• ZhouBoTong
    584
    We need to look at the time-frame if you want to see the difference between blind evolution and human-directed evolution.TheMadFool

    Wait, do you mean like eugenics or genetic engineering? I agree that those will move evolution along quicker than the natural environment, but those seem different from what we were talking about in relation to "choice"?

    Besides intentional genetic manipulation though, hasn't human society largely eliminated the "survival of the fittest" thing? Nearly all humans will have the opportunity to reproduce if that is their life goal. What choices do I need to make in order to successfully pass on my genetic material?

    Human-directed evolution would arguably achieve optimum efficiency in a shorter period.TheMadFool

    Again, if you mean genetic manipulation, I can only agree. If "directed evolution" means that the average Joe takes all applicable factors into account then chooses the most efficient way to live and reproduce, then I am yet to be sold.

    Which situation would have a higher hit rate? You firing your gun randomly or a trained sniper?TheMadFool

    This analogy suggests we are definitely talking genetic manipulation as "the average Joe" would not count as "trained" right?

    And I am cool with that. I thought Gattaca was a sweet movie, and not because I was rooting for Ethan Hawke to show the superiority of normies :smile:
  • ZhouBoTong
    584
    Yes. I use metaphors as a short-cut for extremely complex "mechanisms"Gnomon

    Good, as that was how I understood it :smile:

    But, once programmed, the subconscious system operates the body automatically, until some problem requires an executive decision.Gnomon

    That is possibly a bit stronger than I would phrase it, but I don't think we are too far apart here.

    For example, the emotions quickly prime the body for "fight or flight". But the exec has to decide which. That's why we tend to freeze, when startled, long enough to assess the situation.Gnomon

    I must get stuck in that moment of decision then. My fight or flight is f***ed. It almost always results in freeze. I did kickboxing for about a decade and the only fights that went well were the ones where I was calm enough for fight or flight to never kick in.
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    Wait, do you mean like eugenics or genetic engineering?ZhouBoTong

    The path from random evolution to well-orchestrated efficient evolution has its slippery slopes. In my humble opinion morality is as distinct a human characteristic as rationality. I think Aristotle defined humans as rational animals. A slight modification is in order if we're to think, as Aristotle probably did, in terms of essential characteristics. This is to define man as rational and moral animal.

    So, directed evolution needs to be framed in the context of rational faculties AND ethical sense. To immediately think of eugenics and genetic engineering would be incorrect. Nevertheless, I think it's important to point out the dangers.

    If "directed evolution" means that the average Joe takes all applicable factors into account then chooses the most efficient way to live and reproduce, then I am yet to be sold.ZhouBoTong

    The efficiency of the l'homme moyen is so well-concealed that it sometimes appears as the exact opposite - inefficiency. I agree that there are individual differences which are more obvious than the similarities that unite us because evolution seems to have favored the ability to see distinctions better than resemblances. It is better to recognize a tiger than to fail to recognize your wife. ( :joke: I think I'm taking this a bit too far). The point is the concerns that unite us seem to fall in line with the concern for survival. Ergo, something in the way of addressing these concerns in an efficient way is in order.
  • Brett
    1.1k

    Besides intentional genetic manipulation though, hasn't human society largely eliminated the "survival of the fittest" thing? Nearly all humans will have the opportunity to reproduce if that is their life goal. What choices do I need to make in order to successfully pass on my genetic material?ZhouBoTong

    You don’t need to make many choices to pass on your genetic material, but your choices might determine the nature of its future. See my comments to TheMadFool about climate change.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    I think where we clash here is in the idea that we can consciously shape and plan for the future, whereas I don’t think we can because the future is unknowable and cannot be planned for.

    Edit: I am talking about time in evolutionary terms here.

    Second thought: actually that’s not necessarily so. In terms of climate change the changes and demands are going to happen in a very short time, possibly, maybe. But it’s not going to be hundreds of years, or more.
  • ZhouBoTong
    584
    So, directed evolution needs to be framed in the context of rational faculties AND ethical sense. To immediately think of eugenics and genetic engineering would be incorrect. Nevertheless, I think it's important to point out the dangers.TheMadFool

    I didn't mean either of those quite so negatively (although eugenics certainly deserves it). When you talked about speeding evolution, that has to be more than individual choices...right? I think of dogs as a good example of accelerated evolution. Are humans making any decisions that are speeding evolution in any sort of similar way?

