Re: Final draft of my philosophical platform now on line

From: Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Aug 17 2004 - 01:02:02 MDT

Keith Henson wrote:
> PS. Wars are *adaptive* for hunter gatherer societies. That does not
> make necessarily make wars adaptive to later societies.

I am not sure this follows from the fact that hunter-gatherer societies
war. It could be the equivalent of a mutual defection in the Prisoner's
Dilemma; not adaptive when compared to mutual cooperation, but still a Nash

I do not find convincing, as words on paper, the argument that the losing
tribe's women and children would be absorbed and that this is preferable to
mutual starvation. I want to see a mathematical model describing the
necessary conditions for this, or a study of reproductive outcomes in
hunter-gatherer tribes. There is no obvious genetic reason for a tribe to
adopt male children, and as I recall my childhood Torah studies, "God" told
the Israelites to kill off all conquered tribesfolk except virgin girls.
That's not many surviving genes.

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

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