Top critical review
A confusing and ill-informed thesis
on 29 November 2015
This book pretends to be academic and informed - at least I get that impression by the prominent 'PhD' qualification advertised alongside the author. Its subject matter is basically the way we live and that of the series of Homo species before us. This subject is ecology, and it is immediately obvious that the author has no experience of humans living in remote societies without - until 50 years ago - electricity, money or wheeled vehicles. He would have found their lives to contradict his repeated claim of how weak our bodies have become. Nope, not in the far back of beyond they haven't. I've seen a team of men run down a fully-grown wild yak. And babies are not dumped on the ground in remote places in order for their mothers to work but kept in contact with the mother's body in a sling, When the baby reaches 3 -4 years it can carry a baby on its back, and ride a horse bareback, and tell good wild food from poisonous. And what about tribes in the Amazon or New Guinea - they survived without the 20th century until forcibly brought into contact with our world.
He says that human bodies have become more 'gracile'; slender, shorter, thin-boned since the stone ages. That depends. In the Sahara a slender people was replaced by a tall, stocky, race about 8000 years ago. In the Himalaya, there are Sherpas who tend to be small and short but also Kampas - people of the district of Kam in Tibet, who are noticeably tall.
He cites computers playing chess as their having great (artificial) intelligence. Nope - that's merely a greater amount of active memory and holding a lot more than 7 items in your 'head' at once. Human thinkers can not only remember a lot on demand but their brains below the surface keep stirring all the stuff they know and relating unconnected bits to each other in such a way that it pops up unconsciously as intuition, or poetry, or quantum physics. Computers can't do this. Stuff that computers do is actually very simple. From virtual reality to flying a plane, you can drill down to the bottom in a few steps. And that's the bottom - nowhere further to explore.