Racist Depictions of Human Evolution
This image showed up on my Facebook feed today. I think it’s problematic for a few reasons. Not only is this idea of evolutions vs. devolution fallacious, but the figure on the right is representative of a racial stereotype. Baseball cap, hoodie, baggy pants. The exaggerated facial prognathism of the figure seems to be meant to represent the facial morphology of earlier hominin forms, but when combined with the silhouette of the clothing, the figure comes off as a racist depiction of an African-American man. The image is equating certain forms of African-American culture to biological devolution.
Here’s some context. Exaggerated depictions of facial prognathism have been used historically AND today to justify racism against people of African descent by implying that they were “less evolved.”
This isn’t the first time casual racism has shown up in the ape-turning-into-modern-man meme either. Images like this almost always display a gradation from dark to light skin and hair, as if to say that white people are the “most evolved.”
Science fact: humans won’t reach their full potential until they are nine foot tall nudists with flowing auburn hair which gleams in contrast to their ashy, lily-white skin.
What do you think? Is the topmost image intentionally racist? Or it just an insensitive (and fallacious) attempt to condemn youth culture in general?
Are Chimpanzees Cultural?
The first video from new The Advanced Apes animated YouTube channel!
Colorado Creationisim Bill Dies in Committee
That awful “academic freedom” bill designed to allow the teaching of antievolution and global warming denial in Colorado schools has been sent to an early, and well-deserved, grave. This isn’t unexpected, given the House Appropriations Committee has a majority of democratic members;the bill was sponsored entirely by Republicans. Still, it’s a relief.
The bill would have “encouraged teachers to misrepresent the scientific staus of evolution and climate change”, asthe National Center for Science Educationso aptly phrased it. To be clear, science is based on the idea of questioning its findings—that’s how we learn, and how science grows stronger. But those questions must befair, and must beevidence-based, and should ideas be overturned,the new ones must have even stronger evidence than what they replace. - Read Article Via Bad Astronomy - Phil Plait
Human Evolution and Why It Matters: A Conversation with Leakey and Johanson
Celebrating decades of groundbreaking exploration in East Africa, renowned paleoanthropologists Donald Johanson and Richard Leakey shared the stage at the American Museum of Natural History on May 5 to discuss the overwhelming evidence for evolution in the hominid fossil record and why understanding our evolutionary history is so important. The discussion, before a sold-out crowd in the Museum’s LeFrak Theater, was moderated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN. The event was also live-streamed on amnh.org to a digital audience of several hundred viewers around the country.
Known for such landmark discoveries as “Lucy” (Johanson) and “Turkana Boy” (Leakey), the work of these two scientists has produced much of the fossil evidence that forms our understanding of human evolution.
Looking back over careers spanning 40-plus years, Dr. Johanson and Dr. Leakey shared the stories behind their monumental finds and offered a look at what’s ahead in human evolutionary research.
This historic event was made possible through a joint partnership of the American Museum of Natural History, the Arizona State University Institute of Human Origins, and the Turkana Basin Institute, headquartered in the U.S. at Stony Brook University.
evolution at the speed of thought or how did we fuck things up so quickly.
In sum, humans are the first “super-adaptable” organism to evolve on earth; rather than being deterministically restricted by the constraints of Darwinian biology, humans are the only terrestrial species that is graced with the capacity to “redefine reality.” Via a reality-modifying cognitive process (i.e., agency), humans modify otherwise deterministic environmental conditions in order to accommodate their goals and interests–even to the point of transcending gravity and the limits of the life-giving biosphere in a quest to conquer the lifeless void of outer space.
the read the whole article, maybe four paragraphs here
creationist senator wants to know if there is proof that e coli is evolving into humans.
creation museum responds to bill nye.
dr. pepper’s evolution ad strikes a nerve with some christians.
I’m a Pepper, You’re a Pepper, but clearly, some people are not Peppers.
Dr Pepper’s new Facebook ad campaign featuring an ape moving from all-fours, to seeing a soda on a rock, to an upright man, enjoying a Pepper, is apparently red meat to some creationists who are loudly expressing outrage at the idea that humans evolved from soda-discovering apes.
"I ain’t no freaking chimp. No more Dr Pepper for my household," reads a typical comment from an offended reader. But other readers responded, defending the ad as funny and not an endorsement of evolution — just an ad. But in the end, does it work as a marketing tool?
Aren’t advertisers always straddling the line between provocative and offensive, in order to stand out?
The reality is, Dr Pepper ad is the latest in a long line of food ads that offend various groups of religious people. Burger King offended Hindus by seating a goddess atop a hamburger. McDonald’s took a hit from Muslims when it released a Power Ranger with squiggly designs on the base that look like the Arabic word for Mohammed to some people. These and nine more are helpfully listed on a blog called 11 Points Because Top 10 Lists Are For Cowards.
But the Pepper ad is also not new. It’s one of thousands of parodies of the now infamous scientific illustration of evolution from 1965 called “March of Progress.” And it’s amazing that these ads “still have the power to offend,” says AdWeek’s blog,AdFreak. “Once again, though, it goes to show how protests can spread like wildfire in social media, where outrage—and counteroutrage—are just a click away.”
Note that these food related “outrages” have registered nowhere near the social media mania generated by Newsweek’s cover story on “MUSLIM RAGE” this week — yet.
bits of mystery dna, far from ‘junk,’ play crucial role.
Among the many mysteries of human biology is why complex diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and psychiatric disorders are so difficult to predict and, often, to treat. An equally perplexing puzzle is why one individual gets a disease like cancer or depression, while an identical twin remains perfectly healthy.
Now scientists have discovered a vital clue to unraveling these riddles. The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches.
The findings, which are the fruit of an immense federal project involving 440 scientists from 32 laboratories around the world, will have immediate applications for understanding how alterations in the non-gene parts of DNA contribute to human diseases, which may in turn lead to new drugs. They can also help explain how the environment can affect disease risk. In the case of identical twins, small changes in environmental exposure can slightly alter gene switches, with the result that one twin gets a disease and the other does not.
read on here.