"Before the invention of the baby sling, dated by Dr Taylor to at least 2.2 million years ago, when human ancestor head size suddenly began to increase, physically mature infants were more likely to survive, because caring for slower-developing immature ones was difficult, uneconomic and often dangerous. Mothers holding their infants were more vulnerable to attack from predators or other humans than those using baby slings. They were also less able to perform other more economically productive tasks.
Most importantly, the invention of the baby sling artificially lengthened human gestation, said Dr Taylor."
2.2 million years is an awful long time ago, and I didn't think we had that much evidence about humans habits and culture dating back that long ago.
Exactly what happened roughly 2.2 million years a to explain this evolutionary change?
The truth is no one actually knows, or can test most of the theories that seem like they MIGHT be true but could also be fanciful speculations by researchers. That something was found is a fact. How it got there is largely speculation, but I'm surprised how often these theories are taken seriously, not just by the public but by other scientists.
Real tests include statistical significance, like exploring the fossil record across continents, simultaneously corroborating the theories of continental drift and common descent. Allopatric speciation can be discovered this way. You need a bunch of data points or functions of them, that should be independent but are highly correlated. That is what supports a theory, in the Fischer sense.
Here is an example: horse fossils are found physically above t-rex fossils 99.9% of the time, and in the remaining cases, the rocks show evidence of upheaval in that area. Or, radiometric dating vs the superposition principle. If 99% of the data samples agree, that is extremely significant. That is how you prove theories.
In this it reminds me of the science of the early 20th century that took race as a mere fact, and tried to explain it.
As well as many farming new technologies like irrigation for example.
However I was right remembering that Arabs had something to do with optics, as the base findings trace back to Ibn al-Haytham (965).
Also just as general information for anyone curious about it, in the process I've found out a list of Arab inventions.
I take that back. I just read the synopsis on wikipedia. The books' theory is exactly inline with my statement.
"The first step towards civilization is the move from nomadic hunter-gatherer to rooted agrarian society. Several conditions are necessary for this transition to occur: 1) access to high protein vegetation that endures storage; 2) a climate dry enough to allow storage; 3) access to animals docile enough for domestication and versatile enough to survive captivity. Control of crops and livestock leads to food surpluses. Surplus frees people up to specialize in activities other than sustenance and supports population growth. The combination of specialization and population growth leads to the accumulation of social and technologic innovations which build on each other. Large societies develop ruling classes and supporting bureaucracies, which in turn lead to the organization of nation-states and empires."
That's pretty much the economics point of view. Save+invest->innovation/technology. Catch a couple of fish, save them if possible. Use time not spend on catching fish to build a net...have more fish. Rinse, repeat.
In the Nile and Euphrate/Tigre valleys, there was plenty of food but efforts were required for storage. And one that was done, there was plenty of idle time for parts of the year.
Hence pyramids and stuff.
(and writing for book keeping of stored food)
Why save the fish if it's going to rot?
If there were no matriarchs capable of grasping a concept like hunting with weapons, instead of bare hands, 100 years ago, does that mean that they might unravel stone sharpening in 500 years?
The idea that human civilization might witness the true, literal evolution and flourishing of a second earthly intellect in species outside of humans is really exciting.
Maybe it's not evolution in action. Maybe chimpanzees of today are no smarter than 100 years ago. Maybe it takes 50 years of trial and error amongst social groups to learn such a skill, and then retain it across generations by teaching. Maybe tools like this have been invented and lost many times by various chimpanzee social groups over the past few centuries.
But it would still be really cool if this were representative of the emergence of a generation of apes, palpably smarter than those of, say, the 19th century.
Chimps on the other hand eat and do other stuff with each other and are usually(if not always) part of a group and so they have more complex actions in nature just from learning from one another, picking up tips and building upon what they know.
There is a whole literature in a particular brand of feminism (mostly associated with the radicals) that simply takes the association of hunting and interpersonal violence on faith, whereas in fact we're pretty sure men are more violent than women because of mate competition. The fact that we observe hunting behaviour amongst female chimps (who are less violent than male chimps) and female bonobos (who are far less violent than chimps, and no more violent than male bonobos, who also hunt) makes it clear that hunting behavior has nothing much to do with interpersonal violence.
This makes good sense from an evolutionary perpsective: killing a member of another species is a profoundly different kind of selective event than killing a member of your own species, particularly in a social primate like proto-humans where the individual you kill is likely to be closely related to you. The selective pressures on the two behaviours are almost completely disjoint, but to believe the feminist myth--or the equally silly pseudo-evolutionary anti-feminist myths that preceded it--you have to believe they are somehow related.
