[Marxism] Anthro 101 and Apes and Monkeys

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Tue Dec 28 13:34:12 MST 2004


> That _was_ anthro 101 in 1968.

36 years ago. Centuries in contemporary science.

CB:Since we switched to time-space continuum there are a lot of fancy things
done with time; but 36 years is now centuries ?


> Also the 1968 101 position is not anti-materialist as you assert. How do
> you
> figure that ?

It was materialist.

In 1968.

CB: I am glad you have brought my attention to this new debate. I get the
impression it _is_ still a debate , and not well-settled into your new

I looked at my 2004 copyright edition of _People of the Earth_ and an
introduction to world prehistory , by Brian M. Fagan, so archaology 101.
Fagan says at page 34:

" All of us are members of the order Primates, which includes most
tree-living placental mammals.  There are two suborders: anthropoids (apes,
humans, and monkeys), and prosimians (lemurs, tarsiers, and other
pre-monkeys). The research of more than a century has shown that the many
similarities in behavior and physical characteristics between hominids (
primates of the family Hominidae, which includes modern humans, earler human
subspecies, and their direct ancestors) and the pongids ( our closest living
primate relatives) can be explained by indentical characteristics that each
group inherited millions of years ago from a common ancestor. "

This is the same as I was taught in anthro 131 36 years ago. Sometimes, in
dialectics the motion, evolutionary rather than revolutionary motion, is the
more things change the more they stay the same.


As I mentioned in passing in my original message, Lenin in "Empirocriticism"

spoke a lot about "Ether", which even if Einstein and others at the time 
were questioning it, was very much the scientific concensus at the time.

Was beliving in Ether (or Aether) anti-materialist? Not at the time. Today, 
of course, it would be like beliving in ghosts or that the earth is flat.

But when I took antro 101 in 1996 (8 years ago!), I was taught that we 
indeed were apes,
and that there was just one family Hominidae with two sub-families Hominidae
(Homo and Pan, living or extinct) and Pongiade which is where the orangutans
go. And as I mentioned this debate is on going, but I am comfortable with
the level of research and mainstream acceptance.

But even this was shown not to be entirely correct by some in this very 
list. To view science as static, is to deny dialectics.

> I would say the second "sapiens" in homo sapiens sapiens is "dangerous".
> How can there be subspecies that are not races ?

This is a misunderstanding of what a subspecies is. A subspecies is not a 
"race". It serves to describe a large scale genetic (and sometimes 
morphological) differences within a single species.

CB: Which still seemingly corresponds to "race" as anthropologists like
Carleton Coon conceived of it "centuries" ago in the 1920's. C. Loring Brace
and Ashley Montague, et al. ,  developed the theory that there are no human
races over 36 years ago.


The second sapiens in sapiens is used to separate us from a now extinct 
species of Homo sapiens, the Homo sapiens neanderthalis, which most 
scientists belive to be an Homo sapiens, but has a very distinct and unique 
morphology (and presumably genetic make up) than contemporary humans.

CB: The latest I heard on this is that , I think , mitochondria DNA has been
used to remove Neanderthals from the species homo sapiens. I think that was
in the newspapers a few years back ( see search engines)

Here's the critical difference between species ( the category in Darwin's
title) and genus, order, family, the other taxa ( or is that phyla ?) etc.
The species defines the point at which interbreeding is limited. Different
genuses cannot interbreed. Different "sub-species" can interbreed. To say
Neanderthals are the same species as we are is to say we could interbreed
with them. 

Why would homo sapiens sapiens replace homo sapiens neanderthalis if they
could interbreed ?



On the other hand, "races" are essentially a non-scientific way of 
describing morphological differences between groups of the same species, and

are really an ideological construction, with no base in genetics or any 
other science.

For example, Canis familiaris, the common dog, has 100s of "races" or 
"breeds", some of which are impressively different morphologically, yet only

one subspicies, the Canis familiaris dingo, the Australian Dingo, which 
looks like a big cross of a wolf and a fox. This due to the fact that even a

huge mastiff and a tiny toy chihuahua are genetically almost identical and 
together more similar to each other than to a dingo, but a dingo is still a 
member of their species, so there is a need to stress their differences by 
making a dingo a sub-species, and to stress their similary by making the 
dingo part of the species.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Charles Brown" <cbrown at michiganlegal.org>
> CB: Would we say we are monkeys , as well as apes ?

No. Apes and monkeys are both primates, but monkeys are a different branch 
(actually several different branches). The most visible difference is that 
monkeys have tails and apes don't, but there are other evolutionary, genetic

and morphological differences.


CB: However, we share a common monkey ancestor with apes. So, both humans
and apes descend from monkeys. Ergo, humans and apes are monkeys , in the
same form that you are humans are apes.

Hence my comment that Lenin was incorrect in sustaining that we are "monkeys

of an icy god". We are actually apes of an icy god.


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