October 21, 2017

Why I Left Facebook


I did so to increase my mental freedom, lower instances of external grabbing of my attention, and lessen the commercial manipulation of my values and behavior.

Facebook had just become too much. Their ownership of my photos, pestering with ads, nudges to post more often, and the Trump-supporting posts of some of my Facebook friends were more than I wanted in my life. The real issue was FB's strategy of becoming better at getting my attention and more effective at controlling my point of view. That is to say, my beliefs, values and behaviors. It's a freedom and free will thing for me.

Here is my last post on Facebook:



I have left Facebook. I still express myself but only on my blogs listed below. You are welcome to visit one or more of them and leave any comments you may have. If you have a blog or website of your own please send me a link to it. Thank you.

Being Human – Our Past, Present and Future in Nature
www.jameselassiter.blogspot.com
On Anthropology and Biology

Being – In Nature and the Ethnosphere
www.jelassiter.wordpress.com
On the Anthropology of Culture, Cultural Evolution, and the Peoples of Africa

Owl & Ibis – A Confluence of Minds
www.owl-ibis.blogspot.com
On the Natural & Social Sciences, History, Philosophy, Modern Stoicism, and Aspects of Cultural Studies, including the Sacred

Migration Anthropology Consultants (MAC), LLC
www.migrationanthro.com
On Human Migration, Refugees, Cross-Cultural Training, and Workplace Culture Analysis
~~~
There are three basic options for leaving Facebook:

If You Like What You Find Here on 'Being Human'....

....you might also like my other blogs and website. If you do, kindly visit them, follow or subscribe to them via email, and leave your comments, if any, on my posts. Thank you.

Here’s a guide to what each site is about:


Being – In Nature and the Ethnosphere
www.jelassiter.wordpress.com
On the Anthropology of Culture, Cultural Evolution, and the Peoples of Africa

Begun in April 2014, this blog focuses on the anthropological concept of culture and prehistoric and historic cultural evolution. Within cultural anthropology emphasis is on ethnology and ethnography, the study, analysis, description, and comparison of specific cultures, with an emphasis on the past and present peoples of Africa. To follow this blog, click the “Follow” popup menu in the lower right corner and enter your email address.




Owl & Ibis – A Confluence of Minds
www.owl-ibis.blogspot.com
On the Natural & Social Sciences, History, Philosophy, Modern Stoicism, and Aspects of Cultural Studies, Including the Sacred

I initiated Owl & Ibis - A Confluence of Minds as a private critical thinker club in mid-2013. On September 22, 2015, I made it public as an open-to-all freethinker online forum and in-person gathering. On September 6, 2017, following my departure from Facebook, I moved the online forum for O&I posts and comments from Facebook to this blog. O&I is a secular, humanist, free-thinker discussion group. Discussion topics are drawn solely from the natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, history, and cultural studies, including the sacred. Sacred topics have to do with the impact of sacred beliefs and behaviors on the well-being of the individual and his/her society, and on Humankind as a whole. Owl & Ibis is not the forum for religious apologetics and proselytizing. The chairship of meetings will rotate among the participants. At each meeting a presentation will be made by the chair. The presentation will cover a topic from one of the above subject areas and should include a point of argumentation. Any time remaining after the presentation will be used for discussion. Meeting attendees accept and advocate, totally or in part, an understanding of the Universe based on the principles and methods of scientific-secularism, skepticism, and reverence. Owl & Ibis is tolerant of a wide range of worldviews and belief systems. Pluralism and inclusion are regarded to be the best ways forward in Humankind’s efforts at forging a global morality and civilization, and for acting responsibly as Earth's steward. Owl & Ibis attempts to contribute to such a future. To follow this blog fill in the “Follow by Email” form on its left sidebar.





Migration Anthropology Consultants (MAC), LLC
www.migrationanthro.com
On Human Migration, Refugees, Cross-Cultural Training, and Workplace Culture Analysis

Begun in May 2009, Migration Anthropology Consultants (MAC), LLC provides expert international and domestic consultancy and training services to governmental and international agencies, non-governmental organizations and voluntary agencies, and corporations and businesses. The multidisciplinary, holistic, participant observation methods of anthropology are applied to human migration, refugee populations, and business and organization workplace analysis.  Behavioral scientific rigor and humanism are essential to this approach. Training programs are also provided on cross-cultural communication and other skills necessary for living and working in multi-cultural, international settings. The MAC website also provides news and commentary on migration, immigration and refugee matters around the world. To follow or subscribe to this website go to its home page and complete the form “Follow by Email.”


