[ExI] ep thought experiment

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Wed Jul 8 16:47:53 UTC 2020

<spike at rainier66.com> wrote:

> Hi Keith, agree we don't want to switch off drive to breed, only the current
stone-age evolved Maurice set, which is our drive to seek out
characteristics no longer needed under current conditions.

Again I disagree.  Badly distorted people of any sex are not the best
candiatas for reproduction.  Neither are people covered with sores.

I have been in the presence of super models a few times.  I know I am
far out on the distribution curve, but while they were impressive to
look at, that was the limit of my interest.  The one exception was in
Playboy (not the Playmate) and a brilliant programmer.

I suspect that people have been finding intelligence attractive for a long time.

> The fact that we
are turned on by characteristics related to faster reproduction (now useless
(it is no longer a race to breed armies)) and ability to physically drive
off raiders (now useless (we have machines for that))

AI fighting robots may be coming, but they are not here yet.

> rather than primarily
by intelligence is now humanity's barrier to a better future.  What was once
a stepping stone is now a stumbling block.

Up until about 1800, the rich out reproduced the poor, at least in the
UK.  When reliable birth control came along it was adopted from the
top down and the selection for the traits (including intelligence)
were no longer happening.  By that time, the population of the UK was
descended from around 10% of the population in 1250.  The smarter,
literate, numerant, hard working part of the population with
considerable impulse control.  Gregory Clark thinks this was a major
factor in the industrial revolution.

I don't think there is a chance of improving the human race in the
direction of being more intelligent by breeding, the process is too
uncertain and too slow..  Directly editing the DNA will be available
in a generation or so.

> Our stone-age evolved psychological traits are preventing humans from
evolving into those bulbous-headed creatures who rebuilt Kirk in the
original Star Trek pilot.

Ah, we *have* evolved into bulbous-headed creatures.  Ever looked at
the cranial capacity of Australopithecines?  William Calvin thinks the
big brain evolved to support accurate throwing, something we can do
and chimps can't.  But I suspect that much of the evolutionary drive
was due to people finding smarter people attractive.

> The problem is that once we are collectively
aware of our Maurice reactions and where they came from and that we no
longer need those, we cannot turn them off.

Some traits like status seeking we probably don't want to turn off.
It is behind every Nobel Prize.  Others like capture bonding are not
commonly turned on in the full Patty Hearst mode.  War mode can be
kept from developing by keeping the income per capita stable or slowly

This last seems to me to be a lot more important to human welfare than
the trait of finding healthy people attractive.


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