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A second chance at thinking about Social Darwinism

 
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually some have said that Social Darwinism is alive and well -- and reformulated as various forms of population control and environmental movements.

Even the responses to "Global Warming" many of which involve the middle class having its cars and land taken from it (all the while the elites get to build "Green Mansions".) can be traced to their Social Darwinist or Eugenicist origins according to The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet's Surprising Future.


Last edited by jabailo on Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:25 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superiority in nature is hard to define, given the range of environments and potential environments. Superiority in our manmade artificial environments might be easier to rate -- and hence easier to codify as good or bad -- but at the base can be arbitrary.

Lately I've been thinking about the NFL as an economy. For example, take the worker known as the Quarterback. What is his worth? What is a good, or "superior" quarterback. Can a certain person be great and be worth untoward sums across all teams? What does it mean to be superior within the context of a game with such restricted rules (the quarterback cannot challenge the opposing team to a game of chess as a play).


Last edited by jabailo on Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:36 am; edited 3 times in total
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Natural selection *does* have the notion of superiority


One can look at it as local and global minima and maxima.

So the guy who sings best at his college gets all the girls.

Until the guy on the radio who sings best comes to town and gets all the girls from the whole city including the college.

Until the meteor eviscerates the city, and the second best singer from the city across the river is now the first best singer and gets all the girls...the ones who weren't killed by the meteor.


[Love it or hate it -- I've redacted and changed some of my previous arguments to lessen, or perhaps enhance, level of vitriol in this discourse. As the Germans told the Beatles...Mach Show!]



Quote:
You seem eager to apply these notions to corporations, whereas I'm not in so much of a hurry.


This was one of proposed areas of study in my proposed Interdisciplinary at Princeton (the one they rejected). Applying the laws of evolution to business. Really it would be the study of a form of Intelligent Design where responses are clearly made based on awareness of environment, and change operates very quickly in response to competition, environment (tax laws, tariffs).
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
Actually some have said that Social Darwinism is alive and well -- and reformulated as various forms of population control and environmental movements.

Even the responses to "Global Warming" many of which involve the middle class having its cars and land taken from it (all the while the elites get to build "Green Mansions".) can be traced to their Social Darwinist or Eugenicist origins according to The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet's Surprising Future.



It's a bit of a novelty for me responding to this. In our previous dialogue, you changed all your answers to "Nil" without explanation. Since you've now edited your answers, they were misleading, making my responses seem out of context. It would seem to be that instead of correcting some misconception of yours about evolution, I was instead ignoring your speculation about green mansions and the evisceration of the middle class.

I don't feel vitriol about this (so far at least), but it doesn't seem like a good way to have a discussion. I recommend against this technique for you in the future.

In an attempt to make the whole thing a bit clearer, I've split your comments into a second topic. The disadvantage is that my original posts appear to be responding to nothing. Oh well. Maybe I can make sense of it separately.

Editorial commentary aside, your writing about how people respond to global warming as having a Eugenicist or Social Darwinist result seems extremely disingenuous and misleading.

It is natural that rich people would want to feel less bad about themselves, and the oversize impact they have on the environment. That they can find some way to do this is not surprising, and one could end up with the "green mansions" you mention. Such efforts, though, tend to be pretty transparent, so relatively ineffective at saving a rich person's reputation. On the other hand, the non-green mansion, I suppose, would be worse, relying on baby seal carcasses for the foundations of the endangered animal hunting wing.

Meanwhile, middle class people, as you suppose, might also be living a "greener" lifestyle. Not driving a car, or driving a hybrid, might not yield them fewer children, though. And the green mansion people might not have any greater number. So much for the Eugenic effect of seeming-green-though-rich.

Your posting would seem to be "driven" by what seems to me to be extreme envy. Not of the wealth of the rich, so much, as the idea that somewhere, somehow, liberals are feeling better about themselves than you are about yourself. That they are falsely acquiring the self-esteem that more rightly belongs to you and those who agree with you.

I do see one element of reason to what you write. If you could convince people who care about the environment that having more children would harm it, they might have fewer children. So, painting an extremely bleak picture about the negative effects of population growth might encourage those who care deeply about it to have fewer kids. Meanwhile, those who don't care about the negative implications of their actions might be unaffected. I suppose one could follow the line of reasoning and predict a rise in the children of sociopaths and of the selfish.

This is a new line of reasoning for me, so I don't have a clear sense of how this scenario unfolds.

As for the population control movement, I see many people trying to portray it as racist, but my first impression is that these people are desperately spinning the argument to fit their own particular agenda.

