Humans Aren’t the Pinnacle of Evolution and Consciousness—We’re Only a Rung on the Ladder

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In his latest video, host of National Geographic’s Brain Games and techno-poet, Jason Silva, explores the universe’s tendency to self-organize. Biology, he says, seems to have agency and directionality toward greater complexity, and humans are the peak.

“It’s like human beings seem to be the cutting edge," Silva says. "The evolutionary pinnacle of self-awareness becoming aware of its becoming.”

I know Silva isn’t saying evolution ends with humans in our current form. He thinks technology is driving evolution at an accelerating pace. And indeed, the video's opening quote from Kevin Kelly is far from human-centric, "The arc of complexity and open-ended creation in the last four billion years is nothing compared to what lies ahead."

But the line about humans being the “evolutionary pinnacle” reminded me of a trap we’ve fallen into time and again—the temptation to place ourselves at the center of all things. We once believed the cosmos revolved around the Earth. Now, we know the Earth is a vanishingly tiny fragment of metal and rock revolving around an average yellow star.

The solar system is neither unique nor centrally located in the galaxy. We’re on the outskirts of the Milky Way—one of hundreds of billions of galaxies.

If we now know our place in space isn’t at all special, the same may be said of our place in time and on the evolutionary ladder. Humans are perhaps the first rung to develop consciousness (on Earth), but by no means will the process end with us.

In a recent interview, Cambridge’s Martin Rees put human evolution in context as only a cosmologist can. Rees says most of us are probably aware that humans are the result of four billion years of evolution—but we tend to think we’re the apex of the process.

Most folks have little notion of what he calls the “far future.” Astronomers, on the other hand, know that the sun is middle-aged and that the Earth has at least as much life ahead of it as it has behind. The universe itself may have an infinite future. We’re perhaps only halfway (or less) “in the emergence of ever greater complexity.”

“Any creatures who will be alive to witness the death of the sun won’t be human—they could be as different from us as we are from protozoa. Indeed future evolution is going to take place not on the Darwinian time scale, of natural selection, but on the technology time scale, because we’re obtaining the capacity to modify the genome."

Add accelerating evolutionary processes to cosmological deep time, and a future when intelligence has evolved beyond humans, indeed, a future far surpassing even our wildest guesses becomes an inevitability—if our descendants can make it that far.

Image Credit: TestTube ("Shots of Awe")/YouTube

Jason Dorrier

Jason is managing editor of Singularity Hub. He cut his teeth doing research and writing about finance and economics before moving on to science, technology, and the future. He is curious about pretty much everything, and sad he'll only ever know a tiny fraction of it all.

Discussion — 84 Responses

  • Sedef Tınaztepe July 20, 2014 on 12:41 pm

    Viewing evolution as a ladder -with us as the current top rung- is quite anthropocentric in itself. This analogy is highly unidirectional and ignores the diversity of life. I recommend viewing evolution as a tree instead, with each current species at the tip of a branch. In the future (of an evolutionary timescale), the “human branch” could:
    – keep growing,
    – split off into multiple branches, or
    – die off.
    Our branch perhaps will look a little different than other branches -with organic and inorganic “add-ons” and abnormal growth-, but that does not mean that some other branch cannot develop similar (or “greater”) attributes in the future.

    • Theo Tsourdalakis Sedef Tınaztepe July 20, 2014 on 2:22 pm

      Darwinian/Macro evolution has to be viewed imaginatively because it is not observed objetively. It is presumed to be true and the evidence is tortured to make it confirm.

      Even atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel recognizes that Darwinism is not true. In his book “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False ” he said
      “.. for a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe,
      including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works.
      The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes. …
      It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection. We are expected to abandon this naive response not in favor of a fully worked out physical/chemical explanation but in favor of an alternative that is really a schema for explanation, supported by some examples”
      (pp. 5-6).

      • Just A. Thinker Theo Tsourdalakis July 29, 2014 on 12:45 pm

        Listen, bud, the only reason macro evolution isn’t observed in real time is because of the time scales involved. It is, however, observed objectively. This observation is made through the observation of fossils which are gradually more and more similar to the ones we know today.

        Yes, it seems extremely improbable that even the simplest life would arise randomly. But to put it this way, if you flip a coin 40 times, you have about 1 in a trillion change of getting all heads. But if every single person on earth spend the entire year doing nothing but flipping coins, a lot of people would get 40 heads in a row.

        The minerals which compose life randomly coming together into an extremely simple living organism is an extremely improbable event, however the metaphoric coins were flipped on a molecular level all across the surface of early earth for millions of years. Eventually, something as improbable as life forming was bound to happen.

        Furthermore, consider that this process wasn’t just happening on earth – it was and is happening on every planet with the correct chemical composition to bear life. So even if it only happens on one suitable planet in a billion planets, after a billion years of molecules coming together and breaking apart, the end result is that some planets end up with life independent of a creator.

        • Jim Gravelyn Just A. Thinker July 30, 2014 on 8:24 am

          “Yes, it seems extremely improbable that even the simplest life would arise randomly. But to put it this way, if you flip a coin 40 times, you have about 1 in a trillion change of getting all heads. But if every single person on earth spend the entire year doing nothing but flipping coins, a lot of people would get 40 heads in a row.”

          Before waxing indignant, think about your math. By specifying heads you added an extra condition, so one more 50% probability. If everybody on Planet Earth flipped a coin forty times, one thousand times each, you might get four or five people who get forty heads in a row. Not exactly “a lot of people” and, more importantly, look at the conditions you had to require. It’s an extraordinary requirement that every person on Earth flip a coin one thousand times, eh? You would have to be God to enforce that requirement…

          • Just A. Thinker Jim Gravelyn July 30, 2014 on 6:26 pm

            Let me be very clear: first, I wasn’t seriously suggesting that every person on earth flip a coin 40 times, recording the result, and repeating that process 1000 times as a whole. That was a metaphor.

