Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

pnrjulius comments on Serious Stories - Less Wrong

39 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 08 January 2009 11:49PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (100)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: pnrjulius 07 June 2012 12:17:44AM 1 point [-]

On the other hand, there must be some downside to pain asymbolia, or we'd all have it. (Plainly the mutation exists; why isn't it selected for?)

Comment author: TheOtherDave 07 June 2012 01:21:39AM 0 points [-]

Perhaps it is selected for, but selection hasn't had long enough to operate to disseminate it throughout the population.

Comment author: brahmaneya 15 November 2012 02:01:12AM 2 points [-]

Probably because the negative feelings about the pain are what strongly motivate you to avoid it, and hence avoid physical damage.

Comment author: gwern 15 November 2012 02:12:18AM *  0 points [-]

There may be disadvantage, yes. But it could also be that pain asymbolia is fine in a creature as high-level as a human - but without any selective fitness advantage, what would drive it to fixation in a selective sweep? Given zero reproductive advantage and possible disadvantage, it's no surprise that it's rare.

Comment author: Chrysophylax 14 January 2014 09:45:17PM 4 points [-]

Because a child who doesn't find pain unpleasant is really, really handicapped, even in the modern world. The people who founded A Gift of Pain had a daughter with pain asymbolia who is now mostly blind, amongst other disabilities, through self-inflicted damage. I'm not sure whether leprosy sufferers have the no-pain or no-suffering version of pain insensitivity (I think the former) but apparently it's the reason they suffer such damage.

This book seems to be a useful source for people considering the question of whether pain could be improved.