glew at ichips.intel.com
Mon Jun 8 15:28:08 EST 1998
> There's a good parable -- I think it comes from Sir Peter Medawar, but
> I can't recall exactly -- about what proto-primates would have come
> up with if asked to design their "super-primate." He suggested that
> they would have been interested in making it stronger, more agile,
> gifted with better teeth, and so forth. The idea of making it weak,
> clumsy, hairless, but capable of language would probably not even have
> crossed their minds. I see a similar problem with your projections;
> knowing that the "mind" is the mark of man -- which we've known since
> Aristotle -- it's easy enough to project that a superman must have a
> supermind (and of course, super-strength, super-stamina, X-ray vision,
> the ability to fly, and a Kryptonite allergy). But that doesn't mean
> *either* that anything with a supermind will eventually become a superman
> (and replace us) -- evolution happens in baby steps, nor does it even
> mean that the evolutionary replacement for H. sap. sap. will be our
> projected superman. Perhaps our evolutionary replacement will be
> the subcaste of humans too dumb to be able to figure out how all our
> lethal toys like phasers and warp drives work, and therefore will be
> able to survive the coming war....
In fact, it is entirely possible that evolution may de-favor some forms
of mental evolution. A super-rational mind may not be favored by
evolution. It may already have happened.
Conjecture: intelligence and reason often lead to the existentialist
quandary. And then existentialist despair. Which is demotivating,
if it does not lead to suicide.
Pure intelligence, pure reason, cannot succeed in an evolutionary sense
unless it is tied to behaviours that propagate the species. A mental
construct that facilitates such behaviour is religion. Evidence accumulates
that some aspects of religious behaviour are instinctual, built in,
in the same way that language acquisition behaviour is built in.
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