Archive for the ‘Behaviour’ Category

The “brotherhood of man” myth

September 20, 2022

(This post was triggered by my ire over some sanctimonious media blather about the brotherhood of man).

All the words we use for describing relationships (father, mother, brother, sister uncle, aunt, ….) are as much about including specific people within the relationship as about excluding others. The unavoidable reality of a “brother” or a “sister” is that the terms distinguish between, a brother and a non-brother, and a sister and a non-sister. Brotherhood and sisterhood are as much about creating and describing bonds between those included as about excluding all others. The word brother has no meaning if there is no distinction from a non-brother. If everybody is a brother, the “brotherhood” of man” is trivial at best, and at worst, meaningless.

The need to distinguish between, and have terms for, we and them is deep rooted in human behaviour. The need goes back to the beginnings of social interactions, and the words were invented from the need to protect, and extend protections to, family and tribe. The need for we/them or us/them is primal. These words are intertwined with our own fundamental, individual assessments of good and bad. We are always good and they are usually bad. We shall prevail over them. It is just as much about aligning with someone as with creating distance from others. We cannot exist without excluding them. Relationship descriptors are nearly always we and them words. It is a primal thing for humans and probably for most living things. We look different to them. We wear red, they wear blue. We are predators, they are prey. We go to heaven, they go to hell. Of course, these words describe a relationship but the critical point is to distinguish by the description. A “brother” or a “father” or a “mother” is no doubt descriptive, but by description distinguishes them from all others.

The entire concept of brotherhood builds on the primal drive to protect family. It is built upon the not always true assumption that brothers (siblings) behave more favourably to each other than to non-siblings. Unfortunately it has become an empty, sanctimonious term and is used very loosely and is, nearly always, meaningless. All 7.3 billion humans may be related but that argument extends to all life. “Universal brotherhood” among humans does not – and cannot – exist. The “Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of all humans” is very popular in religious and half-religious circles, but is merely pious and sickly. The “Muslim brotherhood” excludes all non-Muslims and even many Muslims. “Christian brotherhood” is primarily about exclusion not inclusion. The “brotherhood of nations” is a nonsense term much admired in the General Assembly. It should be noted that all fraternal organisations claim brotherhood among their members which of course only works if one excludes all non-members. “In a spirit of brotherhood” is another often used but entirely empty phrase.

Let us not forget that when the spirit moved him, it was Cain who killed his brother Abel.


What “right to life”?

July 12, 2022

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”

That all humans aspire to a long life, in liberty, to pursue their own happiness is true but obvious and rather trivial. Our individual aspirations are our hopes about an unknown, uncertain future. Achieving aspirations does not come easily. How close we come depends mainly on our own behaviour. Thus, they often guide, and sometimes dominate, our behaviour. With 7.5 billion individual aspirations it is hardly surprising that aspirations clash and come into conflict with those of others. And it is even less surprising that human behaviour, which is largely dominated by perceived self-interest, comes into conflict with, and even opposes, the behaviour of others.

However, to declaim that these aspirations are what all humans are entitled to, or that all humans are owed these things by all other humans and the universe at large is, at best, sentimental drivel. At worst, these declarations are religious dogma; imaginary and misleading.

entitlement: the state or condition of being entitled; a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract; belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

entitled: having a right to certain benefits or privileges

right: something that one may claim as due

The imaginary “right” to life is not actually about living but about an expectation, a hope, of not being killed, whether by accident or by design, by someone else. In reality, around 160,000 humans will die today in spite of their purported “right” to life. Around 2,000 will kill themselves. Of the total, around 1,000 -1,100 will be murdered today by another human. Which means, of course that the world will gain another 1,000 murderers today. Less than half of all homicides will lead to anyone being charged with murder, and less than half of those charges will lead to a conviction. Less than 2 murderers (or drug-lords or corrupt officials) are executed every day and we probably have more murderers alive today than ever before. Another 4,000 – 5,000 of the 160,000 will die due to accidents or misadventure. Less than 200 on average die per day due to natural disasters. The vast majority of deaths will be due to “natural causes”. Nature, natural causes, and natural disasters pay no deference to the purported “right” to life. The “right to life” does not flow from the laws of the universe. No murderer ever refrained from murder because of the victim’s “right” to life. The “right to life” is of no value to those 1,100 who will be murdered today. The entitlement has no value for anybody else either.

