Another shot at the topic 01/23/19.
All through human history, people have tried to organize knowledge to gain understanding of themselves, their world and their Gods. When they have figured out something that seemed really really important, they would call it a Natural Law. There is one main problem with Natural Laws. Mostly they are wishful thinking and almost all of them have been proven as false as the belief that the heavens revolve around the Earth. There are actually some Natural Laws, but most of what have been called Natural Laws were clearly human laws or laws attributed to Gods. There is usually some serious self interest involved.
There clearly do seem to be at least some natural laws that are very familiar. They mostly come from physics and other sciences though, such as the three laws of thermodynamics or the laws of motion or electricity or gravity. It says something that more often natural laws made by humans are given more respect, but again I think that has much to do with self interest.
I figured that there had to be some natural laws associated with Mr. Darwin's work, but only one is obvious. Life is about survival in the evolutionary sense. We've all heard the comment by Mr. Darwin's cousin ### about "survival of the fittest". If you are a student of biology, you were taught early about the problem that no one knows what "the fittest" means other than anything that survives is defined as fit. It's a tautology, sort of a self defining bit of logic and so is pretty useless as a tool of understanding.
An awful lot has been learned though about how it has played out in the real world of life. Just about every imaginable strategy has been tried, but a lot of those strategies are about reproduction rather than getting resources or avoiding being eaten.
Another shot at the topic 11/21/18.
This book is to examine human survival strategies and find one or more that will work "long term" in the next "stable" ecology that humans must develop in order to survive. That next ecology will largely be created by that strategy. In terms of biology, a survival strategy is known as a "morality".
Nature gives all animals genetic and behavioral strategies. Natural Selection is like an operating system, but it has some serious problems. It works, but it is inefficient, using brutality instead of finesse. It works for animals, but is known as "red of tooth and claw". It's not just inefficient though and will not work for humans in a civilization. Among other things, it does not naturally allow the level of cooperation needed to support a civilization. We need a different strategy to survive as more than animals.
Charles Darwin explained the logic of evolution. Until recently, any and all survival strategies would be called Darwinian. So "Evolutionary Survival Strategy" and "Darwinian Survival Strategy" would mean and be the exact same thing. If though we need a new, more cooperative human created "artificial survival strategy" for civilization to work, as we do, then it would be an "Evolutionary Survival Strategy", but not a "Darwinian Survival Strategy". For convenience and communication I will continue to call that human created, artificial survival strategy: "Civilization" or perhaps "Civilized". So Civilization is used both as a description of a social form and as a survival strategy. "Civilized" will only describe a strategy.
In his book "The Selfish Gene", Richard Dawkins expanded that description of the logic of evolution. It's pretty simple, self interest is all that matters. Essentially that is why what biologists call "Group Selection" and altruism should never naturally occur. Students of the subject keep examining those though, because the seem essential or at least beneficial to human survival. They also seem to occur.
You have to think about what Darwin taught us. It is so easy to get miss something important. It was Herbert Spencer who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest". It is very simple and fairy descriptive of Darwin's lessons, but any biologist will tell you it isn't precise. The word "fittest" leads to a bias that is a problem and so the more accurate phrase, though far less catchy, would be "survival of the survivors". It is a logical tautology or almost one, something quite useless in terms of reasoning, but still quite true. In that I have long searched for the critical truths that humanity has found I am very aware of what have been called "Natural Laws". These are the beliefs that have been considered absolute and immutable laws of the universe. Historically, they haven't endured well. Science shattered many of them. Beliefs such as that the Earth is the center of the universe are considered silly now, but they were the best they had at the time. Maybe why they have been so widely refuted is that all or almost all of them were based on the premise that "God made it that way" and since no one is really sure of which God or what her real opinion is, they were assumptions that have become "unassumed". (Mr. Kant talked about the problem of making that assumption while using logic.) I had to think though that there should be a natural law somewhere in what Mr. Darwin taught. It isn't survival of the fittest and while "survival of the survivors" is true it translates to "that which exists, exists" and applies to telephones as well as life. My current opinion is that there is a "natural law" in his teachings. That is that "life is about survival" and to clarify for the picky, that is survival in evolutionary terms where the individual's survival is only part of a complicated balance with other factors.
