what do we think of Neanderthals: buried dead, did art - are they human? what are implications?

https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/surprising-facts-about-neanderthals

Are they part of the human family? Even if extinct. Do they get salvation, heaven, it's mind boggling.

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Comments

  • Of course they are part of the human family.* Though I'd wager it does the average Christian no comfort that I think the Neanderthals have the same chance at salvation that they do.

    *Especially since everyone except people of sub-Saharan Africa has Neanderthal DNA.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Though I'd wager it does the average Christian no comfort that I think the Neanderthals have the same chance at salvation that they do.
    What's the reasoning behind your wager?
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Though I'd wager it does the average Christian no comfort that I think the Neanderthals have the same chance at salvation that they do.
    What's the reasoning behind your wager?
    The average Christian neither has heard of lilbuddha nor much cares?
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Are they part of the human family? Even if extinct. Do they get salvation, heaven, it's mind boggling.
    I'm not sure it raises any new theological problems beyond the usual ones about salvation before Christ.
    I believe the current thinking is that most Europeans are a little bit neanderthal, i.e. neanderthals are conspecifics with us, though there's been a pendulum in scientific thinking on that point in my lifetime.

  • I'm a Neanderthal and if God exists I'm alright. Just like everyone else from eternity.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    When I inhabited Fundyland, we were convinced that Neanderthals were humans. The alternative would imply there was some truth in Evol****n ...

    (Inasmuch as I think Neanderthals are classed as a subspecies of homo sapiens, I suppose we were technically correct, albeit for the wrong reasons ...)
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    When I inhabited Fundyland, we were convinced that Neanderthals were humans. The alternative would imply there was some truth in Evol****n ...

    (Inasmuch as I think Neanderthals are classed as a subspecies of homo sapiens, I suppose we were technically correct, albeit for the wrong reasons ...)

    Is that right? I love these strange oddities. You didn't put Evilution.
  • Some think that the obscure first few verses of Genesis 6 could refer to Neanderthals and/or other closely related ancestors of our human species. And some think that after hominid evolution over thousands of years God decided to put a 'soul' into the line from which we are descended.
  • Some... 'think'...
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/surprising-facts-about-neanderthals
    Are they part of the human family? Even if extinct. Do they get salvation, heaven, it's mind boggling.
    As they are extinct if they exist in a binary category then I think there's nothing direct to worry about. If they are fully human then we already have that problem with Laban, if they are fully 'creature' then we have that problem with our favourite cat.

    The issue would be if we have an almost-human category. Even extinct this has play with two issues, evolution and racism (slavery). Each of the various churches [and secular organisations] have had interest in having people they had no responsibility for. It was a huge fight for (English Missionary Non-conformists like Wray&Smith in Demeera) to get slaves to be allowed to go to church while the Colonial Church was burning down Knibb's church. Whereas Whitefield campaigned for slavery in Georgia.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Some... 'think'...

    Guess.
  • Taxonomically, Neanderthals are the same species as us. We are homo sapiens sapiens (the thinking thinking human ... though the evidence of ability to think doubly clearly could be questioned), part of the homo sapiens species that also includes homo sapiens neanderthalensis, homo sapiens rhodesiensis and homo sapiens idaltu (with a few more questions re: Herto Man). With several other homo sapiens groups postulated. The classification homo also includes the various groups of homo erectus, homo habilis etc.

    The practical implications includes a recognition that humanity is very broad in terms of physical and intellectual attributes, and that the "racial" categorisations of homo sapiens sapiens are even more absurd than they were before we were so aware of the breadth of human characteristics. If we start to make artificial divisions between groups of humans and say of some "well, they're not really human" or "they don't deserve the rights we consider all humans to have" then where do we stop? Do we start applying those statements to other "races"? What about those born with chromosomal differences, those with genetic differences?
  • Very broad in *intellectual* attributes? I think Alan you need to clarify what you mean.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Some... 'think'...

    Guess.

    It's not even guessing. As in not even wrong. And I don't. Guess. Not as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    If there have been no Neanderthals for several thousand years, is this any more than pointless speculation? Why is it interesting and why should it matter?

    Nobody is going to have a Neanderthal turn up one Sunday morning and say "what must I do to be saved?"

    Pinheads anyone?
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Though I'd wager it does the average Christian no comfort that I think the Neanderthals have the same chance at salvation that they do.
    What's the reasoning behind your wager?
    The average Christian neither has heard of lilbuddha nor much cares?
    That made me laugh.
    The thought, though, was because it begins the exploration of what makes us think we humans are so special. As Alan begins to explore, our species did not pop into being fully formed. It is rather difficult to pick a point in our evolution and find the instruction “Insert soul here”.


