Understanding political behaviour

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, September 22nd, 2009 - 34 comments
Categories: act, humour, science - Tags:

Hide smirkIt seems political scientists could learn a thing or two from anthropologists after all.

Neanderthals were not the gentle, almost-human creatures portrayed in the media over the last 50 years…

No surprises there mate.

34 comments on “Understanding political behaviour”

  1. lprent 1

    Ummmmmmm….. Almost tempted to pull this one. However, it is Act, who could do with some education in what a scientific theory is… This linking makes as much sense as the psuedo-sciences that they push all of the time. What the hell – let it through!

  2. Ianmac 3

    But shouldn’t Neanderthals be very very very hairy?

  3. roger nome 4

    I wonder when intelligent humans will make the Act Party extinct? oh happy day!

    • lprent 4.1

      Well my sister lives in Epsom. That makes one intelligent human in the right location. However to live in Epsom………………………………

  4. NickS 5


    I’ll wait till I see a post on an paleo-anthropology blog before I call firm bullsh*t, but the scoop article has a utter, sadly, typical myopic, didn’t bother doing doing the research crap that science-journalism often does. See;

    In which evidence of Neanderthals making fibre cloths and regular use of cooking is noted…

    Heck, there’s even stuff on the wiki page that makes clear they may have been rather like the oldest hunter-gather groups in terms of culture. And looking further at Vendramini claims as given in the article, I also call bullshit at this;

    Vendramini’s forthcoming book Them and Us: how Neanderthal predation created modern humans, describes how the human population of the Mediterranean Levant—the population from which every human on earth is descended—was almost wiped out by Neanderthal predation, until there were only 50 human individuals left in the region. He illustrates how those 50 survivors salvaged humankind from annihilation by transforming into aggressive and predatory beings that fought back—spreading across the globe, killing (and sometimes eating) all Neanderthals in their path, as well as ‘Neanderthal-looking’ hominids, until Neanderthals themselves became extinct.

    Vendramini describes this global migration through Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia and the Americas, as “a 20,000 kilometre blitzkrieg’. It did not end until these hyper-aggressive humans—our ancestors the Cro Magnons—were the only hominids left alive. “It was the first instance of evolution by genocide’, he says.

    Dear f*cking FSM, you’ve only got to look at the pages on wikipedia on human historical migrations to automatically be somewhat sceptical on this, but more so if you know the weakness of using mitochondrial and Y chromosome DNA markers to draw conclusions about ancient populations, i.e. you lose lineages of them, thus not correcting for those looses can lead to under estimations of population size. Which automatically makes his claims about “50 individuals” bloody suspect, if not indicative that Vendramini didn’t do the f*cking research.

    Not to mention either, members of the genus Homo have been snacked on by predators for a rather long time, and add in group conflicts, and thus I can only be somewhat more sceptical about Vendramini’s claims of Neanderthal hunting being a driver of human aggression.

    And one last point before I get sidetracked by this, if Vendramini’s claims are right, we should find human bones in Neanderthal middens where their ranges over-lapped. Thus far, there no indications of this that I know of, which means I should go looking. Though given how long this took last time when ScienceDaily and a few other places posted articles from John Ruben crowing like a moron that birds didn’t evolve from therapod dinosaurs, I’ll probably wait until I see something on the blogs I read.


  5. NickS 6

    Eh, without seeing the book I can’t draw strong conclusions, especially since I’m a biology student, with only a smattering of reading in this area, so it could well be that Vendramini does have some stunning evidence, though I’d bet it’s more likely he doesn’t. Especially since it’s being published in a book, rather than via journal articles, which if he does have the evidence, would likely get snapped up. Hell, publishing your theory in a book rather than in a journal is one of the signs of the author possibly being a crank if I’m remembering the crank warning signs list properly. And the only two pages of google results when looking for his book doesn’t look great either.

    This also sort of reminds me of the fun over Suzan Mazur’s evolution bullsh*t Scoop published in 08;
    r.e. this search on PZ Myer’s blog pharyngula

    Perhaps not as bad as NewScientist’s mistakes (r.e. the EM drive…), but still rather annoying to see.

  6. singularian 7

    Those Neanderthal cats eyes get me. Who knew? Hardly hominid at all. Hmmmm.

    I’m also assuming I’ll hear no squealing from this quarter the next time any Green MP is compared to Pol Pot or a Unionist compared to Stalin. After all they only killed a few to several tens of million humans whereas the ‘beast’ you all appear to be comparing R Hide to almost wiped out humanity in it’s entirety.

