Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

Higher Intelligence An Evolutionary Inevitability?

page: 1
2

log in

join

posted on May, 30 2012 @ 10:10 PM
link   
So, I had a discussion with a friend a few days ago about whether or not intelligence, and ultimately, self-awareness, was simply inevitable in all species. She seemed to think that given enough time, evolution will "drive itself" towards developing an intelligent brain. And that humans and their ancestors were beneficiaries of the right circumstances that allowed us to develop intelligence rapidly. My first problem with that was the "enough time" part... how much time? There was no suitable answer to that question, and no way to reasonably foresee what life would look like in a billion years.

I don't believe evolution drives itself toward anything. It's simply the name we assign to the process of adaptation and attrition in the natural world. The main question I want to get across is, does anyone think that macro-evolution "stops" when a species has maximized it's advantage in a given environment?




posted on May, 30 2012 @ 10:13 PM
link   
Evolution won't stop until we live in a static environment.



posted on May, 30 2012 @ 10:26 PM
link   
reply to post by satron
 


Well, I don't really know what you mean by a static environment. One in which no significant change happens? In terms of food availability, toxicity, etc? In which case I would agree I guess. I think of sharks as an example. The resources and developmental time needed to nurture a brain capable of intelligent thought would be detrimental to its ability to survive in its current environment. Thus why we see so significant change in sharks after hundreds of millions of years. Can the same be said to other "large" changes?



posted on May, 31 2012 @ 08:00 AM
link   
I don't think even multicellularity is an evolutionary inevitability. For the most part, life on Earth was strictly unicellular, and multicellularity arose just a single time. So no, I don't think 'higher intelligence' is an evolutionary inevitability. And what is 'higher intelligence' anyway? I don't regard humans as a 'highly intelligent' species. Hell, many of us can't even separate simple facts like evolution from fiction like creation myths. As far as I know, more than 50% of humans believe into magical beings for which they have never seen any actual proof. That's not very intelligent behavior. And let's not forget how we're destroying our planet (cutting down > 50% of the planet's forests in just a few centuries etc.)..
edit on 31-5-2012 by rhinoceros because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 31 2012 @ 08:09 AM
link   
reply to post by qalameid
 


Evolution drives itself towards survival. If intelligence is part of surviving then it might find it's way there eventually but intelligence is certainly not the only characteristic that makes survival possible. Most people mistakenly think of survival of the fittest in some sort of Socially Darwinistic way where only the strong survive. That isn't the case at all, only the strong ENOUGH to pass on their genes survive, you don't even have to be great at survival you just have to reproduce often enough to keep the species going.



posted on May, 31 2012 @ 08:40 AM
link   

Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
That isn't the case at all, only the strong ENOUGH to pass on their genes survive, you don't even have to be great at survival you just have to reproduce often enough to keep the species going.

You shouldn't use the word 'strong'. The winners of evolution are the ones who are FIT enough to pass on their genes in such manner, that also their progeny manages to do the same. Here FITNESS means just that. Your level of FITNESS is how well you do this. Evolutionary FITNESS is not necessarily related to physical strength, intelligence, etc.. In physical sense, peacock males with their huge tales are very unfit. It takes a lot of effort for them to e.g. escape predators. Nonetheless, they're winners just as long they manage to stay alive until they're ready to breed, and indeed the females are crazy about them. Males with smaller tales might live longer (they're physically more fit), but nonetheless they're the losers since the females are not interested in them..
edit on 31-5-2012 by rhinoceros because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 31 2012 @ 10:20 AM
link   
I agree with most people that have said it is not inevitable. It depends on the environment. All creatures adapt to their respective environments, and with the right amount of drastic changes and extinction level events, it's a possibility. It's certainly not guaranteed. If the comet/asteroid impact never ended the dinosaur era, who knows, there might still be dinosaurs ruling the earth today and mammals probably wouldn't have taken over.



posted on Jun, 4 2012 @ 10:29 AM
link   

Originally posted by qalameid
So, I had a discussion with a friend a few days ago about whether or not intelligence, and ultimately, self-awareness, was simply inevitable in all species. She seemed to think that given enough time, evolution will "drive itself" towards developing an intelligent brain. And that humans and their ancestors were beneficiaries of the right circumstances that allowed us to develop intelligence rapidly. My first problem with that was the "enough time" part... how much time? There was no suitable answer to that question, and no way to reasonably foresee what life would look like in a billion years.

