishable acoustically from other speech sounds and visually salient (think of someone saying the f-word),” Blasi says, adding that ultimately their benefit needs to be further investigated."

Comment: Since speech and language are thought to be recent developments over the past 50,000 years, an appearance of this ability just before the Bronze Age makes for a reasonable timing.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 17:52 (427 days ago) @ David Turell

It definitely includes the use of meaningful gestures, but just how the brain handles all of this is on partially known:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-the-brain-links-gestures-perception-and-meaning-2019...

"The conversion from movement into meaning is both seamless and direct, because we are endowed with the capacity to speak without talking and comprehend without hearing. We can direct attention by pointing, enhance narrative by miming, emphasize with rhythmic strokes and convey entire responses with a simple combination of fingers.

'The tendency to supplement communication with motion is universal, though the nuances of delivery vary slightly. In Papua New Guinea, for instance, people point with their noses and heads, while in Laos they sometimes use their lips. In Ghana, left-handed pointing can be taboo, while in Greece or Turkey forming a ring with your index finger and thumb to indicate everything is A-OK could get you in trouble.

"Despite their variety, gestures can be loosely defined as movements used to reiterate or emphasize a message — whether that message is explicitly spoken or not. A gesture is a movement that “represents action,” but it can also convey abstract or metaphorical information. It is a tool we carry from a very young age, if not from birth; even children who are congenitally blind naturally gesture to some degree during speech. Everybody does it.

"And yet, few of us have stopped to give much thought to gesturing as a phenomenon — the neurobiology of it, its development, and its role in helping us understand others’ actions. As researchers delve further into our neural wiring, it’s becoming increasingly clear that gestures guide our perceptions just as perceptions guide our actions.

***

"No other species points, Novack explained, not even chimpanzees or apes, according to most reports, unless they are raised by people. Human babies, in contrast, often point before they can speak, and our ability to generate and understand symbolic motions continues to evolve in tandem with language. Gesture is also a valuable tool in the classroom, where it can help young children generalize verbs to new contexts or solve math equations. “But,” she said, “it’s not necessarily clear when kids begin to understand that our hand movements are communicative — that they’re part of the message.”

"When children can’t find the words to express themselves, they let their hands do the talking. Novack, who has studied infants as young as 18 months, has seen how the capacity to derive meaning from movement increases with age. Adults do it so naturally, it’s easy to forget that mapping meaning onto hand shape and trajectory is no small feat.

"Gestures may be simple actions, but they don’t function in isolation. Research shows that gesture not only augments language, but also aids in its acquisition. In fact, the two may share some of the same neural systems. Acquiring gesture experience over the course of a lifetime may also help us intuit meaning from others’ motions. But whether individual cells or entire neural networks mediate our ability to decipher others’ actions is still up for debate.

***

"Researchers may not be able to pinpoint the exact cells that help us to communicate and learn with our bodies, but the overlap between multisensory systems is undeniable. Gesture allows us to express ourselves, and it also shapes the way we understand and interpret others. To quote one of Quandt’s papers: “The actions of others are perceived through the lens of the self.”

"So, the next time someone gives you the one-finger salute, take a moment to appreciate what it takes to receive that message loud and clear. If nothing else, it might lessen the sting a bit."

Comment: Gestures are obviously part of language, but how the brain handles them is still understudy. They are obviously very naturally developed and used with meaning, as seen in young children. The major portion of the article is the discussion of many studies that try to reach a conclusion, but all fail so far.

Human evolution; early diet and brain enlargement

by David Turell @, Monday, April 01, 2019, 21:00 (421 days ago) @ David Turell

Our larger brain takes 20% of our calorie intake. Early enlargement before Homo species certainly required a diet higher in calories. This theory about early butchery tries to cover that possibility:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fat-not-meat-may-have-led-to-bigger-hominin-...

"Northern Ethiopia was once home to a vast, ancient lake.

***

"Deposited within these layers are fossils: some of early hominins, along with the bones of hippos, antelope, and elephants. Anthropologist Jessica Thompson encountered two of these specimens, from an area named Dikika, in 2010.

"At the time, she was a visiting researcher at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. Given no explanation as to their history, she analyzed the bones and found signs of butchery. Percussion marks suggested someone may have accessed the marrow; cut marks hinted that flesh was stripped from bone. To her surprise, the specimens were 3.4 million years old, putting the butcher’s behaviors back 800,000 years earlier than conventional estimates would suggest. That fact got Thompson, now an assistant professor in the department of anthropology at Yale University, thinking there might be more traces of tool use from those early times.

***

"The prevailing view, supported by a confluence of fossil evidence from sites in Ethiopia, is that the emergence of flaked tool use and meat consumption led to the cerebral expansion that kickstarted human evolution more than 2 million years ago. Thompson and her colleagues disagree: Rather than using sharpened stones to hunt and scrape meat from animals, they suggest, earlier hominins may have first bashed bones to harvest fatty nutrients from marrow and brains.

***

"Because large animals such as antelope pack a serious micro-and-macro-nutrient punch, scientists have thought their meat contributed to humanity’s outsized brains. A consensus arose in the 1950s that our ancestors first hunted small animals before moving on to larger beasts around 2.6 million years ago. Flaked tool use and meat eating became defining characteristics of the Homo genus.

***

"Then, starting in the mid-1980s, an opposing theory arose in which Homo’s emergence wasn’t so tightly coupled with the origins of hunting and predatory dominance. Rather, early hominins first accessed brain-feeding nutrients through scavenging large animal carcasses. The debate has rolled on through the decades, with evidence for the scavenging theory gradually building.

***

"Marrow and brains, meanwhile, are locked inside bones and stay fresh longer. These highly nutritional parts are also a precursor to the fatty acids involved with brain and eye development. And more easily than flesh-meat, bones could be carried away from carcass sites, safe from predators.

***

"she says, “This team has shown that marrow may have in fact been more important. It’s a nuance, but an important nuance.”

***

"Evidence suggests hominins shifted their diet around 3.76 million years ago as they took advantage of the open spaces. By around 3.5 million years ago, some species of Australopithecus already showed increased brain sizes, up to 30 percent larger than chimpanzees of comparable body size. Canines had shrunk to proportions later seen in the genus Homo, and hand morphology was already more human than ape, with potential both for terrestrial travel and tool use.

***

"The earliest Homo specimen is now dated to 2.8 million years. The Dikika fossils suggest butchery behaviors at 3.4 million years ago. Homo may have emerged earlier than scientists suspected—a theory that would need more fossil evidence to support it—or another hominin, such as Australopithecus, may have created tools before Homo."

Comment: It is important to recognize extra dietary calories al lowed brain growth, but didn't cause it.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 20:15 (385 days ago) @ David Turell

With lots of research we still have no idea how the brain produces language:

https://inference-review.com/article/kept-in-mind

"For all the sophistication of their ideas, surprisingly simple questions remain. Which part of our brain carries information forward in time? No one knows. For that matter, no one knows what a symbol is, or where symbolic interactions take place. The formal structures of linguistics and neurophysiology are disjoint, a point emphasized by Poeppel and David Embick in a widely cited study. There is an incommensurability between theories of the brain, TB, and theories of the mind, TM. This is the sort of granularity issue that concerned Poeppel and Embick. TM deals with formal devices and how they interact, while TB deals with waves of different frequencies and amplitudes, and how they overlap in time sequences across brain regions.

***

"Few neuropsychologists have studied how sentences break down into phrases, or how words carry meanings, or why speech is more than just sound. No one has distinguished one thought from another by dissecting brains. Neuroimaging tells us only when some areas of the brain light up selectively. Brain wave frequencies may suggest that different kinds of thinking are occurring, but a suggestion is not an inference—even if there is a connection between certain areas of the brain and seeing, hearing, or processing words. Connections of this sort are not nothing, of course, but neither are they very much. Is this because techniques have not yet been developed to target individual neurons? Or is it because thinking is more subtle than previously imagined?

We may not figure this out within our lifetimes.

***

"When Friederici writes about the “fast computation of the phonological representation,” an obvious inferential lapse is involved.4 Some considerable distance remains between the observation that the brain is doing something and the claim that it is manipulating various linguistic representations. Friederici notes the lapse. “How information content is encoded and decoded,” she remarks, “in the sending and receiving brain areas is still an open issue—not only with respect to language, but also with respect to the neurophysiology of information processing in general.”

***

"Cognitive scientists cannot say how the mass or energy of the brain is related to the information it carries. Everyone expects that more activity in a given area means more information processing. No one has a clue whether it is more information or more articulated information, or more interconnected information, or whether, for that matter, the increased neuro-connectivity signifies something else entirely. Friederici remarks:

"The picture that can be drawn from the studies reviewed here is neuroanatomically quite concise with respect to sensory processes and those cognitive processes that follow fixed rules, namely, the syntactic processes. Semantic processes that involve associative aspects are less narrowly localized.

***

If the perception of a signal presupposes some sensory modality, the modality must swing into action before computation begins. Language in Our Brain is written in the expectation, or the hope, that a division of labor into phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics more or less corresponds to the tasks the brain executes in aggregating representations from more elementary bits.

***

"There is also a language network at the molecular level. “Information flows,” Friederici writes, “from the inferior frontal gyrus back to the posterior temporal cortex via the dorsal pathway.” This is, of course, inferential: no one has seen information flowing, if only because no one has ever seen information. But brain events cohere at different levels into a pattern, which is consistent with what can be surmised from brain deficits and injuries. A functional language network, if more abstract than the digestive system, is no less real.

***

“'t is rather unlikely that psychology, on its own, will arrive at the real, lawful characterization of the structure of the mind, as long as it neglects the anatomy of the organ of the mind.” I am left wondering whether neurobiology shouldn’t have to take in all seriousness the central results of cognitive psychology—including the competence/performance divide—if seeking a lawful understanding of the human mind."

Comment: Presented to show just how difficult it is to research and understand the brain and the presence of mind. The enormous complexity demands to understand it was designed.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 22:44 (385 days ago) @ David Turell

We really do not know how or why it evolved:

https://inference-review.com/article/the-siege-of-paris

"Linguists told themselves many stories about the evolution of language, and so did evolutionary biologists; but stories, as Richard Lewontin rightly notes, are not hypotheses, a term that should be “reserved for assertions that can be tested.”

"The human language faculty is a species-specific property, with no known group differences and little variation. There are no significant analogues or homologues to the human language faculty in other species.5 The notion of a species-specific biological trait is itself unremarkable. Species-specific traits are essential to the very definition of a species, at least for multicellular animals requiring reproductive isolation,

***

"Every human language is a finite computational system generating an infinite array of hierarchically structured expressions. This is the basic property (BP) of language. Every structured expression has a definite semantic interpretation and can be expressed by some sensory modality—speech when possible, gesture when not. The BP is best explained, we argued, as the expression of an underlying computational system, an example of those innate repertoires to which Tinbergen, Lorenz, and Lenneberg called attention.

***

"Citing comparative avian work by Andreas Pfenning et al., we demonstrated that many of the systems for vocal learning and production must have been in place before the emergence of language.17 This follows the typical evolutionary pattern. By the same token, Elizabeth Atkinson et al. carefully reexamined FOXP2 together with the intronic regions that might have been involved in a selective sweep.18 They found that human-specific DNA and amino acid variations matched those of Neanderthals or Denisovans but not other non-human primates.

***

"How far back does language go? There is no evidence of significant symbolic activity before the appearance of anatomically modern humans 200 thousand years ago (kya).22 The South African Blombos cave site contains abstract patterns using ochre crayon on silcrete. These have been dated to approximately 80 kya.23 There is no doubt that these patterns, which represent the earliest known drawings, were executed by anatomically modern humans. In 2018, Dirk Hoffman et al. claimed to have found cave art in Spain dating to roughly 65 kya and thus predating the earliest known arrival of modern humans in Europe.24 Dates have been corrected to approximately 47 kya, the time at which human beings appeared in Europe.

***

"The emergence of language occurred earlier than we thought, and certainly earlier than we suggested.....Riny Huybregts ... concludes that the language faculty emerged with Homo sapiens, or shortly thereafter, but externalization in one form or another must have been a later development, and quite possibly involved little or no evolutionary change.

***

"For all that, the chasm between phenotype, algorithm, and neural implementation remains just that—a chasm. We do not yet understand the space of algorithms that might inform, or guide, the BP.

***

"There is a common, conserved genetic toolkit for building vocal learners, one aligned with neurological wiring. To have understood this is surely progress. With the externalization apparatus for language in place, the rapid emergence of language itself is far easier to explain. Once this part of the story is complete, we will understand in some detail how the printer for human language works and how it evolved.

***

"There is no evidence that great apes, however sophisticated, have any of the crucial distinguishing features of language and ample evidence that they do not.48 Claims made in favor of their semantic powers, we might observe, are wrong. Recent research reveals that the semantic properties of even the simplest words are radically different from anything in animal symbolic systems."

Comment: Before humans developed spoken language there were massive anatomic changes compared to the earliest homos: a dropped pharynx. a protective epiglottis, an arched pallet, special tongue and lip muscles and their brain controls, along with specialized breath controls. All of this appeared before speech. None of this was caused by a need for survival and certainly not driven by environmental demands. In fact none of the development of human characteristics are clearly environmentally driven. Yes, they descended from trees, but that may well have been a voluntary choice to which they then adapted

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, May 08, 2019, 09:46 (384 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Before humans developed spoken language there were massive anatomic changes compared to the earliest homos: a dropped pharynx. a protective epiglottis, an arched pallet, special tongue and lip muscles and their brain controls, along with specialized breath controls. All of this appeared before speech. None of this was caused by a need for survival and certainly not driven by environmental demands. In fact none of the development of human characteristics are clearly environmentally driven. Yes, they descended from trees, but that may well have been a voluntary choice to which they then adapted.

As usual you try to make it sound like a fact that all the changes took place BEFORE the actions were possible, whereas I keep proposing that the changes took place BECAUSE the actions were required. (There is no way anyone can possibly prove either hypothesis.) It makes no difference whether a group of primates was forced to descend by environmental change or had a great idea and decided to to venture forth voluntarily. Once the environment had changed, the adaptations were either necessary or desirable to improve their chances of surviving in the new environment. And I would suggest that the new way of living REQUIRED better means of communication, and that the cell communities responded to that need as our ancestors invented new sounds – much as legs would have turned to flippers as the pre-whale cell communities responded to the need for more efficient movement in the water. I propose that it is the effort to make the required changes that causes the cells to restructure themselves – as opposed to a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme suddenly being switched on, or your God popping in to do some surgery on a group of pharynxes, epiglottises, palates, tongues, lips and brains, with a final announcement: “Now thou canst speak.”

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 08, 2019, 20:20 (384 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Wednesday, May 08, 2019, 20:40

DAVID: Before humans developed spoken language there were massive anatomic changes compared to the earliest homos: a dropped pharynx. a protective epiglottis, an arched pallet, special tongue and lip muscles and their brain controls, along with specialized breath controls. All of this appeared before speech. None of this was caused by a need for survival and certainly not driven by environmental demands. In fact none of the development of human characteristics are clearly environmentally driven. Yes, they descended from trees, but that may well have been a voluntary choice to which they then adapted.

dhw: As usual you try to make it sound like a fact that all the changes took place BEFORE the actions were possible, whereas I keep proposing that the changes took place BECAUSE the actions were required.

If humans arrived 300,000+ years ago with the anatomic changes for speech now in place well before language developed (per current experts) your statement is entirely false. Did earlier homos and early sapiens speak? Of course they did, but the development of complex language syntax, forming 30 specific different sounds (phonemes) all required the anatomic changes and the larger brain to allow the appearance.

dhw: And I would suggest that the new way of living REQUIRED better means of communication, and that the cell communities responded to that need as our ancestors invented new sounds – much as legs would have turned to flippers as the pre-whale cell communities responded to the need for more efficient movement in the water. I propose that it is the effort to make the required changes that causes the cells to restructure themselves – as opposed to a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme suddenly being switched on, or your God popping in to do some surgery on a group of pharynxes, epiglottises, palates, tongues, lips and brains, with a final announcement: “Now thou canst speak.”

I view your response a denial of the fossil history as we know it. Reading 'The Ape that Spoke', John Mc Crone, 1991, will explain the points I am making.

From Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 22:44:

"'The emergence of language occurred earlier than we thought, and certainly earlier than we suggested.....Riny Huybregts ... concludes that the language faculty emerged with Homo sapiens, or shortly thereafter, but externalization in one form or another must have been a later development, and quite possibly involved little or no evolutionary change."

Riny Huybregts is saying what I have said from McCrone. Anatomy first

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 08, 2019, 20:34 (384 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Before humans developed spoken language there were massive anatomic changes compared to the earliest homos: a dropped pharynx. a protective epiglottis, an arched pallet, special tongue and lip muscles and their brain controls, along with specialized breath controls. All of this appeared before speech. None of this was caused by a need for survival and certainly not driven by environmental demands. In fact none of the development of human characteristics are clearly environmentally driven. Yes, they descended from trees, but that may well have been a voluntary choice to which they then adapted.

dhw: As usual you try to make it sound like a fact that all the changes took place BEFORE the actions were possible, whereas I keep proposing that the changes took place BECAUSE the actions were required.

If humans arrived 300,000+ years ago with the anatomic changes for speech now in place well before language developed (per current experts) your statement is entirely false. Did earlier homos and early sapiens speak? Of course they did, but the development of complex language syntax, forming 30 specific different sounds all required the anatomic changes and the larger brain to allow the appearance.

dhw: And I would suggest that the new way of living REQUIRED better means of communication, and that the cell communities responded to that need as our ancestors invented new sounds – much as legs would have turned to flippers as the pre-whale cell communities responded to the need for more efficient movement in the water. I propose that it is the effort to make the required changes that causes the cells to restructure themselves – as opposed to a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme suddenly being switched on, or your God popping in to do some surgery on a group of pharynxes, epiglottises, palates, tongues, lips and brains, with a final announcement: “Now thou canst speak.”

I view your response a denial of the fossil history as we know it. Reading 'The Ape that Spoke', John Mc Crone, 1991, will explain the points I am making.

From our thread, Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 22:44:

"'The emergence of language occurred earlier than we thought, and certainly earlier than we suggested.....Riny Huybregts ... concludes that the language faculty emerged with Homo sapiens, or shortly thereafter, but externalization in one form or another must have been a later development, and quite possibly involved little or no evolutionary change."

Riny Huybregts is saying what I have said from McCrone. Anatomy first

Furthermore our sapiens anatomy allow for this language discrimination:

"Phoneme Segmentation

What are phoneme segmentation skills?
Phoneme segmentation is the ability to break words down into individual sounds.
For example, the learner breaks the word run into its component sounds – r, u, and n."

http://aacliteracy.psu.edu/index.php/page/show/id/5/

Human evolution; where does A. sediba fit?

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 08, 2019, 21:44 (384 days ago) @ David Turell

Most likely not a direct ancestor of sapiens:

https://phys.org/news/2019-05-statistical-south-african-fossil-species.html

Statistical analysis of fossil data shows that it is unlikely that Australopithecus sediba, a nearly two-million-year-old, apelike fossil from South Africa, is the direct ancestor of Homo, the genus to which modern-day humans belong.

The research by paleontologists from the University of Chicago, published this week in Science Advances, concludes by suggesting that Australopithecus afarensis, of the famous "Lucy" skeleton, is still the most likely ancestor to the genus Homo.

The first A. sediba fossils were unearthed near Johannesburg in 2008. Hundreds of fragments of the species have since been discovered, all dating to roughly two million years ago. The oldest known Homofossil, the jawbone of an as yet unnamed species found in Ethiopia, is 2.8 million years old, predating A. sediba by 800,000 years.

Despite this timeline, the researchers who discovered A. sediba have claimed that it is an ancestral species to Homo. While it is possible that A. sediba (the hypothesized ancestor) could have postdated earliest Homo (the hypothesized descendant) by 800,000 years, the new analysis indicates that the probability of finding this chronological pattern is highly unlikely.

"It is definitely possible for an ancestor's fossil to postdate a descendant's by a large amount of time," said the study's lead author Andrew Du, Ph.D., who will join the faculty at Colorado State University after concluding his postdoctoral research in the lab of Zeray Alemseged, Ph.D., the Donald M. Pritzker Professor of Organismal and Biology and Anatomy at UChicago.

"We thought we would take it one step further to ask how likely it is to happen, and our models show that the probability is next to zero," Du said.
Du and Alemseged also reviewed the scientific literature for other hypothesized ancestor-descendant relationships between two hominin species. Of the 28 instances they found, only one first-discovered fossil of a descendant was older than its proposed ancestor, a pair of Homo species separated by 100,000 years, far less than the 800,000 years separating A. sediba and earliest Homo. For context, the average lifespan of any hominin species is about one million years.

"Again, we see that it's possible for an ancestor's fossil to postdate its descendant's," Du said. "But 800,000 years is quite a long time."

Alemseged and Du maintain that Australopithecus afarensisis a better candidate for the direct ancestor of Homofor a number of reasons. A. afarensis fossils have been dated up to three million years old, nearing the age of the first Homo jaw. Lucy and her counterparts, including Selam, the fossil of an A. afarensischild that Alemseged discovered in 2000, were found in Ethiopia, just miles from where the Homo jaw was discovered. The jaw's features also resemble those of A. afarensis closely enough that one could make the case it was a direct descendant.

"Given the timing, geography and morphology, these three pieces of evidence make us think afarensisis a better candidate than sediba," Alemseged said. "One can disagree about morphology and the different features of a fossil, but the level of confidence we can put in the mathematical and statistical analyses of the chronological data in this paper makes our argument a very strong one."

Comment: So it seems there were several branches of hominin. I assume as m ore fossils are found we will really establish a full line to sapiens.

Human evolution; where does A. sediba fit?

by dhw, Thursday, May 09, 2019, 12:12 (383 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: So it seems there were several branches of hominin. I assume as m ore fossils are found we will really establish a full line to sapiens.

An interesting comment. So maybe as more fossils are found we will really establish more and more full lines of other species, and the gaps will begin to disappear.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, May 09, 2019, 12:10 (383 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Before humans developed spoken language there were massive anatomic changes compared to the earliest homos: a dropped pharynx. a protective epiglottis, an arched pallet, special tongue and lip muscles and their brain controls, along with specialized breath controls. All of this appeared before speech. […]

dhw: As usual you try to make it sound like a fact that all the changes took place BEFORE the actions were possible, whereas I keep proposing that the changes took place BECAUSE the actions were required.

DAVID: If humans arrived 300,000+ years ago with the anatomic changes for speech now in place well before language developed (per current experts) your statement is entirely false. Did earlier homos and early sapiens speak? Of course they did, but the development of complex language syntax, forming 30 specific different sounds (phonemes) all required the anatomic changes and the larger brain to allow the appearance.

The development of syntax has nothing to do with anatomy and phonemes, and there is no expert on earth who can verify that all the anatomic changes took place before early homos and early sapiens began the process of trying to form new sounds.

dhw: And I would suggest that the new way of living REQUIRED better means of communication, and that the cell communities responded to that need as our ancestors invented new sounds […]

DAVID: I view your response a denial of the fossil history as we know it. Reading 'The Ape that Spoke', John Mc Crone, 1991, will explain the points I am making.
From Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 22:44:
"'The emergence of language occurred earlier than we thought, and certainly earlier than we suggested.....Riny Huybregts ... concludes that the language faculty emerged with Homo sapiens, or shortly thereafter, but externalization in one form or another must have been a later development, and quite possibly involved little or no evolutionary change."

How early is irrelevant to your theory. The question is whether the anatomy changed before the different sounds were available, or the anatomy changed because a wider variety became necessary, and the need for change engendered the process of change (as with pre-whale legs turning into flippers). What does “externalization” mean? All forms of language are externalizations – otherwise there would be no communication!

DAVID: Riny Huybregts is saying what I have said from McCrone. Anatomy first
Furthermore our sapiens anatomy allow for this language discrimination:
"Phoneme Segmentation
What are phoneme segmentation skills?
Phoneme segmentation is the ability to break words down into individual sounds.
For example, the learner breaks the word run into its component sounds – r, u, and n."

Obviously! What does that have to do with my proposal that the attempt to create different sounds would have resulted in anatomical change, as opposed to anatomical change preceding the ability to make sounds. However, this is all too rigid. I am not saying that every attempted sound meant/means anatomical change. This is self-evident from the fact that every language stems from the now established anatomy: many sounds made in English are very different from those made in other languages, and vice versa. The question (as with whale flippers) is what CAUSED the anatomical changes in the first place. I propose cell communities responding to the effort to create new sounds, you propose your God’s 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for epiglottis change – along with every other evolutionary innovation – or your God personally performing operations on a group of individual epiglottises. I find that pretty far-fetched.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 09, 2019, 22:30 (383 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If humans arrived 300,000+ years ago with the anatomic changes for speech now in place well before language developed (per current experts) your statement is entirely false. Did earlier homos and early sapiens speak? Of course they did, but the development of complex language syntax, forming 30 specific different sounds (phonemes) all required the anatomic changes and the larger brain to allow the appearance.

dhw: The development of syntax has nothing to do with anatomy and phonemes, and there is no expert on earth who can verify that all the anatomic changes took place before early homos and early sapiens began the process of trying to form new sounds.

I've said earlier homos used voice. Complex language requires the appearance of complex anatomic changes to perform enough phonemes to form a complex intelligible language. As for experts read McCrone. The need for the previously enlarged brain is necessary for the language control areas to develop syntax among the aspects of organized language.


dhw: And I would suggest that the new way of living REQUIRED better means of communication, and that the cell communities responded to that need as our ancestors invented new sounds […]

DAVID: I view your response a denial of the fossil history as we know it. Reading 'The Ape that Spoke', John Mc Crone, 1991, will explain the points I am making.
From Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 22:44:
"'The emergence of language occurred earlier than we thought, and certainly earlier than we suggested.....Riny Huybregts ... concludes that the language faculty emerged with Homo sapiens, or shortly thereafter, but externalization in one form or another must have been a later development, and quite possibly involved little or no evolutionary change."

dhw; How early is irrelevant to your theory. The question is whether the anatomy changed before the different sounds were available, or the anatomy changed because a wider variety became necessary, and the need for change engendered the process of change (as with pre-whale legs turning into flippers). What does “externalization” mean? All forms of language are externalizations – otherwise there would be no communication!

What Huybregts implies to me is anatomy first , sounds next. Exactly what McCrone writes.


DAVID: Riny Huybregts is saying what I have said from McCrone. Anatomy first
Furthermore our sapiens anatomy allow for this language discrimination:
"Phoneme Segmentation
What are phoneme segmentation skills?
Phoneme segmentation is the ability to break words down into individual sounds.
For example, the learner breaks the word run into its component sounds – r, u, and n."

dhw: Obviously! What does that have to do with my proposal that the attempt to create different sounds would have resulted in anatomical change, as opposed to anatomical change preceding the ability to make sounds. However, this is all too rigid. I am not saying that every attempted sound meant/means anatomical change. This is self-evident from the fact that every language stems from the now established anatomy: many sounds made in English are very different from those made in other languages, and vice versa. The question (as with whale flippers) is what CAUSED the anatomical changes in the first place. I propose cell communities responding to the effort to create new sounds, you propose your God’s 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for epiglottis change – along with every other evolutionary innovation – or your God personally performing operations on a group of individual epiglottises. I find that pretty far-fetched.

You have not answered the point that H. sapiens arrived with all the required anatomical changes in place needed to produce human sounds for modern complex language which appears to have started 50,000+ years ago, 250.000 years after the first sapiens arrived. That is Mc Crone's view. Just when did your cell committees do their job?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Friday, May 10, 2019, 12:02 (382 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The development of syntax has nothing to do with anatomy and phonemes, and there is no expert on earth who can verify that all the anatomic changes took place before early homos and early sapiens began the process of trying to form new sounds.

DAVID: I've said earlier homos used voice. Complex language requires the appearance of complex anatomic changes to perform enough phonemes to form a complex intelligible language.

All languages, including those of animals, birds and insects, are intelligible to those who use them. But yes of course complex new sounds require complex anatomic changes. The question is why, when and how the changes took place. (See below)

DAVID: As for experts read McCrone. The need for the previously enlarged brain is necessary for the language control areas to develop syntax among the aspects of organized language.

All the anatomical changes, including those in the brain, were necessary for the development of all aspects of language. Once again, the question is why, when and how the changes took place. (See below)

DAVID: You have not answered the point that H. sapiens arrived with all the required anatomical changes in place needed to produce human sounds for modern complex language which appears to have started 50,000+ years ago, 250.000 years after the first sapiens arrived. That is Mc Crone's view. Just when did your cell committees do their job?

Please tell me how McCrone knows when H. sapiens started to make the sounds needed for modern language. Did he happen to be around with his tape recorder?

Once again: I am not denying that the changed anatomy was necessary for the new sounds, but neither you nor I nor McCrone can possibly know what sounds were already being made when the anatomy reached its final form. (I propose that the final form, including that of the brain, was reached when pre-sapiens or possible early sapiens succeeded in making all the necessary changes.) As I pointed out yesterday, different modern languages have different sounds, and of course all of these are produced by the final anatomy. But the issue is what in the first place caused the changes that led to the final anatomy. Here are your choices: divine preprogramming, divine dabbling, random mutations, or cellular intelligence making changes IN RESPONSE to the need for new sounds (just like legs changing into flippers IN RESPONSE to the new environment). So please tell me which of these options McCrone favours.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, May 10, 2019, 21:21 (382 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have not answered the point that H. sapiens arrived with all the required anatomical changes in place needed to produce human sounds for modern complex language which appears to have started 50,000+ years ago, 250.000 years after the first sapiens arrived. That is Mc Crone's view. Just when did your cell committees do their job?

dhw: Please tell me how McCrone knows when H. sapiens started to make the sounds needed for modern language. Did he happen to be around with his tape recorder?

If you read his book you would be surprised how cogent his arguments are.


dhw: Once again: I am not denying that the changed anatomy was necessary for the new sounds, but neither you nor I nor McCrone can possibly know what sounds were already being made when the anatomy reached its final form. (I propose that the final form, including that of the brain, was reached when pre-sapiens or possible early sapiens succeeded in making all the necessary changes.) As I pointed out yesterday, different modern languages have different sounds, and of course all of these are produced by the final anatomy. But the issue is what in the first place caused the changes that led to the final anatomy. Here are your choices: divine preprogramming, divine dabbling, random mutations, or cellular intelligence making changes IN RESPONSE to the need for new sounds (just like legs changing into flippers IN RESPONSE to the new environment). So please tell me which of these options McCrone favours.

What McCrone strictly presents are major anatomic and neurosensory brain control changes first and then capacity for modern language exists, defined as developing 50,000 year ago. The book is very descriptive of the changes that were required to allow what we do now. No need to describe them again, as I have done several times previously. Remember we arrived with all this stuff in place 300,000 years ago and then 250,000 years later started really complex language. You want cell committees to foresee the future: arch the palate, drop the larynx, invent an epiglottis, reroute the laryngeal nerve, alter lip and tongue muscles and tie it all into specific areas of an enlarged brain. A pipe dream. Mc Crone recognized H. erectus might have spoken, estimating 'five or six words in five seconds". (pg. 161) 'Modern man can speak at the rate of two hundred or more words per minute."

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, May 11, 2019, 10:00 (381 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have not answered the point that H. sapiens arrived with all the required anatomical changes in place needed to produce human sounds for modern complex language which appears to have started 50,000+ years ago, 250.000 years after the first sapiens arrived. That is Mc Crone's view. Just when did your cell committees do their job?

dhw: Please tell me how McCrone knows when H. sapiens started to make the sounds needed for modern language. Did he happen to be around with his tape recorder?

DAVID: If you read his book you would be surprised how cogent his arguments are.

You have read it, so please tell us how he knows when H. sapiens started to make the sounds needed for modern language.

DAVID: What McCrone strictly presents are major anatomic and neurosensory brain control changes first and then capacity for modern language exists, defined as developing 50,000 year ago. […] You want cell committees to foresee the future: arch the palate, drop the larynx, invent an epiglottis, reroute the laryngeal nerve, alter lip and tongue muscles and tie it all into specific areas of an enlarged brain. A pipe dream.

I am not querying the point that these changes took place before modern language was possible. I am challenging your interpretation of how, why and when they took place. Your hypothesis has always been that your God either preprogrammed the changes or personally performed operations on existing palates, larynxes etc. Does McCrone agree? Or does he opt for random mutations? Or does he consider my proposal, which is that pre-sapiens felt the need for enhanced communication, i.e. new sounds, and the effort to produce new sounds resulted in the changes which produced the arched palate and the dropped larynx – just as the effort to swim changed pre-whale legs into flippers, and just as the illiterate women’s efforts to read changed the relevant parts of their brains. We know that brain and body make changes in response to new demands, and I keep repeating that I do NOT want cell communities to foresee the future. It is you who demand fortune-telling in the shape of your God’s plans and/or direct surgery. My proposal, once again, is that the cell communities RESPOND to needs, not that they anticipate them. What is McCrone’s proposal?

DAVID: Mc Crone recognized H. erectus might have spoken, estimating 'five or six words in five seconds". (pg. 161) 'Modern man can speak at the rate of two hundred or more words per minute."

He is welcome to his guesses, but in any case this proves nothing. Every generation builds on the progress of its predecessors. Once the anatomy was in place, of course the range of sounds, words, structures expanded. Language continues to evolve all the time. That doesn’t mean it began with a divine programme or specialist surgery to create arched palates and dropped larynxes!

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 11, 2019, 20:29 (381 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have not answered the point that H. sapiens arrived with all the required anatomical changes in place needed to produce human sounds for modern complex language which appears to have started 50,000+ years ago, 250.000 years after the first sapiens arrived. That is Mc Crone's view. Just when did your cell committees do their job?

dhw: Please tell me how McCrone knows when H. sapiens started to make the sounds needed for modern language. Did he happen to be around with his tape recorder?

DAVID: If you read his book you would be surprised how cogent his arguments are.

dhw: You have read it, so please tell us how he knows when H. sapiens started to make the sounds needed for modern language.

No one knows. But it is apparent sapiens arrived with full complex language ability 300,000+ years ago and eventually learned how to use it.


DAVID: What McCrone strictly presents are major anatomic and neurosensory brain control changes first and then capacity for modern language exists, defined as developing 50,000 year ago. […] You want cell committees to foresee the future: arch the palate, drop the larynx, invent an epiglottis, reroute the laryngeal nerve, alter lip and tongue muscles and tie it all into specific areas of an enlarged brain. A pipe dream.

dhw: I am not querying the point that these changes took place before modern language was possible. I am challenging your interpretation of how, why and when they took place. Your hypothesis has always been that your God either preprogrammed the changes or personally performed operations on existing palates, larynxes etc. Does McCrone agree? Or does he opt for random mutations? Or does he consider my proposal, which is that pre-sapiens felt the need for enhanced communication, i.e. new sounds, and the effort to produce new sounds resulted in the changes which produced the arched palate and the dropped larynx – just as the effort to swim changed pre-whale legs into flippers, and just as the illiterate women’s efforts to read changed the relevant parts of their brains. We know that brain and body make changes in response to new demands, and I keep repeating that I do NOT want cell communities to foresee the future. It is you who demand fortune-telling in the shape of your God’s plans and/or direct surgery. My proposal, once again, is that the cell communities RESPOND to needs, not that they anticipate them. What is McCrone’s proposal?

McCrone does not discuss the genetic possibilities we discuss. He simply describes the anatomic changes that homo fossils tell us.


DAVID: Mc Crone recognized H. erectus might have spoken, estimating 'five or six words in five seconds". (pg. 161) 'Modern man can speak at the rate of two hundred or more words per minute."

dhw: He is welcome to his guesses, but in any case this proves nothing. Every generation builds on the progress of its predecessors. Once the anatomy was in place, of course the range of sounds, words, structures expanded. Language continues to evolve all the time. That doesn’t mean it began with a divine programme or specialist surgery to create arched palates and dropped larynxes!

