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MrHen comments on Evolutionary Psychology - Less Wrong

41 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 November 2007 08:41PM

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Comment author: MrHen 26 July 2011 05:50:17PM 2 points [-]

I don't understand the point of this post. I mean, I understand its points, but why is this post here? Is it trying to point out that: (a) intent and reality are not always -- and usually aren't -- entangled? (b) Reality happened and our little XML-style purpose tags are added post fact?

It seems odd to spend so much time saying, "Humans reproduced successfully. Anger exists in humans." If the anger part is correlated to the reproduction part it seems fair to ask, "Why did anger help reproduction?" This is a different question than, "What is the purpose of anger?" Is this difference what the article was pointing out?

To reason correctly about evolutionary psychology you must simultaneously consider many complicated abstract facts that are strongly related yet importantly distinct, without a single mixup or conflation.

How is this different from any other topic?

To reason correctly about computer science you must simultaneously consider many complicated abstract facts that are strongly related yet importantly distinct, without a single mixup or conflation.

To reason correctly about Starcraft II you must simultaneously consider many complicated abstract facts that are strongly related yet importantly distinct, without a single mixup or conflation.

The idea of special-casing evolutionary psychology is where I feel I am losing the plot.

Comment author: wedrifid 26 July 2011 06:33:20PM *  3 points [-]

It seems odd to spend so much time saying, "Humans reproduced successfully. Anger exists in humans."

It would be odd if people didn't get confused about this excessively.

Comment author: JGWeissman 26 July 2011 06:42:56PM 3 points [-]

Evolutionionary psychology is related to the study of cognitive biases, so being able to reason about it well is important. It is also easily observable that people make the mistakes this post warns against.

When discussing goal systems and terminal values, people with a confused view of evolutionary psychology tend to suggest that we should try to maximize inclusive genetic fitness, and this post discusses the confusion which leads to that common mistake.

And Eliezer has also drawn examples from computer science, I don't think is favoring evolutionary psychology. It is not surprising that some posts focus on a subtopic or rationality a specific domain of its application.