[extropy-chat] Rational thinking
lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Dec 5 14:34:30 UTC 2006
Keith had *specifically* asked for someone to suggest (as an
exercise) a EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGICAL analysis
accounting for the behavior of America's founders
> Who would like to take a crack at an EP analysis of why the founders acted
> as they did?
and, after a paragraph or two that really provided no new information,
I launched into other types of explanation, as if that had been
> Your posts were almost entirely adequate on this point. It's
> pretty obvious, really. These were men with stronger social skills
> and stronger social instincts than most, and nature, as many
> processes are wont to do, serves up a normal distribution
> of such skills and instincts.
> Based on survival evolution, their genes were the distal cause
> of their behavior; individuals and groups having such individuals
> fared better not only as you write, in the EEA (environment of
> evolutionary adaptedness), but also in the last 10,000 years.
> Your analysis, however, did not adequately mention the cultural
> evolution that had placed these men in those positions at those
> times. "The Rights of Englishmen" was not to them an idle phrase,
> and we can see its memetic power clearly.
> The proximate causes of their behavior included in many cases
> their own economic self-interest. George Washington, for example,
> had been incensed for years at the treatment of himself and his
> neighbors by the distant government of a King to whom they were
> still very loyal.
> Almost all of them exhibited strong mixtures of motivations---the
> feelings of group loyalty and patriotism to what they called and
> considered to be their own "dear native land". Not a few of these
> were written out in the Declaration of Independence, (which contains
> quite a list of grievances in addition to other observations keenly
> and sincerely felt).
> Genes provide just one level of explanatory power, a level that was
> sadly neglected for ideological reasons throughout the entire 20th
> century. But it's important to keep in mind that it's not the only level
> at which valid explanations are to be found.
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