The dropped larynx allows for our ability to speak as we do. Chimps have a simple epiglottis and an oral pharyngeal anatomy that allows for breathing and swallowing at the same time. Human infants are born with the same arrangement, and as they develop, the larynx drops and the epiglottis develops fully. This article explains:

https://mosesappliances.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Evolution-of-the-Human-Oral-Airw...

I interpret it as pre-planning. You don't. That is a gulf which will never shrink.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Sunday, May 12, 2019, 09:01 (380 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Please tell me how McCrone knows when H. sapiens started to make the sounds needed for modern language. Did he happen to be around with his tape recorder?

DAVID: If you read his book you would be surprised how cogent his arguments are.

dhw: You have read it, so please tell us how he knows when H. sapiens started to make the sounds needed for modern language.

DAVID: No one knows. But it is apparent sapiens arrived with full complex language ability 300,000+ years ago and eventually learned how to use it.

No one knows. Thank you. Yes, we sapiens arrived with the mechanisms that enabled us to develop language, walk upright on the ground, give birth to our young through a different shaped birth canal, twiddle our thumbs, and do everything else that distinguishes us from our ancestors. The question is how, when and why all these changes took place. You say your God programmed the first cells with each and every one of them 3.8 billion years ago or they were the result of direct surgery (dabbling). I propose that each one was a response by the cellular communities to new requirements – either for survival or for improvement. Some people think it was all the result of random mutations. No one knows.

dhw: We know that brain and body make changes in response to new demands, and I keep repeating that I do NOT want cell communities to foresee the future. It is you who demand fortune-telling in the shape of your God’s plans and/or direct surgery. My proposal, once again, is that the cell communities RESPOND to needs, not that they anticipate them. What is McCrone’s proposal?

DAVID: McCrone does not discuss the genetic possibilities we discuss. He simply describes the anatomic changes that homo fossils tell us.

Then please stop using him as if he supported your hypothesis. The fossils tell us the changes that took place – not how, when or why.

DAVID: The dropped larynx allows for our ability to speak as we do. Chimps have a simple epiglottis and an oral pharyngeal anatomy that allows for breathing and swallowing at the same time. Human infants are born with the same arrangement, and as they develop, the larynx drops and the epiglottis develops fully. This article explains:
https://mosesappliances.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Evolution-of-the-Human-Oral-Airw...
I interpret it as pre-planning. You don't. That is a gulf which will never shrink.

Yes, we know the changes, and it is interesting to see that infants repeat the same evolutionary process, and yes, once again you interpret this as evidence that your God provided the first living cells with a larynx-dropping, epiglottis-forming programme (along with programmes for every other change in the history of evolution), or stepped in to operate on our ancestors. You prefer to gloss over the unlikelihood of such a process with the term “pre-planning”.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 12, 2019, 20:01 (380 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Sunday, May 12, 2019, 20:18

dhw: We know that brain and body make changes in response to new demands, and I keep repeating that I do NOT want cell communities to foresee the future. It is you who demand fortune-telling in the shape of your God’s plans and/or direct surgery. My proposal, once again, is that the cell communities RESPOND to needs, not that they anticipate them. What is McCrone’s proposal?

DAVID: McCrone does not discuss the genetic possibilities we discuss. He simply describes the anatomic changes that homo fossils tell us.

dhw: Then please stop using him as if he supported your hypothesis. The fossils tell us the changes that took place – not how, when or why.

But his description of the changes and when they occurred fits my theory. As for your 'fortune-testing'. comment, I'll remind you the dropped larynx required intense re-engineering of the epiglottis, in anticipation of the problems related to that change, I can easily image your cell committees around the planning table puzzling what to do. Your improbable theory stretching the known fact that individual cells make intelligent appearing responses to simple stimuli is just that, an enormous stretch, when it is obviously not known/proven that cells are innately intelligent.


DAVID: The dropped larynx allows for our ability to speak as we do. Chimps have a simple epiglottis and an oral pharyngeal anatomy that allows for breathing and swallowing at the same time. Human infants are born with the same arrangement, and as they develop, the larynx drops and the epiglottis develops fully. This article explains:
https://mosesappliances.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Evolution-of-the-Human-Oral-Airw...
I interpret it as pre-planning. You don't. That is a gulf which will never shrink.

dhw: Yes, we know the changes, and it is interesting to see that infants repeat the same evolutionary process, and yes, once again you interpret this as evidence that your God provided the first living cells with a larynx-dropping, epiglottis-forming programme (along with programmes for every other change in the history of evolution), or stepped in to operate on our ancestors. You prefer to gloss over the unlikelihood of such a process with the term “pre-planning”.

I gloss over nothing. You always forget I've got God in charge and I have made assumptions as to how He managed control. At least I don't imagine brilliant cells running the show, as a huge imaginary stretch..

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Monday, May 13, 2019, 10:23 (379 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We know that brain and body make changes in response to new demands, and I keep repeating that I do NOT want cell communities to foresee the future. It is you who demand fortune-telling in the shape of your God’s plans and/or direct surgery. My proposal, once again, is that the cell communities RESPOND to needs, not that they anticipate them. What is McCrone’s proposal?

DAVID: McCrone does not discuss the genetic possibilities we discuss. He simply describes the anatomic changes that homo fossils tell us.

dhw: Then please stop using him as if he supported your hypothesis. The fossils tell us the changes that took place – not how, when or why.

DAVID: But his description of the changes and when they occurred fits my theory. As for your 'fortune-testing'. comment, I'll remind you the dropped larynx required intense re-engineering of the epiglottis, in anticipation of the problems related to that change…

And in turn I’ll remind you that in my view the re-engineering of all parts is the RESPONSE to the problems raised by the need for change (i.e. for enhanced communication through new sounds), not in anticipation of them. The sounds cannot be made without all parts cooperating – and that also includes changes to the brain. You opt for a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme or divine surgery for epiglottis re-engineering and larynx-dropping, whereas I propose that the efforts to produce new sounds caused all the changes. Clearly McCrone has nothing to say about either hypothesis, so he offers no more support to you than he does to me.

DAVID: I can easily image your cell committees around the planning table puzzling what to do.

For the thousandth time, there is no planning table in my hypothesis. My proposal is that the changes are the RESULT of efforts to produce new sounds – just as the change of legs to flippers RESULTS from efforts to implement new tasks.

DAVID: Your improbable theory stretching the known fact that individual cells make intelligent appearing responses to simple stimuli is just that, an enormous stretch, when it is obviously not known/proven that cells are innately intelligent.

For the thousandth time, none of the hypotheses are proven. But many scientists support the view that cells are innately intelligent, so it is a hypothesis to be taken seriously. How many scientists support your “assumptions” repeated below?

DAVID: You always forget I've got God in charge and I have made assumptions as to how He managed control. At least I don't imagine brilliant cells running the show, as a huge imaginary stretch.

I can hardly forget your assumption that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the first cells with a programme to be passed on for every undabbled innovation, life form, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of life. That is the basis of this whole discussion! I don’t know why you should consider this hypothesis to be more imaginable than your God designing microorganisms with the intelligence to cooperate in forming an ever increasing variety of cell communities.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, May 13, 2019, 17:16 (379 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Then please stop using him as if he supported your hypothesis. The fossils tell us the changes that took place – not how, when or why.

But McCrone specifically states the fossils show the changes were present in habilis and the erectus well before modern speech appeared. Do you read what I stated? When is not in question

DAVID: But his description of the changes and when they occurred fits my theory. As for your 'fortune-testing'. comment, I'll remind you the dropped larynx required intense re-engineering of the epiglottis, in anticipation of the problems related to that change…

dhw: And in turn I’ll remind you that in my view the re-engineering of all parts is the RESPONSE to the problems raised by the need for change (i.e. for enhanced communication through new sounds), not in anticipation of them. The sounds cannot be made without all parts cooperating – and that also includes changes to the brain. You opt for a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme or divine surgery for epiglottis re-engineering and larynx-dropping, whereas I propose that the efforts to produce new sounds caused all the changes. Clearly McCrone has nothing to say about either hypothesis, so he offers no more support to you than he does to me.

You are still ignoring my statements summarizing McCrone.


DAVID: I can easily image your cell committees around the planning table puzzling what to do.

dhw: For the thousandth time, there is no planning table in my hypothesis. My proposal is that the changes are the RESULT of efforts to produce new sounds – just as the change of legs to flippers RESULTS from efforts to implement new tasks.

And I find your hypothesis impossible, as all the different changes have to coordinated. Even Dawkins says biology looks designed.


DAVID: Your improbable theory stretching the known fact that individual cells make intelligent appearing responses to simple stimuli is just that, an enormous stretch, when it is obviously not known/proven that cells are innately intelligent.

dhw: For the thousandth time, none of the hypotheses are proven. But many scientists support the view that cells are innately intelligent, so it is a hypothesis to be taken seriously. How many scientists support your “assumptions” repeated below?

DAVID: You always forget I've got God in charge and I have made assumptions as to how He managed control. At least I don't imagine brilliant cells running the show, as a huge imaginary stretch.

dhw: I can hardly forget your assumption that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the first cells with a programme to be passed on for every undabbled innovation, life form, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of life. That is the basis of this whole discussion! I don’t know why you should consider this hypothesis to be more imaginable than your God designing microorganisms with the intelligence to cooperate in forming an ever increasing variety of cell communities.

See my new entry on Darwin doubt among scientists. And I'll remind you, I view God as much more purposeful than you do. He won't give up tight control over evolution.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 13:08 (378 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Then please stop using him [McCrone] as if he supported your hypothesis. The fossils tell us the changes that took place – not how, when or why.

DAVID: But McCrone specifically states the fossils show the changes were present in habilis and the erectus well before modern speech appeared. Do you read what I stated? When is not in question

Thank you. I rely on you to inform me about McCrone’s findings and arguments. If all the changes were present in habilis and erectus, does he think they communicated without using their voices to make sounds, and how does he know that they were not able to make some of the sounds that are now used in modern speech? Is there a tape recording?

DAVID: I'll remind you the dropped larynx required intense re-engineering of the epiglottis, in anticipation of the problems related to that change…

dhw: And in turn I’ll remind you that in my view the re-engineering of all parts is the RESPONSE to the problems raised by the need for change (i.e. for enhanced communication through new sounds), not in anticipation of them. The sounds cannot be made without all parts cooperating – and that also includes changes to the brain. You opt for a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme or divine surgery for epiglottis re-engineering and larynx-dropping, whereas I propose that the efforts to produce new sounds caused all the changes. Clearly McCrone has nothing to say about either hypothesis, so he offers no more support to you than he does to me.

DAVID: You are still ignoring my statements summarizing McCrone.

You told us that he has nothing to say about how the changes took place. If so, what statements have you summarized in support of your preprogramming/dabbling hypothesis?

DAVID: I can easily image your cell committees around the planning table puzzling what to do.

dhw: For the thousandth time, there is no planning table in my hypothesis. My proposal is that the changes are the RESULT of efforts to produce new sounds – just as the change of legs to flippers RESULTS from efforts to implement new tasks.

DAVID: And I find your hypothesis impossible, as all the different changes have to coordinated. Even Dawkins says biology looks designed.

I wrote above (now bolded) that all parts have to cooperate, and I have always agreed that biology looks designed. In case you’ve forgotten, my theistic proposal is that your God designed the mechanism that does the designing – as opposed to preprogramming the first cells with every single undabbled design in the history of life.

DAVID: See my new entry on Darwin doubt among scientists. And I'll remind you, I view God as much more purposeful than you do. He won't give up tight control over evolution.

See my reply on the Darwin thread, and I do not accept that your view of God is “much more purposeful”, since the only purpose you are prepared to offer for every organism that ever existed is his wish to design H. sapiens. You have no justification for claiming that “he won’t give up tight control”, especially since your belief in tight control leaves you with “no idea” why he chose the above method to fulfil his one and only purpose. It is perfectly feasible that his purpose was to create the ongoing, ever-changing spectacle of life’s history, with humans providing the richest variety of all. Your God as spectator at his own production instead of puppet master (but always with the option of dabbling when he feels like it).

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 14:59 (378 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Thank you. I rely on you to inform me about McCrone’s findings and arguments. If all the changes were present in habilis and erectus, does he think they communicated without using their voices to make sounds, and how does he know that they were not able to make some of the sounds that are now used in modern speech? Is there a tape recording?

DAVID: And I find your hypothesis impossible, as all the different changes have to coordinated. Even Dawkins says biology looks designed.

dhw: I wrote above (now bolded) that all parts have to cooperate, and I have always agreed that biology looks designed. In case you’ve forgotten, my theistic proposal is that your God designed the mechanism that does the designing – as opposed to preprogramming the first cells with every single undabbled design in the history of life.

And I've written such a mechanism must contain God's guidelines, and you have refused to accept that limitation which means your mechanism allows that God is not entirely in control


DAVID: See my new entry on Darwin doubt among scientists. And I'll remind you, I view God as much more purposeful than you do. He won't give up tight control over evolution.

dhw: See my reply on the Darwin thread, and I do not accept that your view of God is “much more purposeful”, since the only purpose you are prepared to offer for every organism that ever existed is his wish to design H. sapiens. You have no justification for claiming that “he won’t give up tight control”, especially since your belief in tight control leaves you with “no idea” why he chose the above method to fulfil his one and only purpose. It is perfectly feasible that his purpose was to create the ongoing, ever-changing spectacle of life’s history, with humans providing the richest variety of all. Your God as spectator at his own production instead of puppet master (but always with the option of dabbling when he feels like it).

Same old mantra. I accept th at God chose the method He did. You can't refute that point, so you keep repeating I have 'no idea', but I do.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 13:28 (377 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I rely on you to inform me about McCrone’s findings and arguments. If all the changes were present in habilis and erectus, does he think they communicated without using their voices to make sounds, and how does he know that they were not able to make some of the sounds that are now used in modern speech? Is there a tape recording?

I notice you have skipped over this point. Please tell us how McCrone knows that pre-sapiens did not use his larynx and epiglottis to make sounds now made by H. sapiens.

DAVID: And I find your hypothesis impossible, as all the different changes have to coordinated. Even Dawkins says biology looks designed.

dhw: I wrote above […] that all parts have to cooperate, and I have always agreed that biology looks designed. In case you’ve forgotten, my theistic proposal is that your God designed the mechanism that does the designing – as opposed to preprogramming the first cells with every single undabbled design in the history of life.

DAVID: And I've written such a mechanism must contain God's guidelines, and you have refused to accept that limitation which means your mechanism allows that God is not entirely in control.

The only “guidelines” you can offer are a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for epiglottises and larynxes and every other evolutionary change in life’s history, or your God performing ad hoc operations on individual organisms. Yes, in my theistic hypothesis, my autonomous mechanism means God deliberately creates a free-for-all while still having the option to dabble if he feels like it. How do you know your God does not want some unpredictability to add to the interest?

DAVID: […] I'll remind you, I view God as much more purposeful than you do. He won't give up tight control over evolution.

dhw: […] I do not accept that your view of God is “much more purposeful”, since the only purpose you are prepared to offer for every organism that ever existed is his wish to design H. sapiens. You have no justification for claiming that “he won’t give up tight control”, especially since your belief in tight control leaves you with “no idea” why he chose the above method to fulfil his one and only purpose. It is perfectly feasible that his purpose was to create the ongoing, ever-changing spectacle of life’s history, with humans providing the richest variety of all. Your God as spectator at his own production instead of puppet master (but always with the option of dabbling when he feels like it).

DAVID: Same old mantra. I accept that God chose the method He did. You can't refute that point, so you keep repeating I have 'no idea', but I do.

In your own words, you have “no idea why God chose to evolve humans over time”. We agree that if God exists, he chose evolution to fulfil his purposes. That is a million miles away from saying that he chose your interpretation of evolution (every life form etc. specially preprogrammed or dabbled) to fulfil your interpretation of his purpose (to specially design humans). See "Unanswered questions" for your concept of evolution which so blatantly contradicts your concept of your God's purpose.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 18:07 (377 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I rely on you to inform me about McCrone’s findings and arguments. If all the changes were present in habilis and erectus, does he think they communicated without using their voices to make sounds, and how does he know that they were not able to make some of the sounds that are now used in modern speech? Is there a tape recording?

I notice you have skipped over this point. Please tell us how McCrone knows that pre-sapiens did not use his larynx and epiglottis to make sounds now made by H. sapiens.

I said Mc Crone did describe them talking at five, six words per minute, remember?


DAVID: And I've written such a mechanism must contain God's guidelines, and you have refused to accept that limitation which means your mechanism allows that God is not entirely in control.

dhw: The only “guidelines” you can offer are a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for epiglottises and larynxes and every other evolutionary change in life’s history, or your God performing ad hoc operations on individual organisms. Yes, in my theistic hypothesis, my autonomous mechanism means God deliberately creates a free-for-all while still having the option to dabble if he feels like it. How do you know your God does not want some unpredictability to add to the interest?

As usual I think your concept humanizes God. I view Him as knowing exactly what He wants


DAVID: Same old mantra. I accept that God chose the method He did. You can't refute that point, so you keep repeating I have 'no idea', but I do.

dhw: In your own words, you have “no idea why God chose to evolve humans over time”. We agree that if God exists, he chose evolution to fulfil his purposes. That is a million miles away from saying that he chose your interpretation of evolution (every life form etc. specially preprogrammed or dabbled) to fulfil your interpretation of his purpose (to specially design humans). See "Unanswered questions" for your concept of evolution which so blatantly contradicts your concept of your God's purpose.

What is evolution but the development of all the forms that evolution has produced? If God is in change, the history of what He did is clear. And humans are certainly specially designed, compared to everything else

Human evolution; split from Neanderthals

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 16, 2019, 01:07 (377 days ago) @ David Turell

About 800,000 years ago:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/neanderthals-and-modern-humans-parted-company-...

"Now a new study, centring on hominin remains found in a Spanish cave, push the likely diversion date back even further, to around 800,000 years ago.

***

"Gómez-Robles’s approach took advantage of the fact that while tooth sizes vary quite broadly within hominin species, tooth shape, at least in the matter of molars, tends to be much more homogenous, and changes only slowly.

"She took a very close look at the teeth of some of the 28 sets of hominin remains discovered in a cave known Sima de los Huesos (SH), in Spain – a site that has been subject to continual exploration since it was first discovered in 1984.

" Establishing the age of the Spanish remains was for many years a controversial process, but a 2014 study employing luminescence dating techniques and palaeomagnetism conclusively established that the cave occupants lived about 430,000 years ago.

"The date, for Gómez-Robles, was highly significant. Analysis of the hominins’ teeth revealed that they were “unexpectedly derived toward the Neanderthal condition”.

"It followed, therefore, that the Sima de los Huesos hominins must have existed after the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.

"Not only that, Gómez-Robles writes, they must have lived substantially after the divergence, unless they were, at least in the matter of dentition, for some reason subject to “exceedingly high evolutionary rates”.

***

"However, she concludes, “the simplest explanation of the results presented in this study is that Neanderthals and modern humans diverged before [800,000 years ago], which would make evolutionary rates for the SH dentition roughly comparable to those found in other species.”

"The findings are unlikely to settle the divergence debate once and for all, particularly as they sit at odds with DNA-based dating attempts. Gómez-Robles fully acknowledges this state of affairs, and suggests that much more research is necessary – and many more fossils need to be found – before the matter can be resolved.

“'The discrepancies between the dates at which clear Neanderthal and modern human affinities are observed in the hominin fossil record may seem to indicate differential evolutionary rates in both lineages, which would affect the inferences made through the present study,” she notes.

“'However, they may simply reflect the incompleteness of the fossil record, particularly for the modern human lineage.'”

Comment: We had to split at some point.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, May 16, 2019, 08:31 (376 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I rely on you to inform me about McCrone’s findings and arguments. If all the changes were present in habilis and erectus, does he think they communicated without using their voices to make sounds, and how does he know that they were not able to make some of the sounds that are now used in modern speech? Is there a tape recording?

I notice you have skipped over this point. Please tell us how McCrone knows that pre-sapiens did not use his larynx and epiglottis to make sounds now made by H. sapiens.

DAVID: I said McCrone did describe them talking at five, six words per minute, remember?

And how does he know that? Anyway, the argument now is that the mechanisms for modern language were already in place and were already being used before H. sapiens. There is therefore no gulf between pre-sapiens and sapiens, but simply an onward development of sounds as pre-sapiens and sapiens built on the linguistic achievements of their predecessors. Please explain what you think this proves.

DAVID: And I've written such a mechanism must contain God's guidelines, and you have refused to accept that limitation which means your mechanism allows that God is not entirely in control.

dhw: The only “guidelines” you can offer are a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for epiglottises and larynxes and every other evolutionary change in life’s history, or your God performing ad hoc operations on individual organisms. Yes, in my theistic hypothesis, my autonomous mechanism means God deliberately creates a free-for-all while still having the option to dabble if he feels like it. How do you know your God does not want some unpredictability to add to the interest?

DAVID: As usual I think your concept humanizes God. I view Him as knowing exactly what He wants.

If he exists, I also view him as knowing exactly what he wants, and it ain’t the same as your version of exactly what he wants. And there is no point in talking about purpose if you are not prepared to tell us what that purpose is. AnD why do you think your God is incapable of creating an autonomous mechanism, as opposed to a mechanism that preprogrammes every undabbled change in the history of evolution?

DAVID: What is evolution but the development of all the forms that evolution has produced? If God is in change, the history of what He did is clear. And humans are certainly specially designed, compared to everything else.

Yes, evolution is the history of all the forms, and if God exists, that history is clear. But you keep telling us that EVERYTHING is specially designed – even the weaverbird’s nest – and THAT is the problem with your hypothesis, because you will insist that he specially designed EVERY form, and did so only in order to specially design humans.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 16, 2019, 18:48 (376 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I said McCrone did describe them talking at five, six words per minute, remember?

dhw: And how does he know that? Anyway, the argument now is that the mechanisms for modern language were already in place and were already being used before H. sapiens. There is therefore no gulf between pre-sapiens and sapiens, but simply an onward development of sounds as pre-sapiens and sapiens built on the linguistic achievements of their predecessors. Please explain what you think this proves.

The physical changes advanced with each homo stage including humans, but really functional language appeared 50,000 years ago perv theory. Form appeared before true function. Tht is what it proves. Design first.


DAVID: As usual I think your concept humanizes God. I view Him as knowing exactly what He wants.

dhw: If he exists, I also view him as knowing exactly what he wants, and it ain’t the same as your version of exactly what he wants. And there is no point in talking about purpose if you are not prepared to tell us what that purpose is. AnD why do you think your God is incapable of creating an autonomous mechanism, as opposed to a mechanism that preprogrammes every undabbled change in the history of evolution?

your view is very different than mine in which I see Him as purely purposeful, who does not need spectacle


DAVID: What is evolution but the development of all the forms that evolution has produced? If God is in change, the history of what He did is clear. And humans are certainly specially designed, compared to everything else.

dhw: Yes, evolution is the history of all the forms, and if God exists, that history is clear. But you keep telling us that EVERYTHING is specially designed – even the weaverbird’s nest – and THAT is the problem with your hypothesis, because you will insist that he specially designed EVERY form, and did so only in order to specially design humans.

And just why can't it be proposed that He designed everything, while in charge of evolution?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Friday, May 17, 2019, 08:39 (375 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I said McCrone did describe them talking at five, six words per minute, remember?

dhw: And how does he know that? Anyway, the argument now is that the mechanisms for modern language were already in place and were already being used before H. sapiens. There is therefore no gulf between pre-sapiens and sapiens, but simply an onward development of sounds as pre-sapiens and sapiens built on the linguistic achievements of their predecessors. Please explain what you think this proves.

DAVID: The physical changes advanced with each homo stage including humans, but really functional language appeared 50,000 years ago perv theory. Form appeared before true function. That is what it proves. Design first.

What do you mean by “really functional language” and “true function”? Do you honestly think that communication between pre-sapiens and between early sapiens didn’t function? Nobody can possibly know how simple/complex early language was unless they were standing around with a tape recorder. Language must have evolved from simple beginnings to its current complexities as homos and humans built on the linguistic inventions of their predecessors in response to the need for a wider range of communication. But there would certainly have been long periods of linguistic stasis in times when societies themselves were static.

DAVID: As usual I think your concept humanizes God. I view Him as knowing exactly what He wants.

dhw: If he exists, I also view him as knowing exactly what he wants, and it ain’t the same as your version of exactly what he wants. And there is no point in talking about purpose if you are not prepared to tell us what that purpose is. AnD why do you think your God is incapable of creating an autonomous mechanism, as opposed to a mechanism that preprogrammes every undabbled change in the history of evolution?

DAVID: your view is very different than mine in which I see Him as purely purposeful, who
does not need spectacle

What do you mean by “purely purposeful”? How can you have a purpose without a definition of what that purpose is? You are playing with words. And you haven’t explained why you think your God is incapable of creating an autonomous mechanism.

DAVID: What is evolution but the development of all the forms that evolution has produced? If God is in change, the history of what He did is clear. And humans are certainly specially designed, compared to everything else.

dhw: Yes, evolution is the history of all the forms, and if God exists, that history is clear. But you keep telling us that EVERYTHING is specially designed – even the weaverbird’s nest – and THAT is the problem with your hypothesis, because you will insist that he specially designed EVERY form, and did so only in order to specially design humans.

DAVID: And just why can't it be proposed that He designed everything, while in charge of evolution?

Of course it can be proposed. It simply doesn’t make sense that he should specially design the whale’s flipper and the weaverbird’s nest when the only thing he wanted to design was H. sapiens.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, May 17, 2019, 18:52 (375 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The physical changes advanced with each homo stage including humans, but really functional language appeared 50,000 years ago perv theory. Form appeared before true function. That is what it proves. Design first.

dhw: What do you mean by “really functional language” and “true function”? Do you honestly think that communication between pre-sapiens and between early sapiens didn’t function? Nobody can possibly know how simple/complex early language was unless they were standing around with a tape recorder. Language must have evolved from simple beginnings to its current complexities as homos and humans built on the linguistic inventions of their predecessors in response to the need for a wider range of communication. But there would certainly have been long periods of linguistic stasis in times when societies themselves were static.

"Really functional language" and "true function" are meant to describe our speech ability starting 50,000 years ago. After your quibbling, the rest of your statement recognizes the progression of language after being give the anatomic mechanisms by phenotypic evolution. You cannot deny that, much as you would like to.


DAVID: your view is very different than mine in which I see Him as purely purposeful, who does not need spectacle

dhw; What do you mean by “purely purposeful”? How can you have a purpose without a definition of what that purpose is? You are playing with words. And you haven’t explained why you think your God is incapable of creating an autonomous mechanism.

You are twisting interpretations as usual. You know full well, I view God as much more serious than you do. Of course I've said, God is capable of inventing an autonomous mechanism. My objection to your proposal again returns to our individual concepts of who God is and what He controls from His desires.


DAVID: What is evolution but the development of all the forms that evolution has produced? If God is in change, the history of what He did is clear. And humans are certainly specially designed, compared to everything else.

dhw: Yes, evolution is the history of all the forms, and if God exists, that history is clear. But you keep telling us that EVERYTHING is specially designed – even the weaverbird’s nest – and THAT is the problem with your hypothesis, because you will insist that he specially designed EVERY form, and did so only in order to specially design humans.

DAVID: And just why can't it be proposed that He designed everything, while in charge of evolution?

dhw: Of course it can be proposed. It simply doesn’t make sense that he should specially design the whale’s flipper and the weaverbird’s nest when the only thing he wanted to design was H. sapiens.

Again a huge hole in your reasoning. Accepting that God is in charge of design within the process of evolution, what you say He should not do, is exactly what He had to do to eventually create humans by evolving them from previous forms. Obviously, we concptualize God very differently. Thus your problem with my view

Human evolution; balanced diet 120,000 years ago

by David Turell @, Friday, May 17, 2019, 21:20 (375 days ago) @ David Turell

From a cave in South Africa:

https://phys.org/news/2019-05-earliest-evidence-cooking-starch.html

"New discoveries made at the Klasies River Cave in South Africa's southern Cape, where charred food remains from hearths were found, provide the first archaeological evidence that anatomically modern humans were roasting and eating plant starches, such as those from tubers and rhizomes, as early as 120,000 years ago.

"The new research by an international team of archaeologists, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, provides archaeological evidence that has previously been lacking to support the hypothesis that the duplication of the starch digestion genes is an adaptive response to an increased starch diet.

***

"'Our results showed that these small ashy hearths were used for cooking food and starchy roots and tubers were clearly part of their diet, from the earliest levels at around 120,000 years ago through to 65,000 years ago," says Larbey. "Despite changes in hunting strategies and stone tool technologies, they were still cooking roots and tubers."

"Professor Sarah Wurz from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa (Wits University) and principal investigator of the site says the research shows that "early human beings followed a balanced diet and that they were ecological geniuses, able to exploit their environments intelligently for suitable foods and perhaps medicines".

"By combining cooked roots and tubers as a staple with protein and fats from shellfish, fish, small and large fauna, these communities were able to optimally adapt to their environment, indicating great ecological intelligence as early as 120,000 years ago.

"'Starch diet isn't something that happens when we started farming, but rather, is as old as humans themselves," says Larbey. Farming in Africa only started in the last 10,000 years of human existence.

***

"'Evidence from Klasies River, where several human skull fragments and two maxillary fragments dating 120,000 years ago occur, show that humans living in that time period looked like modern humans of today. However, they were somewhat more robust," says Wurz."

Comment: We adapted to starches, just like adults adapted to milk when dairy herds were developed. And I'm sure these folks had rudimentary language.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, May 18, 2019, 11:45 (374 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The physical changes advanced with each homo stage including humans, but really functional language appeared 50,000 years ago perv theory. Form appeared before true function. That is what it proves. Design first.

dhw: What do you mean by “really functional language” and “true function”? Do you honestly think that communication between pre-sapiens and between early sapiens didn’t function? Nobody can possibly know how simple/complex early language was unless they were standing around with a tape recorder. Language must have evolved from simple beginnings to its current complexities as homos and humans built on the linguistic inventions of their predecessors in response to the need for a wider range of communication. But there would certainly have been long periods of linguistic stasis in times when societies themselves were static.

DAVID: "Really functional language" and "true function" are meant to describe our speech ability starting 50,000 years ago.

I wish you would make up your mind. According to you and apparently McCrone, all the necessary anatomical changes (i.e. the ability to speak) were already in place, even in our immediate predecessors, but by some mysterious means, he happens to know that they only spoke five or six words a minute. Apparently this did not enable them to use language functionally. Also by some mysterious means he happens to know that they started gabbling away 50,000 years ago. If this is true, there must have been a leap forward in the requirements for an expanded range of vocabulary.

DAVID: After your quibbling, the rest of your statement recognizes the progression of language after being give the anatomic mechanisms by phenotypic evolution. You cannot deny that, much as you would like to.

I am not denying it at all. My proposal all along has been that the changes in the anatomic mechanisms (= phenotypic evolution),and hence in the ability to produce new sounds, were the RESULT of cells restructuring themselves IN RESPONSE to the need for a wider range of communication (just as pre-whale legs became flippers IN RESPONSE to a change in their environment). Not your God performing various operations on various individuals at various times. And of course language progressed once this evolutionary process had produced the new mechanisms. Where on earth have you found me denying that?

DAVID: your view is very different than mine in which I see Him as purely purposeful, who does not need spectacle

dhw: What do you mean by “purely purposeful”? How can you have a purpose without a definition of what that purpose is? You are playing with words. And you haven’t explained why you think your God is incapable of creating an autonomous mechanism.

DAVID: You are twisting interpretations as usual. You know full well, I view God as much more serious than you do. Of course I've said, God is capable of inventing an autonomous mechanism. My objection to your proposal again returns to our individual concepts of who God is and what He controls from His desires.

Why is a “pure” purpose without any substance more “serious” than a defined purpose? You are trying to present us with a God who has no feelings, no interests, no recognizably human traits. He might as well be a robot. He follows his own single command: “Thou shalt create H. Sapiens”, but for unknown reasons chooses to create H. sapiens by first creating a billion non-sapiens life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders.

DAVID: And just why can't it be proposed that He designed everything, while in charge of evolution?

dhw: Of course it can be proposed. It simply doesn’t make sense that he should specially design the whale’s flipper and the weaverbird’s nest when the only thing he wanted to design was H. sapiens.

DAVID: Again a huge hole in your reasoning. Accepting that God is in charge of design within the process of evolution, what you say He should not do, is exactly what He had to do to eventually create humans by evolving them from previous forms.

We agree that humans evolved from previous forms. But as usual you prefer to ignore the fact that (a) according to you, every stage of evolution was specially designed, and (b) he specially designed every other non-human life form extant and extinct, although the only thing he wanted to specially design was H. sapiens. And you have “no idea” why he “chose” that way to produce the only thing he wanted to produce.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 18, 2019, 19:06 (374 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: "Really functional language" and "true function" are meant to describe our speech ability starting 50,000 years ago.

dhw: I wish you would make up your mind. According to you and apparently McCrone, all the necessary anatomical changes (i.e. the ability to speak) were already in place, even in our immediate predecessors, but by some mysterious means, he happens to know that they only spoke five or six words a minute. Apparently this did not enable them to use language functionally.

mcCrone's description of their speaking ability is based on his knowledge of their anatomy and their presumed ability to produce bursts of air to be formed into intelligible sounds by tongue, lips and a lower larynx. Nothing mysterious. I cannot reproduce all the intelligence in the book for you, but as he presents it, it is very believable. Obviously they did have a simple language, not the sophisticated one like ours from 50,000 years ago. In an example of early language think of the evidence from the Old Testament: 2-3,000 word bases and with punctuation marks, suffixes and prefixes resulting in about 10,000 meaningful words. One can presume the spoken language was somewhat larger, and is much larger now that the Israelis have added many words from others. Last estimate I saw was 60-70,000.

dhw: Also by some mysterious means he happens to know that they started gabbling away 50,000 years ago. If this is true, there must have been a leap forward in the requirements for an expanded range of vocabulary.

Not mysterious, but based on current linguist estimates. What you fail to notice (or to stubbornly) accept is they were given the physical ability to gabble 250,000 years prior to the gabble. Form before function is the simple historical claim


DAVID: After your quibbling, the rest of your statement recognizes the progression of language after being give the anatomic mechanisms by phenotypic evolution. You cannot deny that, much as you would like to.

dhw: I am not denying it at all. My proposal all along has been that the changes in the anatomic mechanisms (= phenotypic evolution),and hence in the ability to produce new sounds, were the RESULT of cells restructuring themselves IN RESPONSE to the need for a wider range of communication (just as pre-whale legs became flippers IN RESPONSE to a change in their environment). Not your God performing various operations on various individuals at various times. And of course language progressed once this evolutionary process had produced the new mechanisms. Where on earth have you found me denying that?

God did it, not your cells, which cannot design increasing complexity. Thanks for finally accepting my timeline.


DAVID: You are twisting interpretations as usual. You know full well, I view God as much more serious than you do. Of course I've said, God is capable of inventing an autonomous mechanism. My objection to your proposal again returns to our individual concepts of who God is and what He controls from His desires.

dhw: Why is a “pure” purpose without any substance more “serious” than a defined purpose? You are trying to present us with a God who has no feelings, no interests, no recognizably human traits. He might as well be a robot. He follows his own single command: “Thou shalt create H. Sapiens”, but for unknown reasons chooses to create H. sapiens by first creating a billion non-sapiens life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders.

Same silly mantra: what is so hard in understanding God chose to evolve His creations? He may have 'human traits', but are unknown to us. Why guess at humanizing Him? Just follow His works!


DAVID: And just why can't it be proposed that He designed everything, while in charge of evolution?

dhw: Of course it can be proposed. It simply doesn’t make sense that he should specially design the whale’s flipper and the weaverbird’s nest when the only thing he wanted to design was H. sapiens.

