Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Snark Attack

Proof that Homo Erectus was a Progressive:

According to the New York Times, scientists have gone public with their findings regarding fossil evidence that compassion is an evolutionary trait.

The toothless skull of an early human ancestor, discovered in the Republic of Georgia, may attest to evolution's oldest known example of some kind of compassion for the elderly and handicapped in society, scientists are reporting today.

In interviews and the current issue of National Geographic, the paleoanthropologists said caring companions might have helped the toothless man in finding soft plant food and hammering raw meat with stone tools so he could "gum" his dinner. If so, they said, this was evidence of a kind of compassion that had been absent in the ancestral fossil record before the Neanderthals 60,000 years ago.

In the survival of the old man, Dr. David Lordkinidze said in National Geographic, "We're looking at perhaps the first sign of truly human behavior in one of our ancestors."

Having just argued that compassionate politics do not have to be reliant on notions of God, that we do not have to cede ground to the Right on this, reading this article presents proof that caring for other human beings is a human impulse, a late impulse that contributed to our evolution, the thing that, gasp! makes us human.

So, long, long ago, our ancestors kept a toothless old man alive. For what reasons and at what cost to themselves? At some point, humans developed the notion of a common bond, of an empathy for their fellow travelers.

Do we have any doubt which party can claim that as our lineage?


FunkyB said...

Fantastic find. We'll claim them for our side, thankyouverymuch. Of course, the Right will claim it as proof that we're all descendants of "God's chosen people" who have simply "gone astray." (It completely frightens me that I still know their language.)

Snave said...

Robin, this may be the site where you found my name!

I know what you mean. I still know the language too. When I was diagnosed as moderate-to-severe OCD five years ago, I stopped going to church. I had never really believed in Christianity, but believe me, I tried for years and years. My OCD involves a ton of superstitious behavior, and I was feeling like church services were ritualized superstitious behavior... so, no more church for me unless I'm there for a wedding or a funeral. I've even become more or less an agnostic in recent years with a strong tendency toward (gasp) secular humanism...

I won't discount anyone's personal beliefs or criticize them as being inferior to my own... for all I know, they could be right and I could be wrong. I might criticize others' belief systems for creating tendencies toward what I consider an unhealthy world view, especially if it gets into a "hive mentality" kind of thing. I've come to feel that we all make our own way in life and in the world, and that life is too short and too full of adventure to take a black-and-white, cookie-cutter approach.

Given all that blabbering by me, I agree with Lorraine's comment. I would even extend it to asking if there is much question as to who has evolved and who hasn't! hehehehehe!