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Sumer - schools by 3500 B.C. Evolution of writing and the creation of


Sumer, Egypt, Hwang Ho Valley in China 4000 – 3000 BC- Schooling

supplemented the learning gained in the family, taught the
technical skills necessary for particular vocations, reinforced
social control, and sometimes provided for social renewal.

Ancient Greece - The term “idiot” was coined to refer to all people who
were peculiar or different. Girls and deformed children could be
exposed to die up to 8th day after birth.

Middle Ages: Two views – spiritual blessing/demonic curse

People with disabilities played the roles of court jesters and were used
to symbolize sensuality and the relaxation of inhibitions during
some religious festivals.

Mental and physical differences seen as possession by the devil and

treated with exorcisms and flogging.

Asylums and monasteries cared for the mentally handicapped.

1578 - Spanish Monk - First recorded indication that a school educated

people with disabilities – Pablo Ponce de Leon tutored deaf
children in reading, writing, arithmetic, history, spoken and
foreign languages.

1592 – Moravian Comenius pioneered the belief that education should

be based on principles of child growth and development.

1745 - ParisValentin Hauy founded the first school for the blind.

1746 – Switzerland - Pestalozzi developed lessons around children’s

concrete experiences and was particularly dedicated to working
with poor, hungry, and emotionally and psychologically disabled

1798 – Itard - First record of attempt to EDUCATE a person who was

mentally handicapped. Mental “retardation” viewed as a
condition that could be cured. Attempt failed but Edward Sequin
founded a school for “idiots” in Paris in 1837 and later opened a
training school for the retarded in the US.

Evolution from early Nation to Common Schools (1837) Education

viewed as a way to meet the needs of a self-governing polity,
reflect the needs of a nation with a frontier, be useful rather than
classical, integrate immigrant populations

1817 – American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in Conn. Deaf were
among the first groups of “handicapped” children to receive
special ed in the US. The first school for the deaf established in
the United States. Schools for deaf in England, France,
Germany, and Scotland established in the 1700’s.

1830 - Schools for the blind were started in the United States.
Continued as residential until well into the 20th century. Braille
developed between 1809-1852

1848 – Started by Samuel Howe who argued for the rights of the
mentally retarded in a democratic society. Given $2500 to start
an institution. First training school for the “retarded” opened in
the United States. As the institutions became over-crowded and
because of a growing belief that mentally handicapped
individuals were menaces (hereditarian theory of IQ popularized
by Terman and Goddard, the institutions became custodial as
opposed to educational.

1886 - Plessy decision supported “separate but equal” doctrine of

schooling. Based on aversion to mingling of diverse ethnicities.

1896 – Started in Providence, RI. First public school class for the
mentally handicapped created. This started the special class

1900 – Chicago. First public school class for physically disabled

children in the United States.

1954 - Brown vs. Board of Education argued, “education is

indispensable to success in life . . . separate but equal has no
place in education.” Established right of all children to an equal
opportunity to education.
1958 – PL 85-926 – National Defense Education Act - provided funds
for training professionals to train teachers of the mentally

1961 – PL 87-276 – Special Education Act. Provided funds for training

professionals to train teachers of the deaf.

1963 – PL 88-164 – Mental Retarded Facility Act – provided support to

train teachers of other handicapped categories .

Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 – Principles of this act seemed

to imply that the instruction of “deprived” students required
unusual concessions to their academic deficits rather than the
creation of educational settings based on the concept of
equality. Provided money to states and local districts for
developing programs for economically disadvantaged and

1968 – Hobson vs Hansen – Declared the tracking system which used

standardized tests for placement decisions unconstitutional
because discriminated against black and poor children.

1969 - PL 91-320 The Learning Disabilities Act. Defined learning

disabilities and provided funds for state-level programs for
learning disabilities. First recognition of “learning disability” as a
category of exceptionality.

1970 – Diana vs. State Board of Education (California) Declared

children could not be placed in special education on the basis of
culturally biased tests or tests given in languages other than the
child’s native language.

1971 – Mills vs Board of Education the District of Columbia established

the right of every child to an equal opportunity for education;
lack of funds not an acceptable excuse for lack of educational

1971 – Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens vs the

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania established the right to free
public education for all retarded children.

1973 - Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Declared that

handicapped people cannot be excluded from any program or
activity receiving federal funds based on the handicap alone.
1975 - 1.75 million children were entirely excluded from public
education in the United States based solely on their “handicaps”.

1975 - Public Law 94-142 – The Education of All Handicapped Children

Act. Mandated free, appropriate public education for all
handicapped children regardless of degree of severity of
handicap. Protected rights of children and their parents in
educational decision making.


