A NEW YORK TIMES science article from May 6, 2008, “Lots of Animals Learn, But Smarter Isn’t Better” by Carl Zimmer, raises some interesting questions about human intelligence and evolution. Humans are claimed to be the most intelligent animals on the planet, but studies have shown that some of the smallest of animals with the most primitive of neuron development can learn. So evolutionary scientists are interested in knowing why more species have not evolved with higher intelligence.
What the scientists are discovering is that under lab conditions where flies learn the difference between acceptable food tastes, the increased intelligence comes with shorter life spans. And in the wild, it is recognized that survival is often enhanced by the quick response of instinct rather than the slower reaction that comes from learning by experience and having to make conscious choices. So intelligence comes with certain hidden costs, and apparently in evolutionary terms those costs are so great as to limit intelligence.
“The benefits of learning must have been enormous for evolution to have overcome those costs, Dr. Kawecki argues.”
Or maybe not. Maybe many species are instinct oriented by nature, or by creation. Maybe human intelligence is a gift from the Creator to His chosen creatures. Maybe there is no evolutionary advantage to intelligence and maybe that is what the scientists are seeing, but not believing.