In spite of the supposed “right” to life (or more accurately the “right” to not be killed), some people are granted the “right” (the licence) to kill. Suicide is no longer considered a sin and is an assumed human “right”. Everybody has the “right” to kill another in self-defence (subject only to proportionality). In armed conflict (whether declared a war or not), military personnel may kill opposing military persons in pursuit of “legitimate” military targets. They may even kill civilians as “collateral damage” to “legitimate” military objectives as long as the “collateral damage” is not excessive. Civilians, of either side, may kill members of opposing armed forces in righteous rebellion (with consequences depending upon who is victorious). “Freedom fighters” are permitted to kill members of the “oppressors”. Executioners always kill justly. Police may kill when faced by threat from armed miscreants. Doctors may kill by incompetence or error with few consequences. In some places doctors and medical staff are granted the “right” to euthanise those elderly or infirm who wish to die. Drunken and incompetent drivers may kill others by “accident”. Faceless mobs may lynch and kill with impunity. Children and the insane (including the temporarily insane) may kill with limited consequences. The imaginary entitlement to not be killed ceases once someone is killed. Legal systems cannot enforce the entitlement and can only deal with punishments to be exacted on the perpetrator, if caught.

(“Human rights” dogma has it that only living humans can have “rights”. Living murderers have rights, their dead victims have none. On the theory that a fetus is as insignificant as a toe-nail, some 130,000 fetuses are aborted every day. There are almost as many abortions per day as there are deaths by all causes. Of course, a fetus, like any toe-nail, has no “rights”).

Do these empty declarations about the “right to life” have any value at all? Of the 160,000 who die every day, such declarations do not apply to the 2,000 daily suicides. Clearly the “right to die” trumps the “right to life”. They are applicable (as violations of the “right”) only to the 1,100 murders. The pious declarations neither deter murderers nor do they apply to those who have a licence to kill. Having an imaginary “right to not be killed” prevents no one from being killed. Whereas the fear of being caught, or the fear of a heavy punishment, such as a death sentence, may prevent some murderous behaviour, the “right” of another not to be killed has little influence, if any, on such behaviour. These pompous declarations of imaginary entitlements have no influence on, and are irrelevant to, human behaviour. The bottom line is that the imaginary “right to life” has no relevance to life.

“Human rights” are an imaginary notion. They do not flow from the natural laws of the universe and, in that sense, are unnatural. All religions are based on imaginary, artificial notions. Declarations of “rights” are also the empty dogma of a false religion. The concept of a “human right to life” is not anything which can, or does, influence human behaviour, and to pretend otherwise is misleading.

As humans we must make the most – as we see it – of living, but no human has any claim of a “right to life” on others. Or on the universe.


Gender is a classification and identity is not a choice

June 30, 2022

Identity is not a choice.

Our physical attributes are a consequence of our identity – not the determinants of identity. Being tall or short or fat or black or slant-eyed are descriptors which can be used to distinguish between humans, but they all follow, or are consequences of, identity. Our names are identifiers, but are not identity. Our professions – lawyer, teacher, murderer, thief – are descriptors of identity, not determinants. Some physical characteristics can change and be changed, but identity remains inviolate. You can eat more and become fat, or have surgery to thin your lips, but your identity remains unchanged. Physical attributes can be disguised. A white girl in California (where else) can pretend to be black to gain some perceived privileges, but identity does not change. Our behaviour – within the constraints of what is physiologically possible – is a choice. Behaviour does not, however, determine identity.

Gender is a classification. It can be used as a descriptor, but it is not identity. Among humans, gender is a binodal classification, with overlap, in a continuum. There are only two classes – male and female. But being a classification, and since the two classes overlap to some extent, there can be masculine females and feminine males. (There are only two classes with overlap. There is no 3rd class). Surgery or hormone treatment can help change a classification but identity remains untouchable. You can change your name from Kyle to Courtney or from Elliott to Ellen or from Maxine to Max, but that does nothing to identity.

I observe that some sports are now applying common sense and not allowing men, pretending to be women, to compete against women. (I also observe that there are never any women, pretending to be men, competing against men).

Identity – of anything – is not a choice in our universe. It is a consequence of existence.

Where numbers come from

To be discrete and unique give substance to identity. Existence (a Great Mystery) comes first, of course. To have identity is to have some distinguishing characteristic which enables the quality of “oneness”. Note that the quality of being identical (similar) does not disturb identity. Two, or many, things may be identical, but the identity of each remains inviolate. An atom of hydrogen here may be identical to an atom of hydrogen elsewhere, but the identity of each remains undisturbed. It is estimated that there are between 1078 to 1082 atoms existing in the observable universe. Each one distinct from all the others. Each one having identity.

