Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by garbonzo, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The invention/discovery of bronze metallurgy around 3300BCE was a quantum advance in civilization, which is why we regard the Bronze Age as a paradigm shift in our history, following the discovery/invention of agriculture (farming and animal husbandry) around 10,000BCE that ushered in the earlier paradigm shift of the Neolithic Era. Many other great discoveries and inventions followed rather quickly, including the wheel (stone blades cannot cut a precise cross-section of a tree trunk or limb, and a vertical section isn't strong enough to support a wagon), draft animals to pull the wagons, and written language (the early cities of the Neolithic Era had smaller populations who could, barely, maintain order, and smaller economies that didn't require recordkeeping).
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  3. Jake Arave Ethologist Registered Senior Member

    The transition into the Neolithic Era is arguably the most important bit of our history. Nomadic groups never stayed in an area long enough, or in large enough groups to collaborate their ideas and expressions. With the advent of agriculture, people were able to stay in one area and cities began to form around them - and with that the "Big 8 of Civilization"
    "A. Cities-
    B. Organized Government-
    C. Complex Religion-
    D. Job Specialization-
    E. Social Classes-
    F. Arts and Architecture-
    G. Public Works-
    H. Writing or Written Language-
    Because language is dependent upon civilization, we cannot analyze any first hand information prior to ~10,000 BCE. Human history prior to this point is almost completely dependent upon the remnants of tribes of nomadic people from the paleolithic/mesolithic eras. Our abilities to analyze the inner workings of the human mind prior to ~10,000 BCE is extremely limited for a number of reasons.
    1. The complexity and quantity of their tools are limited.
    2. The estimated size of a brain is not in any way equal to intelligence. (this seems obvious, I know)
    3. No psychological analysis can be completed with only movement patterns and the existence of technologies.
    4. The convergence of species makes drawing conclusions about either culture's intellect difficult.

    Those are just a few off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are plenty more. There is evidence that the arrival of biological homosapiens as we know them today first appeared around ~150,000 BCE in the form of skeletal remains - but whether or not their "minds" were as complex or advanced as ours is pretty much up in the air.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    As the Linguistics subforum Moderator, I would suggest that the development of spoken language is in that same category. It's likely that this occurred around 70KYA, because this is when archeologists and anthropologists see a sudden explosion of complex, coordinated activities that could not possibly have been performed by people who were using their hands for signaling at the same time.

    The first successful migration out of Africa, into a new place with different food and dangers, occurred a few thousand years later.
    Jean Auel studied what was known about Paleolithic communities exhaustively, as she prepared to write her "Earth's Children" series of novels, beginning with Clan of the Cave Bear. She insists that Paleolithic tribes did indeed establish permanent home bases, generally caves, leaving a contingent of the elderly and lame to take care of the children, while the strong young men were out hunting.

    Anthropologists say the evidence tells us that each clan established its own hunting/gathering territory, generally an area that a party could cover in a few weeks, then return home with all the food, skins, etc., that they could haul without wagons or draft animals. (The travois was a Paleolithic invention.) Since pre-agricultural communities had no way to create (much less store) any significant quantity of surplus food, during years of low rainfall (which occurred about every seven years) neighboring clans attacked each other in order to invade their territory. Paleolithic human fossils indicate that the lucky 20% who survived childhood typically lived into their mid-50s. Re-examining these skeletons with modern technology discovered the sad secret that the majority of them were killed by other humans. Apparently each tribe targeted the other's elders, since they were less able to defend themselves.

    I can imagine a scene in which the warriors on both sides stop for a rest, and suddenly one yells, "Hey, the old folks on both sides are dead. There's probably enough food for all of us now. We'll be off now. See you at the summer festival next year."
    Villages came first. Agriculture required people to give up their nomadic lifestyle and settle down to tend their crops and flocks. There are many things that sedentary people can do, which are impossible or impractical for nomads, such as building houses and inventing the technology of pottery--which is too fragile to carry on a hunting trip.

