Neil deGrasse Tyson: The 1% Difference [Video]

Neil deGrasse Tyson on human intelligence.



3 Responses to Neil deGrasse Tyson: The 1% Difference [Video]

  1. Okay, I think Tyson's great… but. I think he's way off base here. He's presuming that each 1% of DNA is equivalent.

    What separates us from chimps is what is /in/ that 1% of DNA. It's not just an incremental difference, it's a sea change; a cliff. That 1% — language, most likely — has enabled every other advance we've created. Chimpanzees would be a lot more advanced if only they had some sort of language ability — some way to preserve knowledge and pass it along. With just that one small change, the 1% difference between us them would look a lot smaller.

    Now, of course, it's possible that there is some other sea change, some other developmental inflection point that would separate a more advanced life form from us. Telepathy, perhaps, or something else unthought of. But I don't share Tyson's pessimism about our ability to discover the truths of our universe. It just takes time.

    • I'm not convinced either way. While you're probably right about the content of the DNA difference being more important than the actual quantitative difference, I don't think it's a concrete thing like "language" that is the difference. Personally, I believe that every species has a 'language', it just isn't something other species would understand.

      I think the x-factor, the 1% difference, is a bit ethereal and esoteric. It's the ability to see indirect causality in things. Not just ability to go from A-B but to go from A-B and then onto C. It's the ability to make multiple leaps of both logic and intuition as opposed to more direct and simple if-so ideas. Pavlov's Dog versus playing chess.