Social networking for fossils shows community impacts of mass extinctions — ScienceDaily

By making use of an algorithm akin to what Fb makes use of to make pal recommendations, researchers have recognized communities of historical life within the fossil document and tracked how their numbers modified by every of the planet’s mass extinctions.

As anticipated, the variety of communities — a bunch of various species dwelling in the identical basic space — dropped throughout mass extinction occasions. However the charge at which communities disappeared didn’t all the time monitor with the general lack of life and biodiversity throughout an extinction, a consequence that implies that the ecological impacts of an extinction will not be all the time linked with the variety of species that perish.

“There have been instances in our historical past the place there have been main occasions that noticed large modifications in communities, however only a few species disappeared,” stated lead creator Drew Muscente, who carried out the examine when he was a postdoctoral researcher at The College of Texas at Austin’s Jackson Faculty of Geosciences. “And there have been occasions the place many species had disappeared and communities and ecosystems had been barely affected in any respect.”

Muscente is now an assistant professor at Cornell School. The examine was just lately revealed within the journal Geology.

The outcomes underscore the significance of learning communities to get a broader perspective on environmental change — each up to now and within the current.

“We attempt to perceive how modifications in these communities result in basic transformation of total ecosystems,” stated coauthor Rowan Martindale, an affiliate professor on the Jackson Faculty.

Figuring out communities within the fossil document is notoriously tough. Most analysis on paleocommunities focuses on evaluating samples and collections of fossils which were taken from rocks of varied ages and places. And though standard computational strategies can be utilized to group samples into paleocommunities, they work greatest with comparatively small datasets of only some hundred or thousand fossil collections. As a consequence of this limitation, the standard strategies can solely be utilized to knowledge from particular areas and time intervals, versus the complete document.

The researchers had been capable of overcome these challenges and look at the complete fossil document by making use of a neighborhood detection algorithm primarily based on community evaluation strategies. Social media corporations are identified for utilizing these types of strategies to attach customers, however they’re turning into more and more utilized throughout a spread of scientific disciplines.

In accordance with Muscente, this examine is the primary time that community evaluation has been utilized to detect paleocommunities all through the complete fossil document of marine animal life — from when animal life first appeared to the present geologic period.

Matthew Clapham, a paleobiology professor on the College of California Santa Cruz who was not concerned with the examine, stated that one other benefit of the community evaluation technique is the emphasis on visualizing connections, fairly than simply the sorts of animals current in an ecosystem.

“It brings the evaluation nearer to the best way that the communities truly labored as a result of communities and interactions between species are networks,” he stated.

Drawing on a database of 124,605 collections of marine animal fossils from world wide, and representing 25,749 dwelling and extinct animal teams, or genera, the algorithm recognized greater than 47 million hyperlinks between these samples and arranged them into 3,937 distinct paleocommunities.

The examine tracked the communities and biodiversity over the previous 541 million years. The analysis confirmed that whereas mass extinction occasions took a toll on each, the diploma of decline generally differed.

Some extinctions affected communities greater than biodiversity. Some affected biodiversity greater than communities. And a few affected each about the identical.

Moreover, the researchers didn’t discover a hyperlink between the reason for an extinction and whether or not it took an awesome toll on communities or biodiversity.

The outcomes point out that the bigger ecological impacts of extinction are extra about which species are misplaced fairly than the variety of species misplaced. If an surroundings’s key gamers are preserved, communities can stay intact. But when too many of those gamers are eliminated, the neighborhood crumbles with it.

Muscente stated he hopes that the community evaluation strategies first utilized on this examine could be improved and used to review trendy ecosystems.

“I would wish to try to bridge the hole from the rock document to the current,” he stated.

The examine’s different coauthors embody scientists on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the College of Idaho, the Carnegie Establishment for Science and Harvard College.

The analysis was funded by the Keck Basis, the Deep Carbon Observatory, the Alfred P. Sloan Basis, the Carnegie Establishment for Science and the Nationwide Science Basis.

