Human Ascent by Henry Gobus

For Henry Gobus evolution is a structured and organised process with purpose and objective. Intelligence poses a great mystery, which he addresses and explains in detail.

“The concept that organisms learn from interactions with the environment is true to some extent and this is especially evident when we observe humans in modern society. It is, however, plainly flawed when this concept of learning is applied to evolution. Life commenced four billion years ago and mammals appeared in numbers about 65 million years ago with the first hominids (early human) as the new kid on the block arriving about six million years ago. If it is indeed the case that intelligence expands over time, as a result of learning from environmental interactions, how is it that humans have surpassed all animals on an intellectual level?

Crocodiles, for instance, originated in the age of the dinosaurs 240 million years ago. With such a significant time period to their credit and a history in which they must have had innumerable environmental experiences, why haven’t crocodiles developed concepts of electronics and the like? A common response to that question is that crocodiles are less intelligent because they have smaller brains. But the question that needs to be answered is why the crocodile’s brain didn’t develop with its vast environmental experiences.

Our reasoning becomes tangled in knots whenever we try to explain intelligence. The current view is that intelligence is a primary process that increases with learning. This concept is incorrect and I take the view that intelligence is not a primary development, but a consequence or a by-product of another development.”