How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

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Incl. intelligent design, belief in divine creation

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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4541  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 10:10 am

Spearthrower’s tactic here (apart from the blanketing abuse) was firstly, to drop in a larger dollop from the source that I had originally done and then make out that it contradicted the text I had quoted, which was Busse’s own conclusion from his experiences. Secondly, Spearthrower put claims I had not made:


No blanket abuse exists anywhere therein, stop lying.

It's amusing that you are intent on confirming the accuracy of my predictions.

You intentionally elided the context from your source, I showed that the context actually contests your argument, everyone can see it.

All this hand-wringing shows who you really are.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4542  Postby Thommo » Dec 02, 2019 10:11 am

Spearthrower wrote:And further, it's just not abuse. Stop bullshitting. Calling you a cunt would be abusive, calling you out for lying is not.


I have to disagree here, this is abuse:
"you patronizing, self-ignorant arse"

I can understand your frustration and it certainly doesn't make you incorrect in the wider debate, but that is clearly abusive.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4543  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 10:13 am

Thommo wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
(Incidentally a close look shows that the leopard didn’t catch the baboon on the way down; when it saw the leopard was going to catch it, the baboon looked over its shoulder at the ground and then let go of the branch. It reached the ground before the leopard and managed to run a few metres, maybe turning on its pursuer in the last second before being caught and killed. )


And as I pointed out several times, showing a single incidence cannot be reasonably used to prove a rule. You, of course, ignored all that because you're not interested in what's true or reasonable.


It wouldn't help if it did, since that would then also prove that baboon canines are no defence against leopard predation.



Yes, more than one person already pointed this out, but even ignoring that internal contradiction, it still doesn't stand to reason that a general true statement is overturned by a few instances where something else occurred.

As I believe I said several dozen pages back: I found B100 on the floor today, so now I can give up work as I can expect to keep finding B100 on the floor.

It's not even poor logic - it's logic-free.

JJ has tried this so many times across so many varying topics that I have to believe that he finds this non-sequitur convincing. That of course has to be taken as a reflection of why what things 'seem' to him are so frequently in contradiction with evidence and logic.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4544  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 10:17 am

Thommo wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:And further, it's just not abuse. Stop bullshitting. Calling you a cunt would be abusive, calling you out for lying is not.


I have to disagree here, this is abuse:
"you patronizing, self-ignorant arse"

I can understand your frustration and it certainly doesn't make you incorrect in the wider debate, but that is clearly abusive.


Oh no, I am not saying I've never written anything abusive to JJ - I may even have called him a cunt once or twice, although I think it was 'runt'.

But look through and see whether 'blanket abuse' occurred. JJ has highlighted words like 'lying' as abuse. These are not abusive; they are statements about behaviors, and those behaviors are exhibited and established with material support.

Similarly, JJ likened the membership here to crazed dogs rending each other in his wake. It's obviously abusive in the same way as calling him a 'runt'... but when he harped on and on about how he didn't believe that I have any academic background in palaeoanthropology, and that I was pulling a smoke-screen (i.e. intentionally deceiving people), I didn't warble on and on about how abusive he was being to poor widdle me. It's pathos appeal - a rhetorical strategy that JJ employs whenever he's losing a point and can't respond - he tosses out a distraction then continues on with his declarations.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4545  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 10:19 am

“Your actual claims are that baboons should be standing up to leopards scaring them off with their impressive canines, which is obviously fucking ridiculous”

The record shows that I didn’t claim that,...


Don't lie JJ - you're attempting to pretend that my post is meant to be in response to one single post you've made, whereas everyone's more than well aware you've been harping on about this for 200+ pages now.

You have absolutely appealed to that idea many times. It's wrong. I identified it as wrong each and every time.


Australopithecus would be at a disadvantage relative to baboons, if they similarly roosted in trees.


This non-sequitur has already been exposed as nonsense.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4546  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 10:24 am

From Cheney’s fascinating account of a leopard being mobbed by the baboon troop immediately it attacked a man, my best guess is that when a leopard hunts in a roosting tree at night, it is in danger from those impressive canines, especially AFTER it manages to make a kill at a height too great for it to jump down the tree from, with the kill in its mouth.


Once again, this is convenient for you as it's not in the same paragraph you quote-mined, but is of course irrelevant about the 'attack on a man'.

Instead, you are inserting something that is not found in your source, and is not found anywhere. The idea that the 'canines' are the threat to the leopard. This is exactly what you attempted before with your claims about chimpanzees lunging with gaping maws to attack people, then when an extended chimpanzee attack recorded on film exhibited NONE of the behavior you kept insisting was fact, you attempted to spin the 0.27 second frame where the chimpanzee's face was away from the camera as being the 'evidence' you were right all along. That kind of behavior is deceptive. Perhaps it's self-deceptive? I don't know whether you're truly fooling yourself with this inane bullshit, but when people reject it and you continue pretending you've shown something in support of your claim, then it is deceptive towards others too.

