Bryan Sykes Message Board

Edward Arnold posts on 3/18/2008 2:54:44 PM A book was published in 2005 titled Plato's Dream. Your research is referenced in the book. Philosphors Plato (360 B.C.) and Aristotle (350 B.C.) believed memories and emotions, the soul, were passed from parent to child. Aristotle is very specific, Generation of Animals, these memories or the soul is passed in the sperm. Plato's Dream is a novel about genetic conciousness. Plato can be interpreted that at our death, we can experience these memories and emotions as a series of dreams. This experinece is called Plato's Dream.
posts on 9/26/2006 7:41:27 AM One of my pet peeves of all 'peeves' is when someone learned and respected uses his/her knowledge to advance the agenda of his personal theories. I've read things by learned people about the Knights Templar, mysticism and of late, about how DNA can be a shortcut to history. There is no shortcut to understanding our past. This isn't a personal observation, but one supported by most historians and even scientists around the world. Read all you can read about our origins and beginnings. No one person has the single answer and some claims seem to be more valid than others. Even if a book reached what many would consider to be a bogus conclusion about history, or a personal agenda, that doesn't make the entire work useless. Something of interest or value can often be gleaned from everything presented by experts, even if the conclusion isn't acceptable. Sorting out which is which is the trick and the hardest part of history. I don't have any magic solutions for it. There is no one book or one theory that can explain all of our past short of reading everything one finds and trying then to sort out the wheat from the chaff. What I believe, based on what I've read so far of professor Syke's work, is that he is offering a magic bullet to history. Who wouldn't like to find that Rosetta Stone of our origins! Why spend 20 years reading accounts of history by various authors and experts when we can get a blood test which gives us a simple and quick answer to all of our questions about where we came from? Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to that question. Human history is complex, often incomplete, and has from time to time, divergent paths depending on whom you read. What he is essentially trying to do is give us that magic bullet to explain complex history, human migrations and origins, which gives us a feeling of satisfaction that we have the answer that all of our ancestors could never have. It's very tempting to believe, because it is wrapped in the guise of science. And perhaps he is onto something. Perhaps DNA can tell us something about our origins one day. But at best this is going to be a vast generalization and for people looking for quick answers to complex issues, a very tempting magic bullet. I fear that for people who do not have the time, knowledge or desire to read all of the history they can, this will become an alternative solution for human origins. In one of his previous books he boils down history to seven "clan mothers" from which we all derive. To support his theory, he makes up a story about how these women could have been our common mothers, and from whom we get some genetic material. In essence, he is suggesting a sort of creationism. Istead of Adam and Eve he is suggesting seven Eve's, and he makes no bones about that issue. From where then did these seven "clan mothers" come? We could debate that until the end of time without a satisfactory answer. I don't know that we will ever have answers to all these questions. Recently, a baby over 20,000 years-old (I think) was found in Ethiopia. The young girl was part human - and part ape. Did we all come from her mother or her mother's mother? How can one ever make such a claim? By trying to define us as having from a group of ancestors so pitifully small (the seven Eves), he is claiming to have knowledge he can't possibly support. There are probably millions of variables of how that DNA might have come into the human line - and even if we accept his mDNA theory it only explains 1/2 of just one line of our make-up. Not even every mother is taken into account. None of the fathers. It's a tempting package to buy if one needs, wants or desires quick answers to details of what is probably unaswerable by historians or even mainstream science. Personally, I find that suggestion as far-fetched as the old tales of the bible. But what is worse, it is endorsed by a man of letters, wrapped in this semi-science of DNA history. People are going to believe him simply because he is a scientist from Oxford and something of a pioneer in DNA history research. But like most pioneers, he may be blazing a trail but he isn't exactly sure where he is going. To conclude that he has the answers to our origins from this trail blazing is, I believe, a fundamental mistake. We shouldn't dismiss his work, but we should read it with more than a little skepticism. This does not amount to an attack on Somerled (how could it be?) or somehow to be an offense on the line of Clan Donald. If anything, the burden remains on Sykes to prove his detractors wrong, not the other way around. Only time will tell if there is anything to this curious use of science. I may have to eat these words in 20-30 years (when who knows?), but for now I'm not going to swallow this guesswork. I'm just not gullible enough I guess.
posts on 6/21/2006 8:48:51 PM The Chapter says: "We are not amused" But I think it should read "We are not ashamed". Or "Extraordinary claims demand Extraordinary Proof". How "results have no validity witout independant verification. I can see "Walter and Luca" sitting there with smoke coming out of their ears: "Rubbish, Nonsense". The whole point being that when you have new information, then old theorys become outdated and replaced with a new theory that better explains the data. How does the scientific community work, how can conflict be productive. What really goes on in those journals before something is released to the public. This could be a great film for school kids to better understand science and maybe even get them interested in steping into the arena themselves. Also, the Indiana Jones effect is nice to, there is time in the lab, but also time out in the field talking to people, doing research. The time he was so worried that he would lose the tooth or whatever it was on the bus. Something to show young people a little bit of adventure and excitment and get them interested in learning more about science and the world we live in. Chedder man was a bit staged and already done, but neanderthal man could make for a interesting story to put on film. So people could learn how ancient DNA was found for extraction and for study. He drills a hole and finds nothing but black dust, but he does not give up, he presses on to obtain the goal and accomplish his purpose. How many young people need that encouragement if they push a little harder then can finish their school and accomplish their purpose to make the world just a little bit better of a place to live.

Laurence McLeod Maddox posts on 4/3/2006 8:44:45 PM Hello Dr Sykes, how do I convert my DNA results to make them compatible with your OxfordAncestors? I read your books and was intrigued by your Rarotonga trips. My wife is Japanese and when I went to Avarua I learnt that the Cook Islanders can understand alot of Japanese, especially the dialects spoken on Puka Puka and to a lesser extent Starbuck Island. There was no recorded Japanese influence in the islands or any Second World War influence. My wife's mtDNA is either from 'Xenia' or 'Jasmin', but we would like to dig deeper for the sake of our daughter Skye.

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