treeolife3“Footprints left by ancient humans 800,000 years ago have been found in Britain, the earliest evidence of such markings outside Africa.”
The media and, dare I say, politicians, enjoy portraying everyone in Ireland as belonging to one of two tribes. Either Irish Nationalist/Catholic/Celt….. or Ulster Scot/Protestant/British etc. Of course the reality is nothing like that. Yes , there are some who completely identify with the two homogenous tribes vision, but many do not. We all have a mixed genetic lineage stretching back through the eons to mankind’s African origins. Mankind’s own particular genesis appears to be be directly connected to the lemur lineage some forty seven million years back in the mists of time..The lemurs themselves being connected back many million of years to more mundane life-forms. This slow evolutionary crawl, from then to now, shares some of the aspects of our local politicians who appeared to have laboured mightily for many years to produce a more balanced society and have produced little more than a lonely Plastic Bag tax for their efforts. Their unimaginative performance does not bode well for the future.
Each of us through our genetic lineage of assorted time-worn couplings of assorted atoms, of diverse ancestors, may eventually be born to a particular recent family mind-set, millions of years later and may read a book or two and decide to change or re-adjust our ideas. The “Tree of Knowledge” and all that. Apparently there is some mileage in the idea that a lot of us are relations of the 13th century warrior, Genghis Khan; some 16 million people living worldwide today share his particular genetics.Millions of years before that we all can actually be traced to a common ancestor that we can positively identify. There most likely are many other bloodlines before that which have long-since died out but what remains in actuality is a globally connected genetic “family.” Everyone left on earth now is as hopelessly inbred as a fine racehorse. The evidence is in front of our eyes. DNA will out.
The fact that many of us read books, listen to music, watch films etc. from outside our presumably tight ”tribal” experience is never taken into consideration by those political list makers who wish to box , classify and edit us into tightly demarcated tribes or “classes”.We are each products of our individual needs and desires. How we think and feel is not easily collated. We do not all think the same. We all have different tastes and ideas. Even as the modern connected world becomes more homogenous and we share fashions and food from everywhere on earth, some of us strive for individuality beyond the tribal. I suppose, genetically, we always have been like this.
That does not stop politicians and religious groups from promoting nonsense that should have been left in mediaeval times alongside the belief in witchcraft and magic. Huge leaps in the aquisition and dissimination of knowledge have been made , especially in the last century. Either these people really have not educated themselves as to the available material or they are pretending to their electorates and congregations.Scientists disagree on many fine points, but there is no dispute as to the probable age of the earth and the history and age of the creatures that have inhabited it. It is really that simple.Carbon dating appears to work.
In the face of overwhelming evidence of earth’s origins and evolution, we have people who believe in gods and demons.They believe that there is a “good” god, existing somewhere beyond our knowledge and there is an a corresponding devil -demon to balance that “goodness” with his “evil”. Their belief is that we as humans are always in thrall to these two extremes outside of what we think is our everyday reality.In parts of Ireland It stretches even to local politicians of a certain ilk promoting the nonsense of creationism, which professes that the earth is about 6000 years old. This nonsense has even infected a promotion at a local tourist visiting centre at the Giant’s Causeway in county Antrim where, because of extreme political and religious input,this belief is given equal status with Darwin’s theory of Evolution. They may as well believe that a giant called Finn McCool scooped up the now Lough Neagh and threw it to form the Isle of Man. A tale to match the Greek and Norse myths for adventure and magical creation. Yes, most intelligent people have a live and let live policy about belief in gods .They are great imaginative woven yarns usually with a moral core{ such as Aesop’s Fabels or Grimms Fairy Tales ..O’Henry stories with a sting in the “tale”} or homer’s Iliad and Odyssey… instructions for living within the tribe, combining moralities with magical creatures with the aim to make a story more interesting….but real-life foolishness needs to be laughed at loudly when it comes from elected representatives, otherwise we will all begin to live in a world of fantasy..
They may be elected by like-minded followers but that does not make some of their more “eccentric” beliefs or utterances any more valid. Most of us let it go out of fear of reprisal violence from their more rabid political or religious supporters. Look what happened to the film maker who was n’t just censored, but actually killed in Holland or the cartoonist who poked a little fun at a much-loved imaginary fantasy myth or sky god. Take what happened to Salman Rushdie who spent years hiding from politically/ religiously inspired killers for having the audacity to place his unwanted thoughts on paper. Pages of text that were probably not even read, but gossiped about in “Chinese Whispers” of paranoia. Biblical stories have their origins in the creation myths of a Stone Age vintage. The tale of ” Noah’s Ark”, for example, does not bear great logistical scrutiny when related to the real world. All those animals happily co-habiting wihout a mention of tooth and claw?….Lions lying down with lambs.not to mention the “unknown” or “undiscovered” lands and creatures such as the Americas or Australia which were unknown and unexplored landmasses at the time. How would a “Noah” have any knowledge of beasts such as Australian kangaroos ,not to mention the long- losts dinasaurs that preceeded mankind by millions of years but would have been completely unknown in those times. The stories are obviously fabulist creations.
