[ExI] evolution and crazy thinking

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Wed Jul 18 21:14:57 UTC 2018

Bill Wallace wrote:

> My problem with these algorithms - they are patches.  Maybe they were the
>  best that dna could come up with at the time, and as John says, they
> work sometimes, mainly to maintain the status quo.  That's where my
> contrarian mind balks.

At least some of these numerous cognitive biases might be more than
evolutionary patches, Bill. It is within the realm of possibility that at
least a few of these numerous cognitive biases might be vital to the
independent agency of living organisms. That is to say, at least a few
might be more of a structural cognitive necessity for YOU to exist as you
know yourself that is to say as a separate distinct entity rather than
simply being a "part of the earth" which of course you actually are.

For example, I found it interesting that dogs fell prey to the sunk cost
fallacy. That suggests some of these biases run pretty deep.

Maybe some cognitive biases are necessary to maintain the abstraction of
self where you are distinct from the tiger trying to eat you as opposed to
simply being a more-or-less fungible part of your environment such as you
actually are. Perhaps true objectivity cannot be distinguished from
disassociative disorder.

> The algorithms/patches are not, by far, nuanced thinking.  Thus I think
> that they are unworthy of advanced minds who will lead the culture,
> whether it be scientific or something else ( I see no evidence that
> advanced minds are leading popular culture).  They do distort reality and
> need improvement, or in many cases, disposal.

I do appreciate you referring me to the wiki article, the codex is very
informative and makes a great reference. Thanks.

> But I do recognize that perhaps it could be argued that they were needed
> in some form.  Tribal level, I think.
> Evolution did a great job but it has a long way to go.  I hope it gets
> the chance.  'Survival of the fittest' does not seem to describe the
> current state of world affairs in the evolutionary sense. ?Are we, in fact,
> not losing the unfit?

Evolution has no goal beyond seeing another day whether through your eyes
or those of your offspring. Fitness is a moving target dependent on a
changing environment and thus evolution has no particular predilection
toward "advancement" as you would think of it. If the environment in
question were the intestines of another living organism, then a tapeworm
could be considered "advanced" by the standards of "fitness" imposed by
that environment.

That being said, our current environment is far more cultural and social
than physical. We daily navigate an environment of abstractions to nearly
the same degree that we do an environment of physical objects.

Fitness is therefore more likely measured against abstract criteria such
as societal laws, relationships and social status, as well as intangibles
such as love rather than say speed, strength, disease resistance or some
other physical criteria.

>> ?I guess that to refine my question might help:  Just how do the biases
>>  help?   It is very easy to see how such things as lying (not a
>> cognitive bias) can be very beneficial.  It is much harder, impossible
>> to me in fact, to see how irrational thinking done by an individual can
>> help his or her survival.?

Perhaps, most, if not all, such biases are traits that persist not because
they are currently adaptive but because thus far, they have not been
selected against. That is to say they might not be maladaptive either, not
in the society that we have wrought for ourselves. Of course,
civilizations, such as ours, are not completely stable either, so then at
least some "caveman biases" might become useful again someday.

Stuart LaForge

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