Sam has made a significant error on his blog

 
Alexmahone
 
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Alexmahone
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10 May 2018 16:04
 

In Speaking of “Truth” with Jordan B. Peterson, Sam wrote

If we were true Darwinians, every man’s deepest desire would be to continually donate sperm to sperm banks so that he could sire thousands of children for whom he’d have no further responsibility.

Sperm banks are a recent invention and therefore evolution hasn’t had the time to act upon it. In a million years’ time, ceteris paribus, men may fantasize about donating to sperm banks the way modern men fantasize about sex. Dawkins made a similar point on Twitter recently.

We are true Darwinians, no getting around that.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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11 May 2018 10:03
 

Nope, Sam Harris is spot on:
take the example of polygamy, mass-scale rape in case of ethnic cleansing or the 1,000+ children of Genghis Khan: the expressed goal is to maximize the number of offspring, not sexual satisfaction.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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12 May 2018 12:48
 
Twissel - 11 May 2018 10:03 AM

Nope, Sam Harris is spot on:
take the example of polygamy, mass-scale rape in case of ethnic cleansing or the 1,000+ children of Genghis Khan: the expressed goal is to maximize the number of offspring, not sexual satisfaction.

How many of us dirty males are potential rapists, though? If the conditions were “right,” your own personality would most likely succumb to rape? Is the above a fucked-up admission of sorts?

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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12 May 2018 12:51
 
Alexmahone - 10 May 2018 04:04 PM

In Speaking of “Truth” with Jordan B. Peterson, Sam wrote

If we were true Darwinians, every man’s deepest desire would be to continually donate sperm to sperm banks so that he could sire thousands of children for whom he’d have no further responsibility.

Sperm banks are a recent invention and therefore evolution hasn’t had the time to act upon it. In a million years’ time, ceteris paribus, men may fantasize about donating to sperm banks the way modern men fantasize about sex. Dawkins made a similar point on Twitter recently.

We are true Darwinians, no getting around that.

I hadn’t even thought of this. My reaction to Harris’s nonsense was that men are by nature entirely focused on getting sex, most obviously. To attempt to fine-tune such a fact into philosophical nonsense is worthy of the thinking of a philosophically brilliant third-grade boy.

 

[ Edited: 12 May 2018 12:53 by nonverbal]
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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13 May 2018 07:10
 
nonverbal - 12 May 2018 12:51 PM

[My reaction to Harris’s nonsense was that men are by nature entirely focused on getting sex, most obviously. To attempt to fine-tune such a fact into philosophical nonsense is worthy of the thinking of a philosophically brilliant third-grade boy.

You found one!  I’m in complete agreement!

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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13 May 2018 08:33
 
Alexmahone - 10 May 2018 04:04 PM

In Speaking of “Truth” with Jordan B. Peterson, Sam wrote

If we were true Darwinians, every man’s deepest desire would be to continually donate sperm to sperm banks so that he could sire thousands of children for whom he’d have no further responsibility.

Sperm banks are a recent invention and therefore evolution hasn’t had the time to act upon it. In a million years’ time, ceteris paribus, men may fantasize about donating to sperm banks the way modern men fantasize about sex. Dawkins made a similar point on Twitter recently.

We are true Darwinians, no getting around that.

This was a thought I had back in the late 70s. I was traveling a good deal and it made perfect sense. People I mentioned the idea to didn’t seem to agree for some reason. Had I acted on this thought I’d probably be father of 1/2 of North America by now.

[ Edited: 13 May 2018 08:35 by burt]
 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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13 May 2018 10:57
 
burt - 13 May 2018 08:33 AM
Alexmahone - 10 May 2018 04:04 PM

In Speaking of “Truth” with Jordan B. Peterson, Sam wrote

If we were true Darwinians, every man’s deepest desire would be to continually donate sperm to sperm banks so that he could sire thousands of children for whom he’d have no further responsibility.

Sperm banks are a recent invention and therefore evolution hasn’t had the time to act upon it. In a million years’ time, ceteris paribus, men may fantasize about donating to sperm banks the way modern men fantasize about sex. Dawkins made a similar point on Twitter recently.

We are true Darwinians, no getting around that.

This was a thought I had back in the late 70s. I was traveling a good deal and it made perfect sense. People I mentioned the idea to didn’t seem to agree for some reason. Had I acted on this thought I’d probably be father of 1/2 of North America by now.

The Beatles would be the fathers of the other half.  https://www.google.com/search?q=beetles+drowned+out+by+screaming+fans&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS693US693&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=hb2rmY9Oqu0KhM:,lAmplko2NQZDrM,_&usg=__reOkM7ZnzEThzryPc1EEMWtLtVc=&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwic_d_fn4PbAhUiS2MKHcGoC9UQ9QEINDAC#imgrc=hb2rmY9Oqu0KhM:

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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13 May 2018 13:12
 

Point is: we have evolved so that we could rationally decide to have as many offspring as we physically can. We usually don’t, since the personal and social cost is too high. But that just shows that we are not true Darwinists, though we could be.