To wit:

Given that your quote-mine specifically elided the fact that female baboons and juveniles were involved in the mobbing too, and given the fact that neither females nor juveniles possess "impressive canines", then your own argument is internally contradictory as the evidence shows that "impressive canines" are not what makes mobbing succeed.

Of course, on top of that is the fact that a baboon troop (depending on species) is comprised of substantially more females than males, and given that among the information you elided was specific reference to females being particularly hostile and aggressive to leopard, then you need to explain why your attempt to once again spin this information away from what was actually reported in the source you chose shouldn't be taken as indication of your intent to cherrypick and misrepresent information.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4547  Postby Thommo » Dec 02, 2019 10:28 am

Spearthrower wrote:Yes, more than one person already pointed this out, but even ignoring that internal contradiction, it still doesn't stand to reason that a general true statement is overturned by a few instances where something else occurred.


This does appear to be the central point. What we see in the video of the baboon and the video of the monkey is that they both (a) employ a defence strategy of retreating to thin branches, (b) do not employ a defence strategy of causing injury by biting and (c) are fatally unsuccessful.

We can probably generalise from (a) and (b), those might well be representative of the defense strategies used by certain primates in certain environments against large cat predation to some degree. This does not, as it happens, support Jayjay's point.

We probably can't generalise from (c) because we know baboons and monkeys are not extinct, if the strategy was largely ineffective and predation by large cats was a major determinant of population size then the primates would have to change strategy or would not survive.

We can probably infer that some of the leopards' behaviour was either atypical (lone prey animals in isolated trees, perhaps) or risky (did the leopard risk serious injury by falling? Was it a fluke that the hunt was successful?), but I personally lack the wider knowledge and evidence base that would be needed to make such inferences without going wrong.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4548  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 10:29 am

Your actual claims are that fleeing leopards up a tree is not something that monkeys do because leopards will follow them and eat them, yet the single source you've offered which constitutes observations made only in one particular place in which leopards attack roosts at night shows exactly the opposite as leopards very rarely made kills of monkeys up trees even at night.


That again is something I didn’t “actually” claim. I quoted Busse over 40 times, in his accounts of how baboons in Moremi do roost in trees, where they were predated. As Cheney recounted, a troop of baboons will harass a leopard during the day.


Yes you did. Are you trying to pretend that the preceding conversations didn't take place? Are you relying on them being far enough back that they're beyond peoples' recollection?

If I go back and find examples of you making this argument, will you - as you typically do - simply ignore it and continue along after having been shown either a) inordinately forgetful or b) having bullshitted?
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4549  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 10:33 am

Fenrir wrote:
JJ wrote:It would be more true to say that whenever Spearthrower has followed up a reference I provided, it has been just to declare that it doesn’t support what I cited it for.


This is quite correct. Your sources invariably do not support you and often directly repudiate your claims.

As it happens Spearthrower is also invariably correct when they point this out.

I'm glad you finally recognise that you regularly and dishonestly quote-mine sources you don't understand and hope you will make a concerted effort to desist from now on.

Well done.


Well, not "declare" - Spearthrower also goes to the trouble of citing the source in full showing where JJ's source doesn't support what he cited it for.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4550  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 10:46 am

Thommo wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
In every single instance without fail so far in this thread, when JJ has cited a source, it's turned out that the source doesn't support what he's been citing it for.

It would be more true to say that whenever Spearthrower has followed up a reference I provided, it has been just to declare that it doesn’t support what I cited it for. Here is an example from a thread that started back on page 209. I'm sorry for the length, I try to make it compact as possible.
Spearthrower wrote:
Leopards don't actually typically climb trees to hunt baboons because that would be very silly. A baboon weighs only a third of a leopard and is far better adapted to climbing trees. A leopard that climbs up the trunk of a tree is going to quickly find that the baboon has either a) moved out to thinner branches that cannot bear the leopard's weight or b) has run along a branch and jumped to another tree.

Jayjay4547 wrote:In this video which I have put up a few times on this forum, a leopard openly hunts a single baboon in a tree, who hangs onto a thin branch, but the leopard is prepared to take a fall, catching the baboon on the way down and killing it on the ground.

Naked link to Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR2m4Q2WCqI

In this video a leopard openly hunts and kills a much smaller monkey in a tree, also demonstrating great climbing skills and determination.

Naked link to Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5jX3GnwThU

Busse (1980) observed this:

When leopards attack a baboon roost they may remain at the roost for long intervals, and sometimes for the entire night. Two kills appeared to have been made at least an hour after leopards first attacked the roost. Thus, surprise is not a necessary element of successful attack, although one kill appeared to have been made in surprise.