We use the word identity in many contexts. In the philosophical sense, which includes the context of counting, my definition of identity is then:

identity – oneness; the distinguishing character of a thing that constitutes the objective reality of that thing

It is the discreteness and uniqueness contained in identity which gives rise to the concept of oneness as a quality of a thing which makes that thing countable. It is having the concept of oneness which allows us to define a concept of number, label it as “one” and give it a symbol (1). How the concept of identity (oneness) emerged in the species is another one of the Great Mysteries of life and consciousness.

With living things, uniqueness is conferred at the time of conception. The identity of any life-form is fixed when the existence of that life is conceived. It could be an egg or a seed or a zygote. Once fixed that identity persists till the death of that life. For humans that identity may be remembered long after its death. The identity of any living thing is never a choice.

Does life start when the egg is laid?

In the case of humans a fertilised egg is called a “zygote” until it has implanted itself (about 6 -10 days after conception) in the wall of the womb. It is then called an “embryo”. It is called a “fetus” only from 8 weeks after conception and remains a “fetus” till the birth of a “child”. Just as a “chick” only emerges after egg hatching, a human “child” only emerges after birth. But in both cases life, life has begun much earlier. By the time a hen lays an egg, the genetic identity of the embryo in the egg has already been fixed. The unique genetic identity whether for chicken or for human is actually fixed when conception occurs. ………

The time when a unique identity is established and life begins is quite simply defined and the Great Abortion Debate is actually about the ethics of terminating that life at different times during its existence. It is trying to make an ethical distinction between breaking an egg for a breakfast omelette or killing a chicken for a roast dinner. (But note also that many vegetarians eat eggs but a chicken eater is never considered a vegetarian). Abortion, infanticide, murder or euthanasia are just labels for different times at which life is to be terminated. Abortion always kills a fetus (not a child) and infanticide always kills a child (not a fetus). But whether it is a zygote which fails to implant itself, or a fetus which is aborted, or a child killed for being the wrong gender, or an aged person being assisted to die, it is the same life, the same identity, which is terminated. …..

A unique genetic identity and life are established with conception.


Related: Immortality of identity

A unique identity is recognisable first when an egg is fertilised. That identity cannot be foretold but it may be remembered long after the individual dies. It may in due course be forgotten. But whether or not it is forgotten, the fact of the creation of that identity remains. Forever. It is identity, once created, which remains unique and immortal.


All my heresies

May 28, 2022

A heresy is a belief or opinion contrary to orthodox doctrine.

I find that a great many of my beliefs and opinions are diametrically opposed to modern fashionable doctrines. 