The Compassionate Homo Erectus

Copyright 1996,1997 G.R.Morton.

I have just finished reading a very interesting book by Alan Walker and
Pat Shipman, _The Wisdom of the Bones_ (New York: Alfred Knopf,
1996). This book raises several issues which bear on the thesis I have
advocated, namely, that in order to account for the anthropological
data, Adam must have been either Homo habilis or Homo erectus.
Most Christians are loathe to consider such a hypothesis, preferring to
reserve the term "human" to those who look like us, i.e. anatomically
modern humans. Unfortunately, this viewpoint ignores some of the
most interesting details found in the fossil record. The record of care
and compassion on the part of Homo erectus would seem to go beyond
what can be expected of a mere ape. The case of a fossil known as
KNM-ER 1808 exemplifies the care of a human, even if 1808 looked a
lot different from us.

It has long been known that Neanderthal's show much evidence of

treating their companions with compassion and care. Klein (1989, p.
334) writes:

"However, the same skeletal pathologies and injuries that show that
the Neanderthals lived risky lives and aged early also reveal a
strikingly 'human' feature of their social life. The La Chapelle-aux-
Saints and Shanidar 1 individuals, for example, must have been
severely incapacitated and would have died even earlier without
substantial help and care from their comrades. This implicit group
concern for the old and sick may have permitted Neanderthals to live
longer than any of their predecessors, and it is the most recognizably
human, nonmaterial aspect of their behavior that can be directly
inferred from the archeological record."

Some christians have accepted such evidence and accept the humanity
of Neanderthal but not of Homo erectus. John Wiester (1983, p. 181)

"There is additional evidence of those qualities associated with

humanity at the Shanidar cave. The analysis of undeveloped bone
structure indicates that another man, known as Shanidar I, was a
severe cripple from birth. His right arm was entirely useless and may
have been amputated just above the elbow. Extensive bone scar tissue
indicates that he was blind in his left eye. He was apparently cared for
by his people until his death at age forty, a very old age by
Neanderthal standards. This is the first sign of compassion and
tenderness in the archeological record."

A year before the publication of Wiester's book, an article was

published in Nature which had the barest outlines of an example of
human compassion among Homo erectus (Walker, Zimmerman, and
Leakey 1982)

In 1973, Kamoya Kimeu, a hominid fossil hunter of mythic renown

discovered the fragmented bones of an Homo erectus. After sifting the
earth from the dig, the homo erectus skeleton fragments were mixed
in with the bones of hippos, crocodiles, and turtles among others. The
fragments of this individual were easy to pick out from the 40,000
bones of other species because the homo erectus' bones were terribly
diseased and deformed. Eventually, the fragments when glued back
together, it turned out to be the first nearly complete skeleton ever
found of a Homo erectus. Unfortunately, the diseased bones allowed
very little to be learned of the normal anatomy of H. erectus. This
fossil was given the museum number KNM-ER 1808. The KNM-ER
stands for Kenya National Museum-East Rudolf. The geologic dating
revealed that the fossil was 1.7 million years old, making this one of
the oldest erectus fossils around. The bones had belonged to an adult
female erectus.

The diseased bones consisted of two parts. There was a normal core
where the osteocytic lacunae are parallel. The osteocytic lacunae are
tiny caves in bone where the bone cell once lived. Surrounding this
normal core was a half inch of 'woven' bone, thickest on the limb
bones and almost nonexistent on the skull. The woven bone has
bloated and highly irregular osteocytic lacunae and was deposited near
the end of 1808's life. This fabric develops for one of three reasons: 1)
when the creature grows very rapidly, 2) when fractures heal and 3)
when a disease is operative. Since there is a core of normal bone
which represents an adult-sized skeleton, rapid growth as a cause can
be ruled out. Since the woven bone was all over the skeleton except
for the skull, fractures didn't seem very likely as a cause. This left
open disease, but what disease?

Alan Walker consulted with doctors at John Hopkins, looking for a

diagnosis. The consensus seemed to settle onto a diagnosis of
hypervitaminosis A. This type of disease is found among modern
health fadists who take too much vitamin A. But since 1808 could not
go to the local pharmacy and buy vitamin A supplements, how did she
get mega-doses of this vitamin? Walker suggests that she obtained it
in the same way that some arctic explorers got it -- by eating
carnivores. More specifically, she got it by eating carnivore livers. It
seems that when carnivores eat their prey, the obtain fairly large
doses of vitamin A. Vitamin A is then stored "in its liver, where it is
never broken down or detoxified. Carnivores, like dogs, leopard seals,
polar bears, or killer whales, eat other animals, including their livers.
Because a carnivore eats so many livers, its liver becomes a veritable
warehouse of vitamin A."(Walker and Shipman 1996, p. 162)

Sir Douglas Mawson provides an excellent example of hypervitaminosis

A in an arctic environment and the excruciating pain and horrible
death it can cause. On Nov. 11, 1912, Mawson and two companions,
Ninnis and Mertz, left their base camp to explore a large area on three
sleds. They had stashed some food on the path of the journey but only
carried small quantities with them. On their return, they traveled too
slowly and ran out of food. They abandoned one sled and sorted their
gear onto the lead sled, containing the scientific gear, and placed the
food in the trailing sled.

Fearing crevasses, they had the scientific sled go first reasoning that if
it fell into a crevasse there would be no big loss. Unfortunately, fate
had a different idea. On Dec. 13, 1912, Ninnis and the food sled, fell
into a crevasse, killing Ninnis and the team. The lead sled had made
the crossing but apparently had weakened the ice bridge enough so
that it could no longer support the weight of the food-carrying sled.
Mawson and Mertz were 320 miles from base camp with only enough
food for ten days. As they continued on their trek, they began to kill
and eat the sled dogs. The dog meat was tough and chewy. The livers
were soft and better tasting. They ate liver which turned out to be a
fatal mistake.
They began to suffer from dizziness, stomach cramps, nausea, and
balance problems. Their hair fell out and their skin cracked and peeled
off in strips. Their joints throbbed with pain.

Walker and Shipman (1996, p. 164) write:

"Any sort of movement produced terrible pain, for what they were
experiencing was exactly what happened to 1808. The excess vitamin
A they had eaten--Mawson's biographer reckons they ate sixty toxic
doses-- caused the periosteum, the tough, fibrous tissue that encases
each bone, to rip free from the bone with each pull of a muscle. (The
muscles are anchored on bones through the periosteum.) Between the
periosteum and bone, torn apart blood vessels spilled their contents,
forcing further separation of the tissues. In the case of 1808, the blood
formed huge clots, which ossified--turned to bone--before she died."

Mertz died before reaching base camp. Mawson buried him 100 miles
from base camp. When Mawson reached the base camp, his good
friend greeted him with "My God! Which one are you?"

What does this have to do with H. erectus? Walker and Shipman

(1996,p. 165) write"

"To have such extensive blood clots, she must have been completely
immobilized with pain. Yet, despite her agony, she must have survived
her poisoning for weeks or maybe months while those clots ossified.
How else could her blood clots have been so ubiquitous; how else
could they have turned to the thick coating of pathological bone that
started us on this quest?

The implication stared me in the face: someone else took care of her.
Alone, unable to move, delirious, in pain, 1808 wouldn't have lasted
two days in the African bush, much less the length of time her
skeleton told us she had lived. Someone else brought her water and
probably food; unless 1808 lay terrible close to a water source, that
meant her helper had some kind of receptacle to carry water in. And
someone else protected her from hyenas, lions and jackals on the
prowl for a tasty morsel that could not run away Someone else, I
couldn't help thinking, sat with her through the long, dark African
nights for no good reason except human concern. So, useless as 1808
was for telling us much about normal Homo erectus morphology, she
told us something quite unexpected. Her bones are poignant testimony
to the beginnings of sociality, of strong ties among individuals that
came to exceed the bonding and friendship we see among baboons or
chimps or other non human primates"

As to 1808 lying close to water, consider this: water holes attract

predators at all hours of the day and night. The predators have learned
that their prey will eventually come to the water hole. After describing
this and hominid inability to defend themselves at night, Lew Binford
(1983, p. 68) writes:

"The place I would never choose to establish a camp in the African

savannah is next to a water source! Nevertheless, archaeologists tell
us that our hominid ancestors habitually located home bases in exactly
these places. At this point, it becomes relevant to ask whether the
three criteria used by the East African researchers really permit the
reliable recognition of home-base occupation sites."

One other objection must be discussed. Is the reaction of the Homo

erectus care-giver merely like that of an ape? The answer is
unequivocally no. Jane Goodall gives an account of how chimpanzees
treated an injured comrade. There was a polio outbreak in the chimp
tribe Goodall was watching and it afflicted many of the chimps. One
named McGregor was paralyzed by the polio. When this newly
paralyzed chimp drug himself back to camp, Goodall (1971, p. 221)

"One of the most tragic things about the whole tragic affair was the
reaction of the chimps to the stricken paralyzed male. Initially, almost
certainly, they were frightened by the strangeness of his condition. We
noticed the same thing when some of the other polio victims appeared
in camp for the first time. "

She further wrote (1971, p. 221):

"McGregor's condition was patently far worse. Not only was he forced
to move about in an abnormal manner, but there was the smell of
urine and the bleeding rump and the swarm of flies buzzing around
him. The first morning of his return to camp, as he sat in the long
grass below the feeding area, the adult males, one after the other,
approached with their hair on end, and after staring began to display
around him. Goliath actually attacked the stricken old male, who,
powerless to flee or defend himself in any way, could only cower down,
his face split by a hideous grin of terror, while goliath pounded on his
back. When another adult male bore down on McGregor, hair bristling,
huge branch flailing the ground, Hugo and I went to stand in front of
the cripple. To our relief, the displaying male turned aside.

