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Re: [ai-philosophy] Re: Autism research at the right level?

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  • Chris Malcolm
    ... I m not arguing for species-level selection, just that men of high social status, power, or talent, in general find it easier to get dates :-) If people
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 1, 2006
      On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Michael Olea wrote:

      > --- In ai-philosophy@yahoogroups.com, Chris Malcolm <cam@i...> wrote:
      >>
      >> On Mon, 30 Jan 2006, jrstern wrote:
      >>
      >>>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4661402.stm
      >>>
      >>> I don't know how to answer your question, but the article is pretty
      >>> scary. Hope it's wrong, that autism is more about something missing,
      >>> than something too much present, though that could still be genetically
      >>> and socially selected. Ich.
      >>
      >> Given that we're a social animal which is rather good at exploiting
      >> the ideas and talents of the few to the benefit of the many, I would
      >> have expected evolution to have thrown up a variety of specialised
      >> personalities whose inclinations would push them towards success in
      >> some narrow but useful field. And since out large brains and large
      >> social groups and cultural history are relatively recent arrivals in
      >> evolutionary terms, I would expect that these various specialised
      >> personalities, the brilliant wartime general, the charismatic
      >> revolutionary, the inventor, the librarian, etc., might still be
      >> somewhat of a bodge, with certain rough edges. And the genetic recipe
      >> which produces a few excellent wartime generals in case we need them
      >> might also produce some generals who were a few soldiers short of an
      >> army, the librarian recipe missing one ingredient might end up a
      >> collector of glass animals, and the not-quite-inventor might be an a
      >> disastrously overenthusiastic DIY lunatic.
      >>
      >> It might also be the case that a brilliant wartime general in a long
      >> outbreak of peace might become so frustrated and depressed that he'd
      >> take to the bottle and become an alcoholic. But his son might save the
      >> world.
      >>
      >> In short, I'm arguing that it's to the general advantage of humanity
      >> to throw up lots of specialised sports, and we can't expect them all
      >> to work properly. It could be that "genius is to madness near allied"
      >> means that you'll probably find several lunatics among the near
      >> relatives of a genius, the point being that genius is so useful that
      >> evolutionarily speaking it's worth the cost in strange relatives.
      >
      > Maybe I've misunderstood your point, but it sounds, especially in the last
      > paragraph, like you are arguing for species-level selection. Evolution doesn't
      > work that way. If there are brilliant general genes hanging around in the
      > gene pool it is because they have the right stuff to get themselves
      > reproduced. The general advantage to humanity is irrelevant, it is the
      > general advantage to the general that is the crucial issue - namely, can he
      > get a date?

      I'm not arguing for species-level selection, just that men of high
      social status, power, or talent, in general find it easier to get
      dates :-) If people who are especially valuable to the species are
      given high social status, then the net result is similar to
      species-level selection.

      --
      Chris Malcolm cam@... +44 (0)131 651 3445 Room 2107B
      IPAB, Informatics, James Clerk Maxwell Building, King's Buildings
      Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK. [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/%5d
    • Eray Ozkural
      ... I would argue that it is not merely similar, it is identical. Many higher-level selection mechanisms like that seem to be at work, not just at the level of
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 1, 2006
        On 2/1/06, Chris Malcolm <cam@...> wrote:
        > On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Michael Olea wrote:
        >
        > >
        > > Maybe I've misunderstood your point, but it sounds, especially in the last
        > > paragraph, like you are arguing for species-level selection. Evolution doesn't
        > > work that way. If there are brilliant general genes hanging around in the
        > > gene pool it is because they have the right stuff to get themselves
        > > reproduced. The general advantage to humanity is irrelevant, it is the
        > > general advantage to the general that is the crucial issue - namely, can he
        > > get a date?
        >
        > I'm not arguing for species-level selection, just that men of high
        > social status, power, or talent, in general find it easier to get
        > dates :-) If people who are especially valuable to the species are
        > given high social status, then the net result is similar to
        > species-level selection.

        I would argue that it is not merely similar, it is identical. Many higher-level
        selection mechanisms like that seem to be at work, not just at the
        level of subspecies characteristics and variation.

        Maybe because these mechanisms are so complicated people get to
        find names like "downward causation" because the entire mechanism
        is too complex to untangle (just like the case with the brain ATM)

        Best,

        --
        Eray Ozkural (exa), PhD candidate. Comp. Sci. Dept., Bilkent University, Ankara
        http://www.cs.bilkent.edu.tr/~erayo Malfunct: http://www.malfunct.com
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ai-philosophy
        Pardus: www.uludag.org.tr KDE Project: http://www.kde.org
      • Chris Malcolm
        ... I do agree with you that it s identical, and that we often have to do this kind of summarising of complex causation, but I get into fewer arguments if I
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 1, 2006
          On Wed, 1 Feb 2006, Eray Ozkural wrote:

          > On 2/1/06, Chris Malcolm <cam@...> wrote:
          >> On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Michael Olea wrote:
          >>
          >>>
          >>> Maybe I've misunderstood your point, but it sounds, especially in the last
          >>> paragraph, like you are arguing for species-level selection. Evolution doesn't
          >>> work that way. If there are brilliant general genes hanging around in the
          >>> gene pool it is because they have the right stuff to get themselves
          >>> reproduced. The general advantage to humanity is irrelevant, it is the
          >>> general advantage to the general that is the crucial issue - namely, can he
          >>> get a date?
          >>
          >> I'm not arguing for species-level selection, just that men of high
          >> social status, power, or talent, in general find it easier to get
          >> dates :-) If people who are especially valuable to the species are
          >> given high social status, then the net result is similar to
          >> species-level selection.
          >
          > I would argue that it is not merely similar, it is identical. Many higher-level
          > selection mechanisms like that seem to be at work, not just at the
          > level of subspecies characteristics and variation.
          >
          > Maybe because these mechanisms are so complicated people get to
          > find names like "downward causation" because the entire mechanism
          > is too complex to untangle (just like the case with the brain ATM)

          I do agree with you that it's identical, and that we often have to do
          this kind of summarising of complex causation, but I get into fewer
          arguments if I claim only that it looks the same :-)

          --
          Chris Malcolm cam@... +44 (0)131 651 3445 Room 2107B
          IPAB, Informatics, James Clerk Maxwell Building, King's Buildings
          Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK. [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/%5d
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