  1. I believe in “good” behaviour but I find the invented, artificial concept of entitlements labeled as “human rights” to be a false god which undermines “good” behaviour. People do not refrain from killing or maiming or harming others because of their “human rights”. They refrain because their own code of behaviour does not allow them to behave that way. There are no entitlements which flow from the laws of nature.
  2. Humans are not born equal nor are they equal in ability or performance through their lives.
  3. A human life has no intrinsic value. The value of any individual to others is a subjective judgement made by those others. Being born creates no value. Subsequent behaviour does. Whether an individual life matters depends upon the behaviour of that individual.
  4. Race is the classification of humans by visible physical attributes which are primarily a consequence of ancestry. The classification is dynamic but only changes slowly over generational time. Skin colour is, and has been, the overwhelmingly dominant attribute used for this classification.
  5. Parents are partially responsible for the behaviour of any young they have nurtured, but not for any genes they have unwittingly provided to their biological offspring. Genetic makeup may provide an explanation for behaviour but is never an excuse.
  6. Descendants cannot claim credit, or assign blame, for the fame or shame or misery of ancestors.
  7. Genetic variation among humans is continuous but, by definition, the species has two genders as given by the reality of the bimodal clustering apparent on the scale of human genetic variation. Parthenogenesis is not a characteristic of the species. Where an individual falls on the scale is not a matter of choice. It is, therefore, neither a matter of pride or shame – it just is.
  8. Cultural appropriation is a measure of a culture with features worth appropriating. A culture without any features worth appropriating eventually dies out – as it should.
  9. Victimhood does not confer any state of grace. Victimhood of distant ancestors is no excuse for bad behaviour in the present.
  10. Being gay is not as genetically inevitable as being short or being tall. It may well be partially genetic but it is also partially a behavioural choice. “Gay pride” is as praiseworthy, or not, as “short pride” or “tall pride” or “rich pride”.
  11. Not to discriminate against what you think is “bad” is just stupid. “Positive discrimination” to compensate for some unjust discrimination elsewhere is inevitably, and unavoidably, always unjust.
  12. An open mind is a mind devoid of bias. Knowledge creates bias. Only an empty mind is devoid of bias. A learned judge is inevitably a biased judge. 
  13. Justice is about doing future harm to compensate for perceived harm done. Institutional justice is about exercising discrimination and doing harm to those judged against. Institutional justice always bows to force majeure.
  14. A Google search is not “research”. The ability to carry out a Google search does not make a scientist. Bean counting (like counting the number of articles for and against) is not science.
  15. Democracy is not about what is good or what is correct or what is just. It is about the majority view prevailing, even if bad or incorrect or unjust. “Goodness” is an individual moral judgement. A “democratic”, majority decision is silent about the goodness, correctness or truth value of that decision.
  16. A lie shared by all 7.5 billion humans remains a lie.
  17. “Freedom of speech” does not exist and has never existed. 
  18. Journalism is a sub-set of advocacy. There is no journalist who is not also a lobbyist.
  19. In armed conflict, a superior argument is always trumped by superior force. (It is best to have both).
  20. On workmen and their tools. A superior brush does not make a morally superior painter. An expensive bat does not make the good batsman. A killer is not absolved because it was easy or cheap to get a gun.
  21. ………

The list of my heresies seems to go on and on and on.

I can only conclude that I am not in tune with these times. I am old enough now not to care very much or be bothered enough to have to do anything about it. Heresy and skepticism, though, are the only antidotes to gullibility and indoctrination.

A few hundred years ago I would probably have been burned at the stake.

 

Heretic burning (image from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Or3eUymcEA)

What evolution does not do

May 17, 2022

Of course evolution does not actually do anything.

Evolution is not causative. It is a label for the effects we see of other factors which effect survival and reproduction. I dislike the description of evolution being as a result of natural selection. Strictly, it is never about selection but always a result of deselection of those not able to survive. The primary “force” which gives evolution is the dying of the unfit. It is not the survival of the fittest but the survival of the good enough. When it is said that some creature is perfectly suited to its environment what is actually meant is that all others not suited to that environment failed to survive. More than 99% of all species that ever existed are now extinct. We cannot, I think, apply value judgements of “good” or “bad” to the result. It is not correct to even apply the terms “natural” or “unnatural” or “artificial” about the word evolution. The evolution of species in general or any species in particular has always been without direction and without purpose. But it could be that the human species is the first which may be able to introduce an element of purpose and direction to its own future course. Whether this direction can encompass “good” behaviour is still in the realm of fantasy.

It seems to me that the human definition of “good behaviour” has not changed very much in the last 10,000 years. The golden rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) probably became a golden rule whenever it was that our ancestors began cooperating in a serious way and built societies which were larger than the immediate family group. It seems plausible that this value judgement for “good behaviour” begins with the first establishment of clans or tribes. That takes us back at least 50,000 years and maybe even longer. Certainly it goes back to long before the first establishment of permanent settlements and cities (c. 10,000 years ago). But whenever it was that humans developed this value judgement for “good behaviour”, it does not seem to have been much favoured by the forces resulting in evolution.

Clearly some behavioural patterns do impact survival and reproduction and therefore must have some impact on the evolutionary result. Tribes and clans not inclined to cooperate went extinct long ago. Cultures where members did not specialise and cooperate, stagnated and gradually disappeared. The levels of specialisation and cooperation in today’s global society have reached unprecedented levels. If behaviour is to be selected/deselected for then it can only happen to the extent that behaviour is an inherited trait. Moreover, it can only be implemented by the continuous deselection of unwanted behaviour and selection of desired behaviour. That behaviour does have a genetic component is almost certain and that genes are mainly inherited is also certain. Breeding for emotional or behavioural traits is still a very chancy business. Domesticated animals, and even wolves and foxes, have been artificially bred for traits other than the purely physiological. This has involved “deselection” for some emotional traits (aggression for example) or to “select” for others (courage, tolerance of humans, ….). Individuals having desired traits are allowed to breed and those having undesirable traits are not allowed to reproduce. This ensures the passing on of genes. But from genes to behaviour is a very fuzzy step.

