Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bias against Neanderthals

I had a judge suspect me of Asperger syndrome even tho the court psychologists said otherwise and the diagnosis is being dropped from the DSM-5.

I wonder if some of the bigotry is rooted in prejudice against Neanderthals.

This article suggests that autism may come from Neanderthal genes, and adds:
I want to be perfectly clear on this point: this discovery absolutely does not mean that the Denisovans, Neandertals, and other ancients were autistic. Nor does it mean that autistic people exhibit prehistoric thinking. Rather, what it underscores is that normal modes of human thought occupy a broad continuum.

The “neurotypical” way in which most people see the world today is only one way of doing it. As enlightened studies of autism repeatedly drive home, we need to appreciate those variations as part of our human spectrum rather than just labeling them defective or abnormal.

With or without all our cognitive abilities, the Neandertals and Denisovans survived under amazingly hostile conditions for hundreds of thousands of years. Their different ways of thinking may have been dominant throughout long stretches of the past, and might even have had advantages over our own under their circumstances. The lesson that these ancients offer is that we should broaden our minds about how broad minds can be.
There is a theory for this origin of autism:
The theory shows that autism is not always a disease and that some forms of autism exist for a simple reason: Every population has a surrounding frontier where there are few members. Adaptation to frontier sparseness produces a Sparseness Adaptation Syndrome that plausibly accounts for much of autism. In other words autism is an expected result of adaptation to the unrelenting sparseness of population frontiers.
Popular portrayals of Neanderthal men show them to be ugly and stupid. They were not so stupid, as New Evidence Debunks 'Stupid' Neanderthal Myth:
Many long-held beliefs suggesting why the Neanderthals went extinct have been debunked in recent years. Research has already shown that Neanderthals were as good at hunting as Homo sapiens and had no clear disadvantage in their ability to communicate. Now, these latest findings add to the growing evidence that Neanderthals were no less intelligent than our ancestors.

Metin Eren, an MA Experimental Archaeology student at the University of Exeter and lead author on the paper comments: "Our research disputes a major pillar holding up the long-held assumption that Homo sapiens were more advanced than Neanderthals. It is time for archaeologists to start searching for other reasons why Neanderthals became extinct while our ancestors survived. Technologically speaking, there is no clear advantage of one tool over the other. When we think of Neanderthals, we need to stop thinking in terms of 'stupid' or 'less advanced' and more in terms of 'different.'"
Some new research leads to this speculation:
For ages, anthropologists have puzzled over Neanderthal and human brains, since they were the same size. If each species had comparable brain power, why did humans dominate?

A comparison of Neanderthal and human brains has revealed it was a matter of allocation: Neanderthal brains focused more on vision and movement, leaving less room for cognition related to social networking. ...

Another theory, supported by this new study, is that Neanderthals went extinct because they were less capable of forming larger social networks. Pearce theorized that "smaller social groups might have made Neanderthals less able to cope with the difficulties of their harsh Eurasian environments because they would have had fewer friends to help them out in times of need."

She continued, "Overall, differences in brain organization and social cognition may go a long way towards explaining why Neanderthals went extinct whereas modern humans survived."

Dunbar further thinks that new diseases brought in by humans could have hurt Neanderthals.
I have had my genes sequenced, and they are 2.8% Neanderthal. Neanderthal men had a European look, with hairy bodies, light skin and eyes, stocky builds, and large cranial capacity. Some people find it very upsetting that brain size could be related to intelligence.

I am here to speak out against Neanderthal prejudice.


Anonymous said...

You make the fundamental error of most theorists: they think their own characteristics represent the highest evolution. Face it, human IQs converged on 100 for a reason. Any more and the organism wastes energy on needless cogitation instead of grooming itself to look good. Any less and the organism gets ostracized from the sandlot team and goes hungry because its lunch money gets stolen. You're a freak of nature, like supernovae which go off every year or so. Slow and steady wins the race. If you resembled our humble medium-temperature sun, you'd have about nine planets with 42 moons.

Homo sapiens evolved very rapidly over dozens of generations toward females with big boobs, big butts, luxuriant hair, and brains like canteloupes. Those females desired males with correspondingly flat chests, small butts, great hair, and access to mastodon meat. Prototypical third-millenium males are Roger Daltrey, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, and Tiger Woods. My DNA is 12.3% Cro-Magnon. As a result, I'm twice as smart as any Neanderthal, have terrific hair, but with man-boobs and flabby thighs. Trust me, this is no evolutionary advantage.

Unknown said...

A couple of potentially useful links for you. If you hadn't already run across them.



Both of the above blogs have a fairly heavy focus on this exact subject.

George said...

Thanks for the links. No, I had not seen those.

First commenter is right, that we are evolving toward what is popular, not high IQ.

Anonymous said...

It's simple... Whatever George is or believes in is the best !

Gun owner
Math lover

Anonymous said...

I have also read a serious theory that Neandertals were RH negative. A woman has one baby if mixed ancestry and all the rest die. I merely report this theory, I can neither support or defend it.

Anonymous age 70

George said...

It is my blog, and I give opinions from my point of view.

Anonymous said...

The first sentence of this story is more notable than all the evolutionary speculation about Neanderthalic behavior or blood type. The judge wanted to do psychology and the psychologist wanted to do the judging. Now the disorder the judge diagnosed has been removed from the psychologists' manual of mental disorders. Brilliant!

What do you need to do to get any sort of visit?

Anonymous said...

It's your opinion and point of view and it's being shut down for it's hate speech.

George said...

There will always be people who want to censor the truth.

Anonymous said...

What's the truth have to do with most of your blog ? Are your opinions and points of view the truth ?

Anonymous said...

Hey George

You might be on to something here.
Do Neanderthals get to open casinos?

George said...

Good idea! Casinos. Funny. I like the way you think.

Anonymous said...

Sure, whatever suits your sense of entitlement.