  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited August 2019
    I don't see why that should do the average Christian no comfort, but never mind.
    Some think that the obscure first few verses of Genesis 6 could refer to Neanderthals and/or other closely related ancestors of our human species. And some think that after hominid evolution over thousands of years God decided to put a 'soul' into the line from which we are descended.

    Perhaps, but:
    Dafyd wrote: »
    I believe the current thinking is that most Europeans are a little bit neanderthal, i.e. neanderthals are conspecifics with us, though there's been a pendulum in scientific thinking on that point in my lifetime.
    (emphasis mine).

    As I've said before*, anthropology appears to me to be highly speculative, as well as dominated by egos. (In the link in the OP I see Lucy has been downgraded to an 'ancient ape'; I'm sure she used to be depicted as practically the kind of person who you might have as a neighbour).

    *Settle in for 5 pages of the pitfalls of attempting to distinguish different categories of human based on origins. I've been looking for this thread since the new OP.

  • Very broad in *intellectual* attributes? I think Alan you need to clarify what you mean.
    Probably "potential" would have been a word I should have inserted, as we're not really in a position to be definitive. We know all groups of homo possessed the ability to construct and use tools, which is a poor reflection of actual intellectual attributes - there are homo sapiens sapiens societies that managed perfectly well with technology not much different from earlier homo groups (ie: I wouldn't say western Europeans are intellectually superior, or even intellectually different, because we have a different set of tools). But, we know there's some significant differences in brain cavity size and shape in different groups of homo, even within homo sapiens. So, it's probable that the abilities of, say, homo habilis to think abstractly, to appreciate beauty, to communicate complex ideas and other expressions of intellectual attributes would be different from other homo groups.
  • As we discuss these other homo species, are they also human? Apparently there's a species called which is ancestor to both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals called Homo heidelbergensis. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/ancient-dna-and-neanderthals

    If it isn't that one, it's another. And then it goes back further to other species. When the heck are we human and special?
  • As we discuss these other homo species, are they also human? Apparently there's a species called which is ancestor to both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals called Homo heidelbergensis. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/ancient-dna-and-neanderthals

    If it isn't that one, it's another. And then it goes back further to other species. When the heck are we human and special?

    Also Homo habilis, Homo australopithecus, Homo erectus, and right back to the common ancestor of Homo sapiens and the other extant primates and if that common ancestor is human then chimpanzees are also human.

    In order to decide what is and isn't (a) human we need to figure out what qualities define being (a) human and I suspect that will take us into very murky waters.

    My view is that humans are not special in any objective sense and any special status we subjectively grant humans is based on self-interest.
  • Timmy looked human. He was about 20. But he'd had less going on than a newborn since birth at least. No smile reflex. He couldn't sit. He never got to first base. I have memories from around the age of one. A memory. And one from the age of two. No question. Timmy had nothing at all. No experience. No reification. No mind. Garden slugs are infinitely more purposeful. What transcends? Of the miscarried? Aborted? The cat? The slug?
  • Martin, I aspire to understand your posts.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Martin, I aspire to understand your posts.

    Odd. I understood it perfectly as a reply to and extension of my post immediately above it regarding how we define what it is to be (a) human. Martin54's "Timmy" is a member of our species but completely devoid of any attributes we would normally expect to find in a human. Therefore, should we regard Timmy as a human and treat him accordingly? Or not? And what are the ramifications of the decision
  • Aye Colin, especially in the putative transcendent.
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    I don't think about Neanderthals that often.
  • As we discuss these other homo species, are they also human? Apparently there's a species called which is ancestor to both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals called Homo heidelbergensis. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/ancient-dna-and-neanderthals

    If it isn't that one, it's another. And then it goes back further to other species. When the heck are we human and special?

    Also Homo habilis, Homo australopithecus, Homo erectus, and right back to the common ancestor of Homo sapiens and the other extant primates and if that common ancestor is human then chimpanzees are also human.

    In order to decide what is and isn't (a) human we need to figure out what qualities define being (a) human and I suspect that will take us into very murky waters.

    My view is that humans are not special in any objective sense and any special status we subjectively grant humans is based on self-interest.
    I think "what makes us human" is not the right question. It is what makes humans special. And we can point to the ability to reshape the planet deliberately as a special attribute. Perhaps not without consequences, but unique thus far.
    The question asked in the OP, however, takes us into deeper waters. Our understanding of intelligence the theory of mind , and just what constitutes awareness is changing. The list of creatures recognising the concept of self is growing. Ants, freakin' ants, appear to pass the mirror test. And whilst a sculpture titled Ameise mit Schädel* might be a bit too far, so is human equals the Precious.