DAVID: Again a huge hole in your reasoning. Accepting that God is in charge of design within the process of evolution, what you say He should not do, is exactly what He had to do to eventually create humans by evolving them from previous forms.

dhw: We agree that humans evolved from previous forms. But as usual you prefer to ignore the fact that (a) according to you, every stage of evolution was specially designed, and (b) he specially designed every other non-human life form extant and extinct, although the only thing he wanted to specially design was H. sapiens. And you have “no idea” why he “chose” that way to produce the only thing he wanted to produce.

Same wildly illogical mantra. I accept that God chose to evolve everything to reach the goal of humans, rather than a direct Biblical form of creation. You want me to return to accepting the Genesis version for some really strange reasoning, which cannot be followed.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, May 23, 2019, 09:29 (369 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: "Really functional language" and "true function" are meant to describe our speech ability starting 50,000 years ago.

dhw: I wish you would make up your mind. According to you and apparently McCrone, all the necessary anatomical changes (i.e. the ability to speak) were already in place, even in our immediate predecessors, but by some mysterious means, he happens to know that they only spoke five or six words a minute. Apparently this did not enable them to use language functionally.

DAVID: mcCrone's description of their speaking ability is based on his knowledge of their anatomy and their presumed ability to produce bursts of air to be formed into intelligible sounds by tongue, lips and a lower larynx. Nothing mysterious. I cannot reproduce all the intelligence in the book for you, but as he presents it, it is very believable. Obviously they did have a simple language, not the sophisticated one like ours from 50,000 years ago. In an example of early language think of the evidence from the Old Testament etc.

I keep saying that language evolves! Once the anatomy was in place, then it evolved from the simple pre-sapiens through to the complex language we know today. What’s the problem?

dhw: Also by some mysterious means he happens to know that they started gabbling away 50,000 years ago. If this is true, there must have been a leap forward in the requirements for an expanded range of vocabulary.

DAVID: Not mysterious, but based on current linguist estimates. What you fail to notice (or to stubbornly) accept is they were given the physical ability to gabble 250,000 years prior to the gabble. Form before function is the simple historical claim.

That is the nature of evolution! One generation builds on the achievements of its predecessors. What is all this meant to prove? My proposal is that pre-sapiens needed a wider range of communication, and the effort to produce new sounds resulted in anatomical changes. Once the changes had taken place, the range of sounds increased in response to ever growing needs. Exactly the same process as yours, except that you think your God performed various operations on pre-sapiens to enable him to make the sounds.

DAVID: God did it, not your cells, which cannot design increasing complexity. Thanks for finally accepting my timeline.

Did you see him operating? Why should he not have given cells the ability to design increasing complexity? The time line is irrelevant. Language evolved from the simple to the more complex – probably with periods of stasis in between, when there was nothing new to communicate.

dhw: Why is a “pure” purpose without any substance more “serious” than a defined purpose? You are trying to present us with a God who has no feelings, no interests, no recognizably human traits. He might as well be a robot. He follows his own single command: “Thou shalt create H. Sapiens”, but for unknown reasons chooses to create H. sapiens by first creating a billion non-sapiens life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders.

DAVID: Same silly mantra: what is so hard in understanding God chose to evolve His creations? He may have 'human traits', but are unknown to us. Why guess at humanizing Him? Just follow His works!
And later: You want me to return to accepting the Genesis version for some really strange reasoning, which cannot be followed.

I have no problem with your God choosing to evolve his creations. The problem is that you have him specially designing EVERY creation in order to specially design us. I don’t want you to return to Genesis; I want you to explain why he specially designed the slingshot spider if his only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens. And what is the point of telling us how purposeful he is if you are not prepared to discuss his possible purposes?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 23, 2019, 19:18 (369 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: mcCrone's description of their speaking ability is based on his knowledge of their anatomy and their presumed ability to produce bursts of air to be formed into intelligible sounds by tongue, lips and a lower larynx. Nothing mysterious. I cannot reproduce all the intelligence in the book for you, but as he presents it, it is very believable. Obviously they did have a simple language, not the sophisticated one like ours from 50,000 years ago. In an example of early language think of the evidence from the Old Testament etc.

dhw: I keep saying that language evolves! Once the anatomy was in place, then it evolved from the simple pre-sapiens through to the complex language we know today. What’s the problem?

The problem is getting you to realize each pre-human had stepwise advances from ape throat and larynx anatomy to finally our human anatomy which allowed rapid speech, which then led us to learn to use it and develop our modern language ability , over recent history. Anatomy first, use second.


dhw: Also by some mysterious means he happens to know that they started gabbling away 50,000 years ago. If this is true, there must have been a leap forward in the requirements for an expanded range of vocabulary.

DAVID: Not mysterious, but based on current linguist estimates. What you fail to notice (or to stubbornly) accept is they were given the physical ability to gabble 250,000 years prior to the gabble. Form before function is the simple historical claim.

dhw: That is the nature of evolution! One generation builds on the achievements of its predecessors. What is all this meant to prove? My proposal is that pre-sapiens needed a wider range of communication, and the effort to produce new sounds resulted in anatomical changes. Once the changes had taken place, the range of sounds increased in response to ever growing needs. Exactly the same process as yours, except that you think your God performed various operations on pre-sapiens to enable him to make the sounds.

The nuances of language phonemes required the anatomy appeared first. I'll never agree that your pre-humans efforts to communicate caused the complex anatomic and brain changes required.


DAVID: Same silly mantra: what is so hard in understanding God chose to evolve His creations? He may have 'human traits', but are unknown to us. Why guess at humanizing Him? Just follow His works!

And later: You want me to return to accepting the Genesis version for some really strange reasoning, which cannot be followed.

dhw: I have no problem with your God choosing to evolve his creations. The problem is that you have him specially designing EVERY creation in order to specially design us. I don’t want you to return to Genesis; I want you to explain why he specially designed the slingshot spider if his only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens. And what is the point of telling us how purposeful he is if you are not prepared to discuss his possible purposes?

I've discussed his possible purposes over and over. The discussions are all just logical guesswork, proving nothing. And again, if God controls evolution, then He produced everything

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Friday, May 24, 2019, 10:11 (368 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I keep saying that language evolves! Once the anatomy was in place, then it evolved from the simple pre-sapiens through to the complex language we know today. What’s the problem?

DAVID: The problem is getting you to realize each pre-human had stepwise advances from ape throat and larynx anatomy to finally our human anatomy which allowed rapid speech, which then led us to learn to use it and develop our modern language ability , over recent history. Anatomy first, use second.

Of course there were stepwise advances, and of course we used them to develop new sounds that have led to our modern language. The disagreement is your contention that your God specially designed (= preprogrammed or personally dabbled) each successive anatomical change, though he alone knows why he had to conduct so many different operations and specially design so many hominins and hominids and homos – let alone the billions of other life forms, natural wonders etc. – before finally specially designing his only desire, which was H. sapiens.

dhw: […] My proposal is that pre-sapiens needed a wider range of communication, and the effort to produce new sounds resulted in anatomical changes. Once the changes had taken place, the range of sounds increased in response to ever growing needs. Exactly the same process as yours, except that you think your God performed various operations on pre-sapiens to enable him to make the sounds.

DAVID: The nuances of language phonemes required the anatomy appeared first. I'll never agree that your pre-humans efforts to communicate caused the complex anatomic and brain changes required.

I know you won’t. And yet you know from modern research that the effort to implement ideas affects the structure of the brain. I suspect that most people would accept the idea that anatomical changes such as legs turning into flippers are a RESPONSE to new demands, as opposed to being the result of your God conducting an operation in anticipation of them. (You can multiply the example by thousands.) But as you keep pointing out, nothing is proven either way.

dhw: […] what is the point of telling us how purposeful he is if you are not prepared to discuss his possible purposes?

DAVID: I've discussed his possible purposes over and over. The discussions are all just logical guesswork, proving nothing. And again, if God controls evolution, then He produced everything.

All our discussions are guesswork with greater or lesser degrees of logic. Your “if” is the point at issue: maybe he deliberately set up a system whereby he sacrificed control, and allowed the environment to keep changing, and organisms to keep adapting to or exploiting the environmental changes (though also allowing himself the occasional dabble). This provides a logical explanation for slingshot spiders and whale flippers and weaverbirds’ nests, all of which according to your own guesswork were specially designed so that the organisms could eat or not eat one another until he specially designed H. sapiens.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, May 24, 2019, 19:40 (368 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I keep saying that language evolves! Once the anatomy was in place, then it evolved from the simple pre-sapiens through to the complex language we know today. What’s the problem?

DAVID: The problem is getting you to realize each pre-human had stepwise advances from ape throat and larynx anatomy to finally our human anatomy which allowed rapid speech, which then led us to learn to use it and develop our modern language ability , over recent history. Anatomy first, use second.

dhw: Of course there were stepwise advances, and of course we used them to develop new sounds that have led to our modern language. The disagreement is your contention that your God specially designed (= preprogrammed or personally dabbled) each successive anatomical change, though he alone knows why he had to conduct so many different operations and specially design so many hominins and hominids and homos – let alone the billions of other life forms, natural wonders etc. – before finally specially designing his only desire, which was H. sapiens.

Same issue: God chose to evolve humans from the earliest life, which He created first.


dhw: […] My proposal is that pre-sapiens needed a wider range of communication, and the effort to produce new sounds resulted in anatomical changes. Once the changes had taken place, the range of sounds increased in response to ever growing needs. Exactly the same process as yours, except that you think your God performed various operations on pre-sapiens to enable him to make the sounds.

DAVID: The nuances of language phonemes required the anatomy appeared first. I'll never agree that your pre-humans efforts to communicate caused the complex anatomic and brain changes required.

dhw: I know you won’t. And yet you know from modern research that the effort to implement ideas affects the structure of the brain. I suspect that most people would accept the idea that anatomical changes such as legs turning into flippers are a RESPONSE to new demands, as opposed to being the result of your God conducting an operation in anticipation of them. (You can multiply the example by thousands.) But as you keep pointing out, nothing is proven either way.

dhw: […] what is the point of telling us how purposeful he is if you are not prepared to discuss his possible purposes?

DAVID: I've discussed his possible purposes over and over. The discussions are all just logical guesswork, proving nothing. And again, if God controls evolution, then He produced everything.

dhw: All our discussions are guesswork with greater or lesser degrees of logic. Your “if” is the point at issue: maybe he deliberately set up a system whereby he sacrificed control, and allowed the environment to keep changing, and organisms to keep adapting to or exploiting the environmental changes (though also allowing himself the occasional dabble). This provides a logical explanation for slingshot spiders and whale flippers and weaverbirds’ nests, all of which according to your own guesswork were specially designed so that the organisms could eat or not eat one another until he specially designed H. sapiens.

Same answer: I accept that God chose to evolve everything starting after He created first life. And I believe we are the endpoint under His control.

Human evolution; we may need GI worms

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 18:34 (364 days ago) @ David Turell

An interesting comment on how we have approached our health and GI biome:

https://aeon.co/essays/gut-worms-were-once-a-cause-of-disease-now-they-are-a-cure?utm_s...

"What if our bias against a handful of helminths led us to slaughter billions of innocent and even helpful worms? Indeed, my research and the research of many others tell us that helminths are necessary for our health. A barrage of scientific evidence points toward helminths as being important regulators of immune function. Because of this, our genocidal campaign against intestinal worms apparently has a very nasty backlash that nobody saw coming. But science moves very slowly. All helminths are still labelled as parasites in textbooks, despite the fact that we now know this to be incorrect.

***

"The immune system was actually supporting rather than fighting off most of the bacteria in our body! This paradigm-shifting idea had far-reaching implications for the field of immunity. For example, the function of the vermiform (worm-like) appendix, that troublesome little structure in our gut, could now be seen clearly as a type of safe house for beneficial bacteria.

***

"These early observations led to numerous additional studies, summarised in 2004 by Rick Maizels at the University of Edinburgh, showing inverse relationships between helminths and allergies in various human populations. At the same time, Maizels also compiled an impressive list of studies using laboratory mice, showing that helminths attenuate a multiple sclerosis (MS)-like syndrome, a Type 1 diabetes-like condition, inflammatory bowel disease, gastric ulcers and allergic reactions, including allergic reactions to peanuts.

***

"My own research has shown that thousands of humans are now using intestinal worms, from a variety of sources, to effectively treat a wide range of allergic, autoimmune and digestive diseases. Based on previous studies, we were not surprised that people were having success. But we did find one puzzler: people and their doctors were reporting that helminths were helping to treat neuropsychiatric problems such as anxiety disorders and migraine headaches.

***

"The thought of actually using a helminth as a cure doesn’t seem to be under consideration, perhaps because we are locked into the view that only a drug can help us.

"But based on available evidence, we and others conclude that we don’t need to take the risky and potentially very long route of trying to make a worm-inspired drug. In fact, trying to recapitulate a complex biological relationship using a single molecule in a pill might be a lost cause. In contrast, the naturally occurring worm will apparently work just fine.

***

"The ‘poop transplant’ – officially called the faecal microbiota transplantation – now widely appreciated by medical researchers, is a truly tragic example of this problem. The transfer of faecal material from a healthy donor to an unhealthy one was shown, as long ago as 1958, to cure Clostridium difficile colitis.

***

"Reintroduction of helminths to the human body and poop transplants share several things in common. First, they involve naturally occurring organisms that are difficult to patent. With no patent, or ‘intellectual property’, the financial incentive for developing the associated therapy vanishes.

***

A second thing that helminths and poop transplants share in common is that they don’t require any of the panoply of modern molecular, genetic tools to sort out what’s going on. What was lost has been found, and now the biological system is restored. It’s easy to comprehend, akin to a vitamin, with no PhD required to grasp the picture.

***

"The lack of acceptance of proven and commonsense therapies such as faecal transplants is yet another. Failure to fund work aimed at the reintroduction of intestinal worms to alleviate inflammatory disease, despite compelling evidence from the laboratory, is another indication still. Why did we do all of those successful experiments with therapeutic helminths if nobody is going to translate them to the clinic?"

Comment: Thinking outside the box! Helminths, human round worms, may well be beneficial. Our reasoning about what evolution has produced in us is often very wrong: the appendix is not vestigial, the retina is a marvelous efficient structure, not 'backwards'. We should trust what evolution has given us. Nothing is poorly designed. Pre-modern humans obviously lived with beneficial worms. Accept it!

Human evolution; onset of bipedalism

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 01, 2019, 20:51 (360 days ago) @ David Turell

Current research:

https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/human-bipedality/

"Fossils suggests that bipedality may have begun as early as 6 million years ago. But it was with Australopithecus, an early hominin who evolved in southern and eastern Africa between 4 and 2 million years ago, that our ancestors took their first steps as committed bipeds. Yet scientists still know little about the circumstances that led to this trait’s emergence.

"Carol Ward, a paleoanthropologist and anatomist at the University of Missouri, studies this question. A specialist in human origins, Ward has spent a number of field seasons at various paleontological sites, including at Kanapoi and Lomekwi in West Turkana, Kenya, where she and her colleagues recovered australopithecine fossils. Her latest work repurposes 3D medical-imaging technologies to compare modern primate anatomy, including soft tissues and organs, with the skeletal fossil record of ancient hominids.

"The way that humans get around the world is different from any other animal on Earth. We move around on the ground, upright on two feet, but in a unique way: with one foot after the other, holding our body fully upright in a characteristic series of motions. This is something that no other primate does, and it seems to be a behavior that was present in some of the earliest members of our branch of the family tree. It represented what was really the initial major adaptive change from any apelike creature that came before us.

***

"... the fossil record tells us that we began to walk upright on two feet maybe between 6 and 4 million years ago. Brains in early hominins really don’t start to get large until after 2 million years ago, so for the first two-thirds of human evolution, brain size change wasn’t really a major event.

"We have many apelike creatures that lived in the Miocene, between 23 and 5 million years ago. There’s nothing really like us at this time. And then there’s a gap in the fossil record, largely because of geologic happenstance, if you will. There aren’t many sites at the right time and place that have any fossils. And then all of a sudden, around 4 million years ago, we have these committed bipedal animals, and we don’t have a great fossil record of transitional forms.

That said, sometime between 7 and 4 million years ago a number of primates appear to have developed upright postures, but nothing as developed or specialized as we see later on. So we may be starting to get a little window on this time period.

***

"Taking my perspective in looking at the torso, combined with the new things we’re learning about australopithecines, we are finding out they’re not quite as chimp-like in all ways as we thought. Dipping further back in time, into the ape fossil record, we are finding out those things aren’t very much like modern chimps either. You map that onto the whole tree and apply the basic principles of parsimony (what’s the simplest way this could have happened?), and it’s really supporting the hypothesis that’s been around for a long time: that maybe we didn’t evolve from something that was just like a modern chimp or gorilla. But now we’re able to show in which ways ancient hominids might have been similar or different. And that’s going to help us get a much better picture of what the ancestral condition was that led to bipedality.

"Natural selection can only work on “last year’s model.” If you want to understand why something happened, you need to understand what happened."

Comment: It seems as if our evolution from the ape group was really very special. We are certainly not chimps. Note the late development of the larger brain as compared to the early bipedal posture. The hands for different uses preceded the brain development. Seem logical to me as God did His work.

Human evolution; onset of bipedalism

by dhw, Sunday, June 02, 2019, 13:51 (359 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It seems as if our evolution from the ape group was really very special. We are certainly not chimps. Note the late development of the larger brain as compared to the early bipedal posture. The hands for different uses preceded the brain development. Seem logical to me as God did His work.

And if we were able to study the evolution of whales and elephants and camels from their common ancestors, they too would be very special. No, we are not chimps or whales or elephants or camels, but you have your God specially designing every stage of their evolution too. Why should we note the late development of the larger brain? Was your God incapable, then, of accelerating the process, since according to you, the larger brain was all he wanted? I suggest the process was a natural progression as the perhaps God-given autonomous IM in all organisms responded to the changing conditions which you think may have been out of the control of your totally-in-control God.

Human evolution; onset of bipedalism

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 02, 2019, 17:58 (359 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It seems as if our evolution from the ape group was really very special. We are certainly not chimps. Note the late development of the larger brain as compared to the early bipedal posture. The hands for different uses preceded the brain development. Seem logical to me as God did His work.

dhw: And if we were able to study the evolution of whales and elephants and camels from their common ancestors, they too would be very special. No, we are not chimps or whales or elephants or camels, but you have your God specially designing every stage of their evolution too. Why should we note the late development of the larger brain? Was your God incapable, then, of accelerating the process, since according to you, the larger brain was all he wanted? I suggest the process was a natural progression as the perhaps God-given autonomous IM in all organisms responded to the changing conditions which you think may have been out of the control of your totally-in-control God.

As usual you have no answer for my concept that God prefers to carefully evolves what He desires to create. I use history which agrees as the basis of my thinking .

Human evolution; a new group of recent humans

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 06, 2019, 23:36 (355 days ago) @ David Turell

Found in Siberia:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2205463-childrens-teeth-reveal-previously-unknown-...

"They analysed genetic data from 34 samples that range between 31,000 and 600 years old, from high-latitude sites across the Asian continent, from Finland to the Bering Strait. The samples include two fragmented milk teeth from the Yana River site in north-eastern Siberia, which are the oldest human remains found at these harsh northern latitudes.

***

"They found a lineage of people in the region that diverged from other populations around 38,000 years ago, which he and his colleagues have named Ancient North Siberians, that were not directly related to Native Americans. “It’s a people we didn’t know about. They died out. They have left tiny traces of DNA in contemporary Siberians but only a small trace, so that was a great surprise,” he says.

"Willerslev and his team found that these people moved further south to slightly warmer areas during the Last Glacial Maximum, from about 26,500 to 19,000 years ago. They are genetically closer to the hunter-gatherer populations in western Eurasia that those in the east.

"Another sample found near the Kolyma River in north-eastern Siberia dated to 10,000 years old, and may be from a descendant of the Ancient North Siberians. This sample is more closely related to the direct ancestor of Native Americans and to another group that lived east of the Bering Sea, which the team calls Ancient Palaeo-Siberians, who came about when East Asian people mixed with their northern neighbours, says Willerslev.

“'It was a really tough environment, but there were still at least three waves of migration,” he says. “Back then, there were large mammals – woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, steppe bison – so in terms of food resources, this was a really attractive place to be. You may be freezing your butt off, but at least you’d have something to eat.'”

Comment: Obviously with migrations, there were many sub-groups of H. sapiens.

Human evolution; migration from Asia to N. America

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 18:57 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

Across an old land bridge:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/oldest-genetic-link-asians-native-americans-siberia

"DNA gleaned from a roughly 14,000-year-old fragment of a human tooth suggests that people inhabiting a surprisingly large swath of Asia were the ancestors of the first Americans.

"This tooth, unearthed at a site just south of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, provides the oldest known genetic link between Stone Age Asians and ancient American settlers, scientists report May 20 in Cell. Present-day Native Americans in North and South America are partly related to those early arrivals, the team says.

"Like a previously studied, nearly 10,000-year-old man in northeastern Siberia, the southern Siberian individual inherited genes from two Asian populations that contributed to the genetic makeup of Native Americans.

"Using DNA already extracted from human remains at several ancient Siberian sites, archaeogeneticist He Yu of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, and her colleagues conclude that one of those ancestral populations originated in northeastern Asia, east of Lake Baikal. The other hailed from north-central Asia, west of the lake.

"It’s unclear where and when members of those two populations met up and mingled. But mating between them produced a mix of DNA that characterized people who crossed a land bridge to what’s now Alaska perhaps 16,000 years ago or more, the researchers say."

Comment: Migrating out of Africa, modern humans did not reach the Americas until about 16,000 years ago. And yet many of the Pacific islands were fully colonized much earlier. Not Hawaii which occurred less than 3,000 years ago. Interesting that travel by sea was faster than over land. At sea you have no idea what is over the horizon, but they apparently had enough provisions to live to see new unknown islands.

Human evolution; our unique speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 09, 2019, 02:11 (353 days ago) @ David Turell

It exists only in us:

https://inference-review.com/article/the-siege-of-paris

The human language faculty is a species-specific property, with no known group differences and little variation. There are no significant analogues or homologues to the human language faculty in other species. The notion of a species-specific biological trait is itself unremarkable. Species-specific traits are essential to the very definition of a species, at least for multicellular animals requiring reproductive isolation, and species specificity is both widespread and expected according to conventional evolutionary theory. Still, an expectation, it is important to stress, is not yet an explanation.

Why only us? Why indeed.

***

Every human language is a finite computational system generating an infinite array of hierarchically structured expressions. This is the basic property (BP) of language. Every structured expression has a definite semantic interpretation and can be expressed by some sensory modality—speech when possible, gesture when not. The BP is best explained, we argued, as the expression of an underlying computational system,

***

In Why Only Us, we argued against the thesis that FOXP2 is the gene for language. FOXP2 functions as part of the system for externalizing language to the sensory-motor interface, and many aspects of externalization are not specific to human beings. Citing comparative avian work by Andreas Pfenning et al., we demonstrated that many of the systems for vocal learning and production must have been in place before the emergence of language.

***

Elizabeth Atkinson et al. carefully reexamined FOXP2 together with the intronic regions that might have been involved in a selective sweep. They found that human-specific DNA and amino acid variations matched those of Neanderthals or Denisovans but not other non-human primates.

***

How far back does language go? There is no evidence of significant symbolic activity before the appearance of anatomically modern humans 200 thousand years ago (kya). The South African Blombos cave site contains abstract patterns using ochre crayon on silcrete. These have been dated to approximately 80 kya. There is no doubt that these patterns, which represent the earliest known drawings, were executed by anatomically modern humans.

***

Recent genomic work has refined our claims about symbolic activity. The emergence of language occurred earlier than we thought, and certainly earlier than we suggested. The relevant research is drawn from the detailed genomic sequencing of human subpopulations, and establishes that between 200 kya and 125 kya, the San people in Southern Africa became genomically separated from other human populations. The San are alive today; their ancestors presumably shared the human language faculty. The BP must have emerged sometime between 300 and 200 kya.

***

He concludes that the language faculty emerged with Homo sapiens, or shortly thereafter, but externalization in one form or another must have been a later development, and quite possibly involved little or no evolutionary change. (mybold)

***

For all that, the chasm between phenotype, algorithm, and neural implementation remains just that—a chasm. We do not yet understand the space of algorithms that might inform, or guide, the BP....it is also true that we have no direct link between the genome and any complex phenotype—say, genes and walking. This remains one of the great scientific challenges, one more thing that we cannot yet puzzle out.

***

There is no evidence that great apes, however sophisticated, have any of the crucial distinguishing features of language and ample evidence that they do not. Claims made in favor of their semantic powers, we might observe, are wrong. Recent research reveals that the semantic properties of even the simplest words are radically different from anything in animal symbolic systems.

Comment: Note my bold. Anatomy was fully developed before sapiens speech appeared. Anatomic form first, then function. Note, one of the authors is Noam Chomsky

Human evolution; unique in the universe?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 01:02 (351 days ago) @ David Turell

Paul Davies' new opinion:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/physics/wings-may-all-be-universal-smarts-not-so-much

"Whether we are alone in the universe is one of the oldest and deepest questions of existence. It was once the province of philosophy and religion, but Paul Davies suggests science has begun to make a contribution too.

"Although we have no clue how life began, and no way to estimate the odds, many astrobiologists believe life gets going easily on earthlike planets and so will be widespread in the universe. It is then possible that some of those planets might have evolved intelligent beings.

***

"With only one sample of life to go on, it’s hard to draw general conclusions. However, looking back at the evolution of life on Earth, some features, for example eyes and wings, have evolved independently many times, presumably because they have good survival value.
We might therefore expect alien life to possess these characteristics too. But other features, like the elephant’s trunk, seem to be baroque aberrations – the result of rare evolutionary accidents.

"When it comes to human-level intelligence, is that a wing-like or a trunk-like property? There is no agreement among scientists, but Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University has pointed out that advanced intelligence evolved only once, in Africa, even though it could have arisen independently in several other isolated land masses, for example Australia or America.

"Moreover, dinosaurs, which famously “ruled the Earth” for 200 million years, never evolved to make tools, build cities or fly to the moon (as far as we know). These facts suggest that human-level intelligence is a rare quirk of fate rather than the inevitable product of natural selection. If that is so, it is bad news for SETI.

"Arguments about the likelihood of intelligent aliens is made murkier by disagreement concerning the nature of the evolutionary process. For some decades after the acceptance of Darwin’s theory, there was a popular belief that life on Earth gets progressively more complex over time.

"Sadly for SETI, most contemporary biologists don’t think evolution is heading anywhere in particular; there is no inbuilt biological arrow of time, they claim, no innate drive towards complexity or braininess.

"True, life on Earth started out with simple microbes, but the emergence of greater complexity was merely the product of a meandering exploration in the vast space of biological possibilities, and not a systematic trend. The idea that intelligence is somehow “waiting in the wings” for a chance to arise is dismissed as mystical nonsense.

"Defending that view, Lineweaver invokes what he calls “the Planet of the Apes fallacy”. In the original movie starring Charlton Heston, humanity gets wiped out and the apes become the dominant species by rapidly evolving human level intelligence. The story is portrayed as if there is “an intelligence niche” that became vacated by the demise of Homo sapiens, with the apes being next in line to fill it.

***

"There is, however, a glimmer of hope for SETI.

"Evolutionary theory remains a work in progress, and in recent years some contrarian biologists have challenged the dogma that there is no directionality in evolution. (my bold)

"They have identified several mechanisms whereby characteristics acquired during the lifetime of an organism seem to be passed on to their offspring, a process known as epigenetic inheritance. This is in stark contrast to standard Darwinism, according to which mutations in offspring arise from purely random errors unconnected to the circumstances of the parent.

"If epigenetic inheritance plays a significant role in the evolution of brains, it is possible to imagine a sort of accelerating IQ phenomenon.

"In fact, the fossil record points to an upward trend in the encephalisation quotient – a measure of brain size relative to body mass – among hominins over the past few million years. Assuming something similar works itself out on other planets too, maybe we are not alone after all."

Comment: Note my bold. I believe there is directionality to evolution from simple to complex. Certainly it cannot be denied consciousness is an amazingly complex current result. But I see Davies as offering little hope for alien life.

Human evolution; needs habitable planets

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 01:18 (351 days ago) @ David Turell

This study says few are likely to exist besides us:

https://phys.org/news/2019-06-narrows-advanced-life-universe.html

"In a new study, a UC Riverside–led team discovered that a buildup of toxic gases in the atmospheres of most planets makes them unfit for complex life as we know it.

***

"The team's work, published today in The Astrophysical Journal, shows that accounting for predicted levels of certain toxic gases narrows the safe zone for complex life by at least half—and in some instances eliminates it altogether.

"'This is the first time the physiological limits of life on Earth have been considered to predict the distribution of complex life elsewhere in the universe," said Timothy Lyons, one of the study's co-authors, a distinguished professor of biogeochemistry in UCR's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences,

"'Imagine a 'habitable zone for complex life' defined as a safe zone where it would be plausible to support rich ecosystems like we find on Earth today," Lyons explained. "Our results indicate that complex ecosystems like ours cannot exist in most regions of the habitable zone as traditionally defined."

***

"'To sustain liquid water at the outer edge of the conventional habitable zone, a planet would need tens of thousands of times more carbon dioxide than Earth has today," said Edward Schwieterman, the study's lead author and a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow working with Lyons. "That's far beyond the levels known to be toxic to human and animal life on Earth."

"The new study concludes that carbon dioxide toxicity alone restricts simple animal life to no more than half of the traditional habitable zone. For humans and other higher order animals, which are more sensitive, the safe zone shrinks to less than one third of that area.

"What is more, no safe zone at all exists for certain stars, including two of the sun's nearest neighbors, Proxima Centauri and TRAPPIST-1. The type and intensity of ultraviolet radiation that these cooler, dimmer stars emit can lead to high concentrations of carbon monoxide, another deadly gas. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in animal blood—the compound that transports oxygen through the body. Even small amounts of it can cause the death of body cells due to lack of oxygen.

"Carbon monoxide cannot accumulate on Earth because our hotter, brighter sun drives chemical reactions in the atmosphere that destroy it quickly. Although the team concluded recently that microbial biospheres may be able to thrive on a planet with abundant carbon monoxide, Schwieterman emphasized that "these would certainly not be good places for human or animal life as we know it on Earth."

***

"'I think showing how rare and special our planet is only enhances the case for protecting it," Schwieterman said. "As far as we know, Earth is the only planet in the universe that can sustain human life.'"

Comment: I'm not surprised. Our planet has many fine-tuned and undoubtedly unique features. I suspect we are alone

Human evolution; unique in the universe?

by dhw, Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 13:41 (350 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "Evolutionary theory remains a work in progress, and in recent years some contrarian biologists have challenged the dogma that there is no directionality in evolution. (David’s bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. I believe there is directionality to evolution from simple to complex. Certainly it cannot be denied consciousness is an amazingly complex current result. But I see Davies as offering little hope for alien life.

I would also challenge the view that there is no directionality in evolution. It would be absurd to deny that human consciousness is amazingly complex. The great question, however, is how ALL the advances (not just human) from simple bacteria to the complexities of whales and elephants and camels and monarch butterflies and ant colonies etc. have come about. If there is alien life, perhaps it consists of bacteria only. What enabled single cells to create these vast and increasingly complex communities? For a change, David, I am on your side – but of course our whole discussion centres on the various possible explanations: a designer God doing it all, or designing an intelligent mechanism to work autonomously, or the same mechanism evolving from some form of rudimentary panpsychic intelligence, or chance coming up with the right combination in the course of an eternity and infinity of combinations? It seems to me that belief in any of these hypotheses requires a great deal of faith!

Human evolution; unique in the universe?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 14:38 (350 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "Evolutionary theory remains a work in progress, and in recent years some contrarian biologists have challenged the dogma that there is no directionality in evolution. (David’s bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. I believe there is directionality to evolution from simple to complex. Certainly it cannot be denied consciousness is an amazingly complex current result. But I see Davies as offering little hope for alien life.

dhw: I would also challenge the view that there is no directionality in evolution. It would be absurd to deny that human consciousness is amazingly complex. The great question, however, is how ALL the advances (not just human) from simple bacteria to the complexities of whales and elephants and camels and monarch butterflies and ant colonies etc. have come about. If there is alien life, perhaps it consists of bacteria only. What enabled single cells to create these vast and increasingly complex communities? For a change, David, I am on your side – but of course our whole discussion centres on the various possible explanations: a designer God doing it all, or designing an intelligent mechanism to work autonomously, or the same mechanism evolving from some form of rudimentary panpsychic intelligence, or chance coming up with the right combination in the course of an eternity and infinity of combinations? It seems to me that belief in any of these hypotheses requires a great deal of faith!

Yes, you are right in your analysis/ some of use use faith.

Human evolution; we are fattest primate

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 27, 2019, 22:21 (334 days ago) @ David Turell

Another reason we are not chimps:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190626160337.htm

" Despite having nearly identical DNA sequences, chimps and early humans underwent critical shifts in how DNA is packaged inside their fat cells, Swain-Lenz and her Duke colleagues have found. As a result, the researchers say, this decreased the human body's ability to turn "bad" calorie-storing fat into the "good" calorie-burning kind.

***

"Compared to our closest animal relatives, even people with six-pack abs and rippling arms have considerable fat reserves, researchers say. While other primates have less than 9% body fat, a healthy range for humans is anywhere from 14% to 31%.


***

"Normally most of the DNA within a cell is condensed into coils and loops and tightly wound around proteins, such that only certain DNA regions are loosely packed enough to be accessible to the cellular machinery that turns genes on and off.

"The researchers identified roughly 780 DNA regions that were accessible in chimps and macaques, but had become more bunched up in humans. Examining these regions in detail, the team also noticed a recurring snippet of DNA that helps convert fat from one cell type to another.

"Not all fat is created equal, Swain-Lenz explained. Most fat is made up of calorie-storing white fat. It's what makes up the marbling in a steak and builds up around our waistlines. Specialized fat cells called beige and brown fat, on the other hand, can burn calories rather than store them to generate heat and keep us warm.

"One of the reasons we're so fat, the research suggests, is because the regions of the genome that help turn white fat to brown were essentially locked up -- tucked away and closed for business -- in humans but not in chimps.

***

"Humans, like chimps, need fat to cushion vital organs, insulate us from the cold, and buffer us from starvation. But early humans may have needed to plump up for another reason, the researchers say -- as an additional source of energy to fuel our growing, hungry brains.

"In the six to eight million years since humans and chimps went their separate ways, human brains have roughly tripled in size. Chimpanzee brains haven't budged.

"The human brain uses more energy, pound for pound, than any other tissue. Steering fat cells toward calorie-storing white fat rather than calorie-burning brown fat, the thinking goes, would have given our ancestors a survival advantage."

Comment: Our DNA may look like a chimp's but we are very different i kind, as this study shows.

Human evolution; earliest sapiens skull in Europe

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 10, 2019, 21:56 (321 days ago) @ David Turell

Found in Grecian cave and estimated 210,000 years old:

https://phys.org/news/2019-07-oldest-africa-reset-human-migration.html

"A 210,000-year-old skull has been identified as the earliest modern human remains found outside Africa, putting the clock back on mankind's arrival in Europe by more than 150,000 years, researchers said Wednesday.

"In a startling discovery that changes our understanding of how modern man populated Eurasia, the findings support the idea that Homo sapiens made several, sometimes unsuccessful migrations from Africa over tens of thousands of years.

"Southeast Europe has long been considered a major transport corridor for modern humans from Africa. But until now the earliest evidence of Homo sapiens on the continent dated back only around 50,000 years.

***

"One of them, named Apidima 2 after the cave in which the pair were found, proved to be 170,000 years old and did indeed belong to a Neanderthal.

But, to the shock of scientists, the skull named Apidima 1 pre-dated Apidima 2 by as much as 40,000 years, and was determined to be that of a Homo sapiens.

"That makes the skull by far the oldest modern human remains ever discovered on the continent, and older than any known Homo sapiens specimen outside of Africa.

"'It shows that the early dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa not only occurred earlier, before 200,000 years ago, but also reached further geographically, all the way to Europe," Katerina Harvati, a palaeoanthropologist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Germany, told AFP.