You've really stretched out into it this time. It's the other side, you think, that are the eugenicists, so its bad after all. What will you think when the bottle continues to turn and points to you?

And to bring in Global warming? What a Canard! You've said that you believe that global warming is happening. The fact that a large number of reputable scientists say they believe that a large portion of it is caused by human activities will be persuasive to many people. Let's assume for the moment that these scientists are wrong. As a result, some rich people who want to feel better about themselves build slightly smaller or slightly more energy efficient mansions, and some middle class people drive a little less. This is Eugenics?

And "some have said"? It doesn't seem like debate is your forte.

What a lousy argument you turn out to be making. I think you ought to be ashamed. And believe it or not, this is my non-vitriolic response. You may need to change a lot more of your posts to nil.

I hope to take on your other posts in turn, but have an appointment. Without having looked at them in detail, I don't know if I'll have kinder things to say about them. Perhaps so.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're a funny guy...I'm never sure when you're on the sauce or not, but man, you are one angry drunk when you get a bottle.

Still, I do have something fascinating that I'm reading, "Evolution: A View from the 21st Century" (something from Charles Muede, a bright science writer over at SLOG turned me on to).

https://kindle.amazon.com/work/evolution-century-press-science-ebook/B0050O8YNG/B0054KOKZ2

I don't think anyone can talk about "Evolution" any more in public without reading it..because it's a compendium of refutations of the Centra Dogma outlined by Crick (or Watson...I get those dudes confused) that says inheritance is a one-way street.

No. It's a two way street...and it's comin' back at ya!
Quote:

The capacity of living organisms to alter their own heredity is undeniable. Our current ideas about evolution have to incorporate this basic fact of life.


So much as you would like to argue the idea of an All Powerful Elect with unchanging genes, it seems like the world is made more by those who Innovate, rather than Collect...and lie idle in their assets.

Me? I'll be reading Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, on my Kindle, and working out at the gym...
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
...I don't think anyone can talk about "Evolution" any more in public without reading it..because it's a compendium of refutations of the Centra Dogma outlined by Crick (or Watson...I get those dudes confused) that says inheritance is a one-way street.

No. It's a two way street...and it's comin' back at ya!
Quote:

The capacity of living organisms to alter their own heredity is undeniable. Our current ideas about evolution have to incorporate this basic fact of life.


So much as you would like to argue the idea of an All Powerful Elect with unchanging genes, it seems like the world is made more by those who Innovate, rather than Collect...and lie idle in their assets.

Me? I'll be reading Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, on my Kindle, and working out at the gym...

It sounds very worthwhile. I hope I'll be able to get to it.

I think you very much misunderstand me, and I suppose I'm forced to admit that a great portion of the fault for that lies in me. I do not subscribe to a view containing an all powerful elect, nor unchanging genes. It is not painful to me to give respect to notions like evo-devo. Those elements aren't as interesting to me, and seem to be calling into question assumptions that might not have much to do with my interests. I could most easily be wrong, but, from my perspective, its as if I were trying to automate a fleet of tiny boats in my bathtub, and you were telling me that my most most likely ideas or assumptions about movement of temperature differences in a fluid were now incorrect.

It's apt as an extended metaphor, because movement of temperature in a fluid *could* affect how I could move my toy boats around, but in a lot of ways it would be incidental, or possibly the last factor I would consider after designing my algorithms of shifting into different formations, and the advantages each formation would have.

Apt, because setting up a "current" could be an emergent property, that would render my strategic formations not only inaccurate, but missing out of the strategic implications of taking advantage of the effect.

So, yes, I agree, it'd be great to read the book you recommend, I'm not yet convinced its the one I have to get to next.

Meanwhile, I can reveal a bit of my agenda for bringing up eugenics and social darwinism. My suspicion is that I will find that social "evolution", by which I mean "memes", et al, far surpasses the effects of biological evolution for humans, in the current environment. That said, I don't yet have a clear view as to what I will ultimately conclude about this topic. I don't assume that I will be forced into any one position without serious thought and analysis.

I feel that I am doing that which you ought to admire, though I don't expect this. I'm trying to take an unbiased look at the question without worrying whether someone will think that such a topic cannot but be treated in a dismissive manner. I'm trying to do what I'm good at: keeping an open mind. My growing sense is that when you look into the kinds of knots that people have turned in on themselves when they've tried to act on ideas based on racial superiority, for instance, is that their ideas are quite simply wrong. Or they've fallen prey to the "is-ought" (sometimes called "naturalistic") fallacy.

