AConcernedCoder t1_j8oush6 wrote

Reply to comment by dghammer in You're probably a eugenicist by 4r530n

The article states "Our instinctive aversion to incest is informed by intuitive eugenics" and links to a scientific study which supposedly asserts the same claim, which it doesn't. The study uses "intuits" which isn't the same as holding eugenics as a belief system. The entire article reads as a classic case of propaganda intended to reinforce confirmation bias in favor of normalizing eugenics.

Label away enough and it's perfectly normal to be a eugenicist. Why not natural?

Edit: and in the linked study, I'm not seeing any evidence that this can be reproduced among polyamorous tribes where close familial ties are comparatively vague or not recognized. If it isn't reproduceable, it would suggest any aversion people intuit toward close kin is due to some kind of social contstruct, being not innate.


AConcernedCoder t1_j89z7tr wrote

The interesting thing about it, is if you were to imagine yourself performing an experiment on the evolution of a population to determine which traits lend toward survivability, to simulate what you're proposing, the population within the constraints you defined, would in effect attempt to subvert the experiment by changing the constraints to suit its collective preferences. It would ruin the experiment in so far as you wouldn't have found those traits that improve survivability within constraints that matter, and given that we in the real world have no such controls over the real constraints that matter for the survivability of the human race, our own attempts to guide human evolution are similarly self-deluded, selfish and shortsighted. That having understanding of evolution somehow allows us to control our own evolution, seems to lead to a kind of contradiction wherein we seem to think that subverting evolution is evolution. It's fundamentally flawed.

I suppose none of that ultimately matters when there are untapped markets to explore with designer babies and what not. Or maybe it does, when at the end of the day, everything we do is factored into selection of the fittest whether we like it or not.


AConcernedCoder t1_j89ut9a wrote

Reply to comment by SirLeaf in You're probably a eugenicist by 4r530n

I blocked you at first but I can't now for 24 hours now that I unblocked you so that I could respond to a point conflating anti-natalism with eugencs. You'll be blocked again tomorrow. Don't harass me.


AConcernedCoder t1_j89s9va wrote

>The scientific consensus on behavioral genetics should allow us to appreciate that genes and reproduction will have a huge effect on the flourishing of future generations. Those who reflexively denounce any attempt at changing the genetic composition of the next generation—whether through genetically informed dating apps or government incentives—are defending the status quo at the expense of potentially valuable progress and causing harm we cannot fully appreciate.


So, it's ok to be a nazi?

To be fair, cultural taboos surrounding incest are more likely rooted in Abrahamic religious influence, which has a divided stance on the subject given that Abraham purportedly married his half sister. In other words, your attempt to link the taboo to a latent drive to improve genetic health is not very convincing.

This apology is as vacuous as the sick idea that humans should be controlled as livestock


AConcernedCoder t1_j89q803 wrote

Anti-natalists can have a variety of rationales for their choices -- a belief that one has an ethical obligation to not bring children into the world being one of them, is not the same as the belief in a class of people that should neither procreate or be eradicated. One is megalomaniacal.

That's not even touching the absurdities baked into the idea of "improvements." Superiority is very much a subjective evaluation. Genetic fitness isn't the same as one culture's preferential vision of what it considers a superior human being.


AConcernedCoder t1_j53x46d wrote

Interesting. In software development, you're forced to learn very quickly that there isn't enough time to not default to being a cognitive miser, to rule out possibilities, often referred to "rabbit holes," which could each require more concentration and cognitive effort than we have to spend on the task at hand.


AConcernedCoder t1_j1y4o6i wrote

As someone trained in machine learning and compelled for years to really dive into the subject to try to figure out how it could even work at all, I find compatibilism to be the most reasonable position to agree with. While I still find myself having deterministic leanings, the opposition on that side usually seems much more motivated by other factors, enough that the interesting conversations must be taken elsewhere.


AConcernedCoder t1_j0nqlkn wrote

I agree with what looks like the general consensus here that the use of "parasite" is at best uncharitable.

And it goes against any view which suggests that people generally desire to live well and to thrive at some fundamental level. In my opinion, thriving can require work, and yes it's true that hard work can help us to be happy, but that's where the industrialized protestant work ethic seems to want us to stop to suit capitalism's interests. In reality, when work starts to look like slavery, there is a point where thriving begins to end, and sometimes workers even die. Thriving may not always look like productivity, nor is it always a constant. In fact I'd go so far as to say that so-called "parasites" don't fail to thrive because they don't desire to thrive, but because they are denied the opportunity to do so thanks to an antiquated ideology which deliberately limits their capacity to thrive and seeks to use said "parasites" as a motivator to push everyone else to work harder.

