We now call these people the Denisovans. They’re a human species but are not us, not Neanderthals, and not one that was previously known. We don’t yet have anything more than fragments of fossils. From the knowledged we have gained of ancient DNA studies, we know see that we interbred with the Denisovans, and they interbred with us. The further east you go today, the more Denisovan DNA you see in living people and the less Neanderthal. Interestingly, when you analyze the amount of DNA of the three species that we know interbred (Denisovans, Neanderthals, and Homo sapiens), it doesn’t quite add up, which makes us confident that we also carry the DNA of another human species for which we have no bones and no DNA. The shadow of another human species—its trace—is inside us all right now.
The ‘Dawndays’ chapter begins:
The first folk holding this land [Britain] were the Kamledis, called Wictarin [Picts?] in the old tongue [Brythonic], but these were dwellers in the North, while southward were the dark, short-legged dwarfmen known as Oben [Germanic, meaning ‘higher ground’]… None knows who led the dwarf men here, though men do say the land spawned them… They were hag-ridden, forest-fearing river-dwellers who painted their faces and legs, users of easily poisoned weapons. Theirs were the grim gods of death and darkness, and at the festival times the dwarfmen sat in sombre caves eating children as part of their evil feasting… In the generations of the dwarfmen, broad Britain was a many-marshed land, where dismal ferns and tangled forests hindered passage from place to place. The Oben were not numerous and their children few, but they were hardy and long-lived… Far to the South were the swarthy swarm of the Frolga [who were “herd-keeping”], though these were not true dwarfmen but the outcome of intermingled blood.
The Kolbrin makes it clear here that the Oben were Britain’s oldest inhabitants.
Previous research has shown that animals can remember specific events, use tools and solve problems. But exactly what that means — whether they are making rational decisions or simply reacting to their environment through mindless reflex — remains a matter of scientific dispute.
|Cameron Buckner, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Houston, says empirical evidence suggests a variety of animal species are able to make rational decisions, despite the lack of a human-like language|
Cameron Buckner, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Houston, argues in an article published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research that a wide range of animal species exhibit so-called “executive control” when it comes to making decisions, consciously considering their goals and ways to satisfy those goals before acting.
He acknowledges that language is required for some sophisticated forms of metacognition, or thinking about thinking. But bolstered by a review of previously published research, Buckner concludes that a wide variety of animals — elephants, chimpanzees, ravens and lions, among others — engage in rational decision-making.
“These data suggest that not only do some animals have a subjective take on the suitability of the option they are evaluating for their goal, they possess a subjective, internal signal regarding their confidence in this take that can be deployed to select amongst different options,” he wrote.
The question has been debated since the days of the ancient philosophers, as people considered what it means to be human. One way to address that, Buckner said, is to determine exactly what sets humans apart from other animals.
Language remains a key differentiator, and Buckner notes that serious attempts in the 1970s and ’80s to teach animals human language — teaching chimpanzees to use sign language, for example — found that although they were able to express simple ideas, they did not engage in complex thought and language structures.
Ancient philosophers relied upon anecdotal evidence to study the issue, but today’s researchers conduct sophisticated controlled experiments. Buckner, working with Thomas Bugnyar and Stephan A. Reber, cognitive biologists at the University of Vienna, last year published the results of a study that determined ravens share at least some of the human ability to think abstractly about other minds, adapting their behavior by attributing their own perceptions to others
In his latest paper, Buckner offers several examples to support his argument:
Historians of English have long acknowledged that social and cognitive factors shape language over time. For example, languages lose irregular verb conjugations or other word forms that are hard to remember. And certain words or pronunciations get used because they are associated with people who have status and power—think about how new arrivals adopt the local accent in order to fit in. These pressures on language are based on concrete factors, similar to the biological pressures of natural selection.
But that explanation didn’t satisfy University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) evolutionary biologist Joshua Plotkin. He was puzzled by oddities such as a growing preference for the word “clarity” over its synonym “clearness.” According to standard linguistic theory, “clearness” should be more common because adding “-ness” is an easy-to-remember rule for making a noun out of an adjective. But that’s not what happened in English. “As an outsider,” Plotkin says, “this increase seemed at odds with the notion that language … regularize[s] over time.” So he decided to roll up his sleeves and apply some theories from evolutionary biology.