(Incidentally a close look shows that the leopard didn’t catch the baboon on the way down; when it saw the leopard was going to catch it, the baboon looked over its shoulder at the ground and then let go of the branch. It reached the ground before the leopard and managed to run a few metres, maybe turning on its pursuer in the last second before being caught and killed.


Ok, so Spearthrower's claims are:
  1. Leopards hunt baboons in trees only infrequently.
  2. Baboons weigh about one third the amount of leopards.
  3. Baboons are better at climing trees than leopards.
  4. If a leopard climbs a tree it will find the baboon it's after has moved to thinner branches or leapt to another tree.

Now, since you've given two examples (one of which doesn't feature a baboon at all and neither of which show a baboon defending itself with canines) and shown nothing relating to frequency, you haven't countered 1. We can't weigh the baboon in the picture, but it is clearly much smaller than the leopard, so you haven't countered 2. We don't really see the climbing skill of the baboon relative to the leopard so you haven't countered 3. The baboon clearly has moved to the thin branches before the leopard reaches it, so not only have you not countered 4. you have confirmed it.

So my question is, what exactly are you bringing this up for again? It confirms his allegation that your sources don't support your contentions, it doesn't refute it.




The last sentence (highlighted) raises the chimpanzee attack 0.27 second 'evidence' JJ tried to appeal to in order to protect a previously bad idea. Is JJ trying to suggest that the baboon turned here to attempt to ward off depredation with its canines? :)

Further problems are here though.

When one says a leopard is an ambush hunter, finding an example of a leopard not using ambush doesn't mean that's not its standard hunting strategy. Again, JJ is obliged to acknowledge that 1/100 doesn't defeat 99/100. Rare events don't supersede standard events. Of course, interactions are complex and there are numerous ways in which events can unfold, but there's a statistical element in all good science where events typically unfold in particular ways, and they in turn in the context of evolution and natural selection are the indicators of pressures on adaptation, not the extremely rare circumstances.

JJ's source is selective. There are innumerable potential configurations of trees, and fewer trees obviously presents less safety to an animal seeking to climb up a tree away from a predator capable of following them up. In a situation where there are many trees in close proximity, the leopard is basically never going to succeed in catching a monkey that runs up a tree and can hop between thin branches to other trees. Of course, a leopard in not stupid and probably wouldn't even bother, electing to conserve its energy for a more likely successful outcome. In the examples JJ has appealed to, the leopard is also cognisant of the fact that there is nowhere else for the monkey to go once it runs up the tree - it can go up, it can go down, that's it. The leopard is, in effect, gambling. If the monkey was calm, collected and experienced - it may have been able to find a position the leopard couldn't catch it, but still the chances are somewhat better weighted in favour of the leopard than in other scenarios with different tree configurations.

Again, JJ needs to take into consideration all the times a leopard chases a monkey up a tree and fails to catch the monkey. It's not a simple gambit because the leopard is expending energy on the attempt, and if it keeps making poor choices chasing monkeys up trees from which they can readily escape, then it is hampering its own survival. Its time would be better spent finding another monkey to ambush. JJ insists on dealing in gross simplification because that's the only place any of his arguments can survive, but he's not given a single coherent reason why someone capable of recognizing and aware of the true complexity should find his arguments convincing. Essentially, he's appealing to Martians - hoping they use his rare occasions as type cases even when they're outliers.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4551  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 02, 2019 11:22 am

Thommo wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Yes, more than one person already pointed this out, but even ignoring that internal contradiction, it still doesn't stand to reason that a general true statement is overturned by a few instances where something else occurred.


This does appear to be the central point. What we see in the video of the baboon and the video of the monkey is that they both (a) employ a defence strategy of retreating to thin branches, (b) do not employ a defence strategy of causing injury by biting and (c) are fatally unsuccessful.

We can probably generalise from (a) and (b), those might well be representative of the defense strategies used by certain primates in certain environments against large cat predation to some degree. This does not, as it happens, support Jayjay's point.


Absolutely.

And this is against a leopard, which is more competent at climbing trees than any other typical predator a baboon faces. Lions would generally come away shame-faced and hungry if they tried this.

So this is a best case scenario for JJ's argument, and it's just works out wrong in so many ways. Jj recognizes none of those errors.

The only worse example recorded in this thread is when JJ put up a video of a male baboon standing up to a lioness to support his argument about primate canines being a deterrent to predators while apparently happily ignoring that the video ended with the lions chowing down on the very dead baboon. :think: :scratch:

Again, I have put this to him in terms of evolution and natural selection. In any sizeable sample of encounters between an impressively canined baboon and a leopard which hasn't stealthily ambushed the monkey, the optimal chance of the baboon remaining in the gene pool is if it flees; it won't always succeed, but it will succeed often enough that it form a stable strategy which selects for the traits permitting that flight.

