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Author Topic: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?  (Read 7990 times)

pantodragon

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Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« on: February 25, 2013, 11:50:32 am »
When palaeontologists are reconstructing human prehistory and are attempting to fit the various bits of hominid skeletons they have found into some sort of evolutionary story, they use brain size as a measure of intelligence.  They assume that modern people’s very big brains are due to the fact that they are the most intelligent creatures on Earth so that one of the major things they are looking for is the evolution of the big brain.

What puzzles me is the idea that brain size should be a measure of intelligence.  

Whales have bigger brains than humans, but, as far as I understand it, that is put down to the fact that they have bigger bodies to control.  But Dinosaurs had notoriously small brains even though some of them could rival whales for size, so that does not seem to tie up.

Then there is the case of the person who led a perfectly normal life, no social or any other problems, and got a university degree, and then it was discovered, I think accidentally, that this person had only a thin layer of brain tissue lining the skull and the rest of the cavity was filled with water.  So this also seems to make nonsense of the idea that a larger brain means greater intelligence.

Then if one considers the world of computers: in the computer world small is beautiful i.e. all the effort is directed towards making computers smaller yet more powerful, and the best computer is the one that achieves the minimum size without sacrificing any power.  Partly, of course, minimization is a matter of the hardware being miniaturised, but that is only part of the story.  The other thing is making the software more efficient, so it’s not just about the amount of hardware the computer has, but how well it uses it.  So, in the computer world, there is no direct link between size and power.

There is a series of children’s fantasy books called The Astrosaurs, by Steve Cole, in which the dinosaurs left the Earth before the meteorite hit.  They supposedly developed space travel and are now living and going on evolving in some other region of the galaxy.  In the introduction the author explains this achievement by saying that, though the dinosaurs had small brains, they used them well.  

I wonder, then, if there is any justification for thinking that the big brain of humans has anything at all to do with intelligence.  And if one discounts the relationship between intelligence and brain size, I wonder where that will leave palaeontology.

If one takes the view that developing a larger brain may, in fact, denote a REDUCTION in intelligence, denote a species that is using its brain badly and is therefore having to develop a bigger brain just to survive, then one can completely re-interpret the finds of palaeontology: what the palaeontologists may be finding is evolutionary dead-ends.  Evolution is littered with oddities that became extinct for some reason or other.  One has to wonder if palaeontologists are doing anything more than unearthing ape-like oddities that became extinct because of loss of brain efficiency, which is to say, they died out due to stupidity.  It may be that few, if any, of the finds of palaeontologists have anything at all to do with human evolution.

It seems to come down to the old matter of the ‘missing link’.  There are relatively recent remains of creatures that can definitely be identified as human, with the big brain and all the attributes that we associate with ourselves – always allowing for insignificant variations, and then there are earlier creatures which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, have large brains compared with their nearest ‘relatives’ i.e. the apes, (and lemurs), may have walked upright, may have used primitive tools (there are numerous animals and birds that use tools) etc, but there is no justification for linking these other creatures with humans – more data, much more data, and more understanding of the brain is needed.  And that leaves one with the conclusion that, so far, there is no evidence for the idea that humans evolved from some ape-like, or lemur-like ancestors.  The whole question of where humans came from is still wide open, still a mystery.

One can, therefore, go on and speculate about alternative possibilities for the history, or prehistory of humans.

Many old religions contain the idea that the humans of today are not the first humans, and that earlier humans lived longer, or were even immortal.  Some also contain the idea that these immortal humans were ‘better’ than those that succeeded them, that they were ‘incorruptible’.

Suppose this is more than just fanciful thinking, or myth-making.  If our ancestors really were immortal then they would have left no evidence of their existence in the form of bones that archaeologists can dig up.  So, if human bones suddenly start appearing as though from nowhere in the fossil record, it may be that this is the time when humans lost their immortality.

Furthermore, if these human had been able to perform magic, and the disaster that caused them to lose their immortality also caused them to lose their ability to perform magic, then they would have been faced with the difficulty of having to adjust to living without magic.  If the magic was of the mind, then they would have been used to just, as it were, wanting something and there it is, but suddenly, now, if they want something then they have to make it for themselves, using their hands.  They would have had to adapt to a whole new way of living.  This could account for why our stone-age ancestors seem so primitive: basically they had to start from scratch and invent a whole new way of doing things.

