EDITORIAL REVIEWS – NARRATIVES OF HUMAN EVOLUTION BY MISIA LANDAU
5.0 out of 5 starsYou can’t understand concepts in human evolution without reading this book.
Bycbseattleon May 31, 2013
We all have an interest in human evolution because it is OUR story. Discoveries like “Lucy” or discussions of the “missing link” have been topics of popular and scientific discussion for more ages (have you ever wondered why we never seem to discover the missing link? Be prepared to find out why.). Many of us think we have at a least a basic understanding of the subject. What this book demonstrates like no other book on the topic is how these stories are essentially based on “TRADITIONAL HERO” stories.
You will never read about a topic in human evolution the same way again. What this book does is take you behind the scenes and show you how these stories are constructed and to what extent they are based on scientific principles versus the principles of story telling. In fact what Ms. Landau has to offer goes beyond this specific subject and shows how science in general is related to story telling.
It’s one of those books that helps develop your world view and makes you a better consumer of information and that is a critical skill for understanding anything.
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A most outstanding book endorsed by some of the very eminent and top authorities in palaeoanthropology such as Roger Lewin and E O Wilson. It will place evolution and its reception by historians and other authorities in its proper and realistic and more accurate and authentic perspective. Several books that I have puurchsed.
• Misua Landau’sNarrative of Human Evolution
4.0 out of 5 starsMerging of science and humanities
ByStephen A. HainesHALL OF FAMEon July 1, 2002
Landau’s book is a breakthrough in the studies of early humanity. Most researchers, particularly field workers, naturally assumed they were simply finding, indexing and describing bones and artifacts. Landau’s innovative ideas illustrate that once the “museum pieces” are listed and described, the urge to place them in a greater context is inescapable. We are too concerned with our origins to permit our origins to be relegated to a museum
directory. In order to explain and understand our ancestors, we fall back on the narrative format to explain our origins. Since our most familiar narrative experience is the “folk myth,” with its frank order of events, explaining our past tends to use this easily understood framework. While she applies this formula to paleoanthropology, she argues that it fits well in the physical sciences also. Whether physical sciences or human evolution, the narrative format is given as much weight as the physical evidence.
She uses a classic analysis, Valdimir Propp’s 1928 work Morphology of the Folktale as her reference point. Propp used “functions” in describing the elements of a story, beginning with the hero setting on a quest, accepting a “donor’s” help and undergoing tests until “arriving at a higher state” at the conclusion. Given that Propp offered 31 different functions that could be applied, there’s much room for flexibility in applying the story equation in various sciences. For paleoanthropology, Landau selects nine of Propp’s elements in portraying how various theorists used a similar format in describing the path of human evolution.
Although Landau opens the book with the views of Thomas Henry Huxley and Ernst Haekel, the significant protagonists are the British and American thinkers, Keith, Wood, Elliot Smith, Osborn and Gregory. The central issue was whether humans became bipedal before developing large brains, or the reverse. Elliot Smith stood almost alone in viewing intelligence preceding upright walking. She provides us with a diagram summarizing these theorists before examining their individual views in the text.
Landau finds use of the narrative formula as a liberating mechanism in studying our past. Those paleoanthropologists who resist adopting this technique are unnecessarily restraining themselves, she argues. Attempts by the “post-modernists” and “deconstructionists” to subvert the established narrative structure are unlikely to succeed, particularly where it is utilized in the sciences. She offers the “biography” of a subatomic particle to demonstrate how pervasive the narrative form is within scientific literature. In one sense, Landau may have provided a major step in the unity of science and humanity so earnestly sanctioned by Edward O. Wilson in his “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Landau’s book is a fine read and something to have as background when dealing with creating or reading … about science and humanity.
Harold L Carter – “Europa” and “Asia” – goddesses in Greek Mythology – Europa
See More Europa Pictures >
CRETAN / GREEK MYTHOLOGY:
Europa was initially a CRETAN moon goddess, who was incorporated into the Greek mythology as a VIRGIN PHOENICIAN princess. She was the daughter of the King Agenor of Sidon (Phoenician city) and EUROPE WAS NAMED AFTER HER.
She had an affair with Zeus, which Hera never learned about and therefore, never tried to pursue Europa to punish her. One night, Europa dreamed of TWO CONTINENTS, which had taken the forms of women, arguing over her. ASIA maintained that since Europa had been born in Asia, she belonged to her. The other continent, which was nameless (? – Note: AFRICA!)), said that her birth was not important and that Zeus would give Europa to her. Disturbed by the dream, Europa woke up in the early hours and did not go back to sleep. She summoned her companions, who were all daughters of nobility and of her age. It was a beautiful day and they went off gathering flowers by the sea. Zeus noticed this charming group, particularly Europa, who was the prettiest of the maidens. According to some sources, Eros induced him into action with one of his arrows, although Zeus never really needed much persuasion. In any case, Zeus appeared to the group in the form of a white bull, one that was more beautiful than any other; a bull that smelled of flowers and lowed beautifully; a bull so obviously gentle that all the maidens rushed to stroke and pet it. The bull laid down in front of Europa and she slid onto its back. Instantly, the bull charged off, plunging into the sea, and began to swim rapidly from the shore. Europa saw that a procession had joined them, Nereids riding dolphins, Triton blowing his horn, even Poseidon. From this, she realized that the bull must be a god and she pleaded to pity her. Zeus spoke to her and explained his love. HE TOOK HER TO CRETE, WHERE HE HAD BEEN RAISED, and promised her that she would bear him many famous sons. HER SONS INCLUDED MINOS (Note: KING MINOS – MINOAN CIVILIZATION – (DR JOHN JACKSON – SETTLEMENT OF CRETE BY AFRICAN ANCIENT EGYPTIANS PRIOR TO GREEK SETTLEMENT AND CONQUEST OF CRETE) and Rhadamanthus.