Max Gerber] I am often asked whether I agree with the new group selectionists, and the questioners are always surprised when I say I do not. After all, group selection sounds like a reasonable extension of evolutionary theory and a plausible explanation of the social nature of humans. Also, the group selectionists tend to declare victory, and write as if their theory has already superseded a narrow, reductionist dogma that selection acts only at the level of genes. The more carefully you think about group selection, the less sense it makes, and the more poorly it fits the facts of human psychology and history.
Posted on August 16, by Scott Alexander [Content note: May be guilt-inducing for people who feel like burdens. All patient characteristics have been heavily obfuscated to protect confidentiality.
People get depressed over all sorts of things. Depression is in part a disease of distorted cognitions, a failure of rationality. I had one patient who worked for GM, very smart guy, invented a lot of safety features for cars.
In cases like these, you can do a little bit of good just by teaching people the fundamental lesson of rationality: So maybe depressed brains are not the most trustworthy arbiters on these sorts of issues. Some people just have no easy outs. Had some brain damage a few years ago, now has cognitive problems and poor emotional control.
Got denied for disability a few times, in accordance with the ancient bureaucratic tradition. Survives on a couple of lesser social programs he got approved for plus occasional charity handouts plus some help from his family. Now he attempts suicide, says he feels like a burden on everyone around him.
Well, what am I going to say? In the absence of better alternatives, I have used this strategy. It always feels like the worst sort of emotional blackmail. Not helping them want to live, just making them feel really guilty about dying.
We were here first.
Maybe his cognitive problems would make him a slightly less proficient hunter than someone else, but whatever, he could always gather. He might get in a fight and end up with a spear through his gut, but in that case his problems would be over anyway.
Otherwise he could just hang out and live in a cave and gather roots and berries and maybe hunt buffalo and participate in the appropriate tribal bonding rituals like everyone else. But society came and paved over the place where all the roots and berry plants grew and killed the buffalo and dynamited the caves and declared the tribal bonding rituals Problematic.
This increased productivity by about a zillion times, so most people ended up better off. Think of it as the ultimate use of eminent domain; a power beyond your control has seized everything in the world, it had some good economic reasons for doing so, but it at least owes you compensation!
This is also the basis of my support for a basic income guarantee. Imagine an employment waterline, gradually rising through higher and higher levels of competence. In the distant past, maybe you could be pretty dumb, have no emotional continence at all, and still live a pretty happy life. As the waterline rises, the skills necessary to support yourself comfortably become higher and higher.
And so on, until everyone is a burden. It might be based around helping others in less tangible ways, like providing company and cheerfulness and love. It might be a virtue ethics celebrating people unusually good at cultivating traits we value.Abstract.
In the last two decades, the widespread application of genetic and genomic approaches has revealed a bacterial world astonishing in its ubiquity and diversity.
Abstract. In the last two decades, the widespread application of genetic and genomic approaches has revealed a bacterial world astonishing in its ubiquity and diversity. The following plot is a rough estimate of world population from the time of the Flood of Noah, until the birth of Jesus, (53 generations).
For discussion purposes the population at the time of Abraham, eleven generations after the Flood, has been taken to be one million people.
Latest environmental news, features and updates. Pictures, video and more. I felt like a burden. Then I discovered John Stuart Mill and Milton Friedman and they said “People deserve to determine the course of their own lives” and “you own yourself” and stuff like that and I started entertaining the idea that I deserved to live, by virtue of being human.
Published: Mon, 5 Dec This essay will discuss some of the theories used to explain human growth and development and discuss the pros and cons of each theory in relation to different life stages and show how each theory can be applied to social work practice.