            Now for the main point: a coin was “flipped” every time an amino acid reacted with another amino acid or group of amino acids. The result of getting “heads” forty times in a row was the creation of a self-replicating strand of amino acids.

            There are 6.022 x 10^23 carbon atoms in 12 grams of carbon. An amino acid is not a very complex molecule. In a kilogram of amino acids, you would have easily around 10^24 individual molecules. In the “primordial soup” of the early earth, there were billions of kilograms of amino acids. With light and energy from sources such as the sun, volcanoes, lightning strikes, meteorite impacts, and one pile of chemicals slurping and oozing into another pile, there would have been plenty of opportunities for a self-replicating strand to arise on its own. To simplify things further, strands which repaired themselves when damaged probably evolved into self-replicating strands.

          • Jim Gravelyn Jim Gravelyn July 30, 2014 on 6:42 pm

            “…there would have been plenty of opportunities for a self-replicating strand to arise on its own.”

            Except, gee, after countless attempts, we can’t even make that happen in a laboratory. The fruitless effort to reproduce that random origination of the building blocks of life has so discouraged actual Darwinists, they have completely dropped the notion from their conversation. Even Dawkins won’t touch your conjecture with a ten foot pole.

    • Stellae Raydan Sedef Tınaztepe July 21, 2014 on 7:31 am
      • Matthew Stellae Raydan July 21, 2014 on 11:55 am

        WOW I REALLY CAN’T EVEN READ THAT FORUM BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH ANGER AND ALL CAPS. but sure god is great. isn’t it great to be at peace and spread love and wisdom…

  • Theo Tsourdalakis July 20, 2014 on 2:20 pm

    The statement “universe’s tendency to self-organize” is patently false. The Darwinian/Macro evolution assertion that from a chaotic and simple beginning the prevailing complex world has come into existence by the application of natural forces alone is false. It violates the 2nd law of theromodynamics which is self evidently true in that we observe things decaying, dying, getting less ordered not more.
    The evolution battle is often MISrepresented as science against religion – this is baloney!
    The real battle is between good science and Darwinism. When molecules to man evolution is scrutinised using the scientific method, it crumbles.
    The scientific method demands observation, measurement and repeatability. Molecules to man evolution has none of these, all it has is circumstantial evidence which is open to interpretation. Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great .……great grandfather was a self replicating molecule?

    Dr John Sanford (Geneticist and inventor of the GeneGun) said :
    “The bottom line is that the primary axiom [of Darwinian/Macro evolution] is categorically false,
    you can’t create information with misspellings, not even if you use natural selection.”

    • Andy Harsin Theo Tsourdalakis July 21, 2014 on 5:27 pm

      But systems that are open to flows of information and energy DO self-organize, at the expense of greater disorder in their environments. See fetus, hurricane.

      • Theo Tsourdalakis Andy Harsin July 21, 2014 on 7:56 pm

        Your assertion is vague and lacking scientific integrity. What exactly are you trying to say?
        A fetus grows because the information to grow and subsystems have been pre-created. They don’t just come into existence by accident.
        The core Darwinian Evolutio.n assertion that things go from chaos and simplicity to order and complexity is fataly flawed by observation. This has NEVER been observed.

        Can Darwinian/Macro evolution explain how genders/sex “evolved” from simple asexual organisms?
        Consider some of the challenges, have a look at this video

        • Just A. Thinker Theo Tsourdalakis July 29, 2014 on 12:49 pm

          To be very clear, the second law of thermodynamics states that “the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems always evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium, a state with maximum entropy.”

          It is possible for one part of that isolated system to lose entropy while another part gains entropy. In our case, the entire universe is the “isolated system”. Thus, it is perfectly possible for one place (say, earth) to become more ordered, as long as another place (say, the vacuum of space) becomes disordered.

          A more close-to-home example is your refrigerator: your refrigerator decreases in entropy by cooling whatever is inside it, but the space around your fridge increases in entropy due to the heat that is let out of the fridge.

    • joemoe Theo Tsourdalakis July 22, 2014 on 3:09 pm
    • rarchimedes Theo Tsourdalakis July 27, 2014 on 9:33 pm

      Entropy is a universal phenomenon subject to local variations large and small. For every force hat selects successful organisms, there is a non-biological force that can destroy the selected organism, either slowly or almost instantly. Let life develop on an Earth or many Earths and one stellar explosion either near or fairly far away can wipe it out of the cosmos. There are many such forces at slightly smaller scales that have come close to wiping life off our planet. So far life here has survived, but the next comet or asteroid or wandering black hole or a million and one other things can end us and our Earth or any other earth, with or without the presence of life. The memory of the filling of the Black Sea is recorded in the flood myths recorded in the Old Testament and in many other ancient documents. The filling of the Mediterranean is too far back to be even in legend, but I suspect that it wiped many evolutionary branches off the face of the Earth. The records of many of these events are in the fossil and geological evidence that is all around us. That evidence is never complete because of the very forces that created it, but there is enough there for any person with a modicum of intelligence and a mind that can understand the randomness of such processes. Trying to fit all of nature into the mythical belief systems of religions will always come into conflict with reality. At that point, a person is left with a choice between belief and the best evidence that is available, which is all we ever have at any point in time. Small beliefs based on the evidence that we have experienced allow us to bridge the occurrences in life where there is no opportunity to gather or examine evidence or theory, but large beliefs based on mystical personages are either so general as to be meaningless or fail when they try to make specific predictions of the future. The power of science such as the theory of evolution is in its ability to reasonably predict the results of actions in nature. Quantum indeterminacy tells us that prediction will never be exact in detail, but always be true in a statistical fashion.

