Sunday, August 20, 2017

It's not a competition

When you think about it, it's really embarrassing to have ever fallen for it.

Describe the benefits to an individual or a group or a sub-group of designing everything to have a regulated complementary sleep cycle in which tiredness and wakefulness occurs at certain intervals and can sometimes be adjusted by environmental factors. Not a rhetorical question, really--this one can think of several, including fostering senses of community; establishing standard group mental rituals that help instinctivize individual mental rituals that help individuals conceptualize differences between ritual thought and dynamic thought and thereby fostering sense of self which increases imagination which increases novel-problem-solving ability; coordinating eating cycles; coordinating mating activity; attuning groups and individuals to ecosystems and weather patterns to standardize seasonal movement; all sorts of things. None of them, though, are explicable as pro-competition by individual organisms of a species, unless we allow that evolution is co-evolution involving cross-systemic changes to the most hostilely competitive organisms, seemingly unrelated ones, and relevant stellar orbits, more suggesting pinballs falling into slots rather than being driven. Predators directly benefit from the sleep cycle, and the purported arms race of evolution, viewed from afar, starts to more resemble cooperative suicide than cooperative survival.

As ever, refuge in the superintelligent idiot entity who specifically designed every aspect of bodily affliction as a protracted flood-punishment gains nothing from this or any other observation, except to those already functioning at such a level to be desirous of the glimmer of false hope that such a twisted SIE would be.

Funnier is scientists versus mountain gorillas. Posit three naked scientists and a single naked mountain gorilla. Through a feat of instantaneous evolution, the scientists have become vastly more intelligent in a single reproductive cycle. They wish to face the gorilla for resources. They make incredible leaps in tool usage and conceptualize using a stick to fight the gorilla. Each one picks up a large, suitable stick, and as three, they advance long-honed hunting and mating-display instincts into tactics, simultaneously attacking the mountain gorilla from three different sides.

Mountain gorilla results too funny? Three nude Richard Dawkinses crumpled at the bases of three Congo trees, not bleeding so much as slap-bruised all over, because to make our example more obvious the gorilla entered the battle with all his teeth removed, nails filed down, and nothing but palms. Okay, so use a chimpanzee. Average adult chimp can beat the hell out of any given top percentile human. If the Richard Dawkinses were all decathlete boxer polo champions, the chimp wipes the floor with them, savages them in horrid ways, and the entire germ line of "hit enemy with stick"-capable genes is gone.

Chimp with human intelligence and stick-powers? Superior to standard chimp. Superior also to chimp with standard-chimp intelligence and stick-powers. No, fishing for ants does not count. Stick-powers means conceptualizing tool-usage not as inherited accidental means of getting insect to crawl on tree-like object and then eating it as one would from an actually-tree object. It means dynamic expanding tool conceptualizations that soon results in robot drones machine-gunning unlicensed mushroom growers from high above. And the crux of the issue is, "When did it become an advantage for the tool-user to become drastically weaker than the non-tool-user"? When was it good to reduce musculature and endurance and bone strength, even by one percent, when that future Richard Dawkins and ten generations of his spawn picked up that hypothetical first stick and faced off with successively stronger chimpanzees? There are marginal "advantages" to be had in avoiding brain size, calorie needs, maternal hip width, resulting maternal gait, et cetera, but they are all massively negated by the corresponding gains that would've been achieved by organisms evolving those traits without also simultaneously de-evolving the traits that would make their intelligence gains exponentially more effective. Big strong mountain gorilla with stick-powers beats little wimpy mountain gorilla with stick-powers. And put aside the mountain gorilla, or the other great apes, and contemplate the hypothetical immediate competitors, namely, the humans who, each generation, grew slightly weaker in order to allow for them to obtain calorie or mating benefits over those who had developed stick-usage but not also randomly developed weakness-increasing.

Weakness was never a beneficial trait in that model; it would've been excoriated from the proverbial soup at every stage. The vast intelligence difference between human and chimp does not confer a benefit at "stick" level. Send four, five, ten Richard Dawkinses at a sleeping chimp, and it will shriek unhappily, but it will outrun the group, pick them off one by one, drum their brains in and bite their faces off, while their annoying stick-blows would, even at full Dawkins-strength, prove rather gnattish. The limbs, the back, the shoulders, the skull: so vastly superior; so worlds apart. And that's not even taking into account infant or adolescent competition--we're allowing the Dawkinses to wait until 21 before taking on the chimp. (And don't even bring up the mountain gorilla.)

Yet again, whatever strategy the Dawkinses came up with to defeat the chimp, the gorilla, is irrelevant. Yes, it could be a beautiful harmony of gradual Space Odysseyish change, but even so, the Dawkinses who retained their earlier strength would always, 100% of the time, defeat the Dawkinses who evolved to be weaker. That's the key point. Examples employing current templates are irrelevant in comparison to the past, where, in order to become an apex predator Dawkins with drones, one would've had to spend X thousand or X million years exceeding the mating accomplishments of the Dawkinses were developing the same intellectual traits at the same agonizingly slow pace, yet doing so without, during the process, randomly evolving their bone structure and musculature to be weaker. I just think the stronger Dawkins would've won, that's all.

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