Questions surround podcaster John Dehlin and the quest to build an ex-LDS community

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As an increasing number of Latter-day Saints extricate themselves from the Mormon cocoon that bred, raised, nurtured, taught and embraced them — and a church they now consider has betrayed, stifled or harmed them — numerous digital and in-person communities have sprung as much as welcome these displaced souls.

Equally themed Fb teams, web sites, blogs, e mail lists, podcasts, hashtags, meetups, cyber wards and on-line videographers utilizing YouTube and TikTok now attain huge audiences worldwide.

A lot of them supply alternate and, some say, important lifesaving views to what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught from childhood, together with secure areas to assist lively, questioning and former members navigate what therapists name “religion transitions.”

Standard and prolific Holladay-based podcaster John Dehlin has emerged in recent times as an influential but polarizing presence on the middle of this loose-knit motion.

The 52-year-old psychologist was an early pioneer in utilizing the web for Mormon-related content material and describes his life’s mission as selling “therapeutic, development and neighborhood for these experiencing a non secular transition.”

After almost 17 years as an outspoken on-line dissector of Latter-day Saint orthodoxy — and 7 years after his high-profile excommunication from the church for “apostasy” — the previous Microsoft government and his co-producers and collaborators at his “Mormon Tales” nonprofit join with tens of hundreds of individuals each day.

And because the nonprofit expands its attain on newer social media platforms, interesting to youthful folks, these audiences are mushrooming and, some say, shifting in tone.

“Every thing’s gone viral,” Dehlin extolled to his viewers not too long ago after a sequence of segments on current remarks by church chief Brad Wilcox exploded on-line. “TikTok, Reddit, Twitter — it’s all lit up.”

Now — whereas the podcaster helps to carry in-person gatherings to former Latter-day Saints by a nonprofit referred to as THRIVE — he’s drawing questions over the suitability of his sharp-elbowed fashion.

“I personally don’t observe John Dehlin or THRIVE,” stated Ane Axford, a former Latter-day Saint and therapist dwelling in New York. “It’s not a neighborhood that’s fully inclusive of everybody that leaves Mormonism.”

Jacob Newman, who’s homosexual, stated former believers “create communities that thrive on disbelief, ignoring that there are LGBTQ+ Mormons who select to remain.”

Such communities, Newman stated, replicate “the very same sort of poisonous behaviors that many people tried to depart behind in Mormonism: No accountability for management, poisonous obsession and fixation on an ‘id’ as an ex-Mormon (versus a believing Latter-day Saint).”

From some previous workers and associates, Dehlin additionally faces open criticism over his group’s funds, his therapy of ladies and his perceived function as a dogged antagonist to Utah’s dominant religion.

[Read more about John Dehlin’s compensation and his nonprofit’s finances here.]

The query additionally turns into: Can an engaged on-line viewers be remodeled right into a profitable in-person neighborhood? And, even when Dehlin have been absent, is it attainable to construct a neighborhood on a shared adverse, even traumatic expertise?

‘Open dialogue’

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)
John Dehlin speaks to supporters along with his spouse, Margi, by his aspect after his disciplinary council on the North Logan LDS Stake Heart in North Logan in 2015. He later was excommunicated.

Dehlin launched the inaugural “Mormon Tales” podcast in 2005, reflecting his personal brewing private doubts in regards to the religion, and ran it intermittently till 2010. He then based the Open Tales Basis and relaunched the podcast whereas primarily based in Logan as he started work on a doctorate in psychology at Utah State College, with the mission of making “on-line and in-person environments that permit for genuine self-expression and the open dialogue of Mormonism.”

His 2015 excommunication, Dehlin stated, was seemingly prompted by a TED Speak he gave in late 2013 titled “The ally inside.” In it, he recounted overcoming his conservative Latter-day Saint upbringing in Texas and deep-seated homophobic attitudes to develop into an LGBTQ advocate.

His bishop later blamed his exile on “public help of social points,” Dehlin stated, “and he named, particularly, same-sex marriage and ordination of ladies.”

The inspiration’s podcasts have advanced significantly since then, whereas retaining one key formulation: interviews with well-known Latter-day Saint figures throughout a spectrum of Mormon tradition, usually keying off new developments within the religion’s tenets and programming or statements by its high leaders, whereas highlighting Mormonism’s controversies over historical past, doctrine, tradition, race, girls and LGBTQ teachings.

