Denver Bar Association
November 1999
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Hey Big Brain! Are You Evolved Yet?


Editor’s Note: Due to complaints about The Docket’s frequent coverage of the rich and famous, it has been determined that there is a need for equal time. Therefore, this column is dedicated to the poor and obscure, which includes government attorneys, solo and small firm practitioners, attorneys who are parents of small children, and everyone at Legal Aid. (Miss Management is the nom de plume of a Denver attorney who is or has been most of the above.)

‘Were we all just running around like a bunch of naked apes for two million years, walking on two feet, breaking open coconuts with rocks, and trying to figure out why our heads are so huge?’

One of Miss Management’s mid-life amusements is Liberal-Watching. Miss Management herself was once a liberal, proving the old adage that everyone with a heart is a Liberal in their youth, and everyone with a brain is a Conservative by the time they are 40 (or the day after they get mugged). She is currently enjoying the latest tempest-in-a-teapot, which in fact the Kansas Board of Education has voted to allow biology teachers to teach "creationism" as well as "evolutionism." Time magazine, first leader of the Politically-Correct-If-Often-Wrong school of thought, says:

". . . as patriotic Americans, we should cringe in embarrassment that, at the dawn of a new, technological millennium, a jurisdiction in our heartland has opted to suppress one of the greatest triumphs in human discovery."

Oh, come on. First of all, Darwin stole the theory of evolution from another, little-known English scientist, whom he professed to mentor (until his theft was completed). Second, what we think of as Darwinism is substantially different from both the fact and the theory of evolution, which is better limited to the discussion of biological variants within species rather than sweeping generalizations about why the dinosaurs died.

Third, and most important from our own egocentric point of view, is the fact that the development of the human race has never fit the expected theory: the fossil record is entirely otherwise, which is why anthropologists have been desperately searching for the missing link since the 19th Century. Time’s own explanation is ludicrous:

" . . . experts have identified several key transitions in our evolutionary chronicle. The first . . . between 6 million and 4 million years ago was the development of bi-pedalism—two-legged walking. The second, perhaps 2.5 million years B.P., was the invention of tool-making. Then, somewhere between 2 million and 1 million years ago, came the dramatic growth of the brain. Finally, just a few tens of thousands of years ago, our own species learned to use that powerful organ for abstract thought, which quickly led to art, music language and other skills, which have enthroned humans as the unchallenged rulers of their planet."

And there you have it: the capsule history of the human race.

Now, what’s wrong with this picture?

Okay: If we developed these "large brains" 2 million years ago, but only learned to use them 40,000 years ago, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTHER 1,960,000 years?

Were we all just running around like a bunch of naked apes for 2 million years, walking on two feet, breaking open coconuts with rocks, and trying to figure out why our heads are so huge?

Maybe we just considered them inconvenient. (Hey, Oog! Be careful! Don’t bump your brain on that tree!)

Maybe they were sexy. (Oh, I really like that guy, he has the biggest head I’ve ever seen!)

Maybe they were trendy. (I’m sending little Mooglik to that preschool with the kids with the big heads, and I don’t care how much it costs.)

Maybe we thought it was a curse (If you hadn’t drunk so much firewater, our children wouldn’t have such big brains!)

Did it really take us 1,960,000 years to discover that our previously useless and inconvenient large brains could be used to talk, write, draw, vote, dance, play the guitar and form into political parties? Why, 40,000 years ago, did we suddenly emerge from literally millions of years of primordial unthinkingness, to become the geniuses who are "ruling the planet" today?

(On second thought, taking another look at the condition of the planet that we geniuses are ruling, what makes Time think that we ever did emerge from our primordial unthinkingness?)

This whole topic obviously deserves a second look, and the best way to do that is to start over with a genuinely open discussion of all the evidence, including the very ancient texts of almost all the old religions that describe in detail how the human race was intelligently and intentionally created. On the other hand, you can just read the Idiot's Guide to Prehistory and leave it at that.



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