Re: Evolutionary origin of wars

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sat Mar 27 2004 - 17:29:33 MST

At 06:11 PM 27/03/04 -0500, you wrote:
>>From: Keith Henson <>

Re this thread split from a snipped one by Yan King Yin.

I think the subject of understanding how humans minds operate (in the
service of genes) is significant this side of the singularity.

It is clear that in times of war what we consider normal human rational
thinking and behavior is badly degraded. The reasons for this are rooted
in our tribal evolutionary past and are not far from obvious to those up on
evolutionary psychology.

This relates to the primary subject of this list because our ability to
manage the creation of friendly AIs in peaceful times is difficult enough;
we don't need it to be any harder. Thus considering how to keep human
populations out of wars is at least marginally on topic.

There is another reason to understand the evolutionary origin of
psychological traits in evolved minds. One approach to AI is simulation of
natural minds. It would be a disaster to upload a bunch and have them make
war on the rest of us because we didn't understand how to keep them from
entering "war mode."

I am in complete agreement that debating the merits of contemporary
politics and events is off topic.

A discussion of our pervasive psychological traits rooted in our deep
evolutionary history might, however, make use of contemporary examples,
such as the forces behind the origin of meme sets that are the source of
highly disruptive recent events.

But if there is opposition to this general line of discussion here, it can
certainly be moved elsewhere.

Keith Henson

PS and sorry for not changing the subject line on my first response.

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