But, to be a little more business-minded and less emotive, this still doesn't make a lot of sense when you consider that innovation, creative works, etc, as a driving force that pushes a healthy economy beyond mere industry, relies heavily on people who sacrifice their time for little to no pay, and so to motivate these people to stop what they're doing and to work harder has got to be one of the most nonsensical anti-capitalist ideas that capitalism promotes.

Meanwhile, the priveleged few, infants really, have the red carpet rolled out for them to receive billions to run fraudulent pyramid schemes, revealing that it isn't very much about hard work at all. Our sacred system is not only broken, it's gangrenous and needs massive amputations. Is there any point where we may correctly conclude that we need something better, or are we effectively locked into going down with the ship by our sacred dogma?


AConcernedCoder t1_j0i56cq wrote

Then maybe I misunderstood. I also think the necessity of law is related to the necessity of moral language. I just don't consider it a control structure in a pejorative sense in and of itself, until someone uses to exert control over a society for some purpose other than its original purpose, like repurposing a defense mechanism as a weapon. While I somewhat understand Nietzsche's revulsion to the situation he found himself in and his drive to look backward, ancient greece for me is not comparable to a point of origination for humanity, and in my opinion his master/slave morality dichotomy doesn't go back far enough.


AConcernedCoder t1_j0hx3ns wrote

I don't personally take the Nietzsche route on this subject.

Humanity and human experience are ancient -- it stands to reason that it's more ancient than language. We can infer that ancient humans experienced malevolent acts by malevolent actors, and what set of words would they have at their disposal to speak of these experiences? It isn't necessarily "bad" or "evil," obviously, language evolves and there is diversity to take into consideration, but finding some other basis besides human experience to pin this to is a challenge. It's doubtful that the necessity of a control structure was the origin.


AConcernedCoder t1_j0hmxuv wrote

>Yes, the good/bad binary is about control, and this is a good thing. Theology is about control. Ideology is about control.

I disagree, assuming good and bad to be words that originated to communicate involuntary experience. One should not expect to be able to plunder, violate, or rape without incurring upon a victim some involuntary experience that we cannot fault the victim for describing as an evil. Control, on the other hand, might be useful in mitigating said consequences or for other means.

>Laws, politics, government are all about control.

If it is only about control, then what good purpose does it serve?

That the concepts good and evil exist for the purpose of control can be a confusion of purpose. If we want to assume that these concepts emerged in societies for practical reasons, it's doubtful that primitive peoples jumped to an abstract idea for the purpose of establishing a control structure. What is this new concept that the boss calls "evil" and why should we believe him? More likely it originated for a different purpose and was appropriated for other motives.


AConcernedCoder t1_iyyexde wrote

I swept my floors today and regularly keep cooking utensils sterilized to aide my survivability. From my perspective, it's an improvement of my living conditions, not the human race as a whole or the quality of its gene pool.

Likewise I wouldn't expect education to directly alter the genetic material of a species. How is this even controversial?

Edit: but you could, through education, attempt to alter the mating strategies of a population, which could be rooted in eugenics.


AConcernedCoder t1_iywqyc9 wrote

>I disagree with this assessment. Obviously the concept of self-improvement is not inherently flawed. Do you have the same objections to "improvement" when someone educates themselves, does brain excercises, learns a new skill, works out to improve their physique, or practices to improve their critical thinking skills? Do all of those actions carry so much baggage that the very belief that they may be worth doing is not viable?

Not at all. The problem arises with the assumption that superiority itself is subject to the preferences of an agent that is itself subject to an evolutionary process.

That thought process is inherently problematic by counteracting evolution. From an evolutionary perspective, eugenics counteracts the optimization of fitness, by incentivizing decisions that constitute a selection process other than natural selection. It seeks to usurp evolution, replacing nature with the preferences of some other agent, be it unwise, unintelligent, racist, bigoted, or even good natured but inevitably short sighted, it doesn't matter. It is impossible for the agent to replace evolution because a process intentionally imposed by human preferences, but disguised as evolutionary, is a different process that is not evolution. The ironic thing is that even this does not escape natural selection, and last I checked, insanity does not exactly inspire confidence in the fitness of a population.

The bottom line here is that people are confusing evolution with a completely different idea. Maybe it arises from delusions of grandeur, as if advancement of knowledge itself contributes to this. It doesn't matter. You can't replace evolution itself and expect it to be evolution.


>Natural selection and fitness literally just mean whoever has the most offspring.

Have you ever looked into the social complexity of other species? I don't think you're taking into consideration the range of variability and complexity of what the evolutionary process really entails.

