Quote note (#251)

From Niven and Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye (end Chapter 3):

“They used to teach us that evolution of intelligent being wasn’t possible,” she said. “Societies protect their weaker members. Civilizations tend to make wheel chairs and spectacles and hearing aids as soon as they have the tools for them. When a society makes war, the men generally have to pass a fitness test before they’re allowed to risk their lives. I suppose it helps win the war.” She smiled. “But it leaves precious little room for the survival of the fittest.” […] …
“You were saying about evolution?”
“It — it ought to be pretty well closed off for an intelligent species,” she said. “Species evolve to meet the environment. An intelligent species changes the environment to suit itself. As soon as a species becomes intelligent, it should stop evolving.”

It makes you think (or rather, the opposite). The original sin of intelligence — falling back in blind homeostatic antipathy against its own conditions of emergence — isn’t so hard to see.

May 18, 2016admin 36 Comments »


36 Responses to this entry

  • NRK Says:

    “Blind homeostatic antipathy against its own conditions of emergence” seems to be part of any given advantageous trait, as every trait is a response against adverse circumstances, and survives by being successfully antagonistic towards them. Squint a little, and you’ve got yourself an evolutionary account of Thanatos, the inertia of organic matter.
    But now that we’ve noticed the decelerationist tendencies of intelligence itself, just what is it that should be accelerated so it can break through the great filter?


    admin Reply:

    The last question is too good to rush.


    Brett Stevens Reply:

    Is this a tendency of intelligence, or of middle levels of intelligence?

    As far as I can tell, the last century was the 140-160s attempting restrain the 120s from destroying Western civilization, and failing.


    NRK Reply:

    If an agent were to deliberately produce conditions harsher than the ones that forged their own intelligence, in other words, engaging in an extremely self-destructive behaviour so that SOMEBODY ELSE will be even smarter (if the ensuing harshness doesn’t just kill everyone, that is), would you call that agent more intelligent than one who doesn’t do that?
    If no, then the deceleration in question is an inherent aspect of intelligence QUA A TRAIT OF BIOLOGICAL ORGANISMS.
    If yes, eh, what?


    TheDividualist Reply:


    Well, if Herzl can be believed, more like the 120:

    “our excessive production of MEDIOCRE intellects, who cannot find an outlet downwards or upwards — that is to say, no wholesome outlet in either direction. When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of all revolutionary parties, when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse”

    “At the same time we continue to produce an abundance of MEDIOCRE intellects who find no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now rapidly becoming Socialists. Hence we are certain to suffer very severely in the struggle between classes, bccause we stand in the most exposed position in the camps of both Socialists and capitalists.”

    Theodore Herzl: The Jewish State

    I would like to add that I find that type of person the most unbearable who sweats hard to signal his smarts, Hallq and PZ Myers being the best known online examples, and yes, they are usually quite liberal. And I tend to take this sweating the sign of a mediocre intellect. When I visited Lesswrong, it seemed that the truly bright can see through their own status-seeking and signalling already in the teenager age, seriously there were some 16 year olds who already figured just trying to show your are smarter than dad by challenging everything he says is not such a good idea. I think the 140-160 do see through smart-signalling and see its destructivitity.

    I do find it likely there is something like an uncanny valley of destructive intelligence around 120, that both below and above people tend to have healthier attitudes. Either be stupid enough to not value smartness enough to signal it, or be smart enough to realize signalling it in harmful ways is not such a good idea.


    Brett Stevens Reply:

    Related to this:

    Nature does not deal in absolutes, but in cycles, and those are not defined in laboratory terms, but by their contexts.

    Humans probably have an optimal intelligence range that peaks at halfway above 160. Beyond that, there are few advantages; further, following the standard distribution, only a brain’s worth of people will possess it, while most of the rest will be muscle, guts, heart, feet, etc.

    This is the reason for the object of your (excellent) observation:

    I do find it likely there is something like an uncanny valley of destructive intelligence around 120, that both below and above people tend to have healthier attitudes.

    This is the equivalent of the sophomore year in college: knows enough to know nothing well enough to fully know it and thus know its implications, but still feels that — because they can grasp the basics, or “see” the issues — they are masters of the subject.

