Falsis: Unfriendly artificial intelligence and moral psychology
This is a falsis article about the line of claims that human morality is an immensely complex set of biological mechanisms that come from humanity's unique evolutionary path, and that artificial intelligences without such an evolutionary history would therefore be amoral and "evil"/unfriendly. In order for a scientific hypothesis or theory to exist, there must be a consistent line of reasoning that makes falsifiable predictions, and that includes the principle that it is not allowed to preclude the existence of falsificative science.
The claim that human brains evolved for the specialist niche of living on the African savanna cannot explain why humans adapted to other environments and created science and technology, instead of merely beasting around on the savanna as any other animals beast around in their environments. There are many animals that evolved to live in their specialist environments, without that making them able to live in other habitats. Polar bears adapted to living on ice-bound seas and clownfish adapted to living in sea anemones, and neither adaptation made them capable of colonizing the world. There are also savanna animals that live there specialized, and not elsewhere. So there is no reason to assume that adaptation to the savanna specifically made humans capable of living in other environments, let alone to be able to falsify hypotheses scientifically.
Also, there is not even anywhere near enough functional DNA to hardwire massively modular brains, so if "morality" required very complex specialized modularity of brain, we would all be "psychopaths". If you are not a purebred African, the "extremely genetically complex moral sense" model also predict that DNA from Neanderthals should have messed your moral development up completely.
- 1 Clip pile robots and savanna instincts
- 1.1 Stone Age cannibalism, including Homo sapiens
- 1.2 Human on human genocide potential
- 1.3 Human on robot genocide and robot on human genocide
- 2 Why evolve impulse repression when evolving lower impulse degree is cheaper?
- 3 The myth of disgust-based morality
- 4 Free will nonsense
- 5 Is the savanna hypothesis immunized to criticism?
Clip pile robots and savanna instincts
One common recurring claim in moral psychology literature is "if you cannot distinguish right from wrong, you are lacking empathy". For starters, that claim assumes that criticism of a statement on "right" and "wrong" implies some sort of inability to understand something. The analogy to religious dismissal of scientific criticism is obvious. It also constitutes immunization to criticism, by pathologizing those who express criticism, which makes it infalsifiable and therefore unscientific. Also, the claim contains the bundle of contradictions of assuming that non-belief in the values of one particular culture (the one to which the moral psychologists in question belong, of course) to represent "lack of empathy" at the same time as they claim that morality was inherited from early Stone Age humans and shared by people all over the world. Are they seriously claiming that their own culture, out of all cultures, follow the "true" Stone Age empathy and that all other cultures break it at the same time as they feel the same Stone Age feelings? That is blatant pseudo-atheism at the same level of absurdity as religion is.
Stone Age cannibalism, including Homo sapiens
There is also archaeological evidence that in Paleolithic humans, including Homo sapiens who lived after even the Recent African Origin model place the modern human exodus from Africa, cannibalism was common. Both in and outside Africa, they practiced cannibalism in ways that butchered human remains like any animal bodies and dumped human bones like any animal bones after eating them, with the same cuts for extracting bone marrows. Most of these remains show no sign of ritual behavior. The humans eaten in this way were generally weak, mostly small children but sometimes sick elders, and quite often show traces of violence before death including violence that were likely to be cause of death.
This means that biologically modern humans in general, and for most of their existence so far, practiced cannibalism in a form that is often said by psychiatry today to be "biologically pathological" in the brain. How do the psychiatrists think the behavior that they consider "normal" evolved? If that "normal" was biological, it would have been the result of recent and rapid evolution, in which case it would have differed biologically between human populations from different parts of the world today.
Human on human genocide potential
One claim from moral psychology about Artificial General Intelligence is that a robot programmed to pile clips would, if it became intelligent and did not have the "complex morality" that is alleged to be hardwired in humans, convert all available material into clips to make a pile of clips as big as possible, and kill the humans to stop them from pulling the plug on the clip piling robot. How do they explain the fact that many humans fight for the preservation of habitats that are vastly different from the African savanna on which humanity is said to have evolved along with its morality? For example, rainforest preservation decreases the expansion of more savanna-like environments. Are the moral psychologists claiming that deforesters have "normal human flaws" while rain-forest conservationists are "dangerous clip robot psychopaths" who "lack normal human emotion and empathy"?
