[evol-psych] Re: Evolution of human intelligence
- On September 29th, Mark Finn wrote
> (2) Alexander's model explains the challenges suggested bySo why can't they be answered at a specfic level? Or can they? If so, by
>Bickerton (albeit at a non-specific level)
all means go ahead
>2) The pace of change of the brain and the pace of change of >"culture,"although both explained by Alexander's ruanway selection >model, are not
predicted to mirror each other.
Why not? How much could they differ, and why?
>The changes in the information pool incompetition in that domain, e.g., social complexity increases >in response
>human minds ("culture") is expected to change in response to the >level of
to the level of competing groups (state level societies >emerge out of
competition with complex chiefdoms, not band level >societies).
When are we talking about? It's questionable whether there were even
"complex chiefdoms" prior to agriculture, let alone "state level
societies"--these didn't exist until a few thousand years ago. We're
talking human evolution, not recent prehistory.
.>And we expect a similar runaway process,
>given our extraordinary social learning abilities.Wonder where those came from?
>Unfortunately tests ofWhich doesn't confirm the model now, and probably never will.
>the model are vague, and need paleoarcheological expertise.
In short, the criticisms I made of Alexander's model remain unanswered.
- On October 6th Robert Levy wrote
>I'm looking for information on theories of the evolution of language whichThis idea goes back a long way. Otto Jespersen proposed it about the
>fall roughly into the domain of "language evolved from song".
beginning of the century in his book on language (sorry I'm away from any
good source of reference) and it sticks in my mind that he had a quote from
Darwin that seemed to hint at it, though I may be wrong about that.
>I am familiar with the problems and questions in the "evolution ofWell, it really doesn't explain very much. Nobody, to the best of my
>language" debate, and I don't see any glaring flaws in this theory. I
>suppose the main problem is historical and empirical. Are there any good
>reasons why this theory or something like it should not be a candidate for
>being the one which reveals the mysteries of the origins of language?
knowledge, has ever tried to explain how you would get from song to discrete
units (words or signs) that carry discrete chunks of inmformation, let alone
how those discrete units would then be assembled to form syntactic
structures. Without such a scenario, there's really nothing to discuss.
>From what I have read, it seems that theories of language evolution >oftenThings aren't quite that bad! I suggest you read Calvin and Bickerton,
>go unnoticed because there are so many equally valid theories, >none that
>surface as being extraordinarily explanatory.
"Lingua ex Machina" (MIT, 1999 we still hope, but you can find it on line
at. www.WilliamCalvin.com/LEM.) We try to get over some of the problems
faced by previous accounts, how successfully if up to others to judge.