    *Ant with Skull
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Martin, I aspire to understand your posts.


    Odd. I understood it perfectly as a reply to and extension of my post immediately above it regarding how we define what it is to be (a) human. Martin54's "Timmy" is a member of our species but completely devoid of any attributes we would normally expect to find in a human. Therefore, should we regard Timmy as a human and treat him accordingly? Or not? And what are the ramifications of the decision
    I'm with @Tank Engine on this. I was mystified. I've read through the earlier posts on this thread. I'm still mystified. Who is Timmy?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I think Martin54 is challenging the idea that it is cognitive or intellectual capacity that distinguishes us as human by presenting the case of someone who, whether congenitally, or through disease or injury has little or no cognitive function, and asking us to consider whether such a person is ‘human’ or not.

    His post is, however, typically elliptical to the point of obscurity.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Leaving Timmy aside... i've never understood why Neanderthals should be considered subhuman. If we can interbreed, that settles it for me. And all this "surprise, look how smart they were!" inspires a giant yawn in me and always did. Wasn't the caveman/grunt/club/drags-woman-by-hair thing just chronological racism?

    Next thing you know, they'll discover a neanderthal comb and have to adjust their ugly hairmop pictures. Ho hum.
  • And on the other topic... it was not because humans were so special, fantastic and all-round better than other cteatures that God became a man, suffered, died and rose for us. It was because we fucked up worse than all the rest and therefore got helped. Being proud of it is a bit perverse.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    ... i've never understood why Neanderthals should be considered subhuman. If we can interbreed, that settles it for me. And all this "surprise, look how smart they were!" inspires a giant yawn in me and always did. Wasn't the caveman/grunt/club/drags-woman-by-hair thing just chronological racism? ...
    Yup.

    Speaking as someone whose DNA tests show me to be almost 2% Neandertal (and my father was slightly more than that), I agree. Of course they were human, as human as any of us. We just know potentials in most cases, of course, but the lung capacity looks excellent for the field of opera.


  • Wondering if we need a new story about humanity. Something more. Something about the development of self awareness and capacity to think, be self aware, knowledge that our actions harm others, help others etc. leaving behind a selfish nature if we so choose. Getting to the point that we'd be aware of creation, of a God. I'm very undeveloped with this, but maybe my direction is discernable.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Wondering if we need a new story about humanity. Something more. Something about the development of self awareness and capacity to think, be self aware, knowledge that our actions harm others, help others etc. leaving behind a selfish nature if we so choose.
    More animals than genus Homo fit those qualifications.
    Ants, like I said, seem to be self aware. Ants help their own. The dividing line becomes less clear all the time.
    Getting to the point that we'd be aware of creation, of a God.
    Which could easily boil down to We are aware of the God we invented.

  • Martin, I aspire to understand your posts.

    Odd. I understood it perfectly as a reply to and extension of my post immediately above it regarding how we define what it is to be (a) human. Martin54's "Timmy" is a member of our species but completely devoid of any attributes we would normally expect to find in a human. Therefore, should we regard Timmy as a human and treat him accordingly? Or not? And what are the ramifications of the decision

    This is how I understood Martin's post, too. I'm not quite sure why it's difficult. I've come across elsewhere questions about people like Timmy.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Wondering if we need a new story about humanity. Something more. Something about the development of self awareness and capacity to think, be self aware, knowledge that our actions harm others, help others etc. leaving behind a selfish nature if we so choose.
    More animals than genus Homo fit those qualifications.
    Ants, like I said, seem to be self aware. Ants help their own. The dividing line becomes less clear all the time.
    Getting to the point that we'd be aware of creation, of a God.
    Which could easily boil down to We are aware of the God we invented.

    Or grasping our projections is very difficult. In therapy, we talk of withdrawing them, but there is an argument that divine power should be projected, otherwise humans get too inflated and omnipotent. But in the end, I don't think we have much choice where we stow projected stuff. If some religious symbol resonates with you, then it does, and if not, not.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    It is an interesting (and I think valid) question. We used to think that we were a distinct sub-species, and the whole question of what "being human" meant was purely applicable to us. We thought that our group had wiped otut the Neanderthals. So they were no longer of any relevance.

    But we now know that this is not true - that everyone except the Africans are partly Neanderthal. We are not distinct from them. They are part of us. They were human. ANd the fact that Alice Roberts has more Neanderthal DNA than Bill Bailey shows how meaningless it is to judge on this basis.

