ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

Location: Oxford University, England
Members: 4188
Latest Activity: on Sunday

The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

We welcome comments and the opening up of new discussions in this busy group. So join us if you are not already in the group.

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Discussion Forum

On the scientific miracles of Qur'an

Started by Rounaq Biswas. Last reply by Daniel Gotro on Saturday. 25 Replies

Modern Humans Interbred with Neanderthals in Europe

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Gerald Payne Jun 25. 3 Replies

DNA Links Kennewick Man to Native Americans

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by John Jubinsky Jun 20. 11 Replies

Evolution is a FACT, not a theory.

Started by Idaho Spud. Last reply by Gerald Payne Jun 14. 26 Replies

The new website called 'Grand Ideas'.

Started by Rounaq Biswas. Last reply by Grinning Cat Jun 11. 2 Replies

On Abolishing Religion

Started by Rounaq Biswas. Last reply by sk8eycat Jun 10. 64 Replies

Genetically Engineered Fungi are Part Human and Part Yeast

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Donald L. Engel May 23. 1 Reply

Fossilized Brain

Started by Patricia May 11. 0 Replies

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Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on December 19, 2013 at 6:08pm

Thank you Patricia for finding this useful article for me--about the antiquity of human-hand dexterity. Terry

Comment by Joseph P on October 24, 2013 at 5:07pm
I'm not sure I've started one in this group. I've started several in other groups, though.
Comment by Joseph P on October 20, 2013 at 3:04pm

Jeffrey, I'd suggest starting a discussion, in the section above this one.  A conversation like that would be a little difficult to hold in a linear format like this.  The nesting format of a discussion is much better for keeping things sorted and coherent.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 20, 2013 at 12:58pm
Chris, I was able to download the first chapter and will purchase the Kindle version after reading it. I like the ideas he posted on his web site. The neurological aspects intrigue me. Doing brain scans, FMRI, makes the information plausible, not just speculation.
fmri Web definitions
functional magnetic resonance imaging: a form of magnetic resonance imaging of the brain that registers blood flow to functioning areas of the brain
Thanks for the lead.
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. 

http://www.themoralbrain.be/node/7 

 

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.
 

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