[ExI] Really? and EP

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Tue Apr 21 19:52:13 UTC 2009

On Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 9:59 AM, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> At 08:02 AM 4/21/2009 -0700, Keith wrote:
>> I would be most interested in examples of behaviors that don't have a
>> heritable basis.
> It depends how generalized or indirect (approaching vacuity) you want that
> basis to be. If you say "The heritable basis for elective celibacy,
> clitoridectomy, extending the lips with larger and larger inserted plates,
> filing the teeth to points, foot-binding, teen suicide epidemics, spending
> years of effort and tens of thousands of dollars gaining a PhD in
> deconstruction is [sexual display/team player display/support for same-gene
> procreators/whatever]" it starts to look pretty indistinguishable from "God
> wills it" or "stochasticity".

Every evolved physical trait is the result of selection, either
directly for the trait or as a side effect of something else that was
selected (or in rare cases, random fixation of relatively neutral

Behavioral traits that depend on memes add another layer on physical
traits with feedback between layers.  And culture can act on a faster
time scale than genes (though not always, consider lactose tollerance
genes).  But in the long term meme based behaviors will also be
subjected to selection.  With both genes and culture it is possible to
see a non viable variation (like Shakers) in the process of dying out.

Genetics seems likely to go obsolete in the singularity.  I would
worry more about smart people breeding themselves out of the gene pool
if I thought the singularity were more than one or two generations in
the future.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list