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Art Evolution Is Backwards

first_imgEarly art has again been shown to be the work of advanced intellect and culture (see Apr. 22 headline and embedded links).  Carved animal figurines found in Germany1 estimated to be 30,000 to 33,000 years old, display a level of craftsmanship not expected among primitive humans.  In the Dec. 18 issue of Nature2, Anthony Sinclair laments that this does not fit the Victorian notions of progressive evolution:The study of early art has been plagued by our desire to see this essentially human skill in a progressive evolutionary context: simple artistic expressions should lead to later, more sophisticated creations.  We imagine that the first artists worked with a small range of materials and techniques, and produced a limited range of representations of the world around them.  As new materials and new techniques were developed, we should see this pattern of evolution in the archaeological record.  Yet for many outlets of artistic expression � cave paintings, textiles, ceramics and musical instruments � the evidence increasingly refuses to fit.  Instead of a gradual evolution of skills, the first modern humans in Europe were in fact astonishingly precocious artists. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)He describes how the cave paintings in Europe, before they were dated by radiometric means, were arranged into an evolutionary sequence from simple to complex.  Then came the surprise that the superb multicolored animal paintings in Chauvet cave in France were dated to be the oldest (see 10/04/01 headline).  Sinclair points out other examples of textiles, figurines and musical instruments that refuse to fall into evolutionary line.  For instance, among some musical pipes found in France,Microscopic examination suggests that they may have been reed-voiced instruments, like a modern oboe, and that the finger holes have been chamfered to increase the pneumatic efficiency of the finger seal: simple whistles they are not.  Such evidence of complexity is used to argue that these cannot be the first musical pipes, even though they are the oldest in the archaeological record.So there seems to be a bias among researchers to force their discoveries into evolutionary presuppositions.  Sinclair tries to salvage evolution by saying maybe we haven’t found the primitive precursors yet, but unambiguous finds prior to the dates of these exquisite artifacts “can be counted on the fingers of one hand,” he says.  “The argument in favour of fast-developing artistic skills in modern humans is strong, and certainly one that I find convincing.”  His statements reveal the chagrin of finding out observations do not match predictions, and he cautions researchers that they must face up to the facts:The Victorian idea of progressive evolution has been a very persuasive metaphor for explaining change in the archaeological record, particularly over a time of biological change in the human species.  Yet the archaeological evidence is now forcing us to come up with new timescales for cultural change and innovation.  This is a challenge that makes the smallest finds of archaeology as important as the largest.1Nicholas J. Conard, “Palaeolithic ivory sculptures from southwestern Germany and the origins of figurative art,” Nature 426, 830 – 832 (18 December 2003); doi:10.1038/nature02186.2Anthony Sinclair, “Archaeology: Art of the Ancients,” Nature 426, 774 – 775 (18 December 2003); doi:10.1038/426774a.While Sinclair’s candor is laudable, it does not go far enough.  The evolutionary metaphor is beyond salvage.  The observations falsify evolution and instead support the creation paradigm, that man was endowed with intelligence and artistic skill from the beginning.  In the Biblical timeline, for instance, metallurgy, farming, ranching and musical instrument making were already advanced by the seventh generation from Adam (see Gen. 4:16-22).  After the flood and Babel, it is certainly plausible that technology took a huge setback, and as post-flood ice ages ensued, generations of humans dispersed into whatever habitats they could find, including caves.  For a Q&A list on creation anthropology, see Answers in Genesis.    The fact that some human artifacts are found in caves does not mean the artists were primitive.  Some people like living in or visiting caves (even today).  Besides, it could be a selection effect, either that cave environments preserve artifacts better, or that archaeologists are more wont to explore caves than surface terrain.  The dating methods Sinclair trusts are flawed anyway, being built on evolutionary presuppositions, so his whole predicament is a prison in his own mind.  Our enlightened post-Victorian era must now wake up to the realization that progressive evolution was just a persuasive metaphor, and as scientists should know, metaphors bewitch you (see July 4 headline).(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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The NBA comes to Africa

