Re: Diaspora, the future of AI & value systems, etc.

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Dec 12 2000 - 23:23:58 MST

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> Gordon Worley wrote:
> >
> > Why a gene? How are genes afraid? From the gene research I've read,
> > all that genes have been proven to determine is physical traits, not
> > natural behavior.
> The behaviorist fallacy to which you refer is a known but still-popular
> myth started by social "soft" scientists in the decades before
> evolutionary psychology. Please also note that I am not talking about the
> variance between humans, but the species invariants that hold true for all
> humans, as they do not hold true for all chimpanzees or all songbirds.
> I strongly recommend "The Psychological Foundations of Culture" by
> Cosmides and Tooby, in "The Adapted Mind" edited by Barkow, Cosmides, and
> Tooby, to clear up any lingering misconceptions about the flow of
> causality between individual minds, memes, adaptations, environmental
> variances, and selection pressures in the ancestral environment.

Incidentally, "known myth" is very strong language, especially about a
meme that still hasn't been completely wiped out, so let me clarify: "The
Psychological Foundations of Culture", in addition to laying out the
present-day integrated perspective, also reviews the systematic bias and
flawed experiments that supported the generalist fallacy, all the way back
to Margaret Mead's distortions of her findings in Samoa. (Margaret Mead
was previously regarded as a saint of the social sciences, but later
anthropological investigation revealed that her key findings were spun
almost entirely out of thin air and her own prejudices.) So when I say
"known myth", I am not just talking about a bad hypothesis, I am talking
about a systematic ideology that was milked for political consequences and
was later found to have manufactured evidence to support itself.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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