the premodern humans myth, lush spring farm wallpaper, make no apologies for being rational

Refuting a Myth About Human Origins

Premodern humans—often described as “archaic Homo sapiens”—were thought to have lived in small, vulnerable groups of closely related individuals. They were believed to have been equipped only with simple tools and were likely heavily dependent on hunting large game. Individuals in such groups would have been much less insulated from environmental stresses than are modern humans. In Thomas Hobbes’s words, their lives were “solitary, nasty, brutish and short.” If you need a mental image here, close your eyes and conjure a picture of a stereotypical caveman. But archaeological evidence now shows that some of the behaviors associated with modern humans, most importantly our capacity for wide behavioral variability, actually did occur among people who lived very long ago, particularly in Africa. And a conviction is growing among some archaeologists that there was no sweeping transformation to “behavioral modernity” in our species’ recent past.

[  ]…In order to better understand human prehistory, I recommend another approach, one that focuses on behavioral variability. This trait, easily observed among recent humans, is becoming more apparent in the archaeological record for early Homo sapiens. Prehistoric people lived in different ways in different places at different times. We must seek out and explain those differences, for, in evolution, only differences matter. Thinking about prehistoric human behavioral variability in terms of various adaptive strategies offers an attractive way to explain these differences. But first, we need to discard an incorrect and outdated idea about human evolution, the belief that prehistoric Homo sapiens can be divided into “archaic” and “modern” humans.

Part of a very long series. There is a common popular impression, even among fairly well informed armchair evolutionists that humanity was a kind of crude brutish creature that spoke in grunts one day, and suddenly some fairly sophisticated humans, similar to modern humans appeared. Some of this misinformed view is the fault of a few scientists who during the 70s thought archaic Homo sapiens did not have the ability to speak, they lacked the FOXP2 polymorphism or so-called language gene. That is not the case. Neanderthals have been discovered to have had the gene for speech.

spring field and storm clouds

lush spring farm wallpaper

Anyone who has been around and paying attention knows the Right hates NPR. James O’Keefe Versus NPR.

The video sting artiste publishes the latest work from his shop — a covertly taped interview with then-NPR Foundation senior VP for development Ron Schiller and current senior director of institutional giving Betsy Liley. Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar posed as members of a wealthy Muslim education foundation “founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood,” and taped the NPR representatives — largely Schiller — answering them with exactly they wanted to hear. Unfortunately for the stingers, Schiller just left NPR for the Aspen Institute.

Schiller is a professional fundraiser, not a journalist.

Schiller says the Right, the tea snots, are not just Islamophobic, but generally very xenophobic – here and here. That is a truth, not a bias. These little punks, sent by their mentor, the hoaxer James O’Keefe, kept offering the reps from NPR millions of dollars, but the NPR reps kept refusing. NPR VP: ‘In The Long Run We Would Be Better Off Without Federal Funding’

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit from the tape is when Schiller talks about NPR’s funding. Out of a budget of about $800 million a year, only $90 million comes from the federal government. (For all the bluster about cutting funding for programs like NPR to fix the deficit, that’s all they get?) “Republicans play off the belief among the general population that most of our funding comes from the government. Very little of our funding comes from the government, but they act as if all our funding comes from the government,” Schiller said. “It is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding. And the challenge right now is that if we lost it altogether, we’d have a lot of stations go dark.”

I have little doubt we’ll have the usual liberal and progressive fidgeting. No apologies or arguments are required that follow the but they do this too line. NPR is liberal in the sense that any responsible ethical news agency should be. While I tend to see them as too Conservative , they tend toward reporting the facts. Science facts, facts about the economy, facts about Republican lies concerning Iraq and other foreign policy travesties. To report facts is seen by the extreme Right as a liberal bias. Why doesn’t NPR report as news, some nut job’s claim the earth is the center of the universe and there is no global warming. Because that is not a fact based news event, a legitimate difference of opinion, or rational. The people and political culture who believe every weird piece of crap that comes out of Glenn Beck or John Boehner’s(R-OH) mouth have some cognitive mental issues. Let’s say NPR has a round table discussion with some clergy about Jesus and history and they get a letter from a mental patient who thinks he is Jesus, should NPR have him on to avoid being labeled biased. Of course not. The nut jobs get plenty of time on opinion portions of NPR’s programming, but those opinions are not fact based news and should not be treated as such. The reality based community has no apologies to make to anyone for being biased towards the facts. That Conservatives think they do, tells us a lot about the extremely distorted view they have of the world and public policy.