February 3, 2011 § 5 Comments
|Human brain and skull|
Most people who went to school and actually spent some time in study hall studying stuff are familiar with the process of evolution.
The idea involves complex processes whereby simpler organisms evolve into more complex organisms.
But some have found cause to dispute this theory or at least to amend the theory in order to comply with the evidence.
Here are some examples in Republican thinking that might buttress this new perspective on evolution.
1. If you would only lower taxes, the government would make more money and the national debt would be decreased and there would be more jobs.
2. Our main goal is to create jobs and our priority includes firing a million government workers. This would actually create more jobs and lower the unemployment rate.
3. There is no global warming and so we can pollute all we wish while putting poisons in the air and our groundwater.
4. The crash of September 2008 was caused by mistakes made by Wall Street with a lack of regulatory control by the SEC and other governmental agencies; therefore we must remove most of the regulations now in force governing Wall Street.
Now these are just four examples of what Bill Cosby calls brain damage.
There are hundreds of examples like these but I only have so much space within which to make my presentation.
Let us examine another example in some depth:
Republican Georgia state legislator Bobby Franklin thinks that driver’s licenses impose undue restrictions on the right of citizens to travel. So he’s proposed legislation to stop the state from issuing them.
“Free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose,” Franklin’s legislation states. “Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right.”
In an interview with CBS Atlanta News, Franklin claimed driver’s licenses are a throw back to oppressive times.
“Agents of the state demanding your papers,” he said. “We’re getting that way here.”
He said there wasn’t a reason for people to need to know who was whom on the roads, and that there’s nothing in place to stop children from driving anyways.
Well then, are we to conclude that there’s nothing in place to stop children from driving, or drunks from driving, or convicted drunk drivers from driving, or illegal immigrants from driving or blind people from driving?
Representative Franklin is exhibiting this fairly new example of brain damage.
And evidence of this brain damage is not limited to the proposals from our politicians.
Bill O’Reilly claims that there is no scientific explanation for the movement of the seas that we call tides.
After graduating from high school in 1967, O’Reilly attended Marist College, his father’s choice. While at Marist, O’Reilly played punter in the National Club Football Association, and was also a writer for the school’s newspaper, The Circle. An honors student, he majored in history. He spent his junior year of college abroad, attending Queen Mary College at the University of London. O’Reilly received his B.A. in history in 1971. He played semi-professional baseball during this time, as a pitcher for the New York Monarchs. After graduating from Marist College, O’Reilly moved to Miami, Florida at age 21, where he taught English and history at Monsignor Pace High School from 1970 to 1972. O’Reilly returned to school in 1973 and earned an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University. wikipedia.org
Now here is an example of a man, who unlike beckerhead or rush actually went to college and earned TWO degrees.
Look, I know. Bill O’Reilly is a far-right ideologue who couldn’t grasp reality with a hundred meters of velcro and a ton of Crazy glue. He’s mean-spirited, loud, and wrong, wrong, wrong. Debunking him is like debunking the Tooth Fairy; so easy and obvious that it’s almost mean on my part to do it.
Yet here we are.
By now the entire planet has heard O’Reilly’s bizarre litany about tides, and how he claims they prove the existence of God. As he has said on many an occasion, “tide goes in, tide goes out, never a miscommunication.” By this he means that the harmony of nature, the amazing interconnection between things, clearly argues for God.
The problem is, he’s wrong. Twice, actually. First because he’s making the “God of the Gaps” fallacy: if something can’t be explained, then God must have done it. That’s pretty silly, since of course the far more likely explanation is simply that O’Reilly can’t explain it. That doesn’t mean I can’t! And in the case of tides, I can explain them, as can my friend Neil Tyson, and pretty much every other astronomer on Earth.
The thing is, either O’Reilly cannot learn, or he hopes his audience won’t. Because on his YouTube channel — yes, O’Reilly has a YouTube channel, I believe that’s the Second Horseman of the Apocalypse — he not only makes this same claim again, he digs himself deeper
I decided to do some research as to the cause or origins of this new phenomena affecting our brains.