“Bad behaviour” is as prevalent today as it was in pre-history. “Bad behaviour” clearly is not deselected by “natural” evolutionary forces. “Good behaviour” is not selected for either. The propensity for violence, aggression and, generally, doing harm to others – albeit by a minority – has not changed much since ancient times. The only possible conclusion is that being “good” or “bad” does not lead to the evolutionary selection – or deselection – of a behavioural trait. What evolution certainly does not do is to choose between “good” and “bad”.

The persistence of bad behaviour through the ages suggests that it may even have some survival value.


Why we need stupid people

November 10, 2021

Feeling a little irritated today.


I find I have been irritated before

Stupid is as stupid does.


 

Colonisation and the genocide of the Neanderthals by the even-newer-Africans

November 5, 2021

Colonisation

Colonisation is not anything new. It is a necessary characteristic for any successful species.

Colonisation is the expansion by one community into the physical space being occupied by some other biological community. The invaders may be a whole species or just a particular strain within a species. It is a phenomenon exhibited by every successful biological community from viruses and bacteria and fungi to plants and animals (including humans). A new territory or habitat may be already occupied by other species, or strains of the same species, or unoccupied. The incoming community, if they dominate the new territory, are considered colonists. Newcomers who merely merge into the existing population are immigrants rather than colonists. Any communities already existing in the space and falling under the sway of the newcomers are the colonised. Many attempts at colonisation fail; either because the colonists cannot adapt to the new habitat or because they cannot compete (biologically, culturally, or technologically) with the existing inhabitants.

That living things exist in every conceivable corner of the earth’s land surface and of the oceans is a consequence of colonisation. That living things find it necessary to search for new habitats is driven by the need to grow and to survive changing environments by utilising the inherent genetic diversity available in every species. The greater the diversity available in any species, the greater the possibility that some individuals can adapt quickly to a new habitat. A successful species is one which grows its numbers and expands its habitat. Evolution results when the genetic diversity available allows individuals in a species to cope with changes to its environment.. These changes are usually small and quite slow. However, much of evolution has been when natural selection has been accelerated as species adapt to the rapid, and sometimes large, changes of environment in newly invaded habitats. Not all succeed and many would-be colonists have failed  to navigate the change. Species die out when they move, voluntarily or involuntarily, to new unsuitable habitats. There are a few species which have stagnated in tiny niche habitats, exhibit unusually little genetic diversity and have lost the wherewithal to change. They have become so specialised to fit their habitat that they are incapable of adapting to any other and have reached evolutionary “dead-ends”. Most such species have gone extinct but a few survive. Panda bears and theridiid spiders are examples. They have become incapable of growth or of colonisation and are probably on their slow path to extinction. 

The reality is that any living species which does not colonise is doomed either to stagnation in a niche habitat, or to failure and extinction. The most abject species failure would be an in-situ extinction without evolution of any descendant species. Colonisation favours, and even enables, the emergence of succeeding species. The change of habitat and the changes it brings about are essential to the continuation of life. Spaces are colonised when expanding communities invade and bring, or evolve, more competitive abilities, cultures, or technologies than available to the current inhabitants, if any, of that space. The dinosaurs on land had a long run but could not finally cope with the changes in their environment. But some of them took to the air. Many found new sources of food. Some developed a taste for insects and worms and begat a plethora of new species. (Along the way they even wiped out entire species of some flying insects). But the descendants of those adventurous, little dinosaurs have become the thousands of bird species to be found thriving today. They have colonised the entire globe while their larger, ancient kin perished miserably a long time ago.

However, success is no longer politically correct. Failure is glorified instead. Failure as a victim of another species is even more highly regarded. In the politically correct version of conservation, even successful species of fauna and flora are condemned for being invasive when they colonise new territories. Failing species, unfit for changed environments, or unable to bear the heat of competition from other species, are artificially, and unnaturally, protected in glorified zoos. However I do not hear any ornithologists condemning birds for being invasive species or for colonising the planet.

Human colonisation

In today’s politically correct world, colonisation has become a dirty word. Colonists are considered evil. Statues of colonists are a seen as a sign of oppression and depravity. The descendants of those colonised in the past claim a self-righteous victimhood in the present. Needless to say, a place in the kingdom of heaven is reserved for the colonised and their descendants. Colonists and their descendants are subject to eternal damnation. Yet, the history of mankind is one of successful communities expanding and colonising. The peopling of the world has been enabled by colonisation. The colonised became colonised usually because their culture was stagnating and their technology could not compete with incoming ones.