    My point about EVERYBODY reproducing was to suggest that there is no targeted improvement happening if everyone is passing on genes.

    I feel like I am NOT really addressing what you are getting at. Can you give me an example of how humans are speeding up their evolutionary development?
  • ZhouBoTong
    584
    You don’t need to make many choices to pass on your genetic material, but your choices might determine the nature of its future. See my comments to TheMadFool about climate change.Brett

    Unfortunately, the choices of the other 7 billion breeders will also determine its future. (which I am fairly sure is part of your point)
  • Gnomon
    300
    I must get stuck in that moment of decision then. My fight or flight is f***ed. It almost always results in freeze. I did kickboxing for about a decade and the only fights that went well were the ones where I was calm enough for fight or flight to never kick in.ZhouBoTong
    Ha! That's why martial arts and competitive sports emphasize "practice, practice, practice". When you practice a move, your conscious mind analyzes the motions into small details. But your subconscious mind remembers only the whole movement (muscle memory). Eventually, you no longer need to freeze long enough to analyze, you just do it without thinking --- without willing. I suspect you may be an introvert, who is always consciously monitoring what you are doing. Top athletes and artists just go with the flow. :smile:

    Flow : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
  • Gnomon
    300
    If "directed evolution" means that the average Joe takes all applicable factors into account then chooses the most efficient way to live and reproduce, then I am yet to be sold.ZhouBoTong
    Maybe TMF is talking about Cultural Evolution in general, rather than Eugenics or Transhumanism in particular. Cultural Evolution occurs much more rapidly than Natural Evolution. Cultural Selection is cumulative human choices. Unfortunately, the "unfit" consequences of our short-term efficiencies come back to haunt us quickly (e.g. burning fossil fuels, buried over millions of years, turned into aerosols in just a few human generations). Fortunately, if we learn from history, we can try to avoid making the same short-sighted choices over & over.

    Cultural Evolution : http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page12.html
  • ovdtogt
    367
    "NE is an overarching principle of nature, then the intelligence to identify the most efficient method of any and all processes must be coupled with free will"
    Are you suggesting 'free will' had a hand in Evolution?
  • enzomatrix207
    3
    If I may add a twist.
    Let's say for example that the universe is a multiple choice exam.
    For each situation you are given a finite set of choices and you can choose freely the one you want.
    Is that free will? A limited number of choices?
    The knowledge and experiences we have and the ones we remember at the time of the choice is a finite set so they represent the multiple choices.
    So If I don't see an option (for whatever reason) I can't choose it even though it is there.

    Only omnipotent beings have true free will. They have the knowledge and power to choose whatever they wish from all available choices even if the number of choices are infinite.
    In conclusion if you have a limited number of choices that are a subset of the actual number of choices do you have free will?
  • Gnomon
    300
    In fact it could be said that if nature is truly efficient it would favor directed evolution which necessitates an agent with intelligence AND free will rather than just leave everything to the vagaries of chance.TheMadFool
    So, you think evolution "intended" to create intelligent agents all along, but it took 14 billion years to create a working prototype? I'm kidding, but most materialists would find the notion of teleology in Nature to be magical thinking. I happen to agree with your intuition, but instead of promoting Intelligent Design (ID), I propose Intelligent Evolution (IE).

    The primary difference between blind groping evolution and directed evolution is the foresight to imagine something better than what is. According to Darwinism, Nature is an ad hoc process : it works with what worked in the past, and adapts it to a new function. Early humans were not much better. They found rocks lying around and used them to pound on nuts. Only thousands of years later did their intelligence invent the hammer, which is intended specifically to pound on nails.