When a baboon doesn't flee, an awful lot of times will see it be killed by the larger, faster, stronger, and better equipped predator which specialized in killing smaller animals than itself (whatever genetic component therein is selected against - fleeing traits survive, fighty-traits don't get passed on).

There will be a few times when a baboon's impressive flourishing of its impressive canines will flummox the leopard sufficiently to allow the baboon to flee - this can definitely happen when there is an inexperienced juvenile leopard. The infrequency with which this occurs, and the particular circumstances make this nigh on invisible to evolution.

There will be a few times when the baboon and leopard physically engage and the baboon can inflict significant enough damage on the leopard to either allow the baboon to escape, or to cause the leopard to cease to be a threat.

But in every case where the baboon stands ground with the leopard, the chances are very high that even if it succeeds in warding off the predator, that it will take serious physical injury to itself too, quite possibly then removing it from the gene pool.

And in the majority of cases where the baboon and leopard physically interact, the leopard will kill the baboon being much larger, faster, stronger, and better equipped for killing and inflicting damage on other animals, particularly those significantly smaller than itself.

In an evolutionary game, the odds inevitably favour fleeing because it not only results in higher chance of immediate survival, but also minimizes the chance of being injured. Consequently, any genetic component of these traits is preferentially selected and passed onto future generations comparative to those individuals lacking such useful fleeing traits.

Meanwhile, the prey animal that stands its ground may rarely come out on top, uninjured and a healthy lump of free protein to chow on, statistically the outcome is never going to be in its favour as the majority will either die outright or be seriously injured, and consequently its 'fight' traits will be selected against, will become less represented in future generations. It's not an evolutionary stable strategy.

Of course, none of this takes into account the leopard either. This is another huge gap in JJ's thinking. A species that targets prey which routinely turns and kills it is a species that's going to find itself extinct.

Similarly, none of this takes into account the numerous other pressures on baboon teeth and other adaptations either. Eating is very, very important in terms of fitness, and if those teeth can't perform that consumption of key nutrients as efficiently as an individual lacking such impressive dental displays, I think it's a pretty confident bet that they're being actively selected against.

But really, all this is a by-the-by when we can simply look at baboon behavior, note that their social organisation involves dominance hierarchies, note that males fight and make threat-displays to other males, and that the males who are at the top of the hierarchy are more likely to pass on their genes to future generations, then we have a direct equation when it comes to canine size and evolution. That dozens of studies track this relationship, that canine size itself can act as a predictor of social organisation in primates, that direct observations across numerous species confirm this.... makes it a vastly superior argument that cannot be just waved away.



Thommo wrote:We probably can't generalise from (c) because we know baboons and monkeys are not extinct, if the strategy was largely ineffective and predation by large cats was a major determinant of population size then the primates would have to change strategy or would not survive.

We can probably infer that some of the leopards' behaviour was either atypical (lone prey animals in isolated trees, perhaps) or risky (did the leopard risk serious injury by falling? Was it a fluke that the hunt was successful?), but I personally lack the wider knowledge and evidence base that would be needed to make such inferences without going wrong.


I think it's important to remember that predators are capable of assessing the situation. In the case provided, the leopard was aware that the monkey was basically trapped (no trees to escape to) and tried to exploit that. It might not have worked - how many times does a leopard try this and it not work? I have no idea, nor does anyone else as we don't record every single interaction between leopards and monkeys.

What we can say is that the scenario is fairly uncommon because we know that leopards are ambush hunters which use camouflage, stealth, and short explosive speed to catch prey unawares, typically either breaking the neck or sinking their canines into the jugular of their intended prey to quickly kill it. Obviously, all manner of possible shit can hit the fan beyond the remit of predictability, but this is not some kind of quirky idiosyncratic assertion I made up to tailor a counter to JJ - it's widely available, standard information.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4552  Postby scott1328 » Dec 02, 2019 9:05 pm

Having only cursorily read the thread over the last seven years, I am going to interject a naive question: Doesn't research show that lady baboons find big canine teeth sexy?
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4553  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 03, 2019 2:31 am

scott1328 wrote:Having only cursorily read the thread over the last seven years, I am going to interject a naive question: Doesn't research show that lady baboons find big canine teeth sexy?



They don't need to find canine teeth sexy if the only guy available is the one with the big canine teeth who drove off the other possible males. :grin:

Really though, it's abstracted. What baboon females 'find sexy' is the dominant male rather than any particular trait. Why do they find the dominant male sexy (subconsciously), because he's got the right genetic composition to become the dominant male. Him - and male specimens like him (so his genetic offspring) - are successful in finding mates and reproducing.

