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posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 08:36 AM
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Originally posted by Gemwolf
Ok, this is all good, but if Africa has the "oldest races", why are they still relatively primitive compared to the rest of the world's cultures? Did the rest of the world evolve more intelligence and Africa's people not? And does this in return mean that intelligence came with a lighter skin colour?


Before I get flamed THIS^ IS NOT MY VIEW or opinion, but more a questioning/challenge of the "roots in Africa" theory!


Another excellent question.

I think it bears pointing out, first of all that, although I know you mean absolutely no disrespect whatsoever, there is a difference between developing advanced technology and basic intelligence. An individual from Africa, given the right education and access to resources, will certainly be every bit as intelligent as a European. It should also be stated that many cultures which we now consider to be less advanced technologically, such as many Middle Eastern cultures, were at one time more advanced than European or North American cultures. Skin colour plays no role whatsoever in the level of technological advancement a culture develops. China, India and the Middle East have all, at one time or another, been far more advanced in terms of scientific knowledge and material technology, than their contemporary European counterparts. That said, let us explore why many African cultures have not developed technology at the same rate as other places in the world.

There are many factors that determine the level of technological advancement a particular culture develops. What is more, many of these factors are intricately interwoven, to make identifying any single aspect nigh impossible. However, some of the relevant factors include:

Environment
It is worthwhile to note that those cultures which have enjoyed a relatively advanced level of technological advancement, such as the cultures of Europe, South and Central America, many parts of Asia and modern North America, enjoy relatively benign environments. Europe, for example, is far more fertile and arable than Saharan Africa, or even many parts of sub-Saharan Africa which are difficult to cultivate due to the extent of jungle and extremely dense forest. When you examine other cultures which are less advanced in terms of technology, you will see a general correlation between the level of technology they possess and the harshness of their environment. In my own nation of Australia, for example, the environment is particularly harsh. Here, the Aboriginal people possess a relatively limited level of technological development (though not as limited as many might think). However, in areas which were of particular importance to them, they are more advanced then many technologically advanced cultures. Two such areas include kinship and concepts of land ownership, which were sufficiently advanced that the European colonisers mistook them, in their relative ignorance, for not existing at all. A hostile environment makes many of the initial requirements for truly advanced technology, such as a sedentary lifestyle and access to consistent and abundant resources, almost impossible to achieve. In these types of environments, technology is more geared towards subsistence, rather than developing more broadly. Simply put, you cannot develop advanced technology if you spend most of your time simply trying to stay alive and keep your family alive.

Political Organisation
This ties in largely with environmental issues, as well. In Europe, for example, the environment was such that people were able to settle in one place and form established communities. This settled, communal form of living enabled people to focus less on subsistence and more on specialisation. The basic factor of not having to hunt and gather food every day allowed people to develop technology away from survival and towards specific needs that served a community existence. It also gave people more time to explore the world around them and ponder aspects of it such as metallurgy, astronomy and the physical sciences. As communities became larger and more organised, the need arose for very specific forms of technology - blacksmiths, doctors, farmers and more. So whilst cultures in Africa were still hampered by their environment, those in Europe were beginning to develop specialised technologies under the protection of a mild environment and communal lifestyle.

The formation of increasingly larger communities throughout Europe led to a subsequent need for some form of large political organisation. Thus, local settlements saw the rise of single leaders, which progressed to feudalism and then to monarchies, chiefdoms, etc. In societies where there exists a single, dominant leader, technology will generally advance at a faster pace than societies that are more egalitarian in nature. Look, for example, at the feats the Egyptians were able to achieve under the Pharaohs or, in a more modern context, at the rapid level of technological advancement the Nazis experienced under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The point is that, due largely to environmental reasons, many cultures in Africa were organised in a tribal or familial structure. Such a structure is good for ensuring basic survival, since each family member relies and depends on the other and it is easy to pass along survival-related knowledge, but it hampers the development of advanced technology, since it is focused more on subsistence in general and less on specialisation and innovation.

Warfare
Warfare exists amongst every human culture. For years, it was wrongly believed that the various Aboriginal peoples of Australia never warred amongst themselves prior to the arrival of European settlers. This we now know to be a gross oversimplification and remnant of the naive concept of the "noble savage" of the 19th century.

Warfare can be an instrument to advance or hinder technological advancement, depending on a number of factors, including Environment and Political Organisation. Where the environment and political organisation of a region allows for a sedentary lifestyle, warfare may in fact promote technological advancement, as opponents attempt to develop new means of destroying their enemies and protecting themselves. However, where environment or political organisation is such that survival is the predominant factor, warfare can actually impede advancement, limiting access to scarce resources and prohibiting even further the advancement of a sedentary lifestyle. This realisation can be seen in modern times as well. The two World Wars, though terrible, were great forces for technological advancement amongst the great powers of the globe. The United States, in particular, developed extremely advanced technology in a relatively short period of time. Conversely, those countries in which the peoples struggled to survive even before the war were largely devastated. In these regions, of which Africa was a large portion, technological advancement was less essential than simply staying alive, which was challenge enough.

Contact With Others
Generally speaking, peaceful contact between different cultures serves to increase the level of technological advancement of those cultures. In Europe, many different cultures were located within a relatively small geographical area, thereby promoting trade and contact and exchange of ideas between these cultures. The same is true of the great Eastern cultures such as China and India, which traded and were in contact with cultures far from themselves. However, in places such as Africa and Australia, trade and contact, though possible, is more difficult. Distances are greater and environments are harsher, making travel more dangerous and less desirable. In Australia, it was believed that the Aboriginal peoples did not trade with any other cultures. This was, of course, shown to be false - the Aboriginal peoples traded with the cultures of Indonesia and New Zealand, demonstrating significant sea-faring talents in doing so.

In Europe during the 13th and 14th centuries, contact with the Middle East, although in the form of the violent Crusades, saw the introduction of advanced concepts of medicine, mathematics and philosophy. From the Europeans point of view, this travel was relatively safe (even if the destination was not). In Africa or Australia or Siberia or northern Canada, travel is far more difficult. Thus, there is less chance that cultures will interact with each other and less chance of the exchange of ideas and technologies occurring. In such cases, technological advancement will be naturally hindered.

To Conclude
I hope this has helped you to understand just a few of the reasons for why technology develops at different paces amongst different cultures. As you can see, it has nothing to do with skin colour or the evolution of intelligence and more to do with external influences such as environment, political organisation, contact with other cultures and the intricate combination of these and other factors.

I hope this helped. This thread has posed some extremely honest and good questions. Let me know if I can assist in answering any others you may have.


[edit on 14/9/05 by Jeremiah25]




posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 12:27 PM
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That is an excellent reply. You have my vote for way above!