The 5 common podcasts — “Mormon Tales,” “Mormon Issues,” “A Considerate Religion,” “Mormon Psychological Well being,” and “Mormon Transitions” — drew a complete of 6.6 million downloads and YouTube and Fb views in 2018, in accordance with the most recent accessible experiences at “Mormon Tales,” the marquee present, amassed almost 5.8 million views and downloads alone and reached a milestone of 1,000 episodes that very same yr.

Right now, the “Mormon Tales” podcast neighborhood on Fb boasts 16,800 members, whereas its YouTube account has greater than 54,000 followers. With the current addition of a youthful and extra social media-savvy co-host, Carah Burrell, and a concerted push onto the video-focused social media channel TikTok, Dehlin stated, “Mormon Tales” has a following approaching 122,000.

A big share of Dehlin’s viewers development, he stated, is drawn from torrents of Latter-day Saints now falling away from the religion, which he insists is seeing huge waves of attrition in its worldwide membership.

Church spokesperson Eric Hawkins disputes that assertion.

The Utah-based religion “continues to develop not simply in quantity, however in indicators of member engagement comparable to temple work, household historical past efforts and the tithes and choices contributed,” Hawkins wrote in an e mail. “Those that go away usually achieve this in a extra public method by social media, however the proportion of members who resign their membership stays very small (lower than two-tenths of 1%) and has not elevated in recent times.”

Leaders don’t need “to see anybody go away the church,” he stated, “which exists to carry folks nearer to Jesus Christ as they dwell by the restored teachings, covenants and ordinances of the gospel.”

Mormonism’s ‘Voldemort’

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)
John Dehlin and his spouse, Margi, on the purple carpet for the premiere of “Believer,” a documentary about Think about Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds attempting to reconcile his Latter-day Saint beliefs along with his help for LGBTQ neighborhood in Park Metropolis on the Sundance Movie Competition in 2018.

To a lot of his devotees, Dehlin is a godsend.

He’s revered as a savior of kinds by some. One in contrast him not too long ago to Jesus, saying each critiqued the non secular authorities of their day. His writings, public speeches and what he says are almost 1,700 hours of podcasting over time elicit adulation, gratitude and an ardent core of followers and donors amongst these departing Mormonism.

“You all have modified my life and gave me what I wanted in a time when it felt like there have been no solutions or assist,” a follower named Hailey stated in a testimonial featured on one in every of Dehlin’s web sites. “As my husband and I’ve transitioned … out of the LDS Church, the knowledge shared from these podcasts have pushed important dialog and helped us preserve our dignity and style all through the method with our household and buddies.”

Many religious Latter-day Saints blame Dehlin for drawing folks away from the church along with his critiques, and various, he acknowledges, see him as “evil.”

He has taken to calling himself Mormonism’s “Voldemort,” a reference to the “he-who-must-not-be-named” archvillain within the “Harry Potter” books. Some right-wing #DezNat church defenders have leveled threats in opposition to him.

It would shock some that Dehlin views his a whole lot of hours of podcasts as serving to church leaders, nudging them within the course of optimistic change. He says his personal Mormonism “won’t ever wash off.”

“I’m technically ex-Mormon, as a result of they kicked me out, proper?” he stated. “However I don’t consider myself that method. I really consider myself as a marketing consultant to the church. They need assistance. And I’m serving to them. They’re altering.

“Finally, I nonetheless do love the church,” Dehlin stated, “like an abusive father.”

Outstanding former members acknowledge the advantages and understanding he’s delivered to Latter-day Saints, mixed-faith {couples}, LGBTQ people and their households, and people in battle with the church

Some, although, have points with Dehlin.

“Individuals are uncooked emotionally and misplaced in a number of methods, with their worldview flipped the other way up,” stated Ethan Gregory Dodge, co-founder of the Fact & Transparency Basis (previously MormonLeaks). “He comes throughout as somebody who has all of the solutions after which begins asking for cash. Folks will give John cash out of gratitude, however finally fall out of affection with him.”