There's an essential tautology to many of the sexual selection paths species follow.

Meanwhile, the less well physically endowed but craftier males are sneaking round the back for a bit of nooky behind the baboon equivalent of the bike shed. Genetic variety is the spice of life!
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4554  Postby zoon » Dec 03, 2019 9:24 am

Spearthrower wrote:
To summarise my understanding of the core argument:
JJ: Most primates have large canines to fight off predators. Without this defence or an alternative those species would go extinct. Humans and some recent ancestor species do not have this defence, so they must have an alternative. The only possible alternative is weapon use, particularly spears.

Spearthrower: Primate canine size is not explained by the need to fight off predators. Sexual dimorphism shows that it is an evolved consequence of behaviour exhibited primarily among one sex. Both sexes have been observed to fight or ward off predators through group behaviour that is not limited to biting. Independent lines of evidence, both observed amongst extant species and from the fossil record of extinct primates provide alternative explanations for the size of canines and the methods of warding off predators. JJ is fundamentally incorrect to ignore the evidence instead of ground his arguments in it.


I think your summary of JJ's argument is accurate and fair. If anything, it probably veers further into charitability than is entirely warranted at this point - none of the gladiatorial imagery JJ likes erecting, for example - but it's your summary and you're a fair chap.

Your summary of my argument is lacking some key details, however, but that only stands to reason as I've offered a slew of information over the past 200 pages and summarizing it all would have taken a higher level of concentration and attention than I think is reasonable to ask of anyone.

Additional points of my argument are:

1) Primates factually employ other strategies to evade depredation which are not dependent on canine size. Fleeing, for example, is an obvious strategy against terrestrial predators given that primates are typically better adapted for movement in trees than most of their predators……
...

Am I right in thinking this was a difficulty when australopithecine remains were first discovered in the 1920s, as they were found in dry areas without much tree cover, so, together with their bipedalism which evidently enabled them to walk on the ground, it was supposed that they were creatures of the open savannah, with no trees to flee into? It was for that reason that Dart and some others supposed that they must have had weapons? Later archaeological finds have shown that in fact australopithecines stayed in areas that were wooded at the time; their fossilised bones are not found in currently wooded areas because bones tend to disappear in the more acid soils of woodland? This is what was worrying me earlier in the thread; I was wondering how australopithecines did manage to avoid being taken by the large terrestrial predators, it took me time to realise both that they stayed near trees, and that they were in fact well adapted for climbing, much more so than modern humans. It now seems likely that the anti-predation strategies of modern chimpanzees, including nest-building and mobbing as well as fleeing up into trees and crossing from one tree to another in the canopy, would have been available to A. afarensis.

At the beginning of this thread, Jayjay4547 was stressing (though incorrectly) that australopithecines lived on mostly treeless savannah, and as far as I can tell most people were agreeing with him?
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4555  Postby Jayjay4547 » Dec 03, 2019 1:37 pm

Thommo wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Leopards don't actually typically climb trees to hunt baboons because that would be very silly. A baboon weighs only a third of a leopard and is far better adapted to climbing trees. A leopard that climbs up the trunk of a tree is going to quickly find that the baboon has either a) moved out to thinner branches that cannot bear the leopard's weight or b) has run along a branch and jumped to another tree.


Jayjay4547 wrote:In this video which I have put up a few times on this forum, a leopard openly hunts a single baboon in a tree, who hangs onto a thin branch, but the leopard is prepared to take a fall, catching the baboon on the way down and killing it on the ground.

Naked link to Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR2m4Q2WCqI

In this video a leopard openly hunts and kills a much smaller monkey in a tree, also demonstrating great climbing skills and determination.

Naked link to Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5jX3GnwThU

Busse (1980) observed this:

When leopards attack a baboon roost they may remain at the roost for long intervals, and sometimes for the entire night. Two kills appeared to have been made at least an hour after leopards first attacked the roost. Thus, surprise is not a necessary element of successful attack, although one kill appeared to have been made in surprise.


Ok, so Spearthrower's claims are:
1 Leopards hunt baboons in trees only infrequently.

He said something stronger: that it would be silly for the leopard to climb trees to hunt baboons, because if it tried, it would “quickly find” circumstances that Spearthrower knew about and he then enumerated.

Thommo wrote: 2 Baboons weigh about one third the amount of leopards.

Not that it's important, Spearthrower’s ratio of weights was wrong. I copied these relative weights from a November 16th post, which wasn't contradicted: Australopithecus (31kgF-50kgM) baboon (13kgF-31kgM), leopard (23kgF-31kgM)”. Then a male leopard might weigh 2.3 limes a female baboon, and a female leopard three quarters the weight of a male baboon.

Thommo wrote: 3 Baboons are better at climbing trees than leopards.

