Have you ever heard Gary Habermas, Michael Licona or William Lane Craig defend the resurrection of Jesus in a debate by saying that the resurrection is the best explanation for the “minimal facts” about Jesus? The lists of minimal facts that they use are typically agreed to by their opponents during the debates. Minimal facts […]
Negan was right, “I’m bringing ORDER to this shit!” I seem to remember this above all else OVER the constant shit about how a society deals with, ‘The most vulnerable.’ Or as I call them, the people that would be culled due to inadequacy and weakness. Most people born with the inability to care for self would naturally die out and the strong would survive. Weak assholes liberalize the reason for non-producers to survive in a time of plenty because they are idiots who can’t live with themselves if they actually made the right decision about defective human animals. These people are eradicated on a natural level. If you cannot contribute to the village pot, you are turned out or driven out due to your uselessness. This is life as an animal in the real world.
Most stupid humans try to believe that they are beyond their animal origins and believe that overpopulation is not an issue due to bullshit asshole hubris believing that they are above the ecosystem of the basic animal. This is fucking crap! Humans have busted out of the ecosystem that they occupy resulting in unnatural results such as adjusting habitat situations resulting in elevated murder/crime statistics resulting from too many rats in the maze. We are an animal regardless of the religious communities opinions or dictates and the opinions of the assholes that believe we are better than the things that they allow to piss on their lawns.
We have problems that are going to kill us as a species related to the opinion that we are above the other mammals on our planet. Until we manage our villages like we do our rabbit hutches and hen houses, we are going to spiral out of control and kill each other trying to take resources to survive.
Trump supporters….Those who are too stubborn to realize that the honeymoon is over and that now the sex has just degenerated to revenge fucking. How do they do it? I have no idea. I am about the most measured guy a person could meet and I gave the Orange Guy a chance…for about a month. After that, he just started putting his Jimmy Choos in his oral toilet on a daily basis and hasn’t stopped telling pathological lies since! This fat golfing addict bastard is so on a roll with being in love with himself on the great power trip that he seems to believe that impeachment is still something served out of a can in heavy syrup! This, of course, points to high time that Americans need to wake up, pull the face out of the puddle of drool on their collective pillows, and realize that their top elected official is using his public office as a personal Ms. Pacman arcade!
First off, thanks Dimmocrats, for choosing the asshole corporate hack misogynist Hillary over Bernie Sanders. You played right into the Republican’s hands. Bernie may have had extreme socialist ideas, (that would never work in a country so full of welfare leeches), but he was passionate and forthright in a sea of corporate run assholes who were slowly selling the country out to the highest bidder. I, the middle-road guy would have chosen him in a fucking hot minute over Shillary! Second, I cannot fault the moderates and Rightys for their choice because Chester Cheeto was the only other candidate speaking to the middle-under-fire-class that pays for corporate welfare AND for able-bodied people at the bottom to sit on their fat asses. I wanted free college for anyone willing to pull themselves up, I wanted Fed regulations on these educational institutions to have to consult with public and private sectors on career needs instead of handing out pH D’s in fucking basket weaving for $100,000 dollars, which are fucking worthless!
Now we have the Lefty ‘No hopers,’ who’s mantra is, “when you take away ALLL HOPE,” which is dis empowerment speak for, ‘When you sit on your Liberal ass and stay asleep, refusing to fight for your freedom and rights, while whining the whole fucking time.” Homey, I have a useful degree AND was homeless on and off for 18 years, (up until 18 yrs of age), and made the choice to refuse drugs and to pull myself up by my bootstraps! Personal choices people! Give away your hope and someone will come along and take it from you you fucking idiot! A person can still make the right choices without blaming others and be a success in this world! No Hopers are just complacent liberal assholes too cowardly to take what is rightfully theirs!
The 1% needs to be taken down a notch and through mass numbers, this CAN be done! People just need to use guts and force with a little thought to sacrifice! Military people did this in multiple conflicts. so take back the greatness of your nation and stand up to Cheeto Man and put a man of the people in there! People need to wake up and hold the political machine responsible to the public, and let the rich know that they are being watched and that ala French Revolution, their fucking melons could suddenly be separated from their necks if they overstep their bounds. Cheeto Man needs to go, he is a piece of shit. Let’s do this now before he does some REAL damage!
Hello America, today is yet another day that we can say, “Days without presidential embarrassment…..FUCKING ZERO! And counting. I had hoped to be a holdout to encourage folks to give him a chance, but he is proving himself a 1% asshole just like the rest of the Washington ilk! I am in the middle of the teeter totter. I balance myself in the middle while the angry children on the Left and Right try to knock each other in the dirt. My ass doesn’t end up there because I have found the mathematical perfect position of balance between two warring and extreme knee-jerk factions, none of them right but full of emotional conflict.