His “enterprise mannequin thrives on drama,” Dodge stated. “The extra drama he can drum up, the extra podcast downloads and YouTube hits he’ll get.”

Many former believers will state that Dehlin has finished a lot good “he doesn’t deserve any criticism,” Dodge added. “However that’s precisely the identical tactic the LDS Church applies to common authorities.”

What about girls?

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Kate Kelly speaks in 2014 about her excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dehlin’s interactions with girls by the years have introduced out among the hardest criticism in opposition to him.

Kate Kelly, a feminist and founding father of Ordain Ladies, which helps girls coming into the all-male Latter-day Saint priesthood, has given public voice to long-simmering issues from greater than a dozen girls who say they’ve been demeaned of their private {and professional} dealings with Dehlin.

Kelly, who was excommunicated for “conduct opposite to the legal guidelines and order of the church” a yr earlier than Dehlin, not too long ago posted a letter-turned-petition, saying the podcaster “takes benefit of susceptible folks in disaster, who’re in reliable want of assist and neighborhood.”

“John has used our skills, time, actions and fame to bolster his model and enrich himself,” Kelly wrote within the on-line submit. “When girls come ahead with critiques of his habits or allegations of wrongdoing, he retaliates by lashing out at them and making an attempt to publicly discredit them.

“…Many people have labored with him previously, and wish to clarify that we now not do and don’t encourage every other girls to take action,” Kelly acknowledged. “It’s not secure. We refuse for use as a masks for abuse.”

Those that want remedy, she added, “ought to hunt down knowledgeable who is definitely licensed by the state to offer these providers.”

(Dehlin has a doctorate in psychology however just isn’t a licensed therapist.)

Kelly’s one-page assertion was signed by greater than a dozen ex-Mormon feminists, together with two of his former workers on the Open Tales Basis.

“Any girl who challenged him as a girl, he would come unglued,” stated an individual who labored with Dehlin however requested not be named for concern of reprisal, “whereas if a man podcaster or worker requested the identical query, he can be extra open and listening.”

Although Dehlin calls the allegations in opposition to him “false” and “fully baseless,” he stated he “was and am heartbroken that [these women] had dangerous experiences with me and the OSF. I completely take accountability for my function within the variations and conflicts we had.”

Right now, he feels “very dedicated to listening to and studying from every interplay I’ve with employees, board members, volunteers, interviewees and listeners,” he stated, “and I hope that I’m enhancing on daily basis as a colleague and as a supervisor.”

Natasha Helfer — a therapist who was ousted from the church final yr after repeatedly opposing its doctrines, insurance policies and leaders on sexuality points — describes Dehlin as half of what’s “sort of a scientific problem.”

“What’s fascinating about that is that I may say one thing about each single firm or company or nonprofit or for-profit group on this nation that has patriarchal points,” stated Helfer, who serves with Dehlin on the THRIVE board and is a former member of the Open Tales Basis board. “Does John by some means magically not match into that? In all probability not.

“What I’ve seen John do over time is be open to that suggestions and critique and attempt to study from it,” she added. “And he’s finished extra work than I’ve seen a number of CEOs or leaders, particularly in our church, be prepared to do.”

Dehlin stated he has “labored laborious to attempt to do higher in these areas. However I feel it’s triggering for a white, straight, heterosexual, cisgender male to now be distinguished on this area.”

‘First entry level’

(Courtesy photograph)
Intercourse therapist Natasha Helfer.

By most accounts, Dehlin’s “Mormon Tales” podcasts have helped many former Latter-day Saints who’ve misplaced their religion within the 16.6 million-member church, however some say that’s not sufficient for long-term involvement.

Latter-day Saint writer-researcher Jana Riess, creator of “The Subsequent Mormons: How Millennials Are Altering the LDS Church,” has had a longtime curiosity within the sentiments of younger Mormon adults and now’s wanting particularly at former believers. “Mormon Tales” podcasts have come up usually in her interviews.