Yes.

Thommo wrote: 4 If a leopard climbs a tree it will find the baboon it's after has moved to thinner branches or leapt to another tree.[/list]

In the first video, the leopard succeeded in catching a baboon that had moved onto thinner branches. In the second video, a leopard leapt into another tree itself where it succeeded in killing a much smaller monkey than a baboon.


Thommo wrote: Now, since you've given two examples (one of which doesn't feature a baboon at all and neither of which show a baboon defending itself with canines) and shown nothing relating to frequency, you haven't countered 1.


Point 1 was that only an unlearned leopard would typically hunt baboons in trees; it would “soon find” ie learn, how unproductive that was. Whereas, both videos showed a leopard successfully hunting a baboon, and a much smaller monkey, in trees. So I did counter 1.


And Busse (1980) observed leopards hunting baboons in roosting trees, under the most unfavourable circumstances for their predators, that the baboons could surely find: a tall tree with terminal branches a baboon could hang from out of reach of a leopard.

Concerning the canines; years ago I did naively visualise baboons defending themselves in roosts by at least threatening a hunting leopard. But Busse’s accounts don’t support that generally, and I haven’t argued it here. My interpretation is that the topology of a roosting tree makes it difficult for baboons to form a front against a leopard as they might when roosting on a cliff face. The pace at which a leopard can climb a tree trunk makes it difficult to stop it at the first branch, where it might just grab a defender and scramble back down the trunk.. The problem for the leopard happens after it has taken a victim; (e.g. by terrorising one out of its wits, or by just waiting until one dangling baboon changes its highly stressed dangling posture.). The problem is then how to get out of the tree without being maimed, with the victim in its mouth in a tree with many instantly enraged baboons.

Street (1971) “Animal Weapons”MacGibbon and Kee, London, gives on p24 this account of baboons becoming enraged when troop members were trapped for zoo collection:

"Carl Hagenbeck, the great German zoologist and animal dealer, recalls one occasion when his hunters came near to losing their lives when they set a trap, perhaps rather recklessly, in the territory of a huge troop of baboons estimated to be 3000 strong, No sooner had the door of the trap been closed on a number of captives than the rest of the troop attacked.
To the hunters it must have seemed like a nightmare as the savage hordes with bared teeth and erect manes, and uttering terrible screams, rushed upon them. Despite their firearms and cudgels their position was critical, but they managed to retreat. The attackers then turned their attention to the trap. With concentrated fury they flung themselves on it, reducing it to a complete wreck and departing with their released fellows".


Fitzpatrick’s (1907) "Jock of the Bushveld “, Longman’s Green and Co, London gives (p271) an equivalent account of enraged baboons rescuing a victim (in this case, of a leopard)

So I’m suggesting that a primate capacity to become enraged in protection of a victim is critical.

Thommo wrote: We can't weigh the baboon in the picture, but it is clearly much smaller than the leopard, so you haven't countered 2.

I don’t need to “counter” that the leopard was heavier than the baboon, just that in neither video (and especially in the second with the vervet-sized monkey) did that affect the success of the hunt.

Thommo wrote: We don't really see the climbing skill of the baboon relative to the leopard so you haven't countered 3. The baboon clearly has moved to the thin branches before the leopard reaches it, so not only have you not countered 4. you have confirmed it.


My criticism of Spearthrower’s lecture that it would typically be silly for a leopard to hunt baboons in a tree doesn’t depend on the leopard not being a better climber or on the baboon not climbing onto thin branches..I put up two videos showing successful hunts by leopards, one of a leopard killing a baboon that did climb onto thin branches and the other, killing a small monkey that leapt from one tree to another.

Those videos are anecdotal but I also cited Busse’s scientific observations of leopards persistently hunting baboons in roosting trees.

Thommo wrote: So my question is, what exactly are you bringing this up for again? It confirms his allegation that your sources don't support your contentions, it doesn't refute it.


I have argued above that my sources do support my contention; leopard do hunt baboons in trees under circumstances that would be unfavourable to australopithecines as alternative prey.

What do you visualise a troop of hominins doing in a roosting tre, about a leopard that had taken one of their members? Suppose that they were absolutely enraged, like a bunch of enraged baboons?
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4556  Postby Thommo » Dec 03, 2019 2:12 pm

Jayjay4547 wrote:He said something stronger: that it would be silly for the leopard to climb trees to hunt baboons, because if it tried, it would “quickly find” circumstances that Spearthrower knew about and he then enumerated.


Save it for someone with more patience Jayjay. He didn't say that. He said it would be silly for leopards to typically climb trees to hunt baboons. You inserted the pronoun "the" and removed the qualifier "typically" in your paraphrase to substantially change the point.