With another evolutionary biologist and two linguists from UPenn, he analyzed three databases of historical English together containing more than 400 million words and ranging from 1100 C.E. to the 21st century. The researchers used statistical methods from population genetics to analyze three well-known changes in the English language: how past-tense verbs in American English have taken the “-ed” ending, (as when “spilt” became “spilled”), how the word “do” became an auxiliary verb in Early Modern English (as in “Did you sing?”), and how negative sentences were made in Old to Early Modern English.
They found that selection was the likely cause of how negative sentence structures changed over time (like how the Old English “Ic ne secge” became the Early Modern English “I say not”). But the two other changes were likely the results of random drift, they write today in a letter published in Nature. That’s because, rather than having an even rate of change, the frequencies of alternative forms changed in fits and starts—jagged fluctuations that were obvious in the data set. When it came to the verbs, they found that drift’s influence was stronger when the verb was less frequent. Only six past tense changes in their data set, such as “lighted” to “lit,” were deemed to have changed for purposeful reasons, such as being easier to learn and use.
Three Different Views About the Origins of Modern Economic Growth
Consider some prominent views about what caused the British Industrial Revolution. At the risk of grossly simplifying matters we can put them into three bins.
First, there those who tend to think that market expansion is sufficient for sustained economic growth. Call them group 1. They will be inclined to favorably quote Adam Smith from his lectures on jurisprudence that “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice”. Many libertarian-learning economists are in this category but few active economic historians.
Second, there are those who argue that colonial empires or natural resources like coal were crucial for modern economic growth. Call them group 2. This view is associated with the “world systems” theory of Immanuel Wallerstein. Perhaps the most sophisticated exponent is Ken Pomeranz in the Great Divergence (2000). Pop versions are common among many historians and sociologists but this position has little support among economic historians.
Third, there are those who argue that ultimately only innovation can explain the transition to modern economic growth. This is the position of the majority of economic historians. Label them group 3. However, this third group is divided between those who seek to explain the increase in innovation in purely economic terms (3a) and those who see this as an impossible task and argue that the answer has to be sought elsewhere, perhaps in something that can be broadly defined as culture (3b).
The idea that simple economics could explain why innovators developed labor-saving machinery like the spinning jenny in 18th century England (but not in France or India) is advanced by Bob Allen. It is perhaps the dominant view in economic history at the moment. But it has come under criticism recently as the evidence for a high-wage economy in 18th century England appears weaker than was previously supposed (see the work of Judy Stephenson (here) and (here)).
Two prominent alternative versions of 3b are associated with Deirdre McCloskey and Joel Mokyr. McCloskey and Mokyr advance distinct arguments, but both would agree that the inventive and enterprising spirit that characterized 18th century England cannot be explained in terms of simple incentives. They instead argue that it required recognition of “Bourgeois Dignity” or a “Culture of Growth”.
Mapping Modern Views to the Roman Counter-Factual
Adherents of the first position, the view that trade, commerce, and market development were a sufficient condition for modern economic growth should find the Roman Industrial Revolution counterfactual highly appealing. As Harper notes: “The empire by its nature systematically leveled barriers to trade” (Harper 2017, 37). Importantly, Rome had a legal system that venerated property rights and was designed to facilitate impersonal trade (see here). Indeed, the startlingly “modern” characteristics of the Roman legal system, including property rights for married women, feature prominently in The Kingdom of the Wicked. This legal system also provided stability for economic exchange and a framework through which impersonal trade and business organizations could emerge. Though the imperial period saw the emperors acquire broad-ranging autocratic authority, from an economic perspective, Roman citizens enjoyed something approximating what we would recognize as rule of law.
michael hudson November 13, 2017 at 9:29 am
I’m afraid the article on Rome is quite silly and tunnel-visioned. It ignores the class war of creditors against debtors (won by the creditors by a century of political assassination and violence). And more important, all fortunes (viz. Trimalchio) were spent on LAND — and getting clients into debt.