    “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    There is truth in these as well. As always, well-stated on your part.

    michael Reply:

    Helping the handicapped is done for selfish [from DNA perspective] reason with extra resources as a plan Z having already fulfilled plans A [ me myself and I] through plans Y of next closest copies of MMI. The problem is not suicidal altruism its information overload otherwise known as not enough intelligence. If theres a problem its that wealth exceeds the capacity to keep track of it so plan F resources are spent on plan Z.But this cant lead to an idiocracy. even niggers have to devise better ways of gaming welfare and The cathedral better ways of stopping them its not optimized its a huge fucking waste and a war to end all altruism may have to come to pass before newfoundland fishermen resume western civilization but eventually we will outgrow traits that no longer serve us and quickly those that harm us.
    BTW its not only overcoming obstacles its capitalizing on opportunities faggotry is an opportunity to be exploited be non fags.


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 6:19 am Reply | Quote
  • cyborg_nomade Says:

    Greer said something about this as well, in his Cimmerian Hypothesis. Civilized societies shield themselves from the environment, thus losing track of environmental changes. eventually reality catches up and there goes Rome.

    but I don’t think abstract intelligence per se goes away with each civilization. every new intelligent society builds up from the previous ones, both culturally and genetically. given enough time, intelligence optimization keeps going in spite of temporary failure. order may be fragile, but it reoccurs regularly.


    michael Reply:

    Yes of course at first organisms respond to natural environment, intelligence allows for culture as synthetic environment to pressure selection even more than nature, eventually crispr. but theres lag and overlap that help and hinder,learning to make fire is not a trait but a skill monkeys cant do it and humans will always figure it out again.setting your culture to make too many cripples and niggers and not enough Lands and Musks might crash it but it will come back.Commies today are into optimizing just enough cripples and niggers they dont want to crash it but they might anyway, not being Lands and Musks. While rebooting might be fine for a different millennial generation this boomer wants to not waste a thousand years so thinks muh collapse a stupid plan, and your cathedral or your life a better idea.string theory and gordian knots


    cyborg_nomade Reply:

    collapse is not quite something to defend or oppose (nothing really is, but we’re monkeys). you plan for it, as Greer puts it, to avoid the rush when it gets clear it’s inevitable.

    but the thing is, if reality rules, stupidity dies, hence abstract intelligence optimizes as a matter of necessity. if it takes longer, too bad for those extinct, but it by necessity *had* to take longer.

    the rise and fall of civilizations is only different this time because capitalism is a turning point in the whole thing, a runaway feedback loop, and short of an energetic collapse, it will only accelerate capital autonomation. as a millennials left-wing accelerations agorist, all I hope to see happening is ever more interesting options for synthesis. otherwise, it’s extinction all the way down.


    michael Reply:

    I added a hydrogen elecrtrolyzer to my hydroelectric system almost 20 years ago i have planned for it.Id be really surprised if anyone else in the reacto sphere as done anything other than move to commie china in preparation and good luck with that when the farm boys in idaho are no longer aiming ICBMs at china.capitalism isnt the problem or the solution I was reading Ayn Rand when you were in shorts and knee socks, communism would only produce a 1990s eastern europe collapse but neo communism is race redistribution and that you dont recover from.And when faced with sure destruction you fight no matter how long the odds because they are the only odds you have. The odds are approaching zero yet solutions that would take decades to hundreds of years are proposed. This is faggotry. Sure I can see tech big data and capitalism replace government an app for sanitation education and security relegating government to obscurity disarming politics. But we dont have the time the bio weapons the cathedrals rushing to infect us with and the technological head start the cathedral has will make those things beside the point. .Today they could censor the internet declare martial law,blackmail a president or any one in their way, there is essentially nothing they couldnt get away with even now in another ten years its over and even if not what point is all the tech in the world with a 90 percent nigger population if you seriously thing you are going to rule over planet of the apes your as crazy as Davos. There is a tiny window here to buy time.

    cyborg_nomade Reply:

    I certainly don’t want to rule over anybody. much less apes.

    of course people can fight, that’s what humans do, after all. but I think we have two fundamental disagreements: I’m a leftist, so I don’t see any of the catastrophe you see with fear. that was the plan all along. and I’m an accelestionist, so whatever is going on, my will is that it goes faster.

    if it horrifies, it’s because life is horror.

    cyborg_nomade Reply:

    with all due respect for the generational gap. certainly you look at this position as reckless and irresponsible, typical of the youth, dangerous to society.

    in which you would be rather right.

    Tentaive Joiner Reply:

    A civilization that produces not just substantially more Musks but substantially more Lands would be a interesting one indeed. Unlike purely more-Musk civilizations, the more-Musk-more-Land type is underexplored in science fiction. (Or so it seems. I would love to be proven wrong.)

