Saturday, April 4, 2020

840: The Myth....

It is remarkable how a theory, based on misinterpreted evidence, is accepted so easily and widespread.
Just listen to Raymond Dart in 1953 in his article "The Predatory Transition from Ape to Man" how realistically he describes our ancestors.
He claimed the australopithecines were -quote- "confirmed killers: carnivorous creatures that seized living quarries by violence, 
battered them to death, tore apart their broken bodies, (and) dismembered them limb from limb, greedily devouring livid writhing flesh .... 
The loathsome cruelty of mankind to man is explicable only in terms of man`s carnivorous and cannibalistic origin .... 
this mark of Cain separates man dietetically from his anthropoidal relatives and allies him with the deadliest of Carnivores." -end quote
What plays a role in the background is of course the philosophical question about our morality. 
If we find clear evidence in evolution and prehistoric findings for this Killer-Ape theory, it could become an explanation for evil in man.
In the 1970s and thereafter this theme was extensively studied by observation on site of our close relatives the chimpanzees.
The biologist Jane Goodall spent almost a lifetime on observing chimps in the wild. 
Initially, they were considered to be fairly peaceful herbivores. The shock was great when Goodall came face to face with a real war between two chimp groups.
She described scenes with -quote- monkeys squeezing their victim's head [...], drinking the blood, turning a limb, ripping off pieces of skin with their teeth "-end quote-
It is as if we hear Raymond Dart speaking.
During the mid 1970s the emphasis shifted to man as hunter and the importance of hunting in the formation of human nature.
The newest claim of the importance of killing and the biological basis of morality is that of Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson in their book "Demonic Males" (1996)
Wrangham and Peterson argue that new evidence indicates that killer instincts are not unique to humans. We share this characteristic with our nearest relative, the common chimpanzee. 
In fact, it is this inherited propensity for killing that allowed hominids and chimps to be such good hunters. 

Wrangham believes that blood lust ties killing and hunting tightly together, but in his scenario it is the desire to kill that drives the ability to hunt. 
Like other sociobiologists, Wrangham and Peterson believe this lust to kill is based upon the selfish gene (Richard Dawkins).  
Selfish genes are genetic segments that can enhance their own transmission at the expense of other genes in the genome, even if this has no positive or a net negative effect on organismal fitness.
Of course, the selfish gene theory is also used to explain why bonobos don’t kill their enemies, which is contradictory to what I said before. 
This level of generality has about the same explanatory power as that of the late eighteenth century biologist Jeremy Bentham’s “moral philosophy,” 
who claimed that human behavior is governed by pleasure and pain. Bentham believed that all behavior is dictated by seeking to enhance pleasure and to minimize the likelihood of pain. 
ln fact, both of these philosophies attempt to explain everything and, therefore, explain very little. 

This leaves us with many questions according to Robert Sussman, an American anthropologist 
and professor at Washington University in St. Louis, (1941 -2016) in his article "The Myth of Man the Hunter/Man the Killer and the Evolution of Human Morality".
-Quote- Thus, the theory presented by Wrangham and Peterson, although it includes chimpanzees as our murdering cousins, is very similar to “Man the Hunter/Killer” theories proposed in the past. 
Further, it does not differ greatly from early Euro-Christian beliefs about human ethics and morality. 
We are forced to ask: Are these theories generated by good scientific fact, or are they just “good to think" because they reflect, reinforce, and reiterate our traditional cultural beliefs? 
Are the scientific facts being interpreted in such a way as to reinforce our traditional Euro-Christian myths of morality and ethics? 
Is the theory generated by the data, or are the data manipulated to fit preconceived notions of human morality and ethics? 
Since data supporting these theories are extremely weak, and yet the stories continue to repeat themselves, 
I am forced to believe that “Man the Hunter" is a myth, and that the myth will continue in Western European views on human nature long into the future.   -end quote-
Therefor we still can defend the belief that most people are OK.... ^_^
Thank you again for your attention.....

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rutger Bregman, "De meeste mensen deugen",, 2019

