[ExI] The Avalanche Threat

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Fri Sep 14 10:20:03 UTC 2007

At 12:50 AM 9/14/2007, Stathis wrote:
>On 14/09/2007, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> > Stathis writes


> > > Why "for good reason"? It seems like a bad reason to me.
> >
> > Other human beings (or agencies, e.g. gods) who form evil intents
> > toward an evolutionarily derived entity constitute malign entities
> > from the point of view of their targets. A neighbor who shoots one
> > with a BB gun a few times a week poses a grave threat:  today a
> > BB gun, but who knows what tomorrow?  It *rightfully* worries
> > one that such a dangerous lunatic is within striking distance.
> >
> > The same goes for other dangerous opponents.  One capable of
> > committing an act of "terrorism" that deliberately kills thousands
> > of people may ingeniously perform any any presently unknown act
> > in the future. Avalanches, on the other hand, are threats the limit of
> > whose behavior is easily understood and even avoided.
>OK, but that just means you think avalanches are less dangerous than
>terrorists. The problem is that even when it can be shown that a
>non-malicious threat is more dangerous than a malicious threat, people
>are more likely to respond to the malicious threat with concern and
>allocation of resources. I can see how this way of thinking might have
>evolved, but it doesn't make it rational.

Evolved threat response psychological mechanisms are "rational" in 
terms of gene replication *in the environment in which they evolved*.

Among the remaining hunter-gatherer groups, as high as 60% of the 
adults die from inter group violence.  (See Azar Gat on this 
.)  Considering that we all lived like that for most of our 
evolutionary history, it is no wonder that we respond the way we do 
even if it isn't rational by modern accounting methods.

Keith Henson 

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