Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

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Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby jonb » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:45 am

As an outsider who receives a lot of my information through the TV there seems to me to be a presumption that ancient people were stupid. Now this goes against how I understand evolution to be, that somebody 150,000 years ago was essentially the same as me as we have not evolved much in that time. It is as if there is a presumption that these ancient people could not think, that somehow because we have technology they did not have they were our inferiors.
A few things have been playing on my mind about Neanderthals.
Several times I have heard it said that one of the proof that Neanderthals were inferior to the humans that came out of later human expansions was that the Neanderthal only had a heavy spear, but other humans had a lighter throwing spear, a much better weapon. This information is used to depict the inferiority of the Neanderthal.
However as I understand it the neanderthals were forest dwellers and other humans lived mainly in the uplands and grass lands. Now I live in Redbridge an area of London associated with Epping Forrest and the armorial bearing for Redbrige is supported by a Nun an a forester. Yes we are that old fashioned in Britain we still have medieval images for our councils.
Now the forester holding the shield is depicted in the traditional way and holding the tool which best depicts him a a worker in the woods, so I imagine you would think that would be an axe, but it is not, no the tool most used by a forester and as such used to depict his trade was a long heavy staff. Now few would say a medieval forester was inferior to a stone age person with a light spear they would just say he had the right tool for his environment.
In another BBC program they were talking about the oldest needle found, and made a presumption that before that all you could do was tie a few bits of skins together at the corners and wear a sort of ill fitting cloak, but that is far from true I can think of many ways of making well fitting cloths without needing needle and thread. In depictions of stone age people it is common to see them dressed in rags, but this would make little sense as it takes a good deal of effort to to preserve an animal skin and so you would naturally make it into something that could be well looked after, with neat edges that would not get caught on everything you passed by.
In short where there is little or no direct evidence it seems to me there is a presumption that ancient people were stupid, rather than they were making very good decisions for the place they were living in.
I would like to know what others think.
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby uniface » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:18 am

I think that you are spot on in your assessment.
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby uniface » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:31 am

To the extent that anybody cares (if there even is one), a Unipost from another board on roughly the same topic :

Your point is well taken, ______. Granted, my response was a tad ascerbic (although that tone's not necessarily inadmissible : sometimes it can take a calculated shock to provoke people expecting a pat answer into re-appraising their assumptions). Perhaps I shouldn't have adopted that tone. If it matters, one element in it was the sheer frustration that trying to kill Zombies involves.

E.g., no matter how many times "Clovis First" is buried, it still crawls back out of its grave and lurches around. It's a Zombie. But as zombies go, even "Clovis First" can't hold a candle to the Darwinian Cave Man.

Civilisations, if you'll trouble to analyse them, hinge on their universal acceptance of "Un-Mediated Givens." These are assumptions that may not be questioned or even examined, lest this dissolve (as it does) the glue of agreement that holds those civilisations together. (Note in passing that maintaining these collective agreements necessarily entails officially agreed-on blind spots).

These Un-Mediated Givens -- existential Axioms -- reduce, at their most basic level, to Icons. In this sense, the changeover to "the modern era" from the age that preceded it boils down to the replacement of the Crucifixion (the Icon of the Reformation/Counter-Reformation) with, first, the "Noble Savage," and then the Darwinian Cave Man of the (self-styled) "Enlightenment."

In the final analysis, the touchstone of "possibility" (and the limit of imagination) is congruence with the Icon.

Just as any evidence that conflicted with or called into question the Great Fundamental Truth that "Clovis was First" had to be attacked, "de-bunked" or otherwise disposed-of, even more so does anything that suggests our ancestors were fully as intelligent as we are. That would be the ultimate heresy -- to suggest that we have not, in fact, "evolved," and that our infatuation with the idea that we have is thinly disguised vanity.

The very idea that people 15,000 years ago were capable of building and using oceangoing craft is so at odds with the Darwinian Caveman that it is dismissed out of hand, by a sort of mental reflex action. This despite that fact that the people who colonised Crete and Australia were clearly doing exactly this far, far earlier. (Icon-allegiance requires that conflicting information be kept segregated in watertight compartments of thought, each wall between them constituting a Blind Spot). (Some of these officially-sanctioned Blind Spots amount to categorically ignoring entire data assemblages).

Evaluated by congruence with the Darwinian Cave Man, many of the purported trans-oceanic contacts of prehistory can be made to appear contemptibly laughable. And loud, and long, is the laughter of the contemptuous. But if you listen to it attentively, you can hear (or imagine that you hear) a slightly desperate tone underlying it.

Scandanavian archaeologists have accepted as self-evident that the Red Paint Culture spanned the North Atlantic, linking Europe with the Western Hemisphere for generations. Congruently with this, E.P. Grondine (Man and Impact in the Americas) has reconstructed the copper-trading routes, major habitation sites, and cross-cultural evidence involved by synthesising archaeological and NA oral histories, more than plausibly. (News Break : With pre-history, this is as good as it gets).

Given this and his insight that it may well have been disease vectors introduced by the "second wave" that so decimated the population of the Eastern US, accounting for the long -- and nearly empty -- transition between the onset of the Holocene and the appearance of the population rebound evidenced by the widespread appearance of the Kirk Cluster, one might wonder just as well (and arguably, more plausibly) whether there were ever a time in prehistory when there was no Trans-Atlantic contact of any sort (accidental or deliberate). (Every year there are African fishing boats driven by winds and currents that beach in Central/South America -- sometimes with survivors aboard).

Curmudgeons can be fairly faulted for being curmudgeonly. But in the same way that insanity is hereditary (you get it from your kids), curmudgeons are made -- not born.
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby Minimalist » Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:54 pm

As an outsider who receives a lot of my information through the TV there seems to me to be a presumption that ancient people were stupid.


Modern people spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook and Twitter so I don't know who is more "stupid."

Ancient peoples managed to survive in an environment which would probably kill us sophisticated humans in a week. Their skills ran to more survival-based knowledge rather than what passes for knowledge these days.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby circumspice » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:58 pm

Minimalist wrote:
As an outsider who receives a lot of my information through the TV there seems to me to be a presumption that ancient people were stupid.


Modern people spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook and Twitter so I don't know who is more "stupid."

Ancient peoples managed to survive in an environment which would probably kill us sophisticated humans in a week. Their skills ran to more survival-based knowledge rather than what passes for knowledge these days.



And yet they took the time to create some exquisite works of art. That is rather humbling, IMHO.
"Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer." ~ Alexander Pope
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby jonb » Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:50 pm

Gosh, I was expecting strong disagreement with my points of view, and pointing out just how much I had got it wrong.
I have drawn a lot, both from what was said in the above posts and the way it was expressed as well, thank you It means a lot to me that I am not talking complete nonsense, but If any body would like to express a counter view I would like to hear it, i personally find it hard to trust what I think, if it is not challenged. I'm a bit of a natural outsider that way.
Thanks for contributing.
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby circumspice » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:06 pm

I think that you are expecting to hear more of the same 18th & 19th century anthropological mindset that has dominated the field since its inception.

Most of us here believe that if a hominid is considered to be anatomically modern, then "they" are indistinguishable from "us".

The only true differences being their living environment & level of technology.

Even then, that poses no conundrum. Take a modern hunter-gatherer out of his environment & place him in ours, he will adapt easily. Can the same be said for "us"?
"Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer." ~ Alexander Pope
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby jonb » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:30 pm

Yes that was exactly what I was expecting.
And I can tell you it is such a nice feeling learning from my mistakes.

Now speaking as a fat kid who has just been given the keys to a sweet shop, I have to admit I just don't know where to start.
So without knowing where to post this I will add it here, but If somebody wants to edit this post and move it please feel free.

I was reading an old locked thread about pre-modern humans and it was mentioned that the poster thought too much emphasis was put on just brain size. When thinking about how creative early humans were.

You may like to reed this
http://sciencenetlinks.com/science-news ... reativity/

"People with schizophrenia tend to have creative relatives. Now, researchers at the Karolinksa Institutet in Sweden may have found a reason why. Neuroscientist Orjan de Manzano and his colleagues studied the brains of healthy volunteers. The more creative ones tended to have less densely packed dopamine receptors, called D2, in a part of the brain called the thalamus."
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby circumspice » Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:39 pm

This may be a bit off topic, but not too far off. It showcases prevailing perceptions & attitudes, IMO.

Read the sci-fi novel "No Enemy But Time" by Michael Bishop. It's an enjoyable read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Enemy_But_Time
"Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer." ~ Alexander Pope
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby Barracuda » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:10 pm

I Agree. My own theory is that the Neanderthals died out mostly from being exposed to diseases from "modern man"

As so many others indigenous people have been devastated by diseases carried by Europeans.

Its just Hokums Razor. We have seen it so often during historic times.
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Re: Is there a presumption going on that should be chalenged

Postby Minimalist » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:28 pm

And yet they took the time to create some exquisite works of art. That is rather humbling, IMHO.


Because they didn't waste their time on Facebook.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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