I don't want to either overstate or understate the case for worrying about the evolution of humans, and what might be actions or ideas that might have positive or negative effects. You say there's a good effect from working out at the gym? I can imagine quite a few ways that you could have a good result. Is there some genetic way it also has a beneficial result? If it helps your kids, and grandkids, couldn't you do something even more directly to help them? Or is there some other pathway am I missing? Will you be having another generation of children (trophy kids?). Or helping humanity through your memes, and staying healthy allows you to do this?

You don't exactly have to answer those questions if you don't want. I know, I should read the book, and then I'd know. Hopefully I'll get to it.
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
made more by those who Innovate, rather than Collect...and lie idle in their assets

I get a little bit of a preachy feeling from you sometimes. It must be a Biblical phrase, right?

Turns out, I'm in Heppner, being quite active with my assets. Later, when I get home, I may get a chance to lie idle for a while.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
Superiority in nature is hard to define, given the range of environments and potential environments. Superiority in our manmade artificial environments might be easier to rate -- and hence easier to codify as good or bad -- but at the base can be arbitrary


Yes. I very much agree about superiority in nature.

Humans have changed the equation so much that the best survival strategy for any plant or animal is to be liked by humans. Second best might be to not bother humans much, or to stay away from them. For plants and animals on Earth, humans *are* the environment. Superiority is not necessarily more admirable in this environment, superior fitness can come down to human whim and fads.

jabailo wrote:
Lately I've been thinking about the NFL as an economy. For example, take the worker known as the Quarterback. What is his worth? What is a good, or "superior" quarterback. Can a certain person be great and be worth untoward sums across all teams? What does it mean to be superior within the context of a game with such restricted rules (the quarterback cannot challenge the opposing team to a game of chess as a play).




I see the connection, the question of superiority, but I guess there's a metonymy problem underlying why you mention this in the same post. In evolution, one could try to tendentiously define what is superior, but really it is superior "fitness" that is at issue, and "fitness" is the criteria to use.

NFL quarterbacking is a classic tournament structure, with high rewards for the top winners, and a large pool of others, failures, many of whom are nearly as good as those that won.

As it turns out, our society values quarterbacking quite highly, and there is a kind of artificial scarcity of places where someone could do this. So the payoff can be quite high. But I think you are asking something quite different. How well do these skills (or even these role models) translate. Will I be able to put together a plan for us all to meet at the gym each week, or will my leadership, planning, or interpersonal charisma fail. Will I be able to block an enormous angry person from hurting someone who I might be a bodyguard for? Does catching packages count for anything outside of UPS commercials?

These people are role models because at least some people believe that those skills or attitudes do translate to the "audiences" lives. Ultimately, though, if I'm right in understanding what you are suggesting, I think we could easily discount the worth of some such highly paid athletes for instance: they may have sacrificed too much in order to be supremely fit in such a small arena.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

brian-hansen wrote:

Meanwhile, I can reveal a bit of my agenda for bringing up eugenics and social darwinism. My suspicion is that I will find that social "evolution", by which I mean "memes", et al, far surpasses the effects of biological evolution for humans, in the current environment.


Fair enough...and something to be argued, but I do not believe that that is what is commonly defined as Social Darwinism. Maybe socio-biology or something else but Social Darwinism?

Read it and weep: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism

Quote:
Social Darwinism is a term commonly used for theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, seeking to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to sociology and politics.[1] It especially refers to notions of struggle for existence being used to justify social policies which make no distinction between those able to support themselves and those unable to support themselves. The most prominent form of such views stressed competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism; but it is also connected to the ideas of eugenics, scientific racism, imperialism,fascism, Nazism and struggle between national or racial groups.


Of course, maybe you're making a case to "rehabilitate" the term:

Quote:
In sociology it has been defined as a theory of social evolution which asserts that "There are underlying, and largely irresistible, forces acting in societies which are like the natural forces that operate in animal and plant communities. One can therefore formulate social laws similar to natural ones. These social forces are of such a kind as to produce evolutionary progress through the natural conflicts between social groups. The best-adapted and most successful social groups survive these conflicts, raising the evolutionary level of society generally (the 'survival of the fittest')."


Maybe you are saying is that a combination of behavior and higher order intellectual functions determine things like mate selection. So, for example, a "subgroup" of people in society, are say, united by a common meme on Facebook. They "hook up", meet, mate and replicate.

Or you're talking not about biological evolution, but about the intellectual sphere, the noosphere, and that we now live within such an artificial world, rather than in nature, and it is in that world that success or failure is determined (rather than being able to reach the orange on the higher branch), then you might find some as yet unheralded kinship with good old McLuhan...who also said as much.

brian-hansen wrote:


That said, I don't yet have a clear view as to what I will ultimately conclude about this topic. I don't assume that I will be forced into any one position without serious thought and analysis.