Spoken family and tribal histories were handed down and remembered by word of mouth and embroidered as generations rolled by. Much as stories were told at firesides before the advent of books, television and the internet.They provided rules of behaviour and rules of living within tribal groups. Societies such as the various Native American Indian tribes had their own versions .Particular Native American tribes “knew” from their generations generated blanket iconography that man’s origins were from a particular” lost cave” and that their ancestors had come out of a hole in the ground .These beliefs remained unchanged even when the Spanish arrived with their own versions, bringing with them the horse. The natives initially believed that the men sitting on these horses were a new creature entirely, both man and beast conjoined, much like the mythical Greek centaur. Mythologies are created in these ways.evolution__biologia_uepb_by_resenhista

. Beliefs took on a more solid and unchanging form with the advent of artistic vision. Drawings, paintings and the written word told the stories anew. In the West we eventually arrived at a Bible story with a preference for a New Testament over an Old. The “Christ” of the New Testament was depicted as a variety of racial stereotypes depending on who the patron, paying the bills required.The tribal memories were retold in more acceptable forms. Scratched artistic symbols in books would have been magical to those with no understanding of the codes of written language, much as today’s silicon [sand] based technology would appear as magic. Most of us have no real idea how this sand technology actually works, but we readily accept it as the norm. We readily accepted radio waves and television although most do not know how they actually work or how they were harnessed. In past times many books achieved an exotic notoriety and forbidden status by being hidden away and protected by the few who could translate the pen and ink scratchings of language. They became mysterious, hidden lore secreted in private libraries.
There are still many un-educated, unbalanced, easily manipulated or simply insane people out there. Human violence can easily be turned on. Look at how humans can resort to killing and torture throughout the world. The list of manipulators includes various religious and political leaders throughout the ages and include Hitler, Stalin,Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, and Mugabe. They readily used fear as a tool.There are many ways to sacrifice our fellow humans to personal beliefs if there is sufficent fear present. People in extremis such as slaves picking cotton or Germans starved into poverty will turn their faces to either a god or a Fuhrer. It has produced both great gospel music and also extreme discipline. There are many more examples of sacrificial appeasement to various gods and leaders throughout thousands of years of human history .People back perceived winners and readily follow leaders.
People will easily believe any old rubbish or conspiracy theory. Humans , as storytellers, gossips and lovers of stories, are hard-wired to enjoy mystery and imagination. Again, no-one wants to be the party-pooper who explains to the child the non-existence of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. If an adult persists in such beliefs we tend to look askance at them, whisper behind their backs and worry a little.. Things can get dangerous otherwise. Adult humans believe some very strange things and they are usually left .to get on with it unless they are actively transgressing current civil laws with their practices. Therefore there are not too many cases of cannibalism ,human sacrifices or crucifixions in the modern, western world.There are always some , though. If civilisation, as we currently know it, broke down, that could well change, as can be seen from the recent history of the World Wars, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China and in the Killing Fields in Asia. Lest we forget our own barbarity, there are always the recent reminders of Iraq and the violence currently across North Africa.Not forgetting the deaths in the Twin Towers in New York ,not so long ago. Ireland has it’s own share of violence and murder by every side and is currently trying to deal with that legacy .
Obviously there is no evidence required for a faith in a supreme being, yet civilizations build laws and structures around the fear of cosmic reprisal, or otherwise, at life’s end. ”Faith” being an insurance policy that is never cashed in. It is the perfect use of fear. Humans are compliant in it. Some people need their gods whether they exist or not. The problem is that all of our world troubles have their core in these fantasies .None more so than in Ireland.
So-called followers of the peacemaker ,Jesus,[ who claimed to be the Son of a mysterious other worldly being ,somewhere “out there”], on all sides, have no problem dispensing with their beliefs of forgiveness and embracing a more extreme set of revenge beliefs from an even earlier time, when it suits their agenda. The legacy of the Christian Crusades still resound throughout the world. Damn it , humans love revenge. …..we love to divide our selves like football team supporters and rage .That is what it looks like from outside.Them and Us. Time and change appear to be no obstacle to carrying out this revenge. A traveller from another universe, coming upon this behaviour would be mystified if such a thing was possible.
Hiroshima, anyone? We revert to our more ealier cold-blooded, reptilian- influenced selves very easily. We’ve managed to vaporise Japanese cities with our atomic weapons even though life is purported to be “sacred”.
So what has really changed in recent days in Ireland?. The same dunderheads of debate still have no real common sense or imagination. They still chase the same nonsense that keeps their support happy .Both sides talk of tradition and remembrance as if it was holy writ and immutable . No one seeing the dead lead weight of demented mysticism that they now choose to drag into another century .They are busy breeding another generation of young dunderheads to keep in thrall to their paranoid bread and circuses. No new ideas from any great new minds. No new and novel approaches to sorting out our future.
