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History of intelligence (550 words)

Posted on March 6, 2012 by James Kohl.

Summary (excerpt): Our genome-wide scan also reveals novel candidates for contributing to population-specific traits. These include genes related to neuronal development and behavior that may have been influenced by cultural processes.

from page 154: “As populations migrated to new environments, adaptations in terms of behavior driven by climate, landscape, fauna, or flora might have resulted in adaptations at the level of the nervous system. These results may also be explained by cultural processes that could have played a role in shaping the human genome (Laland et al., 2010).”


To my knowledge and despite inferences like the one above,  there is no data that suggests any mechanism through which cultural processes might play a role in the biological processes that shapes the human genome. Instead, current scientific evidence argues against the complex “evolution of evolution” required to get from microbial cells to the written language that exemplifies some human cultures via stepwise natural selection for noise, ecosystem and storage technology. There are incalculable odds against a) the simultaneous evolution of two cells that signal and recognize sex differences and immune system differences and b) the simultaneous evolved interaction of 1532 genes required for the morphology of the mammalian placenta and c) the simultaneous appearance of new genes for human brain development. These “abc’s” from our evolved English language attest to the likelihood that something more than natural selection is required for the evolution of any word in any written language. Is “culture” something more than natural selection?

In “a brief history of intelligence”, Mensa Bulletin, November/December 2011, Dr. Frank Vertosick, Jr., correctly infers that written language results from the development of a single cell, but that cell must first be fertilized. If he did not side-step the evolution of sexual reproduction and consciousness, he might be obliged to clarify why stepwise natural selection now appears to be part of a vastly more complex plan; one that may be more evident to molecular biologists.

Are others willing to simply skip from asexual reproduction in microbial cells to the biologically based evolution of human language sans sexual reproduction; the mammalian placenta; and de novo genes required for the evolution of human intelligence,  consciousness, and our cultural processes? If not, a paradigm shift may be required to bring scientists and Creationists to a more current understanding of natural selection that helps clarify the history of human intelligence and the written word without simply dismissing “quasi-creationist paradigms” (see for review Collins, 2006).

References:a) Jin, M., Errede, B., Behar, M., Mather, W., Nayak, S., Hasty, J., et al. (2011). Yeast Dynamically Modify Their Environment to Achieve Better Mating Efficiency. Sci Signal, 4(186), ra54.

b) Lynch, V. J., Leclerc, R. D., May, G., & Wagner, G. P. (2011). Transposon-mediated rewiring of gene regulatory networks contributed to the evolution of pregnancy in mammals. Nat Genet, 43(11), 1154-1159.

c) Zhang, Y. E., Landback, P., Vibranovski, M. D., & Long, M. (2011). Accelerated Recruitment of New Brain Development Genes into the Human Genome. PLoS Biol, 9(10), e1001179.

Collins, F. S. (2006). The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. New York: Free Press.



James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl

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