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We Are All Neanderthals

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posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 02:27 AM
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reply to post by Kailassa
 

Well, if you insist on looking at the evidence in such a misanthropic light, it's certainly possible to interpret it that way. But I fear you are making two big errors, one scientific, the other moral.

The scientific error is that of reading more into the evidence than it will actually bear.

The moral error lies in preferring such a cynical and ugly interpretation of the facts to any alternative.

I agree with you that our ancestors may well have wiped out the Neanderthals. Hell, perhaps this is the real meaning of the myth of Cain and Abel, and the true origin of 'original sin' into the bargain. But it need not have been that way, and I see no reason to pollute oneself with such evil speculations, any more than I see a need to drug oneself with blethering bien-pensant fancies of some Paleolithic Eden.




posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 09:00 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 

I was pretty shocked, in my teens, to learn how my ancestors had treated the Australian aborigines. They were divided, in the white mind, into the tame, the wild and the juvenile. The "tame" ones could never be truly enslaved, they chose to die rather than accept that, but they became invaluable anyway despite their unpredictability. The wild ones, if they were on land the whites wanted, were given sugar until they got used to it, and then given sugar-flavoured arsenic. The children were treated with the utmost "kindness", given immunisations that killed half of them, (see "Every Second Child,) and the survivers ripped from their families' arms to be sent to Christian (rapist) Brother's boarding schools and then farmed out as servants in white families, in order to civilise them and eventually breed the black out of them. Genocide was thought of as a worthy aim in those days. This was still happening well into the 20th century.

To show me my predecessors were no worse than anyone else's, my parents made me learn the histories of new influxes of settlers in other countries. And then I learnt this behaviour was not exclusive to whites, it's shown by many different ethnic groups.

My cynical and ugly interpretation is of provable human behaviour in recent history. Perhaps, in that distant past, people coming out from Africa did not regard strange fat little unclothed hairy natives, who had possession of the caves the new arrivals needed, as enemies. I hope they didn't. But I do know that even present day humans can turn into savages when they are in a group that feels they need to act that way to survive.

I am not being misanthropic, or polluting myself with evil speculations, I am simply extrapolating on the basis of known history. People can be wonderful on an individual basis. Social groups can be wonderful towards other people within the group. But show me an invading ethnic group which would risk its survival by treating the natives as equals.

You suggest I'm reading more into the admittedly sparce evidence than it will bear. However we know the Neanderthals had been there long enough to expand enough in numbers to have maxed them out in relation to available food supplies and shelter. We know their numbers diminished and moved away as the new arrivals advanced. Logically, the new arrivals were taking a big bite out of the available food supply and taking the shelter. We can safely assume that because, on the whole, it was the new arrivals who survived.



posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 04:28 PM
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reply to post by LordBaskettIV
 


Well i'm a black american.
my great grand mother was italian though lol.

my first post was more-so a joke



posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 01:23 AM
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reply to post by Kailassa
 


I was pretty shocked, in my teens, to learn how my ancestors had treated the Australian aborigines.

Yes, humans have always ill-treated and exploited one another, to an extent that often beggars belief among the gently reared.

The last book I finished was Hugh Thomas's Rivers of Gold, about the rise of the Spanish empire. It covers the period 1491-1520, barely more than a single generation. That small space of time encompassed the expulsion of Jews from Spain, the heyday of the Spanish Inquisition, the foundation of the Atlantic slave trade, the total extermination of the indigenous people of the West Indies, the destruction of the Mexica (Aztec) empire and widespread slaughter and enslavement of the peoples of Central America. Quite a tally.

I am now reading Amitav Ghosh's novel Sea of Poppies, about the British opium trade in India and China and the massive ruination it brought down upon both native Indian and Chinese society. It also recounts the tribulations of indentured Indian labourers in Mauritius (very similar to the the tribulations of indentured Indian labourers brought to my own country to work on the coffee and tea plantations). Although it is a novel, the book is closely researched and is filled with real-life tragedy and horror. It is a heartrending story.

Yet knowing all this, I still say it is foolish and dangerous to give way to righteous anger, to judge and condemn.


My cynical and ugly interpretation is of provable human behaviour in recent history.

Indeed, my only quibble would be the qualification 'recent'. It has always been thus.


I am simply extrapolating on the basis of known history. People can be wonderful on an individual basis. Social groups can be wonderful towards other people within the group. But show me an invading ethnic group which would risk its survival by treating the natives as equals.

All true. But this returns us to the scientific and moral errors I mentioned earlier. Your extrapolation may not be at fault, but it is an extrapolation, without sufficient evidence to qualify it as a hypothesis, let alone a theory. You are, in all probability, right – but your conclusion isn't scientific. To lose sight of this is to distort science and misapply it to political ends, for in the end it is a political claim you are making.

As for the moral issue, any judgement we can make would be anachronistic and, more generally, inapplicable. How can you impose the moral standards of today on people who lived tens of thousands of years ago? You have no idea what their lives were like, what exigencies they had to endure, how they thought, what their moral imperatives were like if indeed they even had any. You're judging them by your own standards, and you're judging them for things they may not even have done.