      Personal ethics are a far more reliable guide to dealing with the decisions of life than any supposed externality. Those ethics may derive from one or many or no existing belief systems, but are in the end, individual, no matter how much we protest that we live by some externally provided belief system.

      • Jim Gravelyn rarchimedes July 28, 2014 on 8:57 am

        “The power of science such as the theory of evolution is in its ability to reasonably predict the results of actions in nature.”

        I’ll bite. What measurable and provable result does Evolution predict? This is fun – you’re like Uri Geller and I’m The Amazing Randi.

        • Just A. Thinker Jim Gravelyn July 30, 2014 on 6:38 pm

          As an example, evolution predicts that, by adding small but gradually increasing amounts of anti-biotic to a culture of bacteria, the bacteria will gradually become more resistant to antibiotics. This prediction can be extended to state that, due to increased use of antibiotics as a society, we are inducing the development of antibiotic resistant “super bugs”, a result which we are already starting to observe.

          Another example is the evolutionary prediction that bugs will develop a resistance to the pesticides we use on our crops. This has already occurred a few times, forcing us to search for ever-more-deadly pesticides.

          These are just the first two examples which we’ve actively predicted and observed that come to mind; I’m sure there are more. It looks like, in this case, the Amazing James Randi has discovered that the claims made by evolution are valid!

          • Jim Gravelyn Just A. Thinker July 30, 2014 on 6:50 pm

            You are confusing adaption with evolution. The bacteria are still bacteria – even the same type of bacteria – they merely have an adaption to antibiotics. The bugs are still bugs – even the same kinds of bugs – but they have an adaption to pesticides. When we use the words “Darwinism” or “Evolution” we aren’t talking about adapting – every living organism does that – we’re talking about speciation through survival of the fittest. And THAT doesn’t happen, and even the theory of it happening doesn’t seem to make a scientific prediction that is useful.

          • Just A. Thinker Just A. Thinker July 31, 2014 on 8:31 am

            Evolution is the adaption of a species to better fit its environment over the course of multiple generations. If bugs adapt to pesticides, the adaptation occurs over multiple generations of bugs, not with individual bugs.

            Because the adaptation occurs over multiple generations, the adaptation must be caused by a change in the genetic code of those insects. When enough changes in the genetic code build up, “speciation” (as you put it) occurs.

  • Jim Gravelyn July 20, 2014 on 3:27 pm

    Sometimes we better foresee the future by looking at the past. The most accurate and dependable historical document we have records that humans are, in fact, unique, created by God in His image and given dominion over the rest of His creations… contrary to the conclusion of this article. Which viewpoint is correct? Until we actually observe an example of speciation by evolution, until we actually have contact with an intelligent alien species, until we actually manage to create silicon-based self-consciousness, it seems to me that facts as we know them are on the side of the Bible.

    • Matthew Jim Gravelyn July 21, 2014 on 11:08 am

      what are you talking about you trolls? do people into a church and say ‘hey it’s science time, everyone replace your bibles with textbooks?’ do I talk in all caps about how there are mountains of history, science and math books to understand the true empirical/experiential nature of reality (in a world created by your God, mind you–never said I didn’t believe in HIM as well. and it’s amazing that we now have tools to utilize to create a more prosperous and peaceful world). these books are different than fairytales. fairytales are different than religion. each has it’s place. do you read the bible instead of the newspaper for current events? this either or dichotomy is preposterous and people need to learn some basic respect and how to exchange ideas without making it a fascist argument about one culture’s book. i understand that many people in the world are Christian. do you care how many people in the wold are scientists? who slave over innovations so that you can exist in more luxury than anyone could ever have imagined? I can’t wait for the day when a robot can explain more eloquently than humans can possibly imagine how religion and science and math and art are all expressing the same thing. why do people who claim to be so self righteous always come off as so mean, fascist/argumentative, and narrow-minded to other ideas? how does this in any way spread the love of HIS word? it is psychotic. get your heads out of your asses and learn to speak with other human beings about reality. jesus Christ. (I am catholic by the way, and gay. wrap your mind around that. I acknowledge scientific fact and theory more than an ancient book filled with hateful misogyny, child abuse, and slavery).

      anyway. good luck spreading compassion, peace and the good word for people in need. that’s what it’s about, remember? not arguing and splitting hairs over who’s book is the most right…

      a different breed of Catholic. can we get back on topic now plz… wtf

      • Jim Gravelyn Matthew July 22, 2014 on 7:31 am

        Are you trying to make the case for human devolution?

        • Just A. Thinker Jim Gravelyn July 30, 2014 on 7:05 pm

          You have very little evidence that the bible is an accurate historical document. As an example of its inaccuracy, the only Roman census in Jesus’s area occurred in 12 AD (and it was just a local census, not one ordered by Rome). Herod (the king who supposedly ordered the massacre of the innocents) died in 4 BC, many years before the census.

          I apologize for Mathew’s comment – it was poorly worded, and more than a bit incoherent. As for an example of evolution we can observe, pesticides have become less effective over time due to the targeted insects evolving a resistance to the pesticide. This has lead us to search for ever-more-potent pesticides.

          I recognize that the example I gave did not demonstrate the evolution of an insect into anything other than an insect, however such a drastic change would only happen over millions of years. Those changes can be seen in the fossil record, however.

          As an example: Does a Neanderthal count as a person in God’s eyes? What about Homo Erectus? What about Homo Haibilis?

