EVOLUTION: Mental Adaptation

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 22:21:55 -0800 (PST)


Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 James Rogers <jamesr@best.com> Wrote:

>>it takes far more brain power to survive in the Kalahari
>>Bush People's world that in our own.

>I would have to contest this. [...] I would submit that
>soon one will not be able to "survive" in the modern world
>without exercising high amounts of technical expertise.

The Kalahari bush people have nothing going for them but their wits, lots of
animals are stronger and faster and tougher. If they do something dumb on the
job they don't look foolish to their friends, they don't get demoted and have
to sell their vacation house, they die. These people also have a huge amount
of specialized knowledge and skills, if somebody dropped off you or me in the
middle of The Kalahari desert with nothing but our birthday suite, we'd be
dead in 12 hours, but to the bush people it's as friendly and plentiful a
place as a shopping mall is to us.

In our world, if you want to drink beer and watch Gilligan's Island reruns
all day long you can still survive and even reproduce, and in fact many do
just that. Gallileo probably knew more Science 400 years ago than the average
man in the street does now. There was a poll recently of adult Americans,
almost half thought that DNA was a poison, a third though the Universe was
less than 10 thousand years old, and 30% could not find The Pacific Ocean on
a globe. But then, you can't expect them to know every tinny little
topographical feature of the planet.

>Certainly the individuals who are surviving best in the world
>of rapid technology advancements are those who are show
>immense adaptive intelligence.

It is not true that intelligent people have more children than stupid people,
not in our world anyway, but I'll bet it's true in the world of The Kalahari
bush people.

>Vast improvements in intelligence will be THE defining
>feature in the progress of the human species.

Well yes, but what does that have to do with the price of eggs?

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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