Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagEvolution of human consciousness

Mind labyrinth and business success psychology concept with back view walking businessman to the light spot in corridor with walls in form of human head

The Likely Reason the Human Mind Has No History

Our efforts to explain the origin of the human mind fall flat because we are looking for an origin that probably doesn’t exist

Recently, there was a bit of discussion around my contention that the human mind has no history. We suddenly discover the minds of long-deceased peoples, perhaps in cave art that pushes back the timelines we laboriously constructed. Mental capacity is not the same thing as technical competence. Technical competence is far too heavily skewed in favor of people who arrived later to be a grading system for mental capacity. For example, before mining and metallurgy, we could imagine many things we couldn’t do. The brains behind the James Webb Space Telescope are not necessarily smarter than the first philosopher of science Aristotle (384– 322 BC). But they have tools for acquiring knowledge that he didn’t. So they know many things Read More ›

Neural pathways in a brain forming intricate patterns, metaphorically showing the connections within the human mind and how ideas link and spark

The Human Mind Has No History

There is no good reason to assume that human intelligence evolved from mud to mind via a long slow history

Possibly the most frustrating science discipline ever envisioned is the effort to trace the evolution of human consciousness. Apparently, we start with the flatworm’s aversion to pain and end up with Chaitin’s unknowable number. That is a large gap. Of course, it doesn’t work. Evolution might predict smarter chimpanzees (or dumber ones, depending) but it does not predict a world of ideas, of which any given theory of evolution is itself merely one of the many ideas. So what do claims like “Theories of consciousness must be firmly rooted in evolutionary biology” even mean? The neuroscience of theories of consciousness is currently degenerating into chaos. Briefly, the leading theory has been trashed as “pseudoscience.” Tellingly, so far as one can Read More ›