This book is supposed to create understandings about human survival. Words can represent the truth that is the real world and if there is magic in the world, it is that relationship between words and reality. This book and the related books are actually meant to be one large logical proof. Like other "logical proof libraries", a proof like that becomes a tool useful for logic and reasoning using language. This though is mean to b e a tool useful for evaluating moral issues. It can allow a morality based on reason and understanding instead of the authority and precedence humans have had to rely on for all of history and before when deciding what is good and bad. I and many other people can tell you a number of critical issues about human survival into the future, but of course I cannot tell you about the future. I can logically show though that the commonest beliefs about human survival are dangerously wrong. These beliefs are simply natural consequences of biology and on simple examination, seem true, but this is to explain why a more complicated view, a human view must be used instead of the simple biological strategy to make a future for humanity. This then does describe much about how humans can survive into the future, but it is especially to explain and warn about some powerful dangers we carry within ourselves and our thoughts that come from our Darwinian past. We need to understand those drives to avoid where they would take us. To do this, I need to lay out a few points first. Luckily there is an analog to this problem in our genetic situation that is easier to understand that provides a good example.
Like other logical creations, it is limited by human ability. Human logic cannot explain morality. It is "organic", grown by a trial and error process "like" evolution does things. It is logical though, because it does work. It is just generally too complicated though for humans to translate into the mathematics we call logic. The logic that Darwin explained is far simpler. The thing is though that in human affairs the logic Darwin taught us will create one result and the more complicated "hidden" logic of morality will lead to different results. Our moral position may be based on observation of a fact or perhaps a pattern shown to us by our neural net, but is still too complicated to be described by an unbroken chain of logic. That limitation on "normal" logic is why moral "logic" will often produce far better outcomes in terms of survival and desirability. This essay is to explain this. In that I've already said the underlying logic of morality is beyond our current ability to express, this proof has to be a bit indirect in places. Still, careful application of logic to what we know can tease this out some.---- Words can represent the truth that is the real world and if there is magic in the world, it is that relationship between words and reality.---- This is important to humans, especially in terms of the simple mechanism that is genetics. It is perhaps more important though to the systems we create. They tend to be relatively simple and are most easily described in terms of Darwinian logic. They can also most easily have bad outcomes because they are missing the more complicated logic underlying morality.
>> That isn't competed, but it makes the point that simple systems humans make, such as politics, businesses, economics, machines, etc. will just naturally operate in Darwinian fashion and inevitably lead to undesirable outcomes ... that "red in tooth and claw" strategies lead to. We need to apply morality to machines - including the machines we call corporations, political parties and I guess, AIs. Append this at the end of my last message... The current political mess we are in arguably started with Newt Gingrich's Contract For America. You may or may not be aware of that, but it is widely accepted. Note that Newt is a big fan of biology and wanted to apply principles of Natural Selection to the political process. Gone was the traditional congeniality. We now have a "red in tooth and claw" political system.
For the ecologists out there, while group selection is technically impossible in nature, it is most likely possible as a result of a human created, "artificial survival strategy".
I've noticed before a skewing of what I work on that comes from the beginning. I saw a genetic disaster coming from reducing natural selection. That was what I wanted to solve. Everything else came after that, including the strategy parts. That meant I could be missing something. This is what was missing.
