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You can't mess with nature ...
September 13, 2013
1:31 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
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June 5, 2011
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… this turned up in one of my feeds today.

So true …

Principles are admirable. Dogma is despicable. Living according to your own evolution is … simply … natural.

https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/7778741248/h18DAC8E9/

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
September 13, 2013
8:53 pm
Immigrant
Forum Posts: 5
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September 7, 2013
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Human beings evolved to be adaptive though.  As Heinlein said, a human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

I think there is a serious risk in turning evolutionary psych into its own dogmatic form of essentialism and consequently into a sort of secular faith if taken too far.

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September 18, 2013
2:48 pm
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
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February 22, 2010
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Paul:

I laughed.

Brace:

The problem with most evolutionary psych is that it's totally speculative.  We really know squat about how Paleolithic humans behaved day to day.

That being said, we have reasonably solid evidence that the majority of their calories came from hunted meat.  The reason we needed to be adaptive is because hunting smaller, faster, and more dangerous prey as we drove megafauna to extinction is difficult -- and so is hunting new prey in new environments.  Warthogs are perfectly capable of digging up roots and tubers.

JS

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September 18, 2013
3:02 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
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June 5, 2011
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J: I kinda snorted. There was possibly tea coming down my nose. Yeah, you know I love bears … what they say counts, even as a meme.

Brace: I hear you, pal. I can ride my bike with no handlebars.

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
September 19, 2013
12:23 pm
Immigrant
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September 7, 2013
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J. Stanton said:

That being said, we have reasonably solid evidence that the majority of their calories came from hunted meat.  The reason we needed to be adaptive is because hunting smaller, faster, and more dangerous prey as we drove megafauna to extinction is difficult -- and so is hunting new prey in new environments.  Warthogs are perfectly capable of digging up roots and tubers.

JS

Our adaptability has allowed us to maintain our dominance as a species post-agriculture though.  The origin is irrelevant.  Similarly, that Warthogs do something isn't sufficient to prove that it's bad.  There are plenty of apex predators on the verge of extinction today, and plenty of herbivores and omnivores that are thriving.  So there's a genetic fallacy here, that adaptability is only good in reference to traditional apex predator behavior because that was its origin, and there's an association fallacy here, that warthogs are bad and we don't want to be like warthogs.  Maybe this was just poor word choice.

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October 4, 2013
12:10 am
First-Eater
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February 22, 2010
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Brace:

"The origin is irrelevant."

I don't believe that's true.  No human behaviors are strictly rational, and most are utterly irrational: they exist to satisfy desires forged by selection pressure over millions of years.  

Neither am I making a value judgment.  Humans are what we are.  Given the millions of years of selection pressure for humans to be what we are, it shouldn't be surprising that we enjoy behaviors we've been selected for, and don't enjoy behaviors we haven't yet been selected for.  

See the Epilogue to The Gnoll Credo.  Humans play sports for fun, but won't grow grains without being paid or coerced.  We're amazingly powerful and accurate at throwing things, but remarkably susceptible to advertising.  We're far more interested in celebrity gossip than public policy.  Etc.

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (Dobzhansky)

JS

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October 4, 2013
8:50 pm
Immigrant
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Well, past a certain point rationality just structures things.  There's no such thing as a rational (or irrational) motive, only a rational set of actions given motivation and context.

To your second point: there are some immutable facts about what it means to be human, but human beings also make decisions and are thus self-determining to a large degree.  So they aren't just "what they are" in the sense that an inanimate object or a machine would be.  Human beings have potential, which means that at any given future point they could be almost anything, and as a consequence of the decisions they make in the present.  You can probably establish a narrow range of facts about humans by evolutionary theory, but you need to be careful not to exceed your scope.

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October 11, 2013
9:12 pm
First-Eater
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February 22, 2010
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Brace:

I don't think we're arguing.  The interesting problem of rationality is that it dramatically expands the sphere of potential actions -- things we can do -- far beyond the accompanying expansion in things we should do or things we enjoy doing.

JS

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October 22, 2013
4:17 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
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June 5, 2011
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… another TOAP. I know … I know … it's base, but it made me giggle.

http://i40.tinypic.com/70cbhi.jpg

... I think he noticed. Poor beggar!

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