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... I think that the point where we evolved into an organism where most evolution happens in the information exostructure that surrounds humans would have to be on the order of 30,000 to 50,000 years ago, if not earlier.

In the Journey of Man (Wikipedia) thesisNote, in the original diaspora, we spread out along the sea coasts ... which is not clear from the fossil records, since the seacoasts of that time are currently underwater, but is argued from genetic evidence combined with the timing of humans first appearing in Australia.

The second diaspora, accounting for a much larger percentage of the world population, spread out as inland hunter-gatherers ... its not clear to me whether that diaspora started later, or started at a similar time and just took longer to break out of Africa due to the dispersion across a two-dimensional field rather than the linear field of a sea-coast niche.

In any event, in sending out the seacoast diaspora and the inland diaspora, humans populated the world by constantly developing the appropriate technologies to exploit the new bioregions that they came into, resulting in such massive differences in technologies as those of the Pacific Islander seafarers, those of the Inuit, and those of the nomadic horse peoples of the Mongolian steppes.

So this characteristic of most evolution happening in the information exostructure that surrounds humans appears to be at least half as old as modern humans, and plausibly as old as modern humans.

And of course, there certainly would appear to be no such thing as "disconnected humans" ... we are a social organism, evolved toward operating as a band in a territory in the neighborhood of other bands of humans.

It is not being a colony organism that can be reversed by running out of energy, but rather some level of density above the level of the nomadic territorial band. Its unlikely that the agricultural revolution will be reversed, but the fossil-fuel driven industrial revolution has only been around for a few centuries, so it is certainly unproven which elements will remain and which will be ditched. I am certainly more optimistic than Kunstler, but in terms of social evolution it is at least a fair question to pose.

(Note: The Journey of Man entry in Wikipedia is fairly weak ... it seems anyone with some expertise and who has worked through it could improve the entry.)

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 10:37:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first time I encountered this idea of evolution being transferred to the "information exostructure" was when reading Carl Sagan's Cosmos, specifically Chapter 11, The Persistence of Memory. Of course, when I read this 20 years ago I wasn't in the habit of reading the endnotes to see what original sources the chapter was based on.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 10:43:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... evolution has been transferred, or whether biological and social evolution are simply proceeding on parallel tracks, and its just the dramatically different pace of social evolution that creates the optical illusion of biological evolution coming to a standstill.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 12:02:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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