Re: Stephen Jay Gould and Progress

Michael Lorrey (
Wed, 08 Jan 1997 19:20:00 -0500

Robin Hanson wrote:
> writes:
> >I'm not sure about there being no "complexification drive". Brain sizes have
> >increased markedly over time, and land animals with the intelligence of most
> >dinosaurs probably wouldn't be viable today. Certainly there aren't any.
> Maximum brain size has been increasing, just as maximum body size has
> been increasing. But I don't think there is any more evidence for a
> local tendency in brains than there is in bodies.
Maximum body size has not been increasing. It is a function of several
things, mostly average environment temperature. Animals during the
glacial periods were much larger than their current counterparts, with
the possible exception of man, an animal whose main asset, his brain,
was not very valuable at that point due to the primitive technological
base with which to work. Another big factor is competitive food
gathering efficiency (i.e. how much food you can get without getting
eaten), which was once low for us, also due to low tool base, but is now
the highest of all animals, with the possible exception of whales, and
our own domestic species.

Michael Lorrey ------------------------------------------------------------ President Northstar Technologies Agent Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Website: Now Featuring: My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ Transhumanist, Inventor, Webmaster, Ski Guide, Entrepreneur, Artist, Outdoorsman, Libertarian, Certified Genius. ------------------------------------------------------------ If I saw further than others, it is because I had an unjoggled view from standing on my own two feet. - Mike Lorrey