[ExI] a little essay on anger and respect

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Wed Apr 26 17:29:30 UTC 2023

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of Keith Henson via extropy-chat
Subject: Re: [ExI] a little essay on anger and respect

> > It's a consequence of evolution.  People have been selected for 
> > belief to trump reason because genes for doing so survived better.
> >

>...No link, have not found any place for the paper.   Will send you a copy.


I will tread some dangerous ground here, for when I suggested the following twenty years ago, I was soundly scolded by Eliezer, who insisted that evolution does not operate at the group level.  I believed then and believe now that it does to some extent, and I will present my reasoning.

Europe was populated by warring tribes for centuries, and there were nomadic privateers and small independent raiders and such.  But over time a reproductive advantage accrued to the guy who could organize a group, get them to stay put, farm some land, build a rocky barrier to defend the harvest from raiders and beasts, work together, eventually build castles and such.  They needed the men to fight as a unit, which led to the notion of large organized armies with a hierarchy, all fighting for god, king and country, where the boundaries between the three became a bit fuzzy.

When an army works together well as a unit, the casualties in that army are lower than an opposing disorganized rabble.  Specialization results in improved weaponry and unit cohesiveness.  Returning victorious soldiers who did risk themselves for a belief in god, kind and country, enjoyed social status and perhaps spawned more children, in whom he instilled belief, a kind of memetic evolution we now think of as a natural selection mechanism in evolutionary psychology.

That looks to me like a thought-experiment example of evolution working at a group level: it results in an organized society where people don't kill each other but does harm the reproductive capacity of the societal non-conforming, such as we do by imprisoning criminals.  Result: that society tends to evolve those who believe in following law.


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