My position is to examine all of the facts and examine ways to solve complex problems, the Left and Right positions are examples of how children quarrel over a toy ending in the weakest one sustaining an injury while the winner gloats over the show of blood. It is very strange how the sociopathic Darwinist takes the position of peacemaker and caregiver of wounds in the midst of supposed normal folk who lust for blood at the enemy’s expense. I usually attempt to lead the religious zealot to the climate change believer and try to broker a peace and mutual understanding between them, me, the social Darwinist who believes that Eugenics wasn’t all bad and that death row inmates and lifers should face mandatory sterilization, believes that mediation could result in rational outcomes and the betterment of mankind in general…DUH!
The Donald is fucking irrational and deluded. He is busy not connecting with the majority of us as he stated he would! He is busy still fucking off at Mar-a-lago at our expense and fucking the local economy by causing a shutdown of all of the airport businesses due to restrictions related to Airforce One flying in their area of operations. Every commercial aircraft is grounded while The Donald’s plane is in the area! This is causing businesses to go bankrupt and the economy to take a downturn which is contrary to the message that he sent during his campaign of restoring the middle class. He isn’t for restoring the middle class, he doesn’t even install middle class friendly people to his cabinet. He elects those who have a strong dislike for those not in their country club and those who hob-knob with the 1%. You see, these assholes are not the 1%, not Donald, not his acolytes or his sycophantic fucktards. The 1% is unknown to us and multi-generational. These people operate above Donald and Bill Gates. These are the Billionaires that we know. The 1% operate above the law and don’t give a shit about the feeble every-day problems of the rich and the poor, they just pit them against each other to create a smoke screen for the constant fleecing.
The Donald was an answer to nothing that was supposed to be an answer to politics as usual. Now we have uncertainty and erratic bullshit over any balanced decision making resulting in a worry over whether or not Donald will kill us all. This dick cannot just shoot off his mouth and expect people to accept him as anything but ridiculous! Our President must respond with diplomacy and measured rhetoric before dropping a big assed bomb on any opponent. It’s like a chess game, not getting punched and reacting. This shit is gonna get us into something that the American people cannot extract themselves from for at least a decade, so pay attention people! Get the net and start being as afraid of this asshole’s policies as any other fair and balanced person!
I am on alert and am reasoning with the people that I can reason with. I am pissed about bullshit and complacency and ignorance and am well against it and need to warn others of the Donald’s idiocies. This fuck needs to NOT have 4 years of fucking us all. The Left needs to GIVE us a candidate like Sanders that we can use to fix certain things and veto others. Fix it and socialize education Goddammit! Get yer ass in gear! Donald is a loser!
I find myself coming back to my writing more and more as I realize that it comforts me and allows me to actually be my true self. There are no employers, no friends with religion, no other influential assholes here that harsh my literary mellow or try to squash my opinions with their idiotic outrage. When I write I go to my creative happy place and with a lack of worry, create what I believe to be some pretty cool and edgy prose on the foibles and frets of mankind, and how easily fixable most of it all is if people weren’t such complete dunces most of the time.
As a healthcare professional, I am somehow required by the law of man to passionately give a shit about humanity and strive for the betterment of these creatures above all else, even though they fuck themselves on a constant basis. I care, I do actually have a conscience, but the limits therein create a line that about 90% of humanity crosses on a daily basis with all of their petty infighting and, ‘I don’t give a shit about any problems but my own,’ attitudes. These people annoy me to no end and cause me to be very aware of an almost sociopathic quality to my personality that I am apologizing for quite rarely these days, but there are those whose opinions greatly matter to me over all others. The ones that matter discuss things sanely and fairly, without harsh judgment to those that they disagree with, without totally denying peer-reviewed demonstrable evidence, without masking their assholery in in pseudo-educated unsubstantiated circumlocutions tainted by holier-than-thou bullshit. These people are very few and far between and are always greater than an arms length away, making them very difficult to reach.
I used to consider my self a humanist, and maybe I am one, more so than I actually think. I believe that doing the best for the human race is the greatest gift that you can actually give it, so being a bit harsh, but adhering to logic will save the race without giving in to pseudo-morality and bullshit pandering to completely fucktardish thinking. Therefor I must now put forward my basic thoughts about humanity and it’s failings.