    As their numbers increased, they would have noticed that larger communities benefit from division of labor and economies of scale, making them more prosperous and permitting new professions to arise, such as roofers, vintners, cobblers, traders, explorers, tinkerers and even musicians. This undoubtedly encouraged them to invite the (perhaps still Paleolithic) people in the next valley to come live with them and increase the prosperity of both tribes.
    The literal meaning of the word "civilization" is merely "the building of cities." A city is not just a large village. In a village, everyone knows everyone else, at least well enough to trust them and cooperate with them. As a village grows into a city, people no longer know everyone personally, so the binding force of kinship attenuates. One of the key features of a city is the creation of a formal government, since it is no longer practical for everybody to simply do what Grandpa says--especially since they don't all have the same Grandpa. One leader cannot keep the peace and adjudicate all disputes, so a hierarchy of command is established.

    Another problem with villages that become cities is that business transactions become very complicated. John puts a new roof on Peter's house; Peter gives Oscar two gallons of wine; Oscar fixes the broken wheels on Mary's wagon; Mary plays the lute at Paul's birthday party; Paul makes shoes for John's baby. These people don't even all know each other, so how do they know that they've all gotten a fair deal?

    They invent clever symbols to carve into clay tablets, indicating the relative values of their labor and products. Within a few generations, the symbols have become standardized and their use has spread to other facets of life.

    And this, my friends, is the dawn of the technology of written language!
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That 20% number would have required an average of at least ten live, healthy, and eventually fully fertile heterosexual births per woman reaching childbirth age. Arithmetically. Assuming no significant causes of death among adults, such as childbirth trauma. That is not actually possible.

    The skeletons we find were people killed in camp, in settlements, and in circumstances favoring treatment of their bodies with respect and care - not subject to wild animal depradations, etc.

    No known stone age peoples found by literate explorers lived in natural caves, or left women with children behind without defense for many weeks on end - nomadic or not.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Huh??? In the benighted regions of the earth, right up into the 20th century, it was common for couples to have eight or ten children. In fact one of the primary causes of the economic collapse of the Third World in the 20th century was the introduction of modern scientific medicine. The vaccines and antibiotics that we brought to these people resulted in most of those eight or children surviving. They thought it was a godsend, without realizing that their Third World economies (many of which were governed by despots and kleptocrats who cared not at all for the conditions their people lived in) couldn't possibly support that many people.
  9. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    1. Multi-regionalism is not yet dead as a hypothesis, so at least a nod to its existence is appropriate.
    2. For a single origin hypothesis dates of the first successful migration range from 60,000 to 120,000 years ago. While the suspicion is that it is the most recent date an absolute statement such as your "occurred a few thousand years later" is misleading.

    That is an interpretation. Please provide citations for this work. There are at least two alternate explanations I can think of that do not require that conclusion.
  10. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    The mutations are random, but whether they help or hinder an organism isn't random. That's determined by the organism's environment.
  11. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    What does quantum entanglement have to do with Hebrew, or superviruses?
  12. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    The implicit rules of this and other forums do not give you that option. You have made assertions. You are required to support them. Please do so.
  13. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    I think it might be better if we all just meditate and these views about quantum entanglement, writing backwards, and superviruses are never written down again. By anyone.
  14. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Virus enter a cell and can attach the viral DNA to the host DNA. So it makes sense, that to form a new virus all we need to do is reverse this process; cause part of the DNA, to exit the bulk DNA. This might look like a missing gene after the fact. Theoretically, if the virus inserted DNA and then the exiting virus was stagger by a few bases, we get a new virus.

    What is also needed is the viral coat that allows it to enter a cell and viral machinery that makes the virus active. This can be supplied by another virus that is similar and already active in the cell. The net effect is this allows virus to change with time, while also being acceptable to the host, since the host makes most of the virus.

    If we change the DNA we also change the configurational potential of the DNA. This reflects the change in potential relative to water. This cause the outside of the virus to form a new equilibrium shape.
  15. Bells Staff Member

    Mod Note

    Doppelgänger has been permanently banned. Using sockpuppets to try to bypass bans is against this site's rules.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    It has never been common for a population of human women reaching childbearing age to average even ten - let alone the 12 to 15 an 80% childhood mortality actually would require, minimum - live healthy births.

