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comment by whpearson · 2019-10-21T18:09:02.937Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A theory I read in "Energy and Civilisation" by Vaclav Smil is that we could get a big brain by developing tools and techniques (like cooking) to reduce the need for a complicated guts by having a higher quality diet.

This is connected to the Principled Intelligence hypothesis, because things like hunting or maintaining a fire require cooperation and communication. Maintaining the knowledge through a tribe for those things also required consistent communication. If you don't all have the same word for 'hot' and use it in the same way, lots of people are going to get burned or go hungry. So you need a norm policing mechanism for the meaning of words in order for language to be at all useful for coordination and the transfer of culture needed for survival.

This is not norm policing against people trying to trick you, just norm policing against jibberish. It probably works against both to an extent.

All the tribes where a modicum of norm policing didn't go to fixation couldn't coordinate or communicate at all. And went back to the old process of eating roots and got out competed by those that did.