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Letting People Fend for Themselves

Started by LHX, November 30, 2006, 04:08:49 PM

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the nature vs. nurture thing is an important distinction. IMO its some combination of both.

One example of this is the idea with homosexuality. there's probably a number of genes that contribute in combination with environmental factors. A similar idea: one study I read looked at the idea that there was a genetic basis for whether a person was affiliated with "liberal" or "conservative" political groups, which takes the "nature" thing to a level that I wouldn't have thought very probable, unfortunately I couldn't find a link to this study, but when i was googling for it, I found a link to this an article describing this one:

where they looked at the genetic basis for how religious a person is:

QuoteGenes may help determine how religious a person is, suggests a new study of US twins. And the effects of a religious upbringing may fade with time.

Until about 25 years ago, scientists assumed that religious behaviour was simply the product of a person's socialisation - or "nurture". But more recent studies, including those on adult twins who were raised apart, suggest genes contribute about 40% of the variability in a person's religiousness.

I think this really gives at least some evidence a genetic link between neophones/neophiles.

A couple of thoughts about that:

perhaps neophilia has become a genetically selected advantage just recently, just as the concepts of morality kind of evolved at the point where we were secure enough in our ability to survive that we didn't have to pick and choose who would live or die, maybe we're at the next level of consciousness evolution, or getting there, where we don't really need archaic forms or morality in order to guide us to do whats right or wrong? Are neophiles the first batch of psychological mutants that are learning to adapt to a high tech society? thoughts?


Quote from: LHX on December 06, 2006, 04:41:36 PM
somebody is thinking

Yeah dude knock that shit off - it's making the rest of us look bad in front of the noobs.

I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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Quote from: LMNO on December 06, 2006, 04:30:29 PM
The approach to get a Neophobe to do something new is to appeal to authority, and to convince said neophobe that people he/she respects have done it many times before.

That is, convince them that it's not really all that new.

OR, convince them those that they hate and despise wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole...then they'll be all over it like white on Uncle Ben's.



Researchers at the University of California, Davis, selected and randomly separated 120 students into groups of four. Each subject was arbitrarily assigned a certain amount of money; players knew how much money the others in their group had, but not to whom each amount belonged. Each player had the option of using some of his or her money to purchase the right to have the researchers subtract or award cash to another participant.

Subjects played the "game'' with different people in each of five trials Each time, "players'' adopted an egalitarian attitude when distributing the wealth in what study co-author and University of California, San Diego, political scientist James Fowler calls the "Robin Hood effect."

"People want to give rewards to the lowest [paid] member of the group and take away from the highest [paid] member of the group," he says. "I think that we were surprised by the magnitude of the punishment." Nearly 70 percent of the players reduced someone else's income at least once, and three quarters of them gave up a little to help someone in a weaker position. The behavior was consistent across all five trials, meaning people did not decide later to just look out for themselves.

Random Probability

We aren't the only ones who do this.  "Fairness" seems to be a common learned primate behavior.

Now can we kill the ones who are subverting 7 million years of human (primate) evolution?

doesn't really need an excuse to kill


Great find, Cain.

See Also: The Prisoner's Dilemma (a must-read for the Douglas Hofstadter fans)

This dilemma poses the question "is it rational to cooperate with others? If so, when?"

QuoteAxelrod reached the Utopian-sounding conclusion that selfish individuals for their own selfish good will tend to be nice and forgiving and non-envious. One of the most important conclusions of Axelrod's study [of Prisoner's Dilemmas] is that Nice guys can finish first.

and this quote is really dense, but interesting
QuoteWhile it is normally thought that morality must involve the constraint of self-interest, David Gauthier famously argues that co-operating in the prisoners dilemma on moral principals is consistant with self-interest and the axioms of game theory. It's most prudent to give up straightforward maximizing and instead adopt a disposition of constrained maximization, according to which one resolves to cooperate with all similarly disposed persons and defect on the rest. In other words, moral constraints are justified because they make us all better off, in terms of our preferences (whatever they may be). This form of contractarianism claims that good moral thinking is just an elevated and subtly strategic version of plain old means-end reasoning. Those that defect can be predicted because people are not completely opaque.

Douglas Hofstadter expresses a strong personal belief that the mathematical symmetry is reinforced by a moral symmetry, along the lines of the Kantian categorical imperative: defecting in the hope that the other player cooperates is morally indefensible. If players treat each other as they would treat themselves, then off-diagonal [win / lose] results cannot occur.


I'll throw some Game Theory into this mix tomorrow night.

Just remember, rational cooperation has its dark side (MAD is predicated along the same assumptions as underpins this socially constructed justice).


oh certainly.

The Prisoner's Dilemma suggests that if your parner / opponent is cooperating blindly, the rational thing to do is betray them for personal gain. Amoral but effective.


I watched a show on T.V. not long ago that postulated that much of the economic and political policy of the last half century was based on this idea.

The guy who came up with much of the theory has since disowned it, I will search for sources later, I'm busy writing just now. However, I get the feeling that Cain would be far better at discussing it anyway, so I'll just shut up for now...


It was, allegedly.  Game theory can theoretically be applied to everything from economics to warfare to micro-management and law enforcement.

I don't know the name of the guy who put forward that theory about GT, but I'd be interested to see what he says.


It was the same guy who was in that Russel Crowe movie, a beautiful mind. Easy enough to find out If you're interested.

The T.V. series was called The Trap and was shown on BBC.


Without getting too far into :tinfoilhat: territory, a long time ago I read an anonymous tract* that the now defunct R.W.T. had gotten hold of, that claimed laws of economics had been discovered that made it a true scientific endeavour, with totally understandable rules, and that war played a massive role in economics, far more than even Marxists understood.  And the book I was reading on Game Theory recently used very similar phraseology in its introduction...

*there is a long history of anonymous academic pieces coming out of Princeton, which was where GT was developed.  Another of these would the original Ong's Hat papers.


neat hell

Doktor Howl

Quote from: LHX on November 30, 2006, 04:08:49 PM
What is the problem with letting people fend for themselves?

Why do so many people develop that 'heroic' tendency to swoop in when there is a perceived injustice?

For me personally, when I see somebody drop money or a credit card, or if I see somebody dent a car and then speed off - I don't do shit.

In fact, I am liable to keep my eyes on the dropped money and try to swoop in and grab it if nobody is looking.


When I see people being personally and needlessly interfered with - a woman on the bus getting harrassed by a drunk, or a kid getting his ass whooped by bigger people, I can't stop myself from stepping in.

I am just now seeing this and bumping it back.

At what point are the first two examples different from the last?
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It's easier to empathise with the victims in the latter examples as they are visible and ongoing.

A dropped wallet or a hit-and-run are instantaneous events that are easier to ignore.
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