    It was common to have 8 - 10 children - and a couple of miscarriages, of course. It was also common to have one or two, to have none, to die in childbirth or from some other cause as a young adult woman, and so forth. It was not common to have the twenty or twenty five live healthy births and half a dozen miscarriages many women would have had to deliver to average out the others.

    An 80% childhood mortality rate is not reasonably sustainable for humans - that population will go extinct over time.
  17. wellwisher Banned Banned

    There are different types of inventions. An external or tangible invention, like the wheel, allows mechanical advantages that provide leverage for economies of scale, so we can support more people. The invention called language is different, especially written language, in that it provides leverage for the mind, instead of the body. This can also lead to economies of scale.

    If we look at the invention of the wheel, say you could use the wheel, but only if you can make your own. The invention was out there for all to use, quite early, but you could not just buy it off the shelf. You would need to make you own wheel if you wished to use this invention. This was a bottleneck, since not everyone can participate in the invention, since few people will have the skills. The bottleneck is anyone can buy and use, but few could fabricate.

    Not all people, with only spoken language and natural memory forward integration, could reverse engineer the wheel, after they saw it, because the mind was not yet structured to do this on a wide scale. Humans needed a way to create fixed points in memory, from which a grid and an internal flow chart could appear. The inventions of the mind, such as writing, allowed this flow sheet and grid, opening the door to invention extrapolation; reverse engineering.

    Writing created a new fangled mind grid, using time sequences and flow sheets; dear diary. This opens the door to civilization because now invention was sustainable with scale. The wheel is not bottlenecked and lost after the fabricator dies or his skills begin to atrophy. This sustainable platform allows more free time to practice the new mind in other areas of internal skills. The ancients saw this from the gods since it was so different and powerful.

    Adam, in tradition, was skilled in math and science. Math was another written language that could be used to support manipulation of nature via science; dimensions, amounts and costs (commerce and construction).
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Cavalli-Sforza is the acknowledged authority on human migrations, after his recent, exhaustive comparison of human DNA all over the planet. His work indicates that the first migration out of Africa occurred about 60KYA, during an ice age when food was scarce. Members of the San tribe or "Bushmen" (which still exist, but because the desertification of the Sahara caused southward migration of all the African peoples, now live in southeastern Africa, far from the Red Sea) traveled to Asia (a much easier voyage than today, with the low sea level caused by an ice age). They didn't find the weather any better there, so they kept walking. Eventually they wound up in Australia (again, island hopping was much easier with the low sea level) and were the ancestors of the Native Australians. Due to the vagaries of the weather, Australia was a paradise of bountiful food. About 10K years later, during warmer weather, a second band of adventurers set out for Asia. There was now food there so they settled and spread out slowly. He has maps of the migrations of their descendants to where they live today.

    There was a big PBS special on this work several years ago, and it's easy to find on the internet.

    The most touching moment (for me) was when his crew was in Arizona, studying the Navajo. They insist that they were created right there, have never migrated and are not related to anybody. As the narrator was chatting with the chief, one of his helpers was quietly showing photos of people they'd met elsewhere to the chief's son. His eyes lit up as he grabbed one and said, "Daddy! Daddy! This guy looks just like uncle Ernie."

    The chief stared at the photo, then turned directly to the camera and said, "Then I guess what you white men have been saying is true: We really are all brothers."

    The guy who looked like Uncle Ernie was a member of the Yenisei tribe in Siberia. Linguists have recently found what seem to be relationships between the Yenisei language and the Na-Dene family in North America, which includes Navajo, Tlingit, and several other languages. If this is true, it may tear down the "5000-year curtain" that has prevented us from finding relationships between languages more than 5,000 years old--since vocabulary and grammar can change completely in that time.
  19. Jake Arave Ethologist Registered Senior Member

    "Written language was caused in full by water."

