From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-list@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Samiya Illias
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 7:18 PM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Our Demon-Haunted World

 

Modifying the DNA to fix psycopaths sounds promising, but going with the
assumption that the world is controlled by psycopaths, what if they control
the biotechnology and create Frankesteins instead? Do we need clearly
established rules and laws in place before we embrace technology with open
arms? Who will legislate those laws?  

 

The framers of the USA constitution did have some good ideas (and bad ones
like accepting - many being members of -- the Slave system) - one of them
being the separation of powers, which helps put checks and balances in place
to control the tendency of any system to fall prey to organized criminal
syndicates. However as current events have painfully made clear their
perfect clock is broken.

One idea that I think has some merit is to put a totally random barrier
around positions of power - in addition to other selection processes such as
having an election. If some time before an election say - a (transparently)
random lottery selected a small subset of the eligible citizens to be the
potential candidate pool. You could not even run for the election unless you
won this lottery first. The numbers of winners would be large enough that a
representative random cross section of the citizenry would become eligible
to run for office and that amongst the set of these winners there would be
competent candidates.

The only purpose of this system is to throw up an utterly randomized barrier
to entry into the running so as to keep it from becoming a pack of
sociopaths. 

Sure amongst the set of winners there would be all kinds of people;
including criminals, mentally incompetent, sociopaths too. But it would be a
random set and that is what matters. If the set is made large enough there
is a high probability of qualified/driven individuals being in it.

Naturally. this is pie in the sky musings about adopting the extreme measure
of encircling power with a wall of randomization to get in the running. Back
in the real world were power prevails, nothing will change; till it does.

-Chris

On Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 8:08 AM, LizR <lizj...@gmail.com> wrote:

On 7 November 2013 15:57, Chris de Morsella <cdemorse...@yahoo.com> wrote:

 

From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-list@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of LizR
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 6:18 PM


To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Our Demon-Haunted World

 

On 7 November 2013 14:39, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

There's a continuum of behavior which at the extreme absence of empathy we
call psychopathy or sociopathy.  But that doesn't mean more empathy is
better.  Sometimes it's good to be hard hearted.  Should we have been nicer
to the Neanderthals?

>>We'll never know. But we do know we evolved to cope with a world that is
very far removed from the one we have. Is there any reason to believe
evolution got everything right? We've already made changes to other aspects
of our being, both physically and psychologically. But certain aspects of
our behaviour still seem to be stuck in a distant past when life was almost
always nasty, brutish and short.

 

Evolution sometimes saddles life forms with burdensome defects - for example
almost all animals can synthesize their own vitamin C; we lost this; Human's
also have ridiculously thin walled arteries - compared to most other animal
species. In fact strokes are very rare in most species because their
circulatory systems are superior in this regard to ours. Evolution is a
mixed bag and we got what we got - both good and bad; the evolutionary
benefits of an opposable thumb, enlarged forebrain, linguistic abilities
etc. far outweighed the defects our evolutionary roulette wheel spit out and
we have succeeded in covering this planet with members of our species.

 

Yes. But I wouldn't necessarily call that success, not if it leads to us
dying off in large numbers because (from our perspective, at least) we
screwed up the environment. Are you saying we've done well so we should be
grateful - or something - at least it sounds like that's what you're saying,
maybe not what you intended? Anyway, having cheated evolution in all sorts
of ways, from domesticating animals to cochleal implants, I for one am not
prepared to sit back and say, darn, I can't synthesise my own vitamin C so I
guess I'll just have to die. Instead I eat fruit, having benefitted from
someone having worked out how to obtain vitamin C. And if they find a way to
fix strokes I'll be lining up for that too. I don't see why we have to stick
with the "mixed bag" we got from evolutionary roulette, and I certainly
haven't, having given birth with the aid of modern medical knowledge rather
than going off to a cave to do it the natural way, thank you very much, and
when my gall bladder started playing up I had keyhole surgery rather than
opting to live in pain, or die. And as far as I'm concerned we should fix up
all the other evolutionary mistakes as soon as possible, including the ones
that make some people behave like monsters.

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