***

"But the skull discovery in Greece suggests that Homo sapiens undertook the migration from Africa to southern Europe on "more than one occasion", according to Eric Delson, a professor of anthropology at City University of New York.

"'Rather than a single exit of hominins from Africa to populate Eurasia, there must have been several dispersals, some of which did not result in permanent occupations," said Delson, who was not involved in the Nature study."

Comment: Sapiens may have started in Africa, but the urge to see what is over the next hill came early and must related to the new functions of the enlarged brain.

Human evolution; we hear pitch better than monkeys

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 13, 2019, 19:50 (318 days ago) @ David Turell

New research on the difference between humans and other primates:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190711111913.htm

"In the eternal search for understanding what makes us human, scientists found that our brains are more sensitive to pitch, the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music, than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey.

***

"'We found that a certain region of our brains has a stronger preference for sounds with pitch than macaque monkey brains," said Bevil Conway, Ph.D., investigator in the NIH's Intramural Research Program and a senior author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience. "The results raise the possibility that these sounds, which are embedded in speech and music, may have shaped the basic organization of the human brain." (my bold)

***

"At first glance, the scans looked similar and confirmed previous studies. Maps of the auditory cortex of human and monkey brains had similar hot spots of activity regardless of whether the sounds contained tones.

"However, when the researchers looked more closely at the data, they found evidence suggesting the human brain was highly sensitive to tones. The human auditory cortex was much more responsive than the monkey cortex when they looked at the relative activity between tones and equivalent noisy sounds.

"We found that human and monkey brains had very similar responses to sounds in any given frequency range. It's when we added tonal structure to the sounds that some of these same regions of the human brain became more responsive," said Dr. Conway. "These results suggest the macaque monkey may experience music and other sounds differently. In contrast, the macaque's experience of the visual world is probably very similar to our own. It makes one wonder what kind of sounds our evolutionary ancestors experienced."

"Further experiments supported these results. Slightly raising the volume of the tonal sounds had little effect on the tone sensitivity observed in the brains of two monkeys.

"Finally, the researchers saw similar results when they used sounds that contained more natural harmonies for monkeys by playing recordings of macaque calls. Brain scans showed that the human auditory cortex was much more responsive than the monkey cortex when they compared relative activity between the calls and toneless, noisy versions of the calls.

"'This finding suggests that speech and music may have fundamentally changed the way our brain processes pitch," said Dr. Conway. "It may also help explain why it has been so hard for scientists to train monkeys to perform auditory tasks that humans find relatively effortless.'"

Comment: As usual we are very different than monkeys. The bold above raises the question of which came first complex brain or complex sound? Developed human language has involved pitches which need to be appreciated for proper understanding of speech. I think the more complex brain allowed for more complex speech.

Human evolution; we hear pitch better than monkeys

by dhw, Sunday, July 14, 2019, 13:16 (317 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: New research on the difference between humans and other primates:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190711111913.htm

QUOTE: "In the eternal search for understanding what makes us human, scientists found that our brains are more sensitive to pitch, the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music, than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey.”

I really don’t know why the search has to be eternal! I think most of us recognize that we are very different from other primates, just as whales are different from elephants, and shark are different from goldfish. Many would say that the major difference in us is mental rather than physical, but on the other hand many of those people would also say that the mental difference is caused by a physical difference - namely the brain.

"'We found that a certain region of our brains has a stronger preference for sounds with pitch than macaque monkey brains," said Bevil Conway, Ph.D., investigator in the NIH's Intramural Research Program and a senior author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience. "The results raise the possibility that these sounds, which are embedded in speech and music, may have shaped the basic organization of the human brain." (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: As usual we are very different than monkeys. The bold above raises the question of which came first complex brain or complex sound? Developed human language has involved pitches which need to be appreciated for proper understanding of speech. I think the more complex brain allowed for more complex speech.

I’m not sure why “pitch” is regarded as so significant in relation to human language (as opposed to music), though the link is very clear in bird language:
Bird Senses and How They Use Them - The Spruce
https://www.thespruce.com/birds-five-senses-386441

Birds hear a smaller frequency range than humans, but they have much more acute sound recognition skills. Birds are especially sensitive to pitch, tone and rhythm changes and use those variations to recognize other individual birds, even in a noisy flock.”

The papers here have been full of stories about Snowball the cockatoo who can dance in rhythm to human music, and about a manta ray which “asked” a diver she knew to remove fishing hooks stuck under her eye and then “thanked” him. An editorial in The Times on Friday also referred to puzzle-solving by dolphins, chimps and corvids (often reported by David on this website) as evidence that “dumb animals are a whole lot cleverer than we thought” which “should encourage us to redouble our efforts to co-exist harmoniously together”. In addition to cleverness I would cite sentience as a factor that should encourage us. For those of us who believe in common descent, it should be crystal clear that no matter how different species are, much of what makes us “human” has actually been inherited from our non-human ancestors.

To David: As for which came first, the idea that the complexities of the brain preceded the complexities of speech fits in with your belief that your God made anatomical changes in advance of the need for them (e.g. changing legs to flippers before sending pre-whales into the water). This also suggests that the changes in the brain give rise to the improvements (= materialism). As you know, I propose the reverse process, whereby the effort to produce more complex speech gave rise to changes in the brain (like the effort to adapt to water giving rise to flippers instead of legs) as the cell communities adapted to new requirements. But I think we’ve probably gone as far as we can along this route.

Human evolution; we hear pitch better than monkeys

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 14, 2019, 15:34 (317 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: New research on the difference between humans and other primates:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190711111913.htm

QUOTE: "In the eternal search for understanding what makes us human, scientists found that our brains are more sensitive to pitch, the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music, than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey.”

dhw: I really don’t know why the search has to be eternal! I think most of us recognize that we are very different from other primates, just as whales are different from elephants, and shark are different from goldfish. Many would say that the major difference in us is mental rather than physical, but on the other hand many of those people would also say that the mental difference is caused by a physical difference - namely the brain.

There are major physical changes that humans have not related to the brain when compared to other primates: hand dexterity, different shoulder uses, different pelvis allowing upright posture, vocal apparatus marked changes, etc. There is a large list of anatomic differences, not related to the brain development.


"'We found that a certain region of our brains has a stronger preference for sounds with pitch than macaque monkey brains," said Bevil Conway, Ph.D., investigator in the NIH's Intramural Research Program and a senior author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience. "The results raise the possibility that these sounds, which are embedded in speech and music, may have shaped the basic organization of the human brain." (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: As usual we are very different than monkeys. The bold above raises the question of which came first complex brain or complex sound? Developed human language has involved pitches which need to be appreciated for proper understanding of speech. I think the more complex brain allowed for more complex speech.

dhw: I’m not sure why “pitch” is regarded as so significant in relation to human language (as opposed to music), though the link is very clear in bird language:
Bird Senses and How They Use Them - The Spruce
https://www.thespruce.com/birds-five-senses-386441

Birds hear a smaller frequency range than humans, but they have much more acute sound recognition skills. Birds are especially sensitive to pitch, tone and rhythm changes and use those variations to recognize other individual birds, even in a noisy flock.”

dhw: The papers here have been full of stories about Snowball the cockatoo who can dance in rhythm to human music, and about a manta ray which “asked” a diver she knew to remove fishing hooks stuck under her eye and then “thanked” him. An editorial in The Times on Friday also referred to puzzle-solving by dolphins, chimps and corvids (often reported by David on this website) as evidence that “dumb animals are a whole lot cleverer than we thought” which “should encourage us to redouble our efforts to co-exist harmoniously together”. In addition to cleverness I would cite sentience as a factor that should encourage us. For those of us who believe in common descent, it should be crystal clear that no matter how different species are, much of what makes us “human” has actually been inherited from our non-human ancestors.

You always try to diminish the differences humans have from all other creatures to support your views about how evolution works without god.


dhw: To David: As for which came first, the idea that the complexities of the brain preceded the complexities of speech fits in with your belief that your God made anatomical changes in advance of the need for them (e.g. changing legs to flippers before sending pre-whales into the water). This also suggests that the changes in the brain give rise to the improvements (= materialism). As you know, I propose the reverse process, whereby the effort to produce more complex speech gave rise to changes in the brain (like the effort to adapt to water giving rise to flippers instead of legs) as the cell communities adapted to new requirements. But I think we’ve probably gone as far as we can along this route.

Our differences are obvious. Yes, far enough.

Human evolution; we hear pitch better than monkeys

by dhw, Monday, July 15, 2019, 10:12 (316 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I really don’t know why the search has to be eternal! I think most of us recognize that we are very different from other primates, just as whales are different from elephants, and shark are different from goldfish. Many would say that the major difference in us is mental rather than physical, but on the other hand many of those people would also say that the mental difference is caused by a physical difference - namely the brain.

DAVID: There are major physical changes that humans have not related to the brain when compared to other primates: hand dexterity, different shoulder uses, different pelvis allowing upright posture, vocal apparatus marked changes, etc. There is a large list of anatomic differences, not related to the brain development.

Agreed. My point was twofold: what sets us apart from ALL other species is our mental capacity (see below), but at the same time I wanted to draw attention to the fact that some people believe this is actually caused by a physical difference (the complexities of the brain).

dhw: […] For those of us who believe in common descent, it should be crystal clear that no matter how different species are, much of what makes us “human” has actually been inherited from our non-human ancestors.

DAVID: You always try to diminish the differences humans have from all other creatures to support your views about how evolution works without god.

I have never ever denied the enormous gulf between our mental capacities and those of our fellow animals. But that does not invalidate my statement, the purpose of which was to support The Times in its plea that we should respect our fellow animals, with whom we have so much in common. Nothing whatsoever to do with “evolution works without God”, and you know perfectly well that the hypothesis relating to cellular intelligence allows for God as the inventor.

Human evolution; we hear pitch better than monkeys

by David Turell @, Monday, July 15, 2019, 15:39 (316 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I really don’t know why the search has to be eternal! I think most of us recognize that we are very different from other primates, just as whales are different from elephants, and shark are different from goldfish. Many would say that the major difference in us is mental rather than physical, but on the other hand many of those people would also say that the mental difference is caused by a physical difference - namely the brain.

DAVID: There are major physical changes that humans have not related to the brain when compared to other primates: hand dexterity, different shoulder uses, different pelvis allowing upright posture, vocal apparatus marked changes, etc. There is a large list of anatomic differences, not related to the brain development.

Agreed. My point was twofold: what sets us apart from ALL other species is our mental capacity (see below), but at the same time I wanted to draw attention to the fact that some people believe this is actually caused by a physical difference (the complexities of the brain).

dhw: […] For those of us who believe in common descent, it should be crystal clear that no matter how different species are, much of what makes us “human” has actually been inherited from our non-human ancestors.

DAVID: You always try to diminish the differences humans have from all other creatures to support your views about how evolution works without God.

dhw: I have never ever denied the enormous gulf between our mental capacities and those of our fellow animals. But that does not invalidate my statement, the purpose of which was to support The Times in its plea that we should respect our fellow animals, with whom we have so much in common. Nothing whatsoever to do with “evolution works without God”, and you know perfectly well that the hypothesis relating to cellular intelligence allows for God as the inventor.

I agree. As we have dominion over all animals we certainly should carefully relate to them. I do recognize your hypothesis which allows God to sneak in.

Human evolution; a herd of ancestors

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 18, 2019, 15:59 (313 days ago) @ David Turell

There is genetic evidence of at least six human strains in the past:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190715094918.htm

"Genetic analysis has revealed that the ancestors of modern humans interbred with at least five different archaic human groups as they moved out of Africa and across Eurasia.

"While two of the archaic groups are currently known -- the Neandertals and their sister group the Denisovans from Asia -- the others remain unnamed and have only been detected as traces of DNA surviving in different modern populations. Island Southeast Asia appears to have been a particular hotbed of diversity.

***

"'Each of us carry within ourselves the genetic traces of these past mixing events," says first author Dr João Teixeira, Australian Research Council Research Associate, ACAD, at the University of Adelaide. "These archaic groups were widespread and genetically diverse, and they survive in each of us. Their story is an integral part of how we came to be.

"'For example, all present-day populations show about 2% of Neandertal ancestry which means that Neandertal mixing with the ancestors of modern humans occurred soon after they left Africa, probably around 50,000 to 55,000 years ago somewhere in the Middle East."

"But as the ancestors of modern humans travelled further east they met and mixed with at least four other groups of archaic humans.

"'Island Southeast Asia was already a crowded place when what we call modern humans first reached the region just before 50,000 years ago," says Dr Teixeira. "At least three other archaic human groups appear to have occupied the area, and the ancestors of modern humans mixed with them before the archaic humans became extinct."

"Using additional information from reconstructed migration routes and fossil vegetation records, the researchers have proposed there was a mixing event in the vicinity of southern Asia between the modern humans and a group they have named "Extinct Hominin 1."

"Other interbreeding occurred with groups in East Asia, in the Philippines, the Sunda shelf (the continental shelf that used to connect Java, Borneo and Sumatra to mainland East Asia), and possibly near Flores in Indonesia, with another group they have named "Extinct Hominin 2."

"'We knew the story out of Africa wasn't a simple one, but it seems to be far more complex than we have contemplated," says Dr Teixeira. "The Island Southeast Asia region was clearly occupied by several archaic human groups, probably living in relative isolation from each other for hundreds of thousands of years before the ancestors of modern humans arrived.

"The timing also makes it look like the arrival of modern humans was followed quickly by the demise of the archaic human groups in each area."

Comment: This discussion certainly includes the recently discovered 'hobbits'. What this means to me is there was a genetic drive to produce hominins on the way to a goal of modern humans.

Human evolution; very early relative from 3.8 myo

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 29, 2019, 00:25 (272 days ago) @ David Turell

A recognized early ape-like creature with some later attributes of hominin features:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/ape-like-face-of-early-human-ancestor-revealed...

"The ape-like face of one of our earliest known human ancestors has been revealed for the first time, thanks to the discovery of a nearly complete skull in Ethiopia.

"The cranium – the skull minus its lower jaw – belongs to Australopithecus anamensis, and its owner lived in the Afar basin in Ethiopia around 3.8 million years ago.

"Australopiths are thought to be the direct ancestors of the early members of our own genus, Homo, which arose with Homo habilis roughly 2.4 million years ago.

"Several Australopith species have been identified. The best-known of these is Australopithecus afarensis, the species that counts Lucy as its famous flag-bearer.

"A. anamensis is the oldest member of the Australopiths, yet it is far less well known, in part because of its lacklustre fossil record, consisting of a smattering of limb bones, jaw bones and disembodied teeth.

***

"Its teeth and upper jaw clearly mark it as a member of A. anamensis, and an accompanying paper date the sediments around the remains as 3.8 million years old, similar in age to other A. anamensis finds.

***

"The cranium was found in two parts, with the upper jaw cleaved off from the rest of the head. These two pieces fit together perfectly, says Haile-Selassie, and other smaller pieces, including the orbit of one eye, were found near-by.

"Together, the fossils give a clear picture of what the face of A. anamensis looked like, and how it fits into the human family tree.

***

"Many of the features of A. anamensis are ape-like. It had a pronounced snout and its brain would have been similar in size to that of a chimpanzee.

"But other features are reminiscent of hominin species that lived much later.

"For example, its cheek bones were forward-facing, foreshadowing the flatter faces that developed in Homo habilis and later, in our own species.

***

"In the popular imagination, human evolution proceeds through a series of species, each one being a more evolved version of the last.

“'Most of the time, that’s not really the case,” says Spoor.

"Species often represent separate branches on a tree, with the direct ancestors – the branchpoints – leaving no trace. “You hardly ever find the real ancestor of something else,” says Spoor.

"But for a long time, A. anamensis was believed to be one of those rare cases of being a direct ancestor to A. afarensis – Lucy.

"This new find challenges that text-book perfect example. For a start, the two species overlapped for a period of at least 100,000 years.

“'What's great about the paper is that it challenges this theory about linear evolution between the two species,” says Spoor.

"However, Haile-Selassie says the discovery doesn’t rule this out. One population of A. anamensis could have given rise to A. afarensis, while others diverged in a different direction. Without more fossils, it’s hard to know for sure. "

Comment: It looks like we came from a bush of pre-hominins and hominins. To me it looks as if God was willing to take lots of time to finally evolve humans, just as these findings show.

Human evolution; hand signals in us, apes and monkeys

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 12, 2019, 15:41 (257 days ago) @ David Turell

We certainly do a lot of communication with our hands as we speak. Other primates also use hand signal:

http://nautil.us/issue/76/language/the-communication-we-share-with-apes?mc_cid=c9f8dafe...

"Many primate species use gestures to communicate with others in their groups. Wild chimpanzees have been seen to use at least 66 different hand signals and movements to communicate with each other. Lifting a foot toward another chimp means “climb on me,” while stroking their mouth can mean “give me the object.” In the past, researchers have also successfully taught apes more than 100 words in sign language. “The idea is to look at language, not just as speech, but seeing it as a constellation of many cognitive properties,” says Meguerditchian.

"Most language properties involve asymmetric organization of the human brain between the two hemispheres. Given that gestures in primates seem to involve several key properties that underpin spoken language, Meguerditchian wants to see if primates undergo similar brain asymmetry when they gesture to each other. “If you want to understand the origins of language, you need to understand not only animal cognition and communication but also its brain specialization in comparison with humans, and that is what we do in primate species,” he says.

"Given both primates and humans can communicate through gestures, it provides a way of comparing how gestures are related to brain asymmetry for language and to unravel whether there are differences in how each species communicate. Meguerditchian is studying both adult and baby baboons to see which gestures they learn and the parts of their brains that might be involved. “When baboons invite someone to play, they will use their hands,” he says. “Baboons are also able to point to food they want and use gaze, like children can.”

"In human babies, which learn to gesture at objects before they can speak, the left side of their brain seems to be engaged when they do so. Certain regions on the left side of our brain, such as Broca’s area, are especially important when we speak. Meguerditchian is using magnetic resonance imaging to study baboon baby brains to see if they use a similar part of their brain when they learn to gesture. “The questions is, if language is mostly in the left hemisphere in humans, what about gesture in non-human primates? If it is the same system, which was used by a common ancestor between us, gesture in baboons might also be related to this left hemisphere specialization of the brain in baboons.”

"So far, early results from 27 brain scans of baby baboons suggest that his hypothesis is correct, and apes use similar asymmetric brain areas when they gesture as humans do when they gesture and speak.

***

“'The visual aspect of language is much more important than linguists used to believe,” says Sandler, who is leading a project called the Grammar of the Body (GRAMBY). Part of the work has involved studying the complexity of newly emerging sign languages and sign language in a number of different cultures. “Different parts of the body convey different linguistic functions,” she says. “The hands convey words, but the intonation, so the rise and fall of voice, is conveyed in sign language by facial expressions and different tilts of the head.”

"She and her colleagues also studied video footage of chimp displays at a Zambian wildlife orphanage to see if they use combinations of facial and gestural signals to convey complex meanings. Humans can knit together smaller elements of meaning according to known rules to form composites, which gives us the ability to communicate an infinite number of messages.
Sandler offers the example of “train station,” which we know is a station for trains because of the words and rules we know apply in English. She has also studied the expression of extreme emotion in athletes who have won and lost a competition. Taking her studies together, she concludes that humans are “compositional communicators.'”

Comment: It is not surprising that, as we are descended for earlier primates, we use hand signals as they do with the same parts of the brain involved. Still we speak words and they don't. We differ in spoken language and consciousness and that is a giant leap in evolution, which to my mind proves God exists as the source of that specialness.

Human evolution; limited monkey vocal calls

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 03, 2019, 23:10 (266 days ago) @ David Turell

This paper analyzes and shows how limited are monkey vocal calls:

https://phys.org/news/2019-09-world-monkeys-combine-items-speechbut.html

"The utterances of Old World monkeys, some of our primate cousins, may be more sophisticated than previously realized—but even so, they display constraints that reinforce the singularity of human language, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT linguist.

"The study reinterprets evidence about primate language and concludes that Old World monkeys can combine two items in a language sequence. And yet, their ability to combine items together seems to stop at two. The monkeys are not able to recombine language items in the same open-ended manner as humans, whose languages generate an infinite variety of sequences.

"We are saying the two systems are fundamentally different," says Shigeru Miyagawa, an MIT linguist and co-author of a new paper detailing the study's findings.

"That might seem apparent. But the study's precise claim—that even if other primates can combine terms, they cannot do so in the way humans do—emphasizes the profound gulf in cognitive ability between humans and some of our closest relatives.

"'If what we're saying in this paper is right, there's a big break between two [items in a sentence], and [the potential for] infinity," Miyagawa adds. "There is no three, there is no four, there is no five. Two and infinity. And that is the break between a nonhuman primate and human primates."

"To conduct the study, Miyagawa and Clarke re-evaluated recordings of Old World monkeys, a family of primates with over 100 species, including baboons, macaques, and the probiscis monkey.

The language of some of these species has been studied fairly extensively. Research starting in the 1960s, for example, established that vervet monkeys have specific calls when they see leopards, eagles, and snakes, all of which requires different kinds of evasive action.

"Similarly, tamarin monkeys have one alarm call to warn of aerial predators and one to warn of ground-based predators.

"In other cases, though, Old World monkeys seem capable of combining calls to create new messages. The putty-nosed monkey of West Africa, for example, has a general alarm call, which scientists call "pyow," and a specific alarm call warning of eagles, which is "hack."

"Sometimes these monkeys combine them in "pyow-hack" sequences of varying length, a third message that is used to spur group movement.

"To conduct the study, Miyagawa and Clarke re-evaluated recordings of Old World monkeys, a family of primates with over 100 species, including baboons, macaques, and the probiscis monkey.

"The language of some of these species has been studied fairly extensively. Research starting in the 1960s, for example, established that vervet monkeys have specific calls when they see leopards, eagles, and snakes, all of which requires different kinds of evasive action. Similarly, tamarin monkeys have one alarm call to warn of aerial predators and one to warn of ground-based predators.

"In other cases, though, Old World monkeys seem capable of combining calls to create new messages. The putty-nosed monkey of West Africa, for example, has a general alarm call, which scientists call "pyow," and a specific alarm call warning of eagles, which is "hack."

Sometimes these monkeys combine them in "pyow-hack" sequences of varying length, a third message that is used to spur group movement.

***

"As a result, Miyagawa adds, "Yes, those calls are made up of two items. Looking at the data very carefully it is apparent. The other thing that is apparent is that they cannot combine more than two things. We decided there is a whole different system here," compared to human language.

***

"'It's not the human system," Miyagawa says. In the paper, Miyagawa and Clarke contend that the monkeys' ability to combine these terms means they are merely deploying a "dual-compartment frame" which lacks the capacity for greater complexity.

Miyagawa also notes that when the Old World monkeys speak, they seem to use a part of the brain known as the frontal operculum. Human language is heavily associated with Broca's area, a part of the brain that seems to support more complex operations.

"If the interpretation of Old World monkey language that Miyagawa and Clarke put forward here holds up, then humans' ability to harness Broca's area for language may specifically have enabled them to recombine language elements as other primates cannot—by enabling us to link more than two items together in speech.

***

"'There's been all this effort to teach monkeys human language that didn't succeed," Miyagawa notes. "But that doesn't mean we can't learn from them.'"

Comment: We are different in kind to the point that we use a different area of the brain for speech. How did brain cell committees (from dhw) plan that move?

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Friday, September 20, 2019, 20:23 (249 days ago) @ David Turell

A new fossil find:

https://scitechdaily.com/new-view-of-human-evolution-unearthed-by-rare-10-million-year-...

"Near an old mining town in Central Europe, known for its picturesque turquoise-blue quarry water, lay Rudapithecus. For 10 million years, the fossilized ape waited in Rudabánya, Hungary, to add its story to the origins of how humans evolved.

"What Rudabánya yielded was a pelvis — among the most informative bones of a skeleton, but one that is rarely preserved. An international research team led by Carol Ward at the University of Missouri analyzed this new pelvis and discovered that human bipedalism — or the ability for people to move on two legs — might possibly have deeper ancestral origins than previously thought.

***

“'Rudapithecus was pretty ape-like and probably moved among branches like apes do now — holding its body upright and climbing with its arms,” said Ward, a Curators Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the MU School of Medicine and lead author on the study. “However, it would have differed from modern great apes by having a more flexible lower back, which would mean when Rudapithecus came down to the ground, it might have had the ability to stand upright more as humans do. This evidence supports the idea that rather than asking why human ancestors stood up from all fours, perhaps we should be asking why our ancestors never dropped down on all fours in the first place.” (my bolds)

"Modern African apes have a long pelvis and short lower back because they are such large animals, which is one reason why they typically walk on all fours when on the ground. Humans have longer, more flexible lower backs, which allow them to stand upright and walk efficiently on two legs, a hallmark characteristic of human evolution. Ward said if humans evolved from an African ape-like body build, substantial changes to lengthen the lower back and shorten the pelvis would have been required. If humans evolved from an ancestor more like Rudapithecus, this transition would have been much more straightforward.

“We were able to determine that Rudapithecus would have had a more flexible torso than today’s African apes because it was much smaller — only about the size of a medium dog,” Ward said. “This is significant because our finding supports the idea suggested by other evidence that human ancestors might not have been built quite like modern African apes.”

Ward teamed up with Begun to study the pelvis along with MU alumna Ashley Hammond, Assistant Curator of Biological Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History, and J. Michael Plavcan, a professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas. Since the fossil was not 100% complete, the team used new 3D modeling techniques to digitally complete its shape, then compared their models with modern animals. Ward said their next step will be to conduct a 3D analysis of other fossilized body parts of Rudapithecus to gather a more complete picture of how it moved, giving more insight into the ancestors of African apes and humans.

From the abstract of the article:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248419300685?via%3Dihub

A recently discovered partial hipbone attributed to the 10 million-year-old fossil ape Rudapithecus hungaricus from Rudabánya, Hungary, differs from the hipbones of cercopithecids and earlier apes in functionally significant ways....However, this fossil lacks the long lower ilium that characterizes chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, associated with their reduction of the number of lumbar vertebrae. The R. hungaricus pelvis demonstrates that the extreme elongation of the lower ilium seen in extant great apes does not necessarily accompany adaptation to orthograde posture and forelimb-dominated arboreal locomotion in hominoid evolution. Lower iliac elongation appears to have occurred independently in each lineage of extant great apes, supporting the hypothesis that the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo may have been unlike extant great apes in pelvic length and lower back morphology.

Comment: The path to bipedalism obviously started well before the brain enlarged but allowed the hands to become more developed ahead of time, anticipating the further development of the brain's enlargement and capacity for mental development. It didn't require movement to the Savannah to develop as previously proposed, noting my bolds above. I view this as God engineering evolution in a logical fashion ten million years ago.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Saturday, September 21, 2019, 10:21 (248 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: "Near an old mining town in Central Europe, known for its picturesque turquoise-blue quarry water, lay Rudapithecus. For 10 million years, the fossilized ape waited in Rudabánya, Hungary, to add its story to the origins of how humans evolved."

“'Rudapithecus was pretty ape-like and probably moved among branches like apes do now — holding its body upright and climbing with its arms,” said Ward, a Curators Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the MU School of Medicine and lead author on the study. “However, it would have differed from modern great apes by having a more flexible lower back, which would mean when Rudapithecus came down to the ground, it might have had the ability to stand upright more as humans do. This evidence supports the idea that rather than asking why human ancestors stood up from all fours, perhaps we should be asking why our ancestors never dropped down on all fours in the first place [/b].” (David’s bolds)

Interesting that this is a European fossil. Since there are different types of hominin and homo, one might conclude that different apes evolved differently in different parts of the world. One would expect transitional species to have moved among branches as well as on the ground, and (re your second bold) why should we presume that Rudapithecus did not descend from an all-fours ape? Somewhere along the line, some apes descended from the trees and took to bipedalism. We do not have, and are unlikely to find, a complete set of fossils for every single stage of descent!

DAVID: The path to bipedalism obviously started well before the brain enlarged but allowed the hands to become more developed ahead of time, anticipating the further development of the brain's enlargement and capacity for mental development. It didn't require movement to the Savannah to develop as previously proposed, noting my bolds above. I view this as God engineering evolution in a logical fashion ten million years ago.

Maybe there was more than one path to bipedalism, but I would agree with the whole of your first sentence except for the cryptic "ahead of time", for which I would substitute "when needed": it is logical that the move to a new environment engendered bipedalism, giving rise to new requirements, and so the rest followed on logically. What I would find illogical is (a) your theory that your God engineered changes before our ancestors moved into their new environment, and (b) your theory that he specially designed every change, itsy-bitsy, over millions of years, in different species of hominins and homos, when his sole purpose from the very beginning was to design H. sapiens. For me, all these separate developments in separate species and separate places suggest the natural divergences created by mechanisms (perhaps God-given) that operate independently of one single designer with just one goal in mind.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 21, 2019, 19:04 (248 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES: "Near an old mining town in Central Europe, known for its picturesque turquoise-blue quarry water, lay Rudapithecus. For 10 million years, the fossilized ape waited in Rudabánya, Hungary, to add its story to the origins of how humans evolved."

“'Rudapithecus was pretty ape-like and probably moved among branches like apes do now — holding its body upright and climbing with its arms,” said Ward, a Curators Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the MU School of Medicine and lead author on the study. “However, it would have differed from modern great apes by having a more flexible lower back, which would mean when Rudapithecus came down to the ground, it might have had the ability to stand upright more as humans do. This evidence supports the idea that rather than asking why human ancestors stood up from all fours, perhaps we should be asking why our ancestors never dropped down on all fours in the first place [/b].” (David’s bolds)

dhw; Interesting that this is a European fossil. Since there are different types of hominin and homo, one might conclude that different apes evolved differently in different parts of the world. One would expect transitional species to have moved among branches as well as on the ground, and (re your second bold) why should we presume that Rudapithecus did not descend from an all-fours ape? Somewhere along the line, some apes descended from the trees and took to bipedalism. We do not have, and are unlikely to find, a complete set of fossils for every single stage of descent!

You are correct. Fossils are few. However on page 258 of my book, Atheist Delusion is Dr. Fuller's exposition of a transitional vertebrae of a hominid form from 21 million years ago in a monkey fossil. Again well before descending the trees. So i repeat my comment:


DAVID: The path to bipedalism obviously started well before the brain enlarged but allowed the hands to become more developed ahead of time, anticipating the further development of the brain's enlargement and capacity for mental development. It didn't require movement to the Savannah to develop as previously proposed, noting my bolds above. I view this as God engineering evolution in a logical fashion ten million years ago.

dhw: Maybe there was more than one path to bipedalism, but I would agree with the whole of your first sentence except for the cryptic "ahead of time", for which I would substitute "when needed": it is logical that the move to a new environment engendered bipedalism, giving rise to new requirements, and so the rest followed on logically. What I would find illogical is (a) your theory that your God engineered changes before our ancestors moved into their new environment, and (b) your theory that he specially designed every change, itsy-bitsy, over millions of years, in different species of hominins and homos, when his sole purpose from the very beginning was to design H. sapiens. For me, all these separate developments in separate species and separate places suggest the natural divergences created by mechanisms (perhaps God-given) that operate independently of one single designer with just one goal in mind.

Again, the early evidence in time, although scattered, supports my approach not yours; I see preparatory changes, as the authors do, well ahead of the time to descend from the trees. You are still Darwinian in trying to find needs to drive evolution, while as Gould showed, all species arrive fully changed.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Sunday, September 22, 2019, 10:41 (247 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:: Interesting that this is a European fossil. Since there are different types of hominin and homo, one might conclude that different apes evolved differently in different parts of the world. One would expect transitional species to have moved among branches as well as on the ground, and (re your second bold) why should we presume that Rudapithecus did not descend from an all-fours ape? Somewhere along the line, some apes descended from the trees and took to bipedalism. We do not have, and are unlikely to find, a complete set of fossils for every single stage of descent!

DAVID: You are correct. Fossils are few. However on page 258 of my book, Atheist Delusion is Dr. Fuller's exposition of a transitional vertebrae of a hominid form from 21 million years ago in a monkey fossil. Again well before descending the trees.

How do you know it was “well before descending the trees”? Even monkeys descend from the trees! We have absolutely no way of knowing how long all these different apes and hominids spent up the trees and down on the ground!

DAVID: So i repeat my comment:
DAVID: The path to bipedalism obviously started well before the brain enlarged but allowed the hands to become more developed ahead of time, anticipating the further development of the brain's enlargement and capacity for mental development. It didn't require movement to the Savannah to develop as previously proposed, noting my bolds above. I view this as God engineering evolution in a logical fashion ten million years ago.

dhw: Maybe there was more than one path to bipedalism, but I would agree with the whole of your first sentence except for the cryptic "ahead of time", for which I would substitute "when needed": it is logical that the move to a new environment engendered bipedalism, giving rise to new requirements, and so the rest followed on logically

DAVID: Again, the early evidence in time, although scattered, supports my approach not yours; I see preparatory changes, as the authors do, well ahead of the time to descend from the trees. You are still Darwinian in trying to find needs to drive evolution, while as Gould showed, all species arrive fully changed.

Yes indeed, I find it perfectly logical that organisms would change in response to need or to opportunity. Our classic example has always been the whale, and I find your theory that your God changed legs to flippers before the pre-whale entered the water almost laughable beside the theory that legs changed to flippers as a RESULT of the pre-whale entering the water (for whatever reason). The same applies to our various ancestors. I envisage them spending increasing amounts of time on the ground (for whatever reason), and their bodies adapting to cope with the different conditions. What do you mean by “fully changed”? All species (in the narrow sense of variations) are fully changed in the sense that they are individual, functioning life forms. You have referred us to p. 258 of your excellent The Atheist Delusion and to Dr Filler’s findings. I quote:

p. 258: “He demonstrates changes in lateral processes that begin to allow for the development of completely upright posture over the the course of the next 20 million years of evolution.”

It took 20 million years for the “complete change” we are discussing! And it took umpteen different “species” of hominid and homo to get there! And so apparently your always-in-control God, whose one purpose was to specially design H. sapiens, either preprogrammed all these different changes 3.8 billion years ago, or kept fiddling and twiddling with hominid/homo anatomies for 20 million years in anticipation of each change in their environment! No wonder you have no idea why he would have chosen this method of “evolving” (= special designing) the only thing he wanted to evolve.

xxxxxx

Under “Evolution and humans: big brain birth canal”:

QUOTE: Preliminary work on the pelvis of the recently discovered 1.98 million-year-old hominin Australopithecus sediba found it to possess a unique combination of Homo and Australopithecus-like features.

All complete in themselves, but suggestive of convergent evolution as each “species” works out its own evolutionary course.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 22, 2019, 16:02 (247 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are correct. Fossils are few. However on page 258 of my book, Atheist Delusion is Dr. Fuller's exposition of a transitional vertebrae of a hominid form from 21 million years ago in a monkey fossil. Again well before descending the trees.

How do you know it was “well before descending the trees”? Even monkeys descend from the trees! We have absolutely no way of knowing how long all these different apes and hominids spent up the trees and down on the ground!

Exactly. Chimps are constantly up and down for six million years and they are still chimps. There has to be driving force to create humans and the fossil changes point to preparatory, unnecessary at the time, early changes by the driving force, God.


DAVID: Again, the early evidence in time, although scattered, supports my approach not yours; I see preparatory changes, as the authors do, well ahead of the time to descend from the trees. You are still Darwinian in trying to find needs to drive evolution, while as Gould showed, all species arrive fully changed.

dhw: Yes indeed, I find it perfectly logical that organisms would change in response to need or to opportunity. Our classic example has always been the whale, and I find your theory that your God changed legs to flippers before the pre-whale entered the water almost laughable beside the theory that legs changed to flippers as a RESULT of the pre-whale entering the water (for whatever reason). The same applies to our various ancestors. I envisage them spending increasing amounts of time on the ground (for whatever reason), and their bodies adapting to cope with the different conditions.

