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Daniel_Armak comments on War and/or Peace (2/8) - Less Wrong

33 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 January 2009 08:42AM

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Comment author: Daniel_Armak 31 January 2009 07:36:40PM 0 points [-]

> Do babies realize what will happen to them?

I asked about this in yesterday's comments thread, but I guess everyone's moved here since then :-)

My intuition is that selection pressure on young aliens (to do anything it takes not get eaten) would be stronger than most selection pressure adults experience (most adults produce hundreds of offspring <=> only one offspring out of several hundred survives; and in a technological society most if not all adults live to reproduce).

We should see children evolving to escape being eaten. If running faster doesn't work, then by hurting other children to make them run slower. Or by children eating one another themselves. Or by a social organization that lets a few bullies/rulers/... send other children to be eaten in their stead. Or by evolving to be poisonous or at least tasting really bad and having orange-black striping to warn your parents :-)

Also, the period of time from birth to the beginning of (post-winnowing) growth spurt would be compressed to the utter minimum required by their physiology. (The faster you grow up, the smaller the window of danger to be eaten). On that basis, the pre-winnowing children may not have much time to philosophize about being eaten.

Eventually you get is a creature that's born sentient, manages to learn about the day/night cycle (plus whatever inborn "instinct" provides), and then the winnowing takes place at the age of 2 days before the growth spurt can begin. Very stylized, kind of thing.