I believe in a swift death penalty only with irrefutable evidence. There is no room if conviction was done upon race and socioeconomic standing. If genetic evidence is present or a camera shows the crime in question, then convict and execute immediately as the gavel falls. Why? Not because of, ‘an eye for an eye,’ but because we have too many rats in the maze and it is showing the scientific signs of breaking down in real time as we speak. The animal condition of overpopulation is the real problem behind most of our difficulties on the planet Earth and less human beings is the answer. Religion will say different and knee-jerk liberalism will also defend the weakest, but the reality is that if you have a defective brake pad, then you wouldn’t install it on your car. So if this is the case, why do we keep death-row inmates alive and why do we keep those too disabled to contribute, alive when the system is the entity paying for their survival? This is a logical call, not a knee-jerk call! Asshole liberals will say that this is, ‘draconian,’ until the population reaches it’s breaking point when too many rats are in the maze, and then where are the liberal sentiments when these assholes are just trying to shore up their supplies by eliminating the needy?
I just believe in pre-empting the inevitable, the mass extermination of those not deemed worthy by the current government. We need to think and act upon forcing birth control on Medicaid recipients creating multiple children and using welfare as a career. The system needs to enact a free college and trade school system for these people while taking them and instructing them that they need to get a trade or a career, or forever be banned from the welfare system as complete flotsam. The system needs to be focused on being a necessary part of the village instead of a burden. People need to be trained for needed skills and plugged into the system as needs arise, and discouraged from getting worthless degrees that they, ‘dreamed of,’ getting because these fucking fields are goddamned pipe dream fields not populated by those based in reality. Yes, I understand the 1% and I get the bullshit that is going around, but I also believe that if society allows you to say what you want, then rise against the 1% and demand a better deal! This is possible because the status quo relies on the majority NOT rising up with guns and assassinating the minority! So get this shit together if you are unhappy with the current state of jobs and the minimum wage and be willing to risk your piece of the American pie to make the changes that you want, because if the Government is allowed to make those changes, you are probably not going to be quite satisfied with their incarnation of YOUR wishes. My father-in-law is very accustomed to using the word, “Draconian,” to describe anything that he disagrees with, ie, ALL things not extremely liberal, but given the problem with overpopulation, I hope that liberals get the net and realize that when people in industrialized countries begin fighting over resources, you a see the altruistic liberal vanish in a heartbeat when they miss a few meals.
The truth of the matter is that human beings need to start embracing some of their similarities to other animals, because it is unnatural and against what we are intrinsically as mammals to try to deny ourselves. We pontificate about unnatural things that we think elevate us and make us better as beings but ignore the fact that in the animal world there are no freebies and everyone contributes, or those that do not get nothing, THAT is natural and good! It is advanced thinking to assist a person or a family in temporary need, but it is unnatural to create a strata of flotsam who constantly graze on the labor of the working people while sitting on their subhuman asses. Things need to change that allow for socialized education and assistance programs for retraining if a person is injured, but if the person does not want these things and is abide, they need to be denied any tax dollars from those that work for a living. If this confederacy of dunces resort to crime, than force them to labor for 10 hrs a day and give them three meals a day and a cot, AND NO CONJUGAL VISITS! These slope-browed idiots should be mandatorily sterilized so that they cannot repopulate the trailer park!
You see, there is a serious need for people who are hardwired to do the right thing no matter how hard the decisions may be. I see these things in black and white and realize that half of our people have deluded themselves into thinking that all of this altruistic save-everyone bullshit is advanced thinking, much to the detriment of the ENTIRE planet, it’s climate, and it’s renewable resources that are rapidly dwindling. Most of these positions are due to liberal and far right religious folly, religion being the cancer upon humanity that seeks to fill the pews by restricting birth control and encouraging Latin men to essentially force their wives into maternal servitude and early death. These are just a few things that humanity uses to pump up the volume of an already overpopulated species! Yes, I know that poor Muslim countries do this as well and the 90% of their people follow it hook, line and sinker, or stinker, just like most of the majority of human beings. We have people like the ducking Fuggars who view the vagina as God’s sacred clown car, the more that comes from it, the better, until we are shoulder-to-shoulder and literally spiriting our neighbors away in the middle of the night to carve ’em up ala Terminus style and save ’em in ‘th big freezer until maw needs a shank fer the fucking stew!