Also, if magic was a function of the mind, a mental ability, then that might account for why humans have such large brains, and yet do not seem to need them to be so big (the case of people with water on the brain.)  It may be that our brains were large because they had the power to do magic, and that they still retain that potential – it’s just that we have lost the ability to use it.

The Big Question then would be: why did humans lose their immortality and their ability to do magic?  I would suggest that they became corrupt, became addicted to POWER, and the price of that addiction was the degradation of their minds.  I would go on to suggest that the human race is still addicted to power, and that if they can free themselves from that addiction, then there is the possibility of returning to that higher state where human were immortal and could do magic.

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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 11:56:35 am »
Quote from: pantodragon;98301

The Big Question then would be: why did humans lose their immortality and their ability to do magic?

 
We never had immortality.
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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 12:06:24 pm »
Quote from: pantodragon;98301


 
There's no missing link.  There's no great question of where humanity came from.  It just doesn't exist.

There's a lot of pseudoscience dedicated to proving otherwise, but that's exactly what it is - pseudo.  Human ancestry can be traced back to a common ancestor with the chimp.  It's just true.

And it's not JUST brain size.  it's also brain formation.  There's a good Nova documentary about it, if you're interested in real science.

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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 12:09:54 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;98306
There's no missing link.  There's no great question of where humanity came from.  It just doesn't exist.

 
The entire "controversy" is crafted by people who basically think that Zeno's Paradox is an unsolved problem.  Every time a new discovery is made, the response is the same: "Well, where's the transitional form midway between that one and this other one?"

There's no satisfying those people, because they have no interest in being satisfied.  Which means the whole realm falls into "Not only is it not right, it is not even wrong."
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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 01:00:48 pm »
Quote from: pantodragon;98301
What puzzles me is the idea that brain size should be a measure of intelligence.

Not Brain size, ratio of brain to body size. Many animals have had bigger brains than humans, few, if any, have had such significant brain to body size ratios. There is also the complexity of the brain itself to consider, but generally animals without complex behaviours have smaller body-brain ratios.

Quote from: pantodragon;98301
It seems to come down to the old matter of the ‘missing link’.  There are relatively recent remains of creatures that can definitely be identified as human, with the big brain and all the attributes that we associate with ourselves – always allowing for insignificant variations, and then there are earlier creatures which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, have large brains compared with their nearest ‘relatives’ i.e. the apes, (and lemurs), may have walked upright, may have used primitive tools (there are numerous animals and birds that use tools) etc, but there is no justification for linking these other creatures with humans – more data, much more data, and more understanding of the brain is needed.  And that leaves one with the conclusion that, so far, there is no evidence for the idea that humans evolved from some ape-like, or lemur-like ancestors.  The whole question of where humans came from is still wide open, still a mystery.

Well, I'm sorry, but not really. We don't even have to reference the fossil record anymore, actually. The fact that we can compare genetic material accross species is as robust as any evidence you could ask for. Humans are virtually identical genetically to chimps, a bit further from Gorillas, then orang-utans, Gibbons, Monkeys, etc. If humans are physically descended from immortals it is curious that their genetic material is so similar to other livings things on earth.

Spiritually, you can say whatever you want because those ideas are not testable. But I am leery of any worldview that presumes that some thinking, planning social animals (apes) are a completely different kind of being than other thinking, planning social animals (humans).
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 05:47:30 pm by RandallS »
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woodhick

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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 05:43:05 pm »
Quote from: pantodragon;98301


What puzzles me is the idea that brain size should be a measure of intelligence.  


 
the whole size of the brain is/was never in question. It how large different parts of the brain are relative to the whole brain that determines intelligence. Body size and over all brain size does not matter. And intelligence is a relative term. We go by what a humans brain is now as a constant, but this is anthropomorphizing the rest of the species in the world. Intelligence is often described as the ability to think and solve problems (and in some circle, having feelings). We have found out that crows and ravens can solve problems as well as human children and apes can use advanced technology to solve word/picture problems. Doesn't this fit into our perception of intelligence? The crow's brain is very small compared to an ape and that is even smaller than a human.
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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 05:49:27 pm »
Quote from: pantodragon;98301
The Big Question then would be: why did humans lose their immortality and their ability to do magic?