Again that is no explanation when we see chimps unchanged!

dhw: What do you mean by “fully changed”? All species (in the narrow sense of variations) are fully changed in the sense that they are individual, functioning life forms. You have referred us to p. 258 of your excellent The Atheist Delusion and to Dr Filler’s findings. I quote:

p. 258: “He demonstrates changes in lateral processes that begin to allow for the development of completely upright posture over the the course of the next 20 million years of evolution.”

dhw: It took 20 million years for the “complete change” we are discussing! And it took umpteen different “species” of hominid and homo to get there! And so apparently your always-in-control God, whose one purpose was to specially design H. sapiens, either preprogrammed all these different changes 3.8 billion years ago, or kept fiddling and twiddling with hominid/homo anatomies for 20 million years in anticipation of each change in their environment! No wonder you have no idea why he would have chosen this method of “evolving” (= special designing) the only thing he wanted to evolve.

As usual 'I have no idea' why God chose to evolve, but there is much evidence of pre-planning, with slight unnecessary changes in advance of full changed new species . New species are fully changed, as Gould always claimed.


xxxxxx

Under “Evolution and humans: big brain birth canal”:

QUOTE: Preliminary work on the pelvis of the recently discovered 1.98 million-year-old hominin Australopithecus sediba found it to possess a unique combination of Homo and Australopithecus-like features.

dhw: All complete in themselves, but suggestive of convergent evolution as each “species” works out its own evolutionary course.

The 'homo' features are pre-planned preparations for a full new species. And of course re' my comment, you have no answer for birth canal changes to accommodate a bigger baby head, when it involves three individuals with their individual DNA's: father, mother and baby itself.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Monday, September 23, 2019, 11:29 (246 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] on page 258 of my book, Atheist Delusion is Dr. Fuller's exposition of a transitional vertebrae of a hominid form from 21 million years ago in a monkey fossil. Again well before descending the trees.

Dhw: How do you know it was “well before descending the trees”? Even monkeys descend from the trees! We have absolutely no way of knowing how long all these different apes and hominids spent up the trees and down on the ground!

DAVID: Exactly. Chimps are constantly up and down for six million years and they are still chimps. There has to be driving force to create humans and the fossil changes point to preparatory, unnecessary at the time, early changes by the driving force, God.

You seem to think that all animals live under the same conditions at all times and in all places or, if there are changes, they all respond in the same way. All we know is that some of our earliest ancestors began to develop traits of bipedalism! Instead of your God saying: “I want to specially design a totally upright H. sapiens, and so I’ll start by specially designing bits and pieces that aren’t necessary yet”, I suggest we have local conditions in which particular groups of “chimps” (or whatever) find that there’s more to life than living in trees, and there are even better prospects down on the ground. Hence various species of hominids and homos over approx. 21 million years according to Dr Filler.

Dhw: No wonder you have no idea why he would have chosen this method of “evolving” (= special designing) the only thing he wanted to evolve.

DAVID: As usual 'I have no idea' why God chose to evolve, but there is much evidence of pre-planning, with slight unnecessary changes in advance of full changed new species. New species are fully changed, as Gould always claimed.

There is evidence only of change. What do you mean by “fully changed”? All of these species were fully changed in the sense that they were individual, functioning life forms. And what on earth would be the point of your God preprogramming or dabbling unnecessary changes? I suggest that these changes would only have come into being and survived if they had been useful. And yes, that is Darwinian – and it is also sheer common sense.

QUOTE: Preliminary work on the pelvis of the recently discovered 1.98 million-year-old hominin Australopithecus sediba found it to possess a unique combination of Homo and Australopithecus-like features.

dhw: All complete in themselves, but suggestive of convergent evolution as each “species” works out its own evolutionary course.

DAVID: The 'homo' features are pre-planned preparations for a full new species. And of course re' my comment, you have no answer for birth canal changes to accommodate a bigger baby head, when it involves three individuals with their individual DNA's: father, mother and baby itself.

The ‘homo’ features worked perfectly well for that particular “fully changed” “full new” species! You claim to believe in common descent, and so every single species in which there is a father, mother and baby had to coordinate their DNA to accommodate whatever changes led to speciation. You have your God dabbling or preprogramming ALL changes in advance of their being needed! In the theistic version of my hypothesis, I have your God designing the autonomous mechanism which enables the cell communities to cooperate and reconstruct themselves according to new demands as they arise. Change in response to need, not in anticipation of it.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Monday, September 23, 2019, 18:12 (246 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Exactly. Chimps are constantly up and down for six million years and they are still chimps. There has to be driving force to create humans and the fossil changes point to preparatory, unnecessary at the time, early changes by the driving force, God.

dhw: You seem to think that all animals live under the same conditions at all times and in all places or, if there are changes, they all respond in the same way. All we know is that some of our earliest ancestors began to develop traits of bipedalism! Instead of your God saying: “I want to specially design a totally upright H. sapiens, and so I’ll start by specially designing bits and pieces that aren’t necessary yet”, I suggest we have local conditions in which particular groups of “chimps” (or whatever) find that there’s more to life than living in trees, and there are even better prospects down on the ground. Hence various species of hominids and homos over approx. 21 million years according to Dr Filler.

A total non-answer to the point above. Dr. filler's point is mine. Why a tiny inconsequential lumbar change 212 million years ago? It didn't change the lifestyle of that monkey and wasn't necessary at that time.


Dhw: No wonder you have no idea why he would have chosen this method of “evolving” (= special designing) the only thing he wanted to evolve.

DAVID: As usual 'I have no idea' why God chose to evolve, but there is much evidence of pre-planning, with slight unnecessary changes in advance of full changed new species. New species are fully changed, as Gould always claimed.

dhw: There is evidence only of change. What do you mean by “fully changed”? All of these species were fully changed in the sense that they were individual, functioning life forms. And what on earth would be the point of your God preprogramming or dabbling unnecessary changes? I suggest that these changes would only have come into being and survived if they had been useful. And yes, that is Darwinian – and it is also sheer common sense.

But the slightly changed vertebrae changed nothing at the time for the monkey's lifestyle and was not required by external new requirements, considering your Darwin comment.


QUOTE: Preliminary work on the pelvis of the recently discovered 1.98 million-year-old hominin Australopithecus sediba found it to possess a unique combination of Homo and Australopithecus-like features.

dhw: All complete in themselves, but suggestive of convergent evolution as each “species” works out its own evolutionary course.

DAVID: The 'homo' features are pre-planned preparations for a full new species. And of course re' my comment, you have no answer for birth canal changes to accommodate a bigger baby head, when it involves three individuals with their individual DNA's: father, mother and baby itself.

dhw: The ‘homo’ features worked perfectly well for that particular “fully changed” “full new” species! You claim to believe in common descent, and so every single species in which there is a father, mother and baby had to coordinate their DNA to accommodate whatever changes led to speciation. You have your God dabbling or preprogramming ALL changes in advance of their being needed! In the theistic version of my hypothesis, I have your God designing the autonomous mechanism which enables the cell communities to cooperate and reconstruct themselves according to new demands as they arise.

Cell committees cannot plan and design. Thah is obvious. You can invent all you want about 'my God'. I view it as pure invention, not supported by my view of a purposeful, in-control God.

dhw: Change in response to need, not in anticipation of it.

Totally opposite the Filler thought and mine. The minor change has no apparent current use and simply portends a future anatomic changed structure. This supports my concept of pre-planning by God and is something which refutes your denial of God's pre-planning.

Human evolution; Africa has 90% of the evolution

by David Turell @, Monday, September 23, 2019, 20:58 (246 days ago) @ David Turell

A theoretical essay:

https://phys.org/news/2019-09-modern-humans-species.html

"...a group of researchers argues that our evolutionary past must be understood as the outcome of dynamic changes in connectivity, or gene flow, between early humans scattered across Africa. Viewing past human populations as a succession of discrete branches on an evolutionary tree may be misleading, they said, because it reduces the human story to a series of "splitting times" which may be illusory.

"According to archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Scerri and geneticists Dr. Lounès Chikhi and Professor Mark Thomas, the quest for a single original location for modern humans is a wild goose chase. "People like us began to appear sometime between 500,000 and 300,000 years ago," says Dr. Scerri, group leader of the Pan-African Evolution Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and lead author of the study. "That is something in the order of 8000 generations, a long time for early people to move around and explore a big space. Their movements, patterns of mixing and genetic exchanges, are what gave rise to us."

"'The genetics of contemporary humans are very clear. The greatest genetic diversity is found in Africans," explains Prof. Thomas of University College London. "The old theory that we descend from regional populations spread across the Old World over the last million years or so is not supported by genetics data. Sure, non-Africans today have some ancestry from Neanderthals, and some have appreciable ancestry from the recently discovered Denisovans. And maybe other, as yet undiscovered ancient hominin groups also interbred with us, Homo sapiens. But none of this changes the fact that more than 90 percent of the ancestry of everybody in the world lies in Africa over the last 100,000 years."

***

"'Instead of a series of population splits branching off an ancestral tree, changes in connectivity between different populations over time seem a more reasonable assumption, and appear to explain several patterns of genomic diversity not explained by current alternative models. Metapopulations are the kind of model you'd expect if people were moving around and mixing over long periods and wide geographic areas. We cannot objectively identify this geographic area today from genetic data alone, but data from other disciplines suggest that the African continent represents the most likely geographical scale."

"The scientists argue that this view is not only better supported by the fossil, genetic and archaeological evidence, it also better explains the paleoanthropological record beyond Africa.

"'We see physically diverse early human fossils from across Africa, some very old genetic lineages and a pan-African shift in technology and material culture that reflects advanced cognition, including new technical and social innovations, across the continent. In other words, what you'd expect from a dynamic interconnected patchwork of populations that were at times more or less isolated from each other," says Dr. Scerri. "This would also help to explain the increasing evidence for unexpected populations, including in areas outside Africa such as the Hobbits on Flores," she adds.

"'A metapopulation model helps us to find a way to acknowledge the paleontological, archaeological and genetic evidence for a recent African origin with limited gene flow from non-African metapopulations, such as Neanderthals, without falling into overly polemic and restrictive debates," adds Dr. Scerri. (my bold)

***

"'If we look at the available data through the lens of changes in connectivity, the record starts to make a lot more sense. We need such flexibility to be able to make sense of the past, or we get lost in a malaise of ever-increasing named species, failed trajectories and population trees that never existed," says Prof. Thomas. "Science always favors the simpler explanation and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stick to old narratives when they have to become over-complicated in order to stay relevant," he adds.

"'Our African origins cannot be denied, but we definitely don't yet have the resolution to include or exclude different bits of evidence simply because they don't fit with a particular view. We need better reasons than that," says Dr. Scerri."

Comment: the authors point is very important. Perhaps most of human evolution occurred in African populations and the outside fossils represent simply migration with local changes. This fits my concept of a purposeful God who didn't create scattered populations for no good reason, as suggested by my bolded statement in the article.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 08:49 (245 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Exactly. Chimps are constantly up and down for six million years and they are still chimps. There has to be driving force to create humans and the fossil changes point to preparatory, unnecessary at the time, early changes by the driving force, God.

dhw: You seem to think that all animals live under the same conditions at all times and in all places or, if there are changes, they all respond in the same way. All we know is that some of our earliest ancestors began to develop traits of bipedalism! Instead of your God saying: “I want to specially design a totally upright H. sapiens, and so I’ll start by specially designing bits and pieces that aren’t necessary yet”, I suggest we have local conditions in which particular groups of “chimps” (or whatever) find that there’s more to life than living in trees, and there are even better prospects down on the ground. Hence various species of hominids and homos over approx. 21 million years according to Dr Filler.

DAVID: A total non-answer to the point above. Dr. filler's point is mine. Why a tiny inconsequential lumbar change 21 million years ago? It didn't change the lifestyle of that monkey and wasn't necessary at that time.

How on earth do you and he know about the lifestyle of a monkey that lived 21 million years ago? Maybe the monkey spent a bit more time on the ground than in the trees because it found a greater variety of food that way, and so it had a bit of a lumbar change. And according to your theory, what exactly would have been the point of your God, whose only purpose was to design H.sapiens, specially designing a lumbar change that was of no use to the poor old monkey that underwent the operation? Ah, but of course, you have no idea why your God chose this method of “evolving” H. sapiens.

Under “Human evolution”: According to archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Scerri and geneticists Dr. Lounès Chikhi and Professor Mark Thomas, the quest for a single original location for modern humans is a wild goose chase.

Which means there were multiple locations, as in my first comment in this post, and it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that variations would have been the response to different conditions.

QUOTE: Preliminary work on the pelvis of the recently discovered 1.98 million-year-old hominin Australopithecus sediba found it to possess a unique combination of Homo and Australopithecus-like features.

dhw: All complete in themselves, but suggestive of convergent evolution as each “species” works out its own evolutionary course.

DAVID: The 'homo' features are pre-planned preparations for a full new species. And of course re' my comment, you have no answer for birth canal changes to accommodate a bigger baby head, when it involves three individuals with their individual DNA's: father, mother and baby itself.

dhw: The ‘homo’ features worked perfectly well for that particular “fully changed” “full new” species! You claim to believe in common descent, and so every single species in which there is a father, mother and baby had to coordinate their DNA to accommodate whatever changes led to speciation. You have your God dabbling or preprogramming ALL changes in advance of their being needed! In the theistic version of my hypothesis, I have your God designing the autonomous mechanism which enables the cell communities to cooperate and reconstruct themselves according to new demands as they arise.

DAVID: Cell committees cannot plan and design. That is obvious. You can invent all you want about 'my God'. I view it as pure invention, not supported by my view of a purposeful, in-control God.

In my hypothesis, cell communities react to new conditions by redesigning themselves, and we know they can do this by adapting. It is not “obvious” that they can’t achieve major changes, but that remains an open question. Once again the invention of such a mechanism would be purposeful, and it would indicate that your God deliberately chose to give evolution free rein. See “Natural Wonders and Evolution” on the subject of purpose and control.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 14:36 (245 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: A total non-answer to the point above. Dr. filler's point is mine. Why a tiny inconsequential lumbar change 21 million years ago? It didn't change the lifestyle of that monkey and wasn't necessary at that time.

dhw: How on earth do you and he know about the lifestyle of a monkey that lived 21 million years ago? Maybe the monkey spent a bit more time on the ground than in the trees because it found a greater variety of food that way, and so it had a bit of a lumbar change. And according to your theory, what exactly would have been the point of your God, whose only purpose was to design H.sapiens, specially designing a lumbar change that was of no use to the poor old monkey that underwent the operation? Ah, but of course, you have no idea why your God chose this method of “evolving” H. sapiens.

Of course I don't know the daily habits of the monkey, but I do know that slight changes in one vertebrae didn't change the animal. I t demonstrates god's pre-planning for future evolution and demonstrates God's tight control using His chosen method of creation. That I don 't question God's choices is your problem, not mine.


Under “Human evolution”: According to archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Scerri and geneticists Dr. Lounès Chikhi and Professor Mark Thomas, the quest for a single original location for modern humans is a wild goose chase.

dhw: Which means there were multiple locations, as in my first comment in this post, and it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that variations would have been the response to different conditions.

The point was 90% were in Africa, not scattered all over. And your are correct, there were different conditions in all part of Africa.


QUOTE: Preliminary work on the pelvis of the recently discovered 1.98 million-year-old hominin Australopithecus sediba found it to possess a unique combination of Homo and Australopithecus-like features.

dhw: All complete in themselves, but suggestive of convergent evolution as each “species” works out its own evolutionary course.

DAVID: The 'homo' features are pre-planned preparations for a full new species. And of course re' my comment, you have no answer for birth canal changes to accommodate a bigger baby head, when it involves three individuals with their individual DNA's: father, mother and baby itself.

dhw: The ‘homo’ features worked perfectly well for that particular “fully changed” “full new” species! You claim to believe in common descent, and so every single species in which there is a father, mother and baby had to coordinate their DNA to accommodate whatever changes led to speciation. You have your God dabbling or preprogramming ALL changes in advance of their being needed! In the theistic version of my hypothesis, I have your God designing the autonomous mechanism which enables the cell communities to cooperate and reconstruct themselves according to new demands as they arise.

DAVID: Cell committees cannot plan and design. That is obvious. You can invent all you want about 'my God'. I view it as pure invention, not supported by my view of a purposeful, in-control God.

dhw: In my hypothesis, cell communities react to new conditions by redesigning themselves, and we know they can do this by adapting. It is not “obvious” that they can’t achieve major changes, but that remains an open question. Once again the invention of such a mechanism would be purposeful, and it would indicate that your God deliberately chose to give evolution free rein. See “Natural Wonders and Evolution” on the subject of purpose and control.

"Free rein" in no way supports a purposeful God who knows what He wants to evolve. Sti ll humanizing God.

Human evolution; early fossils are rare

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 22:47 (245 days ago) @ David Turell

And not all findings are available for study by many experts:

https://inference-review.com/article/access-all-areas


"Paleoanthropologists reconstruct human history from scant and enigmatic traces of a distant past—often from little more than a handful of objects. The human fossils that form the basis for the discipline are hard to find and not much easier to study. In a highly competitive environment where research material, economic resources, and intellectual property rights are at stake, new discoveries are, at times, closely guarded by their finders. Competition both drives and constrains research as, perhaps inevitably, personal interests become intertwined with questions about our heritage. In recent years, the development of powerful tools for digitization and analysis have provided paleoanthropologists with new ways to preserve and circulate fossil data. For all these reasons, it is time to reconsider our current vision for paleoanthropological research and propose better procedures.

***

"the identification of a new human species was often a complicated and drawn-out process. First proposed in 1863, the notion of Homo neanderthalensis as a distinct species of archaic humans was only embraced at the beginning of the twentieth century after numerous additional specimens had been found. Similarly, Homo erectus and Australopithecus africanus were not widely accepted in the field for several decades after being described in 1894 and 1925, respectively. Even in the last 30 years, the identification of the oldest known hominids—Ardipithecus ramidus, Sahelanthropus tchadensis, and Orrorin tugenensis—has been the subject of vigorous debate among paleoanthropologists. The same is also true for the identification of Homo floresiensis and, more recently, Homo naledi.

***

"For decades, the oldest fossils attributed to Homo sapiens were the remains found between 1967 and 1974 at the Omo Kibish site in Ethiopia and dated to 195,000 years ago. The oldest found outside Africa were those unearthed at Qafzeh in Israel and dated to 90,000 years ago. In 2017, specimens found at the Jebel Irhoud site in Morocco were re-dated to roughly 280,000 to 350,000 years ago.3 The following year, a fossil from the Misliya site in Israel was dated to between 177,000 and 194,000 years ago.

***

"Another limitation involves the conservation and sharing of data. The question of ownership, not to mention the management of data, is far from straightforward in some countries. Ideally, custodian institutions would be responsible for generating the raw digital data for the objects in their collections. In France, imagery obtained for scientific research is free of copyright since it is an objective replica of a specimen, without any artistic or personal contribution. All the tomographic data generated from the anthropological collections of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle in Paris are available for any scientific project.

***


"Long-held paleoanthropological conventions were turned on their head following the discovery of Homo naledi in South Africa in 2013. This was a significant discovery for numerous reasons, chief among them being the age of the fossils. The specimens are relatively recent, dating from around 300,000 years ago, yet they possess anatomical characteristics reminiscent of the very first members of the genus Homo—the skull of naledi has similarities to that of habilis, which lived two million years ago. The identification of a species with such ancient features that lived almost at the same time as Homo sapiens and Neanderthals was a stunning development.

***

"Since the first papers announcing the discovery were published, there have been numerous studies that have fleshed out the initial descriptions. Still, the novel approaches and speed with which Homo naledi was presented to the field proved polarizing. The way the discovery was handled has been the subject of much debate and generated considerable criticism. Judging from earlier discoveries, this mixed reception should come as no surprise. Such a significant announcement will also inevitably overshadow other specimens and hypotheses, particularly when accompanied by widespread media coverage.

"In contrast to the Homo naledi specimens, the fossils of other species that might form the basis for worthwhile comparisons, are accessible only to varying degrees and in some cases not at all. An exhaustive comparative study would be impossible for the simple reason that access to the material from other important discoveries is often limited to just a few tens of specimens. It is for this reason that the release of the high-resolution Homo naledi scans is an event, in my view, almost as striking as the announcement of the new species and represents a significant milestone in the development of the field."

Comment: No wonder H. sapiens ancestry is so confusing. Expect many more specimens before it clears up.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 11:31 (244 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Dr. filler's point is mine. Why a tiny inconsequential lumbar change 21 million years ago? It didn't change the lifestyle of that monkey and wasn't necessary at that time.

dhw: How on earth do you and he know about the lifestyle of a monkey that lived 21 million years ago? Maybe the monkey spent a bit more time on the ground than in the trees because it found a greater variety of food that way, and so it had a bit of a lumbar change. […]

DAVID: Of course I don't know the daily habits of the monkey, but I do know that slight changes in one vertebrae didn't change the animal. It demonstrates god's pre-planning for future evolution and demonstrates God's tight control using His chosen method of creation.

So 21 million years ago your always-in-total-control God, whose only purpose was to design H. sapiens, went to all the trouble of specially changing one vertebra, which was of no use whatsoever to the monkey concerned, but this demonstrates his chosen method of designing the only thing he wanted to design. No wonder you have no idea why he chose such a method!

DAVID: That I don't question God's choices is your problem, not mine.

Once more: my problem is that you don’t question your INTERPRETATION of his choice of purpose and method!

Under “Human evolution”: According to archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Scerri and geneticists Dr. Lounès Chikhi and Professor Mark Thomas, the quest for a single original location for modern humans is a wild goose chase.

dhw: Which means there were multiple locations, […] and it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that variations would have been the response to different conditions.

DAVID: The point was 90% were in Africa, not scattered all over. And you are correct, there were different conditions in all part of Africa.

And so, I repeat, it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that the variations would have been the response to different conditions, as opposed to your God specially designing all of them in anticipation of different conditions and as steps along the way to specially designing the only species he wanted to create.

DAVID: Cell committees cannot plan and design. That is obvious. You can invent all you want about 'my God'. I view it as pure invention, not supported by my view of a purposeful, in-control God.

dhw: In my hypothesis, cell communities react to new conditions by redesigning themselves, and we know they can do this by adapting. It is not “obvious” that they can’t achieve major changes, but that remains an open question. Once again the invention of such a mechanism would be purposeful, and it would indicate that your God deliberately chose to give evolution free rein.

DAVID: "Free rein" in no way supports a purposeful God who knows what He wants to evolve. Still humanizing God.

Free rein supports the idea that a purposeful God’s purpose was the higgledy-piggledy bush which constitutes the history of life on Earth. The higgledy-piggledy bush ”in no way” supports the idea that from the very beginning God only wanted one species and yet was in total control of every branch!

DAVID: (under “early fossils”) No wonder H. sapiens ancestry is so confusing. Expect many more specimens before it clears up.

No wonder you have no idea why your always-in-control God would specially design all these confusingly different specimens when all he wanted was just one.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 19:23 (244 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Of course I don't know the daily habits of the monkey, but I do know that slight changes in one vertebrae didn't change the animal. It demonstrates god's pre-planning for future evolution and demonstrates God's tight control using His chosen method of creation.

dhw: So 21 million years ago your always-in-total-control God, whose only purpose was to design H. sapiens, went to all the trouble of specially changing one vertebra, which was of no use whatsoever to the monkey concerned, but this demonstrates his chosen method of designing the only thing he wanted to design. No wonder you have no idea why he chose such a method!

The definition of evolution is a change from one form to another, or have you forgotten? Progress has to be designed in my view , and in the fossil record are small changes and large gaps. Most species changes are after large gaps in form or physiology but obviously some are small. And as before, its not that I have 'no idea', I don't question God's choice to evolve all forms.


DAVID: That I don't question God's choices is your problem, not mine.

dhw: Once more: my problem is that you don’t question your INTERPRETATION of his choice of purpose and method!

Why should I? You are the one who has trouble with it, because it doesn't humanize God as much as you wish.


Under “Human evolution”: According to archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Scerri and geneticists Dr. Lounès Chikhi and Professor Mark Thomas, the quest for a single original location for modern humans is a wild goose chase.

dhw: Which means there were multiple locations, […] and it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that variations would have been the response to different conditions.

DAVID: The point was 90% were in Africa, not scattered all over. And you are correct, there were different conditions in all part of Africa.

dhw: And so, I repeat, it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that the variations would have been the response to different conditions, as opposed to your God specially designing all of them in anticipation of different conditions and as steps along the way to specially designing the only species he wanted to create.

See the website below to understand that Neanderthal genes affect our skin and immunity and are beneficial to us. A wise God would let various homo types to contribute to the final sapiens product by developing different appropriate responses to a variety of environmental issues:

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/neanderthal-dna-in-modern-human-genomes-is-not-s...

"In the past five years, a flurry of research has sought to answer that question. Genomic analyses have associated Neanderthal variants with differences in the expression levels of diverse genes and of phenotypes ranging from skin and hair color to immune function and neuropsychiatric disease. But researchers cannot yet say how these archaic sequences affect people today, much less the humans who acquired them some 50,000–55,000 years ago."

DAVID: "Free rein" in no way supports a purposeful God who knows what He wants to evolve. Still humanizing God.

dhw: Free rein supports the idea that a purposeful God’s purpose was the higgledy-piggledy bush which constitutes the history of life on Earth. The higgledy-piggledy bush ”in no way” supports the idea that from the very beginning God only wanted one species and yet was in total control of every branch!

Of course it does! The bush supplies energy for evolution to continue under God's guidance.


DAVID: (under “early fossils”) No wonder H. sapiens ancestry is so confusing. Expect many more specimens before it clears up.

dhw: No wonder you have no idea why your always-in-control God would specially design all these confusingly different specimens when all he wanted was just one.

Note the website above and what it explains about interbreeding results.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Thursday, September 26, 2019, 08:34 (243 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The definition of evolution is a change from one form to another, or have you forgotten? Progress has to be designed in my view , and in the fossil record are small changes and large gaps. Most species changes are after large gaps in form or physiology but obviously some are small. And as before, its not that I have 'no idea', I don't question God's choice to evolve all forms.

Since we both believe evolution happened, the disagreement is not over what evolution means but over your explanation of your God’s thinking! And you use every means possible to avoid combining the two irreconcilable parts of your theory: yes, if God exists, he chose to evolve all forms. No, evolve does not mean specially design, and no, evolve all forms does not mean that his one and only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens, but he decided not to do so for 3.X billion years and therefore had to specially design all the other forms in order to cover the time he had decided to take.

DAVID: That I don't question God's choices is your problem, not mine.

dhw: Once more: my problem is that you don’t question your INTERPRETATION of his choice of purpose and method!

DAVID: Why should I? You are the one who has trouble with it, because it doesn't humanize God as much as you wish.

I have trouble with it because it offers an interpretation of your God’s purpose and method which even you find illogical (you have “no idea” why he would choose this way of fulfilling his one and only purpose). The illogicality of your explanation is not justified by complaining that a logical explanation entails using human logic!

dhw: …it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that the variations would have been the response to different conditions, as opposed to your God specially designing all of them in anticipation of different conditions and as steps along the way to specially designing the only species he wanted to create.

DAVID: See the website below to understand that Neanderthal genes affect our skin and immunity and are beneficial to us. A wise God would let various homo types to contribute to the final sapiens product by developing different appropriate responses to a variety of environmental issues:

None of this justifies the illogicality of the bolded part of your theory above, and I still don’t know why you think an always-in-control God found it necessary to specially design H. sapiens by first designing umpteen different hominids and homos, with a useless 21-million- year-old vertebra here and a Neanderthal gene there. In any case, you now give us a quote which leaves wide open the effect of these genes on people today:

But researchers cannot yet say how these archaic sequences affect people today, much less the humans who acquired them some 50,000–55,000 years ago."

DAVID: "Free rein" in no way supports a purposeful God who knows what He wants to evolve. Still humanizing God.

dhw: Free rein supports the idea that a purposeful God’s purpose was the higgledy-piggledy bush which constitutes the history of life on Earth. The higgledy-piggledy bush ”in no way” supports the idea that from the very beginning God only wanted one species and yet was in total control of every branch!

DAVID: Of course it does! The bush supplies energy for evolution to continue under God's guidance.

How does that come to mean that his sole purpose was to specially design H. sapiens? All it means is that so long as there is life, there is life! “Under God’s guidance” merely repeats your fixed belief that he specially designed every branch of the bush.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 26, 2019, 19:43 (243 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The definition of evolution is a change from one form to another, or have you forgotten? Progress has to be designed in my view , and in the fossil record are small changes and large gaps. Most species changes are after large gaps in form or physiology but obviously some are small. And as before, its not that I have 'no idea', I don't question God's choice to evolve all forms.

dhw: Since we both believe evolution happened, the disagreement is not over what evolution means but over your explanation of your God’s thinking! And you use every means possible to avoid combining the two irreconcilable parts of your theory: yes, if God exists, he chose to evolve all forms. No, evolve does not mean specially design, and no, evolve all forms does not mean that his one and only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens, but he decided not to do so for 3.X billion years and therefore had to specially design all the other forms in order to cover the time he had decided to take.

My meaning of the word evolve, since you brought up the word's meaning, is that new complexities developed from past complexities creating a process that advanced complexity. We differ in that I firmly think God guided the process and in doing so He actually designed what required design and gave organisms the epigenetic ability for minor adaptations. As for humans, we are such an unusual result they are an obvious goal of evolution. I am not confused about God's thinking, since I believe what happened is God's doing as Creator. He obviously chose to evolve humans over time.

dhw: I have trouble with it because it offers an interpretation of your God’s purpose and method which even you find illogical (you have “no idea” why he would choose this way of fulfilling his one and only purpose). The illogicality of your explanation is not justified by complaining that a logical explanation entails using human logic!

dhw: …it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that the variations would have been the response to different conditions, as opposed to your God specially designing all of them in anticipation of different conditions and as steps along the way to specially designing the only species he wanted to create.

Having no idea as to why God made His choice to evolve humans, means only that
I cannot know His reasons, only guess at them, and therefore is a totally logical position.


dhw: None of this justifies the illogicality of the bolded part of your theory above, and I still don’t know why you think an always-in-control God found it necessary to specially design H. sapiens by first designing umpteen different hominids and homos, with a useless 21-million- year-old vertebra here and a Neanderthal gene there. In any case, you now give us a quote which leaves wide open the effect of these genes on people today:

But researchers cannot yet say how these archaic sequences affect people today, much less the humans who acquired them some 50,000–55,000 years ago."

What a wild assumption. The researchers know the genes exist, but how much they affect us is still under current investigation, not that they are probably valueless as you imply.


DAVID: "Free rein" in no way supports a purposeful God who knows what He wants to evolve. Still humanizing God.

dhw: Free rein supports the idea that a purposeful God’s purpose was the higgledy-piggledy bush which constitutes the history of life on Earth. The higgledy-piggledy bush ”in no way” supports the idea that from the very beginning God only wanted one species and yet was in total control of every branch!

DAVID: Of course it does! The bush supplies energy for evolution to continue under God's guidance.

dhw: How does that come to mean that his sole purpose was to specially design H. sapiens? All it means is that so long as there is life, there is life! “Under God’s guidance” merely repeats your fixed belief that he specially designed every branch of the bush.

Have you forgotten the argument that we humans are so special we must be his final purpose, as Adler argues from his position as a believer philosopher. You can't ignore it!

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Friday, September 27, 2019, 18:15 (242 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The definition of evolution is a change from one form to another, or have you forgotten? […] And as before, its not that I have 'no idea', I don't question God's choice to evolve all forms.

dhw: Since we both believe evolution happened, the disagreement is not over what evolution means but over your explanation of your God’s thinking! And you use every means possible to avoid combining the two irreconcilable parts of your theory. […]

DAVID: My meaning of the word evolve, since you brought up the word's meaning, is that new complexities developed from past complexities creating a process that advanced complexity. We differ in that I firmly think God guided the process and in doing so He actually designed what required design and gave organisms the epigenetic ability for minor adaptations.

“Guided the process” means that he either preprogrammed or personally dabbled every innovation, not to mention every lifestyle (e.g. the monarch butterfly) and natural wonder (e.g. the weaverbird’s nest), which you insist were also specially designed. Since you are now distinguishing between actual design (preprogramming and/or dabbling) and “epigenetic ability”, I can only assume that the latter means he gave autonomous intelligence to all organisms. If it was not autonomous, then it was still “guided”, i.e. preprogrammed or dabbled. Firstly, this autonomy can also apply to bacteria, and secondly this is the mechanism which I call cellular intelligence and which may also have directed evolution, though that remains an unproven hypothesis. Just trying to clarify. Any disagreement with this interpretation of your statement?

DAVID: As for humans, we are such an unusual result they are an obvious goal of evolution. I am not confused about God's thinking, since I believe what happened is God's doing as Creator. He obviously chose to evolve humans over time.

Yet again you try to separate and even change the different parts of your theory in order to hide the illogicality of their COMBINATION. Firstly, you’ve gone back to “AN obvious goal” as if there were others, but you insist that the goal of all preceding life forms extant and extinct was to provide food to keep life going because he had decided – for reasons you cannot fathom – to wait 3.X billion years before he started designing all the life forms that led to the only one he wanted. But secondly, even if it were true that his one and only goal was to produce H. sapiens, you refuse to consider any logical explanation of the delay (e.g. experimentation), and so you believe he “had to” abide by the procedure bolded above, because you happen to know that he is in total control and he cannot possibly have any characteristics (such as the desire to experiment) in common with the humans you say he specially created.

dhw: The illogicality of your explanation is not justified by complaining that a logical explanation entails using human logic!

DAVID: Having no idea as to why God made His choice to evolve humans, means only that I cannot know His reasons, only guess at them, and therefore is a totally logical position.

How can not knowing his reasons but making a guess which you yourself cannot explain (you have no idea why) be called a totally logical position?

dhw: […] I still don’t know why you think an always-in-control God found it necessary to specially design H. sapiens by first designing umpteen different hominids and homos, with a useless 21-million- year-old vertebra here and a Neanderthal gene there. In any case, you now give us a quote which leaves wide open the effect of these genes on people today:
But researchers cannot yet say how these archaic sequences affect people today, much less the humans who acquired them some 50,000–55,000 years ago."

DAVID: What a wild assumption. The researchers know the genes exist, but how much they affect us is still under current investigation, not that they are probably valueless as you imply.

It was you who wrote that the “tiny inconsequential lumbar change 21 million years ago […] didn’t change the lifestyle of that monkey and wasn’t necessary at that time”, which I take to mean valueless. And it was you who wrote: “Neanderthal genes affect our skin and immunity and are beneficial to us. A wise God would let various homo types to contribute to the final sapiens product by developing different appropriate responses to a variety of environmental issues”. What a “wild assumption”, when the researchers themselves leave such claims wide open.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Friday, September 27, 2019, 22:28 (242 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: My meaning of the word evolve, since you brought up the word's meaning, is that new complexities developed from past complexities creating a process that advanced complexity. We differ in that I firmly think God guided the process and in doing so He actually designed what required design and gave organisms the epigenetic ability for minor adaptations.

“Guided the process” means that he either preprogrammed or personally dabbled every innovation, not to mention every lifestyle (e.g. the monarch butterfly) and natural wonder (e.g. the weaverbird’s nest), which you insist were also specially designed. Since you are now distinguishing between actual design (preprogramming and/or dabbling) and “epigenetic ability”, I can only assume that the latter means he gave autonomous intelligence to all organisms. If it was not autonomous, then it was still “guided”, i.e. preprogrammed or dabbled. Firstly, this autonomy can also apply to bacteria, and secondly this is the mechanism which I call cellular intelligence and which may also have directed evolution, though that remains an unproven hypothesis. Just trying to clarify. Any disagreement with this interpretation of your statement?

epigenetic means nothing more than minor necessary adaptations. Otherwise OK.

DAVID: As for humans, we are such an unusual result they are an obvious goal of evolution. I am not confused about God's thinking, since I believe what happened is God's doing as Creator. He obviously chose to evolve humans over time.

dhw: Yet again you try to separate and even change the different parts of your theory in order to hide the illogicality of their COMBINATION. Firstly, you’ve gone back to “AN obvious goal” as if there were others, but you insist that the goal of all preceding life forms extant and extinct was to provide food to keep life going because he had decided – for reasons you cannot fathom – to wait 3.X billion years before he started designing all the life forms that led to the only one he wanted.

