Sisa Petse's Reviews > The Evolution of Human Intellect: Discover the Information that Schools and Religions Aren't Yet Teaching

The Evolution of Human Intellect by L.N.  Smith
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Apr 21, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: science

I have noticed two things here, first there is a book called “Evolution of Human Intellect” by L.N. Smith, and then an adaptation of the book into a film/play titled “Spirit Mountain” by the same author. Therefore, I will assume that the dialogue in the play is the actual content in the book that I don’t have. And my comments are based only on these 43 pages.

To be honest I was attracted by the title Evolution of Human intellect. Intellect (dictionary definition) is the ability to think reason and understand. Typically emotions are downplayed in the knowing process as well as in the development of intellect. Some people believe reason and emotion are two distinct faculties. In this play the author has unequivocally demonstrated that emotions are an integral part of the evolution of the human intellect. On page 4 he writes “the story for today follows Emotion on its extended journey.” And on pg10 again “Emotion is the architect of intellect. And let me say it again. Emotion is the architect of intellect.” And I fully agree with this.

I would also like to commend the author for the expect use of various cartoon characters in an amusement park in this work. In doing so, he has effectively managed to unpack a highly academic and complex work and made it accessible to people as young as 13 years. They are used as interlocutors mainly to facilitate a conversation. This particular art (use of dialogue to derive/impose a particular theory) was invented by Socrates; the Socrates of the early dialogues would typically strikes up a conversation with one or a few interlocutors which eventuates in a question. In this particular play Sarah is the main source of wisdom, the river of truth (p21).

However, I am not happy with the order of developments in chapter 4 “The first Modern Humans” he starts with the invention of stone tools; break from emotion signaling and then melting of ice caps. My understanding of the chronology is that, melting ice caps exposed these primates to more predators, to escape quickly bi-pedalism (it provided better mobility) developed. This freed up the forward limbs that were to become hands and hence we began making stone tools. Bi-pedalism also meant we could see so much further. The two activities; tool making-creativity and seeing further-memory, escalated our need for a bigger brain that marked a break from emotional signaling. This is a big step for the evolution of the intellect.

In chapter 8, the author wrote that it remain unclear what caused the collapse of the independent ancient Mayan civilization, for answers I think he must ask the Portuguese and the Spanish. He could have added the Incas and Aztecs as well.But he answers himself “Francisco Pizarro wanted to conquer the Incas of Peru, just as Hernando Cortés had easily conquered the Aztecs of Mexico eleven years earlier.”
He also fails to explain the sudden lull between 470AD and 1300AD. This period is important and relevant to the topic because it was a ‘throwback’ in terms of intellectual development, the reason being, after the fall of the Roman empire a new Holy Roman empire was declared under the tutelage of the Catholic church, as a results citizens were mostly obsessed with God and nothing much happened. In chapter 13 “Shells of Ignorance” I think the author should have included the period above.

In conclusion, I think religious beliefs of the author have severely clouded his objectivity in the topic. In the last chapters he begins to bring God and mentions only nature. He knows very well that there is a nature-nurture debate. It’s the debate surrounding the question of to what extent behaviour is the result of hereditary or innate influences (nature), or is determined by environment and learning (nurture). Assessing the relative contribution of each is extremely difficult, since both interact continually through out development. This includes the evolution of human intellect.
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Ziyanda Xaso Can I post your review on my blog, pretty please :-)

Sisa Petse Ziyanda wrote: "Can I post your review on my blog, pretty please :-)"

Please do!

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