          • Just A. Thinker Just A. Thinker July 31, 2014 on 3:48 pm

            The evidence for a census should be much, MUCH stronger than a mention in a manuscript from Venice or the mention of such a census in the Gospel of Luke simply because IT WAS A CENSUS! A census is, by definition, documentation which the government (in this case, the Roman government) would have taken efforts to preserve. If there had actually been a census then, it would show up in the records kept at the time. A lack of corroborating evidence indicates that the event may not have actually happened.

            Second, no census would have required people to return to their place of birth. The Romans weren’t stupid, and such a requirement would have been a logistic nightmare and a halt in most economic activity for the duration of the census. As of such, they would not have ordered that requirement.

            Third, even if a census that required everyone to return to their place of birth did occur in 5 or 6 BC, the Gospel of Luke states that “This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.” (Luke 2:2) The big issue here is that Quirinius didn’t become governor until 6 AD, well after Jesus’s birth. But the gospel of Luke states that he was governor during Jesus’s birth. This leads to a contradiction.

            Fourth, I know that the best estimates for Jesus’s birth place it in 5 or 6 BC, and that there is no 0 BC or 0 AD (Because 0 hadn’t been invented yet).

    • joemoe Jim Gravelyn July 22, 2014 on 3:13 pm
  • Nolux July 20, 2014 on 5:20 pm

    Facts? Bible? You sir are a comedian. You really had me going there for a minute, lol.

    • Jim Gravelyn Nolux July 20, 2014 on 6:01 pm

      Where did you first learn that there was a great flood on Planet Earth? Where did you learn that the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt? About all the various empires and kingdoms of the Middle East? About the birth and death of Jesus Christ, inspiration and namesake for the world’s largest religion? It’s a great history book, it’s accuracy constantly being validated, still teaching world history to millions daily, thousands of years after it was written.

      • Matthew Jim Gravelyn July 21, 2014 on 11:34 am

        can someone moderate this hateful spam please. this isn’t the place for fascist fairytales.

        • Just A. Thinker Matthew July 31, 2014 on 8:33 am

          Its not a fascist fairy tale – rather, the bible seems to be a piece of historical fiction that also happens to contain a large amount of “fan fiction” about that historical fiction.

  • Nolux July 20, 2014 on 6:16 pm

    My apologies, I didnt realize you were religious.

  • Robert Karl Stonjek July 20, 2014 on 6:30 pm

    Human evolution is not toward greater intelligence as computers, especially portable devices, can perform most of the functions requiring memory, knowledge and general intelligence.

    Thus a person with an IQ of 180 has no selection advantage over a person with an IQ of 120. The general IQ will probably top out at 110~115, which is slightly higher than the current US IQ and higher than IQ currently achieved in some poorer countries although the people in those countries do not need physical evolution to achieve their current full potential.

    What is evolving more quickly is non-human species, especially those that live within the influence of humans. Those species that can adapt to human behaviour or those variations that appeal to humans will flourish far more readily than those that don’t.

    Thus those species that are friendly (Dodo peaked too soon, humans have changed since the time when people simply killed them and ate them because it was easy to do) or appeal to humans because of their appearance or behaviour are more likely to be saved from extinction simply because NGOs that are trying to save them can get donations from the public more readily for these species.

    In the richest country in the world, the majority of the public don’t even believe basic science such as Evolution and prefer the creation myths dreamed up by nomadic Arabs approximately two and a half millennia ago, indicating that intelligence is not an essential component of success in modern times.

    • Jim Gravelyn Robert Karl Stonjek July 20, 2014 on 10:35 pm

      “What is evolving more quickly is non-human species…”

      Can you provide even one single example? I mean, since you are gratuitously labeling other stuff mythical, it might be appropriate to have some kind of factual basis for your own faith-based belief system.

      • caviar4thought Jim Gravelyn July 21, 2014 on 9:53 am

        But “Can you provide even one single example” that *your* god exists? Does it have balls, or a vagina? Why one and not 9 or, even funnier, 3.14 personal gods of yours? The deadliest drug of all times, religion, is just a regional insanity/scam. Had you been born in Afghanistan you’d chop off christians heads now, cuz it’s all about WHERE you’ve been brainwashed ..

        • Jim Gravelyn caviar4thought July 21, 2014 on 10:05 am

          So no then?

          • Matthew Jim Gravelyn July 21, 2014 on 11:53 am

            nobody has to prove anything to you, troll. people are here to engender interesting intellectual reactions to scientific innovation. not to troll each other over contests on how loud we can prove ourselves. why are you even here. go to some bible forum.

          • Dynamic Jim Gravelyn July 21, 2014 on 11:57 am

            Dogs. They have evolved from wolves VERY quickly, and are now available in every shape and size. Using selective breeding, we created a new species, and will eventually create multiple other sub-species (or actual new species altogether) from dogs.

            Elephants are also thought to be evolving to have smaller tusks, as we inadvertently selected against large tusks. People hunting elephants for ivory generally go for the one with the largest tusks.

            Bacteria and viruses are evolving rapidly due to our use of anti-microbial substances and medications.

          • Jim Gravelyn Jim Gravelyn July 21, 2014 on 2:52 pm

            Why is it the first instinct of every liberal to censor opposing viewpoints and then call names? What are you afraid of, Matthew? The truth?

        • Jim Gravelyn caviar4thought July 21, 2014 on 2:50 pm

          Dogs and wolves are not separate species. They are both subspecies of the same species, Canis lupus, and can (and in fact frequently do) interbreed. Perhaps this answer will open your eyes to the way scientific dogma has misled you over the years. In fact, it’s quote common for Darwinists to confuse the public about the meaning of the word “species” to keep the public confused about the lack of evidence for speciation by evolution.