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 04:35 AM
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@Jeremiah:

Brilliant response! I think you’ve got my vote as well!
Clearly a topic close to your heart?
You make a good and valid case, but I’ve got a few counter arguments… (Just for the sake of having a good conversation. Let me just again assure everyone that I’m NOT a racist in any way, and I’m actually also for the theory that “life began in Africa”…)



It should also be stated that many cultures which we now consider to be less advanced technologically, such as many Middle Eastern cultures, were at one time more advanced than European or North American cultures.

Indeed. It’s no secret that the Egyptians were at one stage the most technologically advanced race on the planet. Take a look at the Pyramids and all the evident history. The same goes for the Aztecs who so mysteriously disappeared.
Fact is, everywhere a great nation once ruled, there’s still evidence of their greatness. The Romans. They left their mark very clearly everywhere they conquered. The Greeks. The Chinese. Indians (from India). Well, I’m sure we can go on and on with this list.
My point is, that there is no such evidence in middle and southern Africa. No great structure or ruins. Why is it that if life began here, and some of the oldest races live here, are there little evidence of their existence other than dry bones and primitive weapons and tools? Why didn’t they “become great” at one stage? Why wasn’t there at one stage a great leader who said “let’s build a great monument in honour of our gods”? The left nothing, except for signs that they were primitive.

Ok… You say there are quite a few reasons why this would be…



Environment:
A hostile environment makes many of the initial requirements for truly advanced technology, such as a sedentary lifestyle and access to consistent and abundant resources, almost impossible to achieve. In these types of environments, technology is more geared towards subsistence, rather than developing more broadly.

So whilst cultures in Africa were still hampered by their environment, those in Europe were beginning to develop specialised technologies under the protection of a mild environment and communal lifestyle.


If this is really true (that environment plays such a big role) then how did the Egyptians achieve the society they had right smack in the middle of the desert?
How did the Aztecs build their huge temples and cities on top of mountains (with the Amazon in their back yard)?

They didn’t let their environment stop them… And everywhere man first moved to, the environment was hostile at first… I’m sure Britain was just as hostile when man first came there. The same goes for Australia, America, etc. Actually the environment was even more hostile for the first white Americans (for example). Not only did they have to deal with the environment but also did they have to deal with the locals trying to kill them… (Yes, I know the white Americans did some killing of their own, but that’s beyond the point.)
And if the environment is so hostile, why stay there? If you’re struggling to stay alive, why not go out to find a better place to live? I’m sure that’s the reason (or at least one) why man started to explore and end up populating the whole planet. But if some decided to stay where they were, then the situation couldn’t have been that bad, could it?

And on this point. Why did some (Central and Southern Africans) decide to stay where they are, and not explore? Yes, I’m sure some ventured beyond the known, but it was limited. The Europeans built fleets of boats to explore the unknown world. Not only did they discover new “worlds”, but also did they want to station themselves in the new lands and make a living there. There was a thirst for knowledge. A thirst to discover. (And modern world still have that longing to discover the unknown…)

I’m aware of the psychology behind needs. First satisfy your most basic needs before you satisfy the top-level needs. Why didn’t they find a permanent solution to solve their problems? Many tribes remained nomads. Why didn’t they settle at one place, and build decent homes? Why not solve the problem of their hostile environment so that they can focus on other things, and develop?



Political Organisation
The formation of increasingly larger communities throughout Europe led to a subsequent need for some form of large political organisation. Thus, local settlements saw the rise of single leaders, which progressed to feudalism and then to monarchies, chiefdoms, etc. In societies where there exists a single, dominant leader, technology will generally advance at a faster pace than societies that are more egalitarian in nature.

Does this mean that Africans didn’t have a leader at any stage? Were they all just random tribes, with no social structure? We know this is false. All tribes had a chief or king. It is human nature to either lead or follow a leader. Yet these leaders didn’t “lead” to a structured society. No leader lead them to better technology. I can use a particular Zulu (South African tribe) leader - Shaka Zulu – to support your theory. He was a fierce warrior, and probably the greatest idol in Zulu culture. He developed a new warfare method (called the cow’s horns method), he created a new type of shield, meaning better protection for his warriors, and shorter spears, meaning better agility. He made the Zulus one of the greatest nations in Southern Africa. But – and this is my counter argument – this was in the 1800’s. This nation (or rather African races) had millions of years to develop technology, strategy, etc. but in 1800’s they’re still stuck living in straw huts and developing better spears? While the white man come riding over the mountains with his wagons shooting at them with guns.

Let’s fast forward a little bit in the future (and this is less relevant to the original topic) … Now all nations and countries have leaders. Yet, they are still driving the countries into the ground. Ethiopia. Zimbabwe. Congo. You know the list. And don’t tell me it’s because of European interference!?




Warfare
In these regions, of which Africa was a large portion, technological advancement was less essential than simply staying alive, which was challenge enough.

As you said – war was (and still is) everywhere. And technology and welfare is equal to the impact of wars. But throughout wars, the generals (etc.) wanted better and more advanced weaponry to be the better attacker (defender?) and more important to win wars.
The same goes for African tribes. They had their fair share of wars. But even through millions of years of wars they stuck to spears and sticks and stones. Not even swords? At least shields!

We can say more about the Australian tribes. They developed boomerangs and … err… Sorry I can’t recall what you call those rope things with the rocks attached to it which they throw… LoL… Point is… They developed beyond sticks and stones!

War should actually be a good excuse to advanced technologically – yet the Africans didn’t use the “opportunity”!

This is getting a bit long, so I’ll cut my story short…

Point is, Africans had just as much opportunity and resources to develop. And even a better one because they’ve been around the longest! Yet, they barely made the effort to record anything. Their writing skills didn’t advance much past cave paintings. And these are also limited to showing pictures of hunting. No (or a little at least) proof of mathematical studies. Barely any scientific research. A quick glance towards astronomy. No great works of art – referring to the type of stuff Da Vinci, Raphael, etc. created. Even their musical instruments didn’t move much passed wooden drums. They tried their luck with medicines, but with little success. No form of transport? A few basic boats? The only animal they tame was cattle (I’m not sure about this – feel free to correct me!). Man adopts to his environment. He uses what he has to his advantage. If his environment throws him with lemons. He does something about it. He doesn’t just try to avoid them. Isn’t it intelligence to solve problems?

If Europeans didn’t interfere, where would Africa be? Given enough time, would they eventually have created the technology, science, medicine, art, etc. the rest of the world now know? Even with European interference the majority of Africa remains third world.

Fact remains – Africans had more than enough time and opportunity to be technologically advanced. But they didn’t. Human life might have begun here, but it was still as primitive two hundred years ago as the day it begun.

Thanks for the conversation Jeremiah (and the others). I never really thought about before! And let me just state again: This is NOT an attack on any race, nation, colour or culture!