"After two or three days the others got used to McGregor's strange
appearance and grotesque movements, but they kept well away from
him. There was one afternoon that without doubt was from my point of
view the most painful of the whole ten days. A group of eight chimps
had gathered and were grooming each other in a tree about sixty
yards from where McGregor lay in his nest. The sick male stared
toward them, occasionallygiving slight grunts. Mutual grooming
normally takes up a good deal of a chimpanzees time, and the old
male had been drastically starved of this important social contact since
his illness.

"Finally he dragged himself from his nest, lowered himself to the

ground, and in short stages began the long journey to join the others.
When at last he reached the tree he rested briefly in the shade; then,
making the final effort he pulled himself up until he was close to two
grooming males. With a loud grunt of pleasure he reached a hand
toward them in greeting--but even before he made contact they both
had swung quickly away and without a backward glance started
grooming on the far side of the tree. For a full two minutes old
McGregor sat motionless, staring after them. And then he laboriously
lowered himself to the ground. As I watched him sitting there alone,
my vision blurred, and when I looked up at the groomers in the tree I
came nearer to hating a chimpanzee than I have ever been before or

"For several years Hugo and I had suspected that the aggressive adult
male Humphrey was McGregor's younger brother. The two traveled
about together frequently and often the older male had hurried to
Humphrey's assistance when he was being threatened or attacked by
other chimps. It was during the last days of Mr. McGregor's life that we
became convinced these two males were siblings:no bond other than
that of a family could have accounted for Humphrey's behavior then--
and afterward.

"In the whole period Humphrey seldom moved farther than a few
hundred yards away from the old male--although even he never
actually groomed McGregor. Sometimes Humphrey went away across
the valley to feed, but within an hour or so he was back,resting or
grooming himself near his paralyzed friend. On the first day of his
return to camp McGregor climbed quite high in a tree and made a
nest. Suddenly Goliath began to display around him, swaying the
branches more and more vigorously, slashing the old male on the head
and the back. Gregor's screams grew louder, and he clung to the
rocking branches tightly. At last, as if in desperation, he let himself
drop down through the tree from branch to branch, until he landed on
the ground. Then he started to drag himself slowly away. And
Humphrey, who had always been extremely nervous of Goliath,
actually leaped up into the tree, displaying wildly at the much higher
ranking male, and for a brief moment attacking him. I could hardly
believe it.

"One day Mr. McGregor managed to pull himself right up to the feeding
area, up to thirty yards of very steep slope, to join a large number of
chimpanzees who were eating there. We were able to give him a whole
box to himself so that for a while, at least, he was part of the group
again. When the others moved away up the valley, Gregor tried to
follow. But whether he dragged himself on his belly, or hitched himself
backward, or laboriously somersaulted, he could move only very
slowly, and the rest of the group were soon out of sight."

Thus, the compassion of Homo erectus was quite human. Christians

need to understand that from a spiritual perspective, mankind may
extend far, far back into the past.


Beauty a blessing or curse:

Intelligence a blessing or curse:

Middle Age--A Blessing and a Curse:

Born Rich Blessing or curse:

Grandfather's Good Health Is A Blessing, Not A Curse:

On Joy & Sorrow - Khalil Gibran

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes
filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the
potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was
hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is
only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see
that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay,
sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board,
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver,
needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

On Freedom - Khalil Gibran

And an orator said, "Speak to us of Freedom."

And he answered:

At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself
and worship your own freedom,

Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him

though he slays them.

Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have
seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the
desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you
cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor
your nights without a want and a grief,

But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above
them naked and unbound.

And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break
the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened
around your noon hour?

In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains,
though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle the eyes.

And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that
you may become free?

If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your
own hand upon your own forehead.
You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the
foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.

And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne
erected within you is destroyed.

For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in
their own freedom and a shame in their won pride?

And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you
rather than imposed upon you.

And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart
and not in the hand of the feared.

Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the
desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the
pursued and that which you would escape.

These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.

And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers
becomes a shadow to another light.

And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the
fetter of a greater freedom.

On Pain

And a woman spoke, saying, "Tell us of Pain."

And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in
the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your
life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have
always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of
the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of
the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.