Finally, you speak of the behaviour of ethnic groups, as distinct from the behaviour of individuals. As individuals, humans sometimes act as moral beings; in groups, we rarely do. The real point is that, as a species, we act just the same as any other species. We compete with other species that consume the same resources we do, and if we can, we will wipe them out. All species do this, from bacteria to ants to Nile perch to cute harmless lollopitty rabbits – as you, an Australian, well know. And when the competitor species have been eliminated and the victorious one becomes a victim of its own success – when the Malthusian imperative begins to grip – conspecifics compete with each other, and this, as Darwin pointed out, is the fiercest competition of all.

We are animals, and no different from other animals. If the Neanderthals had been capable of it, the boot would have been on the other foot, believe me.

None of this diminishes the tragedy of man's inhumanity to man, or his destructive exploitation of the rest of Earth's biosphere. Nor does it free us of any part of our duty, as self-aware, moral beings, to make the world a better place if we can. But it is a tragedy, not a crime. To get confused about this is to – yes – pollute yourself with unneccesary bitterness and anger.

I think that is unworthy of you, and if I can get you to understand why I think so, I shall have done some good here on ATS.



edit on 15/1/11 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 16 2011 @ 12:23 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Kailassa
 

Yes, humans have always ill-treated and exploited one another, to an extent that often beggars belief among the gently reared.

I've no idea what a gently reared person would think of anything.




Rivers of Gold, Sea of Poppies...

Got to get those for a son. There's nothing like a well researched historical book to expand your horizons and give a sense of perspective on the relationship between present society and those of the past.



Yet knowing all this, I still say it is foolish and dangerous to give way to righteous anger, to judge and condemn.

You misunderstand me. I'm not being angry or condemnatory. I'm saddened to know what my ancestors have done, but I'm also proud of them for surviving deportation and carving farms out of the harsh outback on which they brought up families who could do likewise. One was rescued from the hangman in England because he was an engineer, and the other engineers on the convict ship, having been delayed in port, were dying of cholera. He made a family with a prostitute, one of many deported for benefit of the male convicts. So it's not as if these early settlers had any support other than their own tenacious determination and hard work.




My cynical and ugly interpretation is of provable human behaviour in recent history.

Indeed, my only quibble would be the qualification 'recent'. It has always been thus.

Agreed. I laugh when people talk about how wonderful things would have been when humans still lived with nature in small tribes. I'm sure the happy times were interspersed with hunger, fighting and all the manipulating, power seeking and little animosities humans are notorious for. Earth could become a paradise, if people weren't greedy or power-hungry, and spent their energies looking after this world instead of waiting for the next. But it never was a paradise in the past.



Your extrapolation may not be at fault, but it is an extrapolation, without sufficient evidence to qualify it as a hypothesis, let alone a theory. You are, in all probability, right – but your conclusion isn't scientific. To lose sight of this is to distort science and misapply it to political ends, for in the end it is a political claim you are making.

Speculation, yes, but it's based on what few facts we have.
How do you interpret what I've written as political? I'm not trying to promote any message, just using research and empathy to work out a likely scenario.



As for the moral issue, any judgement we can make would be anachronistic and, more generally, inapplicable. How can you impose the moral standards of today on people who lived tens of thousands of years ago? You have no idea what their lives were like, what exigencies they had to endure, how they thought, what their moral imperatives were like if indeed they even had any. You're judging them by your own standards, and you're judging them for things they may not even have done.

Just the same way as you can judge Galileo for being a creationist and Abe Lincoln for being a racist.

In other words, I agree you can't. People are, to a large extent, a product of the pervading social beliefs and environment of their time.
When I speculate about what I believe likely, I'm not judging anyone as good, bad, moral or immoral. I'm merely looking at what tends to happen between different ethnic groups who have not developed an understanding, in desperate circumstances. We know now the differences between the two groups were minor, from our point of view. But they would have seemed huge to the people involved.



Finally, you speak of the behaviour of ethnic groups, as distinct from the behaviour of individuals. As individuals, humans sometimes act as moral beings; in groups, we rarely do. The real point is that, as a species, we act just the same as any other species. We compete with other species that consume the same resources we do, and if we can, we will wipe them out. All species do this, from bacteria to ants to Nile perch to cute harmless lollopitty rabbits – as you, an Australian, well know. And when the competitor species have been eliminated and the victorious one becomes a victim of its own success – when the Malthusian imperative begins to grip – conspecifics compete with each other, and this, as Darwin pointed out, is the fiercest competition of all.

Grrr, calling pasture-demolishers "harmless" to an Aussie.

They make a nice dinner though if you can shoot them through the head with a small bore rifle.
The bitterest battles are with those closest. But they make for the development of wonderful plumage or antlers ... or clothing.



We are animals, and no different from other animals. If the Neanderthals had been capable of it, the boot would have been on the other foot, believe me.

Exactly. My argument is based on indications that were were more capable of killing from a safe distance than Neaderthals were. This leaves it possible that the Neanderthals were more gentle natured, but it doesn't do anything to prove it.