Homicidal selection, genocidal selection, or forced procreation are not necessarily the same as natural selection. Can cannibalism truly benefit a population over the long haul? Evolutionary theory tells us that, even though we may think so, after all is said and done, natural selection occurs, that natural selection is the final gate keeper and it's not subject to someone's fallible preferences.

>Additionally we have already manipulated natural selection to an absurd degree just by changing our society. The modern world looks and behaves absolutely nothing like the world our ancestors evolved in for the last 200,000+ years. We are very poorly evolved for the our current circumstances. The fact that humans as a species have adapted as well as they have to such a rapidly changing environment is nothing short of remarkable considering we are trying to run 21st century society software on caveman hardware.

The drawback of having a capable mind, is the potential for error and insanity. In our current environment, do our capabiities lend to evolutionary fitness? It appears so, for now. If we destroy our environment will intelligence save us in the end? The answer isn't necessarily yes. For all we know, at this point it might be beneficial to have the ability to live in trees and to procreate less often. We don't know what the next evolutionary step looks like, nor can we, but we should try to survive anyways.


AConcernedCoder t1_iytju73 wrote

Every time I read something like this it makes me wonder what happened to the sciences? Is anyone really at the helm? If anyone thinks the belief that the human race can be deliberately and artifically "improved" is a viable belief, you might as well pretend that owning a yacht makes you a master of world's oceans. In fact I'd guess that you'd actually have better chances braving the seas without navigational capabilities than you would attempting to steer the human race toward anything remotely qualified as an "improvement."

Nevermind good or evil, the belief itself is flawed, and adopting it comes with baggage, such as presuppositions about what an "improvement" is and all that entails, such as notions of "inferiority".

The best we can hope to accomplish for the human race from our understanding of genetics and evolution, in my estimation, is perhaps limited to harnessing its problem-solving power in limited contexts. We can help people affected by genetic disorders, and hope for the best: that our medical advances in fact improve our evolutionary fitness as a species, but we have to remember that everything we do happens within a context of natural selection, including attempts to manipulate it, which may or may not have the intended effect on fitness, and failing to take that into consideration doesn't bode well for the positive outcome.


AConcernedCoder t1_ivioyqj wrote

This is about society and economic systems. At no point did I say "you" although, given I used a term to describe competition which means pejoratively, something unreasonably treated as sacred enough to be unquestionable, your issue with my criticism doesn't seem like it's doing any favors.

You argued competition is part of life and the natural world. I'm not disagreeing, I'm adding that cooperation is a necessity and without it, there's nothing to benefit society, being a state of affairs more like Hobbes' war of all against all.


AConcernedCoder t1_ivhv0qv wrote

You know, as useful as it may be to think about extreme hypotheticals like survival strategies among shipwrecked sailors without any food, they aren't descriptive of ideal conditions in society or the economy. Extremes are what we generally want to avoid.

And they're certainly not descriptive of enjoyable past-times, like competitive sports where (hopefully) the competitors don't try to kill each other in the process.

That's my point: elevate competition to an extreme and once decently enjoyable (and beneficial) competitions become something else. ..


AConcernedCoder t1_ivgh1z6 wrote


AConcernedCoder t1_ivg9tl7 wrote

>Competition is a basic component of life. That’s not going to change for the foreseeable futur

Elevating it as one of our most sacred cows, on the other hand, mutates decently enjoyable competitions into something else entirely.


AConcernedCoder t1_irxeata wrote

As someone who sympathizes with Hume I found this article to be in line with many of my own thoughts, but I do not think Aristotle can be taken as reducing ethics to simplistic logic. For example, eudaimonia implies experience, without which, we speak of nothing. That said it seems certainly possible to take an Aristotlean route and end up on the wrong foot.

So what if morality exists to us because we are at some level, and perhaps not at one which is purely intellectual, moral beings? What if morality is necessarily meaningless to us apart from this aspect of ourselves, be it culturally instilled, psychological, biological and/or interpreted as spiritual? If it is, we have no expectation of it, whatever it is, to conform to simplified ideas able to be grasped by limited minds. Why should we expect it to be uniform like a simplistic fact as opposed to something more akin to a multi-faceted landscape? Well, for one, that would be inconvenient for attempts to replace what is, with something else more suitable to other interests, as each and every attempt would almost certainly result in consequences violating what was originally there.

That said, as for honor killings, I think the author can trust his moral instinct in the wrongness of the act, but I would go further, suspecting that there may be a real basis for the honor killing itself. It's not impossible that the perpetrator has experienced a wrong. That may not justify the retribution, however, as much as it reveals that the culture within which these social and phsycological realities persist is itself contradictory, and morally twisted.