    Intelligent Design envisions a world that began as a perfect design, but has been corrupted by an evil deity. Intelligent Evolution proposes a world that began as a primordial Egg, and is still developing and evolving toward the complete design. Both theories explain the imperfections, but only one explains the necessity for gradual evolution, and for the belated emergence of Intelligence, Will, and Morality. :smile:


    Intelligent Evolution : http://gnomon.enformationism.info/Essays/Intelligent%20Evolution%20Essay_Prego_120106.pdf
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    I think where we clash here is in the idea that we can consciously shape and plan for the future, whereas I don’t think we can because the future is unknowable and cannot be planned for.Brett

    I still can't figure out why you think the future is unknowable. There's only one thing I know that can justify such a claim - chaos - and the world we live in is ordered enough to permit realizable plans for the future.

    Are you saying the world is in chaos? I'm willing to admit that there's a lack of coordination in the world and this may be source of your confusion; you're mistaking poor teamwork for chaos. The uncoordinated world does make it difficult to plan but this is not the same as saying the future is unknowable. I think it's just a lack of trying.
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    I didn't mean either of those quite so negatively (although eugenics certainly deserves it). When you talked about speeding evolution, that has to be more than individual choices...right? I think of dogs as a good example of accelerated evolution. Are humans making any decisions that are speeding evolution in any sort of similar way?

    My point about EVERYBODY reproducing was to suggest that there is no targeted improvement happening if everyone is passing on genes.

    I feel like I am NOT really addressing what you are getting at. Can you give me an example of how humans are speeding up their evolutionary development?
    ZhouBoTong

    I agree that the picture of directed evolution doesn't reflect the truth as it is now. What I'm saying boils down to the fact that intelligent design is better than blind evolution. If you look at how scientists argue against intelligent design you'll see one common motif - that our biology has countless structural and functional flaws. Implicit in that claim is an intelligent designer would've done a better job than probability-based evolution.
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    So, you think evolution "intended" to create intelligent agents all along, but it took 14 billion years to create a working prototype? I'm kidding, but most materialists would find the notion of teleology in Nature to be magical thinking. I happen to agree with your intuition, but instead of promoting Intelligent Design (ID), I propose Intelligent Evolution (IE).

    The primary difference between blind groping evolution and directed evolution is the foresight to imagine something better than what is. According to Darwinism, Nature is an ad hoc process : it works with what worked in the past, and adapts it to a new function. Early humans were not much better. They found rocks lying around and used them to pound on nuts. Only thousands of years later did their intelligence invent the hammer, which is intended specifically to pound on nails.

    Intelligent Design envisions a world that began as a perfect design, but has been corrupted by an evil deity. Intelligent Evolution proposes a world that began as a primordial Egg, and is still developing and evolving toward the complete design. Both theories explain the imperfections, but only one explains the necessity for gradual evolution, and for the belated emergence of Intelligence, Will, and Morality. :smile:
    Gnomon

    I think we're on the same wavelength though I must confess that you saw the connection intelligent design and intelligent evolution but I only strayed into these domains in my discussion with @ZhouBoTong.

    Since you're in the right conceptual spot to get the main thrust of my argument all I'll say is that the methods scientists use to attack intelligent design is to point out the many structural and functional flaws in the living world. Surely an intelligent designer could've done better. In fact even humans, as imperfect as we are, can detect flaws in our biology. Isn't this a tacit affirmation that, given the means and opportunity, an intelligent designer can surpass blind evolution in every way?
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    In conclusion if you have a limited number of choices that are a subset of the actual number of choices do you have free willenzomatrix207

    As I mentioned in my post that choosing the most efficient/bestest path isn't a choice at all. However to enable us to find such paths requires intelligence and to take us on the paths requires an ability to choose even if this is just illusory.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    I still can't figure out why you think the future is unknowable.TheMadFool

    Okay, let’s define, or agree somehow, on what we mean by ‘the future’. To me it’s the absolute unknown, it doesn’t exist. And yes, for me, the universe is chaos.
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    Okay, let’s define, or agree somehow, on what we mean by ‘the future’. To me it’s the absolute unknown, it doesn’t exist. And yes, for me, the universe is chaos.Brett