The author pretends to describe Joel Mokr’s view of culture. But my introductory essay in the volume that Mokr et al. published on Entrepreneurs (Princeton), I describe why Rome DID NOT grow, for the above reasons.
The final presenter was Professor Peterson. He was happy to see so many people present for the debate, but at the same time he was saddened to realize that a public event about protecting the freedom of speech is now so necessary in Canada. Peterson began by referring to a program called The Agenda on TVOntario. Nicholas Matte a lecturer at the University of Toronto’s Sexual Diversity Studies program was also on the show. Matte made the outrageous statement that there are no scientific differences between males and females. And for that he got no criticism. According to Peterson, we can currently hold such false views without being challenged because we do not dare question the ideology of gender and other political myths about diversity and equality.
Peterson also spoke about why he objected to Canada’s Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. He spoke about how he had to face numerous threats and nasty requests to go along with the new language of gender and political correctness. Peterson then went on to talk about what recently happened at Wilfrid Laurier University. Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant, showed the video from TVO to her students. For that, she was called “transphobic” and her supervising professor told her that what she had done in the Canadian Communication in Context class was “basically … like … neutrally playing a speech by Hitler …” Shepherd was quickly “re-educated” and told that it was wrong to even consider backing Peterson’s opposition to genderless pronouns. In future, she has to submit her lessons in advance to her supervisor and agree not to use “controversial videos.”
In the university, many ideas and issues are no longer discussed and debated. Shepherd made the mistake of believing that the university supports freedom of speech and research. She made the unforgivable blunder of introducing students to Peterson’s work. This is akin to studying a speech from Hitler. In Canada, lessons that question gender identity are now illegal because of Bill C-16. Shepherd made the error of actually trying to teach, not indoctrinate. Sadly, she is now considering leaving the university. In communicating the story, although he had predicted this kind of attack on free speech would occur, one could see that Peterson was grieved by the whole situation.
Prof. Peterson explained that the idea of creating safe learning environments runs counter to real learning. He quipped, “Everything I’ve learned was painful.” Students need to face the facts and the truth, even when it hurts. Shedding assumptions and prejudices is the only way for them to become better human beings. We must raise the bar for a good education so that young people can make a valuable contribution and the world becomes a better place. He urged everyone to get involved and be prepared to defend and speak out about the importance of freedom of speech and open inquiry.
After the presentations, there was period of discussion with the moderator directing the discussion. After that, the audience was invited to ask some questions. But the central issue about the stifling of free speech in a climate of political correctness, of identity politics, of victimhood and of social justice hostility, isn’t going away any time soon. What happens next depends on all of us men and women of good will.
When I was little I used to play games involving pirates, ships etc but have you, ever wondered how the real pirates looks like? Or do they have the same type of personality like in pirate games? Or are they bad criminals like how people think? Well, I will be talking about a sea lord who controlled a band of pirates to achieve his political ends, and who is a famous hero in Japan.
Twitter now says verified users can have status revoked based on the content of their tweets, including “promoting hate” pic.twitter.com/XbhZp9dhnD
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) November 15, 2017
The truth is now hate speech pic.twitter.com/LHHFgdD05P
— Tommy Robinson (@TRobinsonNewEra) November 15, 2017
Well, my dear friends, enemies, and frenemies. I do not believe that trying to censor Tommy Robinson is going to be effective. It will infuriate all those who support him and they will redouble their efforts.
It does not matter to me whether you like or dislike the man and his political views, it’s the eternal golden principle of freedom of speech that matters so much more.
I think it will prove to be counter productive for the vested interests and elite groups who attempt to suppress his message. He’s a well-known public figure and as entitled to his political views as anyone else.
There are fake conservatives who claim to be pro free speech who are laughing at me being unverified on twitter. Being pro free speech isn’t selective. It means you support everyone’s speech, even if you don’t like them.
The problem with “the right” is the total lack of loyalty.
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
To the LEFT:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
Thanks to wolfwitch in previous comments,
Also, on a personal note, thanks to your hugely time consuming actions I now find that this blog is the place to go for real news and views. About 3 years ago I was a so called green anarchist, pseudo pagan. I now find to my amusement (in a serious way!?) that i am becoming increasingly sympathetic to the alt right and the western tradition of Christianity itself. Cheers Ulvfugl!
