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[VIDEO] Hitler Wasn’t Christian Or Atheist But He Had A Religion

01 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Hitler's 1938 state visit to Italy

 

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[VIDEO] Musee de l’Homie: Paris’s ‘Museum of Mankind’ Dedicated to Human Evolution to Reopen to Public

After six years of renovations, the “Museum of Mankind” (Musee de l’Homme) in Paris will reopen its doors this week, after being inaugurated on Thursday (October 15) by French President Francois Hollande.

“Mankind hasn’t changed but the science of mankind has — we know that to understand mankind we must really grasp the biological and cultural aspects and there are plenty of questions in our society’s current events that require this double-understanding, this double-competence.”

—  Evelyne Heyer, curator

Although the exterior of the art deco building, located in the famous Trocadero square overlooking the Eiffel tower, remains unchanged, inside visitors will discover 2,500 square metres of entirely renovated exhibitions, offering a new perspective on the history and evolution of mankind.

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“What we wanted to do is present three questions: Who are we? What is mankind? To show in this part that mankind is part of the animal kingdom and that mankind is an interaction between biological and cultural elements, so that’s the first part. The second part is ‘Where do we come from?’ It’s the history of the evolution of our species and its expansion with a transitional period, what we call the Neolithic period, the moment where man began to domesticate nature. And the third part, it’s a bit along the lines of, ‘Where are we going?’ 

—  Evelyne Heyer

The permanent exhibition revolves around three fundamental questions, explains curator Evelyne Heyer.

“What we wanted to do is present three questions: Who are we? What is mankind? To show in this part that mankind is part of the animal kingdom and that mankind is an interaction between biological and cultural elements, so that’s the first part. The second part is ‘Where do we come from?’ It’s the history of the evolution of our species and its expansion with a transitional period, what we call the Neolithic period, the moment where man began to domesticate nature. And the third part, it’s a bit along the lines of, ‘Where are we going?’ We focused on three questions — globalisation, the impact of mankind on our environment and our biological evolutionary future,” Heyer told Reuters Television.

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“What we would like visitors to come away with for this last part of the exhibition is that the big questions faced by our society currently, about man’s adaptation to himself, are in the end questions that mankind has faced for 10,000 years. And it might be interesting to ask ourselves how humanity has resolved these issues, or not, in order to think about it or at least to tackle the solutions that we can come up with today to the erosion of biodiversity, for example, or the consequences of climate change.”

— Deputy curator Jean Pierre Vigne

The museum contains some of the largest and most reputable collections of prehistoric artefacts in the world, featuring recently acquired ethnological artefacts.

These remarkable objects are presented in chronological order — from the skull of man’s ancestor Cro-Magnon to that of French philosopher Rene Descartes — along with a gallery of 19th century busts representing human diversity in a modern way.

More than 96 million euros were invested by the French government to revamp the historic museum, which first opened its doors in 1938.

Heyer said that the methods of research into humanity have changed since then — researchers now know how important the relationship between biology and culture is in the functioning of human beings.

“Mankind hasn’t changed but the science of mankind has — we know that to understand mankind we must really grasp the biological and cultural aspects and there are plenty of questions in our society’s current events that require this double-understanding, this double-competence,” she said.

In the final part of the museum, visitors are greeted by a large Senegalese bus, a Mongolian hut and modern handmade objects, all elements that remind visitors of the impact human beings have had on their environment.

Deputy curator Jean Pierre Vigne said that visiting the museum should raise questions for visitors, including how the questions of our ancient ancestors are still relevant today. Read the rest of this entry »


Martin Rees: The Post-Human Era is Dawning

TRANSHUMAN

Artificial minds will not be confined to the planet on which we have evolved

Martin Rees writes: So vast are the expanses of space and time that fall within an astronomer’s gaze that people in my profession are mindful not only of our moment in history, but also of our place in the wider cosmos. We wonder whether there is intelligent life elsewhere; some of us even search for it. People will not be the culmination of evolution. We are near the dawn of a post-human future that could be just as prolonged as the billions of years of Darwinian selection that preceded humanity’s emergence.

