Posts Tagged ‘Darwin’

Quote note (#288)

James Lovelock stirs things up in The Guardian:

… The most sensible energy solution would be to cover 100 sq miles of the Sahara in solar panels. “It would supply the whole of Europe with all the energy they needed,” but it won’t happen “because it would be so easy for terrorists to go and bugger it up”. So for now, nuclear energy is the only viable option. […] But all this, he clarifies cheerfully, is more or less academic. “Because quite soon – before we’ve reached the end of this century, even – I think that what people call robots will have taken over.” Robots will rule the world? “Well, yes. They’ll be in charge.” In charge of us? “Yes, if we’re still here. Whether they’ll have taken over peacefully or otherwise, I have no idea.” […] … when Lovelock outlines this vision, his tone is so matter-of-fact that for a moment I wonder if he’s joking. He isn’t. “We’re already happily letting computers design themselves. This has been going on for some time now, particularly with chips, and it’s not going to be long before that’s out of our hands, and we’ll be standing aside and saying, ‘Oh well, it’s doing a good job designing itself, let’s encourage it.’” Computers will develop independent volition and intuition (“To some extent, they already have”) and become capable of reproducing themselves, and of evolving. “Oh yes, that’s crucial. We’ll have a world where Darwin’s working.” Darwinism doesn’t work now? “Oh no, we’ve temporarily turned Darwinism backwards. I mean, we preserve the ones that would not have survived.” […] He pauses, and adds quickly: “Don’t let’s get dangerous on this one. I don’t want this appearing in the Guardian that he just wants all the dumb and the lowlifes wiped out.” …

October 2, 2016admin 24 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Trends
TAGGED WITH : , ,

Quote note (#266)

It is surely a crucial (and inadequately acknowledged) feature of Darwin’s The Origin of Species that its point of departure is artificial selection, which might also be described as primordial technology, or the foundation of material civilization. Natural selection acquires definition through comparison with the (predominantly unconscious) process of domestication, or cultivation. This is the transitional paragraph (from Chapter IV):

As man can produce, and certainly has produced, a great result by his methodical and unconscious means of selection, what may not natural selection effect? Man can act only on external and visible characters: Nature, if I many be allowed to personify the natural preservation or survival of the fittest, cares nothing for appearances, except in so far as they are useful to any being. She can act on every internal organ, on every shade of constitutional difference, on the whole machinery of life. Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends. Every selected character is fully exercised by her, as is implied by the fact of their selection. Man keeps the natives of many climates in the same country; he seldom exercises each selected character in some peculiar and fitting manner; he feeds a long- and short-beaked pigeon on the same food; he does not exercise a long-backed or long-legged quadruped in any peculiar manner; he exposes sheep with long and short wool to the same climate. He does not allow the most vigorous males to struggle for the females. He does not rigidly destroy all inferior animals, but protects during each varying season, as far as lies in his power, all his productions. He often begins his selection from some half-monstrous form; or at least by some modification prominent enough to catch the eye or to be plainly useful to him. Under Nature, the slightest difference of structure or constitution may well turn the nicely balanced scale in the struggle for life, and so be preserved. How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of man! how short his time! and consequently how poor will be his results, compared with those accumulated by Nature during whole geological periods! Can we wonder, then, that Natures productions should be far “truer” in character than man’s productions; that they should be infinitely better adapted to the most complex conditions of life, and should plainly bear the stamp of far higher workmanship?

July 10, 2016admin 22 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Events
TAGGED WITH : , , ,

The Sex Trap

More malignant cybernetics, this time outlined by Janet L Factor in a brilliant essay at Quillette. The basic grinder:

Because the human population sex ratio is normally 50/50, when one man takes on an extra wife, another man is deprived of the opportunity to have one at all. So if just one man in ten takes a single extra wife, a very modest degree of polygyny, that means fully 10% of men are shut out of the marriage market entirely. This sets off a mad scramble among young men not to end up in that unfortunate bottom 10%. There, the options for obtaining sex (at least with a woman) are reduced to two: subterfuge or rape.

Now, think about the reproductive numbers. Say a woman can be expected to successfully raise ten children in her lifetime. But a man can have that 10 times the number of wives (or concubines) he obtains. What does this mean for parental investment? Parents can hope for only a small number of grandchildren from daughters, but a large number from sons. Selection will favor parents who favor sons by granting them the means necessary to obtain wives. Daughters will suffer neglect; some desperate man will likely take them anyway.