Presenting some nullable hypothesis would always be welcome.

They have a tendency to draw out from people exactly what they are saying.

In general, I am suspicious of those who present an all reaching theory, but not easily explained, and then continually saying "you just don't get it". Reminds me of Scientology...or the other "sciences" who use its techniques of browbeating, name calling and good-cop bad-cop intellectualism to press home a point.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
Quote:
Natural selection *does* have the notion of superiority


One can look at it as local and global minima and maxima.

So the guy who sings best at his college gets all the girls.

Until the guy on the radio who sings best comes to town and gets all the girls from the whole city including the college.

Until the meteor eviscerates the city, and the second best singer from the city across the river is now the first best singer and gets all the girls...the ones who weren't killed by the meteor.



Fair enough.


jabailo wrote:



[Love it or hate it -- I've redacted and changed some of my previous arguments to lessen, or perhaps enhance, level of vitriol in this discourse. As the Germans told the Beatles...Mach Show!]



I think it causes more problems than it solves. For instance, I still don't know why you removed your initial comments.

Quote:
You seem eager to apply these notions to corporations, whereas I'm not in so much of a hurry.

jabailo wrote:

This was one of proposed areas of study in my proposed Interdisciplinary at Princeton (the one they rejected). Applying the laws of evolution to business. Really it would be the study of a form of Intelligent Design where responses are clearly made based on awareness of environment, and change operates very quickly in response to competition, environment (tax laws, tariffs).


It does sound very interesting. Maybe one or more of us will have something interesting to say on the subject. I'm feeling a little too literal minded to be very receptive to it when I'm trying to work out how to think about eugenics. For example, legally corporations are people who might never die, and may or may not "procreate" with other corporations? Personally, I'd want to make sure I had a coherent rap before I made a lot of claims like these. As in poker, I expect to be called: I want to have a credible hand when that happens.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
Read it and weep


Yes. I've read it. I see you are now noticing that I've been a bit sloppy. I've been using SD and "eugenics" as kind of code words, without defining them. Others are going to be so much better than I am at defining terms. If you want to help me by tweaking some definition or other, it sounds okay to me.

They are code words for something quite deep in humans, an area where we are extremely vulnerable to bad ideas, and to our own selfish whims and neuroses: the area of status.

When you translate some particular system of status onto an existing power structure, its possible to end up with the most horrific story in human history. Or. it could be more benign.

When you have people in white lab coats and carrying clipboards encouraging you, and mentioning that your biases are scientific, you could be moving towards the horrific end of the scale. To what extent does being a Darwinist lead one to being an elitist? Or even just an insufferable snob?

jabailo wrote:
Of course, maybe you're making a case to "rehabilitate" the term:

Quote:
In sociology it has been defined as a theory of social evolution which asserts that "There are underlying, and largely irresistible, forces acting in societies which are like the natural forces that operate in animal and plant communities. One can therefore formulate social laws similar to natural ones. These social forces are of such a kind as to produce evolutionary progress through the natural conflicts between social groups. The best-adapted and most successful social groups survive these conflicts, raising the evolutionary level of society generally (the 'survival of the fittest')."




Yes, I see what you are getting at here. And, no, that isn't exactly my worry. People in racial groups have worries about other racial groups. those other people have too many babies. Except inasmuch as we're all having too many babies, likely, for the projected carrying capacity of the earth, I'm not very worried about the demographic distribution of those babies amongst racial groups.

And social groups. This race is hard working, and that race is unimaginative, and so forth. It would take a lot to convince me that these weren't mostly cultural artifacts. and should not be used as the basis for treating individuals in a "scientific" stereotypical way. Once you get to the level of having such a complex society, it's much more important what someone said than who they mated with. Its too easy to dress up a couple of whims and self-serving sentiments with a scientific veneer.

So now I guess you've provoked me to put it rather baldly: I don't like science to be misused by bad guys. If racism and genocide is "scientific" then there is a very serious problem.

"They aren't like us" is already so powerful, if you add just a sprinkle of scientific justification, you've got a wildfire.

jabailo wrote:

Maybe you are saying is that a combination of behavior and higher order intellectual functions determine things like mate selection. So, for example, a "subgroup" of people in society, are say, united by a common meme on Facebook. They "hook up", meet, mate and replicate.

