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Book Review Article: A Darwinian Manifesto for Rationality, Intelligence, and Liberty

Julien Delhez

Published: 2018/09/01


Seymour W. Itzkoff’s Humanity’s Evolutionary Destiny is a wide-ranging essay in three parts dedicated, respectively, to the past, the present, and the future of human evolution. The author first presents the long evolutionary road that eventually led to the emergence of mankind. Then he discusses cultural evolution, the relevance of biological evolution for the present, and the recent ideologies that denied humanity’s intellectual variability, leading to catastrophic outcomes in the twentieth century. Finally, the author offers reflections on the possible paths that lie ahead. Itzkoff’s key concept, the one which underlies the idea of an “evolutionary destiny”, is orthoselection, that is, the idea that evolution progressively leads to more complex forms of life. Itzkoff conceives of mankind as being divided into two subspecies, which are not distinguished by race, ethnicity or nationality, but by their mind: Homo sapiens, represented by primitive and instinctive humans, and Homo sapiens sapiens, represented by the brainiest ones. Itzkoff claims that, at this point of human history, the “evolutionary destiny” of humans is to complete the transition which would lead to mankind consisting entirely of Homo sapiens sapiens, whereas Homo sapiens would be relegated to museums of human evolution. Overall, Humanity’s Evolutionary Destiny is a challenging and demanding book which encourages readers to ask themselves many new questions about human evolution.

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