[edit on 16-9-2005 by Gemwolf]



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 04:49 AM
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If there was no great civilisation in southern Africa what about the ruins of a great city in Zimbabwe.

I can't remember what it's called now but remember watching a programme on tv about it.



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 05:15 AM
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Originally posted by bluesjunior
If there was no great civilisation in southern Africa what about the ruins of a great city in Zimbabwe.

I can't remember what it's called now but remember watching a programme on tv about it.

Yes indeed. There are some mysterious ruins in Zimbabwe. Lots of controversy over it. And even more theories as to what exactly it was. No final conclusions to this day about its origin. But still, how does that compare to what the Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs, etc. left behind. Does rubble really compare to majestic pyramids, a “Great Wall”, a coliseum, etc.? It’s not really proof of technology, is it? (Still a good point to attest that there aren’t nothing in Africa to indicate advanced civilizations…)



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 07:15 AM
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Gemwolf

I too am enjoying this conversation a great deal. Thanks to you and to WhyOWhy for your votes, it was most humbling. You have once again raised some excellent and valid questions and points. First let me state that some of the issues you have brought up cannot be easily dismissed. As I said in my original post, this is a complex issue with a number of significant, interwoven factors. In no way was my original post an attempt to comprehensively cover the origins and subsequent evolution of technological advancement in its entirety. Thus, if I am unable to fully refute or explain a point you have raised, please do not assume that an explanation is merely lacking. Assume rather that the answer is beyond my somewhat limited knowledge.

So, to address the excellent issues you have raised in your counter-argument:



If this is really true (that environment plays such a big role) then how did the Egyptians achieve the society they had right smack in the middle of the desert?

Ah yes, but the Egyptians had access to two powerful resources which enabled them to progress beyond subsistence hunting and farming. They had the Nile River and the Nile Delta. The importance of the Nile in the development of the Egyptian people and their (relatively) advanced technology cannot be understated.
Observe this satellite photograph taken over the Nile Delta:



Access to the Nile itself enabled the Egyptians to regulate agricultural practices, eliminating the need for constant acquisition of food and freeing up time for other pursuits. What is more, the presence of the Nile prompted the development of new technologies in order to take full advantage of its potential. A complex series of canals allowed for water to be brought from the Nile to be used for irrigation of the surrounding arid zones. An instrument known as a en.wikipedia.org..." target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow">shaduf enabled water to be raised with a bucket and a counter-weight. To minimise the impact of the annual Nile flood, a series of nilometers were constructed to gauge the height of the water.

The geography of the Nile also forced Egyptians to form concentrated communities along its length. Take a look at a map of important sites throughout ancient Egypt – Thebes, Karnak, Luxor, Abu Simbel – all are located along the Nile. This in turn prompted people to develop technologies that served the specific needs of a large, densely populated community. The Egyptians succeeded at developing such technologies only because they possessed an abundance of resources due to the presence of the Nile. Observe the lack of technologically advanced civilisations in those areas of Egypt that lay outside the Nile’s influence. Although it is true that people did live in such areas, their technology cannot be compared to that of the Egyptians. But does this mean that they were less intelligent? No, it simply indicates the dramatic impact that a valuable natural resource can have, especially if that resource is a large body of water in the midst of an arid and hostile desert.

The Nile also had an indirect impact on the development of Egyptian science and technology. Access to the papyrus reeds in the Nile allowed the Egyptians to create manuscripts which could be written on. Although this may not seem like a significant development, imagine the impact that writing has on a culture. Now, ideas and knowledge can be passed on to others. Thoughts concerning science, politics, religion, medicine, architecture, warfare, farming and astronomy could now be recorded and taught freely to others. What is more, an advanced knowledge of the cycles of the Nile enabled and, indeed, required the Egyptians to develop an understanding of agricultural cycles and, in turn, astronomical principles. So you see, one vital natural resource can lead to the development of various technologies and understandings, provided you are lucky enough to have access to it. Conditions in Africa beyond the Nile’s embrace were less favourable and, as such, other cultures took a greater amount of time to develop technologically, focused as they were on a subsistence existence.



I’m sure Britain was just as hostile when man first came there. The same goes for Australia, America, etc.

I disagree. Britain, though heavily forested when it was first settled, cannot be compared to the arid deserts or dense jungles of Africa. In a desert environment, cultures struggle to find enough food and water to subsist on. The people who first inhabited England would not have faced the same challenge. True, they would have had to locate food and water, but this is a far easier thing to do in a forest environment, where animals actually live and water actually flows, then it is in the dryness of a harsh desert.

As for Australia and America, you must also consider that the colonisers of those countries brought with them not only significant technologies, but also knowledge that had been acquired over the span of many centuries. It is one thing to enter a new, geographically mild environment with a favourable climate armed with advanced agricultural, hunting, medicinal and scientific knowledge and technologies that enabled the construction of houses, farms, schools, shipyards, etc . It is another thing entirely to try to develop an advanced civilisation in a region where simply finding enough food and water to last the day is a significant challenge.



And if the environment is so hostile, why stay there? If you’re struggling to stay alive, why not go out to find a better place to live? I’m sure that’s the reason (or at least one) why man started to explore and end up populating the whole planet. But if some decided to stay where they were, then the situation couldn’t have been that bad, could it?

Possibly, but you also have to consider that a genuinely harsh environment precludes exploration for its own sake. It also makes it extremely difficult to move to a new region, since there exists uncertainty as to the supply of food and water. To illustrate: in my final year of Anthropology, we were shown a film about a small community of nomadic people in sub-Saharan Africa. The area in which they lived was no longer hospitable – the animals had moved or died due to drought and water was becoming scarce. The son of the chief was tasked with finding a new location for his people to dwell. But, he had a limited span of time in which to do so. After that time, the people would simply not have enough water to make a journey of any significant length. Eventually, he found a suitable location, but he did so with little time to spare. In a hostile environment, travel is risky and moving large amounts of people is especially risky. For these reasons, if you have access to a half-decent supply of food and water, you are often better off staying where you are.



And on this point. Why did some (Central and Southern Africans) decide to stay where they are, and not explore? Yes, I’m sure some ventured beyond the known, but it was limited. The Europeans built fleets of boats to explore the unknown world. Not only did they discover new “worlds”, but also did they want to station themselves in the new lands and make a living there. There was a thirst for knowledge. A thirst to discover.

Travel is a luxury of those cultures which can afford it. I touched on this issue much more in my previous point, but feel it is necessary to point out that, in addition to a “thirst for knowledge”, the explorations of the European powers was also aimed at quenching a thirst for resources and new lands to colonise.



Why didn’t they find a permanent solution to solve their problems? Many tribes remained nomads. Why didn’t they settle at one place, and build decent homes? Why not solve the problem of their hostile environment so that they can focus on other things, and develop?

