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Tomasz_Wegrzanowski comments on Growing Up is Hard - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 January 2009 03:55AM

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Comment author: Tomasz_Wegrzanowski 06 January 2009 12:19:22AM 3 points [-]

Evolutionary argument against human enhancements is at the same time completely true and really really weak when you look closer at it.

In the most explicit form it would go something like "there are no easy ways without significant side effects to change a human being in a way that would make him produce more children while raised in a hunter-gatherer tribe in a Pleistocene savanna". Making kids in hunter-gatherer environment is what evolution optimized for, it didn't care about intelligence, health or anything unless it significantly contributed to making more kids in this particular environment.

Now we have different environment, different goals, different costs, and different materials to work with. Humans are not even close to being optimized to this environment. Evolution barely did a few quick patches (like lactose tolerance) to make humans good at making kids in primitive agricultural villages, not only did it not adapt humans to current environment, it never adapted anything to a goal other than "making as many kids as possible in a resource-constrained environment", hardly what we're trying to do.

For example using any improvement whatsoever is a possible without breaking this argument if it uses more resources, according to their availability in stone age. What happens to be the case with pretty much every single proposed enhancement.