[ExI] comments?

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Tue Aug 11 06:23:27 UTC 2020

On Tue, Jul 14, 2020 at 1:12 PM Darin Sunley via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Indeed. Looked at on a geological timescale, the size of the hominid
> braincase at birth basically inflated like a balloon, incredibly quickly,
> right up to the point where it started to cause non-trivial infant
> mortality increases.
> It has all the hallmarks of the same kind of "arms-race"
> sexual-selection-based positive feedback loops that created other
> ridiculously outsized anatomical features in other species, just like
> peacock tails.

### I am persuaded that the decisive cognitive innovation that triggered
the explosion in human intelligence was the evolution of the ability to
learn from other humans. Subsequent increases in brain size were a
downstream effect, with some sexual selection accelerating the change. See
"The secret of our success" by Joseph Henrich.

In this interpretation, knowledge, and the intelligence needed to use, are
directly fitness-enhancing. Our success is due to stumbling on a method for
greatly accelerating the acquisition of knowledge by substituting group and
memetic learning mechanisms for individual and genetic ones.

This is different from the notion of IQ as a mere fitness marker that
evolved solely due to sexual selection. A peacock's tail is a marker that
decreases individual survival of the male while increasing female fitness
by allowing them to concentrate their mating resources on the males most
likely to sire healthy offspring. A man's or a woman's intelligence are
however not just for show - they allow us to continually adapt to new
ecological niches, thus dramatically enhancing fitness.

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