Thinking back to the Australian experience, there are many accounts of aborigines caring for lone explorers who got into difficulties, and sometimes even groups. There were quite a few children born to white men and aborigine women they partnered up with in these situations. Perhaps it was similar situations that produced crossbreeding with Neanderthals.



None of this diminishes the tragedy of man's inhumanity to man, or his destructive exploitation of the rest of Earth's biosphere. Nor does it free us of any part of our duty, as self-aware, moral beings, to make the world a better place if we can. But it is a tragedy, not a crime. To get confused about this is to – yes – pollute yourself with unneccesary bitterness and anger.

I think that is unworthy of you, and if I can get you to understand why I think so, I shall have done some good here on ATS.

Please stop making assumptions about my state of mind. I'm not arguing out of anger or bitterness. I'm just interested in learning about the beginnings of humankind, and enjoying having a bit of a debate with you.
What you have written here beautifully expresses how I feel.

To explain, many years ago I had to decide whether to allow myself to become bitter and angry, or to understand the people who had done certain things to me. I chose to understand, and ended up realising the person who harms another does even more harm to themselves. The victim can choose, usually, to forgive, learn from the experience, and get on with life. But the perpetrater can't ever be the person they were before, because they have made themselves into a person who causes that harm. Then guilt makes them hate the person they hurt, and they can go on to do worse and worse. The most important thing you have in this world is your own inner being, because that inner being will always be with you. If that becomes someone you don't like, you can't ever be happy.



posted on Jan, 18 2011 @ 11:13 PM
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Still today you can see some traces of neanderthal in people with the this brow bone. Many of the neanderthals traditions are still preformed today such as bring flowers or a grave and funeral , caring for the elderly and sick, even music, they have found crude flutes along with tools in dwellings. Neanderthal and cro-magnon interbreed with each other and what we have what we are here today. Then again maybe neanderthal is big foot or yeti that went into hiding in caves and remote places from a new and hostile threat known as man. It is to bad that there is tens of thousands of years of history and culture was forgotten, with held or acknowledged and who knows how much of it the churches have destroyed. I still think we have only just begun to uncover and understand what happened and where we came from. The theory of we are neanderthals answers some questions but also leaves many things still not answered or taken seriously.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 04:48 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Increasingly, it is beginning to look as if the differences between modern humans and some extinct varieties of human may not really be enough to justify calling them different species.

According to this article by a Neanderthal expert, who is also the director of the Gibraltar Museum, Nenderthals, Denisovans (a new variety of extinct human recently discovered from remains in Siberia) and other ancient humans may not have been sufficiently different from us, taxonomically or genetically, to justify calling them different species. They could all interbreed and, it seems, have viable offspring with one another, as well as with modern humans.

This sounds like great news to me. But then, I'm a proud mongrel and a promoter of mongrelism. Others may not be so pleased. Either way, it's worth discussing.


Basically a pre-historic race war and Homo Sapiens Sapiens won..... Quaint...



posted on Jan, 24 2011 @ 04:35 AM
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reply to post by korathin
 

We've already debated that possibility. It's not the only one.

Anyway, the point is more that Sapiens and Neanderthalensis may not really be separate species.



posted on Jan, 24 2011 @ 10:55 AM
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Infamous software developer Cleve Blakemoore has often, during his racist rants against "mud people"(Jews, Mexicans, blacks etc.) claimed that Neanderthal were the more intelligent, better looking species but a conspiracy of scientists has gone to great lengths to make them look 'ugly' and less intelligent.

Of course he also claims to have a 183 IQ and being able to lift/press like a thousand pounds or something so...



posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 12:27 AM
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reply to post by OZtracized
 


I beg to differ, it was actually homo Sapiens who were more intelligent. If your opponent can out think you I don't care how big your spear is you going down, but obviously homo sapiens out smarted the Neanderthal thats why we are the dominant species.



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:24 AM
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reply to post by Night Bloom
 


Obviously homo sapiens out smarted the Neanderthal thats why we are the dominant species.

That doesn't necessarily follow.

What if our Homo sapiens ancestors carried a disease to which most of them were immune, but which wiped out the Neanderthals? Smallpox caused population crashes in the New World when the Spaniards took it there. Something similar may have happened when H. sap. bands began entering the areas where Neanderthals lived.

What if the Neanderthals were less fertile? Apart from Homo sapiens, females of all hominid species (our nearest relatives) go through periods of greater or lesser sexual receptivity. Maybe Neanderthals weren't like us in this respect. I certainly don't know if this was the case, but if it was, that alone might help explain why we survived and they died out.

What if Neanderthals were smarter and stronger, but simply less aggressive?

What if Neanderthals were smarter and stronger, but their hands were less dextrous than ours?

What if Neanderthals were smarter and stronger, but more susceptible to changes in the climate?

There are dozens of possible reasons for their demise and our survival. Relative intelligence is only one of them.

Anyway, as my OP points out, the Neanderthals have survived. They survive in us.



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