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Primordial myths tell us about human origins?

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The ancient Roman poet Ovid, in his "The Metamorphoses," told the story of the nymph Io who was seduced by Jupiter, the king of the gods. When his wife Juno became jealous, Jupiter transformed Io into a heifer to protect her. This panel relates the second half of the story. In the upper left, Jupiter emerges from clouds to order Mercury to rescue Io. In the lower left, Mercury guides his herd to the spot where Io is guarded by the hundred-eyed Argus. In the upper center, Mercury, disguised as a shepherd, lulls Argus to sleep and beheads him. Juno then takes Argus's eyes to ornament the tail feathers of her peacock and sends the Furies to pursue Io, who flees to the Nile River. At last, Jupiter prevails on his wife to cease tormenting the nymph, who, upon resuming her natural form, escapes to the forest and ultimately becomes the Egyptian goddess Isis
Bartolomeo di Giovanni illustrates a collection of Metamorphoses

From Julien d’Huy at Scientific American:

Although the animals and the constellations may differ, the basic structure of the story does not. These sagas all belong to a family of myths known as the Cosmic Hunt that spread far and wide in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas among people who lived more than 15,000 years ago. Every version of the Cosmic Hunt shares a core story line—a man or an animal pursues or kills one or more animals, and the creatures are changed into constellations.

Folklorists, anthropologists, ethnologists and linguists have long puzzled over why complex mythical stories that surface in cultures widely separated in space and time are strikingly similar. In recent years a promising scientific approach to comparative mythology has emerged in which researchers apply conceptual tools that biologists use to decipher the evolution of living species. In the hands of those who analyze myths, the method, known as phylogenetic analysis, consists of connecting successive versions of a mythical story and constructing a family tree that traces the evolution of the myth over time.

My phylogenetic studies make use of the extra rigor of statistical and computer-modeling techniques from biology to elucidate how and why myths and folktales evolve. In addition to the Cosmic Hunt, I have analyzed other major families of myths that share recurring themes and plot elements. Pygmalion stories depict a man who creates a sculpture and falls in love with it. In Polyphemus myths, a man gets trapped in the cave of a monster and escapes by insinuating himself into a herd of animals, under the monster’s watchful eye. More.

Myths are fascinating, but really, phylogenetic analysis is just a new craze, the way Freudian analysis was an old one. It is better to see them for what they are: people telling stories about themselves. Like family histories, they are usually sort of true, but embellished.

See also: The search for our earliest ancestors: signals in the noise

Early human religion: A 747 built in the basement with an X-Acto knife

and

Imagine a world of religions that naturalism might indeed be able to explain

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A modern myth: Ctulthu

3 Replies to “Primordial myths tell us about human origins?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    In recent years a promising scientific approach to comparative mythology has emerged in which researchers apply conceptual tools that biologists use to decipher the evolution of living species. In the hands of those who analyze myths, the method, known as phylogenetic analysis, consists of connecting successive versions of a mythical story and constructing a family tree that traces the evolution of the myth over time.

    So perhaps they can now use phylogenetic analysis to trace where the myth of Darwinian Evolution came from?

    The trouble is is that phylogenetic analysis, especially how it is used by Darwinists, is practically useless as a analytical tool for science.

    Specifically, Cladistics, by presupposing the conclusion of common ancestry into its premises, is shamelessly abused by Darwinists to infer relationships between groups that never existed:

    In the following video, Stephen Meyer explains why the use of cladistic analysis — stem groups, crown groups, cladograms, ghost lineages — fails to satisfy.

    Video: Stephen Meyer on Seeing Ghost Lineages David Klinghoffer – August 2014
    Excerpt: “In order to compensate for missing fossils, we have to postulate more missing fossils. So I don’t think that this really solves the problem of the missing fossils. I think it actually accentuates it.”
    – Stephen Meyer
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89391.html

    Cladistics Made Easy: Why an Arcane Field of Study Fails to Upset Steve Meyer’s Argument for Intelligent Design
    Stephen Meyer – Responding to Critics: Matzke Part 1 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY2B76JbMQ4&list=PLR8eQzfCOiS3oq-5NkSrGIIfCcpaKkOhT&index=11

    As well, here is an excellent article by David Berlinski showing why Phylogenetic systematics is practically useless as a scientific tool.

