Which of your priors need updating now?

The oldest stone tools on record may spell the end for the theory that complex toolmaking began with the genus Homo, to which humans belong. The 3.3-million-year-old artefacts, revealed at a conference in California last week, predate the first members of Homo, and suggest that more-ancient hominin ancestors had the intelligence and dexterity to craft sophisticated tools.

“This is a landmark discovery pertaining to one of the key evolutionary milestones,” says Zeresenay Alemseged, a palaeoanthropologist at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco…

The article is here, and the pointer, not surprisingly, is from Robin Hanson.  I say this should make us more pessimistic about dysgenics, and more pessimistic about the likely prospects for civilization in the future.  Ideally we would like to think that once brains reached a critical threshold, all sorts of good things started happening.  That scenario now seems yet further away from the truth, and the notion of civilizational dead ends, if only for long stretches of time, now seems more likely.  Your views?


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