Re: Is Eugenics Really A Bad Thing?

From: Bryan Moss (
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 19:13:54 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> If "one big pattern catcher" sounds remotely plausible,
> then you're severely out of date with respect to modern
> cognitive science and evolutionary psychology.

I've always been somewhere between bottom-up and top-down; I
don't think of the brain as "one big pattern catcher" but I
don't think it's "Cyc + natural selection" either.

> Furthermore - although this statement is my own personal
> opinion, and not experimentally verified fact - I disagree
> with your position that useful mutations are less likely
> to occur within the brain. The brain is adaptive. The
> brain is self-repairing. The brain is self-programming.
> The brain has a logic that proteins, organs, and tissues
> don't. I would expect useful mutations to be an order of
> magnitude more likely within the brain.

Yes, but doesn't your position suggest a more homogeneous
brain, which seems at odds with pre-wired instincts? This
is the problem I see: there's a trade off between
specificity and constraint on the one hand and generality
and adaptability on the other hand. That is, I can either
have a "fragile" brain where I can make specific changes, or
a flexible brain where I can only make very general changes.
(I tend to think of Cyc and "pattern catchers" as being
opposite extremes in this spectrum.)


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