Re: Evolution and stuff (was: Re: HTML: woes)

Michael Lorrey (
Sat, 14 Mar 1998 13:06:59 -0500

Erik Moeller wrote:

> >> Well, the nazis approved something *they* called assisted suicide. It was
> >> called Euthanasia.
> >and it was hardly voluntary. I would hardly call the way your socialist
> >buddies in china harvest organs from prisoners as 'assisted suicide' either.
> "My socialist buddies in China"? I don't know anyone there except one fellow
> who asked me if he could have the source code of my text2html converter. The
> description 'socialist' hardly fits here, though. It's a capitalist
> dictatorship with a red flag.

So it isn't free enterprise, right? Its an oligopoly. They claim to be
socialists as a general matter of propaganda, but so did the communists...
Nothing is really different with the minor exception that they don't shoot
foreign reporters as spies anymore.

> >> There are different conservative groups. One is the religous-right,
> >> Republican group. You're hardly part of that group. But there's also a
> group >> of technology freaks that argue based on ideas that were refuted a
> long time >> ago. I call this conservative. You call it Extropy.
> >You should look at the political arena as more of an x/y coordinate system,
> >rather than just a right left spectrum. One axis represents relative social
> >freedom, and the other represents relative economic freedom. While >American
> >conservatives occupy the high economic,low social freedom >corner, and nazis
> and >communists occupy the low economic, low social >freedom corner,
> libertarians >occupy the high, high corner, while the >international
> anarchists typically are >in the high social, low economic >corner.
> Freedom, freedom, freedom. I always hear freedom. As free decision is a
> myth, who is free? The perfect slave thinks he's free. Maybe the loan
> slavery in capitalist countries is just much more subtle to seize, together
> with the great media propaganda telling us how free we are compared to those
> poor, oppressed North Koreans, Chinese, Cubans, Vietnamese (the propaganda
> has, however, declined since 1991 and focused on other important issues like
> the evilness of Saddam Hussain and the Serbian atrocities.)

IMHO, only a moron takes a loan for anything that they can't get a higher rate
of return on than the loan interest rate. I pay cash for anything I need.
Freedom, in the words of a former US President, is "The right to choose between
working and starving." Additionally, as Steve Biko has said, "the most potent
weapon of the slavemaster is the mind of the slave."

Take Cuba for example. Its economy is now open to most of Europe and Canada, and
all the rest of the world who doesn't necessarily cowtow to US policies. Yet it
is still a shithole. The claims of high life expectancy are totally false, as
the government continues to repress and mismanage the economy which is now
dollar driven, not peso driven, and malnutirtion is still rampant, as the
pathetic agricultural sector has all but collapsed (with absolutely no help or
hindrance from the US), for it is still centrally driven by a bureaucracy that
still thinks along the lines of producing the maximum amount of sugar for export
to a now non-existent Soviet Union.

> The best definition of freedom probably comes from the anarcho-socialists.
> Not being oppressed by power structures while, at the same time, helping to
> advance evolution. Such a freedom is entirely impossible in a "free market".

Evolution of what? And how? You cannot create change without force and the use
of power. Human nature is wired against change, for the most part.

> >Categorizing me in with religiouys conservatives is as insulting as puttin
> an >anarchist in with Stalin. Please be more discrete in your definitions.
> You see, I have really lost the feeling for how people may react to certain
> sentences. I see parallels between Extropians and religous conservatives. As
> you say, they are mostly on the economic level. But decisions on this level
> determine the outlook of a society.
> >> >Not a bad analogy, but possibly more renaissance, depending on what
> >> >characteristics of the middle ages you are referring to. If you are
> talking
> >> >about free enterprise, low tax, self reliant, spirit of exploration and
> >> >adventure, then I wont argue.
> >>
> >> Spirit of exploration and adventure. ROTFL. A good way to describe the >>
> crusades in an advertising of the vatican.
> >A good way to describe the age of exploration, or of the Viking era. My own
> >family lived in Nova Scotia prior to Jamestown and the Mayflower, at least
> part >of the year.
> There are clues that the Phoenicians have reached America. The Romans
> circumvented Africa. They built better ships, had generally higher
> technology (besides the steam engine, electricity and their consequences,
> there's little they didn't have) , more social and economic freedom and a
> much higher standard of living than the Middle (AKA Dark) Ages could ever

ROTFL to you. Having 30% of the population in slavery is NOT 'more social and
economic freedom' (although to an avowed socialist, I can see why one might
think so). The Roman ships were decidedly NOT better built than the Caravels and
Galleons of the Middle ages, or of even the Viking ships. A Roman boat was
barely able to navigate the Mediterranean, and piracy was a scourge throughout
the empire that little was done to suppress, as pirates provided the main slave

>attain. On the other hand, the welfare of the empire was guaranteed by the

> emperors. If the money concentration got too big, they probably tried to
> redistribute it. Too bad they couldn't prevent it.

In the empire, 'bread and cicuses' were the only thing that kept the plebes in
check from revolting against the government. By 300 AD, 95% of the Roman legions
were not Citizens of Rome, but Barbarian conscripts. Members of the 'Senator'
class, the patricians, were legally forbidden to 'engage in commerce', could not
marry outside their class, and were more likely to cut deals with barbarian
hordes than to engage in battle, in the rare event that you actually got sons fo
patricians to follow the early Roman command to,"come home with your sheild or
on it". (Sounds kinda like the US Congress...)

