The Technicity Thesis: how humans became technologists and the consequences of this
for primary school education: “Language is not our crowning cognitive ability”.
The evolutionary transition to the human occurred when phyletic information in primary
sensory cortex on line, colour, motion, pitch, etc. became available for prefrontal
appreciation and construction. This biological, neurological adaptation, technicity,
led, over generations, with education, to technology in its varied forms.
Neanderthals and humans have equivalent prefrontal cortices and speech anatomy. It’s
likely that we share a similar language capability, social organisation and life-style.
But they had neither art nor technology. The difference between the species was:
a small change in head shape, which led to evolutionary transition. The more globular
modern head made prefrontal closer to primary sensory cortex and neurons connected.
A late adaptation, technicity is linked to language at prefrontal level.
The ‘drawing explosion’ in the primary school years, following speech development,
reflects this connective process. Misinterpreted as ‘art’, children’s drawings show
all the linear elements that will later become geometry and engineering; and which
they use when they link to language as they learn to read, write and do arithmetic.
As a result of misconceptions of the nature of the primary school child, these basic
skills are taught very inefficiently, taking time that is needed for constructive
work. Number is the most confusingly taught and method can be radically improved.
The same is true of literacy. Change from paper to computer-based medium is the key.
The detailed arguments, supportive evidence and ensuing changes in perspective, particularly
for primary education, will be posted in the Technicity Thesis pages, as they are
written, in the form of an online book. Download the latest draft pdf here.
Technology is immanent in the evolved structure of brains. Slight increases in neural
connectivity put phyletic information into mind. Abstractions of line, angle, colour,
pitch and more are foundations of a creative technology. Not natural to us, technology
must be relearned at each generation. Animals make tools. The Modern Human alone
Language is a biological adaptation that enables us to express our intentions: things
that we have in mind that we want to put in other minds. It has deep evolutionary
roots in the growth of thought capacity. Physical speech anatomy co-evolved with
this power to express our intentions. Speech comes naturally to us. We share the
power of speech with our ancestors.
“Technicity enables the human to imagine the naturally impossible.”
Micheál Ó Dúill
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