Re: Diamond, Miller, Gould, Darwin: positive feedback loops

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Wed Jun 28 2000 - 20:23:56 MDT

> wrote: ...that was what I meant. In my personal
> shorthand, I call my reading list, the "brain clip", holding rounds of brain
> ammo which I fire into my mind . . . I know that's weird....

Oh, good then. I know you are a good sport Greg, lucky for me... {8^D
I dont wanna be preachy on that, since I myself own a shootin arn or
two and enjoy a day of sport shooting.

I also think I want to partially recant what I said about Diamond's
book. It was a good book, thought provoking. The reason I found
it a little frustrating is hardly the fault of the author. His focus
is on explaining why one society ended up with more technology
than others, and ended up going with a combination of factors
which kinda end up with a notion Gould would like: contingency,
or blind luck, based on location and fortunate interspecies synergy.

None of this really gets at the questions that have puzzled me for
years. Im worse off than the Grinch was the time he trashed Whoville
and they had a songfest anyway: he puzzled and puzzled till his
puzzler was sore. Why, for instance, did the process of evolution
do so little with big brains? We have only a few really large brained
species: cetacians, elephants, humans. Why? And why did evolution
wait until so late in the process to produce large brained species?
And why did humans have large brains for nearly 100k yrs before
inventing civilization? And why did it take large brained humans
so long to get written language? This leads to the obvious question,
how in the hell does technological stagnation occur?

All of these questions suggests there are evolutionary positive
feedback loops at work, which are inherently destabilizing.
Miller hits exactly those kinds of questions in The Mating Mind,
not to explain why one culture is dominant, but rather why
the human species is so dominant over so many other lifeforms.

This should shed a great deal of light on the observation of
extropians and transhumanists: that the human species appears
to be heading toward a singularity. spike

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:43 MDT