New Scientist Piece Reviewed

Scott L. Schofield sl.schofield at worldnet.att.net
Sat Jan 25 11:08:13 EST 1997


Richard Hall <rhall at uvi.edu> wrote:
> I doubt the human brain will evolve into a more intelligent form since
> there is very little selection pressure for more intellect.   In fact,
> there is no evidence that the human intellect has increased over the past
> 5000 or 50,000 years.  Humans have greatly augmented native motor skills
> with tools which have allowed more precise representation of complex
> intellectual patterns (thoughts.)  Ie, we have found better ways to
express
> our intellectual tendencies, but are we more intellectually capable...not
> likely.
> 
> It is true that brain size within a species does not correlate with
> intellectual ability, but size is important since intellect does
correlate
> with the number of organized synaptic connections.  Neurons and their
> connections occupy volume.  Hence brain size does indicate "intellectual
> capacity" between species.  Here again, there is no evidence that any
> humans, mammalian, vertebrate, or invertebrate species has experienced an
> increase in intellectual capacity over recorded time.  If increased
smarts
> increased fitness, it would happen, but the cynic in me thinks winning
the
> New York lottery would be more "fitting".
> 
> I might be able to afford a couple strategic fetal brain implants.
> 
> rlh




Socratic dialogue - No serious challenge intended.

Actually, there may be selective pressure for more intelligence.
The technological revolution requires that people become more and
more educated / skilled just to get the jobs that will put food in
their bellies and a roof over their heads. It is now very
competitive and I see it becoming more so. Those who can't compete
will be at a disadvantage to successfully raise the average number
of offspring who are healthy and educated enough to themselves
compete.

The question is really whether there will exist selective pressure
against the less intelligent. I hope not. In the United States, our
social programs are designed so as to prevent this. As long as we
are willing to continue to listen to the moral conscience
genetically hard-coded into our altruistic minds, I imagine we will
remain stuck.


Stuck and Happy,
Scott




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