          • Sam Chapman Jim Gravelyn July 21, 2014 on 3:22 pm

            Can you tell me why men have nipples, Jim? It makes sense from the standpoint of evolution. But based on your beliefs, why did God give men nipples? If we’re made in his image, does He have them and does he have genitalia? Does He have an anus like we do and therefore have bowel movements? BTW, God must have nipples because all of the paintings of JC on the cross show Him with them.

            With Evolution, all the disparate information in biology comes into focus. All the oddness and peculiarity begins to make sense. With Christianity, it’s just more myth and nonsense.

          • Blair Schirmer Jim Gravelyn July 27, 2014 on 8:29 pm

            I’m not a liberal, but still think you’re an idiot.

            Does that help?

        • Jim Gravelyn caviar4thought July 21, 2014 on 3:41 pm

          “Can you tell me why men have nipples, Jim?”

          No. I can guess and my guesses from a design viewpoint (certain anatomical features are more easily encoded in the DNA universally, then switched on by hormones later in development, depending on gender of the individual) would be every bit as good as your guesses from a Darwinist viewpoint, but they would still be just that: guesses. No doubt you have some fascinating theory about how nipples gave cavemen an advantage when chasing mastodons across the tundra. I’m too polite to laugh… oh hell, no I’m not.

          At some point, probably due to the hysterically shrill outrage from Matthew and his ilk, the issue here became a choice between God and Evolution. My doubts about Darwin’s theory are purely scientific, albeit reinforced by a belief in the infallibility of the Bible which suggests that Man is created in God’s image and therefore special. A necessary adjunct of believing in Evolution is belieiving that it’s still happening, which suggests that man is merely a step in a ladder, not a creation in God’s image. I have a problem with that, obviously, but if there was evidence to support Evolution, as a rational man I would have to adjust. But there is none. And mountains of evidence against it. That’s a problem for the God-haters because Darwinism is their cornerstone.

          • rarchimedes Jim Gravelyn July 27, 2014 on 8:37 pm

            Consider the number of teeth in our mouths. Those “wisdom” teeth are becoming rarer and rarer as we speak.

          • Just A. Thinker Jim Gravelyn July 31, 2014 on 8:43 am

            The bible is not infallible. Below is a list of some of the things the bible states which are clearly immoral. Below that is a link to a list of biblical contradictions. The Bible cannot be both infallible and contain contradictions. The bible contains serious contradictions, thus it must not be infallible… have you even read the bible?

            1) Women should not be allowed to talk in church (1 Timothy 2:12)

            2) If a man rapes your daughter, “he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her.” (Deuteronomy 22:29)

            3) If you have a slave and you beat that slave, you get off Scott-Free as long as the slave doesn’t die within two days. (Exodus 21:20-21)

            For a much more extensive list of biblical contradictions, some of them extremely serious, go to

      • Just A. Thinker Jim Gravelyn July 30, 2014 on 7:08 pm

        The article meant that technology is evolving faster than humans are. Humans have changed little in the past decade, but computers have gotten so small and powerful that the general public carries mini-computers called cell-phones around 24/7!

    • Theo Tsourdalakis Robert Karl Stonjek July 21, 2014 on 2:15 pm

      On what basis do you make the dogmatic statement “Human evolution is not toward greater intelligence as computers”?
      It seems to me that evolutionists make up the “evidence” as they go, they just dream it up in their imagination.

      Malcom Muggeridge, Pascal Lectures, Ontario Canada, University of Waterloo said:
      “I, myself, am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially to the extent to which it’s been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the credulity that it has.”

      • rarchimedes Theo Tsourdalakis July 27, 2014 on 8:31 pm

        And yet it is everywhere in every life form of which we are aware. It operates on time scales from fractions of a second to mega-years. It is not intrinsically good or bad, positive or negative. It is merely heritable change in all of its forms.

    • Mark Adam Robert Karl Stonjek July 22, 2014 on 12:27 pm

      Human biological evolution has been surpassed by two higher forms, societal and intellectual patterns. Man has no need for sub-snails pace biological improvement; our technology has allowed us to ‘evolve’ adaptions to cold, hot, underwater, in the sky, in the vacuum of space, disease and erectile dysfunction, all while listening to the music of our choice!

      • Just A. Thinker Mark Adam July 30, 2014 on 7:08 pm

        I entirely agree.

  • Arjun Jagadeesh July 20, 2014 on 10:37 pm

    I try to give a different explanation here –
    I claim that reality alternates between good and bad and currently reality is moving towards more good than bad and hence there is evolution.

    • Theo Tsourdalakis Arjun Jagadeesh July 21, 2014 on 2:16 pm

      How do you define “good” and “bad”? On what basis do you make this distinction?

      • Mark Adam Theo Tsourdalakis August 1, 2014 on 7:17 am

        Whatever is of the higher quality or value.

        • Jim Gravelyn Mark Adam August 1, 2014 on 7:21 am

          Determined how?

          • Mark Adam Jim Gravelyn August 1, 2014 on 8:39 am

            As per the Metaphysics of Quality there are four levels of evolution, in order of occurrence and moral value from lowest to highest: Inorganic, biological, societal and intellectual patterns of quality(value). I can’t explain a whole metaphysics in a post. See Robert Pirsig’s books: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila.