    A One-Man Clade – David Berlinski – July 18, 2013
    Excerpt: The relationship between cladistics and Darwin’s theory of evolution is thus one of independent origin but convergent confusion. “Phylogenetic systematics,” the entomologist Michael Schmitt remarks, “relies on the theory of evolution.” To the extent that the theory of evolution relies on phylogenetic systematics, the disciplines resemble two biologists dropped from a great height and clutching at one another in mid-air.

    Tight fit, major fail.7

    No wonder that Schmidt is eager to affirm that “phylogenetics does not claim to prove or explain evolution whatsoever.”8 If this is so, a skeptic might be excused for asking what it does prove or might explain?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74601.html

    Moreover, the ‘tree pattern’ that Darwin predicted is not what is found in the fossil record. The fossil record reveals that disparity (the greatest differences) precedes diversity (the smaller differences), which is the exact opposite pattern for what Darwin’s theory predicted.

    The Actual Fossil Evidence- Disparity precedes Diversity – graph
    http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/JOURNEY/IMAGES/G.gif

    Erwin and Valentine’s The Cambrian Explosion Affirms Major Points in Darwin’s Doubt: The Cambrian Enigma Is “Unresolved” – June 26, 2013
    Excerpt: “In other words, the morphological distances — gaps — between body plans of crown phyla were present when body fossils first appeared during the explosion and have been with us ever since. The morphological disparity is so great between most phyla that the homologous reference points or landmarks required for quantitative studies of morphology are absent.”
    Erwin and Valentine (p. 340)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....73671.html

    Moreover, this top down pattern in the fossil record, which is the complete opposite pattern as Darwin predicted for the fossil record, is not only found in the Cambrian Explosion, but this ‘top down’, disparity preceding diversity, pattern is found in the fossil record subsequent to the Cambrian explosion as well.

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    In Allaying Darwin’s Doubt, Two Cambrian Experts Still Come Up Short – October 16, 2015
    Excerpt: “A recent analysis of disparity in 98 metazoan clades through the Phanerozoic found a preponderance of clades with maximal disparity early in their history. Thus, whether or not taxonomic diversification slows down most studies of disparity reveal a pattern in which the early evolution of a clade defines the morphological boundaries of a group which are then filled in by subsequent diversification. This pattern is inconsistent with that expected of a classic adaptive radiation in which diversity and disparity should be coupled, at least during the early phase of the radiation.”
    – Doug Erwin
    What this admits is that disparity is a worse problem than evolutionists had realized: it’s ubiquitous (throughout the history of life on earth), not just in the Cambrian (Explosion).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....00111.html

    further notes:

    disparity
    [dih-spar-i-tee] noun, plural disparities.
    1. lack of similarity or equality; inequality; difference:

    “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.”
    TS Kemp – Fossils and Evolution,– Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999

    “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.”
    Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians

    “The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running-wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line.”
    Richard B. Goldschmidt, “Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist,” American Scientist 40 (January 1952), 97.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    Unlike the aforementioned mythologies, the Tanakh (aka the Old Testament) is free from any claims of recycled body parts of warring gods. There are no immortal constellations formed from heroes (who all seem to have clay feet instead), nor are the sun and moon a god or goddess, but rather they are simply “lamps.”

    Go figure.

    There are a few miracles, but the bulk of the narrative is historical, legal, prophetic, poetic, philosophical, and instructive.

    This remarkable set of compatible documents is of a completely different nature than the “cosmic hunt” mythologies that are being correlated with some evolutionary “phylogenetic analysis.”

    The contrast is profound!

    -Q

  3. 3
    Kirikagure says:

    Virtually all civilizations, cultures and tribes follow the same pattern with the history of the world, which begins with the creator(s) entity creating the universe, the first human or human couple, humanity being evil, a large watery catastrophe flooding the earth, a family and collected speciments saved with an ark, and the confusion of languages at the tower of babel, virtually all civilizations and cultures have this linear history and they all split up at the confusion of languages where each one has its own history from there on with the main history continuing with Abraham.

    Considering that all our ancestors recorded pretty much the same events with cultural variations it is pretty obvious that they are all historical.

    On the other side, there is not a single historian or culture that ever mentioned anything about darwinism, this was a racist white male british theory made up in 19th century that has zero historical basis and fueled racism, the world wars and many other evils

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