Again, I was aware of the skewing from looking at it as how do we solve the genetic disaster. While the potentials for husbanding and increasing the "good" genes seemed inevitable and desirable, "good" in evolution isn't clearly defined beyond becoming better adapted to one's environment. I think in the discussion with Cory, I finally saw what "good" could mean. Consider the title of Mr. Darwin's most famous book. No, not the "The Origin of the Species", look at the full title "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". The key term I see there is "Natural Selection". Well, the point I make about that genetic disaster is that we must replace or augment natural selection. The result will be different than the result of Darwinian Natural Selection. If instead of looking at the issue of how do I solve this genetic disaster, I were to look at it as what is the potential of using human directed artificial selection rather than natural selection, you see that there is a qualitatively different outcome, a completely "different ballpark". What if that were applied to the strategy part? The Darwinian world has well been called "red of tooth and claw". The Darwinian world of humanity does include Social Darwinism, though we don't talk about it much as we have painfully learned that that is just as red and not a path we want to follow, not a ballpark we want to play in. The Social aspect of Darwinism is far more than just the clash of civilizations and racial warfare. It is within the society at all levels including social status, economics, dominance, etc. If the result of using artificial selection would create a very different outcome than a system using Darwinian Natural Selection ...in the title of his book..., what is the corresponding alternative to Social Darwinism? That is the Strategy For A New Human Ecology. That is why it is so hard to convert from the existing (tribal based) moral belief systems to a new one, because there is a qualitative change between them. Everyone is trying to tweek them, but the change is bigger than that. The "natural law" remains that it is about survival, but natural selection is not key to the title anymore. We naturally think in Darwinian terms, but need more. "Socially engineered moralities" like the Declaration of Human Rights or Atheist morality might hold back Social Darwinism, but it is not enough to change it. You can see that in terms of status, an extremely important reproductive behavior that would be greatly changed by artificial selection, but isn't considered in either of those "socially engineered moralities". Change doesn't come from reason or "socially engineered morality". They just don't apply or relate.
I think I found it. The key is still in the title of the book, but I was looking at it wrong. It is not a question of what does "fittest" mean, that means survivors. It is a question of how many make up that group called the fittest. In logical terms and I do mean the logic of nature and reality which is as simple, direct and powerful as gravity, that number of fittest translates to only one. It sounds like the theme of a movie, but really, the logic of the morality created by evolution is "there can be only one" that is the fittest. Now normally in nature that can never happen for a number of reasons. In human endeavors, especially with the power we gain from culture and machines, it becomes far more possible. We can make institutions and machines bigger than anything that could exist in nature. Nature cannot really function in terms of win-win. It functions based on differential reproductive success. It is only a win-lose case. Civilization cannot function with that strategy. It also doesn't need that strategy to function as evolution does.
This suggests that the tribal strategy of violence isn't the most fundamental danger to civilization. It is also the result that is dangerous, the number of fittest being small, what is accomplished by the success of the violence. If the data is confirmed that 12,000 years ago humans approached a dangerous genetic bottleneck due to male on male violence, then this situation did arise in nature. Even in various advanced tribal situations, a male might be able to have a large "harem" such as Ghengis Khan, but that is not the Notice how females are really not in this equation in tribal ecology, but they certainly are in a Civilization.
Unfortunately, not only does Darwinian strategy include the inclination to compete with any new strategy needed to make a civilization work, but also that strategy is programmed in to our instincts. There will just naturally be a conflict between Darwinian strategy and Civilization. That is why we must be conscious of both how fundamental Darwinian strategy is to nature as well as our to our instincts. It is not just a matter of restraining our personal inclination to compete in a Darwinian fashion where there must be a winner and a loser, these same principles will apply to our machines and institutions unless we carefully prevent it from being part of their nature. To make it worse, we have opened niches for humans and human creations to become predators on civilization. Civilization will have to fight back, which is probably a good thing or it could lose necessary dynamism. Just like Natural Selection, Darwinian strategy can be reduced but it will not be removed, which is probably a good thing. Balance will be the key to it working.
Sew, any interest in the morality looks like that I've been constructing based on moral instincts and organic development more than theory... though hopefully I have the theory to support it? Again, the numero uno point needed to overcome Darwinism, especially Social Darwinism, is something not even vaguely considered by the DHR or Atheist morality. I am pretty sure I know what the number 2 important moral premise is and it's not there either. Let me see if it is in the Maxims of Delphi. ... Almost, but the first one really isn't which is as I expected. It's very novel. It has been a long time since I have read the the Maxims of Delphi. They are pretty amazing if you think about them and their meaning.
Oh yeah, another problem that reveals part of the issue. Moral instincts can only relate to a person. The various constructed moral systems like the Declaration of Human Rights are about groups and groups treating individuals. Oh yeah, I recall, Morality is pretty much invisible. I take it for granted because I have worked for an understanding so long, but to most people it should be invisible.