AI robot Ava in the film Ex Machina. Photograph: Allstar/FILM4/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar

AI robot Ava in the film Ex Machina. Photograph: Allstar/FILM4/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar

“Our era of organic intelligence is a triumph of complexity over entropy, but a transient one, which will be followed by a vastly longer period of inorganic intelligences less constrained by their environment.”

The far future will bear traces of humanity, just as our own age retains influences of ancient civilisations. Humans and all they have thought might be a transient precursor to the deeper cogitations of another culture — one dominated by machines, extending deep into the future and spreading far beyond earth.

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“Or they may be out there already, orbiting distant stars. Either way, it will be the actions of autonomous machines that will most drastically change the world, and perhaps what lies beyond.”

Not everyone considers this an uplifting scenario. There are those who fear that artificial intelligence will supplant us, taking our jobs and living beyond the writ of human laws. Others regard such scenarios as too futuristic to be worth fretting over. But the disagreements are about the rate of travel, not the direction. Few doubt that machines will one day surpass more of our distinctively human capabilities. It may take centuries but, compared to the aeons of evolution that led to humanity’s emergence, even that is a mere bat of the eye. This is not a fatalistic projection. It is cause for optimism. The civilisation that supplants us could accomplish unimaginable advances — feats, perhaps, that we cannot even understand.

[Read the full text here, at FT.com]

Human brains, which have changed little since our ancestors roamed the African savannah, have allowed us to penetrate the secrets of the quantum and the cosmos. But there is no reason to think that our comprehension is matched to an understanding of all the important features of reality. Some day we may hit the buffers. There are chemical and metabolic limits to the size and power of “wet” organic brains. Read the rest of this entry »


Professor Yuval Noah Harari: Humans ‘Will Become God-Like Cyborgs Within 200 Years’

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 writes: Wealthy humans are likely become cyborgs within 200 years as they gradually merge with technology like computers and smart phones, a historian has claimed.

“I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.”

Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the amalgamation of man and machine will be the ‘biggest evolution in biology’ since the emergence of life four billion years ago.

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“It will be the greatest evolution in biology since the appearance of life. Nothing really has changed in four billion years biologically speaking. But we will be as different from today’s humans as chimps are now from us.”

Prof Harari, who has written a landmark book charting the history of humanity, said mankind would evolve to become like gods with the power over death, and be as different from humans of today as we are from chimpanzees.

Yuval Noah Harari holds a homo sapiens skull

Yuval Noah Harari holds a homo sapiens skull

“What enables humans to cooperate flexibly, and exist in large societies is our imagination. With religion it’s easy to understand. You can’t convince a chimpanzee to give you a banana with the promise it will get 20 more bananas in chimpanzee heaven. It won’t do it. But humans will.”

sapiens-bookHe argued that humans as a race were driven by dissatisfaction and that we would not be able to resist the temptation to ‘upgrade’ ourselves, whether by genetic engineering or technology.

[Order Professor Yuval Noah Harari’s book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” from Amazon.com]

“We are programmed to be dissatisfied, “ said Prof Harari. “Even when humans gain pleasure and achievements it is not enough. They want more and more.”

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“Most legal systems are based on human rights but it is all in our imagination. Money is the most successful story ever. You have the master storytellers, the bankers, the finance ministers telling you that money is worth something. It isn’t. Try giving money to a chimp. It’s worthless.”

“I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.”

“God is extremely important because without religious myth you can’t create society. Religion is the most important invention of humans.”

— Yuval Noah Harari

“It will be the greatest evolution in biology since the appearance of life. Nothing really has changed in four billion years biologically speaking. But we will be as different from today’s humans as chimps are now from us.”

[Read the full text here, at the Telegraph]

However he warned that the ‘cyborg’ technology would be restricted to the wealthiest in society, widening the gap between rich and poor in society. In the future the rich may be able to live forever while the poor would die out. Read the rest of this entry »


Darwin’s Children Used the First Manuscript of “On the Origin of Species” for Scratch Paper