I do find this area very interesting, mate selection. And it's interesting you mention facebook. I quipped recently calling it "Lekbook".

jabailo wrote:

Or you're talking not about biological evolution, but about the intellectual sphere, the noosphere, and that we now live within such an artificial world, rather than in nature, and it is in that world that success or failure is determined (rather than being able to reach the orange on the higher branch), then you might find some as yet unheralded kinship with good old McLuhan...who also said as much.

brian-hansen wrote:


That said, I don't yet have a clear view as to what I will ultimately conclude about this topic. I don't assume that I will be forced into any one position without serious thought and analysis.


Presenting some nullable hypothesis would always be welcome.

They have a tendency to draw out from people exactly what they are saying.

In general, I am suspicious of those who present an all reaching theory, but not easily explained, and then continually saying "you just don't get it". Reminds me of Scientology...or the other "sciences" who use its techniques of browbeating, name calling and good-cop bad-cop intellectualism to press home a point.


From my perspective I've been fair. I did hate your first redacted re-edited post about how some say that global warming is eugenics against the middle class. And I made my point in a direct manner, I would say. I found your other posts quite relevant and intriguing. I don't have an all reaching theory, but I'd say, based on your performance, that there have been numerous occasions where it is fair to say that, for reasons I barely guess at, you haven't gotten it. I've seen many of the kinds of blogs that you describe, and I do not believe that this is the pattern here.

What you might not realize is that this is a struggle for me to follow down a line of reasoning that is not so well trodden, and to be faced with what seem, on occasion, to be spurious diversions and digressions.

I began this discussion with the notion that Christians, pre-WWII, had their own adherents finding reasons to perform forced sterilisations, and other actions consistent with eugenics, and they found favor for these views in holy scripture. After these beliefs were descredited in the marketplace of ideas, they (or other) Christians blamed the horrors of Hitler's genocide on Darwin (in the form of Social Darwinism and Eugenics).

I find myself wanting to disentangle both Hitler's and these Christian's ideas from the ideas of natural selection and evolution. A distinction like this needs to be made razor sharp, or people with biases and hatred will call upon the "scientific" results of Darwinism to prove that racial biases and mistreatment are justified. I've been looking around the web for articles relating to these topics, and I've started to find some, but the razor part, at least to the extent that I've been able to internalize it, is still fairly dull.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
brian-hansen wrote:

Meanwhile, I can reveal a bit of my agenda for bringing up eugenics and social darwinism. My suspicion is that I will find that social "evolution", by which I mean "memes", et al, far surpasses the effects of biological evolution for humans, in the current environment.


Fair enough...and something to be argued, but I do not believe that that is what is commonly defined as Social Darwinism. Maybe socio-biology or something else but Social Darwinism?


I think you misunderstand this, as well.

To be fair, I'm being very brief in these discussions, leaving a lot unstated. Ultimately, I believe that I will find the reason that ideas like social darwinism, eugenics, race hatred, mass genocide, etc. will be found to be incoherent. They will try to gain a good reputation by getting a "scientific" veneer, but this will be invalid.

Finding the best way to show that invalidity will be very valuable, so I am searching for articles that do this. Ways that are not razor sharp will not succeed in the face of people's strong inclinations and biases, especially against "out-groups".

My hunch is that the idea of human evolution has shifted to a cultural, memetic arena is one of the most powerful arguments against the kind of genetic destiny, eugenics-style ideas.

So, what I kind of sloppily called "social evolution" the evolution of ideas and memes, is one of the strongest arguments *against* social Darwinism, et al.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
You're a funny guy...I'm never sure when you're on the sauce or not, but man, you are one angry drunk when you get a bottle.


I think your argument would be stronger if you could show, rather than just insinuate, that my anger was unjustified.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

brian-hansen wrote:

My hunch is that the idea of human evolution has shifted to a cultural, memetic arena is one of the most powerful arguments against the kind of genetic destiny, eugenics-style ideas.


So, yes, we are in effect now our own selective "breeders". We now set the rules. Stephen Hawking can survive and procreate if he wants, because he fits the paradigm and serves society's tenets. But a low IQ guy who in our jungle days, could beat up a lion -- or Steven Hawking -- ends up in jail...

To that extent, eugenics -- conscious selection of mates with the intent of propagating a gene -- has been in operation the day the first guy came up with the idea of fire -- and all the cave women said "I want to have a baby with you."

Also I wouldn't go around claiming that this is "your idea".

There's a lot of big bad intellectuals who might have words with you.

Names like Dawkins. Or McLuhan. Really, McLuhan said it a decade before Dawkins. But McLuhan also names a Greek fellow as the one who said it first. Get a lawyer and work it out in court.


