”What if we are not odd, but Aspergers is the next step in evolution for humans?”
We are no less loving or empathetic than other humans. As someone once said, we perhaps feel too much.
So perhaps we evolutionary firsts!
Don’t get me wrong, some aspects of Aspergers sucks. But what if we are the next step in evolution?
Quite possible as generally we have a high IQ and can do things that others can't, but if it is, is in very early stages as life with the condition has lots of positives but lots of difficulties as well which in the evolution needs sorting out.
I wonder how long autism has actually been occurring in humans. There seem to be more cases diagnosed now, but that's because it's more frequently recognised. And according to Google, the word autism was first used in 1908, so it would have been called something else before then. There might have been autistic cavemen, for all we know.
It's a fun idea, as it means that NT's would be tomorrow's Neanderthals, but I don't think it's particularly plausible.
The current 'rise' in ASD has more to do with better awareness of the diagnostic criteria than anything else. There is also evidence that we share ASD with other apes and that it could always have been in the mix rather than being a new phenomenon.
For an evolutionary change to occur, the change must have conferred an advantage that allowed the individuals affected to breed more effectively than those not affected. People with ASD, or Asperger's in particular as your question says, don't outnumber those without but we do obviously exist so it seems that, while useful (otherwise we wouldn't exist at all by now), it's not an overall evolutionary advantage (otherwise we would surely outnumber NT's by now).
I read your post on apes with Autism and all I could find was an article about Teco. A bonobo who exhibited some of the behaviours associated with autism.
The only other article was about modifying monkeys and giving them autism. I don’t like that idea myself.
Here is a thought though. It has taken me, age 37, to ask for an assessment on ASD. But no health professional has suggested it. Should then we be screened at childhood I.e as a toddler and at school for it?
That way we can get the support we need. I am a aware of chronic underfunding in this area and possible misdiagnosis.
What I suppose I am trying to say is:
”By failing to diagnose ASD at a younger age and by failing to provide adequate and enhanced support. Mankind is wasting the talents of those with ASD. Therefore society is poorer for it.”
Maybe the next evolutionary step is developing a society that celebrates and can see the value of every individual. That we all have something to contribute and each of us are of equal value. I have skill sets in some areas...but not others...is not society a giant puzzle and we each individual pieces?
To poach the mindset of Rousseau...maybe things were okay until someone raised their hand and said "this is normal" - and YOU are "not normal" - we are a tribal community and that tribe is HUMAN?
Naturally you are right. We should celebrate and cherish difference. But...
To quote Animal Farm... "we are all equal, but some of us are more equal than others?"
Shall we suggest a captive breeding program! lol