Re: Technology and Intelligence -Reply

Matthew S. Tomaso (tomaso@UTXVMS.CC.UTEXAS.EDU)
Mon, 6 Feb 1995 19:52:10 -0600

>Barnes writes:
>>Mr. Graber, your point is, uh, well-made. Technology has been of
>>paramount importance in human evolution.
>Few evolutionists would argue that any one thing was of 'paramount
importance' and I don't think that this was Dr. Graber's point
>> I would point out
>>that hunting and gathering do require a degree of cooperation and
>...Yes, just like the communication and cooperation required in building an
ant hill, or hunting in a pack of lions, wild dogs or chimps, organizing a
school of fish.... Humans are not that far removed from other social animals
and if we were, we'd be hard pressed to explain how objectively.
>>Also, preventing a leopard from biting your head
>>becomes easier with a little help.
>many artiodactyls do just fine.
>>And, we are not talking about the
>>monolithic march of a block of pre-humanity down the evolutionary path.
>>We are talking about differential reproduction _within_ a species which,
>>over a vast period of time, creates a new species.
>I'm not really sure what we are talking about at this point.
>>Take a look at the
>>changes in technology over that period of time. The changes are not
>Well, ruling out the agricultural and industrial revolutions that is...
>>(admittedly, we can only view an incomplete picture). I would
>>argue that enhanced social skills played some small role in the
>>differential survival and reproduction of some individuals over others
>>and thus, the development of "intelligence."
>With the addition of the word 'small', I would have to agree. But I think
one could also say that the development of decreased body hair had as much
to do with it. I don't mean to be annoying, but we need to stop looking for
monolithic explanations and prime-movers. Even in biological evolution, one
can not find reasonable examples of situation 'A' causing adaptive response
'B'. Life, on the whole, is always much more complex.
>>Remember, over the time
>>periods we are talking about the differential does not have to be at all
>>And who says social problems are not practical problems?
>This is certainly a good point - as Raninow and others like to point out -
social facts are as real as any other kind of fact. Nevertheless, Who
thinks they can reconstruct the social environment (RE: social facts)
surrounding early hominids and early Homo sapiens sapiens? I don't.
>>And, expanding out of the tropics is irrelevant to evolution.
>>And, quite frankly, technology has been done to death.
>Well, overdone yes.... but nothing in our barely premature science has been
'done to death'.
>>The implications
>>of intelligence on social organization and vice versa is far more
>Yes, but unfortunately, irretrievable for most. I doubt that anybody can
see past their assumptions and projections on this account.
>>Jim Barnes

Matt Tomaso
Department of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin