Re: Nature v. Nurture (was RE: Vicious Racism)

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sun Aug 26 2001 - 23:21:45 MDT

> Party of Citizens wrote:
> > Are there sound, scientific, a priori reasons for saying that there are no
> > race differences in intelligence due to nature-genetics? What are they?

While we get wrapped up in the debate of whether this group or
that group is smarter, we perhaps overlook the fact that aaaallll groups
of humans are faaaaarrr smarter than would be necessary for survival.
The interesting question is why. I had an idea that is a slight variation
of those notions found in Geoffrey Miller's The Mating Mind.

In that work, Miller suggests that humans became smart largely
because of mate selection, primarily from our choosing those mates
which could perform music and art, the human equivalent of the
peacock's tail. But perhaps it works the other way around.
What if: early humans began to select mates that had a large head
with respect to their bodies, since that feature would make them more
resemble infants. Or: big headed people were considered attractive
because they appeared juvenile. Consider the phrases "boyish
good looks" and "hey baby" etc.

So perhaps humans simply selected for big heads, not necessarily
smarts, therefore large brains were the result, not the driver.
Thence music, art, science, and all the rest followed from that
simple mechanism. The result was that humans, like the peacocks,
have heavy and costly sexual ornamentation that if anything
detracts from individual survival. Under that theory, any debate
about what subgroup of human is smartest loses all significance.

Where AI fits into this picture is mysterious to me. I suppose
after the singularity, we would need to see the rise of biological
intelligence as a form of preadaptation, analogous to when
protobirds developed feathers as a temperature regulation
mechanism. Perhaps the feathers became larger by mate
selection until the day they were first used for flight, at which
time everything changed, a singularity of sorts. spike

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