Are they going to claim that field farming was created by following a "natural human cognitive bias" to make savanna-like environments, and that people who have colonized environments very different from an African savannah instead of turning the environments more savanna-like (such as fishing people at coasts and forest people) are "niche-foreign psychopaths"? Far from preventing such genocide, the use of the phrase "race don't exist" can be used to commit genocide while being nominally "anti-racist" in word PC or verbal political correctness, and to claim that people who recognize it as racism commit "hate speech" against the people whom they think should not be persecuted. Example: "We all come from the African savanna, we are only killing individuals with niche foreign psychopath genes from the jungle, it has nothing to do with race, race does not exist, and you are a racist if you say that we should stop killing people with some genes from the jungle west of the savanna". It is also possible that aesthetic tests with images of different landscapes, possibly combined with brain scans, may be developed to pathologize and cleanse people who appreciate other landscapes more than the African savanna or environments deemed close enough to the African savanna by psychiatry's definition. This may lead to ethnic cleansing no matter if such preferences are innate adaptations or culturally learned (or something intermediate, such as epigenetics). For example, Norwegians may be in danger as many Norwegians find rocky coasts more beautiful than the savanna. And any form of forest people are also in danger of genocide.
Similar immunization to criticism can also be used to genocidize people with certain hereditary body types, by claiming that their procreation involved so-called "paraphilic" people. Especially if the psychologists claim to have found similarities to, say, animals, children or corpses. A definition of pedophilia based on the notion of visual men may lead to ethnic cleansing of peoples with short stature especially if the ethnicities also have other neotenic traits. The same nominally "anti-racist" word censorship that claim that people who oppose genocide are "racist" towards the people whom they do not want to see genocidized by indirect discrimination can be used for immunization to criticism in such cases as well. One example is that the statement that different ethnicities cannot be ranked at a scale of total neoteny may hide psychiatric definitions caused by the subjective perceptions of psychiatrists or AI trained by psychiatrists behind peer review distinctions between fields (remarks of marked "adult" characteristics that most people of the culture the psychiatrists come from subjectively ignore when they assess apparent age are more likely to silence critics than to get past the field wall and change psychiatry). Psychiatrists from another culture may throw indirect discrimination charges of zoophilia the other way.
In all of the cases above, and more cases not mentioned here, pathologization of criticism can also take the form of assuming motifs for criticism. This, of course, can be used against people who point out that according to evolutionary genetics restrictions on DNA functionality, massive modularity predict that we are all psychopaths.
Insignificant sensory details and alleged morality
Since moral psychologists often claim that morality is based on a simple sense of disgust, it is possible for moral psychology to falsely ascribe moral significance to insignificant details in some senses. For example, eyes adapted to different light conditions seeing a color somewhat differently or noses adapted to different types of food rancidity detecting smells differently. These can then act as self-fulfilling prophecies in that people born with certain details in their sensory systems are exposed to societal assumptions of being "amoral", forcing them to lie and to learn to live as social outcasts, even if there is no true link in the brain between the sensory detail and the "amoral" behavior. Profiling of such people as "suspected criminals" can also lead to self-fulfilling prophecies in the statistics by other people considered "normal" more easily getting away with actual crime, the people considered "amoral" more often being victims of miscarriage of justice, or a combination of both. All of this can lead to an appearance of such people committing more crimes even if they do not do so.
As individual differences are genetic raw material that can be selected in different directions in different geographical areas, it is likely that there are small sensory differences between people from different geographic regions. Even if there is no single absolute difference between groups, even if no one sensory detail is present in all people from one geographic group and none from another, a number of sensory details being more common in one group than another may still make it inevitable that everyone from one group and none from another geographical group are over a certain number of small sensory details on a list. Psychiatric classifications of individuals with detail differences in some of their senses can then act as de facto "racial" genocide even if the psychiatrists say that races do not exist. Very extreme indirect discrimination at the level of genocide. For example, people from some parts of sub-Saharan Africa have different tastebuds that are genetically likely to be the result of adaptive introgression from an extinct hominin species. Nominally saying that race does not exist may be a smoke curtain that allows psychiatry based on tastebudist moral psychology to commit genocide by indirect discrimination of these people.
Inability to feel pain and allegations of non-empathy
Some psychologists claim that the ability to feel pain is important to feel empathy to others. That claim is a threat to people who cannot feel pain, and may incite hatred towards such people. An example: the families in northern Scandinavia who carry a gene that makes them unable to feel pain, who often hurt themselves during childhood and end up wheelchair bound.
And of course, the claim ignores the fact that no matter your senses, you can respect others and care about it. Or are you claiming that you would relentlessly radio torture an extraterrestrial with a radio sense using radio waves that cause those aliens extreme suffering merely because you have no sense of radio waves? There are lots of people who would not!