    :ok:
  • Gnomon
    300
    Isn't this a tacit affirmation that, given the means and opportunity, an intelligent designer can surpass blind evolution in every way?TheMadFool
    Yes, but that assumes the Designer intended to create a perfect Garden of Eden. If so, then we have to invent an evil god who is powerful enough to foil that intention. However, what if the whole point of creation was to produce a self-perfecting Experiential Process? Some philosophers have postulated that God experiences reality through our eyes, ears, and feelings. I can't speak for God's intentions, but the self-improvement Process of Intelligent Evolution makes more sense to me than the failed Perfection of Intelligent Design. :smile:

    Omega Point : Perfection at the end rather than the beginning of the creation process.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Point
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    Yes, but that assumes the Designer intended to create a perfect Garden of Eden. If so, then we have to invent an evil god who is powerful enough to foil that intention. However, what if the whole point of creation was to produce a self-perfecting Experiential Process? Some philosophers have postulated that God experiences reality through our eyes, ears, and feelings. I can't speak for God's intentions, but the self-improvement Process of Intelligent Evolution makes more sense to me than the failed Perfection of Intelligent DesignGnomon

    Part of, I think the most vital part of, self-improvement is having the ability to recognize the most efficient processes of life and then choose them.
  • ZhouBoTong
    584
    Maybe TMF is talking about Cultural Evolution in general, rather than Eugenics or Transhumanism in particular.Gnomon

    Well that could certainly be possible. We all throw the word "evolution" around, and we don't always mean biological evolution...and yet I can't help but think of the specific biological evolution when OTHER people use the word "evolution"...must be some sort of bias on my part???

    Fortunately, if we learn from history, we can try to avoid making the same short-sighted choices over & over.Gnomon

    That's a BIG "if" :razz: But I am with you.
  • ZhouBoTong
    584
    What I'm saying boils down to the fact that intelligent design is better than blind evolution.TheMadFool

    Wow, well I apologize. I would have to go back and re-read the whole thread to see where I missed it, or got off track...but I don't think I was ever aware we were talking about intelligent design :yikes:

    I thought we were talking about the will of those being evolved as affecting their evolution. My bad.

    If you look at how scientists argue against intelligent design you'll see one common motif - that our biology has countless structural and functional flaws.TheMadFool

    I thought the main objections would be that intelligent design theory is NOT falsifiable and it does NOT make predictions (please correct me where wrong), which places it outside the realm of science (it can still be philosophy or theology - obviously). Some sort of rigor needs to be added to make it a viable scientific theory...again, I am willing to rethink if I am missing something.

    Implicit in that claim is an intelligent designer would've done a better job than probability-based evolution.TheMadFool

    And this is where "intelligent" humans look at our "design" and immediately think of improvements (like not breathing out the same hole I shove food into)...which at the very least suggests a less intelligent designer (which makes almost no sense).

    So to summarize my view...how would one prove intelligent design wrong? and what useful predictions do we expect to get from the theory? If there are reasonable answers to these questions, then I may have to reconsider intelligent design. Until then, what would I even be considering?

    Does intelligent design say anything more than "there is a god that created the universe"?
  • Gnomon
    300
    Isn't this a tacit affirmation that, given the means and opportunity, an intelligent designer can surpass blind evolution in every way?TheMadFool
    Perhaps. If the final outcome was the most important goal of the designer. But multiplayer video games are intended to provide an ongoing experience for the players, not to rig the game for a predetermined end state. So, maybe the "designer" of our world was more interested in the Process than the Product.

    As you suggested, "given the means and opportunity", why should it take over 14 billion human years to create a perfect world with perfect people? In Genesis, the Creator produced a perfect paradise, complete with vegetarian lions and innocent humans, in only six days, and then took some time off. Ironically, during his vacation, a Troll hacked-in to paradise and "put up a parking lot".

    However, since our turbulent Game of Thrones is still evolving in fits & starts, I must assume the Designer is either absconded, or incompetent, or is enjoying the ride, and in no hurry to see the drama end. :smile:
  • christian2017
    566


    Fascinating. I would also argue to believe you have free will in the traditional sense leads to an increase in depression. Depression is not the path of least resistence. I would argue an animals ability to understand abstract concepts like law and money will lead to that animal to have deep and serious depression. Once again not the path of least resistence.