I think it's especially important not to criticize a political point that no-one has brought up in the thread already. It's always tempting to address the worst arguments rather than the best ones, and there's more leeway to do that we we're not constrained by replying to something someone's actually said.
> there should be a norm against introducing a political
> topic on a non-political thread
This is a straw woman. I cannot think of any radical feminist for whom this is an important point. (You probably don't mean actually radical feminists, but just liberals with whom you disagree, but that's another point.)
I think virtually any feminist would say that men are violent because patriarchal society teaches and programs men to be violent. It teaches boys that violence is an acceptable way of solving problems, interacting with others, etc., and even when violence is overtly discouraged (for example, in schools) it is often covertly encouraged (the pride a father displays in a son who hits back against a bully, the resulting respect on the schoolyard for that child, not to even mention video games, movies, and other cultural role models).
But maybe you've just read different feminists from me. What prominent radical feminists, or even liberal feminists, hold this viewpoint?
What does it mean to act like a woman? You think you know. Name a behavior, I guarantee I can name a woman who does not engage in said behavior.
But the world is not all roses. Sometimes violence is not only an acceptable way of dealing with a situation, sometimes it is the only way of dealing with it and achieving a successful outcome.
But the GP was not talking about the entire world, they were specifically talking about child bullies.
The bully and I were lucky, as the bully got bored and moved on.
And yet the lesson you draw from this experience is that children should be taught to respond violently to a bully?
There is no set of "woman behaviors". If you want me to make a wild guess at a sweeping generalization for which there will be endless counter-examples, then here is my answer: Women in general are more risk-averse than men in general. This is the most logical explanation I have encountered for why both the world's leadership and the world's prisons are populated primarily by men.
> And yet the lesson you draw from this experience is that children should be taught to respond violently to a bully?
Not at all. From my experiences with bullies, the lesson I draw is that children should be taught that there is a time for violence, and they should be taught how to decide when it's time to take violent action against a bully. The mechanics of such an education are certainly non-trivial. If you tell a 5-year-old that "violence is okay", then you have failed. I expect that to properly educate a child in this area would require most of the childhood and into early adulthood. So it's not an easy task. If you want to tell your child that "violence is wrong", as one of those temporary lies that we have to tell our children because they don't yet have the brain capacity or life experience to understand the truth, then that's fine. But it seems like we have a majority of parents who go with the convenient lie and fail to follow up. I think that if the population were properly educated on this topic, the overwhelming majority would never encounter a situation over the course of their entire life where they chose violence.
Here's the thing about your answer to the previous question: if what you mean when you say "act like a woman" is "cautious," why not just say "why is it considered misbehaving when men act recklessly?" The answer to that question would be much more instructive, although also somewhat tautological. You correctly describe your response as a sweep generalization with endless counter examples. In other words, wrong.
Gender is a cultural construction. Get that through your skull, and you can start talking about what you're actually talking about rather than muddying things up with your prejudices about men and women.
As for teaching about violence, you've made another mistake. Violence is always an evil. If nothing else, a violent act against an evil person still brutalizes the actor. The difference between story book morality and the real world is that real morality often involves choices between multiple evils. If the evil of not acting violently outweighs the evil of acting violently, then you must act violently. But it is not a lie to teach children that violence is always wrong.
it seems like we have a majority of parents who go with the convenient lie and fail to follow up
Yes, if only parents would stop teaching their children that violence is wrong, there would be less violence in the world. You realize how rediculous that assertion is?
No, it's not. Thanks for the discussion.
I don't know you, Mr. tjradcliffe, but I suspect that if you think it's fun to bait your feminist "friends" (why is this woman friends with you?), then she probably got mad at you not because of your fabulously argued points, but because you were being an asshole.
This encapsulates 90% of hacker news.
The Buddhist text Dhammapada puts it like this, in Gil Fronsdal's translation:
Hatred never ends through hatred.
By non-hate alone does it end.
This is an ancient truth.
Let's take another example. Consider the moral injunction "don't steal," and the ethical/philosophical idea "stealing is wrong." These are quite basic, definitely not outlandish. Yet there are many situations where stealing is necessary for one's survival and therefore proper.
Someone discussing the ethics of theft could well be accused of lofty idealism because of the existence of emergency situations wherein theft are necessary. But I think such examples don't completely invalidate the moral prohibition against stealing; they only show that nuance is required.
This conversation started as a discussion of male conditioning, the culture of male violence, and how that relates to bullying at an early age. That's a larger scale than individual incidences of bullying.
