According to an article in Scientific American, DNA analysis have found that people today who live outside of Africa carry an average of least 1.5 to 2.1 percent Neandertal DNA, , a legacy from the dalliances between Neandertals and anatomically modern humans tens of thousands of years ago. Modern humans have always had the lowest regard for Neandertals, considering them stupid and brutish....leading one to suspect that when one is labeled or called a "neandertal" his neandertal DNA is much more than the above reported 1.5 to 2.1 percent. Really?
It is now obvious from all the archaological insights (fossil remains, etc) that neandertals are capable of aesthetics and abstract/symbolic thought that we all consider essential parameters of imaginative discerning.
The role of and importance of imagination in any culture, should never be disregarded, discounted, and thrown into the ash heap. The fact that neandertals did not quite make it, in evolutionary terms, is not due to any lack of imagination, but to the dilution of their DNA pool that modern humans imposed on them through the human's sheer numbers alone.
One particular precinct among modern humans that consistently and persistently discount and disregard the value of imagination in the evolutionary narrative are the atheists and secularists, who sternly argue that human existence is nothing more than the sum of their physical parts, and anything beyond the physical(thus un-imagined) does not exist
Actually, I doubt that it was DNA dilution that did in the Neanderthals; the inability to speak probably played a much great part in their demise. They simply could not compete with a species that could quickly and easily communicate both instructions and findings (think battle instructions and directions for a better spear point here).
But I don't quite follow the last paragraph - are you trying to say that things beyond the physical cannot be imagined? Or that what can be imagined automatically exists? Either one would obviously false, with a prime example being that of the gods.
You might want to read that article in the latest issue of Scientific American which argue that IN FACT it was the dilution of the neandertal DNA by modern human's DNA via sexual dalliance between the two groups, with modern human's sheer number overwhelming the already rather thin and porous Neandertal population in Europe. The article also argues, convincingly, that archaeological findings now reveal that Neandertals, were not that far behind their cousins in terms of cerebral capacity for intuitive/symbolic/imaginative thinking.
I understand their minds were not much, if any, inferior to the homo sapiens that replaced them. But I didn't reference that - I clearly stated that the lack of a real speech organ was a likely reason for their demise. An inability to communicate well is a huge detriment and it seems quite likely that that inability contributed to why they were "thin and porous" compared to their cousins.
Online, it won't let me read the article, but does mention two competing theories as to the demise. Does the article present a new theory, or does it show FACTS the PROVE Neanderthals disappeared BECAUSE of hybridization of the two? In other words, does it "argue" (as you say) or does it provide sufficient new information to destroy the previous theories?
The absence of a "real speech organ" is not an impediment to effective communication. Speech/language as we humans call it had evolutionary implications only in our specie, but there are other ways to communicate effectively with your cohorts.... Just ask a pack of wild dogs hunting their prey, or the songbird singing a lullaby to his mate, or the humpback mother whale protecting her newborn from being devoured by sharks.
Absolutely animals communicate. Even trees do that.
What they can't do is communicate complex subjects - when should we plant the crop, where shall we drive the mammoths over the cliff, what do the gods say we should do, etc.
No, the inability to formulate complex sounds, combined with the brain to formulate meanings to those sounds, is a real hindrance. While a parrot can talk, it can't formulate the meanings of the sounds it makes, for instance. Neanderthal appears to have the brain, but not the means to make the sounds, and that means they most likely never developed an actual language.
Ground breaking findings by researchers at the University of New England
shows that Neandertals may well have spoken in language not dissimilar to the ones we use today. They compared the hyoid bone of a 60,000 year old Neandertal fossil found in Israel in 1989 to that of a modern human, using micro x-Ray imaging, and found that they were similar anatomically and physiologically ie the mechanical behavior of both were basically indistinguishable, strongly suggesting that the hyoid bone ( being part of the vocal tract ) were used in the same way.
That's news to me; all I've ever seen was that Neanderthals lacked the physical ability to produce sounds as we do. Guess that's why we should never quit looking, never lean back on our laurels and declare that we know the answer!
Not exactly news to me......so to your rhetorical question: " what else would be of interest?".....everything is of interest, specially since of all the specie that has populated earth, it is the humanoids, and that includes the Neandertals, who have been blessed with the cerebral capacity to intuit and instigate the process of imagination leading them to ask questions and search for answers, until they find them.
While I'm interested in a LOT of things, that doesn't include everything. I don't care what you had for breakfast, I don't care what color shirt you have on. I don't even care what you dreamed last night (although that you dreamed at all is of interest, along with why you dreamed). Lots of things hold no interest at all for me.
