Archive for July 6, 2010

The Problem with Behavioral Determinism: 1

July 6, 2010 9 comments

One common theme found on many ‘game’ blogs and other HBD related bullshit is-

Genetics is this almighty force that shapes human behavior and we understand it well.

Human society is like that because we are destined to be like that…

I have previously called such thinking- ‘white man fatalism’, and see it as the manifestation of secular religions. One of the tenets of such secular religions is the belief in determinism.

Determinism is a fucked-up concept, unfortunately present in many world views, because it actively deters believers from trying other ways.

Unfortunately most western, and eastern thinkers, are not intelligent enough to look at their own history and see the problems caused by absolute certainty about their state of knowledge.

How can you be sure that you know it all?

We have decoded the human genome, but still have no clue how that information relates to most common diseases. Many ‘famous scientists’ believed that decoding the human genome would allow us to instantly identify genes important for common diseases, and so far they have failed miserably (inspite of their frequent misleading press releases to the contrary).

Two themes popular on ‘game’ and ‘HBD’ blogs is that human society has always been like this and humans are just cleverer apes.

While these statements might sound reasonable superficially, they are deeply flawed. I am not saying that each woman is a wonderful individual snowflake, but neither can we model our understanding of human behavior on apes/ monkeys/ wolves/ lions etc… because WE are not them, and they are not US.

Consider apes, who are as good a proxy for humans as you can find. Each major ape type has a completely different socio-sexual organisation. While gorillas build harems, chimpanzees are sneaky fuckers, bonobos are into free love orgies, orangutans are reclusive shut-ins and gibbons are monogamous family types.

Now consider that chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans have almost equal proficiency with tools, imitation and general mental capabilities. So why do they have different socio-sexual lives? and why are chimpanzees and bonobos, while almost identical in many respects.. not alike in their socio-sexual organisation?

Why are bonobos far more likely to engage in casual sex than chimpanzees? What is the advantage? Why did it evolve? If it is advantageous to bonobos, why not chimpanzees?.. they live in very similar conditions.

If we cannot predict or model the socio-sexual organisation of bonobos based on chimpanzees or vice-versa, what makes you so sure that we can do the same with humans and other ape species (or other animals).

While nobody claims that women behave or think like men, did they always behave like women in the west do? Why not? Did women in the west always behave like that? The genetic component has not changed much in the last 300 years, has it? So why do we get such different behaviors and attitudes?

For most of human history, most people had a subsistence-level existence in groups of 150-2,000. Indeed, before the last 100 years of rapid and global urbanization, most people lived in villages where everyone knew everyone’s business. Do you really think that such societies would have lasted if women behaved and acted the way they do now?

All this talk of alpha, beta, omega males does not even work in primitive tribes, where a single injury or illness can make a notionally ‘alpha’ male dead or dependent on the kindness of others. What recourse did woman have in such societies from “sexual harassment” and unwanted (but not forced) sex?

You don’t really believe all that scientific-sounding crap is true, do you? Wishful thinking can often make clever people create crappy models which appear to explain the world, but are really just self-serving.


A Thought Experiment about Reciprocity

July 6, 2010 19 comments

Thought experiments have an important role in understanding, expanding and testing concepts in many areas of knowledge. The following is a somewhat disturbing thought experiment and it is important that you read between the lines to understand the meta-concept.

Here is the scenario:

You are driving down a road without much traffic or local human inhabitation, and come across a badly injured person lying in the middle of the road. Here is the catch- you recognize that person. The person is in great pain, alone and will very likely die if you do not help the person.

and remember that there is no risk of anyone else knowing, or prosecuting, you for not helping that person.

The following are a few scenarios about your previous acquaintance with that person:

1] The person works near or around you, and is unfriendly but polite.

What would you do?

2] Your attempts to flirt with that person are met with disdain and contempt.

What would you do?

3] The person would never consider having a relationship with you because of your ethnicity/race.

What would you do?

4] Person has had a relationship with you but does not want to seen with you.

What would you do?

5] Person had a relationship with you but suggested that you were lucky to be with someone of that persons ethnicity.

What would you do?

6] Person has paid you less because you were not of same ethnicity/ race.

What would you do?

7] Person has suggested that paying you less than others was still doing a favour to someone of your ethnicity/race.

What would you do?

8] Person expects submissive behavior from you because of your ethnicity/ race.

What would you do?

9] Person has never helped you or promised something that was not fulfilled.

What would you do?

10] Person did not help you even though it was their responsibility/ obligation.

What would you do?

Do you really have any obligation to help them? Sure, they may be die alone and in great pain, knowing that you did not help them.. but so what?

What have they done to justify you helping them in any way, shape or form?