first_imgIn a leap forward for basketball in South Africa and the continent, the NBA’s first game in Africa will be played in August. The captains have been announced for the Team Africa versus Team World play off, with the African side led by Luol Deng. In a first for Africa, the NBA will hold a basketball game in Johannesburg. (Image: Twitter)• Africa and space: the continent looks skyward • Africa played a role in ending World War 2 • Women combat lack of electricity with solar power • African products sold online to fight against malaria • A tribute to South Africa’s neighbours Priya PitamberThe National Basketball Association (NBA) is coming to South Africa, when it will hold its first basketball game in Africa, in August. The Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg will be transformed into a basketball court for the Team Africa versus Team World play off.Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA’s Africa vice-president said it was a major milestone for the group’s efforts on the continent. It has had a presence on the continent for over 30 years. “It is a pivotal moment for the growth of basketball on the continent, and we are grateful to the Players Association, players and team personnel who have committed to be part of this historic event.”An excited Fall hoped the game would become an annual event.Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said it was a chance to change the perception of many South Africans, and show that sport was more than rugby, cricket, and soccer. “It will benefit us to grow sport,” he said. “We have started the league of basketball and to put it on the highest pedestal and benefit us in terms of promoting that league here in Mzansi [South Africa].”Team Africa vs Team WorldTeam captains have been named. Heading up Team World is Chris Paul while South Sudanese born Luol Deng will lead the charge for Team Africa.“I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA’s first game in Africa,” said Deng. “Coming from South Sudan and having participated in the Basketball without Borders Africa camps in Johannesburg previously, I am truly honoured to be part of this historic event.”Paul said he was looking forward to representing Team World in the first NBA game in Africa. “It will be my first visit to the continent, and I cannot wait to contribute to the growth of the game on and off the court.”Happy fansBasketball enthusiasts in Africa took to Twitter to show their excitement.#Africa loves basketball and has always been loyal to the #NBA ????. The #NBAAfricaGame is bound to be a cracker!! https://t.co/3HKT5sH8Nk— Sammy Mncwabe (@SammyMncwabe) May 10, 2015Photo: August 1st you will find me court side watching the #NBAAfricaGame! // #NBA #NBAAfrica #Basketball… http://t.co/lz6KkXhJhc— NoShadowJab (@JAB_A_JAW) May 15, 2015Another step in the right direction by the @NBA to become a global sport by launching new exhibition game in Africa. http://t.co/gm5FVivawn— Avish Sood (@AvishSood) April 23, 2015Ticket information, coaches and other players are still to be announced. Big Concerts will keep fans updated.African playersLuol Deng Luol Deng, born in South Sudan, plays for Miami Heat in the NBA, after moving from Chicago Bulls. (Image: Keith Allison, Wikipedia) “I enjoy throwing the ball in the hoop,” Luol Deng told American news site USA Today. But he had not always like the sport, he admitted.Born in what is now South Sudan, his family fled the war and moved to Egypt. When they received a visit from basketball player Manute Bol, Deng’s fate changed, even if he was resistant to it. “Manute started putting in practices at the time, but I wouldn’t play,” Deng said. “I was nine, and I was just watching. I hated basketball then. I was playing more soccer.”When the family moved to England, his brother continued his interest in basketball, influencing Deng. He started playing at the Brixton Basketball Club. Deng eventually moved to the USA and put his skills to use, playing initially for the Chicago Bulls and now Miami Heat in the NBA.Bismack Biyombo Bismack Biyombo, born Democratic Republic of Congo, plays for Charlotte Hornets in the NBA. (Image: Mike Kalasnik, Flickr) Born in Democratic Republic of Congo, Bismack Biyombo is the eldest of seven children. His love for basketball came from his dad and uncle, both of whom played in the semi-professional first division league.When he was approached to play professionally in the Middle East, his parents were initially reluctant. But after a year of persuasion, they allowed him to do so.Draft Express, a scouting, statistics and analytics service, said: “From Qatar he went to Jordan, then to Lebanon and finally to Yemen. In total, he spent six months jet-setting around the Middle East.”Biyombo moved to Spain to play basketball, where he was spotted by Nike’s consultant of global basketball and was invited to play at the Nike Hoop Summit. He now plays for the Charlotte Hornets.Festus Ezeli Nigerian born Festus Ezeli went to the US when he was young and ended up playing for Golden State Warriors in the NBA. (Image: Warriors World)Festus Ezeli left his native Nigeria for the US when he was 14 years old to live with his uncle, sent by his parents to get a better education.Chatting to sports channel, ESPN, Ezeli admitted he did not know what he was doing when he first tried to play basketball. “Imagine someone who is 14 or 15 years old, and you’re teaching them as if they’re a six-year-old,” he said. “It was tough. Everyone was getting frustrated with me. I was getting frustrated with it. I tried playing in 2005. I stopped. I tried again in 2006. And when I had my first dunk in a summer league game in Las Vegas in 2006, that’s when I was so excited. It was so exhilarating that I started to like it.”He initially struggled to master hand-eye co-ordination. But he said the hard work had paid off – because today he played for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. “To go from where people were telling me, ‘You’re so bad, you’re terrible,’ to being able to do what I’m doing now, to where I could be playing with the best eventually, it’s an honour.”Gorgui Dieng Gorgui Dieng, from Senegal, would like to be a good role model through basketball. He plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. (Image: Africa Top Sports) Gorgui Dieng’s father – an elected official and teacher – played a big role in his life. “My dad, he taught me a lot. Because where I am from, my dad taught me how to share,” Dieng, who hails from Senegal, told US new site, WDRB.“When he was younger, every month my dad had his salary, he’d just put the money on the table like this, and people are going to make a big line because we got a lot of people don’t have enough money to take care of themselves. He always talked like, ‘I made this money. I’m not going to save it for you, I’m going to give it to people that need it. If you want to make your own money, just go work for it.’ That’s what he always told me.”And because of that Dieng said he wanted to earn his own money and become a role model too. “I want to go back home and give back,” Dieng said. “People helped me to get here to go to school and play basketball, I want to go back home and do the same thing for the kids. I don’t want to be selfish. People who helped me do what I’m doing right now, I want to go back and do the same thing for them.”He now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA.last_img read more

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