[ExI] EP in 10 Easy Steps
lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Oct 6 04:34:14 UTC 2007
> At 03:30 PM 10/5/2007, Jeff Davis wrote:
>> ...I've returned to the question "What in the human animal
>> makes this "brain/behavioral disease possible?" My jumping-
>> off-point is tribalism and the peer pressure/echo chamber of
>> the mob, but I want more substance. I would
>> like to hear from the EP folk
> I guess I am the resident EP guy, though if there are others, please speak up.
> You are right about "tribalism and the peer pressure/echo chamber of
> the mob" but you need to go back even further and think about the
> genes that built humans with such traits.
Yes, I like Jeff's comment as well. We may speculate that (especially
with the web today) when one has a hunch it's all too easy to find
supporting evidence (and, alas, emotionally gratifying substantiation).
Though, to be fair to the web, in free countries for a long time
it's been possible to find literature that supports your views if you look
hard enough, support that seems to offer good explanations that fit
with your hunch.
> So you need rephrase such questions into how the trait you are
> thinking about could have made a difference in the reproductive
> success of our ancestors...
> Jumping to the conclusion that a bush shaking was due to a bear
> wasn't a bad idea when there were bears in the bushes. That
> extended to hearing from someone else there was a bear in the
> cave or the next valley.
Yes! The rumors engage our rational facitities because they provide
what seem to be good explanations. So the very technique of
learning that is *so* useful in other situations, e.g., I myself don't
need to serve time in prison if I can learn what the situation is
from someone who has and profit thereby, or I don't need to touch
a hot stove if I hear my big brother yelp when he does, this useful
technique is naturally two-edged, and one simply can pick up a
lot of bad info if one is not discriminating and skeptical.
> Now if something like this is an evolved behavior trait in humans, it
> isn't hard to see how vivid and memorable stories (memes) of bears
> [class dangerous] could spread among people and how it would be hard
> to correct them, especially when part of the meme is "don't trust the
> authorities," and you don't have any personal way to see the bear has
> left the cave.
> Belief in these sorts of stories isn't likely to threaten your
> survival or reproductive success even today.
Yes, but sometimes it's really very *helpful* to believe these stories.
As I said, one really needs to develop better and better abilities of
discrimination and skepticism, to separate the wheat from the chaff.
All I can say is that I hope that over a lifetime one gets better at
making such discriminations, because I see no easy black and white
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