October 9, 2017

The Evolutionary Origins of Exogamy – A Way of Avoiding Inbreeding, or Building Trust and Cooperation Between Us and Them?




Perhaps there's a better, more plausible explanation for the findings about prehistoric exogamy described in this report.

I think the findings provide evidence for inter-group cooperation as the norm, over the still wildly popular and persistent notion of our 'red in tooth and claw' social relations and human nature. Specifically, the prehistoric use of exogamous mating networks to establish more stable, predictable if not peaceful inter-group relationships and alliances seems a more likely motivation for out-group mating behavior among our ancient ancestors than, as the reports states, their realizing mating outside one's group would avoid the genetic risks of inbreeding. 
[‘red in tooth and claw,’ Tennyson, 1849, https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/red-in-tooth-and-claw.html%5D]

Excerpts
"The study, reported in the journal Science, examined genetic information from the remains of anatomically modern humans who lived during the Upper Palaeolithic, a period when modern humans from Africa first colonised western Eurasia. The results suggest that people deliberately sought partners beyond their immediate family, and that they were probably connected to a wider network of groups from within which mates were chosen, in order to avoid becoming inbred.

"This suggests that our distant ancestors are likely to have been aware of the dangers of inbreeding, and purposely avoided it at a surprisingly early stage in prehistory.

"The symbolism, complexity and time invested in the objects and jewellery found buried with the remains also suggests that it is possible that they developed rules, ceremonies and rituals to accompany the exchange of mates between groups, which perhaps foreshadowed modern marriage ceremonies, and may have been similar to those still practised by hunter-gatherer communities in parts of the world today.

"The study's authors also hint that the early development of more complex mating systems may at least partly explain why anatomically modern humans proved successful while other species, such as Neanderthals, did not. However, more ancient genomic information from both early humans and Neanderthals is needed to test this idea."

October 1, 2017

A Better Way to Study, Explain and Report on Human Behavior Research



by Stephanie D. Preston
Science  29 Sep 2017
Vol. 357, Issue 6358, pp. 1353-1354

The text in the above diagram image of the brain highlights an important inconsistency within this article and raises an important question. Does "social behavior in humans occurs because of the connections between oxytocin and the reward-based dopaminergic system" as the caption says? Or does social behavior that an individual chooses based on a decision made after assessing risks and prompted by the desire for and hope of reassuring and safe social interactions, generate such hormonal/neurotransmitter connections that are maintained when positive, rewarding interactions begin to, in fact, take place? In this regard the article's researcher and the article's author do in fact caution that the popular literature link between the oxytocin hormone and complex human behavior is overly simplistic. I think the latter is a better explanation.

Yes, consciousness, mind and self are dependent on the brain's biochemistry. But the processes at work at these higher levels of complexity, including 'agency,' need explanations of their own. They are not reducible in a causal sense to biochemistry alone. Bottom up hormonal and neuronal process explanations by themselves are insufficient to discover and explain the myriad of causes underlying and influencing human individual and social behavior.

Excerpts
"Converging research on the role of oxytocin in social bonding suggests that approaching others becomes less scary and more rewarding when it is valuable to the individual."
...
"[I]t has been assumed that oxytocin facilitates social bonds by rendering another individual like a drug—something to approach, enjoy, remember, and seek again. This interpretation is so intuitive that hundreds of 'popular science' articles have been written about oxytocin as the 'love drug' or the 'hug/trust hormone.' However, the reality is far from being this simplistic."
...
"Oxytocin in humans has also been linked to rewarding and pleasurable phenomena such as romantic love, parenting, and comforting touch; and altruism may be promoted by this oxytocin-VTA mechanism. However, there are many noted failures in human research to replicate associations between oxytocin and prosocial behavior. Such failures may reflect that rodent research usually involves clearly bonded, adaptive contexts (mating and caregiving), whereas human research employs more abstract tasks such as giving money to a stranger."

Graphic Text
How social processes become rewarding
Studies in mice suggest that social behavior in humans occurs because of the connections between oxytocin and the reward-based dopaminergic system, which presumably mediates the ability of humans to notice, seek, remember, and return to rewarding experiences of all types—in this case social contact. GRAPHIC: C. BICKEL/SCIENCE