 
 
Quadrewple
 
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01 June 2018 23:48
 

I think the flaw in Sam’s original point is that reproduction without sex may have no meaning to men.  Without the chemical and hormonal rewards associated with sex (especially sex with a large variety of partners), donating sperm to a sperm bank is probably a neutral activity when it comes to men feeling like a genetic success.  Perhaps it would be different if one was getting calls from sperm banks left and right, attempting to get some of that “superior seed.”

So wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that male evolutionary reward systems are about having sex with females, not reproducing per se?  After all, the only objective truth that man knows is that he had sex and has obtained a chemical reward….not every sexual encounter leads to reproduction, it only represents the likelihood of reproduction.  And as far as I know, men still get that reward from having sex with infertile women (I’ll have to ask my grandpa about that one….or not).

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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06 June 2018 10:12
 
Quadrewple - 01 June 2018 11:48 PM

I think the flaw in Sam’s original point is that reproduction without sex may have no meaning to men.  Without the chemical and hormonal rewards associated with sex (especially sex with a large variety of partners), donating sperm to a sperm bank is probably a neutral activity when it comes to men feeling like a genetic success.  Perhaps it would be different if one was getting calls from sperm banks left and right, attempting to get some of that “superior seed.”

So wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that male evolutionary reward systems are about having sex with females, not reproducing per se?  After all, the only objective truth that man knows is that he had sex and has obtained a chemical reward….not every sexual encounter leads to reproduction, it only represents the likelihood of reproduction.  And as far as I know, men still get that reward from having sex with infertile women (I’ll have to ask my grandpa about that one….or not).

Related to what you say, another way to point out Harris’ error is to note that evolution shapes behavior (technically it acts on the genetic component of behavior), and the behavior in question is sex with women, not masturbating into a jar and giving your sperm away.  If evolution has acted on sexual behavior in men to maximize reproductive ends, one would expect men to have sex with women whenever they can—for the most part, an observable trait.  Since obviously masturbating into jar and giving away sperm because one knows reproductive ends can be met this way wasn’t a behavior until very recently, there is no reason to expect it to have been maximized to serve any end, or to have been acted on by evolution at all, much less acted upon to serve a reproductive end (this also assumes that masturbating into a jar has a specific genetic marker in the first place, which is far from likely).  In any case, evolution didn’t hone in men “a desire to maximize reproduction,” a desire amenable to knowledge on how to accomplish this, as though knowing how insures the desire will be carried out.  Instead, it acted on the genetic basis of existing sexual behavior in such a way that reproductive ends were maximized.  There’s a difference between the two statements, and given average male sexual behavior, the later hardly seems controversial.

Harris’ rejection of “Darwinism” on this point is nothing more than a clever but specious argument based on a fundamental confusion about how evolution has worked to shape behavior.  The “Darwinism” he rejects is a caricature, not a valid statement of the theory itself.

If anyone is interested, I’ve written on Harris and Peterson’s impasse here.

[ Edited: 07 June 2018 02:43 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
sojourner
 
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06 June 2018 21:47
 
Alexmahone - 10 May 2018 04:04 PM

In Speaking of “Truth” with Jordan B. Peterson, Sam wrote

If we were true Darwinians, every man’s deepest desire would be to continually donate sperm to sperm banks so that he could sire thousands of children for whom he’d have no further responsibility.

Sperm banks are a recent invention and therefore evolution hasn’t had the time to act upon it. In a million years’ time, ceteris paribus, men may fantasize about donating to sperm banks the way modern men fantasize about sex. Dawkins made a similar point on Twitter recently.

We are true Darwinians, no getting around that.


I think that depends on semantics… what do you mean by ‘true’?


I think it is fairly obvious that the self-conscious, language-speaking egos that we generally perceive as “I” or “me” are not true Darwinians,  in the sense of wanting to propagate genes above all else. If that were the case, birth control, abortion, and even abstinence under various circumstances (outside of culturally sanctioned relationships and so on,) would be more or less non-existent in our societies. The narrators in our minds managed to evolve in ways that are in stark opposition to selfish genes. Just ask most people if they would be thrilled at the prospect of giving birth to eight sets of healthy octuplets and feeding them just enough to ensure survival. At some point, whether via culture or kin selection or the ever controversial group selection or ‘spandrels’ or what have you, the vast majority of humans developed to appreciate the qualitative over the quantitative when it comes to offspring. Yes, some parents have very large families, but I think every parent wants to have a true relationship with their children and nurture them as human beings.


If you mean that evolution always catches up to us in the end and new technologies simply represent a lag - I’d say, maybe, maybe not. It depends on which traits can be selected for. Even if men who are sperm donors end up with more offspring, for this to become more prevalent in the overall population assumes that the trait of “Wanting to become a sperm donor to propagate one’s genes” is encoded somewhere in the genome and will actually show up in said offspring. If it is, then yeah, it may well increase over time. If it’s not, then it won’t (and, if there are secondary traits that lead to men becoming sperm donors that are genetic - maybe a desire to make extra money, if you get paid for donations - then those would be more prevalent, even though this doesn’t directly related to a desire to replicate one’s genes.)


I think it’s debatable, but I wouldn’t call it an ‘error’, given how much is left to be known on the topic.