Kings , queens and religions have sustained themselves with their dodgy truths.
Miracles …anyone? : People rising from death after a few days? Moving statues .. Jesus spotted on your toast….Bigfoot sighted?…Couple abducted by UFO?.. Did man really reach the moon or did it happen on a film stage at Area 51?…Much is believed but even in an age when the phone in your pocket can catch ET in action on pin sharp video, at any given moment, no one has done so. Evidence of anything “other-worldly” remain unseen. Angels and other-worldly saints are believed to inhabit a “heaven”. Cathedrals are raised to better scrape the skies. Religious ceremony becomes theatre, dressed in elaborate costumes Without gods to believe in any more, their associated other-worldly beings, souls ghosts , spirits ,devils, Faeries, goblins, and all the rest, fade away….including religious beliefs. Many of these fantastical creatures already disappeared with the introduction of electric light and television largely ended the story-telling tradition.
Without the mystery we are left with just our brute selves staring at the stars and making up stories to gossip and gull ourselves with.
So everything we are brought up to know as truth is built on moving sands[silicon]. We live and we die. We are arrogant, deluded and vain enough to believe that we are somehow special, chosen beings , bowing before a benevolent god while taking instruction and solace from his/her representatives on our planet’s surface. If god is our” imaginative invention” and in effect does not really exist …. We are not going any further…. [full stop]….There is no new place “out there”, “up there”, “down there”, in another heavenly, dreamy , cloudy parallel zone, where everyone we have ever known and loved will greet us after death,…where every beast we have ever eaten will be revived…..alive and ready to be eaten all over again.[or maybe not……maybe we’ll not need to eat or breathe. We’ll just sit about on clouds being nice forever …and never get bored!]
As far as we know we are very small and very alone in a vast emptiness of space. Our planet can seem pretty interesting and beautiful depending on the fortunes of birth and our individual places in the scheme of things. Alternatively it can be a misery, a barbarity of hopelessness and slavery.
Why do we have a problem with dying at the end of our lives.? , Being buried, or being dug up and displayed in a future museum… it’s alright for 3000 year old mummies. They’re Egyptian after all and they’ve no friend or family, all these years later, to complain about the violation of their graves…..no afterlife or heaven involved in that scenario…
Then we talk about a “spiritual” life afterwards or a spiritual world which co-exists alongside what we think is our “solid” physical world. We just keep making this stuff up. If there was a heaven who’s ever going to be able to describe it, anyway? The reality that we do not want to accept is that everybody and everything on earth dies ,and never comes back , while the remaining creatures walk over their dust and plants grow over and through them. We don’t want to believe any of that of course. Instead we’d rather tell ourselves any old nonsense. In the past we even wrote it down in weighty books, which a very few were privy to, and copied, for succeeding generations of innocent, naive children to imbibe with their mother’s indulgence .Most could not read until relatively recent times and many still do not, so they were instructed by those that could. Indoctrinated, you might say.
We arrive at a belief, a history, a religion, a tradition….Ahhh tradition… Where would we be without it?
These Creation myths are known throughout this planet. Men with messianic complexes appear with regularity to magically conjure up new versions of these stories on a cyclic basis. Mankind’s tribes encourage these story-tellers; should they be shamans, bishops or followers of sacred sacrificial cats. We have everything from burning bushes, commandments etched in stone, the Mormons with their ” golden plates” desert discovery to “ the Life of Brian”.[That last one’s a joke….aw forget it!] The best of these imaginings must be “The Urantia Book which could best be described as Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” crossed with the Bible.
The truth is, we love a good story. All storytelling revolves around seven basic story plots. We love a bit of magic. We love a yarn with a happy ending…where the good guys with the white hats win and the baddies with the black hats are vanquished. We need a hero- god and of course we also need a devil to balance the debate. That need doesn’t make any of it any more real ,of course .Mankind has worried about these things since we fretted about the return of the sun after a long winter and worshipped it and made offerings to it and the land as the givers of planetary life. It was a necessary god. It resided above us in the sky and we had little idea what that really meant. We may have thought at one point that the stars were tiny holes allowing bright shining light through an overhead canopy. We saw shapes of animals in the clouds. We probably began our God-hero stories from such scant beginnings; scratching our revelations into rocks , scraping and painting them onto any surface.
So what are our bright- eyed Creationist friends to make of these 800,000 year old footprints of a hominid and his gambolling offspring recently found on a Norfolk beach. How does their theory of a 6000 year old earth stack up against those apples? Your guess is as good as mine…..Footprint owners estimated to be about as tall as modern humans

“They were dated at 800,000 years old partly on the basis of the site’s geological position beneath glacial deposits, but also because the fossils there come from now-extinct types of mammoth and horse and early forms of vole that were alive at that time.”

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