It is usually only the successful European colonisations between about 1400 and 1900 CE which have become politically incorrect. But the many attempts that failed are lost from history and get little sympathy. What is conveniently forgotten, though, is that the human populations in Australia and Africa and the Americas, at that time, were ripe for colonisation by any invading community with superior technology. For these populations, their own culture or their technology, or both, were stagnating and they were not growing. During that 500 year period, the native Americans, the inhabitants of S America and Africa and of Australia were themselves neither expanding nor  technologically capable of colonising new territories. If they had been more advanced the newcomers from Europe would have been immigrants rather than colonists. If it had not been the Europeans, it would have been someone else. If not the Europeans, the Chinese or Indians would have colonised Australia. If Europe had not had the capability to expand, they would themselves have probably succumbed to the expansion by the Ottomans. The Americas would then have been colonised from China or from Japan or some other region which was growing. Africa would have been colonised probably by the Ottomans (Turks and Arabs) or the Persians in the north, and by Indians and Chinese in the south. The key fact is that the inhabitants of Australia and the Americas and Africa, at that time, were not advancing (in numbers, culture, or technology) sufficiently to drive their own expansions or growth.

Go back another 2,000 years (500 BCE – 1,500 CE) and we find the South Indian colonisation of large tracts of SE Asia. The Greek and Persian expansions gave way to the Romans. The Mongols, the Normans, the Turks, and the Vikings were busy moving into the new territories they could access. The Norse attempts to colonise North America all failed. The Greeks used colonisation for expansion but also as a way of reducing social stress at home. Dissident populations were expelled to go and found colonies and be a nuisance elsewhere. Han Chinese colonies were used as the spearhead and as the means of expanding Empire. They were often guinea-pigs for testing the viability of new territories. And many failed. Where colonies succeeded, they nearly always had superior technology or weapons or organisation to dominate the local inhabitants. They usually used the indigenous population for labour and often as enslaved labour. These early colonisations were probably more brutal and savage than those which came later, but they go back far enough in time to generally escape sanctimonious censure today.

Delving further back into antiquity, reveals that colonisation was a major means of expansion even then. On land, those who mastered horses had a crucial advantage – at least for a while. Voyages across oceans were limited by the capability for navigating open seas. But sailing boats were quite well developed even if navigation was not, and coast-hugging allowed many communities to colonise by sea. But these expansions by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Persians, Indians, and Han Chinese are far enough in the past to escape moral judgements in the present. If we go back even further to pre-historical times (5,000 – 10,000 years ago), all of hunter-gatherer Europe was colonised by the rampaging Yamnaya and the Anatolians from central Asia. They brought agriculture and cities and civilisation in their wake, and so are now forgiven the conquest and pillage and enslavement they surely utilised along the way.

 But let us not forget that human colonisation was started long before antiquity by the Africans.

Colonisation from Africa

When it comes to the origins of human colonisation we need to go back to before we were ever human. I take humans to mean Anatomically Modern Humans – AMH – who appeared around 300,000 years ago. Around 2.5 million years ago, before AMH had evolved, homo erectus had already spread from Africa and colonised most of Europe and Asia but never reached Australia. These were the oldest-Africans, but they did not then have control of fire. These oldest-Africans were more settlers than colonists. 

Some time after we had evolved from apes, and perhaps around 1,000,000 – 800,000 years ago, a common ancestor of AMH, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and a couple of unknown hominin species (call them homo x and homo y), emigrated from Africa and colonised most of Europe, Central Asia, and South-East Asia. These were the old-Africans. The control of fire was achieved sometime during the homo erectus period and was certainly available to the colonising old-Africans. Most likely the movement of whole populations was motivated to move out of Africa, not so much by a shortage of space, but by growth or by changes of climate and a shortage of food. No doubt some were just seen as trouble-makers at home and encouraged to leave. These old-Africans were emigrants and probably the first ever hominin colonists. They were not strictly immigrants into existing societies since the territories they moved into had no other AMH inhabitants. But they probably did displace the oldest-Africans they found. There were probably many waves of old-Africans and later waves of emigrants may well have been immigrants into existing communities. By 700,000 years ago old-Africans covered all of Africa, Europe and Asia. Many of the areas they moved into may have had indigenous near-hominin populations. However, their indigenous cultures and technologies were not sufficiently competitive to prevent the wave of old-African colonists establishing themselves. The key distinction in these times was probably the control of fire. The colonisation of the world by the old-Africans led also to the demise of many animal species which could not resist the advanced cultures and technologies they were faced with. Some were hunted to extinction as prey, while others were unable to adapt quickly enough, and still others were just crowded out by the newcomers.