Generally speaking, because there were no easy solutions. How does one find a solution to a lack of water, or a lack of food? These very factors were the reasons why cultures remained nomadic – they went where the resources were. They would move to a region which has water and food and, when those resources were exhausted, they would have to move again. I am certain they would have chosen to stay, but if they had done so, they would have died. It is also important to note that, even today, these problems still exist. We still have not found solutions to them, even in wealthy countries with advanced technologies at their disposal. Take Australia, for example, a country familiar with drought and lack of water, and with incredibly advanced technology that has been engineered to address this specific issue. Even here, we suffer the effects of drought and lack of water. How much harder, then, for a less advanced culture to solve these issues? Simply put, some problems are beyond our ability to solve, especially if we do not possess advanced technologies.



This nation (or rather African races) had millions of years to develop technology, strategy, etc. but in 1800’s they’re still stuck living in straw huts and developing better spears?

I will not address this in great depth, because I do so in my final point. Suffice to say that the African civilisations have not had millions of years. Humanity as we know it has only been around for, at most, 200 000 years and it is only in the last 6000 years or so that any human culture have begun to develop advanced technologies. Given this, a few thousand years is not a significant amount of time to develop truly advanced technology in an environment which is hostile to human habitation and which forces people to adopt a subsistence lifestyle.



Let’s fast forward a little bit in the future (and this is less relevant to the original topic) … Now all nations and countries have leaders. Yet, they are still driving the countries into the ground. Ethiopia. Zimbabwe. Congo. You know the list. And don’t tell me it’s because of European interference!?

To quickly touch on this – yes, these nations have leaders now. However, unlike western countries which have generally benign leaders who (usually) act in the well-being of their own country and their own people, most of these countries have corrupt rulers who do not have the best interests of their people at heart. Their stunted technological development in these days is due less to environmental factors and western interference and more to do with tyrannical leaders who spend their countries’ resources on warfare and maintaining power.



War should actually be a good excuse to advanced technologically – yet the Africans didn’t use the “opportunity”!

War is a very good stimulator for advancement for those cultures which have sufficient resources to fight it. During WW2, the United States achieved incredible technological advances, because it had the resources to devote to research and development, as well as to fighting the war itself. Those nations which were forced to devote a majority of their resources to simply surviving did not experience the same level of technological growth. For these countries, the war was more a hindrance to technological development, since it used up precious resources which might have been spent in the development of technologies or, more likely, in the cultivation of food and other subsistence needs.



Point is, Africans had just as much opportunity and resources to develop. And even a better one because they’ve been around the longest!

This is a popular and very common misconception that assumes that the African people who are alive today are part of a continuous culture which has existed unbroken since the advent of Humanity. This is simply not so. The African cultures which we are familiar with today are not necessarily direct descendants of the African cultures that lived thousands and thousands of years ago. In that time, cultures have arisen and been destroyed. Cultures have adapted and cultures have moved. It is not possible to point to a specific African culture and declare that here is a civilisation which has existed unchanged for 200 000 years. The oldest recognised continuous culture is that of the Australian Aborigines, who entered Australia somewhere between 40 000 and 75 000 years ago. As I stated above, accepting that humans have existed in their present form for approximately 200 000 years, that means that advanced technologies have existed for only 6000 years. This represents only a minute 3% of human existence. Does this mean that, for the previous 97% of human history, that humans were not as intelligent? No, it means rather that the conditions essential for the development of advanced technologies have existed only for the last 6000 years or so. It is not surprising, given this scale, that those conditions persist in areas such as Africa, impeding technological advancement.

Gemwolf – again you have asked an impressive question. I hope that this response helped to address some of your questions. Again, let me know if you have any counter-points or questions. It is refreshing to discuss such an issue with someone of obvious intelligence and curiosity.

[edit on 16/9/05 by Jeremiah25]



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:47 PM
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Originally posted by ConspiracyNut23


I scanned this from Jared Diamond’s, Guns, Germs and Steel.

I thought it might help the discussion.


This enterpretation does not make sense with historical facts of tectonic plate movements. What was that continent called...was is pangorea? Pangea??



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 02:02 PM
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Pangaea broke up about 180 million years ago. (first migration is 7 million BC)
en.wikipedia.org...

I assure you that M. Diamond wouldn't make so obvious a mistake.



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 02:39 PM
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Could Africa be some kind of global "save" point in humanities progress? As has been said there have been many civilisations that have risen and fallen yet africa and its people have survived and always been there to repopulate the rest of the world?
Everyone heard about the natural reactors that are sever hundred thousand years old, well theve been there for thousands of years millions perhaps and this suggests africa has existed. So just a theory but perhaps africa is so inhospitable that civilisation cant/unable to arise so cannot exterminate itself so humanity survives?

Just a thoery after reading these posts on the spur of a moment.
cheers



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 08:34 PM
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Here is a map which details the theorised movement of humans out of Africa based on a study of mitochondrial genetics.



For a more detailed version, and an explanation of the letters, click here.

The map shows how, according to the single-origin hypothesis, humanity arose in Africa and then began an exodus outwards to the rest of the world. The exodus of modern humans (Homo sapiens) is believed to have begun approximately 170 000 - 130 000 years ago.

The alternate viewpoint is the multiregional hypothesis, which argues that humanity descended from a single ancestor in a number of different locations simultaneously across the globe.

[edit on 16/9/05 by Jeremiah25]



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 11:02 PM
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Check out this link to see the remains of rock-hewn buildings built by intelligent craftsmen. There are also the giant Oblisks of Axum which don't look that easy to raise, being that they're about five stories tall.

www.sacredsites.com...



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 11:13 PM
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Originally posted by Odium
Actually, some Native American tribes could be classed as "Light Skinned". However look at the Germanic Tribes or the Pics, etc.

In fact, there is no major difference between Native American Culture and the Norse Culture when you think about it. Worship a lot of Gods, kill people, take each others children/wives [which they look after well] and go back on their way.

But we just love to go, "They are more primative than us" and "Fear the Might White Man!" and other such lines.


Actualy My people didn't just go out killing people, yes we did have wars here like any other land. When we got others
coming from over seas, killing us or making us work for them, we would fight back. Sadly, We had our land taken from us.
The diffrent gods, what religion doesn't have more then one idol of worship besides buddah and islam ?
xtians have christ, mary, the lord, the holy ghost and how evermany saints for example.
Alot of the history of how we were was ruined or lies that were spread to fear us and hate us.

[edit on 9/16/2005 by EvilBat]



posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 11:27 PM
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Originally posted by rowingcrazy
Could Africa be some kind of global "save" point in humanities progress? As has been said there have been many civilisations that have risen and fallen yet africa and its people have survived and always been there to repopulate the rest of the world?
Everyone heard about the natural reactors that are sever hundred thousand years old, well theve been there for thousands of years millions perhaps and this suggests africa has existed. So just a theory but perhaps africa is so inhospitable that civilisation cant/unable to arise so cannot exterminate itself so humanity survives?