          • Jim Gravelyn Jim Gravelyn August 1, 2014 on 8:50 am

            I’ve read both books and, if you remember, Pirsig admired the pragmatism of the Native American cultures which were willing to abandon their moral system for one that appeared to work better. This is not an argument for a relativistic society… at all. His example, if I remember correctly, was a Hopi or Navaho tribe that adopted the white man’s paradigm because it worked better than their own. That paradigm would, of course, include a moral code based on the Christian Bible, so a system with clearly defined “good” and “bad.”

          • Mark Adam Jim Gravelyn August 1, 2014 on 9:54 am

            Intellectual patterns are the highest quality patterns and therefore the most moral. Now Pirsig states that in the 60’s the intellectual patterns burst out and asserted primacy but unfortunately still remain, I believe in a state of chaos. These patterns have done wonders with science and technology but at the level of society(politics, culture, education) and individual behavior we remain stagnant or worse, regressive. What the MOQ tells us is not to throw out past or current cultural patterns such as the Bible wholesale, without thought, but examine these patterns and see what was important, what purpose was served by these beliefs and keep those ideas that served us well and discard what doesn’t. Now the key to ending the intellectual chaos is to teach every child how to think for themselves; leadership training so they can at least be leaders of their own lives. That would allow dynamic quality to bring out the best of humanity.

  • dobermanmacleod July 20, 2014 on 11:42 pm

    It is very important to realize that there is a campaign underway now in opposition to Transhumanism that claims homo sapiens ought to be very afraid of extinction due to science making better artificial minds, and improving on the human genome. This article just feeds those fears. You will understand more fully what I am saying in the coming years when it becomes a very serious political concern.

    • Matthew dobermanmacleod July 22, 2014 on 6:42 am

      hugo de garis (a famous ai scientist) has been talking about this for years. welcome to the age of the “cosmists” and the “terrans” … soon we will meet the “artilects” … that’s when all the jesus trolls will really go crazy. unless of course the catholic church makes one in the image of a white man. anyways… some people may think they live some pristine luddite lifestyle but you really don’t. you live 3x longer than you should because of medical advancements made in the renaissance and industrial revolution and digital revolution. you eat GMOs and processed foods, drink coffee, eat mangoes and avacadoes and other produce no one ever heard of in this part of the world before 30 years ago, we use electricity, everyone here is typing on a device i’m pretty sure. we practically speak telepathically with our cel phones now. we game on devices that are faster than the deep blue supercomputer from a few years ago. etc. etc. etc.

      point being–we’re already half way to becoming gods–cosmists. how far are you willing to go to be a terran? destroy all your machines, throw away all your food and start farming, grow and kill your own livestock? go back to making fire with two sticks rubbed together? start praying again to made up gods that you always dreamed of and were about to meet but turned away from? maybe you’ll be praying to an artilect made by google.

      like the government, or capitalism, this isn’t something to fear. it’s all there to protect you. human rights and economy is flourishing like never before–even for the poorest of the poor. things are coming into focus. people will become less afraid and more elated/comfortable/productive/sincerely happy/at peace–as time goes by. believe it. it’s already happening.

  • Nolux July 21, 2014 on 3:35 am

    There are some species of turtles that have remained almost unchanged for over 15 million years such as the painted turtle. Yet other species, like the lion, that have only existed as we know them for a million years. Humans (homo sapiens) on the other hand have only been around for a few hundred thousand years. I dont see any other species surpassing us, especially now that or technology is really taking off. This is assuming that we don’t create intelligent apes or a mean AI. Colonizing mars will certainly crate a new species of human.

  • Zoltán Sándor July 21, 2014 on 5:49 am

    Is the human race evolving or devolving?
    Your Brain Is On the Brink of Chaos – Neurological evidence for chaos in the nervous system is growing.
    “New developments in genetics, anthropology, and neurobiology predict that a very large number of genes underlie our intellectual and emotional abilities, making these abilities genetically surprisingly fragile.” Source: 42. Gerald R. Crabtree: Our fragile intellect. Part I
    Trends in Genetics Volume 29, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 1–3
    Our physical health also genetically fragile. Chaos is growing = entropy is growing. We stopped natural selection (said David Attenborough) = we started our devolution = the entropy (the disharmony) is growing in the human genome. And this will accelerate as in a nuclear bomb the chain reaction, because the devolution is a self-accelerating process. And nobody will be able to stop it, because the correction (all) of the genetic mistakes yet only a distant aim. And we nourish the entropy in our own body (in every cells) by high sodium (NaCl and other Na-compounds) intakes. This is fatal error. Read more:
    & here:

    • Mark Adam Zoltán Sándor July 21, 2014 on 6:08 am

      From the book Lila by Robert M. Pirsig:

      Imagine two red blood cells sitting side by side saying “will there ever be a higher form of evolution than us?”

      “A metaphysics of substance makes us think that all evolution stops with the highest evolved substance, the physical body of man. … But it’s as foolish to think of a city or a society as created by human bodies as it is to think of human bodies as a creation of the cells… If you follow that fallacy long enough you come out with the conclusion individual electrons contain the intelligence needed to build New York City all by themselves. Absurd.”

      “If it’s possible to imagine two red blood cells sitting side by side asking, “Will there ever be a higher form of evolution than us?” and looking around and seeing nothing, deciding there isn’t, then you can imagine the ridiculousness of two people walking down the street of Manhattan asking if there will ever be any form of evolution higher than “man,” meaning biological man.?”

