Fossil DNA Clarifying Human Migration

Filed under: Ancient human migration, History

In a review article in this week’s Science (358:1269), a review article by Christopher Bae, Katarina Douka, and Michael Retraglia review the progress in elucidating the migration of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Abstract: The traditional “out of Africa” model, which posits a dispersal of modern Homo sapiens across Eurasia as a single wave at …

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ancient dogs with leashes

Oldest depiction of dogs with humans plus inequality

Filed under: History

Two other posts on dogs, domestication and human evolution: here and here Also in the November 17th issue of science, an article about the history of inequality by Lizzie Wade. Summary Economic inequality has deep roots. A new study concludes that its ancient hotbed was the Old World: Societies there tended to be less equal …

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Democracy in Pre-Columbian Mexico

Filed under: History, Human Nature

It is generally assumed that the natural social organization of humans is the hierarchy that is the hallmark of the primate order of which, of course we are a member. I have posted evidence that the principle feature that has distinguished our hominin tribe from the beginning is the evolution of a democratic, egalitarian social …

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American Nationalism is an Oxymoron

A Loss of Nerve

Filed under: Faith, History, Justice, The Ascension of the Human Spirit

This morning I stumbled upon these paragraphs from my book that provide a shocking contrast to the hysteria into which we suddenly have been cast. The theme of the book is that, over the course of six million years, we have ascended from apes as a result of a naturally selected collective instinct for justice, …

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An American Pilgrimage

Filed under: Author narrative, History, Justice | 9 Comments

I have never been one that would conceive of going on a religious pilgrimage, but have just returned from an American pilgrimage. It would be a purely secular journey in any other country, but the very essence of America dwells in the spiritual realm of ideas. The very heart of the American ethos was forged …

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The urban planet and the history of life

The Urban Planet & the History of Life

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, History | 2 Comments

The May 20th Issue of Science is entitled The Urban Planet. The lead article starts out: In 2014, 54% of the world’s population, or 3.9 billion people, lived in urban areas. That’s up from one-third in 1950, and forecasters say the proportion will rise to 66% by 2050. More than half of urbanites live in …

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The Hobbits lived on the island of Flores for 700,000 yrs.

Hobbits Lived On Flores Island For 700,000 Years!

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, History | 2 Comments

  From June 10 Science by Elizabeth Culatta: From the moment the announcement of a 1-meter-tall ancient human nicknamed “the hobbit” shocked the world in 2004, supporters and sceptics alike have longed for more fossils. After the first burst of discoveries, the team kept digging, at the original find site and at other sites in …

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Blaming the victim


Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, History, Human Nature | 2 Comments

Social psychologists, Laura Niemi and Liane Young wrote a piece in the NYTimes Review section on a study they conducted on what determines the degree to which people tend to blame the victims of crimes: In a recent series of studies, we found that the critical factor lies in a particular set of moral values. …

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The potimism of FDR

What Does Progressivism mean in the 21st Century?

Filed under: History, Human Nature

All of a sudden the term “liberal” is off the table, and everyone is using the term “progressive.”               Your only assignment in this first post is to listen carefully—more than just once— to Franklin Deleno Roosevelt’s fourth inaugural address in 1945. Keep in mind that Roosevelt was dying …

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10,000 yr old war

Our Intense Sexuality Is Why We Are We So Violent

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, History, Sexual Selection

The strengthening of across-group marital-family bonds has exerted a relentless “ground-level” cohesive force that has resulted in the capacity to cohabitate in ever larger groups-of-groups—which is our species root adaptive advantage, upon which all our cognitive and cultural achievements rest.

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What’s Missing in Matt Ridley’s “The Evolution of Everything?”

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Enlightenment Narrative, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, History, Mental illness | 2 Comments

You can quibble around the edges about his analysis (and painfully trite take on religion), but I think he is generally right just as I have been claiming in this blog: over the long haul, human history has been in the direction of greater justice accompanied by prosperity—resulting from the progressive coordination of our increasingly divided labor.

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Secular View of Religion Won’t Cut It In 21st Century

Filed under: Enlightenment Narrative, Faith, God, History | 1 Comment

in the 21st Century, the secularist view that religion is a Darwinian side-effect, or an emotional “complex” of childlike Freudian defenses that should/will go away, has become an alarmingly dangerous abdication—nay, an abject surrendering—of the received power of the collective being that is the very heart of who we are.

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How Do We Know the Human Spirit is Still Alive: American Civil War & World War II

Filed under: History

Months after my birth in 1941, Roosevelt secretly met with Churchill at Argentia, Newfoundland with the storm clouds of world war ominously looming.   With British and American battle ships lashed together, the sailors all sang “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Although that battle song would be stricken from the hymnals following the war, this was a luminous …

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