Tag Archives: Anthropology

Sex laws over the millenia

Last week I listened to an episode of Fresh Air on NPR, where Terry Gross interviewed Eric Berkowitz on his new book, ‘The Boundaries of Desire‘, about sex laws over the last century.  But what interested me more in the interview was … Continue reading

Posted in Society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

First Peoples and Neanderthals

This weekend, I finished off the last of the ‘First Peoples‘ PBS miniseries on prehistoric humans.  If  you’ve watched other documentaries on human prehistory and found them interesting, then you’ll want to watch this one to get the latest findings. … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

First Peoples documentary series to air on PBS starting Wednesday

I’ve posted before on prehistorical societies, and the fact that, for virtually all of human history, including the history of our particular sub-species: Homo sapiens, we lived in nomadic hunter gatherer tribes.  The evidence points to anatomically modern humans first … Continue reading

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Religion, the Axial Age, and theoretic culture

I recently read the late Robert Bellah’s ‘Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age.’  Although the title of the book seems to narrow it to just religion, in ancient societies, religion was just about everything, so … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Confucianism and the definition of religion

I’ve noted before that defining religion is difficult.  Simple definitions (such as belief in gods) tend to either exclude some religions (such as Buddhism), or include things that most people don’t consider to be a religion (such as constitutional law or … Continue reading

Posted in Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Wealth may have driven the rise of moralizing religions

One of the things that a lot of people are often surprised to hear, is that most scholars don’t believe that religion was always concerned with morality, that moralizing religion didn’t exist to any significant extent before the ‘Axial Age’ … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

World’s Oldest Art Identified in Half-Million-Year-Old Zigzag

I’ve noted before that I think capabilities like human language didn’t pop into being 50-75 thousand years ago, but developed over hundreds of thousands of years (if not millions).  Well, it looks like another piece of behavioral modernity may predate … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization

Annalee Newitz has a fascinating article at IO9 on early neolithic societies: How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization. Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Is the human species still evolving? Of course.

It looks like Bill Nye, the science guy, is coming out with a new book on evolution, with an excerpt at Popular Science: Is The Human Species Still Evolving? | Popular Science. We cannot step away from evolution. Our genomes are … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Maybe we’ve found Neanderthals, and they are us.

The intermixing of modern humans and Neanderthals is back in the news: BBC News – DNA yields secrets of human pioneer. DNA analysis of a 45,000-year-old human has helped scientists pinpoint when our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals. The genome sequence from … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments