Comment by kris feenstra on June 12, 2012 at 8:25pm
I've considered this 'disturbing' thought many times before, but I don't really see it going in the same direction that DeGrasse considers here. It's possible that humans are only just sufficiently intelligent to utilize tools such as advanced language and the means to develop technology. Because of that, we ended up with a dramatic boost in capability over other animals simply by being to access these tools. An increase in intelligence may allow us to to make better use of these tools, but it wouldn't necessarily give the same extraordinary boost in capabilities that our previous intelligence boost offered. It wouldn't necessarily grant any new tools with which to create some sort of major advantage.
Comment by James Cox on June 12, 2012 at 9:31pm

Dear Folks:

I have known my share of extreamly bright people, a few I counted as friends. Many developed earily with the ability to do some rather amazing things, play chess blindfolded, see mathematical patterns in large data sets without the aide of a computer, build devices with hardly more than a rough draft of a plan, and take calculated risks that would scare the bejesus out of most of us. It is unclear if there was any difference between 'normals' and themselves, I expect that the genetic varience might be much smaller than 1%. Many times the expression of genius seemed to depend upon the social environment they found themselves in, but they most times matched their skills with the ability to improvise.

I expect that an alein species could show similar capacities. With a deep basic knowledge of the world, manipulating materials could come nearly second nature. Even if their knowledge is limited, or bound to a context, the willingness to 'never give up', can offer a near continuse cycling for refinement.

I have noticed, for myself,  that a focus upon tool building offers the greatest return, and can generate experience that allows refinement in knowledge and fabrication skills. 

I would like to suggest, as a modification to our education programs, that 'shop' experience should be added to our science programs. Building hardware can give real insights into nature as can the study of theory.     

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