With Halloween only weeks away, I have to share one of the most terrifying images of my childhood. When I was a little kid (I’m now in my 30s) I was already really interested in evolution, but in all the books on the subject I had leafed through, nothing scared me or captured my imagination as much as this image.
I wish I could credit the artist, but it’s from a 1979 TIME-LIFE book called Early Man by F. Clark Howell and the editors of TIME-LIFE books.
It terrified me because it depicts the more evolved australopithecines killing off the primitive Australopithecus robustus but it captured my imagination because it shows Africa in all its glory. There was such beauty in living in Africa millions of years ago, at the dawn of humanity while the setting sun subtly colors the rocks on the hills. The open fields and endless landscape, on a lonely planet with only a few scattered Stone Age tribes on just a single continent.
In the picture, the more advanced tribe adapts the situation to their advantage by using lighter but sharper rocks, while the monkey tribe gets much less bang for their buck by draining their energy with heavy blunter weapons.
Intelligent behavior = low cost/benefit behavior.
Genocide? What? That wasn’t genocide. It evolution in action. The strong live and the weak die.
“In the picture, the more advanced tribe adapts the situation to their advantage by using lighter but sharper rocks, while the monkey tribe gets much less bang for their buck by draining their energy with heavy blunter weapons.”
Or the ones with the better genes won and passes their genes to the next generation. It has nothing to do with adaptation as you say. It’s about who is more fit. We are more fit. We won. We are still here today.
That is, they were selected for better fitness and they beat out those who were less fit.
Genocide? Pp come on!! That’s not genocide. Genocide had a specific definition. It’s evolution in action for the strong genes to live and the weak to die. It’s not “genocide”.
I had a conversation with a WN who said that homo sapiens genocided the neanderthals. And that the media admitted it was genocide.
And the “more evolved” spiel again!! They were more fit for the environment, but not more evolved. Evolution selects against weaker organisms to weed out weak genes.
Maybe genocide implies a less intelligent race going after the wealthier/more intelligence. For example, the Jewish holocaust was a genocide and traumatic, the Hutus killing the wealthier Tutsis is considered a genocide.
I think it’s because only a less intelligent race would put in the time and effort to make an ideology and stir resentment whereas a more intelligent group would kill less intelligent groups out of accident and overcrowding than malice.
It’s not genocide. It’s evolution in action. G-d pp I love your blog but you say some out there shit sometimes.
Does this justification apply to the 20th century as well as pre-history?
I believe so, yes. I should clarify my statement.
It’s not the strong living and weak dying as much as the good enough living. We’ve gotten in the way of evolution.
To say that something that occurred tens of thousands of years ago is genocide is ridiculous.
What are your thoughts?
PP – “Intelligent behavior = low cost/benefit behavior.”
From what I have been learning, Intelligence is the mental process of connecting representations that lead to new concepts of reality “hypothetical”. Generalization is categorical reference of abstractions that have more than one representation, “isomorphic”. The brain works by dynamic parallelism of energy in its circuits. The brain is a mirror of reality so representations must adapt by modeling reality. The brain changes all the time but it is programmed to change only when it encounter new perceptions that it has never seen. This means those that have a brain that changes due to culture adapts by modeling culture as new circuit firing patterns that predict the meaning of hypothetical. This then creates a meta cognitive loop. The loop permits you to know that thinking exists. It means all possibilities are open to you and you can then consciously program your own mind. You can then see that loop for the base of cognition. Intelligence is qualitative expansion at that point. Dynamic parallelism lets you utilize more loops if you are aware that loops create your perceptions. Artificial Intelligence is simple at that point because AI is conscious only when it knows that it is a loop. Anything can be simulated and that means the most efficient solutions are realized. The ape men saw the possibility of fighting better with smaller rocks than the ape men with heavier rocks. They were aware of more possibilities. I am aware of the possibility that loops create awareness of possibility. My awareness has become isomorphic to the meta reality of possibility. The key is to expand parallel awareness and fold that awareness inward. This allows new ways of solving problems to arise intuitively into your mind. I have been observing the flow of energy in my mind. This has allowed me to get a better model of myself and to expand awareness. I no longer feel blocked by negative emotions. I use the energy to expand. That is what I think G is good at doing.
“We’ve gotten in the way of evolution.”
I say that this is classic Social Darwinism.
