Thursday, March 14, 2013

Evolutionary Effect of Civilization


    The shop-man needs to know far more math than his equivalent only a few centuries ago, just to stay in business. Living in civilization also requires literacy; this exerts evolutionary pressure against dyslexia.
    I therefore predict, on Darwinian grounds, that if the cycle of civilizations continues, then in at most 100,000 years our distant descendants will all possess the three R’s from a very young age. 
     The infants of that species will pick up readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic with the same instinctive ease that ours pick up language. I’m talking about precocious savantry; children manipulating sonnets and logarithms in their heads.
     I also predict that our distant descendants will also possess a superhuman sense of humor, for the same reason. They will need humor’s gifts of cruelty, mockery and absurd insight; this too exerts evolutionary pressure.
    If the cycle of civilizations continues for 100,000 more years, then our descendants will read, write and calculate from infancy; and their sense of humor will be far better than ours. That’s the good news.
    The bad news is that they will need that infant literacy, infant numeracy, and superhuman sense of humor, in order to survive long enough to reproduce.


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