    • Matthew Zoltán Sándor July 21, 2014 on 11:16 am

      we can correct the errors in our genome with near future therapies that are already being developed. correct me if i’m wrong but you’re a member of the human race in the year 2014. you use electricity? drink coffee? have access to modern medicine? typing on a device full of plastic and blood minerals? drive a gas powered automobile? yea it sux that we’re so toxic but that doesn’t mean we have to abandon all the science and innovation that got us here. in fact now that there’s 7 billion of us it’s the only way. humans have always been about taking destiny into our own hands and redefining what’s possible. but good luck salvaging our pristine eugenics when you abandon all this and go move into a cave to procreate your superior race. we will be fine with our gene editing pathogens and telepathic headbands when we fly into space and explore this great universe god or whatever created while you languish in suffering as the cavemen who always dreamed/suffered/and died for a better world.

      • Zoltán Sándor Matthew July 21, 2014 on 1:42 pm

        You are very optimist, but the reality is darker. There are many problems to be solved.
        Children’s cardiovascular fitness declining worldwide

        The decline of the world’s IQ

        The world is losing the battle against diabetes

        Really the law of entropy is our fiercest enemy, and the salted road drives the humanity into anarchy, chaos and death – but nobody talk about this. Who can healing 8-10 billion genetically degenerated idiots?
        The race is on. We will be champions, or the entropy destroys us? I don’t know the answer, but we have little chance to win, if we nourish the entropy longer in our own body. Wake up! If nobody knows the enemy (because it is kept secret) nobody can fight against it.

        • Matthew Zoltán Sándor July 22, 2014 on 6:55 am

          pretty sure everyone knows about diabetes, bro.

          “we have little chance to win if we nourish the entropy longer in our own body” win what? sounds like you’re nourishing entropy with that negative attitude. to me, saying that humanity is ‘on a salted road that drives us into anarchy, chaos, and death’ is a very typical comment that everyone talks about, actually.

          human IQ is actually increasing:

          there is a new vaccine for diabetes:

          I get that there are many problems to solve. it’s not going to be easy, but it is happening right now, nonetheless. as sure as we are typing on devices that have transistors 45 microns apart on the atomic scale. we live in pretty miraculous times. and I mean that in the most secular way possible. and spiritual too (I feel these things are converging).

          • Jim Gravelyn Matthew July 22, 2014 on 7:38 am

            It’s always good to read your own links before you post them, to make sure they make your point instead of refuting it. According to your link on the Flynn effect, the increase in IQs stopped at some point during the last few decades. It would appear from the studies cited that IQs are now decreasing:


          • Zoltán Sándor Matthew July 22, 2014 on 2:14 pm

            Thanks, Jim!
            Dear Matthew, The entropy is our number one public enemy on every level (physical and mental health, and social level) globally. Our entire life is a continuous war against entropy. And we nourish the entropy in our every cells, but the health scientists do not talk about this. This is a fatal error.
            About entropy:

      • Mark Adam Matthew July 22, 2014 on 4:56 am

        I wanted to post the quote as a post by itself not as a reply but it was too late and not removable when I saw hat happened. I’m not really for or against, just stating what is most likely to happen. The point being that what evolves will be so different that it will not be recognizable as human at all. And from the predictions of an AI singularity in the next 50 years it certainly seems probable that human’s could be rendered obsolete.

      • Matthew Matthew July 23, 2014 on 6:45 am

        ok I get entropy. it’s more a physics term about the heat in the universe and the direction of time than our diets… but I agree. our diets are atrocious. and jim… yes I know they talk about how IQ plateaus in industrialized nations, but that doesn’t mean we now have more opportunity than ever. aaand what about the diabetes vaccine? nobody wants to argue about that one? please let’s argue about every single point with banal platitudes about how I should be afraid.

  • Nolux July 21, 2014 on 7:59 am

    The very fact that two red blood cells can not have that conversation is the reason to consider that there is a tipping point in neurological development were some form of existential thought can occur. Being able to consider big ideas such as evolution, space time, gravity, genetics would suggest that based on our limited observation abilities we have entered a mind state that this planet, solar system or more has ever been exposed to before. I think the next 50 years will be a pretty significant make it or break it period. Should be exciting!

    • CAgamefowl Nolux July 22, 2014 on 11:59 am

      I see us humans as the blood cells in a greater being. Humans are becoming more and more collective in our intelligence. I suspect that eventually our collective wisdom will be our next step in evolution. Some people have called it the “global brain”; similar to ant, bee and termite colonies, which seem to have communal intelligence/consciousness. Consider our brain, which is nothing but a collection of cells working in harmony. At some point the cells plateau in their performance and only by working together can they reach the next level of intelligence.

      Genetic engineering can only take our brains/body so far. Much like the CPU, we can make it faster, smaller, and more efficient; but we are starting to realize that multiple CPUs can perform more complex tasks than a single CPU.

      I see “God” as being the pinnacle of this collective intelligence. I believe that the ancient religions got the first start on this idea, but as we became more collectivity intelligent we are finding out that those ideas are primitive by today’s standards. I recognize religious texts as great history references, but definitely not scientific ones.

  • Joshua Kenny-Greenwood July 21, 2014 on 3:09 pm

    Love is the pinnacle of adaptation. Those who pursue it and listen to the creator and obey his commands will be granted limited authority over the very atoms and fundamental laws that govern our universe.

  • Nolux July 21, 2014 on 3:28 pm

    Is it safe to assume the god some of you are refering to is Zeus? No? Maybe Alah? Please clarify your chosen religion. There are so many wonderful gods to choose from.

  • Nolux July 21, 2014 on 7:00 pm

    That is true. If you don’t obey you will burn in hell fire forever and ever amen.