You can't even be arsed double checking if the weights you're citing are accurate for an African leopard or the kind of baboon you chose to show which takes all of 1 extra click after doing a google search, so don't be expecting me to be putting in effort to talk to you. Because that's what it takes, effort to do the work you should be doing before you hit submit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_leopard
Male leopards are larger, averaging 60 kg (130 lb) with 91 kg (201 lb) being the maximum weight attained by a male. Females weigh about 35 to 40 kg (77 to 88 lb) on average.


By the way, I did have to stifle a laugh when I saw you charged Spearthrower with contradicting a point that hadn't been contradicted. How does that work? It's right because it wasn't contradicted and Spearthrower is therefore wrong for contradicting something that's right? :lol:
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4557  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 03, 2019 5:50 pm

I can't be arsed to go through all of the errors JJ's made in his post right now... but this is funny.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Not that it's important, Spearthrower’s ratio of weights was wrong. I copied these relative weights from a November 16th post, which wasn't contradicted: Australopithecus (31kgF-50kgM) baboon (13kgF-31kgM), leopard (23kgF-31kgM)”. Then a male leopard might weigh 2.3 limes a female baboon, and a female leopard three quarters the weight of a male baboon.


Not that it's important, but JJ's emoting crap again with his gross simplifications.

Of course, leopards range across a huge area, and treating them all the same is only slightly less stupid than treating all baboons the same and all the australopithecines the same, but admittedly much less stupid (but still pretty darn stupid) than treating all afarensis the same (especially after having been educated about it numerous times).

Rather, there are quite substantial geographical distributions in size, partly due to genetic differences, partly due to availability of prey - when leopards are the top predator, they tend to grow larger. JJ's simplifications - which he insists are obligatory and that allowing any complexity is 'fudging' - inevitably render any and all conversations about facts hopeless as he picks the facts he wants.

Page 366 of The Behavior Guide to African Mammals, Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates. (1991) show that leopard weights range from female: 28-58kg, and male 35-65kg - not sure where JJ got his numbers, but there's a source much more compelling that his assertion, and massively different than his claim.

Then we need to look into more geographical variation - to grab an easy quotation from Wikipedia (that JJ has undoubtedly already read)


Some leopards in North Africa allegedly were as large as Barbary lions. In 1913, an Algerian newspaper reported a leopard killed that allegedly measured about 275 cm (108 in) in total length.[28] To compare, male lions measure 266–311 cm (8 ft 9 in–10 ft 2 in) from head to end of tail.[29]

The maximum weight of a wild leopard is about 96 kg (212 lb), recorded in Southern Africa. It measured 262 cm (8 ft 7 in).[30][31]


So the fact is that recently recorded African male leopards - not including those larger specimens which were roaming the African wildnerness until relatively recently before becoming trophy kills - actually range from 35 - 95kg - so a rough average of 65kg. That's over double the weight JJ reports.

No wonder he fantasizes about 4 foot tall apes fighting off the kitties with sharp sticks. Reality hasn't managed to penetrate yet.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4558  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 03, 2019 5:55 pm

Thommo wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:He said something stronger: that it would be silly for the leopard to climb trees to hunt baboons, because if it tried, it would “quickly find” circumstances that Spearthrower knew about and he then enumerated.


Save it for someone with more patience Jayjay. He didn't say that. He said it would be silly for leopards to typically climb trees to hunt baboons. You inserted the pronoun "the" and removed the qualifier "typically" in your paraphrase to substantially change the point.


And, of course, I pointed that out immediately to him, and of course, JJ ignores the correction and repeats the same mischaracterisation, and then whines when he's called out for this kind of behavior. :dunno:



Thommo wrote:
You can't even be arsed double checking if the weights you're citing are accurate for an African leopard or the kind of baboon you chose to show which takes all of 1 extra click after doing a google search, so don't be expecting me to be putting in effort to talk to you. Because that's what it takes, effort to do the work you should be doing before you hit submit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_leopard
Male leopards are larger, averaging 60 kg (130 lb) with 91 kg (201 lb) being the maximum weight attained by a male. Females weigh about 35 to 40 kg (77 to 88 lb) on average.


It's not even difficult to find this information and JJ's been trying this for years. I certainly don't claim any expertise in leopard body metrics - I just look facts up first, then report them. JJ employing Creationist methodology simply emotes facts; just makes up whatever's useful. You can bet your arse he won't even acknowledge his error... certainly within 20 pages, he'll be repeating the same false contention again.

At some point, one has to come to the realization that Hanlon's razor simply cannot be applicable without absurd levels of naivety. It's not stupidity - this is intentional.