Further, it is muddled thinking on your part when you say that evolution is not progressive, but random, then you say that we shouldn’t interfere with the trajectory. If there is no way then we can’t get in the way.
Are people, groups and individuals not subject to the same Darwinian laws?
“muddled thinking on your part when you say that evolution is not progressive”
It’s not. I’ve laid out my case.
“then you say that we shouldn’t interfere with the trajectory”
I don’t believe we should interfere with things like that. For instance, I believe that interfering with Africa is bad as it will cause a population boom. They can’t even take care of themselves now with our aid, and their population is set to double. We are interfering with evolution there.
Starvation is just Nature’s way of weeding out the excessively hungry?
Let’s stop using fire to cook our food, all is does is help keep a bunch of toothless grandmas alive.
People who were intelligent enough to cook survived. It’s that simple. Of course starvation is weeding out the weak, evolutionarily speaking.
“starvation is weeding out the weak, evolutionarily speaking”
The mentally or physically weak? Or the less than optimum?
Why not all three?
Let me make sure that I understand you correctly.
Evolution is a random non-directional type process and the only “thing” than evolution “values” is getting copies of genes to survive into the next generation.
We should, in order to avoid playing God?, avoid interfering in the process. We should make “it” our supreme and defining value? A random and non-directional process.
I never said to “avoid playing God”. I just think we should let nature take its course. Evolution is non-directional, yes. It has no direction, complex things become simple, simple things become complex. Darwin’s Finches are the best example of this.
By getting in the way of evolution (ie helping Africa and other poor, starving countries), the weak are surviving. They can’t even feed themselves without our aid and their population will double.
Who knows? Maybe without our aid then some sort of selection would occur in these tribes/populations which would start to make a change for those populations.
I didn’t say that you said, “avoid playing God.” But it is the same thing whether you call it nature or God.
I think we have been getting in the way of evolution for very long time. Some people, and some very smart people, think that we will be able to self-direct our future evolution. Should we forget about that idea? Should we throw in with the whackos and oppose all vaccinations?
Yea you’re right. IMO I don’t think we should direct our own evolution. I believe that’d lead to some pretty bad things (ie super-elites). I believe we should keep our evolution as natural as possible and, if possible, not tinker with it at all. I don’t oppose vaccinations, those people are morons and don’t read up on the newest studies.
“I believe we should keep our evolution as natural as possible and, if possible, not tinker with it at all.”
I’m not sure. I generally believe everything should be managed and nothing left to the randomness of nature.
Can’t let gardens grow wild.
Can’t let kids run wild
Can’t let invasive plants go wild
We can’t just rely on nature to give us food, but instead have to take control by farming and storing food.
I can’t think of any instance where “just letting something go” is the best way.
“Hello, I have a problem”
“Ah, well, bury your head in the sand and your problem should resolve itself.”
That’s not to say that we couldn’t mismanage a project to a horrible outcome, but just that leaving it to the wild is probably not the best way.
“In the picture, the more advanced tribe *adapts* the situation to their advantage by using lighter but sharper rocks, while the monkey tribe gets much less bang for their buck by draining their energy with heavy blunter weapons.”
adapt = become adjusted to new conditions.
synonyms: modify, alter, change, adjust, readjust, convert, redesign, restyle, refashion, remodel, reshape, revamp, rework, rejig, redo, reconstruct, reorganize, customize, tailor, improve, amend, refine, tweak (intelligence is the ability to tweak? lol)
I see two possibilities:
1) The lighter tribe discovers the effectiveness of the lightness of their weapons by accident. Maybe they were caught off guard and could only find little rocks in a pinch, which resulted in an advantage. They indeed adapted to the situation by finding the smaller rocks, but it was by accident. Intelligence has nothing to do with accidents.
2) the lighter tribe thought to themselves (maybe while sitting around the fire) that it would sure be nice to have lighter weapons. That’s called innovation, not adaptation.
Innovate = make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.
The heavy weapon was established. They changed its weight, possibly by innovation.
If you say intelligence is the ability to innovate, then yeah, I could see that. I think “adapt” is the wrong word. “Adapt” is too much like “change” and intelligence isn’t required for mere change. “Adapt” has no necessary intellect requirement like the word “innovate”.
Brian Mahieu said:
Thanks for posting this image, and the title/author of the book. This was one of the seminal books of my childhood as well, and particularly this illustration. I have been looking for this book for years and found it today on Abe books thanks to you. Cheers!