The world needs a shake-up in the leadership, and not one that ignores the coming problems. It needs forward-thinking social Darwinists able to make decisions that are sensible and animal for the good of the producers/survivors, for the hunters that put meat on the table and keep the village psycho from running rampant! Liberal idiocy aside, these things are gonna happen and I would LOVE people to get on the bandwagon and support sensibility rather than support the free-love freebie snowflake shit happening today. I WANT green energy NOW! I want free college and trade school NOW! I want sustainable solutions to save the planet like fucking yesterday, but I am NOT a knee-jerk liberal and I think that the far right are insane. People need to, ‘be willing to break a few eggs.’ The reality of the matter is that people need to return to the days when hard choices were something you just had to make, instead of turfing it to someone with more guts and sticking their heads in the sand! I always say that I notice how 99% of self-made people are NEVER extreme liberals because they are too used to making tough choices and working for stuff instead of getting it for free, and I mean that. Without a frame of reference, a person should NEVER speak of something of which he/she has no experience. It’s like a career poor person telling you that money can’t buy you happiness. Has this person ever had money? No! Keep your mouth shut unless you have demonstrable evidence! Many of those without experience will pontificate on things that they know nothing of and they usually make themselves look like fools. These people usually are not those who have made hard choices that ended in their success or the success of others. Hard choices have to be made by people with guts who can look you in the eye after sacrificing something to save countless others.
I have gone on long enough. As I have said before, I am a social Darwinist who believes that the salvation of the human race relies on us going back to embracing the fact that we are animals and returning to a village lifestyle, where those who don’t contribute are given a job and if they can’t hack it, they receive NO benefit.
-Only through a concentrated group effort, can we stop this travesty!
Green billionaire prepares to attack ‘anti-science’ Republicans
By Peter Hamby, CNN National Political Reporter
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
Bill Nye battles with CNN host
Billionaire’s environmental group is targeting Senate, governors’ races
Focus is on races with contrast between pro-environment vs. “anti-science” candidates
Critics accuse Tom Steyer of hypocrisy, saying he made his money on fossil fuels
Washington (CNN) — An environmental advocacy group backed by hedge fund tycoon Tom Steyer is set to unleash a seven-state, $100 million offensive against Republican “science deniers” this year, a no-holds-barred campaign-style push from the green billionaire that could help decide which party controls the Senate and key statehouses come November.
The Steyer-backed outside group, NextGen Climate, has billed itself as a progressive, pro-environment counterbalance to the wealthy oil and gas industry — as well as the primary foil to the pro-business Koch brothers and their well-funded conservative donor network.
The outfit, launched last year by the San Francisco billionaire, has already pledged to spend heavily this midterm year in Iowa to assist the Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley, and in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott is facing a difficult re-election fight against Democrat Charlie Crist.
Red news, blue news: Climate change Rubio: Scientists wrong on climate White House: Climate change to get worse
Steyer’s 2014 map now includes Senate races in Michigan, New Hampshire and Colorado as well as governor’s races in Maine and Pennsylvania, home to two of the most endangered Republican governors in the country, Paul LePage and Tom Corbett.
“This is the year, in our view, that we are able to demonstrate that you can use climate, you can do it well, you can do it in a smart way, to win political races,” said Chris Lehane, the longtime Democratic consultant advising Steyer.
Lehane and NextGen political strategist Sky Gallegos revealed their 2014 strategy Wednesday in a briefing with reporters in Washington.
‘Pro-climate action’ vs. ‘anti-science’
Absent from their list of 2014 targets: must-win Senate races for Democrats in conservative-leaning states such as Arkansas, Alaska, North Carolina, Louisiana and Kentucky. That’s because Democrats on those ballots have expressed support for the Keystone XL pipeline, the coal industry, offshore drilling or hydraulic fracturing — all nonstarter issues for environmentalists.
Instead, Lehane said the 501(c)4 group will play in races that feature a stark choice between “pro-climate action” candidates — all Democrats — and “anti-science” Republicans who have questioned the veracity of climate change or supported the interests of the oil and gas industry.
GOP candidates in the NextGen cross hairs — Scott in Florida, Terri Lynn Land in Michigan, Scott Brown in New Hampshire and Cory Gardner in Colorado — hew closely to the “Republican troglodyte brand,” Lehane argued.
“They are anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-science,” he said. “It’s a tough brand to win elections around.”
The group said that climate can be successfully used as a wedge issue — Lehane framed it as a moral clash between “right and wrong” — to boost turnout among Democratic voting groups that tend not to show up in midterm election years, specifically young voters, Hispanics and African-Americans.
Cutter presses Graham on climate change Climate change is here Climate change in the Northeast
As in the Virginia governor’s race last year — when Steyer spent nearly $8 million on a campaign to disqualify GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli with a combination of TV, mail and field operations — the efforts will extend beyond the TV airwaves and include what they call “nano-targeting” to tailor messaging to discrete voting groups.
“We are not some super PAC that’s going to come in, throw up some ads and leave,” Lehane said. “You can come into these states and really run a total campaign.”