Here’s my reply, fwiw :
Regarding these labels or boxes that people get classified into, I think they may be useful in a general way, but less so for any particular thoughtful individual. I mean, on any issue by issue basis, I can be Right-ish on one and Left-ish on another.
You probably know that the Right versus Left classification dates back to the French Revolution, when the Revolutionaries who sat on the right side of the chamber wanted to slow down or return towards earlier positions, whilst those sitting on the left side would vote for more faster extreme radical change.
(Actually this division of political views can be traced much earlier, to ancient Greece, and was probably part of human social nature back into the mists of prehistory. I can imagine some small tribal group of hunter-gatherers dividing into factions as to whether to move to a new unknown area, or whether to play safe by remaining where they know the territory, despite some impending hazard, flood, drought, disease, whatever.)
Like many young people, earlier in my life, being idealistic and dissatisfied with the world, I favoured radical social changes as soon as possible.
Now I feel that the changes have gone too far and I’m more conservative. I see it rather like steering a boat on a wide river, the crew need to change course to avoid hazards, but it’s a constant task of adjustment, if you insist blindly on one direction you’ll crash into the bank, be it right or left.
The best understanding I know of comes from anacyclosis.
For the longer term, decades, I remain a Doomer, because I accept the environmentalist analysis that we humans are destroying the ecological foundations on our planet.
If we continue with causing the extinction of other species, by destroying their vital habitat, then eventually the entire complex net of inter-relationships will collapse,and all life on Earth will be decimated, as has occurred several time in earlier prehistory.
It’s highly likely that we are already on that course and that it cannot be avoided, one reason being that it’s only a small proportion of the 7.5 or so billion of us that are capable of understanding any of this, let alone caring about it enough to do anything, so it is likely impossible to avoid another Mass Extinction Event.
Given that, I wish that the best of humanity, and our various noble achievements, do survive for as long as possible, and toward that end, I am opposed to the ignorant, moronic, uneducated masses gaining power and dragging us all down into the hellish barbaric squalid mess that already exists on many parts of the planet.
This kind of concern was exhibited early last century, in the novel The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham, which is a sort of romanticised and disguised story of revolution and class struggle.
Writers can change the way people, society, views existence and cause adjustments of political and philosophical outlooks, for better or worse, which is why I keep on doing this, in the vague hope that it may be helpful to some of you out there.
Wolfwitch mentioned having moved from a green anarchist, pagan, position toward the alt right and Western tradition of Christianity.
That’s too large and complex a subject for me to do justice to with any brevity, but I think I understand what he means. The most successful green party that arose was the one in Germany, and yet now, imo, they are utterly deranged and useless.
I’ve already mentioned the ‘anarchist’ part. My view is that a priority is to minimise suffering and that is why I desire strictly enforced order. The chaos which people like David Graeber see as virtuous, a means to undermine all existing authority, is absolutely NOT what we need. There’s already more than enough misery on the planet caused by disorder and chaos.
People who are in favour of an absence of order and authority are welcome move and go live in the areas where all law and order is already absent. There are plenty of them.
I have no strong objection toward the various pagan traditions, and there’s much that I dislike about Christianity. It’s possible that there might be a Christian revival. The heritage is so enormous, there’s so much to draw upon, my guess is that there remains great potential for a massive revival. I’ve learned a great amount from Jordan Peterson in that respect, he’s joined up some fields of ideas and linkages that I had never understood previously.
Wolfwitch actually wrote ‘Western’ Christianity, but imo, there’s much to be learned and gained from Eastern Christianity, but that topic is too large for me to engage with today.
You know, there are the social aspects of religion, where people meet up and go through various routines, prayer, song, marriages, blessing ceremonies, etc, and there are the more private mystical aspects, where each individual has to pursue their own journey into the deepest existential questions. Different approaches suit different kinds of people, we vary a lot in character, disposition, ability, and so on
Personally, I’ve found Jordan Peterson very helpful.