Jan 20, 2013
For long years scientists denied that humans and Neanderthals interbred.
My reaction through all those years to the idea that humans and Neanderthals co-existed but didn't interbreed was "BULL and SHIT."
I'm no scientist, but I know human nature. And as anyone with internet access can now access proof of......if humans can stick their dick in it or get it to stick its dick in us, we're having sex with it.*
That is not a sign of the deviancy of modern culture. Stories of human - non-human sex go back a long way. Leda and the Swan, anyone? The half-human, half-bull Minotaur? Ancient Greek legends are about as far back as I go, but I'm sure if I were familiar with the legends of older cultures, human with non-human sex would be found in those as well.
So the idea that humans and Neanderthals co-existed and weren't having sex didn't fly with me. We were having sex and that sex produced offspring. Now whether those offspring were fertile..............well, mules aren't all sterile. Some inter-species crosses result in sterile offspring, other crosses result in fertile offspring. But given that Neanderthals were so close to us there are still arguments whether they're a different species (Homo neanderthalensis) or the same species, but simply a different sub-species (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis), I always put more weight on the human-Neanderthal hybrid being fertile.
Then, lo and behold, a shock to the scientific community. Not only had humans and Neanderthals had sex, but we are their descendants.
My reaction to that long-expected news wasn't a sense of vindication. It wasn't even "No duh." It was an urge to do violence.
You see, stupid people being stupid aren't nearly as irritating to me as smart people being stupid. Smart people, especially people who are a lot smarter than me, but whose actions demonstrate a level of stupid that makes me think they couldn't find their ass with both hands and a map give me the urge to knock some sense into them.
It's this fundamental inability some scientists have to connect the dots.........very obvious dots..........that infuriates me. You know, being brilliant is great. I wish I were brilliant. But how about using a dollop of common sense with that brilliance? In the case of human-Neanderthal sex, how about using those scientific skills to observe the world you're in and notice that human behavior includes (some humans) having sex with non-humans ----- and that some of those non-humans are a lot more different from us than another primate. If we'll screw a dog, a horse, or a sheep, why wouldn't we have screwed Neanderthals?
But these and other scientists suffer from what I call the (and say this in a lilting voice) "Humans are Spe-cial!" preconception. In the Western culture, I blame Christianity for it --- the book of Genesis where God made the animals and then he made humans, and we're completely different from the animals.** Humans have souls. Animals don't. Then along came another stupid smart person in the form of Descartes who thought animals were automata without any emotions, only mechanical reactions. Whether it's from Christianity or Descartes or their ego, too many scientists just have stuck deep in their subconscious brain the idea that humans aren't animals..........
Like whenever I hear a legitimate scientist refer to speech and language as "uniquely human" traits. (A phrase I just heard in a show about Neanderthals causing me to get up at two in the morning and write this.)
Speech and language "uniquely human"? BULL and SHIT again. I'd like to suggest that any scientist who believes that try interacting with some other animals and notice how much speech and language (especially body language) they have. Except that scientists' capacity for blindness is just as extensive as non-scientists. All I have to do is think of those generations of scientists who performed vivisections on live, conscious animals while being so blind they didn't believe those animals felt pain or fear. A profession that could cut into a living, screaming animal and think that screaming and struggling wasn't from pain and fear is fully capable of spending long hours interacting with a dog or a cat or a chimpanzee or a dolphin and think they don't have speech and language. I say not only do dogs have language, dogs are bi-lingual. They speak dog, and they have limited understanding of human. But these scientists would deny the dog any language. (And, frankly, I hope the dog bites them as they'd deserve it for not paying attention to what the dog was saying.)
But take the case of a pre-twentieth century mute who couldn't read or write --- something that certainly happened as literacy rates were low worldwide. Yet throughout history, mutes could understand other people through their use of words and body language. And the mute could make him/herself understood in a limited fashion through body language. Any modern scientist would consider this mute to have language. But a dog or a horse uses words, sounds and gestures to achieve interaction and understanding, and it's not language. Humans have a presumption of language while other animals do not. Other animals, they communicate. But only humans have language. Why? Because "Humans are Spe-cial!"
