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← Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

Quine's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Quine

Re Comment 18 by Schrodinger's Cat, yes, it is much to think about. We have joy and suffering because our genes made bodies that replicated better by having joy and suffering to organize action. Those few born without the ability to suffer don't do so well, and neither do the joyless. Our emergent self awareness lets us look into what our genes are doing, and gives us a partial view on how our mirror neurons map the suffering of others upon our own (when that works). It is from visualizing what it would be "like" (in terms of joy or suffering) to be on the receiving end of actions from ourselves and others, that we construct our internal values of "good" and "bad." We then add the concept of volition to that to get "kindness" and "evil."

As for the despair seen while looking into the abyss, I am sure glad none of my ancestors took that too seriously and gave up. We don't know what new capabilities of thought might emerge in our descendants, but we do know for sure that won't happen if there are no descendants.

Wed, 16 May 2012 16:56:02 UTC | #941868