    You can almost see it as an antagonist in a Yudkowsky serial, a threatening presence perceived as likely to tile over the universe with occult symbols drawn on a nanometer scale.


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 10:16 am Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    The original sin of intelligence — falling back in blind homeostatic antipathy against its own conditions of emergence — isn’t so hard to see.

    Not just fear of death, but fear of insufficiency. Like The Right Stuff inverted.


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 2:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    Deflation follows a recession and is confused for causing it. Virtue precedes a war is confused for being caused by it.


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 4:57 pm Reply | Quote
  • Jefferson Says:

    I’m sorry if this is tautological, but wasn’t agriculture the environmental stimulus for selection for intelligence? Certainly Ashkenazi and Han selection for intelligence came in environments that sprang beyond malthusian agricultural selection pressure. Stephen Hawking makes something of an argument against the premise that wheelchairs are dysgenic…


    michael Reply:

    plan Z pays off one in a while

    Agriculture environmental stimulus for intelligence isnt that putting the plow before the horse.

    Intelligence is the stimulus for intelligence which is a no brainer around here no doubt but that doesnt also mean its destined to rule the universe just not the worst bet. bad evolutionary choices create as much opportunity as destruction the whole point jeeze and a bad choice is not a sign of too much rather too little IQ. A better case is is there too much altruism and faggotry that will nulify intelligence. but I think the tests will show theres not put any SJW on an island [ probably have this on TV] and they will exploit faggotry and altruism and trianguilate any other outdated trait monkey biz they can through intelligence.why dont they do it in real life? BAD ELITE LEADERSHIP NOT RUNNING THE NUMBERS


    Jefferson Reply:

    So all life forms that gain advantage from intelligence will select for it until it hits the wall? More intelligence means more effective holiness signaling. It has always been this way in the West, where existential threats were licked ~1300 years ago at Tours.

    NRx is just holiness signaling for high IQ straight white guys whose inherent unholiness is so glaring we have no other recourse.


    michael Reply:

    Holiness is whatever youre told it is its a separate trit from intel intel is an additive. the nazis were holiness signaling


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 5:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • bob sykes Says:

    Niven and Pournelle, and some commenters, don’t quite undertand evolution. Civilization creates a new environment and new selection pressures that select for new genotypes. Evolution never stops. West Hunter has a number of posts on this.


    Seth Largo Reply:

    Right. At certain points, NRx philosophizing becomes incommensurable with HBD empiricism, and at each of those points, I have to part way with the former.

    That said, admin’s point is easily abstracted away from the precise formulation given in the quote. Leaving evolution aside, one can still successfully argue that sites of intelligence accumulation (and capital accumulation) seem to have a strange knack for setting barriers that, once reached, induce self-inflicted entropy.


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 5:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dave Says:

    Civilization is always and everywhere dysgenic, because it allows idiots to survive and reproduce, ultimately taking over and collapsing that civilization.

    The good news is that barbarism must therefore be eugenic, or intelligence never could have evolved in the first place.


    Aeroguy Reply:

    Not quite that easy, ice ages are harsh and defined hominid evolution. There’s also the latitude sweet spots for building low time preference. Homo Sapiens Sapiens was around during the last interglacial warm period which lasted 131–114 thousand years ago, but it was as soon as the most recent ice age started ending that civilizations immediately cropped up.


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 6:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    ‘An intelligent species changes the environment to suit itself. As soon as a species becomes intelligent, it should stop evolving.’

    by that definition, we have nothing to worry about. because ‘intelligent species changes the environment to suit itself’, we do exactly an opposite. Electromagnetic field around modern humans increased thousand times. humans continuing evolving by dying from cancer in early age. those with stronger immune system will pass their genes, to future generations.


    michael Reply:

    genes take longer to come and go than synthetic environments some traits no longer serve


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 6:59 pm Reply | Quote
  • cryptonymous bill Says:

    Babel is the scriptural parallel that most suggests itself.


    Jefferson Reply:

    I’ll take Eden as the most appropriate reference point. We have infinite comfort, the ability to discern true and false, but have lost the capacity to identify right and wrong.


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 8:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • ||||| Says:

    Don’t anthropomorphize intelligence, it can accomplish much independently of intellect’s foolish desires, dragging us kicking and screaming along.

    Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi.