Just a thoery after reading these posts on the spur of a moment.
cheers

An interesting theory, but there are one or two reasons why it is unlikely.

The first lies in the fact that, although civilisations are indeed continuously created and destroyed (continuously in relation to the entire span of human existence, that is), the same is true of African civilisations. As I pointed out earlier it is wrong, though easy, to assume that the cultures of Africa represent an unbroken, continual line of civilisation that has endured from ancient times down to modern day. Many of the African cultures that exist today are culturally distinct from those cultures which existed many thousands, or tens of thousands, of years ago. Therefore, the concept of a single culture that survives where all others do not is a mistaken presumption.

Furthermore, this hypothesis assumes that there have been incidents when the repopulation of the human race was necessary. This appears to be contrary to what is indicated by evidence in the archaeological record. Whilst it is true that humanity has faced significant challenges and setbacks (the Ice Age, for example), there is no evidence that a majority of humanity has, at any time, died out and that, consequently, the species needed to be repopulated from Africa. Had such an event taken place, it is likely that human technological advancement would be far removed from what it is today, as it would have had to continuously be re-developed in the wake of each successive catastrophe.

Finally, if this hypothesis were correct, we would presumably see evidence of similar levels of cultural and technological development over a relatively extended period of time across the globe. If a series of successive disasters had decimated various "migrations" of humans, we would expect to see evidence of similar levels of technology left behind by different migratory groups over time. We would find, for example, evidence of irrigation from 50 000 BCE and then the same evidence again at 30 000 BCE and then at 10 000 BCE as human cultures developed the same technologies over and over again after having been repopulated following whatever catastrophe had culled their numbers. Evidence, or rather a lack of evidence, from the archaeological record suggests that this is not the case.

A nice theory, though.
This thread is certainly stimulating some good conversations.



posted on Sep, 19 2005 @ 07:13 AM
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Again great response - but I didn't realise I was "debating" someone with Anthropology behind his name - sorta like a guy trying to beat an elephant to death with a stick... LoL!

I'm sure we can carry the conversation much further and deeper, but I'll just point out a few things.

1. Your argument towards environmental influences seem to lean towards the "fact" that all of Africa is either a fast dry desert or an uninhabitable jungle.
This is not completely true. Yes, Africa has some of the biggest and driest deserts, and some pretty thick jungles. But a huge part of Africa is Savannah grasslands (especially the Southern parts). With more than enough water, hunting grounds and a great climate. With the exception of predators like lions it's just as great a place to "settle down" as England.

The previously mentioned Zimbabwean ruins might suggest that some tribe or race did settle down in the savannah, but the lack of their existence proves that they weren't very successful?

The Khoi San tribes (that's just about extinct) are in some opinions the oldest human race. Yet they choose to live in the desert. And at some stage they had to cross the jungles and the Savannah grasslands to get to the Kalahari desert?

The lack of evidence of existence in favorable areas in Africa is quite strange, not?

And this said, shouldn't the "environment" of 200 000 years ago be taken into consideration and not the way it is today?

2. The Map posted ConspiracyNut23 shows (if I understand it correctly) that human life began in central Africa about 7 million BC (or rather the first migration). But according to other statements - yours included - Homo sapiens are just about 200 000 years "old". Now this is a clear discrepancy, not? So could it be said that Human Life (homo sapiens) actually developed elsewhere, say somewhere in Britain because of a better environment? Am I correct by saying that Homo Sapiens were more intelligent (?) than africanus, Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis or Homo Heidelbergensis? Wouldn't this mean that different species (of the hominid) are different in intelligence as well? Hmmm, that doesn't quite sound right. What I'm trying to say is if Homo Sapiens actually came to existence in Africa, and some of these Homo Sapiens migrated north, couldn't the intelligence of the Northern Homo Sapiens developed different from that of the Southern/Central Homo Sapiens? Couldn't the Homo Sapiens that migrated have "mutated" (evolved) higher intelligence than those left behind? Aren't 200 000 years enough time to allow some evolvement in one species that are separated by distance?

(Please forgive any scientific incorrect statements as my knowledge on evolution are not top-notch.
)

3.


This is a popular and very common misconception that assumes that the African people who are alive today are part of a continuous culture, which has existed unbroken since the advent of Humanity. This is simply not so. The African cultures, which we are familiar with today, are not necessarily direct descendants of the African cultures that lived thousands and thousands of years ago. In that time, cultures have arisen and been destroyed.


Wouldn't this suggest that the current Africans are actually a younger race/nation than the rest of the planet's population? Could it be that Africa was in fact left "barren" (from Homo Sapiens) and that they migrated back to Africa from Europe?


[edit on 19-9-2005 by Gemwolf]



posted on Sep, 19 2005 @ 09:11 AM
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Originally posted by Gemwolf
1. Your argument towards environmental influences seem to lean towards the "fact" that all of Africa is either a fast dry desert or a inhabitable jungle.
This is not completely true. Yes, Africa has some of the biggest and driest deserts, and some pretty thick jungles. But a huge part of Africa is Savannah grasslands (especially the Southern parts). With more than enough water, hunting grounds and great climate. With the exception of predators like lions it's just as great a place to "settle down" as England. The previously mentioned Zimbabwean ruins might suggest that some tribe or race did settle down in the savannah, but the lack of their existence proves that they weren't very successful.

The Khoi San tribes (that's just about extinct) are in some opinions the oldest human race. Yet they choose to live in the desert. And at some stage they had to cross the jungles and the Savannah grasslands to get to the Kalahari desert.


You're right, of course. Parts of Africa are very fertile and would serve as excellent grounds for founding a technologically advanced culture. You are also correct in stating that many African cultures choose to live in hostile environments. There are a number of explanations that help us to understand these seeming paradoxes and I should have listed them in my original post. The one truly unpredictable factor in Anthropology is the human element. We can look at bones and tools and cave paintings and make assumptions about how a specific culture lived and why they developed the way they did. However, there are aspects of human cultures that play a significant role in the development of technology which are less tangible and sometimes escape us.

Why would a people choose to live in a harsh desert when there exist more fertile lands? The answer may (note that this is far from definitive - as I said, there are many things I do not know) lie in the complex relationship that human societies form with the land in which they live. The Aborigines, for example, have a very deep, very spiritual connection with the land which may be hard to establish from a cursory look at their fossil remains or stone tools. They often lived in extremely harsh environments by choice, because those lands were part of a long spiritual and cultural tradition for them. Could they have moved if they wanted to? Probably, but then they would be forsaking lands that were entrusted to them by their creator spirits, lands that had been a part of their lives for many generations. These types of traditions, or connections, are intimately human and may help to explain why some human cultures chose to remain in infertile environments rather than move to areas which would have prompted more rapid technological development. From my own experience, my family's properties are situated in very dry, very harsh areas. Yet we would never consider moving, because those lands have been in our possession for a long time and we feel a connection to those places that binds us to them.