The thing that really gets to me is just how incredibly ignorant scientists can be of other scientists' work. And I'm not talking about work that you have to be a specialist in a field and read certain journals to know about. I'm talking about work that is common knowledge.
Just like for long years scientist couldn't correlate current human sexual behavior with past sexual behavior, some of these same scientists can't connect the dots between the work of other scientists and their own work because they're so blinded by their "Humans are Spe-cial!" notion.
If I weren't already thoroughly convinced of scientists' capacity to be stupid, I would find it unbelievable that there are still scientists who don't think that other species have emotions, speech or language because..........
You'd think decades of psychiatrists and psychologists experimenting on and abusing rats, baby monkeys, dogs, etc then drawing conclusions about human behavior from their experiments would penetrate the collective brain of the scientific world that if those animals didn't have the same emotions and reactions as human beings that the experiments wouldn't have been of any value.
You'd think that all the nature shows with field biologists and news items showing parrots and primates in labs would have other scientists realize that (other) animals have speech and language and those traits are not uniquely human. Field biologists studying language have even identified specific words --- i.e. a sound that means a particular concept like with prairie dogs and vervet monkeys who make different specific sounds for different specific predators. When a sound means a particular thing and is understood by other members of the community to mean that particular thing, that's a word by any dictionary's definition*** and words are speech. But any idiot who's capable of living in a world with as many pet dogs and cats as this one has and not noticing that they have language is capable of saying with a straight face that speech and language are uniquely human traits.
You'd think that a hundred plus years after Darwin wrote about the theory of evolution, it would be accepted by all scientists that modern humans are just a product of evolution from other species. Meaning the traits we have, we got from them. That the difference between "us" and "them" isn't in kind, but is a matter of degree. (We're not the only tool users or the only tool makers. We just do more of it. We're not the only ones with language. We just do more of it (maybe). Degree not kind.)
But, no, there are still scientists out there thinking that emotions and language and speech are traits that other species don't have, only humans. All because of their inability to observe the world they've spent their entire lives in.
And I feel that old familiar urge for violence rise. To do violence to myself, if not to anyone else. Because the pain I would feel from hitting my head against a brick wall would still be less painful than the headache these stupid scientists give me.
*That's "we" as a species. I'm not saying that every human has sex with non-humans. (Though I've had my leg humped by a dog on occasion.) I am saying that the range of human behavior includes some humans who have sex with non-humans and that this is not anything new, nor should it have come as suprise to scientists studying human sexual behavior.
**Christians love to ignore this passage from the Bible which describes the sameness of man and animals:
Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 (King James Version)
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other. Yea, they have all one breath, so that man hath no preeminence above a beast, for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
So even the Bible acknowledges that humans and other animals are the same and both have spirits --- something centuries of Christianity and the scientists who are/were Christians should have taken note of, not ignored, if they're going to base their worldview and their inquiries from the Bible. But "Humans are Spe-cial!"
***Definition of "word" from The Free Dictionary -- 1. A sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing or printing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning and may consist of a single morpheme or of a combination of morphemes.
Definition of "word" from Dictionary.com - 1. a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.
Definition of "word" from Mirriam-Webster - 2. a (1) : a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use
Ironically, I was interrupted while writing this by my cat. My cat, Trilby Kitty, who came in and specifically asked to be petted on his head by giving me a soft mew and presenting his head to me. So I promptly reached out a hand and scratched his head whereupon he moved his head to exactly which part he wanted scratched next. But communicating a specific desire by a combination of sound and movement, that's not language --- not when it comes from a non-human according to these scientists.
Even though scientists studying humans have concluded that much of the communication between humans is through body language and not by words.
Read about another issue I have with the scientific community in "The Black Hole That (Didn't) Devour the Galaxy."
Or you can find out a lot more about my interaction with animals by taking a look through the Archive.