Thommo wrote:By the way, I did have to stifle a laugh when I saw you charged Spearthrower with contradicting a point that hadn't been contradicted. How does that work? It's right because it wasn't contradicted and Spearthrower is therefore wrong for contradicting something that's right? :lol:


I'll enjoy that one tomorrow - JJ loves thinking he's tangling with me on even footing when he's really just flailing helplessly.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4559  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 03, 2019 6:19 pm

zoon wrote:Am I right in thinking this was a difficulty when australopithecine remains were first discovered in the 1920s, as they were found in dry areas without much tree cover, so, together with their bipedalism which evidently enabled them to walk on the ground, it was supposed that they were creatures of the open savannah, with no trees to flee into?


Yes you're right, although being nigh on 100 years ago, they were lacking an awful lot of information that has since come to light.

For a start, environments have changed dramatically in the last 3 million years, and back in the 1920's there was no way of really finding out detailed pictures of ancient biomes.

Secondly, the Taung child - the type specimen Dart found - was actually killed by an eagle, and consequently its body could have been carried far away from wherever the eagle killed it.

Really, the important aspect of the site of discovery was that it was a lime quarry - limestone (all sedimentary rock formation) are much better at preserving fossils partly due to the way they form, with layer after layer being put down, often preserving highly detailed morphology that might otherwise have weathered away, and partly due to the chemical composition.


zoon wrote: It was for that reason that Dart and some others supposed that they must have had weapons?


To be honest, while I did learn the history of palaeoanthropology, it was 20+ years ago, and I've mostly forgotten it given how much more interesting and informational recent decades are. I know about the history of Neanderthal and early modern human finds in great detail, but I can't recall all the details of arguments and discussions about all hominids from a century ago! :) Why Dart thought X, I don't know, and honestly, don't really care too much as Dart simply didn't have the evidence we possess today. You might be right, and we know JJ likes to appeal to ancient references, so that might be what spurred his ideas, but those ideas haven't weathered the test of time.


zoon wrote: Later archaeological finds have shown that in fact australopithecines stayed in areas that were wooded at the time; their fossilised bones are not found in currently wooded areas because bones tend to disappear in the more acid soils of woodland?


Yes... albeit with a but. I've already talked about how treating all australopithecines is problematic - even treating afarensis in broad generalizations isn't very useful given the broad range and period of time; we know that significant morphological differences are recorded in afarensis both by geographical and chronological variation.

But by and large, it would be correct to say that the australopithecines were predominantly woodland animals. Some may have lived on the fringes of savannah and lakes and exploited more varied resources, some may have lived in mosaic biomes - forest galleries of mixed woodland and wetlands. But they didn't live on the savannah or in open land.



zoon wrote: This is what was worrying me earlier in the thread; I was wondering how australopithecines did manage to avoid being taken by the large terrestrial predators, it took me time to realise both that they stayed near trees, and that they were in fact well adapted for climbing, much more so than modern humans. It now seems likely that the anti-predation strategies of modern chimpanzees, including nest-building and mobbing as well as fleeing up into trees and crossing from one tree to another in the canopy, would have been available to A. afarensis.


As I've mentioned before, I can't really talk to hypotheticals which aren't evidenced - possible yes, but I'm basically ambivalent towards them as I just don't know - but one thing I can say with confidence is that when trying to imagine afarensis, for example, a chimpanzee is a vastly better proxy than a modern human, or in fact any of the Homo genus.


zoon wrote: At the beginning of this thread, Jayjay4547 was stressing (though incorrectly) that australopithecines lived on mostly treeless savannah, and as far as I can tell most people were agreeing with him?


I don't know, I didn't join this thread until after some time and may have missed reading a lot of that, but assuming that's the case, then I would say they're mistakenly applying behaviors specifically associated with Homo erectus and descendants.
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Re: How atheist ideology messed up the human origin story

#4560  Postby Thommo » Dec 03, 2019 6:22 pm

Spearthrower wrote:not sure where JJ got his numbers


If you google "Leopard weight" Google gives those numbers. And the top dozen or so linked pages all contradict them with ranges that indicate about 60kg is typical for an adult male, so almost literally one further click or just reading more than the top couple of sentences would show up the problem.

Or if we take Jayjay's insistence on looking at pictures he could just have noticed that the leopard in his video was not a 23kg animal chasing a 30kg animal or anything of the sort. I admit it's hard to size accurately in a grainy youtube video, but that much was obvious. As indeed it would be to anybody who'd been to a zoo at some point in their life.

Funnily enough there was a fascinating documentary on today (Monkeys: An Amazing Animal Family episode 2 on Sky 1) that featured Chacma baboons and also a type of related primate I'd never heard of, Geladas, which also have males with oversized canines unsuitable for chewing their preferred diet of grass. Oddly, the documentary showed footage of them using their teeth as a display in intra-species competition for dominance and control of females and didn't show them biting any predators at all.
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