2. The Map posted ConspiracyNut23 shows (if I understand it correctly) that human life began in central Africa about 7 million BC (or rather the first migration). But according to other statements - yours included - Homo sapiens are just about 200 000 years "old". Now this is a clear discrepancy, not?


No, there is no discrepancy here. Human life did indeed originate in Africa millions of years ago. However, when we say "human life" we are referring to the entire hominid family, of which Homo sapiens is simply the latest incarnation. Hominids developed into what we consider modern humans approximately 200 000 years ago. This development was the result of millions of years of evolution, through the different hominid species you have listed (as well as a few others), to the present human form. So yes, humans originated in Africa millions of years ago, but modern humans only developed there approximately 200 000 years ago. We refer to the other hominid species as "human" , since we trace our evolution from them.



So could it be said that Human Life (homo sapiens) actually developed elsewhere, say somewhere in Britain because of a better environment?


This is unlikely, simply because of the fact that the oldest evidence of the presence of Homo sapiens (in the form of art and fossil remains and tools) comes from Africa. For example, jewellery, in the form of shells with holes bored in them and showing evidence of human working, have been found in South Africa and dated to 75 000 BCE (Reference - BBC). Similarly, stone tools discovered in Eritrea in Africa have been dated to between 100 000 and 125 000 BCE (Reference - Science Daily). Evidence of Homo sapien occupation in other areas appears to be more recent. For example, the oldest cave art in Britain is approximately 13 000 to 15 000 years old (Reference). Finally, the oldest fossil remains of modern humans date from approximately 195 000 years ago and were discovered in Ethiopia, Africa (Reference - CBS News). There is, at present, simply no substantial evidence that Homo sapiens arose in any location other than Africa.



Am I correct by saying that Homo Sapiens were more intelligent (?) than africanus, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis or Homo heidelbergensis? Wouldn't this mean that different species (of the hominid) are different in intelligence as well? Hmmm, that doesn't quite sound right.


Yes, you are correct in saying that. As evolution has progressed, each successive species of human has been more intelligent than the one which preceded it. Neanderthals, for example, were largely incapable of both adaptation and innovation. Modern humans, however, are capable of both, as well as more advanced functions such as abstract thought and complex reasoning. This is because each new evolutionary step for hominids has been predominantly a physical one. Modern humans' brains are larger and more complex than those of our ancestors (except for Neanderthals, whose brains were slightly larger, though less complex, and who were likely not related to modern Homo sapiens) and as a result we are more intelligent.



What I'm trying to say is if Homo Sapiens actually came to existence in Africa, and some of these Homo Sapiens migrated north, couldn't the intelligence of the Northern Homo Sapiens developed different from that of the Southern/Central Homo Sapiens? Couldn't the Homo Sapiens that migrated have "mutated" (evolved) higher intelligence than those left behind? Aren't 200 000 years enough time to allow some evolvement in one species that are separated by distance?


Usually 200 000 years is not a significant amount of time when it comes to evolution. What is more, the difference in intelligence between, say, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens is based on a physically different brain size and an increased degree of neural complexity. Modern medicine and science demonstrates that, when it comes to our brains, all modern humans are the same. There has not been a mutation. What we are seeing is an adaptation to vastly different environments and challenges. This in turn leads to differing rates of technological development and the subsequent appearance of superior intelligence. As I said earlier, if a person from Africa is given the same education and opportunities as a person from Europe, they will be every bit as intelligent, resourceful and capable.



3. Couldn't this mean that the current Africans are actually a younger race/nation than the rest of the planet's population? Could it be that Africa was in fact left "barren" (from Homo Sapiens) and that they migrated back to Africa from Europe?

This argument falls down due to the fact that there has been a continual human presence in Africa. It is simply not the presence of a single civilisation, but is, rather, a myriad of different African cultures spanning across the 200 000 years of human existence. When I say that the Africans alive today may be distinct from those who populated the continent tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago, I mean that they are culturally distinct, not physically distinct. Even though cultures have risen and fallen throughout Africa's long history, there has always been a human presence on the continent. There is no evidence that it was ever left "barren". Nor is there evidence of a migration back to Africa from Europe. Indeed, the fossil record suggests just the opposite.

Once again, Gemwolf, some excellent questions and some truly great counter-points.
I hope I was able to address the issues you raised. This thread has been one of the most enjoyable I have been part of since joining ATS and your intelligent and well thought-out posts are the reason for that.



posted on Sep, 19 2005 @ 11:30 AM
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Originally posted by Odium
Actually, some Native American tribes could be classed as "Light Skinned". However look at the Germanic Tribes or the Pics, etc.

In fact, there is no major difference between Native American Culture and the Norse Culture when you think about it. Worship a lot of Gods, kill people, take each others children/wives [which they look after well] and go back on their way.

But we just love to go, "They are more primative than us" and "Fear the Might White Man!" and other such lines.


This is probably one of the most ignorant statements ive ever heard, and i hear alot on ATS.



posted on Sep, 20 2005 @ 03:14 AM
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@ Jeremiah,
Well I guess it's no secret who's ahead in this argument (I know it's not me
) but I'll try my best to keep up my front...


1. This is a bit off topic, but it may fit in with our discussion, looking at the bigger picture:



They often lived in extremely harsh environments by choice, because those lands were part of a long spiritual and cultural tradition for them. Could they have moved if they wanted to? Probably, but then they would be forsaking lands that were entrusted to them by their creator spirits, lands that had been a part of their lives for many generations.


Is there a pattern here? It seems that "western society" see people who live close to nature as primitive. Many tribes keep to basics, and even in the US we see the Amish keeping it as simple as possible. In many cases (as you also pointed out) it is a matter of religion and believes. Now the question arises. Does religion (or at least some religions or believe systems) keep societies back? Would African tribes (or other of the world's tribes) be as primitive or "technologically impaired" if their religion was, say Scientology? And looking at this it appears that the more "primitive" a society is, the more "primitive" their believes? I really don't want to turn this into a religious discussion - but looking at the modern (western) world, it seems like their religion is more "complex" than the typical African religion where their god is often something in nature or their forefathers. Those in the western world who believe themselves highly intelligent are most often atheists...

2.


Usually 200 000 years is not a significant amount of time when it comes to evolution. What is more, the difference in intelligence between, say, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens is based on a physically different brain size and an increased degree of neural complexity. Modern medicine and science demonstrates that, when it comes to our brains, all modern humans are the same.