The "utopian" idea of nonviolence, for example as expressed in my Dhammapada quote, isn't primarily saying that kids should be scolded for hitting back. I'd say it's more relevant to how parents, perhaps especially fathers, should talk about such violence. The hypothetical parent who cheers on the bullied kid when he/she hits back may be propagating values that are not beneficial.
: Even such a strict property ethicist as Ayn Rand wrote about this in an essay called "The Ethics of Emergencies."
Also, even if you lose making fights more costly / painful is a significant disincentive.
PS: There are also pure sociopaths out there and not everyone can put up a good fight etc. But, in plenty of situations violence is not really vicious and can calm things down.
There are several less kind ways I could describe such overly simplified models, "Seperated from Reality" seems like the least offensive. Would you prefer, when there is a conflict between ideas and reality it's not reality that's false?
I suspect you didn't really mean to connect those two, but it sounds kinda mean-spirited.
I feel like I've seen many anecdotes by women who have transitioned to men (or are mid-process) who suddenly "get" many male behaviours once they start supplementing testosterone.
For our intelligence to evolve, there must have been an advantage to it, each step of the way, that offset the costs of gestating, growing, training and fuelling a larger brain. Looking at other animals, especially higher mammals, greater brain size and intelligence can have survival advantages. Although, considering the whole of life, most of it is not highly intelligent - bacteria, insects, fish etc still thrive as the majority.
There's a fascinating speculation applying Moore's law to the increasing complexity of life (see graph here http://io9.com/moores-law-predicts-life-originated-billions-...). This shows that it takes longer to evolve more complexity, though not that more complexity is necessarily better. I think it's fair to claim that humans are the most complex animals that have evolved so far... and that we are the ones to speculate on it because we just happened to be first (as in the Fermi paradox and fine-tuned universe). Therefore, we should expect other intelligent life to evolve on earth (perhaps from corvids, cetaceans - or even arachnids, some having extraordinary brain/body ratios); but it might take several million years, as that's what it took us. Complexity takes time.
Another view is that another intelligent species would have been the most dangerous threat to us possible. Humans certainly seem to have no problem killing other humans. We may have eradicated neanderthals, and other species in the human evolutionary line are also curiously missing today. Possibly, mammoths and mega-fauna were also increasing in intelligence? Perhaps we also set out to kill the most cunning and therefore most dangerous wild animals in general? Thus, delaying intelligence in competing species.
Intriguingly, the behaviour is mostly confined to females and immature chimps.
If only we could simulate evolution millions of years and see how chimps evolve.
Isn't that the wrong way round? The first generation of chimps would return after hundreds of years [have passed on Earth] having barely appeared to have aged at all.
If you want to see the future, it is you who has to accelerate to near light speeds and then you will return to an Earth far in the future.
"A highly secretive and reclusive biochemist named Kidder produces inventions that transform human life, spanning every aspect of science and engineering. Unbeknownst to anyone, Kidder has developed a synthetic life form, which he calls "neoterics." These creatures live at a greatly accelerated rate, and therefore have a very short lifespan and produce many generations over a short period of time. This allows Kidder, by presenting them with a frequently changing environment, to "evolve" them quickly into highly intelligent lifeforms who fear Kidder and worship him like a god. Kidder can control his neoterics' environment, and thus force them into developing technology far beyond that of humans."
So it isn't our observing them that is relevant. We may be putting pressure on them that is driving their evolution, and evolutionary change can happen very rapidly when the pressure is high.
Look around. I see no reason a primate so similar to humans would not continue to evolve along the same lines.
The Bonobo society also exhibits female alphas and uses extensive sexual activities (including hetero/homo and "group") to maintain social bonds.
However, even despite the apparent "similarities" I question our anthropomorphic instinct to assign to or infer too much meaning from the behaviour of our primate genetic relatives.
One reason contributing to that choice is because how humans behave in societies is shaped by centuries of social, cultural and political discourse on the ways in which we behave.
It was thought that it resulted from developing a sense of lay calculus by throwing the spears. One anthropologist I heard speak said he thought that would mean major league pitchers are the pinnacle of human evolution. :)
Of course, that gentleman consumed more psychedelics than anyone I've ever known, so I'm not so sure.
More to the point, what if this is the beginning of a very fast evolutionary change?
On a serious note - a recent theory that in a heat sink ocean and energy source life evolving is inevitable, and we have multiple species able to get to intelligence ... the fermi paradox becomes more urgent to be solved.
And here we are, saying
> OMG monkeys using "tools" as defined by humans! Golden ponies and red chameleons!!
Get over it already.