In fact, the reality is even worse than this, because the relatively low biological value of daughters encourages female infanticide. So the number of women available for marriage actually becomes less than that of men even in theoretical terms, yet the number of children each of them can have does not increase. It’s a vicious circle that escalates sexual conflict — a trap.

Gnon’s sense of humor is not always easy to appreciate.

(Previous harsh trap-circuits at XS here, and here.)

January 13, 2016admin 55 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Circuits
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

Sentences (#30)

The latest contribution to an unmistakable realist trend:

any attempt to understand morality, politics, economics or business without reference to evolutionary biology is ridiculous.

(The short Spectator article is plugging this website, which I’m not hugely familiar with yet, but since it has pieces by W. Brian Arthur and Jonathan Haidt there, it has to be worth a look.)

ADDED: HBD Chick thinks there’s something in the water.

November 9, 2015admin 19 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
TAGGED WITH : ,

Wikipedia

Awkward personal confession moment: I appreciate Wikipedia a lot. OK, it isn’t the Antiversity, but then, on the positive side, it exists.

Here are three Wikipedia articles dropped in the Outsideness TL very recently (with footnotes stripped out):

Universal Darwinism (via): “Universal Darwinism (also known as generalized Darwinism, universal selection theory, or Darwinian metaphysics) refers to a variety of approaches that extend the theory of Darwinism beyond its original domain of biological evolution on Earth. Universal Darwinism aims to formulate a generalized version of the mechanisms of variation, selection and heredity proposed by Charles Darwin, so that they can apply to explain evolution in a wide variety of other domains, including psychology, economics, culture, medicine, computer science and physics. …”

Galton’s problem (via): “Galton’s problem, named after Sir Francis Galton, is the problem of drawing inferences from cross-cultural data, due to the statistical phenomenon now called autocorrelation. The problem is now recognized as a general one that applies to all nonexperimental studies and to experimental design as well. It is most simply described as the problem of external dependencies in making statistical estimates when the elements sampled are not statistically independent. Asking two people in the same household whether they watch TV, for example, does not give you statistically independent answers. The sample size, n, for independent observations in this case is one, not two. Once proper adjustments are made that deal with external dependencies, then the axioms of probability theory concerning statistical independence will apply. These axioms are important for deriving measures of variance, for example, or tests of statistical significance. …”

Toba catastrophe theory (via): “The Toba supereruption was a supervolcanic eruption that occurred some time between 69,000 and 77,000 years ago at the site of present-day Lake Toba (Sumatra, Indonesia). It is one of the Earth‘s largest known eruptions. The Toba catastrophe hypothesis holds that this event caused a global volcanic winter of 6–10 years and possibly a 1,000-year-long cooling episode. …”

September 19, 2015admin 15 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Media
TAGGED WITH : , , , , ,

Hell-Baked

There’s a potential prologue to this post that I’m reluctant to be distracted by. It’s introvertedly about NRx, as a cultural mutation, and the way this is defined by a strategic — or merely ornery — indifference to deeply-settled modes of ethico-political condemnation. Terms designed as pathblockers — ‘fascist’ or ‘racist’ most obviously — are stepped over, perhaps laughed at, but in any case, and most importantly, exposed as bearers of a religious terror. They are signs of a control regime, marking the unthinkable wastes where be dragons, effective precisely insofar as they cannot be entertained. ‘Satanic’ was once such a word (before it became a joke). These words cannot be understood except as invocations of the sacred, in its negative, or limitative role.

Is NRx in fact fascist? Not remotely. It is probably, in reality rather than self-estimation, the least fascistic current of political philosophy presently in existence, although this requires a minimal comprehension of what fascism actually is, which the word itself in its contemporary usage is designed to obstruct. Is NRx racist? Probably. The term is so entirely plastic in the service of those who utilize it that it is difficult, with any real clarity, to say.

What NRx most definitely is, at least in the firm opinion of this blog, is Social Darwinist. When this term is hurled at NRx as a negative epithet, it is nor a cause for stoic resignation, stiffened by humor, but rather for grim delight. Of course, this term is culturally processed — thought through — no more competently than those previously noted. It is our task to do this.

