[ExI] Asabiyyah

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Wed Oct 28 23:37:58 UTC 2015

On Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 5:00 AM,  Rafal Smigrodzki
<rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 26, 2015 at 6:19 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
>> What substrate does this phenomenon run on? I don't think we need to blame
>> genetics or intelligence, culture is more than enough. A strongly male
>> dominated, competitive situation, perhaps with highly mobile people, would
>> tend to produce a situation where tribal identity and parochialism become
>> strong. And of course, once you are parochial you will develop memes that
>> maintain your group and explain why this is the right way of life.

It pains me to disagree with Anders, but then I don't entirely agree
with Rafal either.

> ### In-group cooperation and out-group hostility are too important to be
> completely left to the fickle vagaries of culture. There is a limited
> number of settings for behaviors that are compatible with group survival
> under EEA.

Change group to gene please.

We can see two behaviors in chimps (xenophobia always on for the
males) and bonobos, (xenophobia off).  What ultimately limits bonobo
populations is uncertain, but it does not seem to be groups killing
other groups off.  For humans xenophobia on or off is situational.  It
goes on instantly when attacked and somewhat slower when memes to
dehumanize the others build up in situations of bad times a-coming.

> When do you and your buddies attack the others?

When it is (on the average) better for your genes to do so.  That's
not hard to model and I have done it in the past here (Sep 30, 2012).

> Do you do that
> openly or do you get him when nobody's looking? Local culture will modify
> these proclivities but there is a genetic bedrock of fear, love and hatred
> on which all is built.
> Naturally, as any multigenic trait, there will be inter-individual
> variability. Not all Yanomamo have what it takes to be unokai
> (human-killer). Multigenic and variable traits undergo rapid changes under
> evolutionary pressures, driven by changes in allele frequency. Evolutionary
> pressures on the precursors of modern European populations have differed
> from EEA very significantly, especially over the past 1000 years.

Gregory Clark discusses this extensively in his work.  He makes the
case that the evolutionary selection pressures on the UK population
for the traits that make a person well off economically were as
extreme as the selection that generated tame foxes.  (The children of
the well off survived the frequent famines that killed the children of
the poor.)

> I would be extremely surprised if these pressures did not produce genetic
> changes in social proclivities. Culture and genetics are entwined in
> reciprocal feedback, over longer periods of time one hardly changes without
> the other.

The work on foxes showed that 8 generation of heavy selection were
enough to make profound changes in social proclivities.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list