“For a lot of, it’s the first entry level into the ex-Mormon world,” Riess stated, however that want “goes away after the primary yr or two after which [they] are likely to cycle out of these communities.”

That mannequin is distinctly totally different from creating an organized, supportive and enduring neighborhood for former church members, which Ryan McKnight, Dodge’s companion on the Las Vegas-based Fact & Transparency Basis, calls “a tall order.”

That’s “all advantageous and dandy when you’re first processing your method by leaving the religion, however in brief order it turns into boring and redundant,” McKnight stated. “I don’t see that as a setup for long-term success, and I feel the ethics of it are nebulous at greatest.”

Dehlin appeals to a sure sort of former Latter-day Saint, those that had pretty literal beliefs after which really feel betrayed, stated Dan Wotherspoon, an impartial podcaster who moderated the “Mormon Issues” podcast.

“In John’s work, he largely emphasizes the adverse results of Mormon orthodoxy and tips on how to overcome them,” stated Wotherspoon, whose podcast is “Latter-day Religion.” “However Mormonism, and faith normally, is about a lot greater than its perception system.”

Plus, some former Latter-day Saints carry all the identical elements that appalled them whereas within the church, stated Mette Ivie Harrison, a Utah novelist, poet and blogger — together with adulation of leaders, male-dominated conversations and self-righteousness.

“There’s nothing fallacious with throwing off outdated shackles and deciding to reconfigure your life primarily based on new data, however ex-Mormon get-togethers resemble anti-testimony conferences,” Harrison wrote in a 2020 commentary, “folks sitting round and bearing witness to the ache of Mormonism in ways in which appear similar to the outdated testimonies I’d hear on quick Sunday about how great Mormonism was.”

When Latter-day Saints go away such an intense religion neighborhood, there may be an urge to “discover some various model of the ‘proper’ strategy to dwell, whereas additionally now seeing Mormonism because the ‘fallacious’ strategy to dwell,” stated Axford, the previous Latter-day Saint and New York-based therapist. A part of the motivation is a need “for psychological security with all of the unknowns of life.”

Cults of persona, patriarchy and judgmentalism “can and do exist in ex-Mormon communities and people, as these persons are nonetheless human,” Axford stated, “and are additionally seemingly extra prone to those issues since they’ve been closely imprinted from Mormon expertise.”

It’s wholesome and necessary for ex-Mormons “to talk with and have interaction with others to validate [their] expertise and actually perceive it,” Axford stated. However merely being a former member is “not a long-term helpful neighborhood or main id to concentrate on.”

For a lot of questioning Latter-day Saints, nonetheless, the expertise is extra uncooked and instant. A whole bunch of attendees have flocked to current THRIVE occasions because it resumed face-to-face gatherings in October — with as much as 1,000 anticipated at its women-only occasion in Salt Lake Metropolis in April — testomony, co-organizer Clint Martin stated, to the deep want for neighborhood in post-Mormonism.

“When the folks cease exhibiting up they usually don’t come anymore,” Martin stated, “that’s when [wife] Jeni and I are going to cease.”

Utah’s Black community is thriving. A new book compiled by the Utah Black Chamber shows why.

Utah is the quickest rising state within the nation, in accordance with knowledge from the 2020 U.S. Census — and a few of that exponential development comes from the state’s burgeoning Black neighborhood.

A brand new ebook, compiled by the pinnacle of the Utah Black Chamber, is crammed with testimonies from entrepreneurs, artists and enterprise homeowners who’re a part of that story.

“Black Utah: Tales from a Thriving Neighborhood” is a set of interviews with Black Utahns — a bunch ranging in age from 26 to 86, and consists of musician Bri Ray, ballet dancer Katlyn Addison, Rev. France Davis, his son France II and his spouse Melanie, and state legislator Sandra Hollins — speaking about their experiences in Utah. (The ebook is on sale now on Amazon.)

James Jackson III, the manager director of the Utah Black Chamber, interviewed the 33 trailblazers profiled within the ebook. The motivation to compile the interviews right into a ebook in 10 months got here from a easy truth: The Utah Black Chamber has been round for 13 years, but persons are nonetheless simply discovering out about it. “It’s [about] placing the Black neighborhood on the map,” he stated, “[to] join with them extra, determine alternatives to assist them out, to let the general neighborhood know there’s a Black neighborhood right here for them.”

