First part: Li'l Joe in Response to Interview of Dr. Mark Moffett by Dr.Michael Shermer
There are differences as well as similarities among species. The eusocial behavior of formicidae species called ants and prosocial behavior of hominin species have in common that both species evolved from a common ancestor that lived billions of years ago.
A lot happens given billion years. A great many changes occurred throughout the entire biosphere. Ionian Philosopher Heraclitus two and a half thousand years ago rightly observed: "Everything changes and nothing remains still ... and ... you cannot step twice into the same stream".
Hegel called this sublation. Darwin wrote of evolutionary changes as caused by descent with modifications reinforced by natural selection. Species of plants and animals, bacteria and viruses populating the lands and oceans of this planet share a common ancestor (last universal common ancestor) originating billions of years ago.
Ants and humans are of the same common heritage but are fundamentally different species. Darwin wrote of reproduction variously producing mutations and variation within species. There is also genetic drift and gene flow resulting in species different from its antecedent and different species because of billions of years of genetic and morphogenetic processes radiating millions of different species belonging to one of three domains of life: Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. Ants and humans belong to the animal kingdom. Ants and humans are animals with a common ancestor belonging to the eukarya domain. Ants and humans separated from a common animal ancestor into separate and distinct phyla.
Anatomical transformations occur through mechanisms of biological reproduction resulting in mutation and variation. DNA changes due to random change of allele frequency , causing microevolution over a few generations and over many generations macroevolution. Mutation is the only source of new alleles by random mating, gene flow and genetic drift resulting in variation, diversification and speciation when there's isolation from the rest of the lineage. The founders of the species over generations beget mutations and the processes of biological speciations occur over billions of years, The species founder is subsequently classified as the genus founder. Another species becomes another genus founder resulting in the antecedent founder classified as the common ancestor of the subsequent species and so on covering billions of years.
Ants are of the Hymenoptera Family belonging to the Insecta class of Arthropoda. Differences between and diversification of millions of species evolved from being of a different kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus to which the species belong. Over billions of years species millions of species branch off from a lineage because of mutation resulting in variation and speciation from the antecedent lineage. Most species which lived on earth became extinct but there's millions of descendant species that are present today.
Moffett's placing of ants and humans in the same sociological category because these particular arthropoda and hominins are social animals is, to use a popular term, fake science. Such a person is called a quack doctor. Ants and humans have a different anatomy and physiology because they are not only separate species but are of an entirely separate and distinct phylum, class, order, family, genus. Ants belong to the phylum Euarthropoda.
Moffett's anti-immigrant and islamophobic sophistry is masquerading as a scientific (empirical) analysis. Equating ant and human social behavior within their respective habitats as identical as a "society" is not science. It is deception. It is ideological racist propaganda. Propaganda is deception. Moffett is a deceptive propagandist.
Obvious from the rhetoric he vomits, Moffett's objective isn't to advance knowledge of hominin social behavior. Moffett wants to deceive white workers into believing racial bigotry and ethnic conflict and violence and imperialist wars are natural. However, "ants do it" so we can "do it" too is not an empirically based conclusion. It's pseudo-profound bullshit. Ignoring different evolutionary paths of speciation and ignoring the different biological developments which make ant and human means of communication possible is a gross violation of scientific method. Ants do not speak to each other in verbal or written languages. Language is an ordered system of symbolic meaning and understanding. Ants communicate by pheromones, sounds, and touch and perceive smells, direction and intensity of scents by paired antennae.
Insects play a crucial role of life on earth. Without them ecosystems would collapse. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the Cretaceous 140 million years ago, and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. Wasps and ants share a common ancestor from which they emerged. Both ants and wasps are eusocial animals. The ant social behavior researched and studied by humans covers 160 million years of descent with modifications and environmental adaptation over hundreds of millions of generations. Eusocial ant communities are products of nature rather than nurture.
On the other hand hominin social relations are learned behaviors. Knowledge is passed from parents to offspring. Moffett does no empirical analysis of the differences. Quite the opposite.
The issue is individual and/or social behavior of individuals of the same species. "Society" is presented as the premise of his fallacious predicates. There are many social species. Species are placed within the phylogenetic tree based upon similarities and differences in their physical or genetic characteristics. The distinctions are historically derived species.
Moffett presents a politicised anthropomorphic, reactionary and racist model of "ant society" and corresponding it to an analogy of a monkey having inherited innately bigoted attitudes toward "strangers". Moffett doesn't identify the species. I will examine both the eusocial ant comparison and the monkey analogy. The monkey analogy he presents to "prove" that human bigotry and xenophobias resulting in violence and wars is universal among animals. Just like ants and the imagined monkey of his analogy, and on this basis, Moffett asserts bigotry and war is inherent in homo sapiens sapiens. Saying human beings are religious, bigoted, selfish, territorial and violent by nature is not new. It's the old nature vs nurture debate in new language. It's old wine in new bottles.
