Re: Is Eugenics Really A Bad Thing?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 16:45:30 MDT

Bryan Moss wrote:
> Encoding "big antlers" is more like encoding symphonies in
> heartbeats than encoding a heart, and to do that you have to
> know a lot about the heart and a lot about music. A useful
> mutation occurring within the brain (at that level) has to
> be at least several orders of magnitude less likely than in
> organs, limbs, and so on. (And impossible if you think the
> brain is just one big "pattern catcher".)

Well, it ain't just one big pattern-catcher. We *know* it isn't a big
pattern-catcher. Only social scientists locked in an ivory tower
seventy-eight light years away from the cognitive scientists and
neuroscientists still think that it's a big pattern-catcher. The
existence of instincts far more complex than big-antler-recognition is a
demonstrated fact.

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severely out of date with respect to modern cognitive science and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 would *strongly* recommend that you read the
article "The Psychological Foundations of Culture" in the book "The
Adapted Mind".

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.

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:33:55 MDT