In due course (a small matter of a few hundred thousand years) the old-Africans in Central Asia and Europe evolved to become the Neanderthals. From about 500,000 years ago they were the dominant species, and that continued for about 300,000 years. In South-East Asia, the old-Africans evolved to become the Denisovans. In the rest of Asia (S China, India, and the Middle East), the old-Africans were still around but had evolved to become some as yet unknown hominin species. In Africa, the old-Africans evolved, sidestepped the evolution of any Neanderthal-like species, and eventually gave rise to Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) by about 300,000 years ago. Let us call them the new-Africans.

Then from about 200,000 years ago there were a number of waves of new-African emigration/colonisation into Europe and Asia. These emigrant waves continued sporadically for 100,000 years while, in Africa, evolution had created the even-newer-Africans. Around 60 – 70,000 years ago, they were responsible for the major wave of emigration now termed the “Out of Africa” event. The new-Africans and the even-newer-Africans found indigenous populations all across the new territories they expanded into. They were sometimes just other new-Africans and sometimes they were blended populations of old-Africans (Neanderthals, Denisovans, …) and new-Africans. In India, for example, the even-newer-Africans arrived after the Toba eruption and mingled genetically with small surviving populations of old-Africans already mingled with new-Africans. By around 50,000 years ago the even-newer-Africans had reached Australia.

Whether there was conflict between indigenous and arriving populations, or whether one culture was gradually displaced by, or submerged into, the more dominant one is unknown. Whether advanced colonists enslaved less advanced populations is unknown but is quite likely to have occurred. What is known is that the arrival of the even-newer-Africans caused the Neanderthals and the Denisovans and any other remaining hominin species around to disappear. By around 50,000 years ago the Denisovans were extinct and by 40,000 years ago there were no Neanderthals left. However, their genes still survive in tiny quantities and live on in us. So some contact leading to gene admixture certainly occurred. However, whether intentional or not, many communities were overwhelmed. Eventually, entire human species were wiped out.

The time-line for African colonists into Europe and Asia:

  • oldest-Africans – c. 2 m years ago
  • old-Africans – c. 1 million years ago >> evolved to be Neanderthals, Denisovans, …
  • new-Africans – c. 500,000 years ago >> evolved, mixed with old-Africans and other strains
  • new-Africans (AMH) – c. 300,000 years ago >>admixture with previous colonists
  • even-newer-Africans – c. 100,000 years ago >> colonised the known world, eradicated the Neanderthals , Denisovans and others

In current-day, politically correct language it could be called the Genocide of the Neanderthals by the even-newer-Africans.


Passwords and passports are becoming obsolete

September 16, 2021

Passports

I have, along with citizens of over 150 countries, a biometric passport. A special camera is used to capture the biometric information at the time of passport application. Each such passport contains a chip storing standardised biometrics for facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and iris recognition. That data is contained on the passport I carry around and show to various authorities from time to time. But all that data is also stored on the computers of the issuing authority. 

What then is the need for the passport itself?

Passing through a passport control involves some device which checks some part, or all, of my biometric information which is then matched against the information contained on the chip in the passport I am carrying. It is not checked against the original data stored when the passport was issued. Faking a passport involves matching the data on the chip to the person carrying the passport. In fact, this check only shows that the person carrying the passport matches the data on the passport. As long as the passport is genuine such a check is an identity control. But it is an indirect control. Such a check says nothing, directly, about the identity of the person carrying a passport. 

The passport itself is just a carrier of data which exists somewhere else. It’s function is only to provide a controlling authority with access to the data of the passport bearer. It will not be long before the biometrics stored by passport issuing authorities are accessible directly in the cloud for checking against the actual biometrics of a physical person. The passport itself then has no function. Technologically it is already possible to do this today. But it will need more security to prevent unauthorised access to this data and some more time before the political will to allow this exists. The real technological challenge will be to prevent the accidental or intentional corruption of the master data. Already standard, on-the-street, cameras in some Chinese cities are connected to master data bases such that the camera image (facial + motion recognition) is sufficient to match the person against the master data. 

