Re: [asa] Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors

From: Richard Fischer <>
Date: Sat Feb 17 2007 - 18:29:42 EST

Hi Janice, you wrote:

@ I'm surprised that this book isn't on the list.

I hope the book is better than the review! Talk about a hatchett job. And what qualifies a clinical psychologist to review a book about genetics anyway?

~Dick Fischer
  Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors

  For one person's review of the book, click here and scroll down to:

  Sunday, February 11, 2007
  I've Discovered the Gene For Ignoring my Genes!

  As mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm in the midst of reading a relatively new and state-of-the-art book on human origins entitled Before the Dawn. [link below]

  .......Before the Dawn discusses all of the new research made possible by the Human Genome Project. The data can be studied in all kinds of clever and innovative ways in order to deduce various conclusions about our origins.

  The book confirms the fact that there is a vast difference between "anatomically modern" and "behaviorally modern" human beings, the former of which appear as early as 200,000 years ago. And yet, truly human behavior does not emerge until as recently as 45,000 years ago. And it emerged quite suddenly, in such a way that it defies any traditional Darwinan explanation. In fact, many traditional paleo-anthropologists reject the sudden emergence of our humanness, but only because their religion (strict Darwinism) makes it impossible. Therefore, they argue that the transition must have been gradual, even though this is not what the archaeological evidence shows. What do you call someone who maintains a belief system despite contrary evidence?

  Anyway, genetics comes to the rescue, because the author of Before the Dawn says that Darwinian evolution must be able to occur much more rapidly than any of us had previously realized. Therefore, whether the transition from ape to human was slow or sudden, it's all good. Darwinism explains it.

  What do you call a philosophy that is so elastic that it accounts for opposite scenarios? "I was for the gradual descent of man before I was against it."

  You will never hear it come out of my mouth that genes are unimportant things. However, the author makes the point that our DNA is 99% identical to that of a chimpanzee. Oddly, he uses this statistic to emphasize the importance of genes, when to me it would appear to highlight the opposite. I say this because a moment's reflection will reveal to you that the ontological gulf between a human being and any animal is actually infinite.

  Put it this way: how would you characterize the distance between an animal, whose every behavior is genetically determined, and a being who has transcended his genetic program to such an extent that he is able to pick and choose those aspects of it that he would prefer to ignore? Again, being that he is a primitive New York Timesman, the author doesn't give a moment's serious thought to religion, but dismisses it with a passing observation buried in a sentence to the effect that it was selected (of course) by our genes "as a means of social cohesion." If so, one can only wonder how he and all of his fellow Homo crapians among the secular left managed to escape this gene's influence?

  Again, he seems to be arguing that genes are all-important, but not so important that you can't simply ignore them if you wish. In fact, you can even have contempt for your own genetic religious proclivities (projected into others, of course), which is a rather odd thing. Ever heard of a chimp who had contempt for his banana? ~ Robert Godwin, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychologist) 2/11/07

  Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors
  by Nicholas Wade (Author) "TRAVEL BACK INTO THE HUMAN PAST, and the historical evidence is plentiful enough for the first couple of hundred years, then rapidly diminishes..." ( more) Key Phrases: Near East, Upper Paleolithic, New Guinea (more...)

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Received on Sat Feb 17 18:30:43 2007

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