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Luaan comments on Evolutionary Psychology - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Luaan 11 October 2012 03:39:00PM 0 points [-]

Is the ability to plan really so special?

When an animal goes out of its nest, forages for food and then returns, isn't that the same planning we exhibit too? And now add that humans are omnivorous and acted both as pack hunters and as gatherers; suddenly, complexity arises, that requires you to be able to plan not only for yourself, but also as part of your group - these 10 guys will go hunt that mammoth, while these 5 will go gather berries and these 5 will make some new spears. Simply through the requirement for group interaction, you have another mechanism for the development of plans, psychology, morality.

And that's kind of the point, isn't it? Who says our psychology and morality is a direct product of biological evolution? Biological evolution only gave us the tools (a brain capable of forming plans); morality is a social behaviour that evolved alongside, led by intelligent designers (us) - with groups dividing on various issues, some of them surviving, some not; some of them spreading their ideas further, some not. We have long since taken over the reins of our development, even though we still move within certain constraints imposed on us, with various flexibility (eg. the ability to suppress our anger).

I think this is quite apparent when you look at animals bred in isolation or in different conditions; sure, there's some behaviour based on genetics, but it obviously isn't everything.