Re: meaning of life

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 14:28:31 MST

At 6:31 PM +0000 1/25/01, Charlie Stross wrote:
>Reasons why I disagree: (pace Richard Dawkins) evolution of the human
>genome stopped around the time we began to express the capability to
>inherit and pass on acquired behavioural traits. Raw evolutionary
>selection pressure doesn't work the same way on a species that posesses
>language. We're generalists, distinguished from other species by our
>astonishing plasticity of behaviour: as witness the conditions we live
>under today, compared to those our ancestors evolved under.

Be careful how you explain this. Evolution has two stages: Random
mutation and natural selection. The random mutation still occurs in
humans as much as it ever did. The genome did not stop mutating,
changing or evolving. It is the natural selection stage that is
changed by language. Language allows humans to pass on information
and techniques that help improve survival. Thus the methods for
survival are no longer limited to our DNA (hence transhumanism).
However, our DNA still mutates and evolves at the same natural rate
it always did. It is a common mistake to assume that evolution is
"motivated" by a goal. It is driven by randomness and then selected
by what works.

>Moreover, I find the idea that we should follow an 'optimum' set of rules
>because we evolved that way morally abhorrent. You do realise that this
>is the root of the argument deployed by various bigots for banning/killing
>homosexuals? "It isn't natural ..."

Of course, this was always a bogus argument since virtually all
societies of humans and species of mammals produce homosexuals

Harvey Newstrom <>

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:25 MDT