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Author Topic:   What if Homo erectus was alive today?
Coyote
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Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 31 of 49 (510792)
06-03-2009 1:38 PM


Race
Not that its on topic, but...

Race is a shorthand that developed when Europeans began world travel. They described the peoples they met largely in physical terms, and equated that to all sorts of other characteristics such as cultural and mental development.

When anthropologists started studying this they were largely limited to physical traits at first, but with the discovery of genetics and DNA and the like they quickly went beyond that level. It was found that pretty much all of the traits that were both observed and genetic existed in clines, and that these clines overlapped a great deal. This made the concept of race extremely complicated to scientists who studied those traits, and it didn't take long before the concept of race was found to be inadequate to describe what was going on.

But laymen continue to see those observed traits and insist that they can see races. In doing so, they are missing out on a lot of things that scientists discovered and dealt with decades ago.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
TheWhale
Junior Member (Idle past 1937 days)
Posts: 19
Joined: 06-03-2009


Message 32 of 49 (510801)
06-03-2009 2:20 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Meldinoor
06-03-2009 2:52 AM


Re: Most anthropologists recognize that race is a social concept,
Yes absolutely I agree that race is defined by superficial physical attributes which vary between races.

Which clearly indicates that it is more than a social concept.
It also goes without saying that there are more genetic similarities between races than differences.
Who would believe otherwise?
To my way of thinking genetics did not reveal anything unexpected in this regard.

Edited by TheWhale, : No reason given.

Edited by TheWhale, : No reason given.


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Coyote
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Posts: 4857
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Member Rating: 2.0


Message 33 of 49 (510805)
06-03-2009 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by TheWhale
06-03-2009 2:20 PM


Re: Most anthropologists recognize that race is a social concept,
To my way of thinking genetics did not reveal anything unexpected in this regard.

You are wrong.

Genetics reveals different data than the classical (visible) traits.

For example, fingerprint patterns show a different distribution than do classical traits. So do blood types. So do dozens of other traits. Physical form has more to do with geography and environmental conditions than anything else, while genetics has more to do with patterns of descent.

There are at least three Pygmy- or Negrito-type groups around the world. These groups share many physical traits but are quite different genetically.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by TheWhale, posted 06-03-2009 2:20 PM TheWhale has not yet responded

Blue Jay
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Posts: 2615
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
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Message 34 of 49 (510810)
06-03-2009 5:28 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by TheWhale
06-03-2009 2:20 PM


Re: Most anthropologists recognize that race is a social concept,
Hi, TheWhale.

Here is the link to the American Anthropological Association's statement on race, which AustinG provided upthread (by the way, Austin, your hyperlinks didn't work: you've got the web addresses written as "http:///" with nothing following it).

Here's the relevant part:

quote:
Evidence from the analysis of genetics (e.g., DNA) indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups. Conventional geographic "racial" groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. This means that there is greater variation within "racial" groups than between them.

Here are some recent citations on the subject:

Witherspoon et al 2007 (should be free access)
Long et al 2009 (abstract: full text is not free)

Both of these support the notion that races are not genetically distinct from one another.

-----

The following is a recent paper that suggests that race is an appropriate categorization system:

Edwards 2003 (abstract: full text is not free)

Basically, Edwards says that the variation between races is mostly in the form of varying allele frequencies, whereas the numbers the American Anthropological Association quote above uses only talk about presence/absence.

It's a valid argument, except that, like Coyote said, allele frequencies are not distinct categories, but gradients, so it's hard to draw a line between two races.

For your information, the other two papers I referenced are, in part, rebuttals to Edwards' paper.

Edited by Bluejay, : I prefer capital letters at the beginning of sentences, but that's just me.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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Taz
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Posts: 5065
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 35 of 49 (510814)
06-03-2009 6:32 PM


Going back to the question of what if Homo erectus was alive today?

I'd have to say that we'd be seeing slavery on a scale we never saw in our history of our particular time line.


Replies to this message:
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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 1334 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 36 of 49 (510840)
06-04-2009 12:28 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by Taz
06-03-2009 6:32 PM


Actually, if they are sufficiently similar to us, I'd venture that Christians with a creationist viewpoint would be the first to offer them human rights. After all, they believe Neanderthals were simply humans with some superficial differences, and that "hobbits" (homo floresiensis) were individuals with microcephaly.

Creationist arguments:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/03/06/return-hobbits
http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v16/i2/neanderthal.asp

Edited by Meldinoor, : No reason given.

Edited by Meldinoor, : No reason given.


Ecclesiastes 3:18-20
18 I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath [b] ; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.
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Son
Member (Idle past 355 days)
Posts: 346
From: France,Paris
Joined: 03-11-2009


Message 37 of 49 (510841)
06-04-2009 12:38 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by Meldinoor
06-04-2009 12:28 AM


That would depend on how much they physically resemble humans and which creationist you ask I think. To their eyes they will either be humans with slight difference or a new specy of ape and their reaction will depend on that.
Btw,the neanderthal article is quite old (1994) and reference an even older article it seems(1908) without any detail so it's hard to know from that how they decide if one is an ape or human.

Edited by Son, : No reason given.

Edited by Son, : No reason given.