Last edited by jabailo on Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:14 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

brian-hansen wrote:
I did hate your first redacted re-edited post about how some say that global warming is eugenics against the middle class.


You've mentioned this I believe 3 times -- twice saying that I said it. But the idea came from another source...this book: "The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet's Surprising Future" which contains such canards as

Quote:
Seen in this light, the green revolution and population control were both part of a fix to preserve the capitalist status quo.


https://kindle.amazon.com/work/coming-population-crash-surprising-ebook/B002QNRDMM/B003DZ1116

I invite you to read it as well...so maybe someday we'll be on the same page. Or chapter. Or e-book.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

brian-hansen wrote:

jabailo wrote:

This was one of proposed areas of study in my proposed Interdisciplinary at Princeton (the one they rejected). Applying the laws of evolution to business. Really it would be the study of a form of Intelligent Design where responses are clearly made based on awareness of environment, and change operates very quickly in response to competition, environment (tax laws, tariffs).


It does sound very interesting. Maybe one or more of us will have something interesting to say on the subject. I'm feeling a little too literal minded to be very receptive to it when I'm trying to work out how to think about eugenics. For example, legally corporations are people who might never die, and may or may not "procreate" with other corporations? Personally, I'd want to make sure I had a coherent rap before I made a lot of claims like these. As in poker, I expect to be called: I want to have a credible hand when that happens.


Well the business evolution part was was just one small notion of the Interdisciplinary Study (the one that never happened, long story). There was a lot more to it than that. I wouldn't get carried away with it. Or, take it and do with it what you want.

In general, you seem to want to pin names on me, and then chastise me for being those things that you think I am. It's hard to defend oneself against such recursion.

I suggest you do what I do -- put a lot of mirrors up around your house. Then go sober. Can you stand it? That's the real test...
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
brian-hansen wrote:

My hunch is that the idea of human evolution has shifted to a cultural, memetic arena is one of the most powerful arguments against the kind of genetic destiny, eugenics-style ideas.


So, yes, we are in effect now our own selective "breeders". We now set the rules. Stephen Hawking can survive and procreate if he wants, because he fits the paradigm and serves society's tenets. But a low IQ guy who in our jungle days, could beat up a lion -- or Steven Hawking -- ends up in jail...

To that extent, eugenics -- conscious selection of mates with the intent of propagating a gene -- has been in operation the day the first guy came up with the idea of fire -- and all the cave women said "I want to have a baby with you."

So now we're getting into it. Does Hawking survive, and is this somehow unfair, though he is "unfit", and why did that jungle guy want to beat him up? And what should we as bystanders think about it?

and, thought of it this other way, why then eugenics makes perfect sense. Cave women have been doing it for millenia. So, then where is the line, Mozart. If Darwin was even half-right, where is the real line?

jabailo wrote:

Also I wouldn't go around claiming that this is "your idea".

There's a lot of big bad intellectuals who might have words with you.

Names like Dawkins. Or McLuhan. Really, McLuhan said it a decade before Dawkins. But McLuhan also names a Greek fellow as the one who said it first. Get a lawyer and work it out in court.


And its not my idea, I'm trying to find the most refined, clearest expression of the rebuttal of social Darwinism / "bad" eugenics that still retains natural selection, sexual selection, and evolution.

Geesh. I got it from Dawkins. sure, he got it from Mcluhan, maybe, and maybe he got it from some Greek guy. If you've got the clearest rebuttal, we can stop calling each other names, and you could share it with me. So far, it hasn't been easy to find it.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
brian-hansen wrote:
I did hate your first redacted re-edited post about how some say that global warming is eugenics against the middle class.


You've mentioned this I believe 3 times -- twice saying that I said it. But the idea came from another source...this book: "The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet's Surprising Future" which contains such canards as

Quote:
Seen in this light, the green revolution and population control were both part of a fix to preserve the capitalist status quo.



You walk a fine line, it seems to me. There's a danger that I'm putting words in your mouth. So maybe you don't believe that "Social Darwinism is alive and well -- and reformulated as various forms of population control and environmental movements. " as you say some say.

Or maybe you don't believe that "the responses to "Global Warming" many of which involve the middle class having its cars and land taken from it (all the while the elites get to build "Green Mansions".) can be traced to their Social Darwinist or Eugenicist origins"

Meanwhile, of course those programs would be a part of a fix to preserve the capitalist status quo. That description applies to every government policy or program , conservative or liberal, nearly any pronouncement from any thinktank, any commercial message, and 90% of all academic messages.


jabailo wrote:

https://kindle.amazon.com/work/coming-population-crash-surprising-ebook/B002QNRDMM/B003DZ1116

I invite you to read it as well...so maybe someday we'll be on the same page. Or chapter. Or e-book.