Usually being a key word here... There are ample examples of how humans evolved differently in different parts. Skin color (thus this original thread we so blatantly hijacked
), facial futures, eyes, hair, body builds... etc....etc... Clearly 200 000 was more than enough time for humans to evolve differently. But (as you also said) we not only adapted physically to our environment, but we also evolved to interact with our food - so to speak. If you're of Northern European ancestry, you can probably digest milk, and if you're southeast Asian, you probably can't. In most mammals, the gene for lactose tolerance switches off once an animal matures beyond the weaning years. Humans shared that fate as well -- until a mutation in the DNA of an isolated population of Northern Europeans around 10,000 years ago introduced an adaptive tolerance for nutrient-rich milk.

You say (and most likely most scientists will back you) that brain size is the/a true factor that indicates intelligence - when it comes to the evolving human. But how true is this? Does different brain sizes in one species really mean different intelligence? We know if we compare brain size amongst species that this theory doesn't work. Elephants have bigger brains than humans (the human brain weighs in at 1500 grams on average and the elephant brain around 8000 grams) but that doesn't make elephants smarter than humans (well maybe some humans I know
)... But can we really compare brain sizes like this? Shouldn't we take body weight and percentage of body weight into calculation? Well if we do that we can look at the mouse whose brain weighs 0,4 grams compared with a body weight of 0,000,012 tons giving them a brain weight % of 3.2%. Now compare this to the man's brain weight/body weight percentage of 2.1% (taking a body weight of 0,070 tons) ... Clearly brain weight nor a brain weight/bodyweight ratio can be used to compare intelligence?

And looking at the human species alone - women's brains are smaller than men's brains (and some argue that women are more intelligent than men) and pygmies have even smaller brains. And where does say people with Down's syndrome fit into all of this?

To me it feels like brains size can't be really used to measure intelligence. Thus can the similar brain size between a central African person be compared to that of a European to measure the similarity in intelligence?

You make the statement that a person from Africa - given the same opportunities and education - would be just as intelligent as a Western person. My first reaction to this statement is that it's true. But is it really? Can we take an African baby and a Western baby and give them an equal upbringing, and compare the results? Plain humanity prevents us from doing such an experiment, thus we would have to look at actual African people in the Western world. But this is not a good measure either because there is just too many factors which prevents us from comparing intelligence amongst probable subjects fairly. And even so - as I said before - there has been huge European influences in Africa from around the 1600's-1800's. Yet most African countries remain third world. It is easy to argue political influences, but could this be just an easy excuse for those on the wrong end of the argument?

The Neanderthal didn't make the fight for survival because of it's inability to adapt. Now this evolving and extinction happened over millions of years. Our society allowed (and still does) the stronger/more intelligent/richer/more advanced people to carry the weaker and (excuse the term) dumber people towards survival. Isn't the fact that we're carrying the "stupid genes" with us holding humanity back? We allow genes which could have died during natural selection to survive... If Africa was left to it's own mercy, would it survive? It's barely surviving as it is...

3. (This is a bit tongue in the cheek...)


There is no evidence that it was ever left "barren". Nor is there evidence of a migration back to Africa from Europe. Indeed, the fossil record suggests just the opposite.

What does "evidence" of migration out of Africa but not back into Africa looks like? Is there a single line of tracks going out of Africa, and not going back in?
And what does "evidence of Africa NOT being barren" look like? I.e. what does evidence of no presence look like? Sounds like the tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it question, doesn't it?

(Well I hope I could keep up with this discussion. Let me just assure those not following the conversation: Although I make some pretty controversial statements, these are not necessarily my views! I am not biased towards any group, race or culture!)



posted on Sep, 21 2005 @ 07:03 AM
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Some more good points, Gemwolf.
Have we hijacked this thread? Maybe, but it’s been interesting, as far as hijackings go.
Now, on to your points.


Originally posted by Gemwolf
Now the question arises. Does religion (or at least some religions or believe systems) keep societies back? Would African tribes (or other of the world's tribes) be as primitive or "technologically impaired" if their religion was, say Scientology?

Religion does indeed have the potential to act as an inhibitor to technological advancement and this is true of so-called “advanced” religions also. The classic example here is that of the 17th century astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo's writings on the merits of the heliocentric model of placing the sun, rather than the Earth, at the centre of the solar system, as well as his development of sophisticated telescopes, saw him forced to effectively recant his scientific beliefs when he was dragged before the Roman Inquisition in 1633.

In more modern times religion is, in some countries, delaying or prohibiting the use of advanced technologies such as cloning and stem-cell research. This is true even of religions that are considered to be predominant in advanced societies, such as Christianity. As for whether or not African cultures would be more advanced if they followed a different religion, see the next point.



And looking at this it appears that the more "primitive" a society is, the more "primitive" their believes? I really don't want to turn this into a religious discussion - but looking at the modern (western) world, it seems like their religion is more "complex" than the typical African religion where their god is often something in nature or their forefathers. Those in the western world who believe themselves highly intelligent are most often atheists...

There are a couple of errors in this statement. The first is that indigenous African religions are less complex than Western religions. It is worthwhile to note that the most popular religion in Africa is actually Christianity with approximately 350 million adherents, followed closely by Islam with approximately 300 million followers (Reference). Followers of ‘traditional’ religions number a relatively minor 80 million or so. Whilst I am confident that many African people consider themselves nominally Christian, yet continue to follow their traditional beliefs, it is still important to realise that the assumption that all African practice “primitive” nature-focused religions is quite false.

Yet even those religions which are indigenous to the African people are rich and complex, with a multitude of diverse gods, spirits, totems and mythology that is every bit the equal of Christianity, Judaism or Islam in terms of richness and complexity. Rather than bore readers (moreso) by listing relevant beliefs and practices, I shall refer to this site, which demonstrates quite well the depth and richness of traditional African religions. Although native religions do indeed have strong links to nature, the same can be said of the indigenous religions of more technologically advanced cultures, such as Europe. Let us not forget that Christianity is not the native religion of the European people, but was imported there and is, in fact, a product of a region we now consider to be technologically inferior to the West – the Middle East.

As for reconciling religion with intelligence through the example of intelligent Westerners, consider also that the Westerner most famed for his intelligence, Albert Einstein, repeatedly commented on the benefits of religion and the connections between religion and science:



… every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe -- a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.

Reference

Einstein, as well as other brilliant scientists, such as Stephen Hawking, have also implied links between God and Nature, suggesting that perhaps nature-based religions aren’t quite as “primitive” as may be believed (Reference).