Focusing on hyper-local issues
Lehane said the effort, which is budgeted at around $100 million but could grow, will focus attention on hyper-local issues — such as drought in Iowa or flood insurance costs in Florida — that could influence voter perceptions in key pockets of each state. Pollution-related health concerns such as asthma and clean drinking water hit home for lower-income voters, he said.
It wasn’t lost on reporters that the NextGen map featured multiple states that figure prominently in presidential races — Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida among them. Lehane said that was by design. “Almost all of these states align with being really important presidential states either in the primary process or the general election,” he said, promising that Steyer will be active throughout the 2016 campaign.
When the 2016 presidential primary campaigns lurch into overdrive next year, NextGen will continue to call attention to turnout-driving local issues — and on attacking Republican candidates. Steyer has already funded an ad in Florida attacking Sen. Marco Rubio, one of many possible GOP White House aspirants, as a tool of oil lobbyists. “We look forward to a conversation with the Rubios of the world,” Lehane said of the group’s 2016 plans, without revealing specifics.
The outside air cover should come as welcome news to Democratic candidates in their target states who are drowning in a flood of TV ads from conservative groups such as the Koch-endorsed Americans for Prosperity. But the campaign may put some Democrats in a bind.
In Colorado, for instance, Lehane said NextGen will attack Gardner by showcasing his support for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and the adverse health effects of natural gas extraction on suburban communities. But the strategy could force Democratic Sen. Mark Udall to take a definitive stand on a divisive state issue that pits the business community against environmentalists, an important slice of the Democratic base. Meanwhile, the state’s Democrat governor, John Hickenlooper, has been cautiously supportive of the gas industry as a revenue and jobs creator.
Charges of hypocrisy
Ann Coulter defends Pat Sajak tweets Sajak climate change tweet causes stir Should fracking be legal in California?
As the founder of the hedge fund Farallon Capital Management, Steyer made part of his fortune from investments in fossil fuels, including foreign coal investments, which has prompted charges of hypocrisy from the Koch-affiliated groups he’s fond of condemning.
“Tom Steyer’s investments at Farallon have lined his pockets with millions of dollars from the foreign coal industry,” said James Davis, a spokesman for Freedom Partners, the Koch-backed political network. “Now he wants to burden the American people with new energy regulations to protect his current green energy investments. He’s already attempting to buy the votes of Senate Democrats on Keystone, which will cost America thousands of good-paying jobs. Surely the media will call him out on the hypocrisy of his claims.”
Lehane said Steyer ordered his investments be diverted from coal and tar sands when he stepped down from Farallon in 2012 but was not aware if he had investments in other energy sectors.
But the primary difference between Steyer and conservative mega-donors, Lehane said, is that Steyer is not personally profiting from his political efforts. “He is giving all the money away,” he said. “He doesn’t have stand to gain some economic benefit by spending money that translates into his own personal economics.”
Lehane added, “We are spending a drop in the big oil bucket as compared to the fossil fuel industry, especially the Koch brothers. All Tom is trying to do is try to balance and level the playing field. We are never going to have as much money as the other side.”
-Please go to http://www.yearsoflivingdangerously.com to see some of the frightening realities facing us today due to man-made climate change, and watch the bald-faced deniers tout their god as the answer and the politicians stick their heads in the sand! This is very real, and as I have said before, I have done MY research and applied skepticism and have come up with the same disturbing conclusions as the pro-climate change faction. Most of the deniers are, in fact, Republicans and their signatures are all over renewable energy repeal bills currently being considered or written.
ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is working with other groups to insert political bills at various levels that will effectively dismantle most renewable energy initiatives in an effort to further the shale oil and LNG industries which are polluting the North America right now. These organizations have absolutely nothing but loyalty to the top %1, and do not even see the little man starving to death due to drought and ensuing bankruptcy! The people that make up these councils are ultra-rich people who are sealing deals to secure their masters and peers that next billion dollars while farms disappear and industry withers in the heartland, and many of the heartlanders believe that the sky fairy is going to deliver them! We, the scientifically literate, need to act at our levels and participate as much as possible in the political machinations that will defeat and dismantle the deniers’ initiatives! We need to demonstrate, donate, write and even disrupt when necessary, the job sites, conventions, legislative sessions and meetings of those who would profit off of the destruction of our planet.
We can act now or see our planet become a poisoned unlivable wasteland with too little resources to feed even half of the population, or we can sit back and swallow the Kool-Ade that says that climate change is natural. Be careful on the waiting game though, there isn’t much time before it’s too late to stop what is already in motion. Readers, I give you The Keeling Curve URL to analyze for yourselves the cO2 concentrations in our atmosphere.
Mary Anning (1799-1847)
“the greatest fossilist the world ever knew”
Despite the fact that Mary Anning’s life has been made the subject of several books and articles, comparatively little is known about her life, and many people are unaware of her contributions to paleontology in its early days as a scientific discipline. How can someone described as ‘the greatest fossilist the world ever knew’ be so obscure that even many paleontologists are not aware of her contribution? She was a woman in a man’s England.
Mary Anning was born in 1799 to Richard and Mary Anning of Lyme Regis, situated on the southern shores of Great Britain. The cliffs at Lyme Regis were — and still are — rich in spectacular fossils from the seas of the Jurassic period. Richard and Mary had as many as ten children, but only two of these children, Mary and Joseph, reached maturity. Richard was a cabinetmaker and occasional fossil collector. Unfortunately, Richard died in 1810, leaving his family in debt without a provider. He did, however, pass on his fossil hunting skills to his wife and children, which later proved fortuitous for the fledgling field of paleontology.
The Anning family lived in poverty and anonymity, selling fossils from Lyme Regis, until the early 1820s, when the profesional fossil collector Lt.-Col. Thomas Birch came to know the family and sympathized with their desperate financial situation. Birch decided to hold an auction to sell off all of his fine fossil collection and donate the proceeds to the Anning family. He felt that the Annings should not live in such “considerable difficulty” considering that they have “found almost all the fine things, which have been submitted to scientific investigation…”. Up to this point mother Mary was running the business end of fossil collecting. By the middle of the 1820s, daughter Mary had established herself as the keen eye and accomplished anatomist of the family, and began taking charge of the family fossil business. Joseph was, by this time, committed to a career in the upholstery business, and no longer collected fossils.
Mary Anning has been credited with the first discovery of ichthyosaur fossils. Although this is not entirely true, she did help to discover the first specimen of Ichthyosaurus to be known by the scientific community of London. This specimen was probably discovered sometime between 1809 and 1811, when Mary was only 10 to 12 years old. And while Mary did find the majority of the remains, her brother had discovered part of the beast twelve months earlier. In fact, the entire Anning family was involved in fossil hunting, but Mary’s skill and dedication produced many remarkable finds and thus provided the fatherless family with a means of income. The fossils that Mary and her family found and prepared were eagerly sought — not only by museums and scientists, but by European nobles, many of whom had substantial private collections of fossils and other “curiosities.”
Mary made many great discoveries, including the aforementioned ichthyosaur and several other fine ichthyosaur skeletons. But perhaps her most important find, from a scientific point of view, was her discovery of the first plesiosaur. The famous French anatomist, Georges Cuvier, doubted the validity of the specimen when he first examined a detailed drawing. Once Cuvier realized that this was a genuine find, the Annings became legitimate and respected fossilists in the eyes of the scientific community.
In spite of this recognition, the majority of Mary’s finds ended up in museums and personal collections without credit being given to her as the discoverer of the fossils. As time passed, Mary Anning and her family were forgotten by the scientific community and most historians, due to the lack of appropriate documentation of her special skills. Contributing to the oversight of Mary Anning and her contribution to paleontology was her social status and her gender. Many scientists of the day could not believe that a young woman from such a deprived background could posses the knowledge and skills that she seemed to display. For example, in 1824, Lady Harriet Sivester, the widow of the former Recorder of the City of London, wrote in her diary after visiting Mary Anning:
“. . . the extraordinary thing in this young woman is that she has made herself so thoroughly acquainted with the science that the moment she finds any bones she knows to what tribe they belong. She fixes the bones on a frame with cement and then makes drawings and has them engraved. . . It is certainly a wonderful instance of divine favour – that this poor, ignorant girl should be so blessed, for by reading and application she has arrived to that degree of knowledge as to be in the habit of writing and talking with professors and other clever men on the subject, and they all acknowledge that she understands more of the science than anyone else in this kingdom.”
Lady Sivester’s praise is high, but note that “divine favour” is invoked to explain how such a woman could possibly be so knowledgeable. It is clear, however, that Anning was not only a collector, but was well-versed in the scientific understanding of what she collected, and won the respect of the scientists of her time. Her discoveries were important in reconstructing the world’s past and the history of its life.
This biography was inspired by Hugh Torrens of the Department of Geology, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK. For a much more detailed account of the history of Mary Anning and Lyme Regis, read Dr. Torrens’ “Presidential Address: Mary Anning (1799-1847) of Lyme; ‘the greatest fossilist the world ever knew'” British Journal of the History of Science, 1995, vol. 28, pp. 257-284.
