Simon Paynton

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  • #32241

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    This week I am ordering this book: Cynical Theories. (Helen Pluckrose was a member of TA).

    I think Helen is right in what she says, because I am sure I have seen real life examples to back it up.  I have heard people on the Left denying that these behaviours exist.

    #32207

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    We don’t have body parts or faculties because we’ll need them at some future time.

    We have faculties and body parts because genetic mutations were adaptive and therefore selected for.  We also inherit them from ancestors.

    #32200

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Careful. That sounds just a wee bit teleological.

    I just mean that hands make it easier to make and manipulate technology.  I know that crows can use their beaks and octopuses their tentacles.

    #32196

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If each species is intelligent in a way that is adapted to their natural niche – humans are adapted to a risky niche, so we need to be flexible and adaptable in our intelligence.  We also need hands, in my opinion, so that we can make and operate technology, among other things.  Ours is like the Windows or English Language of intelligence – general all-purpose, and good at incorporating or learning new things.

    #32188

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I think it comes down to the question, what made humans intelligent?  That probably doesn’t have a simple answer, and in addition, we’ll probably never know.

    As far as I know, the human brain expansion happened around 2 million years ago, with the advent of the genus Homo.  Cooperative breeding allows for a larger brain size, because the mother can have more than one child at a time, thereby allowing a longer growth time for infants.  Otherwise, there is a limit on the number of children a mother can have below which the species will die out.  But what drove a larger brain size is a mystery.  It seems to have come at the same time we moved onto the savannah.

    #32186

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    According to Michael Tomasello, there isn’t so much a “ladder” of natural intelligence, but a “tree”.  Each animal is smart in its own way, adapted for its own environment.  So all the animal intelligences are different.

    An ant’s brain is 15% of its body weight.  They can pass the “white mark mirror test” – they can recognise themselves in the mirror.  This implies they can recognise others as others, and according to the theory, can take the perspective of other ants.  In turn, this would show that perspective taking is a fundamental part of cooperation.

    I think any new “super species” would have to be adaptable and intelligent.  Insects can’t grow very large in the current climate – but if the Earth warmed up, they could be 6 feet across again.

    #32146

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Thanks, I’ve seen some of his stuff, he and Michael Shermer are on the same page.  I need to flesh out my account with concrete reasons, so it doesn’t look so “mystical”.

    #32135

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    The Moral Arc: How thinking like a scientist makes the world more moral.

    This is a really interesting video that I watched through to the end.  I like the way he gives a lot of concrete reasons why the world has overall become more caring and fair, and less violent and unfair, steadily since around 10,000 years ago.

    These examples are compatible with my hypothesis that the pressure to thrive, survive and reproduce cooperatively provides the “ought” to human endeavour.

    #32131

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Maybe the Asbergers gene has something to do with it, maybe that provided the edge of sapiens over the Neanderthals: skill in technology.

    #32129

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    It’s easy to forget that we’re a single species within the genus Homo because everyone else is dead.

    early art indicate that ancient humans were culturally complex and behaviorally flexible, which likely helped them adapt to a wide range of environments. Furthermore, Bailey argues, demographic changes related to an increase in population size drove Homo sapiens’ innovations, which could have helped them occupy regions no one else wanted to go to.

    This is very interesting, and it suggests that somehow, culture is a large factor in what enables the success of Homo sapiens.  We left Africa and arrived in Europe to find the Neanderthals, not the other way round, after all.  We spread around the planet; they did not.

    Maybe it is to do with group size and tribal organisation.  Larger groups need more coherent cultures, to stay coordinated and organised.

    #32105

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    if there is no god, then rape, racism, and slavery (along with religion, totalitarianism, nazism, and other philosophical systems that “support” such behavior)- would just be unpleasant side effects of our individual and tribal survival mechanism. Such instincts would be side effects of evolution, right?

    That pretty much is the position of the evolutionary perspective, except for the grouping of religion with nazism.

    #32079

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I think that out of all the norms, helping and fairness are the closest to the pressure to thrive, survive and reproduce, cooperatively.  Helping means giving thriving to someone else; fairness means to share out benefit and harm so that all can be satisfied.

    #32072

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @karuna, I just think that norms of fairness and helping already exist throughout all cultures, and cooperation is an obligate way of thriving as you say.  I think the fact that they tend to win out over time shows their primacy as norms.

    Also, the pressure to thrive is individual, universal, and maximising, so it makes sense that “permission to thrive” is granted to more and more groups.

    #32058

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Cultural Evolution = Social Justice=Justice as fairness

    According to Stephen Pinker, societies become more humane over time.

    #32047

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @unseen – the objectivity and moral realism we think we have, are an illusion.  “True” objectivity in a mathematical sense doesn’t exist for morality – or if it does, it’s irrelevant.  The way in which it does exist is that the conditions that give rise to human morality are eternal (at least, for the duration of the human family tree), and therefore, it’s predictable and stereotypical.

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