It turns out, that we are not dealing with a new process at all; rather this disease which appears to primarily affect repubs is part of a process that began eons ago:
When paleoanthropologist Lee Berger unearthed a fossil near Johannesburg, South Africa, it seemed to be a jumble of parts: a braincase similar in size to that of an Australopithecus africanus, a Homo erectus pelvis, and the arms of a Miocene ape. But in April Berger announced that they all belonged to the same skeleton, that of a 12-year-old boy who lived 1.9 million years ago. The boy, called Karabo, may represent a bridge species between our Homo genus and its Australopithecus ancestor.
Berger thinks Karabo and an adult female found nearby represent a new hominid species, Australopithecus sediba, that may have been the first to walk upright the way modern humans do. A. sediba had long, apelike arms; a braincase one-third the size of a modern human’s; and a modern-looking pelvis that suggests it was a better upright walker than previous australopithecines.
You see, if we go back a couple of million years, the brains of these mammalian bipeds were increasing in size. This would be anticipated from normal evolutionary reasoning.
But there came a point, probably 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, where the brains of Homo Sapiens began to decrease in size. Neanderthals for instance had larger brains than we do.
Some believe the erosion of our gray matter means that modern humans are indeed getting dumber. (Late-night talk show hosts, take note—there’s got to be some good comic material to mine here.) Other authorities argue just the opposite: As the brain shrank, its wiring became more efficient, transforming us into quicker, more agile thinkers. Still others believe that the reduction in brain size is proof that we have tamed ourselves, just as we domesticated sheep, pigs, and cattle, all of which are smaller-brained than their wild ancestors. The more I learn, the more baffled I become that news of our shrinking brain has been so underplayed, not just in the media but among scientists. “It’s strange, I agree,” says Christopher Stringer, a paleoanthropologist and expert on human origins at the Natural History Museum in London. “Scientists haven’t given the matter the attention it deserves. Many ignore it or consider it an insignificant detail.”
But the routine dismissal is not as weird as it seems at first blush, Stringer suggests, due to the issue of scaling. “As a general rule,” he says, “the more meat on your bones, the more brain you need to control massive muscle blocks.” An elephant brain, for instance, can weigh four times as much as a human’s. Scaling is also why nobody seems too surprised by the large brains of the Neanderthals, the burly hominids that died out about 30,000 years ago.
The Homo sapiens with the biggest brains lived 20,000 to 30,000 years ago in Europe. Called the Cro-Magnons, they had barrel chests and huge, jutting jaws with enormous teeth. Consequently, their large brains have often been attributed to brawniness rather than brilliance. In support of that claim, one widely cited study found that the ratio of brain volume to body mass—commonly referred to as the encephalization quotient, or EQ—was the same for Cro-Magnons as it is for us. On that basis, Stringer says, our ancestors were presumed to have the same raw cognitive horsepower.
Now many anthropologists are rethinking the equation. For one thing, it is no longer clear that EQs flatlined back in the Stone Age. Recent studies of human fossils suggest the brain shrank more quickly than the body in near-modern times. More important, analysis of the genome casts doubt on the notion that modern humans are simply daintier but otherwise identical versions of our ancestors, right down to how we think and feel. Over the very period that the brain shrank, our DNA accumulated numerous adaptive mutations related to brain development and neurotransmitter systems—an indication that even as the organ got smaller, its inner workings changed. The impact of these mutations remains uncertain, but many scientists say it is plausible that our temperament or reasoning abilities shifted as a result.
I think these anthropologists are simply apologists with regard to this new evidence of this brain shrinkage.
Did you notice the part where they talk about how domesticated animals lost a bundle of gray matter in comparison to their feral ancestors?
I mean, what shepherd would appreciate a smarter flock of sheep?
Would a genius milk-cow really work better for a dairy farmer?
Would dogs with advanced degrees really wish to obey canine clickers or one word commands?
And would a brighter population of human beings file into 100,000 seat football stadiums willing to fork over a couple hundred bucks to sit in 0 degree weather and watch overgrown men beat each other to a pulp over something wrapped in pig skin?
Well, there you have it.
These repubs are simply demonstrating a process much different than normal theories of evolution can account for.
They are demonstrating the much newer theory of devolution!!!