Furthest Right


One of the giant problems with any kind of discourse on the net is that the audience is usually too self-obsessed to research the terms it uses and think about their implications.

For example, determinism — biological and otherwise.

In the form used by most thinkers, it refers to limits on abilities and perceptions, and also the presence of tendencies. It does not mean predestination or that every decision is made in advance; rather, it’s a description of the parameters that shape that decision.

For example, chimps have limits on their intelligence. But individual chimps can if shown a better way emulate it, and sometimes other chimps hit on this stuff at random. Like natural selection, the testing of random events picks the one out of a thousand that is great.

For every one chimp who figured out how to wash food, there were thousands of others who tried bashing it with rocks, smearing it with feces, throwing it at trees, or covering it in leaves. That’s how nature works…infinite branching, then testing.

When we talk about biological determinism, we’re not saying that your dad was genetically destined to be a drunk and beat you, but that he has certain abilities that enabled him to make some choices. In some contexts, he may have run into his limitations to outthinking alcoholism as an option. But it doesn’t mean he was destined for it, any more than it means you were destined for it.

Many smart people make bad choices, like the apes trying random food options. What matters is that better choices are selected, and as we figure out those are the right way to act, that we accept them and develop on them, in the process refining our own abilities, including self-regulation of genetics.

It’s a feedback loop between abilities, choices and the traits selected by that loop, which means that with each iteration the loop either gets more complex (fewer highest level abstractions, more consistent order) or less ordered (flat hierarchy, no options better than others) and that determines our future fortunes.

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