But there's a difference. Just as advances in science and engineering have provided particle physicists with particle accelerators that can investigate the guts of atoms and their internal structure so the mapping of species genomes, including the human genome. Physicists instrumentally settled the debate on whether or not the Higgs boson and thus the Higgs field exists. Higgs', et al, theory was empirically tested. The Higgs boson was detected proving the existence of the Higgs field. The detection of the candidate boson ended the debate! Similarly the mapping of the human genome provides not only genetic conformation of descent with modifications but also settled the nature versus nature debate. There is no empirical evidence of a selfishness gene. There is no genetic evidence of a bigotry gene. There is no genetic evidence for the existence of innate ideas. Human nature is a social construct of learned behavior.
Moffett is like a conman playing three card molly with those ignorant of the technique of changing cups around. He only provide different arguments for the assertion that it is "human nature" or innate mental constructs for an ipse dixit (an assertion without proof) fallacy. Not only does Michael Shermer give the conman a viewing audience he laughingly agree with innate bigotry and proclivity for ethnic conflicts and wars. He says it exists but must be suppressed. Moffett and Shermer agree with one another the assertion that free trade functions to suppress these urges and proclivities. Shermer provides Moffett a platform to exploit traditional religious cultural ignorance of the scientific method characteristic of American individuals and groups. Moffett's assertions, comparisons and analogies are assumed to be "scientific evidence" for bigotry and violence of against people of differing ethnicities. This is because Moffett is a scientist being interviewed and agreed with by another scientist, Michael Shermer.
Moffett knows the culture and uses it to reinforce American cultural prejudices: Biblical religious and morphological race theory and colorised ethnic chauvinism, ethnic jingoism, white supremacy nativist ideologies together with the culturally embedded political ideology of American exceptionalism promoting capitalism and American capitalist domestic and transnational class interests. This is supportive of imperialist wars and interventions. US technology and troops invade, kill, maim and occupy nations in the name of national security dispatched to the Middle East and North Africa. The xenophobic nationalism also used to pressure, sanction, intervene and perhaps invade Venezuela.
Moffett's racial assertions are ideological and political rants of anti-immigrant demagoguery. The projecting of criminal behavior upon "Mexicans and Central Americans" echoes Trump administration's ideological criminalisation of Mexicans and Central American immigrants as 'racial characteristics' genetically predetermined and are fated by nature to be social parasites as welfare and Medicare recipients, drug dealers, murderers and rapists. This is pseudoscience. Mark Moffett provides political demagogues a veneer of science to justify racism, ethno-jingoism, xenophobia, wars, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant hostility, jailing and locking up parents caged separate and apart from their caged children.
With Shermer laughing in agreement also Moffett attacks the European Union as "unnatural". U.S. imperialists would rather deal with ruling classes of European nations in bilateral commercial deals in conformity with American ruling class interests. Donald Trump and the British Conservative Party Brexit endeavors are consistent with what Moffett calls innate human nature. Moffett says the economic and political unity of Europe's national ruling classes is contrary to human nature.
The assertion of innate hostility between groups, therefore necessitates a 'natural' tendency for nationalist identity politics. But, along with the cosmopolitan character of the capitalist mode of production and distribution in Europe, the proletarians of every nation in the EU have an opportunity to self-organise EU wide trade unions and for their cosmopolitan socialist, labour and communist organised cosmopolitan politics. Moreover, the same as the twenty seven nations of Europe opened borders of the EU workers are free to enter nation without referencing passports, visas or green cards so the cosmopolitan character of capitalist commodity production on the basis of wage labour engendering proletarian internationalism is the actual national basis for open borders in the nations of America - North, Central, South America and the Caribbean.
The cosmopolitan economic mode of capitalist commodity production as actual globalisation is the material existence and economic precondition for transnational democracy, the material economic precondition for the global revolutionary dictatorship of the working class and abolition of nation states.
All over the planet the working classes are rising in political rebellion, e.g. France, Algeria, Venezuela. The US working class however is not yet part of the general rebellions. Bourgeois ideas dominate cultural categories of individualism, "war of all against all", survival of the strongest race and ethnicity and the illusion that the class of wage earners in the United States do not yet recognise themselves as a working-class with specific economic and political interests.
Democratic and Republican party progressives, conservatives and reactionaries are used as pundits, sociology experts, statisticians, poets, priests and preachers - specifically anti- Islam/anti-Muslim cable and internet media preachers and atheists, sociologists, professors on mainstream and social medias 24/7 telling working class citizens that they are not working class as in Europe, but are middle class products of American exceptionalism.