I am who I am. I do not need a passport to tell me who I am. The personal integrity issues that are sometimes quoted against such expansion of the use of technology are spurious and misguided. 

It may not be quite in my lifetime but passports are becoming obsolete.

Passwords

Passwords are already on the way out. 

BBC

Microsoft has announced users can now delete all passwords from their accounts and instead login using an authenticator app or other solution. The technology giant made passwordless accounts available for business users of its products in March. And that system is now being made available to all Microsoft or Windows users. It said “nearly 100% of our employees” were already using the new, more secure system for their corporate accounts.

If passwordless login is enabled, users re-logging in to a Microsoft account will be asked to give their fingerprint, or other secure unlock, on their mobile phone. “Only you can provide fingerprint authentication or provide the right response on your mobile at the right time,” it said.

Windows users will still be able to use quick-login features such as a Pin code, though. Some rare exceptions will still need passwords, such as Office 2010, Xbox 360 consoles, and Windows 8.1 or earlier machines. 

……….  Security vice-president Vasu Jakkal wrote: “Passwords are incredibly inconvenient to create, remember, and manage across all the accounts in our lives. “We are expected to create complex and unique passwords, remember them, and change them frequently – but nobody likes doing that.”


Wimp-worship (a la Biles and Osaka) is sick

July 29, 2021

A wimp is a weak and cowardly or unadventurous person and the etymology of the word probably derives from one who whines and whinges and whimpers. 

A wimp may sometimes be an object of sympathy but wimpy behaviour is a clear indication of a deficiency and is something to be avoided.

The decadence of snowflake culture becomes apparent when wimpy behaviour and wimps are idolised at the French Open and the Olympics. Instead of admiring all those who struggle and do not give up, those who break under pressure and give up are idolised. Giving up has become something to be more admired than struggling on. A gross disservice to the the majority who – in all walks of life –  do not give up in spite of everything.

That wimp-worship which glorifies giving up is contemptible.

 

Twitter

So, to sum up today’s big Simone Biles debate, snowflake Twitter is 100% adamant that walking out on teammates at work is brave, strong, inspiring and iconic – and anyone who does it should be celebrated as one of the world’s great heroes…. Good to know”. 

It is not the fault of the wimps. But the snowflake media who worship wimpy behaviour are contemptible.


Holding the Olympics now would be against the spirit of the Olympics

May 26, 2021

The Asahi Shimbun is right – I think.

Prime Minister Suga, please call off the Olympics this summer

……

It is simply beyond reason to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer. The central government, the Tokyo metropolitan government and Olympic officials are forging ahead relentlessly, refusing to address the public’s perfectly legitimate questions and concerns. Naturally, people’s distrust and apprehension are growing.

We demand that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga evaluate the situation calmly and objectively, and decide against holding the Olympics and Paralympics this summer. ……

………. A truly astounding remark was made last week by John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee. During a news conference, Coates stated his view that the Games can be held under a state of emergency. But the issue was not just about staging the event without incident. Coates’ thinking was clearly at odds with popular sentiment in Japan, and his attitude of saying “yes” to the Games without presenting any supporting evidence served only to remind us anew of the IOC’s self-righteousness. …….

The organizers must understand that gambling is not an option. 

Many citizens share this awareness, and an Asahi Shimbun survey this month found only 14 percent of respondents in favor of going ahead with the Olympics this summer. The number also suggests the public’s deepening skepticism about the merits of hosting the Olympics. ……. 

The pandemic has prevented some athletes from competing in qualifiers. A huge gap exists between countries where progress has been made in mass inoculations and those where it hasn’t, obviously affecting athletes’ training and performances. For the Tokyo Olympics, athletes’ movements in the Olympic Village will be restricted, rendering it difficult for them to mix with local citizens as was hoped for by the local governments that volunteered to host pre-Olympic training camps.

Clearly, parts of the Olympic Charter have become a dead letter.

What meaning is there in holding the Olympics when people’s activities are being restricted and their daily lives have become difficult?

Cancel Olympics 2021

2020 has gone. Olympics 2021 is already unnatural. Some participants have prepared, some have not. Some cannot.

Much as I would like the Olympics sequence not to be disrupted, it makes no sense to have a shielded and truncated event which is so far from the spirit of what the Olympics ought to be. 

Cancel it and move on to 2024.



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