Dr. Torrens is, among many other things, searching for two ichthyosaur fossils, collected by Mary Anning, whose current whereabouts are unknown. They are probably sitting in museums or in someone’s personal collection gathering dust. If you recognize either of these beautiful specimens and know their location, please contact Dr. Torrens at firstname.lastname@example.org
The emergence of humans
The narratives of human evolution are oft-told and highly contentious. There are major disagreements in the field about whether human evolution is more like a branching tree or a crooked stick, depending partly on how many species one recognizes. Interpretations of almost every new find will be sure to find opposition among other experts. Disputes often center on diet and habitat, and whether a given animal could walk bipedally or was fully upright. What can we really tell about human evolution from our current understanding of the phylogenetic relations of hominids and the sequence of evolution of their traits?
To begin with, let’s take a step back. Although the evolution of hominid features is sometimes put in the framework of “apes vs. humans,” the fact is that humans are apes, just as they are primates and mammals. A glance at the evogram shows why. The other apes — chimp, bonobo, gorilla, orangutan, gibbon — would not form a natural, monophyletic group (i.e., a group that includes all the descendants of a common ancestor) — if humans were excluded. Humans share many traits with other apes, and those other “apes” (i.e., non-human apes) don’t have unique features that set them apart from humans. Humans have some features that are uniquely our own, but so do gorillas, chimps, and the rest. Hominid evolution should not be read as a march to human-ness (even if it often appears that way from narratives of human evolution). Students should be aware that there is not a dichotomy between humans and apes. Humans are a kind of ape.
Virtually all systematists and taxonomists agree that we should only give names to monophyletic groups. However, this evogram shows that this guideline is not always followed. For an example, consider Australopithecus. On the evogram you can see a series of forms, from just after Ardipithecusto just before Homo in the branching order, that are all called Australopithecus. (Even Paranthropus is often considered an australopithecine.) But as these taxa appear on the evogram, “Australopithecus”is not a natural group, because it is not monophyletic: some forms, such as A. africanus, are found to be closer to humans than A. afarensis and others. Beyond afarensis, for example, all otherAustralopithecus and Homo share “enlarged cheek teeth and jaws,” because they have a more recent common ancestor. Eventually, several of these forms will have to have new genus names if we want to name only monophyletic groups. Students should avoid thinking of “australopithecines” as a natural group with uniquely evolved traits that link its members together and set it apart from Homo. Instead they should focus on the pattern of shared traits among these species and the Homo clade, recognizing that each species in this lineage gains more and more features that are shared by Homo.
In popular fiction and movies, the concept of the wild “ape-man” is often that of a tree-living, vine-swinging throwback like Tarzan. However, the pantheon of hominids is much richer than this, as the evogram shows with forms as different as Paranthropus and Ardipithecus shows. For example, imagine going back in time to the common ancestor of humans and chimps (including bonobos). What did that common ancestor look like? In the Origin of Species Darwin noted that the extinct common ancestor of two living forms should not be expected to look like a perfect intermediate between them. Rather, it could look more like one branch or the other branch, or something else entirely.
Did the common ancestor of humans and chimps conform to the ape-man myth and live in the trees, swinging from vines? To answer this, we have to focus not only on anatomy but on behavior, and we have to do it in a phylogenetic context. Apes such as the gibbon and orangutan, which are more distantly related to humans, are largely arboreal (i.e., tree-living). The more closely related apes such as the gorilla and chimps are relatively terrestrial, although they can still climb trees. The feet of the first hominids have a considerable opposition of the big toe to the others but relatively flat feet, as arboreal apes generally do. But other features of their skeleton, such as the position of the foramen magnum underneath the skull, the vertically shortened and laterally flaring hips, and the larger head of the femur, suggest that they were not just mainly terrestrial but habitually bipedal, unlike their knuckle-walking relatives. Most evidence suggests that the hominid lineage retained some of the anatomical features related to arboreal life and quadrupedal gait even after it had evolved a more terrestrial lifestyle and a bipedal gait. There is no fossil record of these behaviors, but the balance of the available evidence supports the hypothesis that the hominid ancestor was terrestrial and bipedal.
Much discussion in human paleontology surrounds the evolution of a bipedal, upright stance. When and why did this occur? One thing to keep in mind is that “bipedal” and “upright” are not equivalent terms. An animal can be bipedal without having a vertical backbone (think T. rex). It seems clear from the fossil record of hominids that habitual bipedality preceded the evolution of a recurved spine and upright stance. Other changes in the gait, such as how the relatively “splayed” gait of chimps evolved into the gait of humans, who put one foot directly in front of the other, involve studying the hip joint, the femur, and the foot. The famous Laetoli footprints attributed to Australopithecus afarensis are bipedal, but they are still relatively splayed compared to the tracks of living humans.
