Scientific advancements

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ThePragmatic's picture
The neanderthals that never

The neanderthals that never existed before [insert diety here] created the world, apparently interbred with humans as recently as 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

ThePragmatic's picture
The First Warm-Blooded Fish

The First Warm-Blooded Fish Ever Found, The Opah:

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
'Ice fish' with transparent
ThePragmatic's picture
Interesting fish. I hadn't

Interesting fish. I hadn't heard about that one.
What a weird development to remove haemoglobin from it's blood, it would seem like a disadvantage. I wonder what the benefit could be. Good thing they have both a male and a female that are spawning.

ThePragmatic's picture
"Left-handed cosmic magnetic

"Left-handed cosmic magnetic field could explain missing antimatter"

ThePragmatic's picture
The 10 Coolest New Species Of
ThePragmatic's picture
"Bacteria cooperate to repair

"Bacteria cooperate to repair damaged siblings"

"a certain type of soil bacteria can use their social behavior of outer membrane exchange (OME) to repair damaged cells and improve the fitness of the bacteria population as a whole."

"these social organisms benefit from group behavior that endows favorable fitness consequences among kin cells."

"Researchers are interested in how the evolutionary transition occurred toward multi-cellularity; that is, how cooperation develops and single cells are not just interested in themselves."


To me, this seems like evidence of biological altruism, down on bacterial scale. The basis for morality within evolution.

Even bacteria are "scratching each others backs". :)

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
To me it seems more like

To me it seems more like survival and adaptation, rather then morality.

Mitch's picture
Survival, adaptability, and

Survival, adaptability, and moral behavior, are interwoven components of evolution - they are synergistic with eachother.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Not really, there is a claim

Not really, there is a claim that morality was a cause of our evolution, but they are on a different plane then scientific evidence.
The claim is not founded on evidence but speculation.

The bacteria survive by replicating/growing, there is no thought process of thinking about the other fellow bacteria.
Unless you can support that claim with evidence, the only thing you can claim with evidence is that adaptation and survival are at play there.
It adopted to survive better if it shares it natural protection with other bacteria.
It is that simple.

This is like saying that the wolf that adopted to hunt in pack survived and the rest mostly died.
So natural selection dictates that the bacteria that shared their protection survived better then those that didn't.

There seems to be no evidence for any kind of morality there.

ThePragmatic's picture
Yes, I agree that it is

Yes, I agree that it is survival and adaptation, but as a group.
I haven't researched much on the hypothesis that morality comes from evolution, and understandably it's an area that is hard to get good solid evidence on.

To me, this seems like evidence that supports that hypothesis on a very low level. As I wrote I'm only talking about the basis for morality.

In my own opinion, I think the hypothesis is on the right track, even though it might still be short on evidence.
I fully agree with Mitch.

I'm not suggesting a thought process of any kind. Just the basic workings of evolution (biological altruism), that in higher life forms is the basis for what becomes morality.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
"I'm not suggesting a thought

"I'm not suggesting a thought process of any kind. Just the basic workings of evolution, that in higher life forms is the basis for what becomes morality."

I know, I just pointed out, that the evidence for the bacteria "basic"morality is simply not there, even if it appears they are thinking about each other.
There are better explanations backed up by evidence.

Morality could be a trait that we humans just developed by accident and could have nothing to do with evolution itself.
(eg mutation hypothesis)
The best evidence for that is that there are species which are older then us and do not have the same kind of morality we do, not even close.

CyberLN's picture
"The best evidence for that

"The best evidence for that is that there are species which are older then (sic) us and do not have the same kind of morality we do, not even close."

I'm not sure that's saying a whole lot given the profound differences from one human culture to another.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Scientist still argue today

Scientist still argue today if animals have morals at all.

Rowlands arguments are weak in this article:

basically the best he could come up with is that:

"In the case of the child-rescuing gorilla Binti Jua, for instance, "what sort of instinct is involved there? Do gorillas have an instinct to help unconscious boys in enclosures?" he said."

Where it was explained already that:

"One of the most obvious examples — the guilty look of a dog that has just eaten a forbidden food — may not be true remorse, but simply the dog responding appropriately to its owner's disappointment, according to a study published in the journal Behavioural Processes in 2009."


"And animals don't seem to develop or follow rules that serve no purpose for them or their species, suggesting they don't reason about morality."

A gorilla gets praised for being nice to people and gets punished if she hurts people, The gorilla there was just following the pattern of avoiding punishment for the group by keeping the other gorilla away.
Very simple explanation, there is no need to think that the gorilla actually wanted to protect the boy, she was just following a pattern usually thought to all animals in a zoo.

The only person who is over thinking things is Rowlands. especially when he claims that morality is not about thinking.
He should go back to school.

Also one must make the distinction between emotions and morality.
Animals are deeply emotional but they follow instinct/evolution and well thought(by humans) patterns/rules.

There is no solid evidence that suggest that they truly understand WHY something is right or wrong.

In the wild, animals have one simple rule, SURVIVE, that is why you see mothers killing their children if they even appear too weak.
Not because the child would suffer more but because he would be a threat/danger to the mother and the others since there is the chance that he will not be able to pull his weight.

How humans acquired morality is still a mystery we are still researching.

Mitch's picture
Right, so your saying

Right, so your saying morality has no evidence for itself as a concept, separate from adaptation, and survival.