Even in the myths of my religion (Hellenic Paganism), humans were never immortal.
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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 07:26:26 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;98306
There's no missing link.  There's no great question of where humanity came from.  It just doesn't exist.

There's a lot of pseudoscience dedicated to proving otherwise, but that's exactly what it is - pseudo.  Human ancestry can be traced back to a common ancestor with the chimp.  It's just true.

And it's not JUST brain size.  it's also brain formation.  There's a good Nova documentary about it, if you're interested in real science.

 Yeah If you just look at the genetic facts the answer is very clear.
"In Hell, everybody loves popcorn."

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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 07:28:35 pm »
Quote from: pantodragon;98301
When palaeontologists are reconstructing human prehistory and are attempting to fit the various bits of hominid skeletons they have found into some sort of evolutionary story, they use brain size as a measure of intelligence.  They assume that modern people’s very big brains are due to the fact that they are the most intelligent creatures on Earth so that one of the major things they are looking for is the evolution of the big brain.

What puzzles me is the idea that brain size should be a measure of intelligence.  

Whales have bigger brains than humans, but, as far as I understand it, that is put down to the fact that they have bigger bodies to control.  But Dinosaurs had notoriously small brains even though some of them could rival whales for size, so that does not seem to tie up.

Then there is the case of the person who led a perfectly normal life, no social or any other problems, and got a university degree, and then it was discovered, I think accidentally, that this person had only a thin layer of brain tissue lining the skull and the rest of the cavity was filled with water.  So this also seems to make nonsense of the idea that a larger brain means greater intelligence.

Then if one considers the world of computers: in the computer world small is beautiful i.e. all the effort is directed towards making computers smaller yet more powerful, and the best computer is the one that achieves the minimum size without sacrificing any power.  Partly, of course, minimization is a matter of the hardware being miniaturised, but that is only part of the story.  The other thing is making the software more efficient, so it’s not just about the amount of hardware the computer has, but how well it uses it.  So, in the computer world, there is no direct link between size and power.

There is a series of children’s fantasy books called The Astrosaurs, by Steve Cole, in which the dinosaurs left the Earth before the meteorite hit.  They supposedly developed space travel and are now living and going on evolving in some other region of the galaxy.  In the introduction the author explains this achievement by saying that, though the dinosaurs had small brains, they used them well.  

I wonder, then, if there is any justification for thinking that the big brain of humans has anything at all to do with intelligence.  And if one discounts the relationship between intelligence and brain size, I wonder where that will leave palaeontology.

If one takes the view that developing a larger brain may, in fact, denote a REDUCTION in intelligence, denote a species that is using its brain badly and is therefore having to develop a bigger brain just to survive, then one can completely re-interpret the finds of palaeontology: what the palaeontologists may be finding is evolutionary dead-ends.  Evolution is littered with oddities that became extinct for some reason or other.  One has to wonder if palaeontologists are doing anything more than unearthing ape-like oddities that became extinct because of loss of brain efficiency, which is to say, they died out due to stupidity.  It may be that few, if any, of the finds of palaeontologists have anything at all to do with human evolution.

It seems to come down to the old matter of the ‘missing link’.  There are relatively recent remains of creatures that can definitely be identified as human, with the big brain and all the attributes that we associate with ourselves – always allowing for insignificant variations, and then there are earlier creatures which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, have large brains compared with their nearest ‘relatives’ i.e. the apes, (and lemurs), may have walked upright, may have used primitive tools (there are numerous animals and birds that use tools) etc, but there is no justification for linking these other creatures with humans – more data, much more data, and more understanding of the brain is needed.  And that leaves one with the conclusion that, so far, there is no evidence for the idea that humans evolved from some ape-like, or lemur-like ancestors.  The whole question of where humans came from is still wide open, still a mystery.

One can, therefore, go on and speculate about alternative possibilities for the history, or prehistory of humans.

Many old religions contain the idea that the humans of today are not the first humans, and that earlier humans lived longer, or were even immortal.  Some also contain the idea that these immortal humans were ‘better’ than those that succeeded them, that they were ‘incorruptible’.

Suppose this is more than just fanciful thinking, or myth-making.  If our ancestors really were immortal then they would have left no evidence of their existence in the form of bones that archaeologists can dig up.  So, if human bones suddenly start appearing as though from nowhere in the fossil record, it may be that this is the time when humans lost their immortality.