I'll put it on my list
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:

In general, you seem to want to pin names on me, and then chastise me for being those things that you think I am. It's hard to defend oneself against such recursion.

My impression is that I think you are the things I think you are because of the things that you write.
jabailo wrote:


I suggest you do what I do -- put a lot of mirrors up around your house. Then go sober. Can you stand it? That's the real test...

The test of what? The truth of what I write? Of whether I'm evolutionarily fit? the SAT test of life? Its a suggestion, so I'll try to be nice, even though you seem to think that it constitutes a valid counterargument. I'll put it on my list.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

brian-hansen wrote:

So now we're getting into it. Does Hawking survive, and is this somehow unfair, though he is "unfit", and why did that jungle guy want to beat him up? And what should we as bystanders think about it?


I always go back to the classic SNL skit "The Hominds"...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FotYss3fRo


brian-hansen wrote:

and, thought of it this other way, why then eugenics makes perfect sense. Cave women have been doing it for millenia. So, then where is the line, Mozart. If Darwin was even half-right, where is the real line?


Yes, exactly. That is why I'm not ready to throw out "intelligent design" as a term altogether...because, unless you think "all girls are stupid" then Intelligent Selection is done all the time...as sexual selection!

Sexual Selection I believe is the intermediary between Natural Selection (classic selection by environmental niche) and what you are trying to define. Let us call that Memetic Selection.

In Sexual Selection females observe males, and visa versa, and make breeding choices based on what they think are the best traits...or else they put up barriers or create tests of strength (the sperm swimming up the to egg...a winner-take-all contest).

Sexual Selection uses perception, observation and most all some form of intelligent analysis. And it operates on a single generation! Which can drive evolution very, very fast if it wants to, where as Natural Selection is the classic type where it takes eons for changes to happen. The minute you add in an intelligent "eye" which consciously pulls certain genes out of the breeding pool you get....well, a type of eugenics (and yes, these are very tainted words, but maybe...maybe...we can somewhat heal them and rehabilitate them).

Alright, so on to Memetic Selection Theory, in which societies laws, and the noosphere impacts "evolution". At first it would seem to have as much an effect, or even a slower effect than Sexual Selection because like Natural Selection, the intellectual "environment" would be more like a background against which genetic selection and change can occur. However, because that environment is ever changing itself -- one minute the Nehru jacket (famously worn by Johnny Carson in 1968) is all the rage...and the next minute, very square!

So, you can see that the fast changing Noosphere Environment will drive Sexual Selection even more rapidly than say tests of strength or endurance. That electronic environment can make one thing very selectable (the sideburns, from the Beverly Hills 98021 gang) very fast!

Now, let's take it a step further in to super rapid evolution. You know, I was watching a show about Ancient Aliens and it mentioned how Watson said that given the complexity of DNA the idea that it would randomly form in the primordial soup of protein fragments, given the albeit long time alloted was akin to having a tornado sweep through a junkyard and leave a fully formed Boeing 787 in its wake. His argument was that it was most likely deposited from a meteor or other such extraterrestrial body, from a place where it had even longer to develop.

So, we're dealing with a very sophisticated information processing system...and as we've found out in the last 70 years...more sophisticated than Watson's own Central Dogma suggested!

Quote:

Stated in terms of an electronic metaphor, the view of traditional genetics and conventional evolutionary theory is that the genome is a read-only memory (ROM) system subject to change by stochastic damage and copying errors. For over six decades, however, an increasingly prevalent alternative view has gained prominence. The alternative view has its basis in cytogenetic and molecular evidence. This distinct perspective treats the genome as a read-write (RW) memory system subject to nonrandom change by dedicated cell functions...

Evolution: A View from the 21st Century (FT Press Science)


https://kindle.amazon.com/post/217UWLXT9B0LQ


Wow...so we can perhaps be affecting the genome in real time through various stresses (and the book outlines all these known mechanisms) while at the same time the artificial Memetic Environment is changing in seconds...every day something different is featured, and new memes injected into the environment. So we as human beings, ourselves, not even our next generation, could be mutating second to second.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a pretty good outline of the terrain.

It seems like you may not have thought of this problem the same way that I have. The Meme Selection argument is pretty good, but also, maybe, not very strong. When I say that I might end up this investigation by concluding that it is an answer to Eugenics et al, it will be because I failed at a more direct approach.