> The Christians murdered millions, buried the knowledge of the Romans and
> maintained power (and stagnation) for nearly one millenium. The Dark Ages
> were the worst time this planet has ever gone through.

On the contrary, the Church was the only thing that preserved the knowledge of
the Romans. While the Empire was stagnant, the middle ages was not caused by
the church, but by the pillaging and destruction of the Mongol Hordes, the
Viking incursions, and the general migratory habits of the various tribes of
'barbarians' such as the Vandals, the Visigoths, the Angles, the Franks, etc.

> >I disagree, as the idea that the state has the right to use deadly force in
> >redistributing my property which they confiscate from me without due
> process or
> >proper Constitutional authority is not even worth discussing.
> Because you don't consider yourself as a part of the human community, but as
> an isolated being which has, for some strange reasons, the right to
> accumulate scarce goods and the currency necessary to acquire them.
> Accumulation of information, external sensors and memory, the transhuman
> 'properties' you described, is OK. But in today's world, the resources must
> be distributed equally in order to allow everyone to participate in the
> great game of life.

And who is gonna do that distributing, you? Sorry, in order for the transhuman
to become reality, it is gonna take individuals who amass sufficient wealth to
pay for the research for themselves, for the operations on themselves.
Redistributing hard earned wealth to people who didnt earn it is driving us down
the same 'bread and cicuses' path that the Roman Empire took.

> >And what is "non-transhumanist property" anyways? Just what you define it
> as, or
> >the state? Property is property. Whether it is "non-transhumanist" or not
> is
> >merely due to whether it is in the hands of a transhumanist or not. Nobody
> else
> >has the authority to decide otherwise.
> I said "non-transhuman property". By my definition, a transhuman is a being
> which has already transcended, and such a being does, according to my
> knowledge, not exist on this planet. We're still unconnected carbon bags
> filled with water. As such, we are all dependant on this planet's resources.
> Private property of goods and currency must not exist in an environment
> where goods are not reproducable.

Oh, so you are a spiritualist. Sorry, wrong list for you. A Transhuman is an
individual who decides to and undertakes the individual work necessary to move
beyond the common human state. There are already such transhumans around, and
most don't know that the label applies to them. People like Hawking, Freidman,
Dyson, Feynman, etc.

There is no fixed 'goalpost' to define a human vs. transhuman state. The human
race 100 years from now will consist mostly of people who we would today regard
as 'transhumans', but they would merely regard as 'human'. We would be seen as
barbarians. It is analogous to the experience of an individual falling into a
singularity. As the individual approaches what they thought was the 'event
horizon', that 'horizon' recedes further away. A singularity is perceived to
shrink as an observer gets closer to it, as the perceived event horizon shifts.

> >Really, funny, the native Americans might have something to say about the
> idea
> >that natural selection doesn't apply to cultural evolution, especially the
> dead
> >ones. So might the Nazis, the Communists, and today, the French, as their
> >uncompetetive little culture is getting overrun by Americanization (as most
> >other undynamic cultures are today). As tacky as you might think it is, the
> >current American Culture seems to presently be the most competetive culture
> in
> >current existence (Or North American culture, as a Canadian would say ;)).
> Of
> >course that could change, and if it does, we could all be eating tofu.....
> That's the failure, you know. The Americans didn't become a superpower
> because they were so clever. They've earned a golden nose with both World
> Wars, whereas the British Empire was eliminated as a superpower already
> after WW I. The German economy didn't fare so well after WW II because the
> politicians were so intelligent, but because it was greatly funded by the
> US.

Which, you must admit, is a far far different thing than winning a war, n'est
pas? When ever in human history has a victor so completely rebuilt a former
enemy (nay, three former enemies, Germany, Italy, and Japan) so that they become
less than 40 years after the war, economic rivals once again? This is the genius
of the generosity and magnanimity of what you call 'selfish, greedy, capitalist
Amerika'. Winning a mere war was not the trick. Winning the peace was.

> History could also look completely different, if, after WW I, Germany had
> decided to cooperate with Russia. Such a plan was made, by Weimar state
> secretary Rathenau. Remember the contract of Rapallo? It allowed the Germans
> to quit reparation payments and to build and test weapons in the SU.
> Unfortunately (probably), Rathenau was assassinated in 1922.

All that would have meant would be that the US would have come into the war
earlier on the side of Britain, and when we won, we would have also been able to
get the damn Soviet Union out of the way then rather than 50 years later.

> Unfortunately, Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC.
> Unfortunately, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.
> Unfortunately, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
> Unfortunately, Lee Harvey Oswald was assassinated two days later.
> Unfortunately, Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968.
> Unfortunately, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.

Who was saying something about crackpots..?

> I wouldn't call this kind of selection natural.
> Human history is a long row of bad coincidences, backstabbings and battles
> for power.
> Evolution is the survival of the lifeform which fits itself best into the
> environment. In cultural evolution, the environment is information,
> memetics, an ever-changing flux. Neither the better one nor the more
> unscrupulous one will win in the end -- the end is open. Makes things a
> little more exciting, doesn't it?

So you admit that cultural evolution is "a long row of bad coincidences,
backstabbings, and battle for power"? If this is so, why do you say that "power
structures need to end" for human evolution to occur?

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?