Rutt interviews Bret Weinstein
An excerpt from the transcript follows. The podcast is here. Weinstein is an evolutionary biologist. Weinstein:
“So more or less our problem is that the magic of humans arose through an evolutionary process driven by an arms race in which human beings were their own worst competitor. So at that point that one reaches what my PhD advisor called ecological dominance, that arms race causes a massive jump in, essentially, computing power. And that computing power came along with all of our best and worst characteristics. So it resulted in a spectacular capacity for collaboration, but the objective of that collaboration is increased competitive capacity against other groups with similar powers.
“Now I don’t think we can spend too much time worrying about whether or not that was a good process, it got us this far, and it has given us the capacity to understand where we are. But what it has done is it has created a drive that is now outstripping our capacity to compensate for its consequences. So that quote you read from my website, essentially, is about what I would call a sustainability crisis. Now conservatives often hear, when a liberal like myself starts talking about sustainability, they assume that we are cryptically talking about climate, about which there is much disagreement in some circles. I’m not talking in particular about climate, I do think we have a climate problem, but even if it were false, we still have a sustainability problem in which we are simply using resources and creating waste in a way that simply, mathematically, cannot continue indefinitely.
“So you have to at least be a cornucopian to imagine that the problems we are creating will be dealt with in due course by solutions that will magically emerge. I don’t think it’s reasonable to be a cornucopian, but you would have to at least make that jump and say, ‘Well yes, were we to continue down this road, we’d be in big trouble, but we all know that solutions arise when they’re needed.’ So if you don’t believe that, then you would end up in my camp and, what I know from experience, to be your camp thinking, ‘Oh shit, we’ve got a very serious problem, and we don’t have a very long time horizon with respect to figuring out what the solution looks like.'”
And this quote, which goes with the first one, and on topic of our notion of going beyond natural selection: “The fact is that Darwinian evolution does not prepare us for the environments in which we live, it prepares them for the environments from which we came. […] So in some sense, even a recognition that these are a kind of ancient wisdom that has been encoded in a cultural package that is easily transmitted, even that recognition leaves us with the profound sense that we must now figure out what to do next, because those stories are not up… Read more »
Weinstein on religion: “I believe that religion must have evolved, that the meaning of long standing religious traditions is a Darwinian meaning. Which does not imply that in our modern circumstances that these ancient stories are the guide to what we should be doing; that is likely to be true in some cases, but it is almost certainly not to be true in many others. “The fact is that Darwinian evolution does not prepare us for the environments in which we live, it prepares them for the environments from which we came, and we don’t live in the environments where… Read more »
Also see this wiki on the evolutionary psychology of religion. Paul: Where do you stand in relation to these different interpretations?
[…] Intra-species evolutionary arms race drove brainpower leaps […]