Re: Gender issues (was HUMOR: Anti-cryonics philosophy)

Omega (
Thu, 23 Jan 1997 00:53:15 -0800

E. Shaun Russell,

> <snip> And suddenly, again we have a nice warm bonfire, complete
> with 'politically correct' flames. So, I'll give $5.00 to the
> genius who can tell me *why*. I'm serious.

It's because talking/arguing/flaming over politics is such an
essential survival factor for talking apes that it's deeply ingrained
in us. You can send the $5.00 to your favorite extropian charity.

Someone else mentioned this recently in regard to the fact that
memes that arouse political passions seem to be much more effective
in propagating themselves. Going out on a limb a bit, this is why
I believe that politically passionate subjects are the most likely
to be divorced from "objective knowledge" whatever that is.

Eugene Leitl,

> The gender specialization _will_ become obsolete after we shed the
> protein/DNA matrix, but this is still many decades/centuries off.

Decades/centuries? Peter Russel in his fairly recent book
'The Global Brain Awakens' makes a fairly strong case that we
humans repeatedly underestimate the rate of change when
exponential growth curves are involved. I tend to agree with
him. Decades I would agree with (if the number of them were low)
but, IMO, not centuries.

There is also the possibility that technological development may
end up being hyper-exponential (with time) when "qualitative" and
"non-continuous" breakthroughs (e.g. as in that often mentioned
"hardware vaporware" that will suddenly boost computer/communication
speeds by factors of thousands that I keep hearing is right around
the corner) not to mention unexpected cross-fertilizations between
different disciplines.

Maybe it won't in fact be hyper-exponential, but I feel that your
conclusion still falls under what I would call the default way
of estimating the future that Russel describes as flawed. What
do you think, do I have the beginnings of a compelling case?

Regarding your second to last paragraph:

> I do not care whether this stuff is genetically determined, or a product
> of the environment. All I see is the result that there are fewer women in
> hard sciences (lots of them in molbio, though). Instead of an
> equilibration, the trend goes in an opposite direction (at least in
> Krautland). Ignoring this for whatever reasons, PCish or otherwise is
> not prudent, nor is it constructive. Developing a selective blindness for
> a problem does not make it go away.

I couldn't agree more. Selective blindness is IMO perhaps one the
better hidden and more dangerous hazards facing the human race, and
unfortunately is something that I believe is genetically hardwired
as a response to subjects that arouse political passions.

I know it's a broad sweeping statement, but can we contemplate the
history of the human race for even a moment without coming to this
conclusion. I personally don't believe that the linkage between
"selective blindness" and "political passion" will be severed with
anything less than "strong medication" on a fairly universal basis;
it may not require nano, but what it will require should be a basis
for some very penetrating discussion.

I'm not convinved that rationality can overcome this "selective
blindness" with regard to politically charged issues. Blind
evolution that selects for ever stronger rationality, yes that
should do it, but that's an awfully bloody process which is the
reason why blindess with regard to political issues has evolved
in the first place (remember, politics is by definition at

Howard Bloom talks about this general subject in his book
'The Lucifer Principle' a book which interprets human history
in terms of genetic and memetic evolutionary principles and
goes a bit into the inter-relation between the two principles.

All the above said, I don't consider this an automatic cause
for pessimism, but going into this is a real can of worms, so
I will wait to see if people even agree that genetically
selected political blindness is a problem in the first place.