    Thanks for this post. Once again very fascinating.
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    Perhaps. If the final outcome was the most important goal of the designer. But multiplayer video games are intended to provide an ongoing experience for the players, not to rig the game for a predetermined end state. So, maybe the "designer" of our world was more interested in the Process than the Product.

    As you suggested, "given the means and opportunity", why should it take over 14 billion human years to create a perfect world with perfect people? In Genesis, the Creator produced a perfect paradise, complete with vegetarian lions and innocent humans, in only six days, and then took some time off. Ironically, during his vacation, a Troll hacked-in to paradise and "put up a parking lot".

    However, since our turbulent Game of Thrones is still evolving in fits & starts, I must assume the Designer is either absconded, or incompetent, or is enjoying the ride, and in no hurry to see the drama end. :smile:
    Gnomon

    I don't intend to argue for god conceived as an intelligent designer. Our conversation is, not surprisingly, drifting in that direction because of the obvious connection - intelligence & design. Let me categorically state that I'm not arguing for the existence of a creator deity.

    What I mean is that given any project - life and anything else for that matter - an intelligent person with a good plan will be produce better and faster results than a person without a plan. Analogously if life had been the work of someone with a plan it wouldn't have the imperfections, like our eyes having blind spots etc, atheists are so happy to point to creationists. This inevitably leads us to the conclusion that if an intelligent being (only humans in that category) were to now take the reins of this capricious wild horse we call evolution by understanding and controlling the forces involved we might just be able to give life a good chance of success.
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    So, maybe the "designer" of our world was more interested in the Process than the Product.Gnomon

    Indeed we're not in a position to know the intentions of a creator if it exists. For all we know we may be just the random mold growing in its trash.

    However, what is obvious from how life behaves is that life wants to continue its existence. To do this it has evolved, through mere chance, mechanisms that can either block or delay natural processes that are life-threatening. From this we can infer that the processes are tailored for the survival of the product for as long as needed to allow a chain reaction of life. Given this is so, it seems an obvious goal for intelligent life like humans is to manipulate the processes (evolution) to give the product (life) an increased chance of survival. To add, human objectives in life have gone beyond mere survival and now include the quality of life itself.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    Yes, I agree there. We may be at that point now. But what should we do?
  • TheMadFool
    4.3k
    Fascinating. I would also argue to believe you have free will in the traditional sense leads to an increase in depression. Depression is not the path of least resistence. I would argue an animals ability to understand abstract concepts like law and money will lead to that animal to have deep and serious depression. Once again not the path of least resistence.

    Thanks for this post. Once again very fascinating.
    christian2017

    The way the world is and not what it ought to be should depress everyone. That's why life should evolve intelligence to recognize this is-oughy gap and free will to enable us to make the right choices to change the is to an ought.
  • christian2017
    566


    Actually some people say a certain hero from a particular religion had the correct dna and lived in a world that was corrupt. He/She obeyed every axiom he was supposed (100s of axioms over many decades). His followers however all had sub optimal or bad dna. Not sure how it ended for his followers and converts in terms of their dna.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    Given this is so, it seems an obvious goal for intelligent life like humans is to manipulate the processes (evolution) to give the product (life) an increased chance of survival. To add, human objectives in life have gone beyond mere survival and now include the quality of life itself.TheMadFool

    I’ve been thinking about this and in relation to other posts, and from memory I may have disagreed. But on reflection there’s no reason that this shouldn’t happen.

    Nothing is fixed. Morals can evolve in any direction if they no longer serve our survival. The way we view ourselves and the world can change. Like physical attributes, intellectual attributes, over time, can also change. We can override ideas. Like I said, we are moral creatures but we must chose to be moment to moment. Even if it’s only in terms of survival and not quality of life we can chose the next step, which is not choosing the future (where I think we disagreed) but will affect our future. How to chose is the problem, on what basis? Now I find myself returning to the beginning; on what basis do we make these decisions?
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