The humans were not the only thing He wanted. he knew He needed the entire bush of life as support for the time evolution took. Humans were his final goal, and I firmly believe we are last.

dhw: But secondly, even if it were true that his one and only goal was to produce H. sapiens, you refuse to consider any logical explanation of the delay (e.g. experimentation), and so you believe he “had to” abide by the procedure bolded above, because you happen to know that he is in total control and he cannot possibly have any characteristics (such as the desire to experiment) in common with the humans you say he specially created.

He very well could think like us, but it is only a guess, as your suppositions about His thoughts are..

dhw: How can not knowing his reasons but making a guess which you yourself cannot explain (you have no idea why) be called a totally logical position?

I don't try to explain. I just accept what He created

dhw: […] I still don’t know why you think an always-in-control God found it necessary to specially design H. sapiens by first designing umpteen different hominids and homos, with a useless 21-million- year-old vertebra here and a Neanderthal gene there. In any case, you now give us a quote which leaves wide open the effect of these genes on people today:
“But researchers cannot yet say how these archaic sequences affect people today, much less the humans who acquired them some 50,000–55,000 years ago."

DAVID: What a wild assumption. The researchers know the genes exist, but how much they affect us is still under current investigation, not that they are probably valueless as you imply.

dhw: It was you who wrote that the “tiny inconsequential lumbar change 21 million years ago […] didn’t change the lifestyle of that monkey and wasn’t necessary at that time”, which I take to mean valueless.

Not valueless, but a tiny astep toward the anticipated future.

dhw: And it was you who wrote: “Neanderthal genes affect our skin and immunity and are beneficial to us. A wise God would let various homo types to contribute to the final sapiens product by developing different appropriate responses to a variety of environmental issues”. What a “wild assumption”, when the researchers themselves leave such claims wide open.

They assume there are such benefits as they noted. You are struggling to argue.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Saturday, September 28, 2019, 10:41 (241 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Since you are now distinguishing between actual design (preprogramming and/or dabbling) and “epigenetic ability”, I can only assume that the latter means he gave autonomous intelligence to all organisms. If it was not autonomous, then it was still “guided”, i.e. preprogrammed or dabbled. Firstly, this autonomy can also apply to bacteria, and secondly this is the mechanism which I call cellular intelligence and which may also have directed evolution, though that remains an unproven hypothesis. Just trying to clarify. Any disagreement with this interpretation of your statement?

DAVID: epigenetic means nothing more than minor necessary adaptations. Otherwise OK.

We are making progress. You agree that your God (if he exists) gave organisms (cell communities) a degree of autonomous intelligence, but only to design minor adaptations. This autonomous intelligence can also be present in bacteria. The question then becomes where we draw the line between minor and major adaptations, and between major adaptations and innovations. The hypothesis I offer – just as unproven as your hypothesis of divine preprogramming/dabbling – is that the same mechanism is capable of designing all of them. Just clarifying again.

DAVID: The humans were not the only thing He wanted. he knew He needed the entire bush of life as support for the time evolution took. Humans were his final goal, and I firmly believe we are last.

In your theory, it wasn’t evolution that “took time” but your God who for some inexplicable reason DECIDED to wait 3.X billion years before starting to “evolve” (= specially design) the only thing he wanted to design, which was us. And he NEEDED (very different from “wanted”) the entire bush to COVER that time! Why do you keep ignoring your own precise account of the process: “He knew those designs were required interim goals to establish the necessary food supply to cover the time he knew he had decided to take.

dhw: But secondly, even if it were true that his one and only goal was to produce H. sapiens, you refuse to consider any logical explanation of the delay (e.g. experimentation), and so you believe he “had to” abide by the procedure bolded above, because you happen to know that he is in total control and he cannot possibly have any characteristics (such as the desire to experiment) in common with the humans you say he specially created.

DAVID: He very well could think like us, but it is only a guess, as your suppositions about His thoughts are.

Of course it’s a guess, just like the whole of your theory, bolded above, and what’s more yours is a guess which you yourself find inexplicable: “Haven’t you realized by now, I have no idea why God chose to evolve humans over time?” More importantly, since you now recognize that your God may very well think like us, please stop dismissing logical explanations purely on the grounds that you believe your God does NOT think like us.

dhw: […] I still don’t know why you think an always-in-control God found it necessary to specially design H. sapiens by first designing umpteen different hominids and homos, with a useless 21-million- year-old vertebra here and a Neanderthal gene there.

DAVID: What a wild assumption. The researchers know the genes exist, but how much they affect us is still under current investigation, not that they are probably valueless as you imply.

dhw: It was you who wrote that the “tiny inconsequential lumbar change 21 million years ago […] didn’t change the lifestyle of that monkey and wasn’t necessary at that time”, which I take to mean valueless.

DAVID: Not valueless, but a tiny step toward the anticipated future.

You introduced the word “valueless”. I used the word "useless", which I think sums up inconsequential, not necessary, and not changing anything. And I still don’t understand why a God, who according to you can produce whole organs and organisms with a single dabble, should choose to dabble one single, useless vertebra to “anticipate” what he is going to design in the future.

dhw: And it was you who wrote: Neanderthal genes affect our skin and immunity and are beneficial to us. A wise God would let various homo types to contribute to the final sapiens product by developing different appropriate responses to a variety of environmental issues."

DAVID: They assume there are such benefits as they noted. You are struggling to argue.

They make no such assumption: “But researchers cannot yet say how these archaic sequences affect people today, much less the humans who acquired them some 50,000–55,000 years ago." Besides, why couldn't a totally-in-control God enable the only desired species to develop different responses etc.? Oh, but I mustn't ask such questions, because although God might very well think like humans, you happen to know that he doesn't.

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 28, 2019, 15:45 (241 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: epigenetic means nothing more than minor necessary adaptations. Otherwise OK.


dhw: We are making progress. You agree that your God (if he exists) gave organisms (cell communities) a degree of autonomous intelligence, but only to design minor adaptations. This autonomous intelligence can also be present in bacteria. The question then becomes where we draw the line between minor and major adaptations, and between major adaptations and innovations. The hypothesis I offer – just as unproven as your hypothesis of divine preprogramming/dabbling – is that the same mechanism is capable of designing all of them. Just clarifying again.

No progress. Epigenetics does not cause a new species. Something else must do it.


DAVID: The humans were not the only thing He wanted. he knew He needed the entire bush of life as support for the time evolution took. Humans were his final goal, and I firmly believe we are last.

dhw: In your theory, it wasn’t evolution that “took time” but your God who for some inexplicable reason DECIDED to wait 3.X billion years before starting to “evolve” (= specially design) the only thing he wanted to design, which was us.

Not my theory at all. History tells us how long evolution took, and God used that mechanism.

dhw: And he NEEDED (very different from “wanted”) the entire bush to COVER that time! Why do you keep ignoring your own precise account of the process: “He knew those designs were required interim goals to establish the necessary food supply to cover the time he knew he had decided to take.

Of course!


dhw: But secondly, even if it were true that his one and only goal was to produce H. sapiens, you refuse to consider any logical explanation of the delay (e.g. experimentation), and so you believe he “had to” abide by the procedure bolded above, because you happen to know that he is in total control and he cannot possibly have any characteristics (such as the desire to experiment) in common with the humans you say he specially created.

My God does not need to experiment. His creations are quite complex: quantum mechanism and the origin of consciousness

DAVID: He very well could think like us, but it is only a guess, as your suppositions about His thoughts are.

dhw: Of course it’s a guess, just like the whole of your theory, bolded above, and what’s more yours is a guess which you yourself find inexplicable: “Haven’t you realized by now, I have no idea why God chose to evolve humans over time?” More importantly, since you now recognize that your God may very well think like us, please stop dismissing logical explanations purely on the grounds that you believe your God does NOT think like us.

Thank you, pure guesswork is poor support of theory.

dhw: It was you who wrote that the “tiny inconsequential lumbar change 21 million years ago […] didn’t change the lifestyle of that monkey and wasn’t necessary at that time”, which I take to mean valueless.

DAVID: Not valueless, but a tiny step toward the anticipated future.

dhw: You introduced the word “valueless”. I used the word "useless", which I think sums up inconsequential, not necessary, and not changing anything. And I still don’t understand why a God, who according to you can produce whole organs and organisms with a single dabble, should choose to dabble one single, useless vertebra to “anticipate” what he is going to design in the future.

Just admit it, you don't under stand your humanized God at all.


dhw: And it was you who wrote: Neanderthal genes affect our skin and immunity and are beneficial to us. A wise God would let various homo types to contribute to the final sapiens product by developing different appropriate responses to a variety of environmental issues."

DAVID: They assume there are such benefits as they noted. You are struggling to argue.

dhw: They make no such assumption: “But researchers cannot yet say how these archaic sequences affect people today, much less the humans who acquired them some 50,000–55,000 years ago." Besides, why couldn't a totally-in-control God enable the only desired species to develop different responses etc.? Oh, but I mustn't ask such questions, because although God might very well think like humans, you happen to know that he doesn't.

When God chose to evolve, He also used interbreeding. History shows his obvious methods. History of creation tells us how God did it, but you constantly ignore the history, whiole humanizing God's thinking

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by dhw, Sunday, September 29, 2019, 08:20 (240 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We are making progress. You agree that your God (if he exists) gave organisms (cell communities) a degree of autonomous intelligence, but only to design minor adaptations. […] The hypothesis I offer – just as unproven as your hypothesis of divine preprogramming/dabbling – is that the same mechanism is capable of designing all of them.

DAVID: No progress. Epigenetics does not cause a new species. Something else must do it.

We don’t know what causes speciation, and since the process has stopped for what has been a relatively short period in geological terms, we cannot observe it. But now that you have agreed that your God must have given organisms sufficient autonomous intelligence to create small modifications, we have a basis for suggesting that the same autonomous intelligence might be capable of effecting large modifications. I have agreed that it is unproven, as is your own theory.

DAVID: The humans were not the only thing He wanted. he knew He needed the entire bush of life as support for the time evolution took. Humans were his final goal, and I firmly believe we are last.

dhw: In your theory, it wasn’t evolution that “took time” but your God who for some inexplicable reason DECIDED to wait 3.X billion years before starting to “evolve” (= specially design) the only thing he wanted to design, which was us.

DAVID: Not my theory at all. History tells us how long evolution took, and God used that mechanism.

We know how long evolution has taken so far, and if God exists, then he used the mechanisms of evolution, but you have added all the bits and pieces above and below. You claim here that it is not your theory, and below you say of course it is your theory.

dhw: And he NEEDED (very different from “wanted”) the entire bush to COVER that time! Why do you keep ignoring your own precise account of the process: “He knew those designs were required interim goals to establish the necessary food supply to cover the time he knew he had decided to take.

DAVID: Of course!

Do please make up your mind. And let us not forget that you have no idea why he decided to “evolve humans over time” as described in your theory.

dhw: […] you happen to know that he is in total control and he cannot possibly have any characteristics (such as the desire to experiment) in common with the humans you say he specially created.

DAVID: My God does not need to experiment. His creations are quite complex: quantum mechanism and the origin of consciousness

So how does the complexity and the origin of consciousness support your statement that he did not need to experiment in order to create them? If, as you claim, his only goal was to produce H. sapiens, experimentation would explain why it took him so much time – as opposed to him knowing how to do it but for some unknown reason deciding not to do it for 3.X billion years!

dhw: I still don’t understand why a God, who according to you can produce whole organs and organisms with a single dabble, should choose to dabble one single, useless vertebra to “anticipate” what he is going to design in the future.

DAVID: Just admit it, you don't understand your humanized God at all.

It is, of course, your version of God that I do not understand. My alternative versions are perfectly understandable, even to you, since you admit that you see them as logical. Your objection is that you believe your God is NOT logical by human standards! But let’s try once more: do please explain why you think he chose to dabble one single useless vertebra 21 million years ago if he is capable of producing major adaptations with a single dabble (e.g. see the post about whales).

dhw […] why couldn't a totally-in-control God enable the only desired species to develop different responses etc.? Oh, but I mustn't ask such questions, because although God might very well think like humans, you happen to know that he doesn't.

DAVID: When God chose to evolve, He also used interbreeding. History shows his obvious methods. History of creation tells us how God did it, but you constantly ignore the history, while humanizing God's thinking

I have never ignored the history, and you have agreed that all my different hypotheses fit in with the history. The illogicality of your theory is not suddenly made logical by your attacking other theories. I am happy to acknowledge that all my own alternatives are what you call guesses, but since you have agreed that your God “very well could think like us”, there really is no point in your harping on about my logical explanations “humanizing” him. One or other of my explanations might “very well” be right!

Human evolution; early ancestor probable upright posture

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 29, 2019, 18:57 (240 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Not my theory at all. History tells us how long evolution took, and God used that mechanism.

dhw: We know how long evolution has taken so far, and if God exists, then he used the mechanisms of evolution, but you have added all the bits and pieces above and below. You claim here that it is not your theory, and below you say of course it is your theory.

All I was saying is that your interpretation of my theory is not my theory.


dhw: And he NEEDED (very different from “wanted”) the entire bush to COVER that time! Why do you keep ignoring your own precise account of the process: “He knew those designs were required interim goals to establish the necessary food supply to cover the time he knew he had decided to take.

DAVID: Of course!

dhw: Do please make up your mind. And let us not forget that you have no idea why he decided to “evolve humans over time” as described in your theory.

Same Theory: God, the Creator, created evolution as His choice of life's creation. Obvious logical result of accepting God as Creator.

dhw: […] you happen to know that he is in total control and he cannot possibly have any characteristics (such as the desire to experiment) in common with the humans you say he specially created.

DAVID: My God does not need to experiment. His creations are quite complex: quantum mechanism and the origin of consciousness

dhw: So how does the complexity and the origin of consciousness support your statement that he did not need to experiment in order to create them? If, as you claim, his only goal was to produce H. sapiens, experimentation would explain why it took him so much time – as opposed to him knowing how to do it but for some unknown reason deciding not to do it for 3.X billion years!

Experimentation strongly implies a humanized God. God knows what He is doing, and makes His own clear Choices.

dhw: I still don’t understand why a God, who according to you can produce whole organs and organisms with a single dabble, should choose to dabble one single, useless vertebra to “anticipate” what he is going to design in the future.

DAVID: Just admit it, you don't understand your humanized God at all.

dhw: It is, of course, your version of God that I do not understand. My alternative versions are perfectly understandable, even to you, since you admit that you see them as logical. Your objection is that you believe your God is NOT logical by human standards! But let’s try once more: do please explain why you think he chose to dabble one single useless vertebra 21 million years ago if he is capable of producing major adaptations with a single dabble (e.g. see the post about whales).

All I see is a God who uses small and large changes as He wishes. All you see is a human puzzled God.

dhw […] why couldn't a totally-in-control God enable the only desired species to develop different responses etc.? Oh, but I mustn't ask such questions, because although God might very well think like humans, you happen to know that he doesn't.

DAVID: When God chose to evolve, He also used interbreeding. History shows his obvious methods. History of creation tells us how God did it, but you constantly ignore the history, while humanizing God's thinking

dhw: I have never ignored the history, and you have agreed that all my different hypotheses fit in with the history. The illogicality of your theory is not suddenly made logical by your attacking other theories. I am happy to acknowledge that all my own alternatives are what you call guesses, but since you have agreed that your God “very well could think like us”, there really is no point in your harping on about my logical explanations “humanizing” him. One or other of my explanations might “very well” be right!

Your hypotheses fit a humanized God, and therefore are logical for that view of God.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 20:13 (90 days ago) @ dhw

Our foot is stiffer and exerts more force:

https://phys.org/news/2020-02-overlooked-arch-foot-key-evolution.html

"long-overlooked part of the human foot is key to how the foot works, how it evolved, and how we walk and run, a Yale-led team of researchers said.

"The discovery upends nearly a century of conventional thinking about the human foot

***

"When humans walk and run, the front of each foot repeatedly pushes on the ground with a force exceeding several times the body's weight. Despite these strong forces, the human foot maintains its shape without severely bending. Such stiff feet—unique to humans among primates—were important for the evolution of bipedalism. (my bold)

"What makes human feet so stiff? According to conventional thinking, it's mainly the longitudinal arch of the foot. This arch runs from heel to forefoot and is reinforced by elastic tissues underneath it. The arch and tissues create a bow-and-string structure that for nearly a century was considered the main source of the foot's stiffness.

"But the foot has a second arch that runs across the width of the midfoot, known as the transverse arch. Venkadesan and his colleagues investigated the transverse arch, which had not been studied previously. They performed a series of experiments,using mechanical mimics of the foot, cadaveric human feet, and fossil samples from long-extinct human ancestors and relatives (hominins). Their results show that the transverse arch is the main source of the foot's stiffness.

"The reason the transverse arch is so important can be found in your wallet. Take out a dollar bill, hold it at one end, and the dollar flops around. But press your thumb down to give the dollar some curvature, and it stands out straight.

"'That type of effect also works in the foot," said Venkadesan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. "It's not as simple as a sheet of paper because there are many other tissues and structures in the foot, but the principle turns out to be the same."

***

"'We found that transverse springs, which mimic tissues spanning the width of your foot, are crucial for curvature-induced stiffness," said Ali Yawar, a Ph.D. student in Venkadesan's lab. "So we expected that stiffness would decrease in real human feet if we were to remove the transverse tissues and leave everything else untouched."

***

"We found that the transverse arch, acting through the transverse tissues, is responsible for nearly half of the foot's stiffness, considerably more than what the longitudinal arch contributes," said Carolyn Eng, an associate research scientist in Venkadesan's lab.

"These results may also explain how the 3.66 million-year-oldAustralopithecus afarensis, the same species as the fossil Lucy, could have walked and left a human-like footprint despite having no apparent longitudinal arch. Working with Andrew Haims, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine, the researchers developed a new technique to measure transverse curvature using partial skeletons of the foot. By applying this technique to fossil samples, includingA. afarensis, they traced how the transverse arch evolved among early hominins.

"'Our evidence suggests that a human-like transverse arch may have evolved over 3.5 million years ago, a whole 1.5 million years before the emergence of the genus Homo, and was a key step in the evolution of modern humans," Venkadesan said". (my bold)

Comment: we are as different from apes in our physical attributes as in our special brain. Note my bolds: Stiffness developed long before true Homo species arrived. I view this as God pre-planning our appearance as He managed evolution. From the Darwin standpoint, why should Lucy develop a stiff foot she didn't really need when she existed? She could run faster which tells us she was designed to be able to save herself on the ground by running. This means she was designed with the ability to protect her on the ground from the beginning of her species appearance. Not a slow Darwinian adaptation.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by dhw, Thursday, February 27, 2020, 10:39 (89 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Our feet differ from apes

QUOTES: "When humans walk and run, the front of each foot repeatedly pushes on the ground with a force exceeding several times the body's weight. Despite these strong forces, the human foot maintains its shape without severely bending. Such stiff feet—unique to humans among primates—were important for the evolution of bipedalism[/b]. (David’s bold)

I would certainly agree with the bold, but would also suggest that bipedalism led to the evolution of stiffer feet.

All "'Our evidence suggests that a human-like transverse arch may have evolved over 3.5 million years ago, a whole 1.5 million years before the emergence of the genus Homo, and was a key step in the evolution of modern humans," Venkadesan said". (David’s bold)

DAVID: we are as different from apes in our physical attributes as in our special brain. Note my bolds: Stiffness developed long before true Homo species arrived. I view this as God pre-planning our appearance as He managed evolution.

I have no idea why your God, who apparently can design what he wants to design in any way he wants, should find it necessary to preprogramme or dabble all these different phases, tinkering with feet, hands, pelvises, brains, in order to design the only species he wanted to design, but we can leave this to the thread on your theory of evolution. I would suggest that these developments follow a natural process whereby parts of the body may change according to usage and the demands of the environment, as organisms seek to survive or enhance their chances of survival. This is actually what you suggest in your next comment:

DAVID: From the Darwin standpoint, why should Lucy develop a stiff foot she didn't really need when she existed? She could run faster which tells us she was designed to be able to save herself on the ground by running.

And so you have answered your own question. The stiff foot developed because it improved her chances of survival. This to me sounds far more reasonable than the suggestion that God stiffened her foot in order to “pre-plan our appearance” 1.5 million years later.

DAVID: This means she was designed with the ability to protect her on the ground from the beginning of her species appearance. Not a slow Darwinian adaptation.

It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 27, 2020, 20:02 (89 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Our feet differ from apes

QUOTES: "When humans walk and run, the front of each foot repeatedly pushes on the ground with a force exceeding several times the body's weight. Despite these strong forces, the human foot maintains its shape without severely bending. Such stiff feet—unique to humans among primates—were important for the evolution of bipedalism[/b]. (David’s bold)

I would certainly agree with the bold, but would also suggest that bipedalism led to the evolution of stiffer feet.

All "'Our evidence suggests that a human-like transverse arch may have evolved over 3.5 million years ago, a whole 1.5 million years before the emergence of the genus Homo, and was a key step in the evolution of modern humans," Venkadesan said". (David’s bold)

DAVID: we are as different from apes in our physical attributes as in our special brain. Note my bolds: Stiffness developed long before true Homo species arrived. I view this as God pre-planning our appearance as He managed evolution.

dhw: I have no idea why your God, who apparently can design what he wants to design in any way he wants, should find it necessary to preprogramme or dabble all these different phases, tinkering with feet, hands, pelvises, brains, in order to design the only species he wanted to design, but we can leave this to the thread on your theory of evolution. I would suggest that these developments follow a natural process whereby parts of the body may change according to usage and the demands of the environment, as organisms seek to survive or enhance their chances of survival. This is actually what you suggest in your next comment:

DAVID: From the Darwin standpoint, why should Lucy develop a stiff foot she didn't really need when she existed? She could run faster which tells us she was designed to be able to save herself on the ground by running.

dhw: And so you have answered your own question. The stiff foot developed because it improved her chances of survival. This to me sounds far more reasonable than the suggestion that God stiffened her foot in order to “pre-plan our appearance” 1.5 million years later.

As usual you are back to Darwin and I'm sticking with God the designer who knew she had to run faster. She survived so she probably had stiffer feet when she appeared after the huge fossil gap in evolution from apes. In your theory the pre-Lucy knew she had the need to move quickly so she designed her feet in advance, or did she stumble around and jump to the trees when necessary. We know she had long arms and ape-like shoulders


DAVID: This means she was designed with the ability to protect her on the ground from the beginning of her species appearance. Not a slow Darwinian adaptation.

dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have. It still looks like H. sapiens ended with most unusual unexpected characteristics

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by dhw, Sunday, March 01, 2020, 08:16 (86 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: From the Darwin standpoint, why should Lucy develop a stiff foot she didn't really need when she existed? She could run faster which tells us she was designed to be able to save herself on the ground by running.

dhw: And so you have answered your own question. The stiff foot developed because it improved her chances of survival. This to me sounds far more reasonable than the suggestion that God stiffened her foot in order to “pre-plan our appearance” 1.5 million years later.

DAVID: As usual you are back to Darwin and I'm sticking with God the designer who knew she had to run faster. She survived so she probably had stiffer feet when she appeared after the huge fossil gap in evolution from apes. In your theory the pre-Lucy knew she had the need to move quickly so she designed her feet in advance, or did she stumble around and jump to the trees when necessary. We know she had long arms and ape-like shoulders.

You continue to misunderstand the process I am suggesting. Yes, pre-Lucy knew she had to run quickly. No, she did not design her feet in advance. Nobody knows how feet originated, and nobody knows how non-stiff feet evolved into stiff feet, but the theory I am proposing is that as pre-Lucy and her species tried to run faster, the cell communities that form the feet and legs responded by stiffening the feet. Just as pre-whale legs became flippers in response to the need to swim instead of walk. And just as – on a smaller scale – illiterates, taxi-drivers and musicians change parts of their brain by performing certain tasks. It is always a matter of the cell communities implementing ideas and restructuring themselves IN RESPONSE to new demands and new conditions, NOT IN ANTICIPATION of them. Pre-Lucy may well have jumped into the trees when necessary. In that respect, she was a transitional form and provides direct evidence for common descent.

DAVID: This means she was designed with the ability to protect her on the ground from the beginning of her species appearance. Not a slow Darwinian adaptation.

dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

DAVID: Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have. It still looks like H. sapiens ended with most unusual unexpected characteristics.

Unexpected by whom? There are loads of species that ended with most unusual characteristics. Why is the human foot more unusual than the elephant’s trunk or the camel’s hump? But yes, humans are remarkable animals, and yes, we can only work with the fossils we have. These suggest a stage by stage development of certain organs, supporting the case for common descent. All the changes fit in with the theory that God – if he exists – preprogrammed every single one 3.8 billion years ago, or he popped in to dabble every single one, or he designed a mechanism that enabled cells/cell communities to do their own designing. We should leave discussion of the possible variations, implications and logicality of these three theories to the thread concerning your own theory.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 01, 2020, 18:29 (86 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As usual you are back to Darwin and I'm sticking with God the designer who knew she had to run faster. She survived so she probably had stiffer feet when she appeared after the huge fossil gap in evolution from apes. In your theory the pre-Lucy knew she had the need to move quickly so she designed her feet in advance, or did she stumble around and jump to the trees when necessary. We know she had long arms and ape-like shoulders.

dhw: You continue to misunderstand the process I am suggesting. Yes, pre-Lucy knew she had to run quickly. No, she did not design her feet in advance. Nobody knows how feet originated, and nobody knows how non-stiff feet evolved into stiff feet, but the theory I am proposing is that as pre-Lucy and her species tried to run faster, the cell communities that form the feet and legs responded by stiffening the feet. Just as pre-whale legs became flippers in response to the need to swim instead of walk. And just as – on a smaller scale – illiterates, taxi-drivers and musicians change parts of their brain by performing certain tasks. It is always a matter of the cell communities implementing ideas and restructuring themselves IN RESPONSE to new demands and new conditions, NOT IN ANTICIPATION of them. Pre-Lucy may well have jumped into the trees when necessary. In that respect, she was a transitional form and provides direct evidence for common descent.

I still accept common descent, but I think God ran the process and prepared for future problems, so I do not misunderstand your position. Once on the ground Lucy had to be speedy or she would not have survived the predators who were faster. She had to be designed for survival, not develop it as she was on the ground. Further your theory ignores the gaps in the fossil record with its assumption the cell committees adapt, that would imply a gradual change for which there is no record. The gaps tell us that the cell committees would have bean able to see the necessary future designs that were needed. Really!


DAVID: This means she was designed with the ability to protect her on the ground from the beginning of her species appearance. Not a slow Darwinian adaptation.

dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

DAVID: Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have. It still looks like H. sapiens ended with most unusual unexpected characteristics.

dhw: Unexpected by whom? There are loads of species that ended with most unusual characteristics. Why is the human foot more unusual than the elephant’s trunk or the camel’s hump? But yes, humans are remarkable animals, and yes, we can only work with the fossils we have. These suggest a stage by stage development of certain organs, supporting the case for common descent. All the changes fit in with the theory that God – if he exists – preprogrammed every single one 3.8 billion years ago, or he popped in to dabble every single one, or he designed a mechanism that enabled cells/cell communities to do their own designing. We should leave discussion of the possible variations, implications and logicality of these three theories to the thread concerning your own theory.

There is no point in disconnecting different parts of the same evolutionary process we are analyzing. We humans are the endpoint and our vast difference in its result conditions my view about the control of evolution, which I assign to God. Our special feet are one simple example, and as other unrecognized difference show up I will report them, as they sustain my view.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by dhw, Monday, March 02, 2020, 11:49 (85 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: In your theory the pre-Lucy knew she had the need to move quickly so she designed her feet in advance, or did she stumble around and jump to the trees when necessary. We know she had long arms and ape-like shoulders.

dhw: You continue to misunderstand the process I am suggesting. Yes, pre-Lucy knew she had to run quickly. No, she did not design her feet in advance. Nobody knows how feet originated, and nobody knows how non-stiff feet evolved into stiff feet, but the theory I am proposing is that as pre-Lucy and her species tried to run faster, the cell communities that form the feet and legs responded by stiffening the feet. […] Pre-Lucy may well have jumped into the trees when necessary. In that respect, she was a transitional form and provides direct evidence for common descent.

DAVID: I still accept common descent, but I think God ran the process and prepared for future problems, so I do not misunderstand your position.

She did not “design her feet in advance”. You constantly misrepresent my theory by saying it involves foreseeing the future. It doesn’t. Organisms/cell communities respond to the needs of the present.

DAVID: Once on the ground Lucy had to be speedy or she would not have survived the predators who were faster. She had to be designed for survival, not develop it as she was on the ground.

No doubt many of her contemporaries did not survive, and she herself is believed to have been a “young adult” when she died, so she didn’t survive long either!

DAVID: Further your theory ignores the gaps in the fossil record with its assumption the cell committees adapt, that would imply a gradual change for which there is no record. The gaps tell us that the cell committees would have bean able to see the necessary future designs that were needed. Really!

How often must I emphasize that they do NOT foresee anything! The gaps tell us that once there were no transverse arches, and later there were transverse arches. My comment was:
dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

DAVID: Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have.

That does not mean we can assume that there was not a gradual development and that your God must have jumped in at a specific moment to pop in a transverse arch.

DAVID: It still looks like H. sapiens ended with most unusual unexpected characteristics.

dhw: Unexpected by whom? There are loads of species that ended with most unusual characteristics. Why is the human foot more unusual than the elephant’s trunk or the camel’s hump? But yes, humans are remarkable animals, and yes, we can only work with the fossils we have. These suggest a stage by stage development of certain organs, supporting the case for common descent.

See "David's Theory of Evolution" for continuation...

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by David Turell @, Monday, March 02, 2020, 22:24 (85 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I still accept common descent, but I think God ran the process and prepared for future problems, so I do not misunderstand your position.

dhw: She did not “design her feet in advance”. You constantly misrepresent my theory by saying it involves foreseeing the future. It doesn’t. Organisms/cell communities respond to the needs of the present.

And again you skip the gaps in the fossil record. Changes are always after the gap, no itty bitty adaptive steps ever seen..


DAVID: Further your theory ignores the gaps in the fossil record with its assumption the cell committees adapt, that would imply a gradual change for which there is no record. The gaps tell us that the cell committees would have bean able to see the necessary future designs that were needed. Really!

How often must I emphasize that they do NOT foresee anything! The gaps tell us that once there were no transverse arches, and later there were transverse arches. My comment was:
dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

So we are left with gaps tht strongly support design.


DAVID: Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have.

dhw: That does not mean we can assume that there was not a gradual development and that your God must have jumped in at a specific moment to pop in a transverse arch.

Your double negative again suggests itty bitty adaptations, with no evidence.


DAVID: It still looks like H. sapiens ended with most unusual unexpected characteristics.

dhw: Unexpected by whom? There are loads of species that ended with most unusual characteristics. Why is the human foot more unusual than the elephant’s trunk or the camel’s hump? But yes, humans are remarkable animals, and yes, we can only work with the fossils we have. These suggest a stage by stage development of certain organs, supporting the case for common descent.

I agree common descent run by God the designer.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by dhw, Tuesday, March 03, 2020, 15:46 (84 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I still accept common descent, but I think God ran the process and prepared for future problems, so I do not misunderstand your position.

dhw: She did not “design her feet in advance”. You constantly misrepresent my theory by saying it involves foreseeing the future. It doesn’t. Organisms/cell communities respond to the needs of the present.

DAVID: And again you skip the gaps in the fossil record. Changes are always after the gap, no itty bitty adaptive steps ever seen.

I was responding to your constant misrepresentation of my theory as demanding knowledge of the future. It doesn’t. So now you switch back to the gaps. Of course changes are after the gap! Even if something changed overnight, there would still be a gap between before and after!The reply I gave you to this point was:

dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

DAVID: So we are left with gaps that strongly support design.

Gaps are gaps. They don’t support any theory, and a slow adaptation could still be design through the intelligence of the cell communities.

However, your original reply was:
DAVID: Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have.

dhw: That does not mean we can assume that there was not a gradual development and that your God must have jumped in at a specific moment to pop in a transverse arch.

DAVID: Your double negative again suggests itty bitty adaptations, with no evidence.

Nor is there any evidence of your God stepping in and giving pre-Lucy a transverse arch. If you believe in common descent, the fossil record can only provide dots along the way. We have no idea what took place between the dots, which is why you agreed that it is impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 03, 2020, 19:16 (84 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: And again you skip the gaps in the fossil record. Changes are always after the gap, no itty bitty adaptive steps ever seen.

dhw: I was responding to your constant misrepresentation of my theory as demanding knowledge of the future. It doesn’t. So now you switch back to the gaps. Of course changes are after the gap! Even if something changed overnight, there would still be a gap between before and after!The reply I gave you to this point was:

dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

DAVID: So we are left with gaps that strongly support design.

dhw: Gaps are gaps. They don’t support any theory, and a slow adaptation could still be design through the intelligence of the cell communities.

With no fossil evidence! You are not as troubled as Gould was. He had to invent punc-inc to satisfy himself about gaps.


However, your original reply was:
DAVID: Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have.

dhw: That does not mean we can assume that there was not a gradual development and that your God must have jumped in at a specific moment to pop in a transverse arch.

DAVID: Your double negative again suggests itty bitty adaptations, with no evidence.

dhw: Nor is there any evidence of your God stepping in and giving pre-Lucy a transverse arch. If you believe in common descent, the fossil record can only provide dots along the way. We have no idea what took place between the dots, which is why you agreed that it is impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

Gaps make it seem as if changes are fast. You are not explaining them, although as time passes they never go away.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by dhw, Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 12:34 (83 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: And again you skip the gaps in the fossil record. Changes are always after the gap, no itty bitty adaptive steps ever seen.

dhw: I was responding to your constant misrepresentation of my theory as demanding knowledge of the future. It doesn’t. So now you switch back to the gaps. Of course changes are after the gap! Even if something changed overnight, there would still be a gap between before and after! The reply I gave you to this point was:
dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

Your original reply to this was: “Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have.”

You agree that without fossils it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

DAVID: So we are left with gaps that strongly support design.

dhw: Gaps are gaps. They don’t support any theory, and a slow adaptation could still be design through the intelligence of the cell communities.

DAVID: With no fossil evidence! You are not as troubled as Gould was. He had to invent punc-inc to satisfy himself about gaps.

We cannot expect an inch by inch fossil record leading from one species to another. Every single find is hailed as momentous precisely because it is almost miraculous for bones to survive for thousands and millions of years. You claim that the gaps mean God stepped in and did a dabble (and presumably did more and more dabbles as, with his unlimited powers, he apparently continued to assemble and then discard all the different hominins and homos on his way to designing the only one he really wanted, which was us). Your alternative is a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for stiff transverse arches, which suddenly switched itself on. I’m afraid I don’t find this theory even remotely as believable as that of the absence of fossils, plus the fact that in accordance with the theory that changing environmental conditions are the trigger for adaptation and innovation, the long periods of stasis between environmental upheavals inevitably create “gaps” (hence Gould’s punc-inc, which I regard as perfectly logical).

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 20:55 (83 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: And again you skip the gaps in the fossil record. Changes are always after the gap, no itty bitty adaptive steps ever seen.

dhw: I was responding to your constant misrepresentation of my theory as demanding knowledge of the future. It doesn’t. So now you switch back to the gaps. Of course changes are after the gap! Even if something changed overnight, there would still be a gap between before and after! The reply I gave you to this point was:
dhw: It’s a pity we don’t have a few thousand pre-Lucys to see how stiff all her ancestors’ feet were. And then a few thousand more fossils to see how stiff the feet were between all the generations of all the hominins and early homos prior to Sapiens. Without them, of course, it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

dhw: Your original reply to this was: “Agreed, but she survived and my God took care of the needed designs. We have to work with the only fossils we have.”

dhw: You agree that without fossils it’s impossible to say how fast or slow the adaptation was.

