Technology, evolution, intelligence

Matthew S. Tomaso (tomaso@UTXVMS.CC.UTEXAS.EDU)
Mon, 6 Feb 1995 23:11:22 -0600

To clairify a poorly worded statement which flowed out of my keyboard in a
recent post...
Barnes made the point that the evolutionary record shows hominid evolution
as a long involved process with punctuated equilibrium-like change in
phenotype while corresponding technologies change very slowly. I stated
that this was only true if you ignore the facts of the agricultural and
industrial revolutions. This is, of course, a rather silly way of
subverting Barnes' argument (perhaps I should say 'inverting'). My point,
though poorly made, was that we are NOT the pinnacle of evolution. There is
and can be no such thing since evolution is, by definition an ongoing
process. If intelligence can not be conflated with adaptation then what
significance can it possibly have in terms of human evolution besides,
perhaps, being an interesting byproduct. I guess my point is that we
really need to theorize intelligence, perhaps even decolonize it (Oh No, Not
That), before we start to speak of it in terms of social function. All you
need to do is look back at the racist history of intelligence testing to
realize that the whole concept is, as is, inherently problematic.

apologies to all

Matt Tomaso
Department of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin