Autism and Evolution

00-00That I might have featured Asperger’s when I was young never crossed my mind until this year.  I’d been studying autism for 12 years.  Working for 12 years with the thesis that testosterone informed the rate of maturation, it never struck me that estrogen might manage the timing until last winter when I discovered I’d been causally considering it for a couple of weeks.  My creative process is an artistic process that often features a conscious mind just along for the ride.  There are similarities between those of us living lives deeply informed by the creative process and those that this society calls autistic.

Understanding autism is at the heart of my orchestral theory of evolution.  If this theory does explain how autism emerges and offers interventions that can improve the lives of those that feel inhibited by the condition, then there is the chance that several dozen conditions and diseases may be addressed by using the principles outlined in my work.  My premise is that autism is a condition that features male maturational delay and, in females, acceleration.  Social structure, neurological anomalies and endocrinological differences are all integral to autism and Asperger’s etiology.   By adjusting our theory of evolution to take into consideration how exactly maturation rates and timing are influenced by social structure and the environment, the causes of autism and the causes of a number of other conditions and diseases are possibly made clear.

Autism does not have just one cause.  Perhaps there are several different etiologies and autism will acquire several different names when the different causes are uncovered.  The particular evolutionary dynamic I write about describes exactly how one kind of autism emerges, under what circumstances and in which kinds of families.  I focus on three specific causes of autism that are directly connected to an underlying evolutionary matrix, a collection of processes that influence physical and mental health in a number of areas.  Though I concentrate on autism, this work represents a new theory of medical etiology, removing natural selection from its present station as all that doctors know.  In its place, I offer a number of tools that have the potential to make medical diagnosis an evolutionary intervention.  Consider that if we understand that how we treat our bodies and what we are exposed to compel the evolutionary trajectory of progeny, with repercussions for both ourselves and our children, then understanding health becomes the same as how we choose to evolve.

There are three main variables that impact autism.  The blog discusses contemporary changes in social structure, environmental influences and the blending of two parents with no recent common forebears.

Social structure is huge.  Contemporary theorists have been blind to the effects of an emerging matrifocal society.  They are so focused on what seems the default convention, patrifocal social structure.  The mind blindness described by Baron-Cohen that offers a window to understanding autism serves as a societal metaphor when it comes to understanding that patrifocal social structure is but one of two primary social structure paradigms.  Blind to the emergence of the power of women in contemporary society, we don’t notice the repercussions of that change.  The delay of maturation in males is one such repercussion.  I describe specifically how this happens.

There are at least eight variables that influence levels of testosterone and estrogen, often changing those levels differently, if not in opposite fashions, in men and women.  Changing uterine testosterone levels impacts maturation rates, delaying or accelerating the lifelong maturation rates of progeny.  Adjusting estrogen levels has the potential to impact the timing of maturation processes, resulting in dramatically different neurological structure. explores how changes in environmental variables influence autism, Asperger’s and other conditions.

Darwin noted that mated variants of the roc pigeon, bred separately in China and Europe over 2,000 years, created chicks that revealed features of their 2,000-year-old roc pigeon progenitor.  Modern breeders combine variants that are not closely related in order to create “hybrid vigor,” bringing forward some of the strength of ancestors.  If humans acquired facility with spoken language at about the same time we departed Africa, then mating ethnic persuasions that have had almost no contact over many thousands of years may produce children revealing features of their last common ancestor.  This may result in gifted progeny like Barack Obama.  It may also lead to children with difficulty speaking or who are unable to achieve split consciousness without the kind of guidance and stimuli that their ancestors received.

I am proposing that autism is a social condition that is impacted by the environment.  By understanding autism, not only can we grasp how humans evolved, but we can form a deeper understanding around what it is to be human.  If an understanding of consciousness is integral to understanding evolution, and if this orchestral theory of evolution satisfactorily defines the variables that have impact, then autism is a good place to begin as we seek a way to make this theory useful.

I expect that if this new theory I am presenting here is embraced by enough interested individuals, it will evolve to something different as the criteria that a theory be useful propels practitioners in new directions.  It is important that a theory be fun.  If it’s fun, then we have our unconscious invested and aboard.  With the unconscious as guide, the theory will change.  Consciousness is all about creation.

Proceed to author’s FREE book download on this subject (The book is called Evolution, Autism and Social Change). 10 minute introductory video here.

on 03/22/10 in Evolution, featured | 2 Comments | Read More

Comments (2)


  1. I have for a long time held with the analogous concept of cultural evolution, in that cultural memes exist and evolve in there own ecology.

    As Nadesan (who was not the first to say it BTW) put it in her book on the construction of Autism, autism could only have come into being as a diagnosis at the time it did because of a set of historical circumstances that inevitably led to it.

    I would put it otherwise in that changes in society produce there own interpretations of what is deviant and what is pathological.

    Classically I would use dyslexia as the example. There would appear to be some set of neurological substrates which lead in the right circumstances to difficulties in decoding and encoding language in the symbolic form we call writing. Now as we know (or ought to) that is not the be all and end all of dyslexia (except in the DSM where it is two seperate and disctinct disorders, ‘malheuresement quel erreur!’) however it is the modernist and industrial demand for an educated workforce that has produced the disparity and created the need for a ‘disorder’, much in the same way that the slave owning economy produced the description of ‘drapetomania’

    In a pre industrial society only scholars would worry if they could not read and write, and indeed to go off piste into another ‘disability’ only scholars (and watchmakers) would require spectacles if there eyesight fell below a certain acuity.

    Autism has been generated by cultural force, because according to the social model of disability what is called autism is merely the degree of misfit of something else to what society demands. It increases because societies demands change in such a way that the social and cultural environment becomes increasingly toxic to people with the inherent neurotype.

    The interesting thing is that this all circular, Evolution is itself a meme, that only came into being as a metanarrative when it’s time had come :)

    Betya Dawkins didn’t think of that when he came up with the term meme, you see he is not sufficiently outside of the system in order to describe it fully either.

  2. Clay says:

    “By understanding autism, not only can we grasp how humans evolved, but we can form a deeper understanding around what it is to be human. If an understanding of consciousness is integral to understanding evolution, and if this orchestral theory of evolution satisfactorily defines the variables that have impact, then autism is a good place to begin as we seek a way to make this theory useful.”

    I’d like to see large numbers of scientists, researchers, and advocates take up this study, but I fear that the present climate would make their findings “heretical”, as there are few enough who will speak publicly of evolution as factual. Sure, we know it, but try telling it to most of the American people! What I mean is, it would make acceptance difficult. Most people don’t want to tax their brains with such things.

    Re “hybrid vigor” - The laws against “miscegenation” in some states only recently ended, and attitudes in those states haven’t changed much, but I’m encouraged by the fact that in other states, mixed race marriages and reproduction have increased dramatically. I believe we’re in for a new stage of hybrid vigor, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Norman (Viking) conquest of England!

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