  • ttaerum July 22, 2014 on 6:05 am

    The fact that we ‘can’ look back at the universe while being a part of that universe, and
    contemplate the question of whether we’re at the pinnacle of an evolutionary ladder is an almost religious experience. It brings to mind the proclamation “ye shall be as gods”. And our evolution has to encompass more than just the biological but also the technological. In fact, it’s apparent that so many “disadvantages” (e.g. not having fur) has proven to be advantageous since it has forced us to use tools for warmth and shelter. Not having the strength of an oxen, the speed of a leopard, the eyesight of an eagle, has forced the tribe to invent. So biologically we are likely in “regression” but as a species, we have subdued the earth – until some virus or comet comes along.

  • Nolux July 22, 2014 on 3:29 pm

    Entropy eh? I don’t mind entropy so much. I think our biggest problem is enthalpy! No wait. Its gravity! Or gama radiation? I’m sure they’re all very necessary but hey let’s try to stop them.

    • Zoltán Sándor Nolux July 23, 2014 on 5:24 am

      The salted humanity squanders the energy of at least 100 million tons of food annually, (because we nourish the entropy) while millions are starving on Earth. And this is excess cost of our war against entropy. Is this Lol?

  • Nolux July 23, 2014 on 5:44 am

    I dont intend to be offensive but wasting food, fuel, energy doesn’t equate to entropy. There are fewer starving people per capita than there have ever been. actually there are supposedly more obese people than starving people as of 2008. The waste man is creating needs to be addressed and i believe it is, slowly, with anti consumerism becoming prevalent in popular culture. I expect or bad behavior will be corrected before we spread to other planets. I have faith in humanity – I guess that’s my religion, people as a community. The news caters to our fears because that sells news papers and allows idiotic legislation to pass.
    That’s how i feel anyways. The most optimistic time in history, we may actually survive – who knew.

    • Zoltán Sándor Nolux July 23, 2014 on 4:24 pm

      You must understand following important “things” and consequences:
      1. “Anything that can go wrong not only will go wrong, it must go wrong.”
      2. “The profound nature of the Second Law manifests itself in every aspect of human existence.”
      3. “Every biochemical function requires a decrease in entropy, which can only be achieved by the infusion of energy into a life-sustaining system.”
      4. The spontaneous diffusion of sodium ions into the cells and the diffusion of potassium ions out of the cells, continuously enhances the entropy (the disorder).
      5. The task of the continuously working sodium-potassium pump to keep constant the intracellular concentration of Na and K ions. These cellular pumps continuously use energy of ATP molecules.
      6. Excess sodium intake = excess diffusion = excess increase of entropy = excess work for pumps = excess energy expenditure against excess entropy = excess food consumption.
      7. All the rest of our vital processes (functional processes of the cells) receive less energy – because our capacity (to make energy) is limited.
      8. Everything work worse in our body, that increases the incidence of all illnesses, our aging and devolution accelerate, etc.
      That is why salt is perfect food of entropy, and as I wrote on science20, this all is the Sodium-Induced Disorder Syndrome.

  • Grim July 24, 2014 on 3:08 pm

    Interesting talk, tho voided by Capitalism which will kill our species.

  • Richard Steven Hack July 24, 2014 on 6:25 pm

    A very low rung… 🙂

  • rarchimedes July 27, 2014 on 2:14 pm

    Evolution is not dependably upward. This is bombast based on the idea that nothing will reset the evolutionary clock. Right now, we are just smart enough to destroy ourselves in more ways than we can progress. As a species, it is fairly certain that if we do not establish independent colonies further and further away from Earth and even this solar system, we will not survive. Solar death is a ridiculous measuring stick to measure our future by. One CME like the one that just missed Earth in 2012 would be enough to throw us back a long ways towards the stone age if not wipe us out entirely.

  • Blair Schirmer July 27, 2014 on 8:28 pm

    “…the temptation to place ourselves at the center of all things.”

    If Singularity Hub is going to continue to pump out articles accounting for the silliest notions human beings possess, I’ll go elsewhere.

    That’s like pausing to note that some people don’t believe evolution is a credible theory.

  • rarchimedes July 27, 2014 on 9:38 pm

    Well said Sedef.

  • Carlo Ghiringhelli September 1, 2014 on 12:15 pm

    Dear Dorrier, I am sorry to talk with italian language because I speak english a little.
    Il vecchio mondo sta crollando. Tutto, almeno finora, è caos. Il ‘nuovo’ opera oggi in maniera distruttiva perchè incontra un uomo che non è fatto per lui. Più precisamente è caotico e agisce da distruttore perchè l’uomo idoneo a vivere insieme al ‘nuovo’ non esiste ancora. Uomo non abdicare, macchina non usurpare!
    Dunque deve formarsi un nuovo tipo umano dotato di una libertà e di una interiorità nuove, di una capacità di assumere forme nuove e crearne.
    Dalla consapevolezza corporea dell’uomo -gli occhi e la mano sono degli esempi- occorre passare alla consapevolezza operativa dell’attività mentale -il pensiero ritorna sul pensiero-. Ora sappiamo che pensare -ben diverso dal ragionare- è facile poichè è una spontaneità biologica, mentre difficile è sapere come si fa. Il cibernetico S. Ceccato ha indicato la via per costruire la macchina che percepisce, rappresenta, osserva, pensa, parla etc applcando allo studio della mente il metodo descrittivo-sperimentale (galileiano). Thank you.

  • Vishram Naik June 5, 2016 on 2:12 am

    Yes I agree with the theme .Non-biological machine evolution will be a new form of evolution,it will be able to be ethical than us and the concept of survival of the fittest will be different for it .A new symbol from astrophysics plucked out from the top left corner of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft-which is the schematic representation of the hyperfine transition of hydrogen will be appropriate for it ,it will be valid in the entire cosmos as we now know it.
    AI can be a repository of knowledge,far exceeding the human brain as we now use it but it will marvel the creation of the brain and continue the quest in knowing the universe