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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 1334 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 38 of 49 (510842)
06-04-2009 12:50 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by Son
06-04-2009 12:38 AM


That's true. They could go to the opposite extreme and treat Homo Erectus just like some new species of chimp. However, this is unlikely. Homo Erectus is a lot closer related to us than any living animal, and calling them animals would only blur the line too much for their gullible followers.

People would ask, what then constitutes a human? And Creationists would be hard pressed to find definitive differences of quality, not just scale, between us and the Homo Erectus. I think they'd just take the easy way out and call them microcephalic humans.

One of the Answers in Genesis articles I cited in my last post states:

But regardless of their stature, all people are descendants of Adam, created in the image of God—which also explains the hobbits’ apparent use of fire, stone tools, and hunting.

:) Explains their use of "hunting"? Are lions descended from Adam too?


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AustinG
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Posts: 36
Joined: 04-06-2009


Message 39 of 49 (510843)
06-04-2009 12:58 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by Meldinoor
06-04-2009 12:50 AM


I'm still trying to come up with a difinitive idea of what it would be like myself. The hardest part is imagening a species of human that is slightly less intelligent then Homo sapiens without picturing the stereotypical caveman depicted in movies. Does anyone have a better imagenation?
This message is a reply to:
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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 1334 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 40 of 49 (510844)
06-04-2009 1:12 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by AustinG
06-04-2009 12:58 AM


Charles Darwin writes:

Nevertheless the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.

http://www.pigeon.psy.tufts.edu/psych26/darwin1.htm

We'd find out if Darwin was right about the above statement. I'd also be fascinated to see whether spiritual development was a gradual process (would Homo Erectus be superstitious or religious) or something that happened recently in our history. I think this would have profound implications for theologians.

Edited by Meldinoor, : Fixed typo


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caffeine
Member (Idle past 207 days)
Posts: 872
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 41 of 49 (510872)
06-04-2009 9:12 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by Blue Jay
06-03-2009 12:30 PM


Re: Most anthropologists recognize that race is a social concept,
Bluejay writes:

For instance, we could say that the Amerindian race is defined by a broad distribution of Y-DNA Haplogroup Q. But, Q also occurs in many Asian populations, so many Amerindian people are more similar to some Asian people genetically than they are to other people within their own tribe.

Not really. Your Y-chromosone haplogroup only records your direct male line ancestry, so sharing the haplogroup with someone on another continent may just record just one isolated common ancestor from many many generations ago who just happens to be the direct male line ancestor of you both. You're still going to be more genetically similar to the rest of your tribe, generally.

A bit more on topic, we already have other species on the planet that can demonstrate self-awareness, problem solving abilities, tool use etc. We can already see that our differences are matters of degree. I think an interesting question that would be raised by living Homo erectus would be whether we have a greater responsibility towards other non-human animals. If we extend to them greater rights and legal protection than we offer for animals, some people are going to ask whether chimpanzees and dolphins shouldn't have greater rights and protection than salamanders and beetles (for example).


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by Blue Jay, posted 06-04-2009 9:41 AM caffeine has responded

Blue Jay
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Posts: 2615
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 42 of 49 (510874)
06-04-2009 9:41 AM
Reply to: Message 41 by caffeine
06-04-2009 9:12 AM


Re: Most anthropologists recognize that race is a social concept,
Hi, Caffeine.

caffeine writes:

Not really. Your Y-chromosone haplogroup only records your direct male line ancestry, so sharing the haplogroup with someone on another continent may just record just one isolated common ancestor...

Well, of course: it's an oversimplification, but the principle is still the same.

-----

caffeine writes:

If we extend to them greater rights and legal protection than we offer for animals, some people are going to ask whether chimpanzees and dolphins shouldn't have greater rights and protection than salamanders and beetles (for example).

And, naturally, you may have people use this "slippery slope" argument as a reason to not give Homo erectus civil rights.

-----

New random question:

Would you vote for a Homo erectus for president?


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 715 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 43 of 49 (510884)
06-04-2009 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by Blue Jay
06-04-2009 9:41 AM


Re: Most anthropologists recognize that race is a social concept,
bluejay writes:

Would you vote for a Homo erectus for president?

Yes, if he were running against the likes of U. S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan or G. W. Bush, but no, if he were running against Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. This would be in according to his political beliefs not in the fact he was an erectus.

Edited by bluescat48, : sp what else?¿


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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Taq
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Posts: 5391
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 44 of 49 (510923)
06-04-2009 5:34 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by AustinG
06-04-2009 12:58 AM


AustinG writes:

I'm still trying to come up with a difinitive idea of what it would be like myself. The hardest part is imagening a species of human that is slightly less intelligent then Homo sapiens without picturing the stereotypical caveman depicted in movies. Does anyone have a better imagenation?

Actually, wiki has a pretty good depiction of H. erectus.

The differences between a real H. erectus and the movie depictions are the jaw and lack of a forehead. These are hard to replicate on a human model.


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Taq
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Posts: 5391
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 45 of 49 (510925)
06-04-2009 5:43 PM


On a more humorous note, would H. erectus be an effective spokesperson for Viagra et al.?
Replies to this message:
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