Usually being a key word here... There are ample examples of how humans evolved differently in different parts. Skin color (thus this original thread we so blatantly hijacked
), facial futures, eyes, hair, body builds... etc....etc... Clearly 200 000 was more than enough time for humans to evolve differently. But (as you also said) we not only adapted physically to our environment, but we also evolved to interact with our food - so to speak. If you're of Northern European ancestry, you can probably digest milk, and if you're southeast Asian, you probably can't. In most mammals, the gene for lactose tolerance switches off once an animal matures beyond the weaning years. Humans shared that fate as well -- until a mutation in the DNA of an isolated population of Northern Europeans around 10,000 years ago introduced an adaptive tolerance for nutrient-rich milk.

To answer this question using as few words as possible (
), I shall direct you to this website, which argues that not only is the human brain still evolving, but that recently discovered, newly evolved genes found predominantly amongst Europeans, may be stimulating intelligence. Whilst this would seem to corroborate your theory, the researchers themselves take care to note that:



Those geographical differences aren't an indication that one ethnic group is more “evolved”' than another, according to Lahn, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Chicago. Differences between ethnic groups are “minor”' compared with differences between individuals within those groups, he said.




You say (and most likely most scientists will back you) that brain size is the/a true factor that indicates intelligence - when it comes to the evolving human. But how true is this? Does different brain sizes in one species really mean different intelligence? We know if we compare brain size amongst species that this theory doesn't work. Elephants have bigger brains than humans (the human brain weighs in at 1500 grams on average and the elephant brain around 8000 grams) but that doesn't make elephants smarter than humans (well maybe some humans I know
)... But can we really compare brain sizes like this? Shouldn't we take body weight and percentage of body weight into calculation? Well if we do that we can look at the mouse whose brain weighs 0,4 grams compared with a body weight of 0,000,012 tons giving them a brain weight % of 3.2%. Now compare this to the man's brain weight/body weight percentage of 2.1% (taking a body weight of 0,070 tons) ... Clearly brain weight nor a brain weight/bodyweight ratio can be used to compare intelligence?

I agree, brain size is not, by itself, an indicator of intelligence. But the complexity of the brain is and increased complexity for humans has accompanied increased brain size, though there has been at least one exception. As I said, Neanderthals possessed brains larger than our own. Yet it seems that our brains are more complex and, as a result, we are capable of increased mental functions, such as abstract thought and complex reasoning. If increased brain size alone resulted in a commensurate increase in technology, whales and elephants would rule the world in our stead.



You make the statement that a person from Africa - given the same opportunities and education - would be just as intelligent as a Western person. My first reaction to this statement is that it's true. But is it really? Can we take an African baby and a Western baby and give them an equal upbringing, and compare the results? Plain humanity prevents us from doing such an experiment, thus we would have to look at actual African people in the Western world.

True, so let us examine two indigenous Africans who have succeeded in the Western world and demonstrated their intelligence.

Kofi Annan, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, was born in Ghana, Africa. He possesses a degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Science.

Thomas Fuller was brought to America at the age of 14 as a slave from Africa. Even at a young age, he displayed astounding abilities of calculation. His skills in mathematics were later used by abolitionists to demonstrate the native intelligence of the African people.

These are just two of the better examples, but there are more if one cares to search for them. Clearly, African people are capable of feats of intelligence comparable to Westerners. Kofi Annan demonstrates what they can achieve given the right circumstances and Thomas Fuller demonstrates their capacity for natural intelligence.



Yet most African countries remain third world. It is easy to argue political influences, but could this be just an easy excuse for those on the wrong end of the argument?

Perhaps, but when you look at the statistics of war, famine and disease in Africa, you cannot help but argue that these factors play a significant role in holding back the rate of technological advance. For example, in some parts of Africa, the AIDS rate is more than one third of the total adult population (Reference). When you combine this with the number of corrupt and violent governments and the subsequent deaths and instability, it is difficult to dispute that the people are not merely making excuses, but are truly suffering. In cases such as this, technological advance will always take a back seat to subsistence as people fight for their survival.



The Neanderthal didn't make the fight for survival because of it's inability to adapt. Now this evolving and extinction happened over millions of years. Our society allowed (and still does) the stronger/more intelligent/richer/more advanced people to carry the weaker and (excuse the term) dumber people towards survival. Isn't the fact that we're carrying the "stupid genes" with us holding humanity back? We allow genes which could have died during natural selection to survive.

In our Western societies, those who succeed are not necessarily those with superior genes. You do not need grade-a genes to become wealthy, or even to become physically strong (although it helps in this regard). Furthermore, the values traditionally associated with “survival of the fittest” no longer necessarily apply in our societies. The physically strongest, or the biggest, or the most intelligent, does not always attract the most mates and therefore pass on their genetic material. Somebody we may consider “dumb” may in fact have excellent genes in terms of raw survival qualities. They may have excellent resistance to illness, for example. Our culture has reached the stage where it is no longer bound by the constraints of raw, animal selection. As a result, any link between a persons genes and their weakness is negated through the fact that people in general no longer care about a person’s genes when selecting a mate.



What does "evidence" of migration out of Africa but not back into Africa looks like? Is there a single line of tracks going out of Africa, and not going back in?

Evidence of a migration out of Africa but not back into Africa would take the form of fossil and cultural remains decreasing in age as the distance from Central Africa increased, with a subsequent lack of such evidence within Africa itself. The migration back into Africa would be evidenced by a progression of technology into Africa combined with a renewed human presence there. Unfortunately, the fossil record does not indicate this to be so.



And what does "evidence of Africa NOT being barren" look like? I.e. what does evidence of no presence look like? Sounds like the tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it question, doesn't it?

The evidence of no human presence in Africa would show up in a sudden lack of tools or artwork or fossil remains from a given point of time. If you see evidence of human habitation at 100 000 years BCE and at 20 000 BCE, with nothing in between, you may reasonably assume that humans were absent during that time. However, archaeological evidence has been found from many regions in Africa from many different times, thus indicating a continual human presence on the continent for the entire duration of modern human history.

Once again, Gemwolf, you keep me on my toes with some great questions and some well-founded and well-stated points. Er, well done.


[edit on 21/9/05 by Jeremiah25]



posted on Sep, 21 2005 @ 08:42 AM
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\When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong.

That's it, I'm fresh out of arguments for my point of view - the one I didn't believe in from the start...


I think, Jeremiah, that you made a convincing enough case, to prove to anyone that there is no difference in intelligence between an African and a European (etc.). And that living a primitive life doesn't make you unintelligent.

But I'll put on my thinking cap and challenge you to a similar debate - but this time a topic I actually know something about... LoL!

But it need not be the end of the discussion... Maybe someone can think up some more arguments to keep this going?



posted on Sep, 22 2005 @ 12:25 AM
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So you people are basiclly saying that africa is the oldest "roots" of modern humans and that it takes 10,000 years for pigment to change. SO we all came from africa and over time and breeding and dna being thrown around we all became diffrent. What about my theory of everyone looking the same in the future, does any one think that holds water ?



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