Monday, September 12, 2005


Here's another interesting and recent scientific venture. Eve was the name given to the hypothetical first female in the human chain to modern man. She was discovered to have come from sub-Saharan Africa and lived about 200,000 years ago. It's quite clear and interesting what scientists did to determine when and where "Eve" lived.

Rebecca Cann, Mark Stoneking and the late Allan Wilson of Berkeley drew blood samples from people in five geographic populations and analyzed them: ". . . . What they found at Berkeley was that their 147 samples differed by an average of 0.57 percent. How long would it take mankind's mitochondrial DNA to differ by that crucial half a percent? Well, the Berkeley people believe that this kind of DNA (which is different from the more popular nuclear DNA and is located not in the nucleus but in mitochondria, the energy producing organelles of the cell) mutates at a rate of 2 to 4 percent every million years. If you divide 2 and 4 percent by 0.57 percent you get 3.5 and 7, and if you divide a million years by 3.5 and 7 you get 142,500 to 285,000 years. The researchers concluded it would take that length of time to cause the differences in DNA that they noted in blood samples taken around the world. The median figure comes to 200,000 years ago—in the general time frame that fossil scientists like the Leakeys had hypothesized for the evolution of modern man from ape-man stock."

The scientists found that the sub-Saharan Africa samples had the most genetic mutations of any populations on Earth, "meaning the process [of mutation] had been going on longer in than African population than among the Chinese or Europeans or Australians." The deepest roots of humankind were, therefore, in Africa, the beginnings of humankind.

From an essay, "The Search For Eve" by Michael Brown in MYSTERIES OF LIFE AND THE UNIVERSE, edited by William H. Shore, pp. 87-88.

Let me give a little boost to this book. It's a collection of essays by generalists in science and by scientists themselves which were collected together by the William Shore into a book which was then sold to benefit world hunger. This particular book was the second one put together for charitable purposes by Mr. Shore.


Now you see them, all ten of them, then you don't. Some more Bible confusion in the source book itself. God sure was a mixed up cuss. Almost as if it/he/she didn't know its own mind. Over and over, not knowing it. . . .

[Open Quote] The complex textual history of the Commandments suggests that the more you study the Bible, the less certain you become of your ability to divine the precise Word of God. That's a useful lesson in this divided time.

Most public displays of the Ten Commandments, including the ones in Texas and Kentucky that the Supreme Court dealt with, are based on Exodus 20, verses 2-14, where God speaks directly to the Israelites. But if you grew up as I did, studying the Bible in its original Hebrew, you know that there's a second, equally valid version in Deuteronomy 5:6-18. And the two versions differ. In Exodus, God says to remember the Sabbath because he created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. In Deuteronomy, Moses recounts that God told the Israelites to observe the Sabbath because the Lord liberated them from Egyptian bondage. So which is it? The traditional Jewish answer is that God uttered both versions simultaneously, but fallible human ears heard it two separate ways. So how can you post one version or the other and declare it the Ineffable Word of God? You can't.

Then there's the numbering problem—which is how the Eagles ended up with more than 10 commandments. [Close quote]

The forgoing was from NEWSWEEK, July 11, 2005, p. 58.

"Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil." —Carl Sagan in COSMOS

(In Spokane, of course, under our pedophile-Republican, orthodox-Christian Mayor West, library funds are sliced and hours squeezed next to nothing. Yessiree bob, these are truly conservative and fundamentalist times. What with cutting down the funding for CPB too, the only source of good scientific programming, you can see that Republicans have the goal of dumbing the population down until it is dumb and dumber than your average fundamentalist Christian and Moslem.)


From our excellent local weekly, The Inlander, comes this story about what happened to a couple of people in New Orleans. You'll see the racism there, the racism which is the reason the Republicans now own the South and of which I've written frequently on this blog. The Democrats drove racists out of its party and the Republicans took them in and now they play the race card every time they need to win political races (think McCain and Oral Roberts University). The incidents described in the narrative I've linked to, when the trapped people try to escape from New Orleans and, later, on the bridge, are telling. That's the South, and that's the Republican party in its underpants.

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