The Discussion

[13:14] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not longer
[13:14] herman Bergson: You set the stopwatch Gemma? :-))
[13:14] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:14] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:15] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): didnt have to
[13:15] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): built into chat
[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:15] herman Bergson: But Sussman hit the nail on the head, as we use to say it
[13:15] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes i think that it will continue into the future
[13:15] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the myth
[13:16] herman Bergson: is hard to kill :-)
[13:16] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): controlled by religion i think too
[13:16] herman Bergson: The main issue is.....
[13:16] herman Bergson: are we deep down inside these killer animals or aren't we
[13:17] herman Bergson: Hollywood thinks...we are :-)
[13:17] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): wonders tho if some believe it is true they make it true for themselves
[13:17] herman Bergson: Next lecture might be a surprise indeed Gemma :-)
[13:17] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:17] CB Axel: Some Christians think we're only evil because Eve made Adam eat an apple.
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:18] CB Axel: Others think the devil makes us do things that are evil.
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so everyone is evil to begin
[13:18] herman Bergson: My advise...never eat apples and you are a good person :-))
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and baptism makes it all better
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): haha
[13:18] herman Bergson: Yes...always wash the fruit before eating :-)
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then I should be a really bad person cause I eat all apples at work too, not jut the bananas
[13:18] CB Axel: I love apples. I'm going to eat them whether there's a snake telling me to or not.
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and im still nice and timid as a lamb
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh right
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): after all need my vitamin boost
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats important to get
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:19] herman Bergson: Well the anthropologists try to find answers in biology not in stories in a book
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): true
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah¨
[13:20] CB Axel: Yay for science!
[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): amazing that they keep finding evidence  new
[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): to understand early humans
[13:20] herman Bergson: yes they do....and surprising evidence
[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:20] CB Axel: But even the evidence they find is open to interpretation.
[13:21] herman Bergson: There is hardly any proof that we really are basically prone to kill animals
[13:21] CB Axel: Was that child we talked about on Tuesday killed by humans or by a large raptor?
[13:21] herman Bergson: I mean...seriously inclined to kill
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): really???
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I think for food
[13:21] herman Bergson: the child was killed by a huge bird of prey
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and clothing
[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ans "shoes"
[13:22] CB Axel: Yes, Herman, but the first interpretation was that it was killed by men.
[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there is evidence of that
[13:22] herman Bergson: besides a lot of damage found on prehistoric bones look like damage caused by animals
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes...CB...Dart assumed it was killed by men
[13:22] CB Axel: So, if we aren't natural born killers when and how did we start eating meat?
[13:23] CB Axel: Did we pick up road kill?
[13:23] herman Bergson: and thence he invented his killer ape theory in 1953
[13:23] CB Axel: Or steal from other predators?
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it think science does show we did kill to eat
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the earliest man
[13:23] herman Bergson: Oh yes....we may be omnivores...
[13:23] herman Bergson: But here is an interesting issue....
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we followed the meat too
[13:24] herman Bergson: you can kill because you are hungry.....
[13:24] herman Bergson: you also can kill for fun.....
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): doubt that
[13:24] herman Bergson: and the later is observed among animals
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we modern humans do that
[13:25] herman Bergson: some animals seem to do that too, Gemma
[13:25] CB Axel: Cats seem to.
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): which
[13:25] herman Bergson: they do indeed....
[13:25] CB Axel: Well fed house cats still hunt.
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well instinct from years back cause that
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a natural drive
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it comes out
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): even tho they are fed well
[13:26] herman Bergson: But also in the wild....
[13:26] CB Axel: Like writer Dave Barry said, "Cats are vicious unprincipled household parasites."
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and then after they are done they take the mouse and drop it in front of his/her owner who yells EEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKK!
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): tsk
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): terrible
[13:26] herman Bergson: I have a vague recollection about this subject....forgot the details, elas
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a classic
[13:26] CB Axel: But, Gemma, can't we have a killer instinct, too?
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but that is a tribute to bring it to the master
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thanks for all the food
[13:27] CB Axel: I'm not sure humans still have any instincts.
[13:27] CB Axel: People talk about a maternal instinct, but I don't have one.
[13:27] herman Bergson: In the next lecture I might contradict all the killer instinct stories :-)
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:27] CB Axel: Not for small children at any rate.
[13:29] herman Bergson: You should reread the last arguments I quoted from Sussman.....
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well since most of us buy food like meat in stores and fast food restaurants with no thought about HOW that meat was produced or came from the hunter instinct for ost are indeed gone as we don't need to hunt to survive any longer at least most of us
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): everything is made in factories
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): instead most nowadays hunt for fun (and because moose is indeed tasty)
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it is
[13:30] CB Axel: Bejiita, you haven't seen be track down and pounce on a nice steak before a competitor can get to it. :)
[13:30] herman Bergson: Nowadays you have to hunt for flour and rice and toilet paper in the supermarkets Bejiita :-))
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hahahah  yes indeed
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right!!!!!!!!!!
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): crazy
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): omg
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): OMG!!!
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): toilet paper hunting
[13:30] herman Bergson: totally crazy but a fact :-)
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its insane
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (sighs)
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think mos was made in china and the factories were closed
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is what i think
[13:31] herman Bergson: OK...time to go hunting, I'd say
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): most
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well now I want something tasty
[13:31] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): read some stuff of what they used before toilet paper
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): google it
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and also eaten mostly sweet so will go for something salty, maybe a pizza or pie
[13:31] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again Herman
[13:32] carfreeday: Thank you Herman
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu soon all
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): shall be here Tuesday
[13:32] herman Bergson: thank you Bejiita
[13:32] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now
[13:32] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Thank you Herman and class!! Stay healthy!
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Gemma:)
[13:32] herman Bergson: Stay healthy Gemma
[13:32] herman Bergson: \o/ Weekend :-))

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