“Human intelligence may do more harm than good on an evolutionary scale” -Stephen Hawking. Why does he feel that way?
If only I had known this in high school, I could have used it as an excuse not to study. Stephen Hawking, delivering his famous lecture “Life in the Universe” in 1996, explained how we are entering into a new age of evolution and why intelligence may not be an evolutionary advantage to humans.
Hawking explains how biological evolution began very slowly through natural selection of random mutations. What he calls the “Darwinian phase” of evolution took approximately 3.5 billion years of slow and steady progress.
Next (now) we have entered into a phase of what Hawking calls “external transmission,” meaning we are not directed by the DNA inside of us but rather by the information outside of us. Language and particularly the recording of the written word beginning some 10,000 years ago, has allowed human progress to grow by leaps and bounds. Maybe too quickly for our own good.
Where this intelligence is dangerous is that we still have the same primitive instincts and aggressive impulses as we did in caveman days, only now we are cavemen with nuclear weapons and the scientific advancements to create genetically engineered viruses. “There is no time,” he says, “to wait for Darwinian evolution to make us more intelligent and better natured.”