Another extremely interesting feature in hominid evolution is the degree of sexual dimorphism (i.e., physical differences between the sexes) in different species. Sexual dimorphism is linked to features of sociality and mate competition in many sorts of animals. To understand the evolution of this feature in humans, which have relatively low sexual dimorphism, we need to consider the other apes, in which sexual dimorphism tends to be moderate to high (with exceptions). We don’t have sufficient evidence about Sahelanthropus, Orrorin, and Ardipithecus to understand much about sex differences in these species, but we do know that A. afarensis had relatively high sexual dimorphism: the males were considerably larger than the females. The difference seems to have been less in A. africanus,Paranthropus, and most of the Homo lineage. The evolutionary explanation for A. afarensis‘ dimorphism is not entirely clear. The larger males may have used their size to attract females and/or repel rivals, which would fit with an explanation based on sexual selection. Or the males and females may have been differently sized because they played different roles in their groups, the males hunting and gathering and the females caring for the young. Darwin thought that this differentiation of the sexes may have played a critical role in human evolution, but we simply do not know much about the role of this feature in A. afarensis. Some, all, or none of these functions may have been in play.
We do know that by the time the animals known as Homo evolved, they could make tools, and their hands were well suited for complex manipulations. These features were eventually accompanied by the reduction of the lower face, particularly the jaws and teeth, the recession of the brow, the enlargement of the brain, the evolution of a more erect posture, and the evolution of a limb moreadapted for extended walking and running (along with the loss of arboreally oriented features). The evogram shows the hypothesized order of acquisition of these traits. Yet each of the Homo species was unique in its own way, so human evolution should not be seen as a simple linear progression of improvement toward our own present-day form.
-Seems a lot more in depth than using the idiocy of ‘God did it.’ The transitionary fossils are there and Kirk Cameron still rails on about his ‘Crocoduck.’ How long will such large pockets of ignorance exist in modern times? Hiding your ignorance behind the ultimate cop-out of faith demonstrates a profound need to hide from reality and forsake the reality of that arm of practice, science, that will eventually have ALL of the keys to our evolution. God had to have a beginning, a creation to hold with the Creationists arguments that the universe cannot come from nothing. By the same token, God cannot have come from nothing! If this cosmic Gepetto actually were to exist he would have to have a beginning other than ‘He has always been there.’ As we see again, no proof and circuitous argument is used to make sense of something that makes no sense to believe in!
Many apologists who have broken free of the cult of religion have found it to be an incredibly traumatic experience due to being ostracized and reviled in their former communities. Religious zealots forsake that all important love of man when it comes to dealing with people who have ripped off the blinders and unplugged from the toxic Matrix of belief. A great number of the formerly indoctrinated have actually written of the persecution and hatred poured upon them by former Kool-Ade ingesters who have actively vilified them and sought to punish them for opening there eyes to reality. Many people have moved far away from their ex communities while others have written books and immersed themselves in the local scientific community so as to drink in the truth and wash away a life spent wasted in the pursuit of the intangible. I, myself, had to do this because of the ignorance of the believers around me.
The deluded will always use redundant arguments and parlor tricks to convince others to waste their lives on folly and ignorance. I could care less what a person believes, but I take offense to fights over whether prayer should be allowed in schools, it should not, or that both Evolution and the pseudoscience Creation should be taught side by side. Evolution is science FACT, Creation is mythological fallacy and should only be taught in theology class or a class on religious mythology, PERIOD! There are thousands of religions out there and no one religion should dominate the other and it sure as Hell shouldn’t dummy down the school system! Overpopulation is causing these stabbing and shooting crimes in the educational system, not the lack of God. Lack of mental health care and rampant liberalism is to blame for this madness, not taking God out of the schools! The Christian god sure lacks power in that He can be kicked out of a place by mere mortals! Shit man, there’s God over there on His ass thrown out of schools by His own creations! Yes, the infection of PC is the liberal version of sticking your head in the sand and ignores personal responsibility, but these are the causes of chaos. Realizing cause and effect does away with the childish need for cosmic puppeteers.
The apologists will only fall back on Revelation and other biblical pronouncements in rebuttal to logical argument. They have no footing, they have no concrete proof except to demonstrate that their myth has no real power. It’s time to accept the truth that this is the only life that we have and to live it to the fullest, because living the unexamined life will leave you empty and unfulfilled when you discover no mansion in Heaven and no one waiting for you on the supposed ‘other side.’ I find that those who complain the loudest about other people’s lifestyles are the one’s not living it, so live the adventure as if tomorrow is the last day on Earth.