Continue Reading

July 17, 2015admin 75 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Horror
TAGGED WITH : , , ,

Rhizomes

After the counter-revolution, when the most ludicrous Lysenkoists have been cast down from power, it will be necessary to undertake a scrupulous examination of horizontal genetic transfer. Among the stream of data received from Existoon on the topic, this line of inquiry is definitely notable. The phenomenon in question is introduced well here:

Within our bodies resides a dynamic population of microbes forming a symbiotic super-organism with whom we have co-evolved. Recent investigations indicate that these microbes majorly impact on cognitive function and fundamental behavior patterns, such as social interaction and stress management. The collective microbiome comprises a myriad of bacteria of approximately 10^14 cells, containing 100 times the number of genes of the human genome. Despite evolution of this microbiome for 500 million years, only recent advances in sequencing technology have allowed us to appreciate the full complexity of the host–microbe interrelationship. The gut microbiota is a highly developed organ of immense metabolic complexity and has approximately the same weight as the human brain. It is now clear that the gut microbiota plays a key role in the life and health of the host by protecting against pathogens, metabolizing dietary nutrients and drugs, and influencing the absorption and distribution of dietary fat. However, the influence of the microbiota extends beyond the gastrointestinal tract, playing a major role in the development and functioning of the central nervous system (CNS). Among the many substances produced by the gut microbiota are key central neurotransmitters whose influence extends beyond the enteric nervous system to the brain. [See original for references.]

Under present cultural conditions, in which the imperatives for wishful thinking — and even raw, institutionally mandated dishonesty — are so extraordinary, I doubt that significant cognitive resources can be spared from the primary task of defending basic Darwinism against the aggressions of Cathedral religious ideology. That does not mean the rhizomatic (lateral-reticulated) model has been addressed with any detailed adequacy, but only that, in a ruined culture, its time has not yet come. Perhaps the Chinese can get on with it in the interim …

ADDED: Contagious insanity (via).

April 17, 2015admin 7 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos
TAGGED WITH : , ,

Dark Darwin

If this isn’t the best thing Sailer has ever written, it’s right up there, close to the summit.

Darwin’s ascension in recent decades to his current role as the saint of secularism might raise obvious questions about liberal dogmas, such as the impossibility of hereditary differences having evolved among human races. But those seldom come up, because progressivism has evolved a bizarre yet apparently reassuring theodicy reminiscent of Zoroastrian dualism, in which Ahura Mazda represents all that is good and Angra Mainyu all that is bad. […] Similarly, Charles Darwin has come to epitomize everything that a proper progressive should believe, while Darwin’s younger half-cousin Francis Galton embodies crimethink.

The stream of thoughts and information that then flows from this initial insight is truly remarkable.

March 4, 2015admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :History
TAGGED WITH : , , ,

Coldness

‘Coincidentally’ a number of seemingly unrelated social media stimuli have conspired to recall this today:

Political Triangle

Note: “Politics closest to me” comes from the original creator of this diagram (I’m still not sure who that is). The politics closest to me are located in the top right corner of the gray box, where it disappears into the blackness of the Outside.

Continue Reading

February 13, 2015admin 18 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos
TAGGED WITH : , , ,

The Gnonion

Bryce found this superb thing. A sample (but don’t miss out on the rest):

EARTH — In a seemingly unstoppable cycle of carnage that has become tragically commonplace throughout the biosphere, sources confirmed this morning that natural selection has killed an estimated 38 quadrillion organisms in its bloodiest day yet. […] “What we’re seeing here is the work of a hardened, practiced killer,” said Yale University evolutionary biologist Richard Prum … “It is painfully clear this slaughter was perpetrated by a force that holds zero regard for the value of life” …

In what many are calling its most grotesque tactic, the killer appeared to single out the most vulnerable organisms — particularly the young and the physically weak — for its murderous rampage, slaughtering them without mercy as other members of their species fled in panic. Reports indicated those who escaped the carnage were left with no choice but to try to move on with their lives and survive even as the ruthless killer continued stalking them. […] Virtually no species was unaffected by yesterday’s killing spree, experts stated. […] “This is the work of a killer without empathy, without conscience,” said Jyotsna Ramjee, a University of Calcutta zoologist who confirmed that the day’s death toll was the largest on official records dating back to 1859, when the perpetrator was first identified.

January 30, 2015admin 12 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Humor
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,