    Of course this totally undermines the White Supremaciset argument. Because if anyone is "Pure Human", it is the Africans.
  • ISTM that if God exists, created (in whatever manner), loves us, etc., then She loves every single bit (or byte ;) ), and won't rest 'til everyone and everything is safe, and well, and Home. Neanderthals, starfish, subatomic particles...even humans.

    As to comparing Neanderthals with us, humans have quite a knack for simultaneously wanting to be the pinnacle of creation and feeling existentially lonely, so we seek out space aliens who we want to be both superior and fun to hang out with, and animals to live with; and only see what we want to see. And we shout a lot, to feel less alone.

    So we push/pull ourselves in contradictory directions, and get all tangled up. It's hard for us to consider that God might love Neanderthals; that we might have more in common with them than we think; that we might not be God's favorite (or that God doesn't have favorites)...or that humans (of our (sub-) species) aren't necessarily "The Answer To Life, The Universe, And Everything". Maybe the Neanderthals were the ones who were supposed to survive.
    She was mostly immensely relieved to think that virtually everything that anybody had ever told her was wrong.

    (From "So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish", by Douglas Adams.)
  • At what point are we theologically human? Was Timmy as entitled as the briefly sapient rest of us - and ants aren't sapient, they don't help each other in any detached, self-observed, participatory, meta way and to claim that they pass the mirror test is more absurd than claims of software passing the Turing test - to be transcended? From what to what? If Timmy why not the ant? If not the ant, why the merely human?
  • I thought Christianity was speciesist, I mean saying that the divine especially favours humans. I think some Asian religions are less so, and some might say that the divine resides in animals. I suppose speciesism contributes to ill-treatment of animals.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    It is an interesting (and I think valid) question. We used to think that we were a distinct sub-species, and the whole question of what "being human" meant was purely applicable to us. We thought that our group had wiped otut the Neanderthals. So they were no longer of any relevance.

    But we now know that this is not true - that everyone except the Africans are partly Neanderthal. We are not distinct from them. They are part of us. They were human. ANd the fact that Alice Roberts has more Neanderthal DNA than Bill Bailey shows how meaningless it is to judge on this basis.

    Of course this totally undermines the White Supremaciset argument. Because if anyone is "Pure Human", it is the Africans.

    And those descended from them without inter-mixture. The First People here had lived fo about 60,000 years in near total isolation (at least as far as we currently know save for some very limited contacts between those in the far north and the peoples of New Guinea and Indonesia).
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    The bigger the human family the better imo.

    Now we can look forward to meeting Neanderthals in heaven. :mrgreen:

    Of course, it won’t be heaven without animals anyway, so who decides which ones get in? Does God only allow the ‘human friendly’ domesticated ones? Does She allow us to continue to eat them? :astonished:

    So many questions, so few answers.
  • It is an interesting (and I think valid) question. We used to think that we were a distinct sub-species, and the whole question of what "being human" meant was purely applicable to us. We thought that our group had wiped otut the Neanderthals. So they were no longer of any relevance.

    But we now know that this is not true - that everyone except the Africans are partly Neanderthal. We are not distinct from them. They are part of us. They were human. ANd the fact that Alice Roberts has more Neanderthal DNA than Bill Bailey shows how meaningless it is to judge on this basis.

    Of course this totally undermines the White Supremaciset argument. Because if anyone is "Pure Human", it is the Africans.

    Source.
  • In the words of the great theologian Dr Who, "Everybody lives!"

    I don't know who everybody is of course. Still, my sister suffers terribly from allergies so I reckon there's a fair whack of Neanderthal in us.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    It is an interesting (and I think valid) question. We used to think that we were a distinct sub-species, and the whole question of what "being human" meant was purely applicable to us. We thought that our group had wiped otut the Neanderthals. So they were no longer of any relevance.

    But we now know that this is not true - that everyone except the Africans are partly Neanderthal. We are not distinct from them. They are part of us. They were human. ANd the fact that Alice Roberts has more Neanderthal DNA than Bill Bailey shows how meaningless it is to judge on this basis.

    Of course this totally undermines the White Supremaciset argument. Because if anyone is "Pure Human", it is the Africans.

    Source.
    If only there were a way to seek this information; to search if you will. A mechanism or engine to facilitate the quest.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    It is an interesting (and I think valid) question. We used to think that we were a distinct sub-species, and the whole question of what "being human" meant was purely applicable to us. We thought that our group had wiped otut the Neanderthals. So they were no longer of any relevance.

