Author Topic: Has history artificially selected for irrationality?  (Read 818 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline amysrevenge

  • Baseball-Cap-Beard-Baby Guy
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4969
  • The Warhammeriest
Re: Has history artificially selected for irrationality?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2017, 02:29:03 PM »
No, I'm just thinking that capital punishment won't have that big of an effect.  Non-zero, but not that big.
Big Mike
Calgary AB Canada

Offline Enkidu Shamesh

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 403
Re: Has history artificially selected for irrationality?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2017, 02:48:57 PM »
Ok. All I said was "some." And you said "less than you would think." Less than some is none.

I think there is a visceral revulsion towards the idea, which I find perfectly understandable. Imagine that the fascists had won WWII and enacted a global eugenics program, eliminating anyone with a genetic disease. Later their regime crumbles and we build a kinder, more progressive world - a world with far fewer genetic diseases. Our health infrastructure would be less burdened, as would our economy. We would benefit from a terrible crime, benefits we would absolutely say was not worth the cost.

So it is with capital punishment. I have no idea how strong an effect it has had. It may be very weak, barely measurable, or possibly not measurable at all. But it could be strong. It may turn out that after thousands of years genetic variants tending towards anti-social, violent, or just non-conformist behavior have been weeded out, and as a result society is more stable. I abhor capital punishment (not to mention eugenics) but that possibility remains. The truth is we just don't know, and I'm unsure how knowable it is (DNA from 10,000 years ago being hard to come by).

The thought that we have benefited from 10,000 years of socially proscribed murder is unpleasant to say the least, but I'm not going to say the effect is negligible in the absence of evidence one way or the other. The truth is I have no idea how much of an effect it has had. No one does (AFAIK). I find it hard to imagine that it has had none.

Offline MikeHz

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 6842
Re: Has history artificially selected for irrationality?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2017, 03:45:25 PM »
Human societies have existed much longer than 10,000 years. The paleolithic age lasted well over a million years. And, changes can happen fairly quickly. Selective breeding of wolves into dogs took just a few thousand years. Pigeons, which normally fly at around 40 mph, were bred into racing birds with speeds reaching 60 mph in just over a hundred years.
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled." Mark Twain

Offline Billzbub

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2644
  • I know you know I know
Re: Has history artificially selected for irrationality?
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2017, 04:42:18 PM »
Human societies have existed much longer than 10,000 years. The paleolithic age lasted well over a million years. And, changes can happen fairly quickly. Selective breeding of wolves into dogs took just a few thousand years. Pigeons, which normally fly at around 40 mph, were bred into racing birds with speeds reaching 60 mph in just over a hundred years.

First of all, OMG this is a thing:  Racing Pigeons.

Now that that is out of the way, I think it is more likely that humans evolved to quickly find patterns in things, even though sometimes they aren't there.  This behavior is so helpful to our every day lives and survival that it doesn't matter if it leads to things like religion and homeopathy.  This trait probably causes our irrationality more than any trait that could have evolved from selective pressure from preventing the reproduction of heathens.

Offline stands2reason

  • Empiricist, Positivist, Militant Agnostic
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9614
Re: Has history artificially selected for irrationality?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2017, 09:24:20 PM »
I tend to agree with Enkidu here.  There has been selective pressure to conform but that doesn't necessarily equate to irrationality. 

I think they might one and the same. What does it mean to have a conforming mind? Does it means one's mind is predisposed to believe messages that are delivered in an authoritative context? Or does it mean they have a stronger connection to the superego/zeitgeist or social context and are more likely to find themselves imaging how others will react to them.

This issue seems to be fundamental to socializing, and thus no reason to think such pressures are new. The best way to determine if humans are creating artificial selective pressure would be to look at tribal justice in other social animals.

 

personate-rain