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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Plinius on October 20, 2013 at 8:30am

I read Het Morele Instinct by Jan Verplaetse, a Flemish teacher of moral philosophy - I can't find if it has been translated into English. Anyway, he describes in detail the evolution of different moral attitudes and it shows clearly how the different strategies have had their uses. The book gave me lots to think about and made me understand much more about groups of people and other animals and their behaviour. Also good ammunition to use with people who believe that morality came with xtianity. 


Comment by Jeffrey Rowan on October 20, 2013 at 8:04am

So, who wants to discuss the evolution of human morality? I find this topic the most interesting one in Atheist discussions.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 17, 2013 at 11:57pm

New Skull Discovery Causes Controversy

Abstract: "The site of Dmanisi, Georgia, has yielded an impressive sample of hominid cranial and postcranial remains, documenting the presence of Homo outside Africa around 1.8 million years ago. Here we report on a new cranium from Dmanisi (D4500) that, together with its mandible (D2600), represents the world's first completely preserved adult hominid skull from the early Pleistocene. D4500/D2600 combines a small braincase (546 cubic centimeters) with a large prognathic face and exhibits close morphological affinities with the earliest known Homo fossils from Africa. The Dmanisi sample, which now comprises five crania, provides direct evidence for wide morphological variation within and among early Homo paleodemes. This implies the existence of a single evolving lineage of earlyHomo, with phylogeographic continuity across continents."

A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the Evolutionary Biolog...

"An iconic new skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, dated to 1.8 million years ago, presents a new face for our genus Homo. The stunningly complete skull of an adult man has a surprisingly primitive, protruding upper jaw, and a tiny braincase. Combined with skulls found earlier at Dmanisi, it suggests that ancient people from the same time and place could look quite different from each other."

Stunning Skull Gives a Fresh Portrait of Early Humans

As the Sensuous Curmudgeon states, there will be debate over the meaning of this find among and between scientists, yet it offers one more piece of the puzzle of the most complete pre-human skull uncovered. 

The fun will be to watch the Intelligent Design people crawl all over this, much as the Blob from science fiction did. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 22, 2013 at 12:30pm

Religion used as tool for exploitive capitalism

Drew, I have talked to many people who use their belief in religious teachings to justify all kinds of nefarious actions and they are not exceptions. Some religious use their beliefs to justify family violence, exploit the poor, manipulate the weak, and take advantage of the gullible. 

As an atheist, I suppose I take more notice of these situation than some, however, I see non-religious people reaching out to others in need or in pain and do not need the motivator of religious beliefs to get them going. I agree with your assessment about the homeless and diversion of funds for defense spending.  

Chad, Yes, there are so very many adults who just can’t care of themselves, whether because of mental or physical disabilities. I worked for 20 years as a teacher and counselor, for community colleges, boys’ ranches, battered women and children programs and teaching in a prison preparing long-term prisoners to re-integrate into community life. As your girlfriend noted, we need community hospitals and shelters for those who can’t care for themselves. I wish it were not so. 

We are not safer because some are homeless, hungry, diseased, mentally and/or physically disabled. People who work for a living and those who live off their capital need to share in the burden of caring for such individuals and families.  


Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 22, 2013 at 11:56am

The homeless population in this counrty went from a rather small number to a huge and still growin number when Ronald Reagan decided to "mainstream" the mentally ill who were "healthy enough to live on heir own." They put thousands out on the streets by cutting funding. It was framed as a humanitarian issue, but of course it was just another way to shave expenses from the federal deficit to add to the defense budget.

Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 22, 2013 at 10:24am
Drew, I'm sure there are some cynical people who are just using religious language to manipulate the masses, and those people, although I think what they're doing is unethical, at least I can wrap my mind around and approach on a reasonable level expecting them to respond reasonably. The problem is, coming from an Evangelical background, I can tell you a disturbing number of people--no matter how wealthy or "educated"--genuinely do believe. And that is what I find scary and dangerous for America.

Regarding the mentally ill, my girlfriend is a mental health professional, and seeing her work, what people are going through, and the number of homeless who just can't work, I have become convinced that we need to, in some way, bring back the state hospital system.
Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 22, 2013 at 12:30am

You know, I never paid any attention to them until they "got in trouble." I am a fan now. 

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 22, 2013 at 12:27am

I assume you're a Dixie Chicks fan then :)

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 22, 2013 at 12:17am

I am "blessed to live in state that made Perry our longest serving governor and produced, in my opinion, the worst president we have ever seen. Texas was always a solidly democratic state until about thirty (read: Ronald Reagan) years ago. Now it is almost impossible to elect a democrat. Of course, the repubs have played a lot of dirty games with redistricting to help keep it that way.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 22, 2013 at 12:12am

In God's Country it seems convenient to foist problems upwards to the big guy in the sky and thus shirk responsibility. Remember Gov. Perry holding a rally to pray away the drought? Need I say more?


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