Re: DNA vs Freewill(was: Plea (was ExI: Cognitive Extropians)
Thu, 23 Jan 1997 20:40:59 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 97-01-21 18:06:39 EST, DLC writes:

> << Evolution is over. I'm in charge now. My genes have made the fatal
> mistake of building a survival machine that is more powerful than them,
> and giving it free will. >>

> How has free will been proven to overcome evolution already? When did this
> happen? Isnt this a bit of a "controversial " statement?

<<How can it be otherwise? You are free to choose not to breed,
aren't you?

That is not free will , that is birthcontrol, I am "free to choose " to
abstain, also, but evolution (instincts) will ensure that i feel deprived,
It was the INVENTION of birth control that changed things for me, and the
gradual EVOLUTION of society into where I could have (some) value in society
without being a mother or wife.
Until then,freewill exercised in those directions was hardly a fun endeavor,
and could have in some times, branded me a heretic.

>>That alone changes things.

Since it is technology (birth control) which I attribute to the change,
does play apart, but on a level of, like, a third abstraction.
We have freewill, so we desire sex without consequences, so someone invents a
way around it, and then society evolves to meet that challenge....

<< My particular expression
of the idea is perhaps a bit rhetorical, but the fact it represents
is inevitable. >>.

I thought maybe it was an overstatement, or a projection...

<< The processes that lead to our creation will
continue, but the fundamental replicator unit is no longer a piece
of DNA, because I've discovered it, and I can choose not to carry
it into the next generation if I want.

That is not being in CHARGE of you DNA, that is HALTING it.

> I would love to think that i can, by free will alone, make myself live
> indefinetely...
> hmm...

<<Certainly not. Reality is still a constraint. But you can use free
will to overcome your natural urges to breed, or to encourage others
to do the same. Therefore, the mental processes that lead to our
choices to propogate (I use that term instead of "breed" because the
latter implies biological propogation only) are the replicators from
now on, not our DNA.>>

Mental processes, including freewill , are still caused by deterministic
brain processes. Unless you are hinting at some mystical unkown force,
outside physical laws.

<<The process of natural evolution is simply a mathematical consequence
of duplication, mutation, and competition. It is inevitable, and will
continue. What changes, though, are the entities upon which it works.
For this period of Earth's history, it has been little chunks of DNA.
From now on, since we have free will, it will be little chunks of

[ I like that metaphor, DL]

<<Of course, DNA will continue in other non-free species,
and other replicators may be discovered as well. But for /us/, we
no longer slavishly serve DNA.>>

I see your point.
i apologize for mistaking you for passive optimism.
To -that- extent one is "in charge" now.

(Unless you are being controlled by your subconscious even right now, and are
saying all this because you are emotionally repressed ; )

When one says one's in charge now, one means we can, TODAY, chose what
aspects of your present evoulutionary state we will (or will not) adhere to,
we can't avoid this, since we were made by evolving. And changing the
physical constraints ( like longevity, intelligence, physical limitations )
is apainfully slow process, even with free will.... even with technology...

Still the constraints have to be challenged, and breakthroughs, like the
Singularity, ie: changing "physical" or "hardwired" part of our evolution
(chemicals, brain implants, genetics, whatever) must be set in motion if we
are to really overcome evolution and genetics.

_ Nadia

No more death, no more taxes!