DAVID: So we are left with gaps that strongly support design.

dhw: Gaps are gaps. They don’t support any theory, and a slow adaptation could still be design through the intelligence of the cell communities.

DAVID: With no fossil evidence! You are not as troubled as Gould was. He had to invent punc-inc to satisfy himself about gaps.

dhw: We cannot expect an inch by inch fossil record leading from one species to another. Every single find is hailed as momentous precisely because it is almost miraculous for bones to survive for thousands and millions of years. You claim that the gaps mean God stepped in and did a dabble (and presumably did more and more dabbles as, with his unlimited powers, he apparently continued to assemble and then discard all the different hominins and homos on his way to designing the only one he really wanted, which was us). Your alternative is a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for stiff transverse arches, which suddenly switched itself on. I’m afraid I don’t find this theory even remotely as believable as that of the absence of fossils, plus the fact that in accordance with the theory that changing environmental conditions are the trigger for adaptation and innovation, the long periods of stasis between environmental upheavals inevitably create “gaps” (hence Gould’s punc-inc, which I regard as perfectly logical).

All we can see about the gaps is larger brains and more complexity of artifacts appear simultaneously. The complexity of the artifacts strongly implies the new brain is more complex and made the new artifacts. For some weird line of thinking you want the old brain to create the new artifacts and suddenly jump in size and appear simultaneously with them.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by dhw, Thursday, March 05, 2020, 11:51 (82 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We cannot expect an inch by inch fossil record leading from one species to another. Every single find is hailed as momentous precisely because it is almost miraculous for bones to survive for thousands and millions of years. You claim that the gaps mean God stepped in and did a dabble (and presumably did more and more dabbles as, with his unlimited powers, he apparently continued to assemble and then discard all the different hominins and homos on his way to designing the only one he really wanted, which was us). Your alternative is a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for stiff transverse arches, which suddenly switched itself on. I’m afraid I don’t find this theory even remotely as believable as that of the absence of fossils, plus the fact that in accordance with the theory that changing environmental conditions are the trigger for adaptation and innovation, the long periods of stasis between environmental upheavals inevitably create “gaps” (hence Gould’s punc-inc, which I regard as perfectly logical).

DAVID: All we can see about the gaps is larger brains and more complexity of artifacts appear simultaneously. The complexity of the artifacts strongly implies the new brain is more complex and made the new artifacts. For some weird line of thinking you want the old brain to create the new artifacts and suddenly jump in size and appear simultaneously with them.

We were talking about transverse arches, and for some reason you have switched back to brains – dealt with under “half a brain”. My paragraph above dealt with the gaps, and compared your theory to my own and to Gould’s. I’m afraid I would regard your theory, bolded above, as rather more weird than my own – but of course that is a merely an opinion which is just as subjective as your own.

Human evolution; our feet differ from apes.

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 05, 2020, 15:39 (82 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: We cannot expect an inch by inch fossil record leading from one species to another. Every single find is hailed as momentous precisely because it is almost miraculous for bones to survive for thousands and millions of years. You claim that the gaps mean God stepped in and did a dabble (and presumably did more and more dabbles as, with his unlimited powers, he apparently continued to assemble and then discard all the different hominins and homos on his way to designing the only one he really wanted, which was us). Your alternative is a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for stiff transverse arches, which suddenly switched itself on. I’m afraid I don’t find this theory even remotely as believable as that of the absence of fossils, plus the fact that in accordance with the theory that changing environmental conditions are the trigger for adaptation and innovation, the long periods of stasis between environmental upheavals inevitably create “gaps” (hence Gould’s punc-inc, which I regard as perfectly logical).

DAVID: All we can see about the gaps is larger brains and more complexity of artifacts appear simultaneously. The complexity of the artifacts strongly implies the new brain is more complex and made the new artifacts. For some weird line of thinking you want the old brain to create the new artifacts and suddenly jump in size and appear simultaneously with them.

dhw: We were talking about transverse arches, and for some reason you have switched back to brains – dealt with under “half a brain”. My paragraph above dealt with the gaps, and compared your theory to my own and to Gould’s. I’m afraid I would regard your theory, bolded above, as rather more weird than my own – but of course that is a merely an opinion which is just as subjective as your own.

My view is God designed the transverse arch, nothing more. You brought up 'gaps' and that always gets me back to brain size and reasons.

Human evolution; our unique speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, September 30, 2019, 22:53 (239 days ago) @ David Turell

How our brain lets us hear and understand words immediately as we listen:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-09-mechanisms-real-time-speech-human-brain.html

"Scientists have come a step closer to understanding how we're able to understand spoken language so rapidly, and it involves a huge and complex set of computations in the brain.

"In a study published today in the journal PNAS, researchers at the University of Cambridge developed novel computational models of the meanings of words, and tested these directly against real-time brain activity in volunteers.

"'Our ability to put words into context, depending on the other words around them, is an immediate process and it's thanks to the best computer we've ever known: the brain in our head. It's something we haven't yet managed to fully replicate in computers because it is still so poorly understood," said Lorraine Tyler, Director of the Centre for Speech, Language and the Brain at the University of Cambridge, which ran the study.

"Central to understanding speech are the processes involved in what is known as 'semantic composition' - in which the brain combines the meaning of words in a sentence as they are heard, so that they make sense in the context of what has already been said. This new study has revealed the detailed real-time processes going on inside the brain that make this possible.

"By saying the phrase: "the elderly man ate the apple" and watching how the volunteers' brains responded, the researchers could track the dynamic patterns of information flow between critical language regions in the brain.

"As the word 'eat' is heard, it primes the brain to put constraints on how it interprets the next word in the sentence: 'eat' is likely to be something to do with food. The study shows how these constraints directly affect how the meaning of the next word in the sentence is understood, revealing the neural mechanisms underpinning this essential property of spoken language—our ability to combine sequences of words into meaningful expressions, millisecond by millisecond as the speech is heard.

"'The way our brain enables us to understand what someone is saying, as they're saying it, is remarkable," said Professor Tyler. "By looking at the real-time flow of information in the brain we've shown how word meanings are being rapidly interpreted and put into context.'" (my bold)

Comment: our amazing brain melds all the words meanings into an understandable context, as we hear the words. If complex language with a set grammar appeared only 50,000 years ago or slightly more according to current theory, when did the brain develop this ability to string meanings together? My thought is that we were given such a complex brain, as words and their meanings developed brain plasticity developed the proper listening mechanism, basically learn by use.

Human evolution; DNA from ancient hominins

by David Turell @, Saturday, October 19, 2019, 19:59 (220 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Saturday, October 19, 2019, 20:05

New discoveries of DNA from Neanderthals and Denisovans in Malanesians:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2220381-long-strand-of-dna-from-neanderthals-found...

"Many people have DNA inside them that they inherited from extinct hominins like the Neanderthals – and now we know that in some cases it isn’t just tiny snippets but long stretches.

"Over the past decade, genetic analysis of human DNA has revealed that ancient humans must have interbred many times with other hominins such as Neanderthals. The result is that DNA from these extinct groups can be found in many human populations today.

"In particular, everyone whose primary ancestry was outside Africa carries some Neanderthal DNA, while many people from Asia – especially South-East Asia – have DNA from the mysterious Denisovans. Some of this DNA may have been advantageous for modern humans. (my bold)

***

"The researchers looked at the DNA of people from Melanesia, as the levels of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA are highest in these populations. They found evidence of much longer chunks of archaic DNA in this population.

"Two large pieces of DNA were found that originate from ancient hominins. One is on chromosome 16 and comes from Denisovans. It contains two duplicated sections. The other is on chromosome 8 and comes from Neanderthals. It includes both a deletion and a duplication.

Duplications are significant because they allow the original gene to be kept, if it is useful, while the copy is free to change and potentially develop a new function. “A duplication is a type of mutation that lets you have your cake and eat it too,” says Eichler.

"Both chunks of DNA show signs of having been selected for by evolution. They seem to have been advantageous and thus become more common in the Melanesian population over the centuries. (my bold)

“'The archaics have contributed to the success of humans that left Africa,” says Eichler. Neanderthals and Denisovans lived in Europe and Asia for hundreds of thousands of years before modern humans emerged from Africa, so they would have evolved adaptations to the different climates, foods and diseases. These useful genes “were kind of test-run in our precursors”, says Eichler. “They’re basically borrowed.”

"However, it is unclear what the advantages have been. “I think the biggest challenge is proving the function,” says Eichler. This will be difficult because the genes are only found in humans, so animal studies will not help, and they have been duplicated and then subtly altered. “You’re talking about a set of genes which are a geneticist’s worst nightmare.'”

Comment: This is another answer to dhw who wonders why God took so long to make H. sapiens. As I've noted before our ancestors developed traits that were passed on as helpful genetics developed in different climates and conditions. My bolds and the last quotes make the exact point. From another article further information:

https://phys.org/news/2019-10-neanderthal-denisovan-dna-early-melanesian.html

"The researchers report that they found instances of inherited CNVs from Denisovans and Neanderthals in modern Melanesian DNA that could be associated with adaptive selection. The researchers suggest the added DNA must have provided some benefit for it to remain in the Melanesian genome for so long. The adaption selections were identified as being associated with immunity, diet, cellular function and metabolism. Their findings suggest that early Melanesian people might have benefited from interbreeding with their early cousins in ways that might have helped them survive in their unique island environments.

"The researchers note that much more work is required to better understand why the inherited CNVs have remained present in the DNA up to the present. The idea that they might have persisted because they were useful has precedent, the researchers note—prior research has shown that Denisovan DNA helped Tibetan people survive in their high-elevation homeland by giving them a means of staving off hypoxia. "

Human evolution; sapiens and Neanderthals controlled fire

by David Turell @, Sunday, October 27, 2019, 16:05 (212 days ago) @ David Turell

Both types learned to control fire:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191025101345.htm

"Now, a team of University of Connecticut researchers, working with colleagues from Armenia, the U.K., and Spain, has found compelling evidence that early humans such as Neanderthals not only controlled fire, but also mastered the ability to generate it.

"'Fire was presumed to be the domain of Homo sapiens but now we know that other ancient humans like Neanderthals could create it," says co-author Daniel Adler, associate professor in anthropology. "So perhaps we are not so special after all."

***

"Using specific fire-related molecules deposited in the archaeological record and an analysis of climatological clues, the researchers examined Lusakert Cave 1 in the Armenian Highlands.

"'Fire starting is a skill that has to be learned -- I never saw anyone who managed to produce fire without first being taught. So the assumption that someone has the capability to set fire at will is a source of debate," says Gideon Hartman, associate professor of anthropology, and study co-author.

***

"'In order to routinely access naturally caused fires, there would need to have been conditions that would produce lighting strikes at a relative frequency that could have ignited wildfires," says Hren.

"By pairing the climate data with the evidence found in the archaeological record, the researchers then determined the cave's inhabitants were not living in drier, wildfire-prone conditions while they were utilizing fires within the cave.

"In fact, there were fewer wildfires for these ancient humans to harvest at the time when fire frequency and heavy PAH frequency was high in the cave, says Brittingham.

"'It seems they were able to control fire outside of the natural availability of wildfires," says Brittingham."

Comment: another nail in the coffin of the dumb-type Neanderthal.

Human evolution; new fossil foretells the human future

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 01:00 (202 days ago) @ David Turell

A newly described European fossil is part ape, part humanoid and is over eleven million year old. It has some non-ape upright posture, with more ape-like arms:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/new-ancient-ape-species-rewrites-story-bi...

"Danuvius guggenmosi, a “totally new and different” species of ape, would have moved through the trees using its forelimbs and hindlimbs equally.

***

"Böhme and colleagues determined that the bones they found came from a dryopithecine ape, an extinct ancestor of humans and great apes that once lived in the Miocene epoch. The fossils are approximately 11.6 million years old and came from at least four individual apes, including one partial skeleton. The team described the newfound ancestor, named Danuvius guggenmosi,

"D. guggenmosi was likely a small primate about the size of baboon, with long arms like a bonobo. The creature had flexible elbows and strong hands capable of grasping, which suggests that it could have swung from tree to tree like a modern great ape. But the similarities with known apes stop there. The animal’s lower limbs have much more in common with human anatomy.

" With extended hips and knees, D. guggenmosi was capable of standing with a straighter posture than that of living African apes, and its knees and ankles were adapted to bear weight. The animal’s locomotion would have therefore shared similarities with both human and ape movement, and D. guggenmosi may have been able to navigate the forest by swinging from tree limbs and walking on two legs.

“'There is no reason to think it would not have used all four limbs when that made sense, for example, on smaller branches where balance was an issue,” Begun says. “But it was also capable of both chimp-like suspension and unassisted bipedalism.”

"D. guggenmosi puts bipedality on the evolutionary timeline far earlier than scientists previously expected. Jeremy DeSilva, a paleoanthropologist who reviewed the study for Nature, says while this discovery sheds some light on how hominids began to walk on two feet, it also raises new questions about the evolution of locomotion. Rather than humans evolving to become bipedal after splitting from a quadruped ancestor, the great apes must have evolved from a creature with bipedal capabilities. (my bold)

“'Given what we know about the relationships between humans and the African great apes, then gorillas and chimpanzees would have had to have independently evolved knuckle-walking. That would have happened twice,” DeSilva says. “That is unsettling. It's disruptive to what we once thought.”

Böhme says it is also worth noting that D. guggenmosi was found in Europe, far from where most people imagine ancient apes lived. The narrative of human evolution is typically set on the African stage, but before early humans evolved, some of their primate relatives were living in forests that stretched across the Mediterranean. “We have to keep in mind that a big part of human history or human early evolution was not an African story,” Böhme says. ( my bold)

More commentary:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/fossils-provide-new-insights-into-when-apes-be...

"How humans came to walk on two legs is central to these debates, she adds, and several ideas have been put forward over the past 150 years.

"These include notions that bipedal humans evolved from tree-dwelling, monkey-like apes that moved on all fours, from tree-swinging apes similar to orangutans, or from knuckle-walking apes like chimpanzees and gorillas.

"Fossil evidence to support these theoretical models has so far been weak, and the new fossils from the mid to late Miocene, discovered in the Allgäu region of Bavaria in Germany, suggest that none is correct. (my bold)

"The researchers excavated more than 15,000 fossil vertebrate bones from the ancient humid, forested ecosystems that characterised Germany at that time. These included the remains of at least four individual hominids: one male, two females and one juvenile.

***

“'Importantly, for the first time, we were able to investigate several functionally important joints, including the elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle, in a single fossil of this age,” Böhme says.

“'And it was astonishing for us to realise how similar certain bones are to humans, as opposed to great apes.” (my bold)

***

“'Given that all living apes use bipedalism to some degree – often in the trees, but also on the ground – it is not unreasonable to suggest that bipedalism evolved much earlier in hominoid evolution than we previously thought."

Comment: Tell me this is not an advance change well before bipedalism was really needed. Gone is the theory that savanna appearance forced the change.

Human evolution; a new hominin found this year

by David Turell @, Friday, December 13, 2019, 23:48 (165 days ago) @ David Turell

Introducing Homo luzonensis:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/heres-what-2019-scientific-disco...

"Enter Homo luzonensis. In April a team led by Florent Détroit from the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, France, announced the discovery of fossil remains of at least two adults and one child of a new hominin species. They were found in Callao Cave on the island of Luzon in the Philippines and date to between 50,000 and 67,000 years old. This discovery was exciting not just because it’s a new species, but because of how it changes our earlier understanding of the first hominin migrations out of Africa and into Asia.

"Homo luzonensis was around at the same time as Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo floresiensis and our own species, Homo sapiens, but it displays a unique mosaic of physical characteristics unlike any of these other hominins. Some of its features look very ancient. For instance, the small size and simplified crowns of its molars and the 3-D shape and curvature of its finger and toe bones look most similar to australopiths, but other features of its teeth are more similar to Paranthropus, Homo erectus and even Homo sapiens.

"Since its hands and feet have features that are even more ancient than those of Homo erectus, does this mean that its ancestor is an even earlier hominin that migrated out of Africa? Only the discovery of more fossils will answer that question. Similarly, in 2004 the question of whether an even more ancient species than Homo erectus migrated out of Africa was raised after the discovery of Homo floresiensis. As this new species also has some anatomical features similar to early species of Homo, the question seems even less settled now with the discovery of another late-surviving island-dwelling species outside of Africa."

Comment: It looks like we will find more and more branches in the bush of hominins. To me there is an obvious push to get us evolved. The bald facts are all the other advanced apes did not move on like we did in this burst of activity.

Human evolution; a new hominin find this year

by David Turell @, Friday, December 13, 2019, 23:54 (165 days ago) @ David Turell

A growth in the understanding of the Australopithecus family:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/heres-what-2019-scientific-disco...

"One really exciting fossil find from this year was not a new species, but a new body part of a previously known species: Australopithecus anamensis. First named in 1995, this species was known only from teeth, jaws and some postcranial bones from the sites of Allia Bay and Kanapoi in northern Kenya that dated to between about 4.2 and 3.9 million years ago. But in September, a team led by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Yohannes Hailie-Selassie made a stunning announcement. They had found a nearly complete 3.8 million year old Australopithecus anamensis skull at the site of Woronso-Mille in Ethiopia. This extremely well-preserved skull meant that researchers could finally characterize the face of the earliest known species of Australopithecus. Furthermore, the age of the MRD cranium indicates that A. anamensis overlapped in time with A. afarensis, the species that the well-known fossil partial skeleton “Lucy” belongs to. Why is that important? Until this year, most researchers had thought that A. anamensis gradually evolved into A. afarensis, with no overlap in time. While Hailie-Selassie’s research team say this could still be the case, they think instead it’s more likely to have occurred through a speciation event, in which a small group of genetically isolated A. anamensis, rather than the entire species A. anamensis, evolved into A. afarensis, which then lived side by side for at least 100,000 years."

Comment: So many hominins their existences overlap. I wish we knew ow the 'speciation event' occurred.

Human evolution; more about Denisovans

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 14, 2019, 00:01 (165 days ago) @ David Turell

Denisovans seemed to have been all over the place:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/heres-what-2019-scientific-disco...

"Scientists have since determined that Denisovans interbred with both modern humans and Neanderthals. In April, a new study of 161 modern human genomes from 14 island groups in Island Southeast Asia and New Guinea region led by Murray Cox of Massey University in New Zealand was published. The results indicate that modern humans interbred with at least three Denisovan groups that were geographically isolated from each other in deep time.

"One of these Denisovan lineages is found in East Asians, whose DNA indicates a close relationship to the fossil remains found in Denisova Cave. The other two Denisovan lineages diverged from each other around 363,000 years ago and split off from the first lineage about 283,000 years ago. Traces of one of these two lineages is mainly found in modern Papuans, while the other is found in people over a much larger area of Asia and Oceania. The implication? Denisovans are actually three different groups, with more genetic diversity in less than a dozen bones that currently comprise their entire fossil sample than in the more than 7.7 billion modern humans alive today."

Comment: All we still have is fragments of some bones like fingers but no large enough finds to get some idea of how they have have looked, but they sure were active.

Human evolution; neonatal human and Neanderthal brains

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 14, 2019, 05:08 (164 days ago) @ David Turell

The development is different:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982210012820?dgcid=raven_sd_reco...

"Summary:
Neanderthals had brain sizes comparable to modern humans, but their brain cases were elongated and not globular as in Homo sapiens. It has, therefore, been suggested that modern humans and Neanderthals reached large brain sizes along different evolutionary pathways. Here, we assess when during development these adult differences emerge. This is critical for understanding whether differences in the pattern of brain development might underlie potential cognitive differences between these two closely related groups. Previous comparisons of Neanderthal and modern human cranial development have shown that many morphological characteristics separating these two groups are already established at the time of birth, and that the subsequent developmental patterns of the face are similar, though not identical. Here, we show that a globularization phase seen in the neurocranial development of modern humans after birth is absent from Neanderthals.

***

"After the constraints on neonatal shape and size imposed by the shape of the birth canal of the female pelvis are relaxed, the two species develop along different pathways.

"The difference between the developmental patterns of modern humans and Neanderthals is most prominent directly after birth, when the shape of the vault is extremely sensitive to the tempo and mode of brain growth. When the cranial bones are thin and not yet fully ossified, the shape changes of the frontal and parietal bone are largely driven by the increase in brain volume. While the growth of the face affects the shape of the cranial base it is unlikely that this alone could explain the shape changes of the parietal and occipital bone shown in Figure 1. We suggest, therefore, that species differences in brain growth rates and timing underlie the uniquely modern human globularization phase.

"We suggest, therefore, that species differences in brain growth rates and timing underlie the uniquely modern human globularization phase.

"The development of cognitive abilities during individual growth is linked to the maturation of the underlying neural circuitry: in humans, major internal brain reorganization has been documented until adolescence, and even subtle alterations of pre- and perinatal brain development have been linked to changes of the neural wiring pattern that affect behavior and cognition. The uniquely modern human pattern of early brain development is particularly interesting in the light of the recent breakthroughs in the Neanderthal genome project, which identified genes relevant to cognition that are derived in living humans. We speculate that a shift away from the ancestral pattern of brain development occurring in early Homo sapiens underlies brain reorganization and that the associated cognitive differences made this growth pattern a target for positive selection in modern humans."

Comment: Essentially our brains develop quite differently and may represent better cognition in humans. All of this evidence supports the idea we were the final goal of evolution.

Human evolution; neonatal human and Neanderthal brains

by dhw, Saturday, December 14, 2019, 11:18 (164 days ago) @ David Turell

Taken from the whale thread:
DAVID: Another partial step as whales adapted more fully to living in water, which required an enormous number of physical and physiological changes.

dhw: So would you say these enormous physical changes were the result of whales adapting itty-bitty more fully to living in water, or do you think your God preprogrammed each individual change 3.8 billion years ago or kept popping in to do a new dabble in his effort to cover the time until he turned to the itty-bitty evolution of H. sapiens?

DAVID: What I believe is God guided evolution constantly or with much pre-programming or pre-planning.

The only way your God could “guide evolution constantly” is through preprogramming or dabbling. So do you think he preprogrammed or dabbled every single “enormous” whale change in order to cover the time he had decided to take before embarking on achieving his one and only purpose – the design of H. sapiens? And would you agree that since these enormous changes were “adaptations”, it is difficult to draw a borderline between adaptation and innovation as processes that lead to speciation?

Taken from all the different hominin threads:
DAVID: It looks like we will find more and more branches in the bush of hominins. To me there is an obvious push to get us evolved. The bald facts are all the other advanced apes did not move on like we did in this burst of activity.

DAVID: So many hominins their existences overlap. I wish we knew how the 'speciation event' occurred.

QUOTE: “Denisovans are actually three different groups, with more genetic diversity in less than a dozen bones that currently comprise their entire fossil sample than in the more than 7.7 billion modern humans alive today."

DAVID (on Neanderthals): Essentially our brains develop quite differently and may represent better cognition in humans. All of this evidence supports the idea we were the final goal of evolution.

As with whales, so with hominins and humans. If your God is always in charge and knows precisely what he is doing and has the one goal of producing H. sapiens, why would he have preprogrammed or dabbled so many different types of hominins and humans? At the very best, I would suggest this fits in more with divine experimentation than with a God who knows exactly how to achieve his one and only goal. So please explain your theory of why he needed to preprogramme/dabble all the different stages of whale in order to cover the time he had decided not to achieve his “final goal”, and why he needed to preprogramme or dabble all the different and now extinct forms of human if all he wanted was us and he was always in charge.
.

Human evolution; neonatal human and Neanderthal brains

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 14, 2019, 15:46 (164 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: What I believe is God guided evolution constantly or with much pre-programming or pre-planning.

dhw: The only way your God could “guide evolution constantly” is through preprogramming or dabbling. So do you think he preprogrammed or dabbled every single “enormous” whale change in order to cover the time he had decided to take before embarking on achieving his one and only purpose – the design of H. sapiens? And would you agree that since these enormous changes were “adaptations”, it is difficult to draw a borderline between adaptation and innovation as processes that lead to speciation?

You are confusing two words: as I use them adaptation is the same species sightly adjusted. Innovation creates a new species.


Taken from all the different hominin threads:
DAVID: It looks like we will find more and more branches in the bush of hominins. To me there is an obvious push to get us evolved. The bald facts are all the other advanced apes did not move on like we did in this burst of activity.

DAVID: So many hominins their existences overlap. I wish we knew how the 'speciation event' occurred.

QUOTE: “Denisovans are actually three different groups, with more genetic diversity in less than a dozen bones that currently comprise their entire fossil sample than in the more than 7.7 billion modern humans alive today."

DAVID (on Neanderthals): Essentially our brains develop quite differently and may represent better cognition in humans. All of this evidence supports the idea we were the final goal of evolution.

dhw: As with whales, so with hominins and humans. If your God is always in charge and knows precisely what he is doing and has the one goal of producing H. sapiens, why would he have preprogrammed or dabbled so many different types of hominins and humans? At the very best, I would suggest this fits in more with divine experimentation than with a God who knows exactly how to achieve his one and only goal. So please explain your theory of why he needed to preprogramme/dabble all the different stages of whale in order to cover the time he had decided not to achieve his “final goal”, and why he needed to preprogramme or dabble all the different and now extinct forms of human if all he wanted was us and he was always in charge.

Covered all of this before. The different final forms lived in different environments and with interbreeding brought different beneficial attributes to the human final product. It is quite clear to me God knew how to evolve humans from bacteria, but rather than directly implanting those beneficial attributes, he created mechanisms within the various hominin/homo groups to allow natural living development.

Human evolution; neonatal human and Neanderthal brains

by dhw, Sunday, December 15, 2019, 10:23 (163 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What I believe is God guided evolution constantly or with much pre-programming or pre-planning.

dhw: The only way your God could “guide evolution constantly” is through preprogramming or dabbling. So do you think he preprogrammed or dabbled every single “enormous” whale change in order to cover the time he had decided to take before embarking on achieving his one and only purpose – the design of H. sapiens? And would you agree that since these enormous changes were “adaptations”, it is difficult to draw a borderline between adaptation and innovation as processes that lead to speciation?

DAVID: You are confusing two words: as I use them adaptation is the same species sightly adjusted. Innovation creates a new species.

Your exact words were:
DAVID: Another partial step as whales adapted more fully to living in water, which required an enormous number of physical and physiological changes.
So which changes between land-based pre-whale and modern whale do you consider to have been innovations and not adaptations?

dhw: …please explain your theory of why he needed to preprogramme/dabble all the different stages of whale in order to cover the time he had decided not to achieve his “final goal”, and why he needed to preprogramme or dabble all the different and now extinct forms of human if all he wanted was us and he was always in charge.

DAVID: Covered all of this before. The different final forms lived in different environments and with interbreeding brought different beneficial attributes to the human final product. It is quite clear to me God knew how to evolve humans from bacteria, but rather than directly implanting those beneficial attributes, he created mechanisms within the various hominin/homo groups to allow natural living development.

What does “natural living development” mean? I thought you thought your God preprogrammed or dabbled every single “beneficial attribute” that contributed to the design of his one and only purpose: H. sapiens. If he allowed “natural living development”, with all sorts of hominins and humans coming and going but contributing different bits and pieces while other bits and oieces got left out, I can't help wondering how this could possibly fit in with the concept of a God who is in total charge, has only one purpose, and knows exactly how to achieve it. I’m not surprised that you have “no idea” why your God would have chosen such a roundabout method of achieving his one and only goal. Maybe he had something else in mind. (See "David’s theory of evolution".)

Human evolution; neonatal human and Neanderthal brains

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 15, 2019, 15:41 (163 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: What I believe is God guided evolution constantly or with much pre-programming or pre-planning.

dhw: The only way your God could “guide evolution constantly” is through preprogramming or dabbling. So do you think he preprogrammed or dabbled every single “enormous” whale change in order to cover the time he had decided to take before embarking on achieving his one and only purpose – the design of H. sapiens? And would you agree that since these enormous changes were “adaptations”, it is difficult to draw a borderline between adaptation and innovation as processes that lead to speciation?

DAVID: You are confusing two words: as I use them adaptation is the same species slightly adjusted. Innovation creates a new species.

Your exact words were:
DAVID: Another partial step as whales adapted more fully to living in water, which required an enormous number of physical and physiological changes.

dhw: So which changes between land-based pre-whale and modern whale do you consider to have been innovations and not adaptations?

Still word games. If the changes were large enough, we would call it a new species! I'll stick to my view of the words.


dhw: …please explain your theory of why he needed to preprogramme/dabble all the different stages of whale in order to cover the time he had decided not to achieve his “final goal”, and why he needed to preprogramme or dabble all the different and now extinct forms of human if all he wanted was us and he was always in charge.

DAVID: Covered all of this before. The different final forms lived in different environments and with interbreeding brought different beneficial attributes to the human final product. It is quite clear to me God knew how to evolve humans from bacteria, but rather than directly implanting those beneficial attributes, he created mechanisms within the various hominin/homo groups to allow natural living development.

dhw: What does “natural living development” mean? I thought you thought your God preprogrammed or dabbled every single “beneficial attribute” that contributed to the design of his one and only purpose: H. sapiens. If he allowed “natural living development”, with all sorts of hominins and humans coming and going but contributing different bits and pieces while other bits and oieces got left out, I can't help wondering how this could possibly fit in with the concept of a God who is in total charge, has only one purpose, and knows exactly how to achieve it. I’m not surprised that you have “no idea” why your God would have chosen such a roundabout method of achieving his one and only goal. Maybe he had something else in mind. (See "David’s theory of evolution"

No, it is quite obvious God had Denisovans and Neanderthals to develop different attributes to then contribute to human genomes in helpful ways. The literature I read is full of comments about this. I note you are still fully into God's mind with humanizing questions. I just look at what we know from history and note obvious explanations, as I just gave.

Human evolution; neonatal human and Neanderthal brains

by dhw, Monday, December 16, 2019, 10:07 (162 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: (re the evolution of whales:)... would you agree that since these enormous changes were “adaptations”, it is difficult to draw a borderline between adaptation and innovation as processes that lead to speciation?

DAVID: You are confusing two words: as I use them adaptation is the same species slightly adjusted. Innovation creates a new species.

dhw: So which changes between land-based pre-whale and modern whale do you consider to have been innovations and not adaptations?

DAVID: Still word games. If the changes were large enough, we would call it a new species! I'll stick to my view of the words.

It is far from being a word game! You have acknowledged here (though you keep changing your mind on the Shapiro thread) that organisms adapt autonomously, but we can only observe minor changes. The Shapiro theory (and mine) depends on the autonomous ability of intelligent cells to make the major changes (innovations) that lead to speciation. My point is that there is no clear borderline between adaptation and innovation, and so the same mechanism may be responsible for both. Therefore I’m asking you to use our whale example to see if you yourself can draw a borderline. Why are you so reluctant to answer?

DAVID: It is quite clear to me God knew how to evolve humans from bacteria, but rather than directly implanting those beneficial attributes, he created mechanisms within the various hominin/homo groups to allow natural living development.

dhw: What does “natural living development” mean? I thought you thought your God preprogrammed or dabbled every single “beneficial attribute” that contributed to the design of his one and only purpose: H. sapiens. If he allowed “natural living development”, with all sorts of hominins and humans coming and going but contributing different bits and pieces while other bits and pieces got left out, I can't help wondering how this could possibly fit in with the concept of a God who is in total charge, has only one purpose, and knows exactly how to achieve it. […]

DAVID: No, it is quite obvious God had Denisovans and Neanderthals to develop different attributes to then contribute to human genomes in helpful ways. The literature I read is full of comments about this. I note you are still fully into God's mind with humanizing questions. I just look at what we know from history and note obvious explanations, as I just gave.

I am not questioning the contribution Denisovans and Neanderthals made to H. sapiens! I am asking why your always-in-charge, all-knowing God would have chosen such a roundabout method of fulfilling his sole purpose. You have repeatedly confirmed that you have “no idea”, so maybe all these hominins and humans were part of a “natural living development”, as opposed to being preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago or personally dabbled with by your God. Or maybe he was experimenting to find the formula that would give him the being he so wanted to create.

Human evolution; last of H. erectus on Earth

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 22:34 (160 days ago) @ dhw

A very careful timed study on Java:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/the-final-stand-of-homo-erectus?utm_source=Cos...

"The disputed age of the youngest known Homo erectus remains on the Indonesian island of Java has been revised, effectively ruling out any overlap between the archaic human species and anatomically modern humans.

***

"The bones in question – 12 skull caps and two lower leg bones – were discovered in the 1930s by Dutch explorers near the Solo River at Ngandong in Central Java.

***

"Homo erectus has emerged as the most widespread of our ancient relatives. Remains throughout Africa, in Georgia in the Caucasus, in eastern China and on the Indonesian archipelago as far east as Java are all now considered to have come from the same long-surviving species.

"The species emerged as far back as two million years ago, but exactly how long they persisted has been a mystery.

"By the look of the Ngandong remains, they belonged to some of latest surviving members of the species.

***

"To narrow the age estimate even further, the team excavated at sites upstream and downstream of Ngandong, gathering 52 age estimates in total from different terrace layers using a range of different dating techniques.

“It's a much bigger scale, much more comprehensive approach to establishing a chronology for this site than has ever been attempted before,” says Westaway.

"Each of these 52 age estimates had margins of error: some were minimum ages, others maximum. The team used Bayesian modelling to combine these estimates and arrived at a final approximate age for the bone bed of 117,000 to 108,000 years old.

"The finding suggests that Homo erectus lived on Java for more than 1.4 million years.

"The new date rules out any co-habitation on the island with anatomically modern humans, who only arrived in the area after about 75,000 years ago, and the possibility that Homo erectus met its end at the hands of modern humans.

"It doesn’t rule out interactions with other hominins, including Denisovans, says Westaway. Some scientists have even suggested that the changing appearance of Homo erectus over time could be sign of hybridisation rather than the simple march of evolution. (my bold)

"Finding evidence to back up such tantalising theories will, of course, require more work, says Westaway. Drawing a line under the last appearance of the species is a good start.

Comment: Like the Hobbits, isolation seems to have helped them to exist until more recent times. For me it calls into question Gould's punc-inc theory that isolation produces evolution. And think, they lived in the time of H. habilis, Neanderthal, and early H. sapiens. A bush of Homos, just like the bush of life. Evolution follows a bushy pattern.

Human evolution; last of H. erectus on Earth

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 19, 2019, 15:59 (159 days ago) @ David Turell

An interesting take on the last of erectus: climate change got them:

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/reanalyzed-fossils-could-be-last-knownhomo-e...


"Homo erectus fossil remains discovered decades ago in Central Java, Indonesia, represent the last known individuals of the ancient hominin species, according to a press release. The new findings help to clarify how long H. erectus existed. The species, which evolved 2 million years ago, was the first to walk upright and to migrate from Africa.

"Paleontologist Yan Rizal at Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia and colleagues used radioactive dating to analyze 12 skulls and two lower leg bones discovered between 1931 and 1933. Over the years, the age of these fossils has been difficult to determine due to the geological complexity of the excavation site, an area near the Solo River at Ngandong that was experiencing changes in environmental conditions when the hominins died during a mass death event. Previous estimates of the fossils’ age ranged widely, from 550,000 to 27,000 years old, but the analysis from Rizal and colleagues suggests the fossils are between 117,000 and 108,000 years old, representing the last known occurrence of H. erectus.

"These specimens confirm that the species likely went extinct due to climate change, study coauthor Russell Ciochon, a biological anthropologist at the University of Iowa, tells CNN. “The open woodland was replaced by a rainforest. No Homo erectus fossils are found after the environment changed, so Homo erectus likely was unable to adapt to this new rainforest environment,” he says."

Comment: No time for adaptation is suggested, or the species was incapable of adapting and remained the same for two million years. dhw thinks environmental changes drives speciation. Hmmmmm.

Human evolution; H. sapiens all across Africa

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 19:33 (125 days ago) @ David Turell

From 300,000 years ago, at least four different populations:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ancient-kids-dna-reveals-new-insights-how-africa-wa...