And its good you elaborated on sexual selection. There are so many fascinating recent results in this area, but I try to remember that, like so many things that we take for granted, it is not universal. It just seems like nature has been experimenting with primates for the last 70 plus million years, and sexual selection was not always a big part of the equation for all of the hominid lines and forebears. Both harem-style patterns, and totally promiscuous matings minimize the effects of sexual selection.

And the one you didn't mention by name was Artificial Selection.

We know that dog breeders can, over time, select the dogs with the broadest shoulders, say, or fastest running speed, by breeding only the best in these regards from both sexes. The fact that the dog breeders make the decisions, and not the dogs themselves, is why this kind of selection is called artificial.

My lifetime could be called the age of the triumph of artificial selection. I especially think here of Michael Pollan's work in illustrating the spread of clone-based monocultural crops. Sex, or more accurately, sexual selection, recedes in significance. As does natural selection. Less and less is left to accident. Evolution works differently lately.

Thinking of sexual selection as a form of eugenics helps in a way because it forces us to confront two separate questions, 1) what forces that act over and above sexual selection are to be condemned as coercive and unjust, therefore by most estimations, wrong, and 2) to what extent would counterarguments to eugenics also be counterarguments to prevailing or pre-existing standards with regards to sexual selection.

As it happens, I'm not so interested in rehabilitating the term eugenics.
I might end up having something more to say about sexual selection, but I'm prepared to let it off the hook, for the moment, against charges of eugenics.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
You're a funny guy...I'm never sure when you're on the sauce or not, but man, you are one angry drunk when you get a bottle.


Actually, I'm mean on those rare occasions when I am sober. When I'm drunk, I'm somewhat more agreeable, and somewhat duller.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a woman who drove me to drink, and I never had the courtesy to thank her for it.

--W. C. Fields

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/w_c_fields_2.html#ixzz1nuloKPwF
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

brian-hansen wrote:
And the one you didn't mention by name was Artificial Selection.

We know that dog breeders can, over time, select the dogs with the broadest shoulders, say, or fastest running speed, by breeding only the best in these regards from both sexes. The fact that the dog breeders make the decisions, and not the dogs themselves, is why this kind of selection is called artificial.

My lifetime could be called the age of the triumph of artificial selection. I especially think here of Michael Pollan's work in illustrating the spread of clone-based monocultural crops. Sex, or more accurately, sexual selection, recedes in significance. As does natural selection. Less and less is left to accident. Evolution works differently lately.


I quoted this with regard to the thread on dog breeding, but here I quote again from Evolution: A View From the 21st Century

Quote:
It is important to note that selection has never led to formation of a new species, as Darwin postulated. No matter how morphologically and behaviorally different they become, all dogs remain members of the same species, are capable of interbreeding with other dogs, and will revert in a few generations to a common feral dog phenotype if allowed to go wild. The way we make new species synthetically is by interspecific hybridization.


He goes on to also use examples from plant hybridization. When it comes to speciation, the actually evolution into a new species, he says that the mechanism involves WGD or "whole genome duplications".

Quote:
A series of WGD events played repeated roles in angiosperm evolution.... Rapid plant evolution was “abominable” to Darwin because formation of interspecific hybrids and genome doubling are the kinds of sudden, genome-wide changes affecting multiple characters that he explicitly excluded from his gradualist, uniformitarian thinking.


I'm still trying to figure it out myself, but he seems to be saying that piecemeal change, such as domain (a single trait passed on by the associated set of genes) is not sufficient genetically for speciation -- it requires a "cataclysmic" transfer of significant parts of the genome and associated duplication (he uses as evidence of inter-specific hybridization a high degree of redundant genetic information).

Exciting times...
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Jimmy Durante said...everyone wants to get in on the act!

Obama used "Social Darwinism" in a speech yesterday.

What Obama meant by ‘social Darwinism’

Quote:
Social Darwinism is also seen in eugenics, the idea that certain races and physical traits should be weeded out of the general population. It played a role in the American progressive movement and in Nazi Germany — both movements that went against laissez-faire capitalism, in very different ways. In this interpretation, the weak must be culled so that the society as a whole can evolve more quickly.

Thus “social Darwinism” can be used to attack all sorts of enemies.

Obama is arguing that Ryan, by radically transforming social welfare programs, would pit Americans against each other for resources and let the poor and weak die out — “dog eat dog” capitalism.

Social conservatives use the term to attack evolution as a scientific theory, arguing that Darwin’s ideas lead to race-based infanticide and euthanasia.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/what-obama-meant-by-social-darwinism/2012/04/04/gIQAKlZLvS_blog.html
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