13 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2023
    1. In each case, a small population produced a star-burst of pioneers who permanently changed our way of thinking. Genius erupted in groups as well as in individuals. It seems likely that these bursts of creative change were driven by a combination of cultural with biological evolution. Cultural evolution was constantly spreading ideas and skills from one community to another, stirring up conservative societies with imported novelties. At the same time, biological evolution acting on small genetically isolated populations was causing genetic drift, so that the average intellectual endowment of isolated communities was rising and falling by random chance. Over the last few thousand years, genetic drift caused occasional star-bursts to occur, when small populations rose to outstandingly high levels of average ability. The combination of imported new ideas with peaks of genetic drift would enable local communities to change the world.

      !- explaining human history : combination of cultural and biological evolution

    1. We believe that we have demonstrated the use of abstract marks to convey meaning about the behaviour of the animals with which they are associated, on European Upper Palaeolithic material culture spanning the period from ~37,000 to ~13,000 bp. In our reading, the animals integral to our analytical modules do not depict a specific individual animal, but all animals of that species, at least as experienced by the images’ creators. This synthesis of image, mathematical syntax (the ordinal/linear sequences) and signs functioning as words formed an efficient means of recording and communicating information that has at its heart the core intellectual achievement of abstraction.
  2. Oct 2022
    1. Out of our cleverness has emerged something almost more importantthan the cleverness itself. Out of it has come learning about how to share ideasand pass down skills and knowledge. Out of it has come education.

      Gary Thomas posits that it's our cleverness which birthed education. Isn't it more likely our extreme ability to mimic others which is more likely from a cognitive and evolutionary perspective?

      Were early peoples really "teaching" each other how to make primitive hand axes? Or did we first start out by closely mimicking our neighbors?

  3. Sep 2022
  4. Apr 2022
    1. Humans’ tendency to“overimitate”—to reproduce even the gratuitous elements of another’s behavior—may operate on a copy now, understand later basis. After all, there might begood reasons for such steps that the novice does not yet grasp, especially sinceso many human tools and practices are “cognitively opaque”: not self-explanatory on their face. Even if there doesn’t turn out to be a functionalrationale for the actions taken, imitating the customs of one’s culture is a smartmove for a highly social species like our own.

      Is this responsible for some of the "group think" seen in the Republican party and the political right? Imitation of bad or counter-intuitive actions outweights scientifically proven better actions? Examples: anti-vaxxers and coronavirus no-masker behaviors? (Some of this may also be about or even entangled with George Lakoff's (?) tribal identity theories relating to "people like me".

      Explore this area more deeply.

      Another contributing factor for this effect may be the small-town effect as most Republican party members are in the countryside (as opposed to the larger cities which tend to be more Democratic). City dwellers are more likely to be more insular in their interpersonal relations whereas country dwellers may have more social ties to other people and groups and therefor make them more tribal in their social interrelationships. Can I find data to back up this claim?

      How does link to the thesis put forward by Joseph Henrich in The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous? Does Henrich have data about city dwellers to back up my claim above?

      What does this tension have to do with the increasing (and potentially evolutionary) propensity of humans to live in ever-increasingly larger and more dense cities versus maintaining their smaller historic numbers prior to the pre-agricultural timeperiod?

      What are the biological effects on human evolution as a result of these cultural pressures? Certainly our cultural evolution is effecting our biological evolution?

      What about the effects of communication media on our cultural and biological evolution? Memes, orality versus literacy, film, radio, television, etc.? Can we tease out these effects within the socio-politico-cultural sphere on the greater span of humanity? Can we find breaks, signs, or symptoms at the border of mass agriculture?


      total aside, though related to evolution: link hypercycles to evolution spirals?

  5. Mar 2022
  6. Feb 2022
    1. “Manipulations such as variation, spacing, introducing contextualinterference, and using tests, rather than presentations, as learningevents, all share the property that they appear during the learningprocess to impede learning, but they then often enhance learning asmeasured by post-training tests of retention and transfer. Conversely,manipulations such as keeping conditions constant and predictable andmassing trials on a given task often appear to enhance the rate oflearning during instruction or training, but then typically fail to supportlong-term retention and transfer” (Bjork, 2011, 8).

      This is a surprising effect for teaching and learning, and if true, how can it be best leveraged. Worth reading up on and testing this effect.

      Indeed humans do seem built for categorizing and creating taxonomies and hierarchies, and perhaps allowing this talent to do some of the work may be the best way to learn not only in the short term, but over longer term evolutionary periods?

  7. Feb 2021
  8. Sep 2018
    1. Instead of taking these characteristics and saying that they are the basis for “human dignity,” why don’t we simply accept our destiny as creatures who modify themselves?

      He mentioned several times that human nature can be the basis for values and morality, but here he says that human nature is subject to change. In that case It sounds like he believes that the standards of morality and value which are based on human nature should also change and that doesn't sound like very firm ground to stand on.

  9. Dec 2016