Existential questions are what we are discussing here... not your daily grind that requires neither deep thought nor deep understanding, and implies no no importance other than to reassure you and me that life goes on. Now you and I might be two members of Homo Sapiens that does not involve themselves with existential subjects... but a lot others are intimately involved , and to them I give my respect and best wishes.
Now regarding that last paragraph...as usual you misread it, misconstrued it, and therefore misinterpreted it.
So? Outside of an unwarranted slur to atheists that they don't understand the importance and use of imagination (necessary for any gain of knowledge), what DID you mean?
Saying that Atheist do not understand the importance and use of imagination to gain knowledge is not a slur.... Actually it's a badge of honor for them to totally eliminate imagination when it comes to understanding human existence vis a vis the universe.
"Understanding human existence"? We know where we came from, there is no reason to think there is an intelligent "purpose" in that existence even though it feels good to imagine there is.
What other "understanding" might there be? "Why" implies a purpose, "how" we're learning (greatly aided by imagination), "when" we know; what else would be of interest?
Of course there is a purpose to human existence....to deny that purpose is to deny existence itself. We are still way far off from knowing how the universe (and us) came into existence, science saying it's the Big Bang...faith based belief says it's God. IMO, there is no dissonance to the above formulation.
Can you elucidate? What might that purpose be, who assigned it and what gave them the right to assign such a thing to the whole race? Why is the purpose they assigned any better than the one I assign?
As the poets and philosophers would say: for every rhyme there is a reason; for very time, there is a season. Since creation is governed, both by time and rhyme, then it follows that there must be a reason. Seasons come and go, but reason remains constant... as unyielding and unmoved as the one who started it all.
I guess I could consider myself a 'secularist'. I don't discount and disregard the value of imagination. On the contrary, I consider the ability to picture things in our mind's eye that are not directly in front of us, as a vital human attribute. With imagination, if you have a stick, sharp stone and piece of twine, you have an axe. Without imagination you just have a stick, a sharp stone and a piece of twine.
An attribute with some survival value that compliments imagination is the ability to believe in a positive outcome despite material conditions, i.e. hope. This ability increases mental resilience in that it helps us to keep going, even in the most dire circumstances.
Interestingly, both abilities are prerequisites for religious belief. Christianity, for example, could not exist without the ability to imagine and hope. That's why I think our capacity for religious belief could simply be the result of a combination of two attributes that help us survive. In other words, religious belief might be a byproduct of the ability to imagine and hope. In fact it could be argued that religious belief is the ultimate manifestation of our ability to imagine and hope.
I fully agree with what you have posted. But to clarify my initial post, I am not generalizing that all secularists are rabid physicalists or materialists. I am mostly referring to the hard secularists whose belief systems are closely allied to those of atheists.
Atheists and hard secularists have argued that all religious inclinations and activities are based on beliefs that are undergirded by imagination and hope, thus are total exercises in futility, and therefore have no inate value in terms of human existence.
That would be foolish in the extreme. While unrestrained imagination or hope is counterproductive to effective action, it can and does give great relief and succor to billions of people. The value lies in the field of emotion, but that does not make it less real.
When imaginary creatures (or events or anything else) is taken and promoted as being factual, that imagination needs to be reined in. It needs restrained, preferably by the intellect it comes from.
And by imaginary creatures, you mean what?
Whatever you can imagine that you can't show is real. Imaginary things, whether living or not, events or things, whatever.
Examples might be a flying dragon breathing fire, a unicorn or Asgard. It might be an event, changing the past into something you would rather have had happen. It might be a Lamborghini with your name on the registration.
Have you never imagined something that wasn't there at all? Most people have, especially children (think Santa Claus or the tooth fairy). Perhaps because the world is so ever changing to them, and full of wonders and excitement (without accompanying understanding or knowledge) that they sometimes have trouble distinguishing reality from fiction or wants.
But, you argue against "Creator." I was just at the Ear Dr.'s office. I looked closely at the charts while waiting for the doctor. The human ear is so intricate and so beautiful. It had to be designed by an intelligent purposeful force. We all call that force God.
I hope you don't mind, wilderness.
Existence is as real as one could imagine it....imaginary thoughts/ideas/emotions/objects/ give color and sustenance to that existence, but not in any way misdirecting it to the point of delusion.
But if often does misdirect to the point of delusion. And to the point of believing we already know the answer to questions important to us - answers that bear no connection to reality.
Yes, imagination gives color, ideas and all the rest to our lives and is very important. Unrestrained, however, it can damage and even ruin or completely end lives. Consider the imaginary ability to drive drunk, for instance.
Delusions have a way of grabbing us by our collar, and when that happens sanity returns. In this case sanity means the ability to perceive that their "delusions" are nothing but "fairies" playing them further afield up the fringes of reality. It is people who don't listen to their inner voices that gets into trouble ie the totally insane or the totally reckless, or both. Imagining/believing that a Supreme Being exist who initiated the whole process of creation/existence is neither delusional nor reckless.
Not delusional? You speak with certainty, a certainty that is belied by your total inability to show such a being.
Still, the delusion doesn't seem particularly harmful or reckless outside of a willingness and desire to impress the belief system onto others. At least for modern Christianity - past history shows great harm, as does certain other imagined gods that direct murder, rape and other foul actions.
But it IS interesting to hear you say that sanity grabs the collar of those believing in such "fairies", while promoting the belief as reality. Something seems amiss here...
Again you misread the whole post. Which lead me to conclude that before you read the post, you have already decided that it was all inchoate ramblings of a believer, all derived from an out-of-control imagination, and therefore delusional bordering on the insane.
Sorry to burst your bubble but the existence or non-existence of God could neither be observed nor proven by empirical evidence that you are so enamored of. Keep looking there, and that would be my definition of an act of futility.
On the other hand as someone truthfully observed, science almost always run towards Philiosophy when it comes to a dead end while trying to pursue some hints or sliver of truth in their empirical formulation.
Well, I thought we were have a good discussion on the usefulness of imagination...until you declared that believing in something you can never detect is not delusional or reckless. At that point it kind of fell apart, but it was you, not I, that brought up that popular delusion.
But speaking of futility, I don't look for a god, knowing it is futile. At least looking for the god you profess to believe in - other god's may be quite apparent if we could but find them. On the other hand, isn't it nearly the definition of futility to keep pushing the same belief, bringing it up in every conversation, when you cannot ever show it to be true (and know you cannot show it to be real)?
@wilderness: Your definition of what is true and real are subject to debate. While you might insist that since God is neither inferred by your 5 physical senses i.e. empiric evidence, then he is not real or true. Philopsophic musings have gone where empiric evidence could and would never go, impaired as it is by a rigid and strict definition of what is real or true,
As I have stated before, science could only hide behind those philosophic musings, since by its own restriction it could not go beyond the physical and material.
You appear confused, as often happens, with the difference between what is real and knowing what is real. Only an idiot would ever say there is no god as the current definition of God precludes ever detecting such an entity or the results of His actions. No proof is thus possible, just as there is no proof possible of the existence of such an entity (or any other thing, event, or anything else that cannot be detected by any means and leaves no trace behind it).
Which brings back the question of why believers seem to forever insist their personal concept of a god is real and does exist. Without the ability to produce that god, or the results of it's actions, why even make the claim? Simply from the desire to stir an emotional response in the listener, and presumably grow the same belief without evidence?
Of course, politicians do that every day and it seems to work for them...
The rationale for God's existence have been proposed over the millennia, by deep thinkers, theoretician, philosophers, and yes empiricists. If you go through those ralionales one by one, you would come to the conclusion that none of them could be labeled as sophistry or demagoguery
There's lots of rationale, yes. "I like the idea of a god watching over me and protecting me". I don't want to die". "I don't understand how we got here". "Why do bad things happen?" I need someone else to define right and wrong."
Tons of rationales, then, but zero evidence that the rationalized want has anything to do with reality. Which is pretty much what I said, isn't it? The difference between reality and knowing what is real blurs, to the point of nonexistent. God's are wanted, so are rationalized into existence without ever even trying to actually prove they are there. A god answers all questions, from "where did we come from?" to Why did Grandma have to die?" to "I'm scared of the world, and of dying." so we decide that there must be a god. And we do, and then try to rationalize that decision.
Which is true for you.
NOT for others who are more finely tuned in perceiving the reality of God's existence.
...which I am sure many, possibly the majority, already comprehend quite well… and don't need me pointing it out.
But, I do so anyway.
Unfortunately, I don't believe your "fine tuning". You are "tuned" no better than anyone else, simply don't require the same level of evidence before declaring imaginative stories to be factual.
We are also part banana. And part rock. Because humanity rocks.
Watermelons are 97% water. So are clouds. Therefore watermelons are clouds. Tasty, tasty clouds.
I disagree. You assume it is counterproductive. I know it is productive. Hope gives rise to belief and belief give rise to will and direction of will...including an end and a true accomplishment which is absolutely based on
The key word was "unrestrained". If you lie on a hiking trail for days, hoping against hope that someone will come along and save you, you will likely die. Same for imagination; while it great, and necessary for learning new things, too much results insufficient (or zero) effective action being taken.
God is Reality in that God is Spirit. When we try to find and devote ourselves to Sprit, which we ARE, in all actuality, we increase our knowingness of our true selves. This knowingness is heaven, and is indeed found within.
Spirit/ Devine Will/ Imagination/ Intelligence was operating within the Neandertal as well.
...and as it (Spirit: universal and individual) has been evident in all creation through evolution.
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