Showing posts from 2019

The Balance of Nature

People often talk about the balance of nature in mystical, quasi-religious terms. They believe that the order of nature is generated by some mysterious moral force that serves the interests of all life forms. They view nature as a kind of benevolent deity, the order of nature as intrinsically normative, and human intervention in nature as a kind of sin. They use terms such as “harmony” to describe how life forms fit together into ecosystems. This view is wrong. The balance of nature is not an ideal state that is maintained by a mysterious process or agent. The balance of nature is simply the balance between reproduction and competition. Those two forces, acting on variation, generate the order of nature. Organisms can be categorized into types. A type is both a physical form and a way of life. For example, a species is a type of organism. Male and female are also types. How we divide up organisms into types depends on what we are interested in. When we have defined the types th

The Groyper War

I've been watching the groyper war from the sidelines. For those who don't know what the groyper war is, it's basically a semi-organized trolling raid on normie conservatism, aka the neocons, ziocons, conservativism inc. etc. The man leading the groyper blitzkrieg is Nick Fuentes, a 21 year old traditionalist Christian streamer who loves Big Macs and Jesus, and hates homosex and mass immigration. Nick is an interesting character. He is funny, articulate and charismatic. Although he is quite intelligent, he has no original ideas or intellectual depth. His mental focus is tactical and political, not strategic or philosophical. He is well suited to be the leader of an emergent memetically bonded movement. And the groypers? Well the "groyper" character began as an offshoot of the Pepe meme, around the time that the Pepe meme was dying out. I think it started in 2017 but I could be mistaken. The groyper is a fat, ugly, somewhat effeminate, more toad-like version of P

Competition in Nature

Competition is intrinsic to life. Every type of life requires resources to survive and reproduce. Every environment has limited resources. Every type of life can reproduce to excess, and so the population of any type of life will grow until it is limited by competition for resources. There are four types of competition in nature: Competition between individuals. Competition between populations. Competition between genes or traits. Competition between social groups. These types of competition are all different. Many errors in biological thought are due to confusing or conflating different types of competition. The competition for resources takes place primarily between individuals. Individuals compete with other individuals of the same or different species. For example, imagine a meadow that contains grass plants and clover plants. Each of the plants competes with adjacent plants for water and sunlight. There is competition between plants of the same species a

The Rise and Stagnation of Modernity

Although aspects of it trace back hundreds of years, what I call “modernity” emerged in the 20th century, in the West. As I define it, modernity includes the following: Industrialization and mechanization Urbanization Abundance Low child mortality Low fertility In this essay, I will describe some of the major advances that created modernity during the middle part of the 20th century. There is no right way to divide up history into chunks, but because it is early 2019 as I write this, I am going to consider the hundred-year period from 1918 to 2018, and I’m going to divide it into two 50-year periods, with 1968 as the dividing line. These two chunks correspond roughly to (1) the emergence of full modernity, and (2) late modernity (sometimes called “post-modernity”). In 1918, the West was modernizing, but it was not yet modern in many ways. By 1968, the West had attained full modernity, as I define it. Since 1968, the condition of modernity has been maintained

What is the Self?

“What am I?” is a deep philosophical question. It can be rephrased as “What is the self?”. First, let’s think about it in terms of objective reality: physics, biology, and psychology. Physically, you are an object. You are an object, but a different type of object than a rock. A rock is a collection of atoms that are stuck together. At any moment in time the body is a collection of atoms, but atoms are always flowing in and out of the body. The form of the body is stable, but its constituent matter is always changing. In that way, the body is more like a stream than a rock. The form of the body is maintained by circular processes, including the chemical cycles inside cells, the flow of the blood, the beating of the heart and the rhythmic firing of neurons. Life exists because the processes of life perpetuate themselves. Life is circular. It consists of feedback loops. But life is also a flow. Energy from the sun flows through the biosphere and powers the cycles of life. Energy and

A Wild Cathulu Appears

There was an especially strange murder case in Canada recently. It involved two young men, Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, who were 19 and 18 years old respectively. They lived in a small town in British Columbia, and both worked at the local Wal-Mart. One day, they left town and headed up north. They said that they were going to the Yukon to look for jobs. But they never made it to the Yukon. In northern BC, they killed three people, seemingly at random. Then they burned their vehicle for some reason, which made them into suspects. They drove a stolen car across half the country, ending up in northern Manitoba. They burned their stolen vehicle (why?) and then disappeared into the bush (“bush” means forest/wilderness in Canada). It’s not clear what they did next. They seem to have wandered more or less at random for 10 days. At one point they stole a boat, but didn’t travel very far in it. Their bodies were found two weeks after their car was abandoned, only 8 km away. The

To Leonard Erasmus

This is a response to a comment by Leonard Erasmus on Discussion: Fixing Modernity 2 : 46:12 “It’s interesting to think how exactly did we get here. Was it just prosperity alone? Was it Christianity plus prosperity? Was it, um, you know the Frankfurt school? Like to what extent did people act into culture to get us here and to what extent did we just flow down the stream of history and end up here.” Later on you said you have some ideas regarding the question. Would you mind sharing? OK, I’ll try. In that quote (from me) “here” referred to the state of the modern West, and specifically our current problems. First of all, modernity was a huge success. The industrial revolution and its consequences have not been a disaster for the human race. Modernity vastly expanded our control over nature and ourselves. Science expanded human knowledge. The industrial revolution gave us prosperity. Modern medicine eliminated the deadly childhood diseases. Birth control gave us cont

Kin Selection Theory is Wrong

If anybody does not want to admit that parental care is an example of kin selection in action, then the onus is on him to formulate a general theory of natural selection that predicts parental altruism, but that does not predict altruism between collateral kin. I think he will fail. — Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene , Chapter 6 Challenge accepted. And I will use Dawkins’ own concept of the extended phenotype to do it. In this essay, I will explain how parental altruism is selected for, without any assumption of kin altruism. In other words, I will explain that selection is based on reproductive fitness (the ability to reproduce), not on inclusive fitness. First, we do not see strong evidence of genetic altruism in nature. Organisms do not act altruistically toward one another based on either genetic similarity or degree of relatedness. This can be observed within any family. Parents are much nicer to children than children are to parents. Human children reward

Fake News

I am going to review the various ways that establishment media deceive the public. These are all forms of the more generic cherry-picking fallacy. The establishment media rarely tell outright lies, but they often lie by selecting facts, images, interpretations, etc. to fit a preconceived narrative. The narrative comes first, and everything else is fit to the narrative. Selecting facts: Presenting facts or statistics that support one view, while omitting facts that support an opposing view. For example, reporting that blacks are shot by police in disproportionate numbers, while not reporting that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime. Example: Selecting images: Showing images of an event that support one view, while omitting images that support an opposing view. One example is showing of women and children in an article on refugees,

Diet and Human Evolution

In this essay, I will argue that human evolution was primarily the evolution of a new diet. The key traits that set us apart from other great apes (bipedalism, tool use, social organization, and a larger brain) are all linked to diet. Our last common ancestor with chimpanzees lived sometime between 6 and 4 million years ago. It was probably similar to a chimp in appearance and behavior. Like a chimp, it ate mostly plant foods, with some animal foods. Although we are closely related to chimps, the human form has diverged from that ancestral form in many ways. The important differences are: Bipedalism. Hands shaped for tool use. Bigger brains. Language and more complex social organization. Smaller jaws and teeth. A smaller gut relative to body size. When we think of the differences between ourselves and the other apes, or other animals, a small gut is not what usually comes to mind. Neither is small teeth. We tend to focus on the dramatic differences in behavior and intelligenc