"'Analyses of the west-central African children’s DNA indicate that at least three major human lineages —ancestral to either today’s central African hunter-gatherers, southern African hunter-gatherers or all other present-day people — genetically diverged from each other in rapid succession between roughly 250,000 and 200,000 years ago.

"A fourth, previously unknown human population also emerged in that time span and left a small genetic mark on modern western and eastern Africans, a team led by evolutionary geneticists Mark Lipson and David Reich...,

***

"'That genetic evidence from the long-dead kids fits a scenario in which different Homo sapiens populations emerged in different parts of Africa as early as around 300,000 years ago, followed by a mixing and mingling of populations across the continent (SN: 9/28/17).

"'A previous genetic study, led by evolutionary geneticist Pontus Skoglund of the Francis Crick Institute in London, identified a human population originating more than 200,000 years ago that was ancestral to later rainforest hunter-gatherer groups in western and central sub-Saharan Africa. The new study provides further evidence for that ancestral line: Ancient children in the new study carried a minority of ancestry from those ancient forerunners of rainforest groups.

"'Genetic data in the new study provide “the only ancient DNA record from so far west in sub-Saharan Africa,” Skoglund says.

"'Lipson’s group extracted DNA from four children buried at Shum Laka, a rock-shelter in northwestern Cameroon. Excavations there in the 1980s and 1990s yielded stone tools and other artifacts from hunter-gatherers spanning the last 30,000 years. The site also served as a cemetery for extended families. A total of 18 human skeletons, most from children, have been unearthed at Shum Laka. Some burials date to about 8,000 years ago, others to around 3,000 years ago."

Comment: H. sapiens was all over Africa as the start of our species. Did the group appear just once and spread, or were there multiple appearances? The point is not clear to me but the 300,000 year-old group was found in the Morocco area.

Human evolution; human DNA has an immune system

by David Turell @, Monday, January 27, 2020, 18:03 (120 days ago) @ David Turell

Other than the usual known cells and antibodies, in general is anti-viral:

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/novel-dna-sensing-pathway-found-in-human-cel...

"Triggered by an enzyme called DNA protein kinase (DNA-PK), the newly found pathway is independent of the cGAS-STING pathway—until now considered the main regulator of mammalian innate immune responses to DNA—and is missing or inactive in mouse cells.

***

"First described in 2013, the cGAS-STING pathway plays a critical role in the cell’s innate immune reaction to viral infection. Upon detecting cytosolic DNA (usually a tell-tale sign of viral entry), the cGAS enzyme binds to the transmembrane protein STING to trigger the production of interferons and other antiviral responses.

***

"It’s not the first time DNA-PK has been implicated in antiviral defenses. The University of Cambridge’s Geoffrey Smith and Brian Ferguson reported in 2012 that DNA-PK in mouse and human cells could promote interferon production in response to transfection with foreign DNA. That study, however, concluded that DNA-PK was likely triggering the response via STING, not independently of it.

“'It’s nice to see that another group has found an important role for DNA-PK in sensing foreign DNA,” Smith tells The Scientist, adding that the Washington team’s paper presents “some data supportive” of the conclusion that the new pathway is STING-independent.

"He notes that assays the team carried out using DNA-PK inhibitors seemed to influence antiviral responses differently depending on cell type—a result that Stetson says might have do with interactions between the DNA-PK and gCAS-STING pathways in the various cell lines the team used. In some cases, “the two pathways may antagonize each other,” Stetson writes in an email to The Scientist. “It is something we are interested in pursuing.”

"Examining other mammalian cell lines, Stetson’s team detected evidence of the novel DNA-PK pathway in non-human primate cells and in rat cells. But the researchers couldn’t find the pathway in mouse cells, where most preclinical research on cGAS-STING therapies has been conducted." (my bold)

Comment: Note my bold. It is interesting that this ability is widely available at the primate level, but also in rats, a known species with close to human physiology. Another complex immune system must have been designed.

Human evolution; Africa has a Neanderthal mixture

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 30, 2020, 20:28 (117 days ago) @ David Turell

Just discovered, and a result of migrations between Africa and Europe:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/new-genetic-analysis-reveals-modern-africans-have-s...

"People who migrated out of Africa around 60,000 to 80,000 years ago interbred with Neandertals. That set the stage for some human groups to return to Africa carrying Neandertal genes that spread throughout the continent, apparently because those genes proved beneficial to ancient Africans, researchers report January 30 in Cell.

"Sets of Neandertal gene variants inherited by modern Africans include genes involved in bolstering the immune system and modifying sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation, geneticist Joshua Akey of Princeton University and his colleagues found. Those genes presumably spread quickly once introduced to African humans. A new statistical approach for detecting ancient genetic material that’s still present in modern DNA, developed by Akey’s team, enabled this discovery. (my bold)

"The researchers’ new technique also detected a human journey out of Africa roughly 100,000 to 150,000 years ago that led to the introduction of human genes into Neandertals via interbreeding. Some African DNA that appeared at first to have been inherited from Neandertals actually came from those ancient humans when scrutinized more closely, the investigators say.

“'Our work highlights how humans and Neandertals interacted for hundreds of thousands of years, with populations dispersing out of and back into Africa,” Akey says. “Remnants of Neandertal DNA survive in every modern human population studied to date.”

***

"Neandertal DNA accounts for, on average, about 0.5 percent of individual Africans’ genetic inheritance, or genome, far more than reported in earlier studies, Akey’s team concludes. Most present-day people outside Africa carry about three times as much Neandertal DNA as Africans do, the researchers say. More than 94 percent of Neandertal DNA sequences detected in today’s Africans have also been observed in non-Africans, they say."

Comment: the presence of different Homo species developed advantages for the final sapiens results as noted in the story ab out better immunity and better protection from the sun.

Human evolution; earliest sapiens in Europe

by David Turell @, Monday, May 11, 2020, 19:55 (15 days ago) @ David Turell

Dated at 44-46,000 years ago:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/earliest-known-humans-europe-bacho-kiro-bulgaria

"A tooth and six bone fragments found in a Bulgarian cave are the oldest directly dated remains of Homo sapiens in Europe, scientists say.

"Until now, most of the earliest fossils of humans on the continent ranged in age from around 45,000 to 41,500 years old. But those ages are based on dates for sediment and artifacts associated with the fossils, not the fossils themselves. The newfound remains date to between roughly 46,000 and 44,000 years ago, researchers report May 11 in Nature.

***

"The new discoveries at Bulgaria’s Bacho Kiro Cave have added evidence for a scenario in which African H. sapiens reached the Middle East approximately 50,000 years ago (SN: 1/28/15) and then rapidly dispersed into Europe (SN: 11/2/11) and Central Asia (SN: 10/22/14), the scientists conclude.

***

"What’s more, stone artifacts and personal ornaments found with the human fossils are the earliest examples of a shift in tool and ornament making from what’s known as the Initial Upper Paleolithic culture, Hublin and colleagues say. Along with several earlier European excavations, the new finds indicate that Initial Upper Paleolithic tools were made for only a few thousand years before being replaced by related implements from the Aurignacian culture, which dates to between 43,000 and 33,000 years ago (SN: 3/23/15).

"The newfound stone tools and pendants made from cave bear teeth appear to have inspired similar objects made a few thousand years later by western European Neandertals, Hublin says, suggesting that ancient humans in Bulgaria mingled with native Neandertals. “The Bacho Kiro cave provides evidence that pioneer groups of Homo sapiens brought new behaviors into Europe and interacted with local Neandertals,” Hublin says.

"Although that’s possible, Neandertals made jewelry out of eagle talons around 130,000 years ago (SN: 3/20/15). That’s long before when H. sapiens are generally thought to have first reached Europe, and thus Neandertals may not have been influenced by the newcomers’ ornaments, says paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, who did not participate in the new studies.

"Human groups that brought Initial Upper Paleolithic toolmaking to Europe may have been too small to stay or survive for long when confronted with larger numbers of Neandertals and frequent climate fluctuations at the time, Stringer suspects. For as yet unclear reasons, it was the Aurignacian toolmakers who first took root in Europe and witnessed “a physical but not genetic end” to Neandertals, some of whose DNA survived in H. sapiens as a result of previous interbreeding, he says (SN: 5/11/15)."

Comment: Erectus moved call over the world. At some point sapiens had to do the same.

Human evolution; lots of genetic mixing

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 19, 2020, 20:56 (68 days ago) @ David Turell

A new broad study of many populations:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2238034-dna-analysis-reveals-just-how-intertwined-...

"Bergstrom and his colleagues sequenced the genomes of 929 people from 54 different populations across the globe, including in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, America, Central and South Asia, East Asia and Oceania.

"They discovered hundreds of thousands of new gene variants that were common in many of the populations they studied but that had previously been missed, due to a lack of DNA sequences from people of non-European descent in existing data sets.

"Among the new discoveries that Bergstrom and his colleagues made was the finding that there was probably much more mixture between different ancient human populations in Africa than suggested by previous studies. Rather than a diverging family tree, they found evidence for much more gene flow between different populations. “It’s more like a kind of intertangled mesh of branches,” says Bergstrom.

"This hints at how ancient humans migrated out of Africa. Rather than a population separating into two and never seeing each other again, people probably continued to move between groups in a much more complex way, he says.

"The team also found more detailed evidence of our ancient human ancestors mating with other hominids. We already knew that our ancestors mated with archaic human groups, including Neanderthals and Denisovans, but until now it wasn’t clear how frequently this occurred and whether they mated with some groups more than others.

"Bergstrom and his team were able to show that people from many different populations around the world today have the same segments of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes, but segments of Denisovan DNA differ between people in different populations. That suggests that our ancestors probably mated with a single Neanderthal group but with multiple Denisovans after migrating out of Africa."

Comment: My interpretation remains the same: God used the adaptive abilities of the various human groups to result in a final group of sapiens well prepared for a variety of climates, and infectious processes.

Human evolution; hunter-gatherer women warriors

by David Turell @, Monday, April 27, 2020, 20:36 (29 days ago) @ David Turell

Newly found evidence:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/women-warriors-hunter-gatherers-battles-mongolia

"Women’s reputation as nurturing homebodies who left warfare to men in long-ago societies is under attack. Skeletal evidence from hunter-gatherers in what’s now California and from herders in Mongolia suggests that women warriors once existed in those populations.

***

"But skeletons of 128 of those hunter-gatherer women display damage from arrows and sharp objects such as knives comparable to skeletal injuries of 289 presumed male warriors, Pilloud and her colleagues found. Whether those women fought alongside men or carried out other dangerous battle duties, such as sneaking up on enemies to cut their bow strings, can’t be determined from their bones. Individuals in this sample came from 19 Native American groups in central California, and had lived in any of five time periods between around 5,000 and 200 years ago.

"Evidence analyzed by Pilloud’s team was part of a database of excavated skeletal remains from more than 18,000 central California hunter-gatherers assembled by study coauthor Al Schwitalla of Millennia Archaeological Consulting in Sacramento. A 2014 study directed by Schwitalla determined that 10.7 percent of males in the database had suffered injuries from sharp objects and projectile points, versus 4.5 percent of females. The new study finds similar patterns of those injuries on the skeletons of men and women.

"In wars between Native American tribes in California, women were often killed in surprise raids and other attacks, which may partly explain female injuries reported in the new study, says biological anthropologist Patricia Lambert of Utah State University.

***

"A second skeletal analysis suggests that nomadic herders in ancient Mongolia, bordering northern China, trained some women to be warriors during a time of political turbulence and frequent conflicts known as the Xianbei period, says anthropologist Christine Lee of California State University, Los Angeles. The Xianbei period ran from 147 to 552.

"In a study of nine individuals buried in a high-status Mongolian tomb from the Xianbei period, conducted by Lee and Cal State colleague Yahaira Gonzalez, two of three women and all six men displayed signs of having ridden horses in combat.

"That conclusion rests on three lines of evidence: bone alterations caused by frequent horse riding and damage from falls off horses; upper-body signatures of having regularly used bows to shoot arrows, including alterations of spots where shoulder and chest muscles attach to bone; and arrowhead injuries to the face and head. Because the tomb was previously looted, any war-related objects that may have been interred with the bodies are gone.

"In western Asia, archaeologists have uncovered potential graves of women warriors that include weapons and war gear,

"By around 900, written documents refer to Mongolian women who fought in wars, held political power and had diplomatic credentials, Lee says. Freedom for Mongolian women to pursue a variety of activities goes back at least to the Xianbei period, she suspects."

Comment: It changes our view of this form of societal groups, but I think the thought comes from a previous view of woman, while today we have boxing and wrestling women fully accepted.

Human evolution; how our outer skin works

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 14, 2020, 22:30 (73 days ago) @ dhw

It is a progression of inner cells finally migrating to the outside and forming a barrier:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200313155327.htm

"Skin is our body's most ardent defender against pathogens and other external threats. Its outermost layer is maintained through a remarkable transformation in which skin cells swiftly convert into squames -- flat, dead cells that provide a tight seal between the living portion of the skin and the world outside.

"'Throughout our lifetime, squames are continually being shed from the skin surface and replaced by inner cells moving outward," says Elaine Fuchs, Rockefeller's Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor, whose lab recently shed new light onto this process. "We've identified the mechanism that allows skin cells to sense new changes in their environment and very quickly deploy instructions to drive squame formation."

***

"The skin's epidermis consists of an inner layer of stem cells that periodically stop dividing and move outward, toward the body surface. As the cells transit through subsequent layers, they face the increasingly harsh extremes of our environment, like variations in temperature. In the very last step, as they approach the surface, the cells' nuclei and organelles are suddenly lost in the dramatic transformation into squames.

***

"With this method, [skipped over above] the researchers were able to show that a protein called filaggrin, which is known to be mutated in some skin conditions, plays a key role in granule formation. "If filaggrin is not functioning properly, phase separation fails to occur, skin lacks keratohyalin granules, and the cells can no longer transform in response to environmental triggers," says Quiroz."

Comment: As this shows all processes in life are guided succession of planned events.

Human evolution; earliest known civilization

by David Turell @, Friday, March 20, 2020, 14:20 (67 days ago) @ David Turell

An archaeological find in China, about 5,500 year old city:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24532740-700-the-stunning-east-asian-city-that-d...

"The stunning east Asian city that dates to the dawn of civilisation
The mysterious Liangzhu civilisation was a neolithic "Venice of the East", rivalling ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia with its engineering marvels

"NEARLY five-and-a-half millennia ago, a bustling metropolis lay in the delta of the lower Yangtze, in what is now China. You could enter on foot – there was a single road through the towering city walls – but most people travelled by boat via an intricate network of canals. At its heart, was a massive palatial complex built on a platform of earth. There were huge granaries and cemeteries filled with elaborately decorated tombs, while the water system was controlled by an impressive series of dams and reservoirs.

"The inhabitants of this city, known today as Liangzhu, ruled the surrounding floodplains for nearly 1000 years, their culture extending into the countryside for hundreds of kilometres. Then, around 4300 years ago, the society quickly declined, and its achievements were largely forgotten. It is only within the past decade that archaeologists have begun to reveal its true importance in world history.

"Their startling discoveries suggest that Liangzhu was eastern Asia’s oldest state-based society, and its infrastructure may even have surpassed the achievements of Egypt and Mesopotamia, thousands of miles to the west. “There’s nothing in the world, from my vantage point, that is as monumental in terms of water management – or for that matter, any kind of management – that occurs so early in history,” says Vernon Scarborough at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio."

Comment: Homo Sapiens appeared 315,000 years ago. A very slow mental development until the recent exponential growth. While the brain shrunk by 150 cc in the past 35,000 years as the brain/soul developed millions of new concepts. Concepts do not grow brains. Concepts are developed through the use of more complex brains.

Human evolution; traits from many points in DNA

by David Turell @, Friday, May 17, 2019, 18:26 (375 days ago) @ David Turell

Very hard to analyze:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/new-turmoil-over-predicting-the-effects-of-genes-20190423/

"many have become optimistic about the prospects for disentangling the threads of “nature” and “nurture” — that is, about determining the extent to which genes alone can explain differences within and between populations.

***

"A key breakthrough was the recent development of genome-wide association studies (GWAS, commonly pronounced “gee-wahs”). The genetics of simple traits can often be deduced from pedigrees, and people have been using that approach for millennia to selectively breed vegetables that taste better and cows that produce more milk. But many traits are not the result of a handful of genes that have clear, strong effects; rather, they are the product of tens of thousands of weaker genetic signals, often found in noncoding DNA. When it comes to those kinds of features — the ones that scientists are most interested in, from height, to blood pressure, to predispositions for schizophrenia — a problem arises. Although environmental factors can be controlled in agricultural settings so as not to confound the search for genetic influences, it’s not so straightforward to extricate the two in humans.

***

"two results published last month have cast doubt on those findings, and have illustrated that problems with interpretations of GWAS results are far more pervasive than anyone realized. The work has implications for how scientists think about the interactions between genetic and environmental effects. It also “raise[s] the ghosts of the possibility that we overestimate … how important genetics is in contributing to differences between people,” said Rasmus Nielsen, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

***

"Five years ago, a series of analyses on a European database made these dreams seem within reach. People of northern European ancestry are on average taller than those of southern European ancestry. Researchers wanted to explore whether those differences were a result of natural selection. They found that the polygenic scores for height did indeed increase from southern to northern Europe, much more so than would be expected from the random fluctuations in variant frequencies called genetic drift.

***

"But the scientists had ways to correct for those biases, and the signal of selection on height remained. “We were really excited about that, because we were finally getting to look at … adaptation operating on complex traits,” said Graham Coop,

***

“'The new studies are really quite disconcerting,” Barton said, because they demonstrated that scientists had been mistaking biases in the polygenic score calculations for something biologically interesting. Their statistical methods of accounting for population structure were not so adequate after all.

***

"Barton agreed. “The whole thing is tricky, because the origins of genetic variation in any population are really complicated,” he said. “Now you really can’t take at face value any of these methods over the last four or five years that use polygenic scores.”

***

“'The methods developed so far really think about genetics and environment as separate and orthogonal, as independent factors. When in truth, they’re not independent. The environment has had a strong impact on the genetics, and it probably interacts with the genetics,” said Gil McVean, a statistical geneticist at the University of Oxford. “We don’t really do a good job of … understanding [that] interaction.'”

Comment: We really do not know how genes control traits. Environment plays an unknown degree of influence, as dhw notes Obviously the whole of DNA is involved; no support for the concept of 'junk'.

Human evolution; traits from many points in DNA

by dhw, Saturday, May 18, 2019, 11:36 (374 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: “'The methods developed so far really think about genetics and environment as separate and orthogonal, as independent factors. When in truth, they’re not independent. The environment has had a strong impact on the genetics, and it probably interacts with the genetics,” said Gil McVean, a statistical geneticist at the University of Oxford. “We don’t
really do a good job of … understanding [that] interaction.'”

DAVID: We really do not know how genes control traits. Environment plays an unknown degree of influence, as dhw notes.

Thank you for this gracious acknowledgement. All our discussions revolve around things “we really do not know”, but I don’t think it requires a great deal of thought, research and money to realize that interaction between the genome and the environment lies at the heart of evolution.

Human evolution; traits from many points in DNA

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 18, 2019, 15:57 (374 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: “'The methods developed so far really think about genetics and environment as separate and orthogonal, as independent factors. When in truth, they’re not independent. The environment has had a strong impact on the genetics, and it probably interacts with the genetics,” said Gil McVean, a statistical geneticist at the University of Oxford. “We don’t
really do a good job of … understanding [that] interaction.'”

DAVID: We really do not know how genes control traits. Environment plays an unknown degree of influence, as dhw notes.

dhw: Thank you for this gracious acknowledgement. All our discussions revolve around things “we really do not know”, but I don’t think it requires a great deal of thought, research and money to realize that interaction between the genome and the environment lies at the heart of evolution.

What is at the heart of driving evolution is God. What environment does, and I include competition with other organisms under the environment umbrella, is species adaptation to the problems presented, nothing more.

Human evolution; traits from many points in DNA

by dhw, Thursday, May 23, 2019, 09:20 (369 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We really do not know how genes control traits. Environment plays an unknown degree of influence, as dhw notes.

dhw: Thank you for this gracious acknowledgement. All our discussions revolve around things “we really do not know”, but I don’t think it requires a great deal of thought, research and money to realize that interaction between the genome and the environment lies at the heart of evolution.

DAVID: What is at the heart of driving evolution is God. What environment does, and I include competition with other organisms under the environment umbrella, is species adaptation to the problems presented, nothing more.

Even for someone who believes in God, it should be crystal clear that evolutionary adaptations and innovations must enable the organism to survive or improve its chances of survival in a given environment. Otherwise the adaptation/innovation is totally pointless. You claim your God turned pre-whale legs into flippers before sending the pre-whale into the water. The innovation/adaptation is still geared to a change of environment. I don’t know how many of your fellow theists will agree that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every change in advance of the new environmental conditions, but it makes no difference: the changing environment remains key to the progress of evolution as the trigger for anatomical change, whether by your God or by cellular intelligence. You have the added problem of deciding whether your God does or does not control every single environmental change that requires or allows for the anatomical changes which constitute speciation.

Human evolution; traits from many points in DNA

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 23, 2019, 18:53 (369 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We really do not know how genes control traits. Environment plays an unknown degree of influence, as dhw notes.

dhw: Thank you for this gracious acknowledgement. All our discussions revolve around things “we really do not know”, but I don’t think it requires a great deal of thought, research and money to realize that interaction between the genome and the environment lies at the heart of evolution.

DAVID: What is at the heart of driving evolution is God. What environment does, and I include competition with other organisms under the environment umbrella, is species adaptation to the problems presented, nothing more.

dhw: Even for someone who believes in God, it should be crystal clear that evolutionary adaptations and innovations must enable the organism to survive or improve its chances of survival in a given environment. Otherwise the adaptation/innovation is totally pointless. You claim your God turned pre-whale legs into flippers before sending the pre-whale into the water. The innovation/adaptation is still geared to a change of environment. I don’t know how many of your fellow theists will agree that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every change in advance of the new environmental conditions, but it makes no difference: the changing environment remains key to the progress of evolution as the trigger for anatomical change, whether by your God or by cellular intelligence. You have the added problem of deciding whether your God does or does not control every single environmental change that requires or allows for the anatomical changes which constitute speciation.

My belief is that God caused speciation. Darwin-style evolution is incapable of it.

Human evolution; traits from many points in DNA

by dhw, Friday, May 24, 2019, 10:03 (368 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I don’t think it requires a great deal of thought, research and money to realize that interaction between the genome and the environment lies at the heart of evolution.

DAVID: What is at the heart of driving evolution is God. What environment does, and I include competition with other organisms under the environment umbrella, is species adaptation to the problems presented, nothing more.

dhw: Even for someone who believes in God, it should be crystal clear that evolutionary adaptations and innovations must enable the organism to survive or improve its chances of survival in a given environment. Otherwise the adaptation/innovation is totally pointless. You claim your God turned pre-whale legs into flippers before sending the pre-whale into the water. The innovation/adaptation is still geared to a change of environment. I don’t know how many of your fellow theists will agree that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every change in advance of the new environmental conditions, but it makes no difference: the changing environment remains key to the progress of evolution as the trigger for anatomical change, whether by your God or by cellular intelligence. You have the added problem of deciding whether your God does or does not control every single environmental change that requires or allows for the anatomical changes which constitute speciation.

DAVID: My belief is that God caused speciation. Darwin-style evolution is incapable of it.

Yes, we know you think your God either preprogrammed or dabbled every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder, but this does not in any way reduce the importance of the environment’s influence on evolution, and it does not answer the question of whether your God deliberately engineered every single environmental change, both global and local. Please stick to the subject.

Human evolution; traits from many points in DNA

by David Turell @, Friday, May 24, 2019, 19:34 (368 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I don’t think it requires a great deal of thought, research and money to realize that interaction between the genome and the environment lies at the heart of evolution.

DAVID: What is at the heart of driving evolution is God. What environment does, and I include competition with other organisms under the environment umbrella, is species adaptation to the problems presented, nothing more.

dhw: Even for someone who believes in God, it should be crystal clear that evolutionary adaptations and innovations must enable the organism to survive or improve its chances of survival in a given environment. Otherwise the adaptation/innovation is totally pointless. You claim your God turned pre-whale legs into flippers before sending the pre-whale into the water. The innovation/adaptation is still geared to a change of environment. I don’t know how many of your fellow theists will agree that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every change in advance of the new environmental conditions, but it makes no difference: the changing environment remains key to the progress of evolution as the trigger for anatomical change, whether by your God or by cellular intelligence. You have the added problem of deciding whether your God does or does not control every single environmental change that requires or allows for the anatomical changes which constitute speciation.

DAVID: My belief is that God caused speciation. Darwin-style evolution is incapable of it.

dhw: Yes, we know you think your God either preprogrammed or dabbled every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder, but this does not in any way reduce the importance of the environment’s influence on evolution, and it does not answer the question of whether your God deliberately engineered every single environmental change, both global and local. Please stick to the subject.

The subject is how speciation happens, and the question cannot be answered at this time, but we both have suggested logical possibilities..

Human evolution; new anthropological info

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 02, 2020, 01:23 (55 days ago) @ David Turell

It seems lots of different ancestors of different brain development were all living at the same times in Africa:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/more-clues-to-the-story-of-our-past?utm_source...

"In the first paper, in the journal Science Advances, researchers describe taking brain imprints of fossil skulls of the species Australopithecus afarensis (famous for “Lucy” and the “Dikika child’’) that shed new light on the evolution of brain growth and organisation.

***

"The results show that the brain of A. afarensis, which lived more than three million years ago, was organised like that of a chimpanzee but had prolonged brain growth like humans. That means it had a mosaic of ape and human features, a hallmark of evolution.

"The study also resolves a longstanding question of whether this species had a prolonged childhood, a period of time unique to humans that allows us to learn and grow.

"'As early as three million years ago, children had a long dependence on caregivers," says senior author Zeray Alemseged, who discovered Dikika in 2000 and now runs the Dikika Research Project in Ethiopia.

"'That gave children more time to acquire cognitive and social skills. By understanding that childhood emerged 3.5 million years ago, we are establishing the timing for the advent of this milestone event in human evolution."

"A. afarensis occupies a key position in the hominin family tree, as it is widely accepted to be ancestral to all later hominins, including the human lineage. Lucy and her kind walked upright, had brains that were around 20% larger than those of chimpanzees, and may have used sharp stone tools, Alemseged says.

***

"The Broken Hill (Kabwe 1) skull is one of the best-preserved fossils of the early human species Homo heidelbergensis and was previously thought to be about 500,000 years old – although dating it has been difficult due to its haphazard recovery and the site being completely destroyed by quarrying.

"Now radiometric dating carried out by Grün’s team and collaborators, including the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, puts the skull at a relatively young 274,000 to 324,000 years old.

"The findings also suggest, the researchers say, that human evolution in Africa around 300,000 years ago was a much more complex process, with the co-existence of different human lineages.

***

“'But now it looks like the primitive species Homo naledi survived in southern Africa, H. heidelbergensis was in Central Africa, and early forms of our species existed in regions like Morocco and Ethiopia.”

"The third study, also published in Nature, collected and analysed genetic information from an 800,000-year-old fossilised tooth from the hominin Homo antecessor, revealing that this species was closely related to the last common ancestor of Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans.

"And this, the authors say, implies that the modern-looking facial features seen in this species have deep roots in the ancestry of the genus Homo.

"This has been suggested before, but it has been a difficult issue to resolve because of the fragmentary nature of the fossil record and the failure to recover ancient DNA from Early and Middle Pleistocene hominins in Eurasia.

"In the new work, a team led by Frido Welker and Enrico Cappellini from the University of Copenhagen obtained sets of proteins from the dental enamel of molars of H. antecessor from Atapuerca, Spain, and Homo erectus from Dmanisi, Georgia.

"Phylogenetic analysis in collaboration with National Research Center on Human Evolution in Burgos, Spain, allowed them to propose that H. antecessor is a closely-related sister lineage to subsequent Middle and Late Pleistocene hominins such as modern humans.

"They suggest that the shape of the Neanderthal cranium represents a derived, rather than primitive, form."

Comment: the burst of human development in so many directions and types is sort of like the Cambrian Explosion. We can debate why this burst but it does not seem to be climate changes or oxygen levels, some of the obvious discussion points around the Cambrian. I say God's decision, but He won't tell us His reasoning. Now let us guess....nothing humanoid, please.

Human evolution; new anthropological info

by dhw, Thursday, April 02, 2020, 12:48 (54 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It seems lots of different ancestors of different brain development were all living at the same times in Africa:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/more-clues-to-the-story-of-our-past?utm_source...

DAVID: the burst of human development in so many directions and types is sort of like the Cambrian Explosion. We can debate why this burst but it does not seem to be climate changes or oxygen levels, some of the obvious discussion points around the Cambrian. I say God's decision, but He won't tell us His reasoning. Now let us guess....nothing humanoid, please.

Daft! You tell us that “We can only know his logic is like ours” and he probably has thought patterns etc. like ours, and then you ask for explanations that will not involve logic and thought patterns like ours! I will keep my theist’s hat on for the sake of argument, in which case of course it’s God’s decision. Why all the different forms of homo? Either he was experimenting, or he had set in motion a mechanism that enabled all organisms to work out their own ways of survival. And so once the human line had begun, it branched out as different sets of humanoids and homos found their own means of coping with the environment. How big their brains grew may have depended on the sort of activities they performed, since we know from the modern brain that it changes according to what tasks it is made to perform – though you would rather ignore this aspect of modern science since it conflicts with your theory that God has to preprogramme or dabble every variation. If you can’t find a logical explanation of your own but reject the logic of these two explanations because they don’t fit in with your image of God or your interpretation of his purpose, then please acknowledge the possibility that either your image of God or your interpretation of his purpose might be wrong.

Human evolution; new anthropological info

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 02, 2020, 20:51 (54 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It seems lots of different ancestors of different brain development were all living at the same times in Africa:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/more-clues-to-the-story-of-our-past?utm_source...

DAVID: the burst of human development in so many directions and types is sort of like the Cambrian Explosion. We can debate why this burst but it does not seem to be climate changes or oxygen levels, some of the obvious discussion points around the Cambrian. I say God's decision, but He won't tell us His reasoning. Now let us guess....nothing humanoid, please.

dhw: Daft! You tell us that “We can only know his logic is like ours” and he probably has thought patterns etc. like ours, and then you ask for explanations that will not involve logic and thought patterns like ours! I will keep my theist’s hat on for the sake of argument, in which case of course it’s God’s decision. Why all the different forms of homo? Either he was experimenting, or he had set in motion a mechanism that enabled all organisms to work out their own ways of survival. And so once the human line had begun, it branched out as different sets of humanoids and homos found their own means of coping with the environment. How big their brains grew may have depended on the sort of activities they performed, since we know from the modern brain that it changes according to what tasks it is made to perform – though you would rather ignore this aspect of modern science since it conflicts with your theory that God has to preprogramme or dabble every variation. If you can’t find a logical explanation of your own but reject the logic of these two explanations because they don’t fit in with your image of God or your interpretation of his purpose, then please acknowledge the possibility that either your image of God or your interpretation of his purpose might be wrong.

Your possible human reasons As applied to God were exactly what I expected. As I've said, the more science we know about evolution and biochemistry, the more we may be able to see the probable logic behind what God has created. Try this possibility about my in-charge God: He set the evolution of Hominins and Homos in high drive just as in the Cambrian Explosion. It is of the same exact pattern, but a shortened time period. The experiences of many different homo types in many different environments with their sexual intermingling gave the final sapiens all the various immune and environmental tolerance abilities they would need to go forward in living successfully. I admit this does not have Him address every tiny issue, but as I look at the Cambrian with a burst of 50+ phyla settling down to the current much smaller number (35), the evolutionary patterns as used by God are the same, and therefore support the theory.

There are several more reports on this human explosion; sites if you want to read more but it repetitious:

https://nature.us17.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2c6057c528fdc6f73fa196d9d&id=c7ba...

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2239329-we-may-now-know-what-our-common-ancestor-w...

Human evolution; new anthropological erectus info

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 02, 2020, 23:46 (54 days ago) @ David Turell

Erectus is even older than previously thought:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/the-earliest-known-skull-of-homo-erectus?utm_s...

"The two-million-year-old fossil – believed to be of a child just two or three years old – was reconstructed from more than 150 fragments excavated over five years from the Drimolen cave system north of Johannesburg in South Africa.

"It suggests that Homo erectus existed 100,000 to 200,000 years earlier than previously thought.

"The researchers also uncovered the oldest known skull of the species Paranthropus, and their analysis reveals that in fact three hominin genera – Australopithecus being the third – were living as contemporaries in the area two million years ago.

"Combined with other evidence, this leads them to argue that the site reflects a period of transition in southern Africa driven by climatic variability, with endemic species such as Australopithecus going extinct, while new migrants – Homo and Paranthropus – moved in.

"According to La Trobe’s Andy Herries, who led the research, we can now say that Homo erectus shared the landscape with two other types of humans – a point that has been much debated.

“'This suggests that one of these other human species, Australopithecus sediba, may not have been the direct ancestor of Homo erectus, or us, as previously hypothesised,” he says."

Comment: Another new find that supports the idea of a hominin/homo evolutionary explosion

Human evolution; new anthropological erectus info

by dhw, Friday, April 03, 2020, 13:39 (53 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: How can you possibly reject the argument that nobody can know whether the first artefacts were produced by an already enlarged brain, or their design and production were the cause of the brain’s enlargement?

DAVID: I will repeat, and it is an answer to your strange theory. The earlier tinier brain does not have the abstract thinking capacity to envision a new better artifact for the future.

And I repeat: please stop trying to gloss over the fact that the initial concept arises out of EXISTING information. That means the tiny brain comes up with the initial idea of throwing a weapon, but it does not have the capacity to design and then produce the artefact, which is why the brain has to increase its capacity.

DAVID: Please look at the following extremely long article, second half of which will give you different brain sizes at different evolutionary stages and how artifacts are considered.
https://paleontology.fandom.com/wiki/Human_evolution

Sorry, I’m not prepared to accept cookies, but in any case I know there are different brain sizes, and I know that new artefacts are found with new-sized brains. I’d be grateful if you would please pick out any passage for me which a) explains the expansion of the brain, and b) explains how anyone can know whether the FIRST artefacts associated with each expansion were conceived, designed and produced only AFTER the brain had ALREADY expanded, or were conceived BEFORE the brain expanded and were then designed and produced by means of expanding the brain.

DAVID: In this article please note the time it took for sapiens to learn how to use their newly enlarged brain. This alone totally refute your 'natural enlargement' theory. We are a species that arrived living/acting just like erectus. The real arrival of our current abstract conceptualization is all in the past eight thousand years since agriculture started.

We have dealt with this before! Once the brain is enlarged – no matter which species – it doesn’t HAVE to go on producing new things. You yourself pointed out that there were indigenous tribes who still live like their ancient ancestors, remember? There can be long periods of stasis in which nothing new occurs. This was the case with most of our antecedents. (I believe Erectus himself hung around for about 1.5 million years!) If there was a sudden burst of sapiens activity eight thousand years ago, that would be the equivalent of an earlier homo having the bright idea of throwing a weapon after there’s been a long period of stasis. Sapiens’ brain, however, did not expand – you reject my proposal that this was for anatomical reasons – and complexification took over and proved so efficient that the brain actually shrank. How on earth does all this “refute” my theory?

DAVID: I absolutely reject the idea that an earlier brain can think itself into a larger size, which is exactly what your theory gives us.

Do you absolutely reject the idea that the modern brain can think itself into complexification and into enlargement on a restricted scale? I note that you have reverted to materialism. As a dualist, do you absolutely reject the idea that the soul can influence the brain to the extent that it can change itself and even add connections?

DAVID: It is wishful thinking to get around the question of speciation among early homos, hoping it gets around God doing it. Your anticipated answer to keep you on the fence: God let the do it themselves is your way of staying agnostic. For us theists, it is God-lite, a poor excuse of a purposeful God who know full well what H