    Hypocrisy, as we all know, has no place at the Standard.

    catchpa – remembering – Yup, bookmarked for future regurgitation

    • ieuan 7.1

      Come on singularian, put your brain into gear. The whole point of the post is that ACT don’t believe in science, namely the science that is around climate change.

      • NickS 7.1.1

        He can’t help it really, rather bad case of internets disease, with a severe case of overwhelming unwarranted self importance, as seen by his earlier (pathetic) attempt to enlist /b/ as his personal army.

  7. Rhinocrates 8

    “Those Neanderthal cats eyes get me. Who knew?”


    While the cheap shots are flying thick and fast, I’ll have to point out that this ‘scholarship’ referred to is dodgy in the extreme – and I’m very disappointed that people will seize on bad scholarship simply because it’s sensational and is useful for rhetorical purposes. Ironically, that’s the sort of thing ACT gets up to and are rightly ridiculed for.

    A few minutes search will show that the the author styles himself as an ‘independent scholar’, meaning that he’s unqualified and never submitted a paper for peer review (essential to the scientific method). That in particular should be ringing alarm bells. His claim to have read thousands of scientific papers is meaningless without knowing his meta-research methodology – and suggests only assiduous cherry picking guided by confirmation bias.

    The artist is only fantasy illustrator and make-up designer. He has no experience or qualifications in anthropology or forensic reconstruction.

    The excessive, all-encompassing claims made for his hypothesis are also disturbing – as a general rule of thumb, never trust a new hypothesis that suddenly explains everything from our evolution through to our archetypes, our lack of genetic diversity and the previously inexplicable success of Britney Spears.

    He might be right, but so might Erich von Daniken and Graham Hancock… and that is very, very, verry unlikely.

    ACT’s global warming denialism is based on a bad understanding of science and bullshit detectors that are turned off in favour of “truthiness” detectors. This guy’s book smells very strongly of bullshit and it’s ironic that it’s being taken so uncritically.

    • lprent 8.1

      I think that is the point. the sprout is well known for making unsubtle subtle points.. To me this research looks dodgy. About as dodgy as the CCD ‘research’ that Act looks at as being gospel.

      the sprout put up some dodgy research and picture of Wodney and vague comment and left the reader to draw whatever dots they required to fill in their picture. This is a standard trait from Act. Think of the 3 strikes bill that never locks anyone up. The super-shitty that will increase rates while being more ‘efficient’. etc…

  8. Rhinocrates 9

    Ah, NickS, beat me to it, and better.

    “the scoop article has a utter, sadly, typical myopic, didn’t bother doing doing the research crap that science-journalism often does”

    Oh yes…

    How much bloody effort does it take? Really?

    • NickS 9.1

      That’s were a long term love of science, and a slightly shorter habit of chewing on young earth creationists/IDiots, and the odd global warming septic gets you 😛

      Though these things do take effort, If I didn’t regularly read the science blogs I do, let alone all the NewScientists and natural science books I chewed through as a kid and teenager, it would be somewhat difficult to pick up the flaws in Vendramini’s “press” release that makes it rather clear it shouldn’t have been put up on Scoop.

      Also, incidentally, the only other place this is up on is that bastion of science, the UK’s Daily Fail, I mean Daily Mail…

  9. randal 10

    spam =crazy, hahahahaha.
    anyway, act believes in anything that will get them eelcted even if they have to lie to the wonky christian nutters and the baby smackers and the nutjobs who believe that cars can run on water. wah wah wodney.

  10. randal 11

    act proves that evolution goes both ways. i.e. they are regressing into a breed of humans never seen before. anyway they dont not believe in science. they just hide it from the baby smackers, wonky christians and the nutbars who beleive that cars can run on water.

  11. NickS 12

    And lo, NickS did post this to another forum, and then in boredom seekth the wise oracle of google when DLx2 called agenda on Vendramini’s silliness, and lo did he find a rich mine of stupid;

    Hello classic crackpot silliness.

    Or, if one was to consult the current literature on the function of non-coding DNA, one would see that it is known to mostly have no function what so ever. Sure, a rather small percentage is transcribed to micro-RNA’s and other small RNA’s involved in gene regulation and development, and a good deal is dead viruses, genes, and parasitic repeats and transposons, but the vast majority has no detectable function. Which logically means, that unless you have clear evidence for it being functional, speculating it is, and then running with such a claim, is one big fat argument from ignorance.

    Also, he has “paper” on his page, which aren’t published in a journal, and have no signs of having gone through a peer review. Which is perhaps somewhat better than the CCD brigade’s excuses for peer-review, but is still a major warning sign of crankness.

    And worse yet, quotes!


    I so do love <a href=http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Quote_miningquote mining and ambushing scientists and other people with your pet speculative “stuff:.

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