[extropy-chat] Timeshifting

Robert J. Bradbury bradbury at aeiveos.com
Fri Feb 27 13:56:22 UTC 2004

On Fri, 27 Feb 2004, Harvey Newstrom wrote:

> I am assuming that you don't know any identical twins.  They are not 50-60%
> the same personality or identity.

You are correct in that I have never had any extensive experience
with identical twins.  I have however reviewed a fair amount of
the literature regarding such features as IQ and aging between
siblings, non-identical twins and identical twins where the
genetic component comes out at 50-60%.

> You must greatly underestimate what you know or what you have done if you
> think your sum-total knowledge can be recreated from credit card receipts,
> itineraries, and e-mails.  It simply isn't even 1% of your sum-total
> knowledge, memories, experiences, and psychology.

I would disagree.  My sum-total knowledge dictates what I do.
The question is can one backtrack from what I do to who I am?
If I lose a chess game I can backtrack through a number of moves
until I reach the point where I understand where I made a mistake.
How is this any different from backtracking the fact that I took
my brothers to Club Med in Cancun many years ago?  Why did I
do that?  There are only a limited number of answers.  A reasonable
data-mining exercise should reveal my motivations.

Why is Amara posting to the ExI list about the Rosetta not getting
off the ground?  (Nod of head to Amara because I would like it off
the ground as well)  It doesn't take a rocket scientist (nod of
head to spike) to figure that one out.

So I would suggest that there may be more information content
in the observation of humans than one might suspect.

> Genetic profiles DON'T determine motivations, feelings, etc.  You are simply
> wrong about this assumption.  Psychologists get all excited if they can
> detect a statistically significant connection of a percent or two between
> genetic factors.  People are still 98% unpredictable, much less internally
> deterministic.

Harvey, I have no problem with the fact that people are non-deterministic.
There is too much random activity in the cortext IMO for determinism
to be the primary case.  But I would disagree that genetic profiles
do not determine motivations, feelings, etc. -- they are most probably
not single gene cases.  I recently posted a reference to oxytocin
and vasopressin are the key determinants to feeling "in love".
More probably there may be 5 to 10 genes operating in a specific
disease, perspective, etc.  This explains why psychologists have
such a hard time detecting connections.  Without a very large
statistical population and knowledge of what genetic variants to
study it is very difficult to draw meaningful conclusions. There
will be variations between siblings.  Even within identical twins
there may be epigenetic factors contributing to differences.
On top of that there are experiences contributing to the differences.
But I would dispute the point that genetics is not laying a
strong foundation for "who I am?".

And that does not really go to the issue of whether sufficient
knowledge of how actions driven by mental knowledge/state
(say data-mining the behavior of 100 million humans with
complete genomic information and understanding) can not allow
one to derive Robert-B from Robert-A.

Another way of looking at this problem is "How do you know this
message is being posted by Robert-A and not by Robert-B?".


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