[ExI] Physics versus psychology

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sun Oct 24 23:02:00 UTC 2010

On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 3:29 PM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 1:24 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The theory says that everything of this sort must have either been
>> selected or be a side effect of something that was under selection.
>> It is, for example, hard to make a case for the ability to be addicted
>> to drugs to have been selected.  But it's easy to understand drug
>> addiction as a side effect of critical motivational reward mechanisms.
> To make that case I'd want to invoke some kind of alien programming,
> much like the TV show Stargate SG1's Goa'uld.  But that's just
> fantasy.. :)
>> But take hypnosis.  I can't make a case for that either being selected
>> *or* being a side effect of something that was selected.
>> There is always the case that some feature could be the result of
>> random drift but it's not all that likely.
> I'd say it's just lucky [sic] that we happened to discover a
> particular exploit of human awareness and learning that hypnosis is
> possible under certain conditions (set/setting, prior experience,
> willingness, etc.)

You are at the wrong level.

Taken that hypnosis exists, then why do human have it at all?  Why was
it selected in the human past?  I.e., how did it contribute to
reproductive success?

Or is it a side effect of some other trait that did contribute to
reproductive success?

I have what I think is a solid model for the reason humans have both
religions and wars, under reasonable assumptions, wars in particular
contribute strongly to genetic survival in some circumstances.  With
some knowledge of hunter gatherer cultures, capture-bonding is easy to

But hypnosis has me baffled.  I can't come up with a reason the
psychological trait engaged in hypnosis has any survival or
reproductive advantage at all.


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