Furthermore, if these human had been able to perform magic, and the disaster that caused them to lose their immortality also caused them to lose their ability to perform magic, then they would have been faced with the difficulty of having to adjust to living without magic.  If the magic was of the mind, then they would have been used to just, as it were, wanting something and there it is, but suddenly, now, if they want something then they have to make it for themselves, using their hands.  They would have had to adapt to a whole new way of living.  This could account for why our stone-age ancestors seem so primitive: basically they had to start from scratch and invent a whole new way of doing things.

Also, if magic was a function of the mind, a mental ability, then that might account for why humans have such large brains, and yet do not seem to need them to be so big (the case of people with water on the brain.)  It may be that our brains were large because they had the power to do magic, and that they still retain that potential – it’s just that we have lost the ability to use it.

The Big Question then would be: why did humans lose their immortality and their ability to do magic?  I would suggest that they became corrupt, became addicted to POWER, and the price of that addiction was the degradation of their minds.  I would go on to suggest that the human race is still addicted to power, and that if they can free themselves from that addiction, then there is the possibility of returning to that higher state where human were immortal and could do magic.

 
Dafuq is this? also If you have no religion (Judging by your religion tag) why are you posting conspiracy theories on a pagan forum.

Nyktipolos

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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 07:36:39 pm »
Quote from: SassyWitchin;98406
Dafuq is this? also If you have no religion (Judging by your religion tag) why are you posting conspiracy theories on a pagan forum.

 
Anyone is free to post on The Cauldron, regardless of religion, as long as they obey the rules. Lots of people here belong to no formalized religion or identify with having one.
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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 07:40:00 pm »
Quote from: pantodragon;98301

Furthermore, if these human had been able to perform magic, and the disaster that caused them to lose their immortality also caused them to lose their ability to perform magic, then they would have been faced with the difficulty of having to adjust to living without magic.  If the magic was of the mind, then they would have been used to just, as it were, wanting something and there it is, but suddenly, now, if they want something then they have to make it for themselves, using their hands.  They would have had to adapt to a whole new way of living.  This could account for why our stone-age ancestors seem so primitive: basically they had to start from scratch and invent a whole new way of doing things.

Also, if magic was a function of the mind, a mental ability, then that might account for why humans have such large brains, and yet do not seem to need them to be so big (the case of people with water on the brain.)  It may be that our brains were large because they had the power to do magic, and that they still retain that potential – it’s just that we have lost the ability to use it.

The Big Question then would be: why did humans lose their immortality and their ability to do magic?  

 
We never lost our ability to do magic. I think you may have a Very different defenition of magic to most of us. Is it possible to defy the laws of physics with magic, Theoretically yes but to break the laws of this universe you would have to destroy it and create a new one and there is not enough power available to the people of this earth or any one race for that matter to accomplish this pointless task.

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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 08:25:14 pm »
Quote from: Nyktipolos;98407
Anyone is free to post on The Cauldron, regardless of religion, as long as they obey the rules. Lots of people here belong to no formalized religion or identify with having one.

 
I know It's just I suspected troll meh probably wrong but you gotta admit it's a good question when there are forums specifically dedicated to this sort of thing (Kinda seems like putting a thread about catching fish on a forum about archery because they both involve sharp things and sometimes animals.

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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 08:36:19 pm »
Quote from: SassyWitchin;98422
I know It's just I suspected troll meh probably wrong but you gotta admit it's a good question when there are forums specifically dedicated to this sort of thing (Kinda seems like putting a thread about catching fish on a forum about archery because they both involve sharp things and sometimes animals.

 
If we decided everyone who's a little nonsensical was a troll, you probably wouldn't like the results. The board would be a whole lot quieter, though. :)
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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 08:38:22 pm »
Quote from: Jack;98423
If we decided everyone who's a little nonsensical was a troll, you probably wouldn't like the results. The board would be a whole lot quieter, though. :)

 
sound point it's just the When did we lose the ability to do magic part seemed suspicious but I looked at his other threads and the dude don't seem to be trollin :D
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Re: Did humans ascend from apes, or descend from immortal ancestors?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 08:38:44 pm »
Quote from: Jack;98423
If we decided everyone who's a little nonsensical was a troll, you probably wouldn't like the results. The board would be a whole lot quieter, though. :)

 
What on earth would we snark about Jack? Think of the children!
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

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