Three authors engage with the threats to a liberal society.
In a striking similarity to the of evolutionary innovations, many human traits are vestiges of our history but have yet to disappear, but various social managers have used them to exploit the masses. For instance, the has a and developed because those were the most energy-rich foods that existed. But the incredibly high sugar and fat content of processed food vended by Western agribusiness companies plays to those biological proclivities in the name of profit. Diets based on such foods are disastrous for human health, and industrialized peoples, led by the USA, are the . Similarly, in-group "loyalty" (to fight the out-group) is a that arose to ensure survival. Ever since the , a goal of social managers has been forming that in-group cohesion to battle the out-group. There is not much sentient about it. As the and have made clear, people can be arbitrarily split along almost any lines and form an in-group and out-group, and the out-group will then be treated terribly. Darwin's "from the war of nature" comes "higher animals" conclusion in his is mirrored in the work of Marx and Hitler, in that they believed that human "progress" was produced by one social group violently prevailing over another. Hitler avidly read Marx, and may be how he received his "revolutionary" ideas.
In 's talk , Oreskes recounted the following incident:
Chimpanzee social organization has male and female hierarchies, and societies of up to 120 members. Fruit trees form the center of a chimp society’s territory, where females forage with their offspring and males form foraging parties that patrol the territorial perimeter. Chimps have foraging parties of less than 10 members, it ranges between two and nine, and party size fluctuates rapidly. That is because chimps have to walk kilometers between food sources each day, primarily fruit trees, and varying harvests cannot reliably support larger groups. In general, the larger a territory, the faster chimps breed, as they have more available energy.
On April 29, 2008, environmental journalist Richard Littlemore revealed that a list of "500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares" propagated by the included at least 45 scientists who neither knew of their inclusion as "coauthors" of the article, nor agreed with its contents. Many of the scientists asked the Heartland Institute to remove their names from the list; for instance, Gregory Cutter from the Old Dominion University was reported by Littlemore as saying,
Reproduction of the temperature record using historical forcings
Some further examples of the complexity and debate follow. About when is supposed to have appeared, a fossil formed in a similar location, which was at least contemporary with . Where it fits in the human family tree is unknown at this time, but today it is called . This is perhaps a descendant of , which (who led the team that discovered it) argued is a member of a new genus. Because there is in the modern human genome, under the , have been placed within by some anthropologists. Some small fossils in , but are now designated as a subspecies. The have been widely considered as , but they have features that suggest that they may have been habilines or even australopithecines, which would dramatically change the current view on the first migrations past Africa. They may well have been Oldowan culture australopiths that migrated from Africa about when did, and they also controlled fire. Similarly, a relative of that precedes is called , but may also be a subspecies. The confusion and debate is partly because the differences between those “species” are minor and more on the order of regional variation than any radical change. They perhaps could have all interbred with each other. Other than the “hobbits,” there are no great anatomical changes and few noticeable cultural ones among the various specimens for more than a million years of evolution, so I refer to them all as , as do many anthropologists, particularly when writing for the lay audience. For those who want to explore the relatively fine distinctions, the material is readily available for study and can be another useful example of the process of science, if one of the more heated illustrations.
Last 30 years of solar variability.
More than any other technical innovation, the control of fire marked humanity’s rise. In his , Darwin called making fire humanity’s greatest achievement. The only possible exception that he noted was the invention of language. Even today, in our industrialized and technological world, almost all of our energy practices are merely more sophisticated ways of controlling fire. The initial control of fire was at once a social act, a mental act, and a technical act. Although making stone tools represented the big break between the human line and its ancestry, it only allowed apes to mimic what other animals could do. Stone tools represented artificial claws, teeth, and jaws of animals far larger and more capable than apes at killing and eating flesh and bones. Protohumans with stone tools could scavenge more effectively and maybe defend themselves and even attack others, but it was not initially different in kind from what other animals could do, and was a pathetically small advantage when their first stone tools were merely rocks with sharpened edges, about on the order of brass knuckles. Would you want to fend off a lion predation attack (and perhaps multiple lions) with a rock, and at night? Controlling fire was the radical break from all other organisms that ever lived on Earth.
Another point of controversy is the correlation of temperature with .
I am taking some liberties in calling Turkana Boy a ; he is technically a member of , which is often considered ancestral to , which is the Asian variant’s name. There is great debate regarding how the human family tree branches between and . Some call the various -type species all subspecies of , while others argue for several distinct species. I will not stray far from the orthodox narrative here, for good reason. The reconstructed early human tale is based on very limited evidence, but that evidence will only grow over time, and the tools and techniques for using them will become more sophisticated. Although there may be some upcoming radical changes in the view of the early human journey, efforts of countless scientist and fossil hunter lifetimes support the narrative that this essay sketches, and I respect their findings and opinions, even though I acknowledge many limitations. The human ego, it seems, becomes more involved as the story of life on Earth moves closer to its human chapters.