Re: Fwd: The Geek Syndrome

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sat Dec 15 2001 - 18:39:04 MST

On Sat, Dec 15, 2001 at 10:59:18PM -0200, Rafael Anschau wrote:
> >Evolution does not act on individuals, you are probably talking about
> >learning/adaptation. Which actually seems to be impaired in some
> Isn't evolution responsible for learning/adaptation ? I am aware of
> how evolution runs "one pop on the stack" behind us.

Evolution can be used in two senses, as 'change' and as 'biological
evolution'. The later is most common here on the list, although many
seem to like to use the first term often too.

Biological evolution is *a* learning process, and has produced the kinds
of learning our nervous system currently can do. But it is based on the
approach of "reproduce, vary, select" rather than the learning
strategies we commonly use (the closest would be trial and error, which
is really a kind of reinforcement learning with an internally generated
reinforcment signal).
> >respects in autism - placing autists in social situations does not
> >usually make them better, but rather makes them feel worse.
> I'm not talking about droping them at social situations. I'm talking about
> preparing simulations where they will feel the urge to evolve you mentioned:
> "Wow! I have missed something" After that, its all up to them.

Have you met an autist? They don't perceive themselves as missing
something. If people do not act as expected, the people are *wrong*.
People with Asperger's learn to understand that they are missing
something, and can consciously emulate the "thought-reading" most of us
do unconsciously every day.

> >But the real issue is: is mild autism disorders like Asperger something
> >we should try to fix in others?
> The ethos should be taken into account, but I'm not focusing on it.
> My interests are solely biology and evolution, and what they say is possible.
> The word fix was a poor choice. A better word, would be
> mutate/adapt/evolve/emerge, or simply
> change.

Researchers ignoring the ethos is what makes bioconservatives like Leon
Kass the bioethics advisor to the president rather than Max More. If you
only look at what is possible, and not what is desirable, somebody else
is going to define desirability for you. And that might be a person with
a very nasty agenda. I think transhumanism can play its most important
role by formulating a positive ethos of human change; we will not be the
central researchers, but we can give them the reasons and arguments they
need to defend and promote their research.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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