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    Written language and mathematical equations are extremely valuable in creating job specialization. Tangible inventions (as you call them) require specialization to create - inversely the monetary value established for commerce is another specialization entirely. One that wouldn't be possible without writing. When I brought up the "big 8" (which is mostly a term professors use to teach their students about the necessities for stable civilization) one of the eight was job specialization. Society would collapse without individuals assuming roles for its betterment.
  20. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle, you are the linguistics specialist here and yet you try to slip by a "the" when an "an" is appropriate. Cavalli-Sforza is an acknowledged authority on human migration. There are other, authoritative, views. I suggest neither of us has sufficient grounding to declare which of these experts, if any, is correct. And - to the best of my knowledge - some continue to speak out for multi-regionalism. (An idea which, from my limited knowledge, sounds very silly and which therefore has a 37.5% chance of being true.)
  21. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Fossils allow us to infer things about the physical evolution of life. Books, like the bible, contain intellectual fossils which tell us things about human psychological evolution. One does not find a fossil of a dinosaur, and assume this means dinosaurs walks among us, today. The same is true of ancient symbolic fossils. These describe a different time and show us some of the earlier stages that lead to the present.

    Spoken language, according to science, is much older than written language. The most recognized fossil symbol in the bible, is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Knowledge of good and evil is connected to law. Laws give us knowledge of good and bad/evil.

    I have often wondered why the tree of knowledge was in paradise, in the first place. The reason was, it was not taboo to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, until that day God created a law that said, one can no longer eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Sin is not imputed where there is no law. It was not a sin to eat of this tree, until the law or taboo was created. The change of attitude had to do with law relative to spoken and then written language.

    If a law is not written or not cast into stone, but it is only spoken, law can be organic. The brain forward integrates, we will go through changes of life, the context of things will change, and new generations will appear, etc., leading to an organic approach to law, since it is not fixed in writing.

    This approach to law would be more like a group of teen friends who have certain rules for their group. These laws/rules may apply over several years, but they will change as the group and its members change, or as new and old members come and go. This suggests before written language, law was around (tree of knowledge was in paradise), but in a more flexible and organic, verbal only, format. Law was part of paradise; natural.

    The taboo or change was connected to written law about 6000 years ago. The invention of writing was useful for commerce, science, construction, which where the skills of Adam; science and math. Somewhere along the line, the new invention was applied to the verbal law. Writing will cast law into stone, where it will lose it organic nature since can no longer forward integrate; fall from paradise. Once law is cast in stone, it can outlive it usefulness and start to be more of a problem than solution. The law cannot forward integrate, due to fear of punishment, adding fear to the human psyche; defensiveness.

    Picture if a group of teen friend write up their group rules, in front of a lawyer with violation now under the threat of legal consequences, with this contract lasting a lifetime and may even apply to their children. They would need to stop in time and become repressed. The word was God and therefore sacred to them. What should change organically, starts to last to the point of causing the human psyche to become unnatural. The bible fossils give us clues into some of the behavior changes that start to appear. The first writing of law was sort of like an ancient doom's day invention, that would change the human mind forever.

    I can almost see the natural group, who is building up civilization, sensing how written law would change things for the worse, since some things are designed to change and not be cast into stone. To prevent the potential future problem, they paradoxically wrote a single law that made it taboo for anyone to write laws, thereby setting the cornerstone in the mind; original sin. This one paradoxical stone shifted the human psyche.

    In the New Testament, Jesus symbolically does away with written law or commandments contained in ordinances. He went back to the original verbal law; inner voice of change that is organic and natural. This removes original sin because the tree of knowledge is open again, because the new verbal law is fluid and not written in stone.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  22. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    It would require a kind of simultaneous convergence over a wide geographic distance. It's possible, just not the most likely avenue.
  23. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    I agree, but it remains a view that has not yet - to my understanding - been comprehensively excluded. Fraggle has made what is, in essence, an absolute statement about an issue upon which we cannot yet make absolute statements. What he has presented is perhaps the most likely scenario, in nature and timing, but to declare it as an absolute (and to accord one of its main proponents superior authority) is to move beyond science into the realm of opinion. Fraggle is entitled to that opinion, but he should identify it as such.

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