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Human evolution: But who had decided that the Neanderthals were dumb in the first place?

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“New Evidence Debunks ‘Stupid’ Neanderthal Myth” chirps the ScienceDaily release:

Research by UK and American scientists has struck another blow to the theory that Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) became extinct because they were less intelligent than our ancestors (Homo sapiens). The research team has shown that early stone tool technologies developed by our species, Homo sapiens, were no more efficient than those used by Neanderthals.

Published in the Journal of Human Evolution, their discovery debunks a textbook belief held by archaeologists for more than 60 years. (August 26, 2008)

Now, the obvious question is, who decided that the ‘thals were dummies? They were around long enough (conventionally, from about 250 000 to about 28 000 years ago) so they must have fed themselves using their tools.

The textbook belief was in fact based on the now-rotting Tree of Life popularized by Darwin and his modern-day followers. They assumed that modern humans (homo sapiens) were “superior” to the Neanderdumbsters, and interpreted all facts about the latter to fit that view.

However, enterprising researchers from the University of Exeter, Southern Methodist University, Texas State University, and the Think Computer Corporation decided to do some investigation, so they themselves spent three years making both Neanderthal tools and Homo sapiens tools.

And guess what:

… when the research team analysed their data there was no statistical difference between the efficiency of the two technologies. In fact, their findings showed that in some respects the flakes favoured by Neanderthals were more efficient than the blades adopted by Homo sapiens.

 One researcher offers various speculations about why Homo sapiens preferred tools that didn’t work as well, but the inferior intelligence of homo sapiens (hereafter saps) is not one of the options offered.

The researchers already done enough damage to the official materialist narrative for one decade.

I suggest that the next step should be this: Two groups of daring researchers should live for two decades in the manner assumed by the textbooks to be our ancestors’ way of life 50 000 years ago. Some will be saps and others ‘thals. The only rule would be, no felony offenses against humans because then the work would be eligible for publication only as a signed confession. But the researchers should report when they think that a felony offense would occur back then. I wonder how long it would last? What they would learn? How many researchers would come back alive? It’s one thing to report that the ‘thal tools were more efficient, but another to feed and clothe oneself with them.

These findings generally support the non-materialist view that human consciousness is not a slowly evolving thing. Once present, it changes everything very quickly. Assuming otherwise leads to mistakes about early humans.

See also: Consciousness: Half an oaf is better than none?

Also up at The Mindful Hack:

Free will: Can you believe in it as a merely irrational preference?

Consciousness: Half an oaf is better than none?

Spiritual Brain sells out in Dutch translation

Spirituality: If there is no life after death, does it matter whether you are Hitler or Mother Teresa?

Religion: Why “evolutionary” explanations don’t really work

The difference between thinking and consciousness

Mind: Current science less and less precise as it approaches the mind?

Atheist bigots: Avoiding serious questions and targeting ignorant religious folk

L’Intelligence spirituelle : Introduction (en francais)

Brain: How much does brainpower matter to success? Some surprising answers, only one of which matters much

Neuroscience: Yes, we do think while we are asleep. And we solve problems too.

Neurotheology: Bad neurology and bad theology?

Consciousness: So familiar and yet so puzzling …

JGuy, My book, "The Days of Peleg" is partially based on the research of Dr. Couzzo. Wikipedia references TDOP(with a slightly inaccurate synopsis) on its page on "Neaderthals in Popular Culture" The answer to "Who decided they WERE dumb in the first place?" is "Those who arbitrarily decided that humanity wasn't created to be intelligent from the beginning." This, in spite of the evidence that all recorded human history demonstrates intelligence of the highest order. Graceout
Off topic poem/video for you Ms. O'Leary; Autumn Leaf's Laughter http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=82370711ca9967532d04 bornagain77
Wait, are these guys blogging for UD now? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5JV0Fs_GE8 Bear
Many scientists distinguish biological evolution and cultural evolution -- and for good reason. Societies of the world exhibit huge differences in technology, yet vary little in intelligence of their members. It bears mention that Europeans nearly drove to extinction the peoples that occupied before them what is now the continental United States. The Europeans had vastly superior technology (a particular aspect of culture), not superior intelligence. So why, precisely, would anybody infer anything about the relative intellectual capacities of Neanderthal man and homo sapiens on the basis of small differences in crude technology? The culture of dummies can be more advanced than that of smarties in certain ways for a host of reasons, including that the dummies' culture has had longer to progress (evolve) than has the smarties' culture. Note that tool-making in the Homo genus predates both Neanderthal man and homo sapiens. Liz Lizard
Denise.. pps... and compare this with some of Dr JC Sanfords book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. There is a small section in his book on the ages of the partiarchs in trhe bible that came after Noah...which also concurs with Dr Cuozzo's work. I think your question is good... Why do people assume Neanderthals were dumb? After reading all that I ahve read, I actually think it woudl be an unwitting compliment to be called a Neanderthal. And even display [even if only privately to yourself] the "slanderers" ignorance on the matter :D JGuy
Denise... ps... here's a good starting point: http://www.jackcuozzo.com/ JGuy
Denise, Let me invite you to take a look at this from a young earth creationist perspective. I think you will be delighted in what you find as it concurs with your posting... There is a book "Buried Alive". Read it and you may see more to your your writing here than meets the eye... or tooth ;) JGuy
According to Wolpoff, if you were on a bus with a Neanderthal, they would be indistinguishable from the "average" modern human. Anyway, if you are of European descent, you can bet that you have some Neanderthal ancestry. PannenbergOmega
Hmm. My comment at #2 came out screwed up. PannenbergOmega
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~wolpoff/ PannenbergOmega
Re tooth, reluctantfundie, Interesting thought: Should we put dentists in charge of IQ testing? O'Leary
Milford H. Wolpoff. World paleoanthropologist (a anthropologist who studies the human pastrenowned) believes that modern humans and Neanderthal are the same species. You can think of them as a subspecies of Homo Sapiens. I took a couple of classes with him at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. PannenbergOmega
Now, the obvious question is, who decided that the ‘thals were dummies?
Come now, one need only look at a tooth to answer that question, IDiot. reluctantfundie

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