April 14, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

The Human in the Elephant Room

Man: domesticate thyself. Make like an elephant.
Or, maybe humans already did. Or elephants did.

 

— A new twist on mammal evolution is what Darwinists are calling “self-domestication” —

Everyone likes elephants. They’re cool. They can do amazing things with their flexible trunks—features that engineers would like to imitate. One Indian elephant even taught herself to peel a banana by watching her trainer (video). Humans have domesticated elephants, and when they are treated humanely, they seem to like us. Their family units hold together; they seem to grieve at loss, and express affection. But when Darwinists come in and say they are models of “understanding human evolution” because of “self-domestication,” are they replaying the fable of The Blind Men and the Elephant?

Psycho Darwinism

Elephants as a new model for understanding human evolution (Max Planck Institute, 9 April 2023). Warning: these evolutionists work for the Max Planck “Institute for Psycholinguistics.” We were forewarned about psycho scientists (see 11 April 2023).

Human culture and language may be the result of ‘self-domestication’: an evolutionary process that leads to less aggressive and more prosocial individuals. A research team led by the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen argues that elephants—like humans and bonobos—may also be self-domesticated. Elephants show many traits associated with self-domestication, such as prosocial behaviour, playfulness and complex communication skills. This makes elephants an interesting new animal model for the evolution of prosociality.

Prosociality is Darwinese for materialistic behavior that looks like kindness—a “love” that evolves by natural selection, whether in bonobos, bacteria or bumblebees. It’s animals appearing to act nice when they’re not killing and eating each other. Since it evolves without mind or purpose, there is no moral content to it. What? Are the Darwinians stealing virtues from the Bible again? Yes, but it makes no sense. Prosociality evolves, you see, except when it doesn’t. Both are equally valid outcomes of the Stuff Happens Law.

The Max Planck guys and gals (two females of the six, but we don’t know their pronouns) admit that they don’t know any of this. It’s just a suggestion. They observe apparently nice behaviors by elephants and assume that whatever exists, it evolved.

The team found that elephants show many hallmarks of domestication. Similar to humans and bonobos, they have low levels of aggression, high levels of empathic and prosocial behaviour, an extended juvenile period, and increased playfulness and curiosity. Elephants form coalitions, ‘babysit’ calves, offer protection and comfort to others, and help dying or ill members of their herds—and even the occasional outsider. There is also evidence that elephants are both self-aware and sensitive to the needs and wants of others.

Another important hallmark is elephants’ ability to learn from each other. Behaviours that are often innate in other animals—such as what to eat or how to raise offspring—are socially transmitted in elephants. Elephants also have a sophisticated multimodal communication system with an extensive vocal repertoire, ranging from trumpets and roars to low-frequency rumbles. For example, elephants in Kenya have different alarm calls for humans and for bees. Their varied and combined calls even show signs of grammar.

The evolutionists cannot fathom any other possibility—like, that maybe they were created with these traits. But even so, this doesn’t make sense in a Darwinian context. Philosophically, what set of traits would qualify for inclusion in self-domestication and exclude all others? Otters are playful. Crows have a sophisticated multimodal communication system with different alarm calls. DNA itself is a communication system with “signs of grammar.” Where do you stop?

The evolutionists ran Darwin divination by peering into the genes of elephants, and say they “found several candidate genes associated with domestication” in the genome. Association is not causation. But if prosociality and intelligence are genetically determined, what does that do to their own mental faculties? Evolutionary biologists can’t affirm genetic determinism and then pretend to be prosocial themselves or intelligent truth seekers. The whole explanation implodes. It’s irrational. While one evolutionist looks at the tail and thinks it’s like a rope, another looks at the leg and thinks it’s like a tree, the other looks into the eye and thinks it’s like a soul.

Size Makes Wise?

Here’s another fallacy of association in the press release full of “could” words:

The authors propose that self-domestication in elephants could be related to their massive size and relative strength. “This means that elephants are generally less worried about evading or fighting other animals for their survival”, Raviv explains. “This kind of ‘safe environment’ could relax selective pressures for aggression, free cognitive resources, and open up more opportunities for exploration, communication, and play.

If this were a law of nature, size would always be correlated with prosociality. ‘Nice kitty, T. rex; your size and strength mean you don’t have to fight other animals for survival. You have a safe environment. Now go out and play while daddy does philosophy.’ This is nuts.

Even if one accepted their corny premise that their size gives elephants more “opportunities for exploration, communication, and play,” elephants haven’t changed for tens of thousands of years, in the evolutionary scheme of time. Darwin has been loafing on the job. Elephants should be better thinkers than humans by now. Don’t these evolutionists see the human in the elephant room?

The Usual Escape Clause

What is the Darwinists’ way to stay employed in storytelling and escape accountability for lack of evidence? The usual: futureware.

Our hypothesis of self-domestication in elephants has exciting potential for future research in other species”, concludes Raviv. “It can inform our understanding of the evolution of prosocial behaviour across evolutionarily distant species, providing important insights into convergent evolution.

The appeal to future understanding means they don’t understand it. The coveted “understanding” promised by the Darwinian snake-oil salesmen (which is actually vaporware) is always on back order, arriving next week or next month or next year, just far enough out so that the gullible, trusting public forgets about it and swallows the next futureware promise.

The National Academy of Sciences, to its shame, published this nonsense:

Raviv et al., Elephants as an animal model for self-domestication, PNAS, 3 April 2023. 120 (15) e2208607120
https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2208607120

The paper claims that “self-domestication” is a “promising theory” that is “hard to test.” Supposedly, “the human self-domestication hypothesis, suggests that humans’ uniqueness is the outcome of an evolutionary process of selection against aggression.” But aggression is just as likely an outcome of selection pressure as play or prosociality.

Self-domesticated evolutionist, go ranch thyself.

To perceive the vacuity of this word “evolution” that never comes up with the goods, substitute a nonsense word for it: “It can inform our understanding of the gobbledygook of prosocial behaviour across gobbledygookary distant species, providing important insights into convergent gobbledygook.” How much “understanding did these con men and con women give you?

Danger Ahead

We hope those inclined to eugenics don’t take this “self-domestication” notion and run with it. They might decide that humans need to be artificially selected for better breeding, like ranchers do with chickens and cows. Undoubtedly, the humans with the Yoda Complex would take the lead on that. The awful consequences of eugenics seem inherent in the notion of human self-domestication. We learned from Animal Farm that the fittest tyrants will use propaganda to get compliance, saying, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Could this happen? Their concluding discussion says,

Our hypothesis for self-domestication in elephants thus has important implications for studying the process and outcomes of cultural evolution, which is seen as one of the most prominent and powerful hallmarks of humanity.

Don’t give these nuts any ideas. We’ve suffered enough from their “understanding.”

 

 

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