Don’t Sneer at Your Ancestors

A reddit thread on magic. I don’t actually believe that our ancestors were as smart as we are now. For one, we (many of us) have access to years of cheap education. For two, it’s easy to get books from the library on any subject or find references on the Internet. So we have the advantage being exposed to many more ideas. Plus, we don’t have to worry about lead (fun fact, Roman aqueducts used lead in their construction).

However, I firmly believe that we are made on the same template as our ancestors. There’s nothing magically more enlightened about our brains, it’s all education and culture change. Transporting your infant self back into some farming village, you’d end up about the same in terms of intelligence outcomes as any other child.

There’s an easy arrogance when we don’t understand how someone could believe a thing that we find trivially stupid. The only good antidote I’ve yet found is to fundamentally intuit that this personal lack of understanding shows a lack of contextual information which will lead to a more charitable explanation once received.


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