Sunday, August 30, 2009

Explosion of intelligence

"Mitochondrial DNA and fossil evidence indicates that modern humans evolved in east Africa about 200,000 years ago." -Wikipedia entry for human.

"The last glacial period was the most recent glacial period within the current ice age, occurring in the Pleistocene epoch. It began about 110,000 years ago and ended about 9,600 - 9,700 BC. During this period there were several changes between glacier advance and retreat." -Wikipedia entry for "last glacial period", the last ice age.

Look at the technology that exists around you, the computer you are sitting at. Chances are most of it didn't really exist when you were born, not in its current stage anyway. In our single generation we have taken many steps forward in technology.

Look at what they said about technology 100 years ago, 200 years ago. Think about how far we have come in just the last couple of centuries. Written history stretches back maybe 5000 years or so, I'm too lazy to go look that up because it's not important to what I'm trying to say.

So apparently it took us roughly 4000 years from the ice age to figure out writing, and over the next 5000 years we get everything else we see around us. The question I've always had is why did it take us 195,000 years to figure out writing, yet only 5000 years to go from writing to computers?

My answering theory for this question is we had 90,000 years to evolve technology and cultures and then the ice age wiped it all away. My believe is if humans really have been around for 200,000 years then we have hit our current level of culture and technology at least once before and then something happened to take it all away from us.

Glaciers are good at scrubbing the surface of the earth clean that could have easily destroyed evidence of previous cultures. Areas not erased by glaciers were mostly topical and looking at Mayan ruins tells you just how quickly topical rain forests can swallow up and hide evidence of cultures in those areas.

Now let's look back at our technology. Do you know how to build a TV? Or how to network computers over long distances to form the Internet? Can you make a light bulb? How about a match or candle? If something were to happen to the top like 5% of the population that actually knows all the theory behind all of today's technology what would happen to humans in general?

We'd survive first off. Humans are creative adaptive animals that always seems to find a way to survive whatever gets thrown at us. But much of our knowledge would soon be lost. Our technology would start to breakdown and the people that knew how to fix or replace it would be gone. So we would fall back on old technology that is easier to figure out. When people forget how to make a gun and gunpowder and bullets the idea of bows and arrows or even more simply thrown weapons and clubs would have to take over for hunting.

So what technology might a previous human culture have had before the ice age that we have forgotten?

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