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 
evolutionary consequence.

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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