I'll clarify: I'm postulating, that morality - or the art of determining helpful from harmful behaviour - is a direct result of, and is inmeshed with, an organisms adaptability and sense of self preservation; the bacteria who co-operate do better, and wolves flourish in packs. Ditto with humans; morality grew from - and compliments - mutually beneficial behavior.

i can find studies on this, but they cost money to access.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Don't waste your money.

Don't waste your money.

Morality is the understanding of what is better between 2 options.

Without the ability to think about those options, you cannot have morality.
The fact that you think that you need as much information as possible to make a better moral judgment proves that reasoning and a human level of understanding IS A MUST, to make a sound moral judgment.

Animals to not reason or understand, they act on instinct and patterns(either from humans or community/evolution)

Anything short of evidence that shows that thinking/reason is not the main aspect of morality will never convince any sane person including me.
Or you could try to find evidence that animals have or same level of thinking and reason.

Up until now you have presented nothing.

ThePragmatic's picture
This comes down to definition

This comes down to definition of words again.

I was not suggesting conscious morality in bacteria, and I don't think anyone else was either. I was talking about biological altruism, not a conscious process.

'Altruism' is "the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others.", a conscious process. Even so, it's still not the same definition as morality.

'Biological altruism' is selflessness to others without the conscious part, without intent. Ex: Parents protecting their offspring, individuals protecting the group, grooming, cooperative hunting, standing guard for the group (like meerkats), sharing food, etc.

There is also 'reciprocal altruism', That is like biological altruism, but the beneficial behaviour extends beyond the normal group, i.e. can extend beyond the own species. Like most forms of symbiosis.

In 'The Selfish Gene', by Richard Dawkins (The book that made him famous), he described how this type of behaviour is beneficial for the propagation of the genes, from the view of the genes. As we are mere 'survival machines' for genes, the behaviour to help out those who share the same genes gives an advantage for the propagation of those genes in the process of natural selection and has therefore been successful.

With reciprocal altruism the benefit is perhaps even something that will come later. But as it helps the survival machine to survive and reproduce, it has also been successful.

I was talking about what I consider to be "the basis for morality", not morality itself.
Again, I'm not suggesting the final verdict on any of this is in. And we learn more and more about this every day.

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
biological altruism= part of

biological altruism= part of instinct/evolution for survival.

who coined the term? NVM

The point is that those things do no suggest or even hint at 'Altruism' as "the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others."
As you so well stated.

As long as it is not a conscious process it is not related to either 'Altruism' nor Morality since both are based on the conscious process.

This means that there is no evidence and neither logical reason to support the idea that "the basis for morality" has anything to do with the instinct/evolution for survival.

I view them as different factors that need to be addressed separately and all have an effect on our lives.

Trying to claim that Morality somehow evolved from those primitive concepts(like I mistook your claim) was what I thought you were saying. If I was mistaken, I apologize.

Instinct is present in humans and sometimes tells us to do a different thing that what our morality tells us.
(EG: kill your son to save your country. Morality says; kill your son, Instinct says; save your son.)

"'survival machines' for genes" are as named, they have a common goal, Survive, there is no real altruism behind it, they just evolved to understand that together they have better chances of survival and with time things became done by instinct.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jeff - "As long as it is not

Jeff - "As long as it is not a conscious process it is not related to either 'Altruism' nor Morality since both are based on the conscious process...This means that there is no evidence and neither logical reason to support the idea that "the basis for morality" has anything to do with the instinct/evolution for survival."

Right, but only because you defined morality is a very specific way to make it impossible. You created a tautology, and are now pointing out your tautology is true.

ThePragmatic's picture
"Dating back 3.3 million

"Dating back 3.3 million years, the artifacts push back the archaeological record of tool technology by a staggering 700,000 years."

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Interesting indeed, I have

Interesting indeed, I have studied this, but the report is quite disappointing in detail. They claimed they found 149 artifacts but they show none of them in the report.
A google search provided nothing.

Can they at least show 1 of those tools in their promo?

How do they seriously expect anybody to believe them if they don't show something except their claims?

The stone they show in the video, appears to be more natural then a tool at first glance.

If they have a detail picture with all the artificial cuts/hits on the the rock well explained, it would be 20 steps forward in presenting a believable case.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jeff - "I have studied this..

Jeff - "I have studied this...They claimed they found 149 artifacts but they show none of them in the report."

Uhh there are several photos of them included in the article.

ThePragmatic's picture
I think this is very new.

I think this is very new. More detail will probably show up soon.

Nyarlathotep's picture
If you want details, go to

If you want details, go to the horse's mouth: doi:10.1038/nature14464

ThePragmatic's picture
We are flying by Pluto in

We are flying by Pluto in about one minute!
Live feed:

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Yea that be nice to see.

Yea that be nice to see.

Though I doubt they would make public the actual data.

ThePragmatic's picture
As I understand it, the data

As I understand it, the data gathered from this fly by will take more than the rest of 2015 to send back to Earth. So it will continue dropping in data all the way into 2016.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Also the data is not

Also the data is not encrypted, although you would need a lot of equipment to listen in 'real time'; furthermore the data from these missions is eventually posted for public use on the Planetary Data System ( In fact there is already some data posted there.

Tip: PDS's search feature kind of sucks, use Google to search the site instead.

ThePragmatic's picture
Zhenyuanlong suni: biggest
Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Interesting thanks.

Interesting thanks.


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