Friday, April 14, 2017

Abrahamic-centrism

Yuval Noah Harari has an article at Bloomberg: Humankind: The Post-Truth Species.  He indulges in an Abrahamic-religion centrism when he writes:
"We are the only mammals that can cooperate with numerous strangers because only we can invent fictional stories, spread them around, and convince millions of others to believe in them. As long as everybody believes in the same fictions, we all obey the same laws, and can thereby cooperate effectively."
The wars in the great epics - the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and I think in the Illiad, are all among people who "believe in the same fictions".

In The Heathen in His Blindness, Balu points out:

The Roman empire was made up of about 1200 city units, plus a considerable number of ethnic groupings which we label `tribes’ and/or ‘client kingdoms’.The divine forces worshipped in each of these units might be seen as similar, analogous, or parallel; one obvious example is the Juno, the cohesive force which gives life to any social unit, whether a family or a city-state. The Romans worshipped not only the Juno who had once belonged to their own kings – Juno Regina – but also the Junones of other states whom the Romans had invited to abandon their original communities and settle at Rome...These Junones were parallel, but not identical, in the same way as the many Jupiters and Zeuses worshipped throughout the empire were parallel but not identical. Each cult honoured its own god. (Wiedemann 1990: 69.)

( Menucius Felix, a Christian writer from around 210 C.E., has Caecilius – the pagan protagonist in The Octavius - )

[The Romans adore all divinities]...in the city of an enemy, when taken while still in the fury of victory, they venerate the conquered deities...in all directions they seek for the gods of the strangers, and make them their own...they build altars even to unknown deities...Thus, in that they acknowledge the sacred institutions of all nations, they have also deserved their dominion. (The Octavius, in Roberts and Donaldson, Eds., n.d.,Vol. IV: 177.)
Indian cultural unity and that thing called "Hinduism" arises similarly.

It is the Abrahamic religions that have made myths into truth-claims - supposedly objective statements about reality - and have slaughtered millions and destroyed entire cultures.  And Harari turns these Abrahamism into those of all of humanity. 


Data Recovery from Network Attached Storage

I found this page on data recovery from Network Attached Storage to be useful, but it wasn't at the top of my search results, so adding a link to it.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Vegetarian Neanderthals and what that implies

Per NPR studies of the dental calculus (hardened plaque, tartar) from three Neanderthal specimens showed that the individual from a cave in Spy, Belgium was largely carnivorous; while two individuals from El Sidrón cave in Spain were vegetarian.

Laura Weyrich, the lead on this study is quoted as follows:
She says the difference in diets reflects the fact that the two groups lived in two very different environments.
Northern Europe, including Belgium, had wide open spaces with grasslands and many mammals. "It would have been very grassy, and kind of mountainous," says Weyrich. "You can imagine a big woolly rhino wandering through the grass there." Perhaps tracked by hungry Neanderthals looking for dinner.

But farther south in Spain, the Neanderthals lived in dense forests. "It's hard to imagine a big woolly rhino trying to wedge themselves between the trees," says Weyrich. And so, she says the Neanderthals there feasted on all kinds of plants and mushrooms. "They're very opportunistic, trying to find anything that's edible in their environment."
We are told by supposedly respectable historians that want to write a grand narrative for the human race that the human body has evolved handle a particular diet.  The very fact that humans adapted to environments from the frigid north where little green grows, to the equatorial regions, or at least environments as varied as ancient Belgian grasslands and dense Spanish forests indicates that humans were not evolved to handle any particular diet.   (Don't quibble that this study is about Neanderthals, not homo sapiens sapiens; our non-Neanderthal ancestors were more successful than the Neanderthal line, and so likely were even more adaptable than the Neanderthals.)

What is amazing is that people with a supposedly scientific temper swallow this historian nonsense with little to no skepticism.   Since I don't think we evolved to credulously believe historians, I'm not sure what is the basis for this lack of skepticism.