Of course US workers are as angry about their economic situation the same as workers in the rest of the world. But the workers of other countries know themselves to be exploited wage workers forced to compete with each other and with machines. They know the capitalists, bankers and land owners are class enemies. This is not the case in the US. American workers are told that the enemy to the "middle class" or "ordinary people", is immigrants, 'welfare cheats', China and any number of other ideological false concepts that ignore relations of production .
Workers are instructed by media and movies that the problem isn't capitalism but "the elite", "the plutocrats", "the oligarchy", "the one percent"; distorted "crony capitalism" by governing politicians exchanging favors with cronies for rewards of hefty campaign contributions. What Tea Party Republican reactionaries denounce as crony capitalism is denounced by progressives in the Democratic Party as excessive campaign donations from "Corporate " donors who are rewarded by governing politicians. Neither Tea Party Republicans nor progressives oppose capitalist relations of production that makes possible the accumulated cash that capitalists give to these same politicians.
Tea party Republicans and progressive Democrats call for the same ostensible solution for the conclusion of capitalism to survive by allegedly end bribery and corruption is to take money out of politics. Republican media demagogues connect this to high wages paid by hard working white Americans by raving against entitlement and political correctness.
Republicans pose as white racists to promote conflict among workers. White racists raging against welfare and benefits ostensibly causing excessive spending and big government by excessive spending to give away free stuff to black welfare queens and illegal aliens. Democrats promote ideological manipulation of progressives to provoke conflicts in the working class by using "identity politics" ideology of racial victimisation allegedly by "the racist white working class" and "white skinned privilege".
Competition sustains capitalism and imperialism. Racialising economic relations of production and racial nationalism is used to circumvent workers from a critical analysis of competition in connection with the capitalist method of appropriating labour power by the buying and selling of it resulting in the competition among workers fighting one another to get scarce jobs.
Racialised politics in American culture is engendered and sustained by the competitive characters of capitalist commodity production by competitive wage workers who are without class consciousness of the universal necessity for workers of all ethnicities and nationalities to unite! The ideology and politics of race and ethnicity, gender and sexual and religious prejudices are not innate.
In this video Moffett rejects facts as relevant to what it means to be human. He asserts that it is nationalistic and ethnic symbolism that distinguish humans from the animal kingdom. Since he rejects facts he feels no necessity for presenting any empirical data. Instead of presenting scientific arguments, based on empirical methods of ratiocination, to the contrary, Moffett presents an analogy of monkeys in a coffee shop.
Monkeys are primates as are apes, Hominins (humans) are anthropoids, a suborder of primates. Anthropoids have evolved many species from a common ancestor.
Yet the various species of primates have important morphological and behavioral differences. But differences of distinct species of the cercopithecidae family and distinct species of the hominidae family, have more in common than either family, tribe or species have in common with ants. In any event the "stranger" in Moffett's imaginary analogy, corresponds to the racialised categorisation of Latino/a undocumented workers in the United States who are criminalised as "illegal aliens". The political and ideological point of the analogy is to justify racist hostility of "Americans" against Latino/a immigrants in general.
The imagined behavior of an imaginary monkey in a coffee shop, even if observed rather than made up, does not prove 'humans are born bigots'. Moffett's specious ant analogy to support his assertions explains nothing. Imagined analogies cannot substitute for data. It cannot be used in support of scientific theory. Assertion is not scientific theory.
Moffett's absence of empirical evidence to support the claim that the instinctive behavior of ants and socialised human behavior as social individuals are identical lacks evidence. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The analogy of a monkey in a coffee shop have no more explanatory power any more than the Biblical analogy of a bipedal snake talking to a woman explaining the biological phenomena of death.
Moffett bases his entire argument on an analogy. Not a comparison of behavior of species belonging to the same order, superfamily or tribe. The wasps, bees, and ants species comprise the suborder (and clade) Apocrita. Humans are primates of the ape family hominidae - comprising orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo and homo sapiens.
Rather than chimpanzee and bonobo species who are part of the same taxonomic tribe, Moffett presents an imaginary analogy of a monkey in a coffee shop because his "theory" of ethnic hatreds being innate in human DNA exists only in his racist mentality. In empirical reality the eusocial behavior of ants is driven by instinct. Human prosocial behavior is, to the contrary, socially constructed.
There are also many eusocial mammals. Naked mole rats for example. As mammals naked mole rats are closer to hominidae, with a more recent common ancestor, than are ants. But naked moles are less attractive than ants and ants are more respected, in the Biblical writings attributed to Solomon and in Aristotle's "Politics".
Americans rather be associated with ants than be associated with rats. Rats are associated with Bubonic Plague and with "snitches". To call someone a "dirty rat" is a personal insult to one's character. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC9GF1FMii4
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