Re: [sl4] A model of RSI

From: Johnicholas Hines (
Date: Sat Sep 27 2008 - 07:30:59 MDT

On Sat, Sep 27, 2008 at 5:40 AM, Stuart Armstrong
<> wrote:
> We have controlled our evolution, to a fabulous degree: we've removed
> ourselves from it. Darwinian evolution is nearly irrelevant to the
> human species. Much of the cut-throat selective pressure has been
> removed.

What do you mean "we've removed ourselves from evolution"?
This is false.
People sometimes die or become sterile before having children.
People who do have children, have different numbers of children, and
start having children at different ages.
People sometimes go through life without finding a mate.
Evolution is happening now, and will continue to happen for as long as
these phenomena continue to occur.

> And the new selective pressures, culture and technology,
> change so fast that evolution doesn't have a chance to keep up.

The day/night cycle, the tides, and the random forces of weather, all
have natural timescales much shorter than human evolution. Evolution
doesn't have to "keep up" for a phenomenon to influence it. The
question is whether there is any common selective pressure at the
evolutionary timescale. I think it's very likely - we might be
selecting for adaptability, for example. Also, other humans have been
part of the human environment for a long time; parts of the brain
specializing in dealing with other humans are probably under plenty of
selective pressure.

> Unless something changes, the future of human "evolution" is by
> conscious searching and designing. Not by the processes of Darwinian
> evolution, which are essentially irrelevant to the debate.

I don't disagree with your conclusion, merely your reasoning.
A better line of reasoning would be:
Human Darwinian evolution is occurring now, but slowly.
I anticipate human genetic engineering on a large scale (and other
changes) before ten human generations go by. Therefore, the future of
human "evolution" is by conscious searching and designing.


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