14 April 2011

Humans and other species

Some of the worst sufferings and miseries such as child labor, slums, millions of children die because of hunger, etc. only belong to humans. These are not seen in other species. Though humans are at the top level on the tree of the evolution, though they are the most intelligent species on the earth, yet they have gone to such a low level compare to other species, why?

When copies are produced (reproduction) of anything, some mistakes may occur. If a mistake produces an effect that happens to be suitable to its environment, it survives and moves on to next generations, others die out. As a sculptor removes unwanted things to create a design, things that are not suitable to the environment die out and hence certain design develops as a result. This kind of design is known as evolution. Ultimately, the evolution of genes (living organisms) and the evolution of memes (concepts/ideas) determine the life of humans. (Roots of Beliefs)

Evolution moves towards the environment. But the environment changes continuously. Accordingly the route of evolution also changes continuously. So, depending on the environmental changes, living organisms change, die and emerge to maintain the equilibrium (Here, it is not possible to produce millions of children and let them starve to death). For this kind of design or development, there is no need for any intelligence. As evolution happens without any intelligent control...without any planning, in general it is imperfect and discontinuous with many mistakes and weaknesses. That is how, all the living organisms are including humans and their brain, emotions and intelligence!

With intelligence, a better solution can be discovered…invented than the evolution. And hence, slowly intelligence is evolved. It is a strategy to understand the secrets of nature and predict its changes to make suitable accommodations. With their intelligence, humans can find better solutions than the evolution, and they did find better solutions. That is how they escaped many natural dangers and sufferings. They made tools, built houses, cultivated agriculture and eradicated many deadly diseases. But these things did not happen in a day or a generation. Because their intelligence is not totally different from the other animals, but just slightly better. Ancient humans lived in the jungle more or less led a life like monkeys. There is no big difference between the brains of ancient humans to modern humans. Then, where does the development of modern humans come from? It comes from the evolution of memes. As it requires a sophisticated language to make copies of memes (concepts/ideas) from one from brain to other, it happens in humans societies. Hence, the scientific and technological developments, and many social, religious, government artifacts are seen in the human societies, not in other species.

When humans create and develop good memes, it raises the level of humanity, and when they create and develop bad memes, it brings down the humanity below the level of other species. Just like genes, many kinds of memes (good, bad, useless, etc.) are being produced continuously. The memes that are suitable to the social environment evolve further and others die out. It is difficult to control the production of new memes. How to control the thoughts and ideas of every individual human being? Moreover, stopping the production of new memes means stopping the growth as well. But it is possible to create a social environment where the good memes can evolve healthily, not the bad memes. However, as it is difficult to totally get rid of some bad genes, it may be difficult to totally get rid of some bad memes. In any case, when humans create a social environment where bad memes cannot grow so healthily at minimum, then they can avoid going below the level of other species.


Achilles: High population is one of the main reasons for many of the sufferings today. Perhaps population was in control because of continuous wars and many epidemic diseases before.

Tortoise: There is also a major meme that is responsible for this huge population growth.

Sexual reproduction is highly complex and comes with huge costs (twofold cost of sex). Hence, this kind of population growth cannot happen easily. Though that is the drawback of sexual reproduction, it has many other advantages and hence it is evolved. Its main goal is to mix the genes in the population. As this creates verities in the population, harmful germs cannot infect all the people at the same time, the same way (Else, a newly formed virus may destroy the entire population). This controls the spread of infectious diseases. Also, sexual reproduction helps to weed bad mutations (else they accumulate) and spread good mutations across the population. So, in general, sexual reproduction is evolved to avoid close relatives or individuals with similar genes (less attraction).

Naturally it is difficult to find a right partner. So, humans created a meme, marriages arranged by parents; to make it further simpler, marriages within the same castes and religions; and to make it even further simpler, marriages with close relatives.

Achilles: Now they have reproduced like viruses and destroying all other species and natural environment. This arrangement, not only hinders finding similar genes, it enforces marriages between the similar genes. What kind of generations we have been producing for so many centuries?! Though humans enjoy the life beyond other animals in so many dimensions with music, arts, dance, poetry and researches, yet how can they keep aside poetry like love from their life? Surprising!?!

Another surprising meme, caste system... How is it evolved? How did majority of the people put up with it for so many centuries?

Tortoise: A shocking one, child widow! What hell on the earth such a meme could possibly evolve?! How did the young girl's parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, relatives and fellow humans bear with it?!

Achilles: Ignorance, unnecessary fear, blind-faiths, etc. should be the reasons for these memes to evolve. Humans are like sheep herd. Right or wrong, they just run with the crowd. As it is the safest route for an individual to be successful. So, it takes certain minimum percentage of people in the population to come out, recognize it, and say it courageously.

Tortoise: There are some fundamental problems in the social environment that encourage such bad memes to evolve healthily. Even few simple characteristics are sufficient enough to destroy the evolution of all these bad memes:
- Just saying, 'I do not know', when one does not know.
- Just recognizing, 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'.

4 comments:

CorTexT said...

I wrote this post based on the comments that I received for the song (Tamil):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9hd1glJWLY

Anonymous said...

could it be that it is because humans are more intelligent than other animals that they also have a greater ability to do either good or bad?
- d

CorTexT said...

//Anonymous said...
could it be that it is because humans are more intelligent than other animals that they also have a greater ability to do either good or bad?
- d
//

In a way, yes... like a double edge sword. But how can intelligence (ability to comprehend and understand) lead to so many stupidities (poor ability to comprehend and understand) – just the opposite of intelligence?

Compare to other animals humans have some better mental capabilities (such as better working memory – like registries in CPU, large prefrontal context for better planning, etc.). These better mental capabilities are like a double edge sword. This capacity (like improvements in computer hardware) can help improve any mental processes (like computer programs) including that are related to intelligence and stupidity.

There are mental processes for reasoning, sense making, etc. (using algorithms like induction, conduction) that directly linked to better intelligence. But they come with many errors and weakness (that's how evolution itself as noted in this post. Illusions are simple and easy examples for this. But there are thousands of well tested, well proven experiments). So, human mind is filled with so many subjective errors and it can so easily be fooled. That's why we need objective analysis.
[http://ecortext.blogspot.com/2009/11/roots-of-beliefs.html]
[http://ecortext.blogspot.com/2010/06/science-science.html]

In any case, whether it is child-widow or standing-on-the-moon, things did not happen over a night. As Newton said ("I am standing on the shoulders of four giants"), our ideas are continuously developed over the time – evolution memes.

CorTexT said...

How memes are reproduced? Asexually or sexually? Obviously, in its simple form...that is copying from one brain to another, it is reproduced asexually. Like parents pass their beliefs to child. Like any ideas passed on to others without any critical analysis or discussion. When ideas are openly discussed and critically analyzed in the society, it creates an environment for something similar to the sexual reproduction. A simple fact about the genetic algorithm: asexual reproduction accumulates bad memes over the time, whereas sexual reproduction allows good memes to spread across and bad memes to weed out. That is why we need an open discussion and critical analysis on the highly closed social enterprises to get rid of the toxic elements within them.