    But we now know that this is not true - that everyone except the Africans are partly Neanderthal. We are not distinct from them. They are part of us. They were human. ANd the fact that Alice Roberts has more Neanderthal DNA than Bill Bailey shows how meaningless it is to judge on this basis.

    Of course this totally undermines the White Supremaciset argument. Because if anyone is "Pure Human", it is the Africans.

    Source.
    If only there were a way to seek this information; to search if you will. A mechanism or engine to facilitate the quest.

    If only there were a way that whoever makes a bizarre claim like Africans having no Neanderthal genes could be backed up when they make it.
  • Timmy is human if he has human parents. If he was born with a severe learning disability then he is even more deserving than me of human compassion and care. If he is like Tony Bland and suffered severe brain damage resulting in persistent vegetative state (PVS) then he is also deserving of human care and compassion. Tony Bland was in PVS for 4 years after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. His parents loved him dearly but they and those looking after him considered his treatment to be futile and wanted him to be allowed to die. The courts had to rule on the case and it went to the highest court in the UK. The Law Lords upheld their request (by a majority of 3 to 2) and used the following rationale: Treatment for someone unable to give consent is only lawful if it is in their best interests. Nutrition and hydration etc was deemed medical treatment. This treatment was evidently not in his best interests and so not only could it be legally withdrawn but it was illegal to continue with it.

    Not sure what this has to do with Neanderthals but I am interested in the case of Timmy.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    It is an interesting (and I think valid) question. We used to think that we were a distinct sub-species, and the whole question of what "being human" meant was purely applicable to us. We thought that our group had wiped otut the Neanderthals. So they were no longer of any relevance.

    But we now know that this is not true - that everyone except the Africans are partly Neanderthal. We are not distinct from them. They are part of us. They were human. ANd the fact that Alice Roberts has more Neanderthal DNA than Bill Bailey shows how meaningless it is to judge on this basis.

    Of course this totally undermines the White Supremaciset argument. Because if anyone is "Pure Human", it is the Africans.

    And those descended from them without inter-mixture. The First People here had lived fo about 60,000 years in near total isolation (at least as far as we currently know save for some very limited contacts between those in the far north and the peoples of New Guinea and Indonesia).
    Aboriginal Australians have 3% to 5% Denesovian DNA. So not quite straight out of Africa.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    It is an interesting (and I think valid) question. We used to think that we were a distinct sub-species, and the whole question of what "being human" meant was purely applicable to us. We thought that our group had wiped otut the Neanderthals. So they were no longer of any relevance.

    But we now know that this is not true - that everyone except the Africans are partly Neanderthal. We are not distinct from them. They are part of us. They were human. ANd the fact that Alice Roberts has more Neanderthal DNA than Bill Bailey shows how meaningless it is to judge on this basis.

    Of course this totally undermines the White Supremaciset argument. Because if anyone is "Pure Human", it is the Africans.

    Source.
    If only there were a way to seek this information; to search if you will. A mechanism or engine to facilitate the quest.

    If only there were a way that whoever makes a bizarre claim like Africans having no Neanderthal genes could be backed up when they make it.
    A couple of minutes on Ecosia ..

    The percentage of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans is zero or close to zero in people from African populations, and is about 1 to 2 percent in people of European or Asian background. The percentage of Denisovan DNA is highest in the Melanesian population (4 to 6 percent), lower in other Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander populations, and very low or undetectable elsewhere in the world.
  • Luther would call these type of questions willow switch questions. When he was once asked what did God do before creation began, he answered God made willow switches to use on anyone that would ask such questions.

    That said, the diversity of the human family is quite extensive and actually very interesting to trace. Even Darwin would be amazed at what we know of the story now.

    I will let God be God. How God cares for the human family is a mystery.
  • It is an interesting (and I think valid) question. We used to think that we were a distinct sub-species, and the whole question of what "being human" meant was purely applicable to us. We thought that our group had wiped otut the Neanderthals. So they were no longer of any relevance.

    But we now know that this is not true - that everyone except the Africans are partly Neanderthal. We are not distinct from them. They are part of us. They were human. ANd the fact that Alice Roberts has more Neanderthal DNA than Bill Bailey shows how meaningless it is to judge on this basis.

    Of course this totally undermines the White Supremaciset argument. Because if anyone is "Pure Human", it is the Africans.
    This is, I think, "essentialism". Which is actually bunkum. We all have African DNA both ancestral and within our more recent family tree.

    Further there is more genetic variation within the group you'd label as African than there is between the group you'd label as African and white, Asian or anything else. And people you'd identify as African have what you'd call white genes and heritage, among other things. Race is clearly only skin deep and based on a Euro-white idea.
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