Census knowledge reveals that 1.5% of Utah’s general inhabitants identifies as Black, making it one in every of 5 states within the nation with solely 2% of its inhabitants figuring out as Black. (The others are New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Wyoming.)

The census additionally discovered the West because the area of the nation with the smallest inhabitants of Black folks, at 10%.

However whereas Utah’s Black neighborhood could also be small, in relation to all the state, the ebook reveals it’s flourishing.

The Utah Black Chamber has 360 members. Some have been born and raised within the state, others are transplants. All, Jackson believes, have tales to share.

The ability of lived experiences

Aanjel Clayton is a variety, fairness and inclusion marketing consultant for the consulting agency Shift SLC and the recruiting platform PowertoFly. She’s additionally the director of New Sample Utah, a coalition that helps Black women-owned companies.

Clayton, who grew up in Utah and was educated within the Davis Faculty District, stated she hopes her contribution to the ebook can supply one thing to the youthful technology: Illustration of a brand new wave of Black society.

Her dialog with Jackson facilities round rising up in Utah and on her DEI work. In a means, it comes full circle. Clayton stated she grew up with an “ingrained respect” for elders in the neighborhood and studying from them.

“I by no means actually noticed anybody [in their] 20s or 30s actually within the highlight or heard concerning the impacts that they have been making [in] the neighborhood,” Clayton stated. “So I at all times thought, ‘Oh, you bought to be like older to begin doing stuff proper?’”

Clayton added that it’s necessary for youthful folks to see somebody like themselves in society. “I believe oftentimes excessive schoolers and younger of us, they make vital impacts on historical past … for them to see there are youthful folks which are taken significantly, there are youthful folks whose voices are heard and who’re making a constructive impression on our house,” she stated.

The identical thread of considering is present in Betty Sawyer’s testimony for the ebook. Sawyer is the president of the Ogden department of the NAACP, and a co-founder of the Challenge Success Coalition, which organizes Ogden’s annual Juneteenth pageant. Sawyer is a self-described “East coast transplant,” and her interview focuses on her transfer to the state.

Sawyer stated there are recognizable themes all through the ebook, like arduous work and perseverance, however there’s an unstated energy to listening to tales.

“The opposite half is the worth of individuals’s lived experiences,” she stated. “Another person could also be impressed to write down a ebook, to inform their story, and that’s one thing that we don’t do a whole lot of — recognizing the facility of storytelling is part of our tradition.”

Engaged on the ebook allowed Jackson to attach with these people on a private degree, fairly than only a enterprise one. It allowed them, as a neighborhood, to discover completely different aspects of Black tradition. It’s a nod towards the broader concept of what it means to be Black in Utah.

Jackson notes that his group modified its title from the Utah African-American Chamber to the Utah Black Chamber for that actual cause, as a result of Black is extra inclusive.

Sawyer famous that “oftentimes, we’re trying on the majority tradition, however recognizing too within the ebook that our tradition is just not monolithic. There’s simply not one Black tradition in Utah.”

The ebook is split into 9 chapters, based mostly on completely different experiences of background. Jackson stated he’ll at all times keep in mind the way in which this mission allowed him to connect with folks he’d solely met in passing earlier than, resembling Addison, a principal artist at Ballet West and one of many few Black prima ballerinas within the nation. Or, how Jackson discovered that Chef Julius Thompson, the proprietor of Sauce Boss Southern Kitchen, has been on his personal since highschool. Thompson put himself by college and navigated from Chicago to Ogden, and ultimately pursued his dream of turning into a chef and making folks pleased by meals.

The ebook, Jackson stated, is an opportunity for Black Utahns to inform their very own constructive tales, and clue folks into what’s truly taking place of their neighborhood.

“I believe this entire course of [has] helped humanize who we’re,” Sawyer stated. “Individuals tend to simply watch or take note of what they could see on tv, however not that these reside, respiratory communities which are all through the state of Utah.”