On Friday, November 30, 2012 3:37:35 AM UTC-5, Alberto G.Corona wrote:
> This speed in the evaluation is a consequence of evolutionary pressures: A
> teleological agent that is executing a violent plan against us is much more
> dangerous than a casual accident.
Only if there are teleological agents in the first place. There are some
people around here who deny that free will is possible. They insist (though
I am not sure how, since insisting is already a voluntary act) that our
impression that we are agents who can plan and execute plans is another
The problem with retrospective evolutionary psychology is that it is
unfalsifiable. Any behavior can be plugged into evolution and generate a
just-so story from here to there. If the study showed just the opposite -
that human beings can't tell the difference between acts of nature and
intentional acts, or that it is very slow, why that would make sense too as
a consequence of evolutionary pressure as well. You would want to be *sure*
that some agent is intentionally harming you lest you falsely turn on a
member of your own social group and find yourself cast out. This would
validate representational theories of consciousness too - of course it
would take longer to reason out esoteric computations of intention than it
would take to recognize something so immediately important as being able to
discern emotions in others face. That way you could see if someone was
angry before they actually started hitting you and have a survival
advantage. Evolutionary psychology is its own built in confirmation bias.
Not that it has no basis in fact, of course it does, but I can see that it
is psychology which is evolving, not evolution which is psychologizing.
> because the first will continue harming us, so a fast reaction against
> further damage is necessary, while in the case of an accident no stress
> response is necessary. (stress responses compromise long term health)
Yes, but it's simplistic. There are a lot of things in the environment
which are unintentional but continue to harm us which we would be better
off developing a detector for. There is no limit to what evolution can be
credited with doing - anything goes. If we had a way of immediately
detecting which mosquitoes carried malaria, that would make perfect sense.
If we could intuitively tell fungus were edible in the forest, that would
make sense too.
> That distinction may explain the consideration of natural disasters as
> teleological: For example earthquakes or storms: The stress response
> necessary to react against these phenomena make them much more similar
> to teleological plans of unknown agents than mere accidents.
The study shows the opposite though. It shows that we specifically and
immediately discern the intentional from the unintentional. The top
priority is making that distinction.
> Hence, it is no surprise that the natural disasters are considered
> as teleological and moral . For example, as deliberated acts of the goods
> against the corruption of the people, or currently, the response of "the
> planet" against the aggression of the immorally rich countries that deplete
> the resources.
It's not a bad hypothesis, but I see the more plausible explanation being
that by default consciousness is tuned to read meta-personal
(super-signifying) meanings as well as personal and sub-personal (logical)
meanings. Except for the last few centuries among Western cultures, human
consciousness has been universally tuned to the world as animistic and
teleological. The normal state of human being is to interpret all events
that one experiences as a reflection on one's own efforts, thoughts, etc.
This is why religion is such an easy sell to this day. By default, we are
superstitious, not necessarily out of evolution, but out of the nature of
consciousness itself. Superstition is one of the ways that the psyche
detects larger, more diffuse ranges of itself. Intuition taps into longer
views of the present - larger 'nows', but at the cost of logic and personal
More on the failure of HADD here: http://s33light.org/post/1499804865
"I submit that this Hyperactive Agency Detection Device is a weak
hypothesis for explaining the subjective bias of subjectivity. *To me, it
makes more sense that religion originates not as mistaken agency detection,
but rather as an exaggerated or magnified reflection of its source, a
subjective agent*. Human culture is nothing if not totemic. Masks, puppets,
figurative drawings, voices and gestures, sculpture, drama, dance, song,
etc reflect the nature of subjectivity itself - it’s expression of
character and creating stories with them. "
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