    Evolvability Is Inevitable: Increasing Evolvability without the Pressure to Adapt

    Which isn’t to say there are no real threats to intelligence (hypermasculinity comes to mind), but I don’t think this is one. More of a local tangle than a global threat unless something really special happens.


    Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 9:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • Cuckoo Snatcher Says:

    Nietzsche in speculated that the intelligence would reach a peak and then a downward slide would follow, precisely on account of the fact that genius changes the world:

    “Perhaps the production of genius is reserved to only a limited period in the life of mankind. For one cannot expect of the future of mankind that it will produce all at the same time things which required for their production quite definite conditions belonging to some period or other of the past; we cannot, for example, expect to see the astonishing effects of the religious feeling. This itself has had its time and many very good things can never thrive again because it was only out of it they could grow. Thus there will never again be a life and culture bounded by a religiously determined horizon. Perhaps even the type of the saint is possible only with a certain narrowness of intellect which, as it seems, is now done with for all future time. And thus the high point of intelligence has perhaps been reserved for a single age of mankind: it appeared- and continues to appear, for we are still living in this age- when an extraordinary, long accumulated energy of will exceptionally transferred itself through inheritance to spiritual goals. This high point will be past when that wildness and energy have ceased to be cultivated. Perhaps mankind will approach closer to its actual goals at the middle of its way, in the mid-period of its existence, than at its end.”

    In the next passage Nietzsche proposes that the comfortable state created by socialism, or for our purposes, created by technology, will destroy the conditions for the intellect to flourish and advance itself.


    michael Reply:

    traits dont disappear so quickly the religious urge is obviously a trait. One thing MM is right about is leftism is religious regardless of whether its descended from protestants jews etc. The life of the saint is the life of the SJW all leftists values essentially religious because they cant be defended as rational, sure excess resources after plans A through Y for cripples can be defended ratinally but thats not their defense they want to distribute the resources from Z through A thats religious. But its only one religion theirs, the religious trait is universal the Nazis are a religion as were the blood sacrifices some are constructive other not others so so but religion is a social binder and anti fear drug,and selected for such a purposes. It may never again be possible to get humans to believe in a God [ though i doubt this] because science reason; but the trait remains to be used for other purposes until crispr. Intelligence didnt spring from religion it sprung from necessity from stupidity. Stupidity wont kill intelligence as in post it will only redirect it. But intelligence might kill intelligence say AI makes our thinking superfluous. To say intelligence selcts for cripples and niggers is intelligence selecting for stupid death is stupid thats not intelligence thats selecting for cripples and niggers thats stupidity which will only breed more intelligence. Look around you the intelligence you see in DENRX is bred by stupidly selecting for niggers and crips.


    R. Reply:

    Nietzsche couldn’t imagine genetic engineering, or cloning.


    Posted on May 19th, 2016 at 12:36 am Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    selective pressure to adapt is not the only factor what drive evolution. there is some more, without much of pressure

    ‘One of the apparent generalizations that can be drawn from knowledge of Earth life is that lateral gene transfer is an ancient and efficient mechanism for rapidly creating diversity and complexity. The unity of biochemistry among all Earth’s organisms emphasizes the ability of organisms to interact with other organisms to form coevolving communities, to acquire and transmit new genes, to use old genes in new ways, to exploit new habitats, and, most important, to evolve mechanisms to help to control their own evolution. Those characteristics are likely to be present in extraterrestrial life even if it has had a separate origin and a very different unified biochemistry from that of Earth life.’

    The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems. 2007

    great book btw


    Posted on May 19th, 2016 at 2:15 am Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:


    As Plato and Schopenhauer note, cause/effect confusion is the root of all human cognitive problems.


    Posted on May 20th, 2016 at 12:59 pm Reply | Quote
  • T. Kekkonen Says:

    Sho’tip: you can be pro-eugenics without being a cunt. What edgelords would consider compromise is actually *the most eugenic* option: because nobody wants to live in a cruel, cannibalistic society, and so the smart people will leave. Look at how the Chinese rich flee that nightmare land.

    There’s a middle path between stoning cripples to death and paying retards to breed. Sometimes you smart folk are too intelligent to see the stupidly obvious.


    Posted on May 21st, 2016 at 4:59 am Reply | Quote
  • Outliers (#6) Says:

    […] fraud (as usual). IQ wars. Google Red. Racist rhinos. Doubt. Job inversion. Lawlessness. Breakdown. Indeed. Proposition […]

    Posted on May 22nd, 2016 at 5:02 am Reply | Quote

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