I don't believe evolution drives itself toward anything. It's simply the name we assign to the process of adaptation and attrition in the natural world. The main question I want to get across is, does anyone think that macro-evolution "stops" when a species has maximized it's advantage in a given environment?



Theres no way to tell. If we humans design a machine that can think far beyond our capabilitys. Would that be classed as the evolution of our intellect?

I agree, i dont believe Evolution drives itself towards anything. Evolution does,nt care its simply a proccess. Our Self awareness is directly linked to our intellect. So technically speaking any creature that develops our level of intelligence will be capable of doing all that we have achieved. Given that it has the right physical attributes to put its visions in to action. Where this si clearly the secret to our success, i also see it as the one great barrier to us understanding what we really are. The physical world now dominates our existance and its leading to our downfall IMO.



posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 09:22 AM
link   

Originally posted by qalameid
So, I had a discussion with a friend a few days ago about whether or not intelligence, and ultimately, self-awareness, was simply inevitable in all species. She seemed to think that given enough time, evolution will "drive itself" towards developing an intelligent brain. And that humans and their ancestors were beneficiaries of the right circumstances that allowed us to develop intelligence rapidly. My first problem with that was the "enough time" part... how much time? There was no suitable answer to that question, and no way to reasonably foresee what life would look like in a billion years.

I don't believe evolution drives itself toward anything. It's simply the name we assign to the process of adaptation and attrition in the natural world. The main question I want to get across is, does anyone think that macro-evolution "stops" when a species has maximized it's advantage in a given environment?



Intelligence and sentience are two very different survival tools. Intelligence is manifest throughout the entire animal kingdom, with wolves hunting in very coordinated pack strategy patterns, and dogs learning all kinds of neat tricks. Sentience is the real game changer, and that takes a very different kind of evolutionary track, which the Homo Sapiens obviously traveled. I saw a documentary 30 years ago called "Water Babies" that suggested proof that the Homo Sapiens were hominids that spent millions of years as coastal dwellers, developing the buttocks through swimming (not upright walking), evolving a layer of blubber attached to the skin (like other semi-aquatic mammals), losing its hide (it was very specifically located in Africa where the temps were moderate), and losing its body hair covering (the water shielded it from the sun's rays - except for the top of the head, which kept its density of hair follicles as protection against the sun's rays)

What also developed was its frontal lobe, as a result of an extended period of time without a real survival challenge to remain focused on. Food was obviously plentiful (the opposable thumb allowed for grabbing fish and other marine life for food) and if a predator showed up from the sea, the Homo Sapiens sat on shore and waited. If a predator showed up from the forest, the Homo Sapiens slipped into the waves and waited for it to leave. Pretty sweet, and this allowed for the brain to develop very differently that the brains of those creatures that battled daily for survival.

And it's about the brain evolving differently, not more efficiently or effectively. Birds are incredible survivors, so in evolutionary terms, they're much farther ahead that we are. They fly, walk, swim, and can fly full speed through the tiniest openings with ease. That's something that we could never accomplish, even if we could fly. That said, we have the capacity to plan ahead and ruminate over the past. To actually learn by combining unrelated memories together to form hypotheses that are factually disconnected with each individual memory cluster we used to bring that hypotheses into conceptual existence. For our own version of survival, this is brilliance. For a bird's version of survival, it's a wasted use of a brain. Then again, a bird's brilliance is only a leg-up if you're competing on a reality game show like American Ninja Warrior or some other gladiator type show.

It's all relative I suppose.
edit on 6/10/2012 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)






top topics



 
2

log in

join