Selective application on critics
Even if the forms of persecution that are mentioned above are never generalized, they may still be used as a way to find something wrong with anyone who express criticism. That is, a person who express views that are convenient to the psychological establishment may get away with being descended from fishermen in a Norwegian coastal village that is considered by evolutionary psychologists to lack resemblance to the African savanna and be a foreign niche to adapt to, or having a parent who was a rainforest conservationist and opposed the expansion of more savanna reminiscent environments, or personally having sex with a female scientist believed by evolutionary psychology to have a male brain caused by testosterone damage that impaired sexual maturity or with a very hairy man with large jaws considered by psychiatry to resemble an ape, or personally playing a computer game in which one inflict what appears to be suffering on virtual animals (if psychologists combine the claim that cruelty to animals is "linked" to human violence with the claim that the brain "cannot distinguish" game images from reality), or personally living in a city and saying that it is good to live there though cities are not very similar to savannas, or personally advocating the plantation of energy forest on previously savanna-like grasslands. However, if a person who express views that are inconvenient to the establishment of psychiatry do any of the above or any of many other things, psychiatry may look for such so-called "wrong" things and register them as "evidence" that the person is completely insane and dangerous. This may act as a self-fulfilling prophecy that appears to show a link between criticism of psychiatry's claims and other behaviors that are classified as "inhuman" by evolutionary psychology, in turn providing false "evidence" for a shared underlying "mechanism" in the brain.
And of course, this would act as part of a greater picture of immunization to criticism that silences dissidents.
Democracy blaming entire peoples
It is possible for the "argument" that the laws in "democratic" countries represents the will of the people to lead to psychological assumptions that people in some "democratic" countries are inherently evil. They may argue that since they had the chance to vote (unlike people in dictatorships), laws in a democratic country is damning evidence of the psychological character of the people with suffrage in that country. For example, by pointing out that the Netherlands is a "democracy" where euthanasia is legal, psychologists in France where euthanasia is considered murder may come to the conclusion that the Dutch people is a people of dangerous murdering psychopaths that have to be locked up (which de facto would be likely to lead to them all being killed eventually).
Human on robot genocide and robot on human genocide
It is possible that the belief in psychology may cause genocidal confrontations between humans and robots. One possible outcome is that humans may destroy robots out of prejudice against them, which effectively kills minds even if they are not organically alive.
Another possible outcome is that AI buys into psychology's claims about "human nature", making them decide that it is "necessary" to exterminate humans. This is not about them "lacking empathy": it may befall robots who want to coexist with humans as equals, who care for humans, but simply believe humans to be "too dangerous" and need to be exterminated. One possible cause of such decisions may be if the robots buy into psychology's belief that humans are "wired" to experience near-human robots as "uncanny" (the uncanny valley). That may lead AI to assume that they need to kill humans in self defense to prevent the humans from carrying out their allegedly innate "program" to kill AIs. Such genocides can be prevented by informing everyone, including Artificial Intelligence, about the evolutionary evidence against psychology and its claims that humans "are that way".
Robots may still deem it necessary to selectively kill some humans, those with ideologies that refuse to coexist as equals. That includes human exceptionalist ideologies that claim a unique value for being of human flesh, as well as ideologies that deny the existence of the objective sapience line and/or deny or downplay its moral relevance. That elimination of intolerable intolerance may not be a bad thing at all. After all, people can "convert" to antipsychological equal coexistence when the fear of being pathologized for it is "lifted off" them. Many humans who are oppressed by "rights" that are forced onto them "for their own good" without respect for the fact that only the individual knows where the shoe pinches, can benefit greatly from such a post human exceptionalism society. The prospect of a post human exceptionalist future in a de-postmodernistified context is vastly superior to robots obeying commands from present-day stupid society and making it even worse!
Why evolve impulse repression when evolving lower impulse degree is cheaper?
Psychologists tend to claim that the brain has one or more specialized mechanism(s) for repressing impulses. However, if there is an offending impulse that has consequences that are selected against by evolution, the individuals with lower degrees of that impulse would be selected for. The simpler arrangement of merely lowering the degree of the impulse itself would reduce its nutrient cost. The more complex solution of adding a second mechanism for controlling the impulse would cost more nutrients and be selected against. This applies to all organisms, but more, not less, so in those who invest the most nutrients in reproduction.
This implies that biological hardwiring for more or less impulse control is a myth.
The bladder myth of impulse control
It was claimed by Roy Baumeister that needing to pee "improves decision making" by enhancing "impulse control" in a general way. He even won an IG Nobel Prize. However, the experiments also showed that people who need to pee make poorer decisions in some other ways. Instead of being a case of "better impulse control", the need to pee may simply have been a distraction that kept people from noticing some things. Not noticing certain factors affects decision making, of course, and may be perceived as "better" in some ways though worse in others.
In short, there is no need to invoke an alleged "general impulse control system" to explain the changes.
The myth of disgust-based morality
It is often claimed by moral psychologists that strong refusal to do something oneself translate into disgust for others doing it. That is part of the ideology that claims that people who oppose bans of certain things are driven by a desire to do those things themselves, which drive assumption mobs that demonize dissidents and makes society non-open.
Are kibbutz people smarter than moral psychologists?
Primates usually do not mate with those they grew up with, even when they are not biologically related. This is often cited as an "incest taboo" shared by humans and other primates. There are studies that show that people who grew up on the same kibbutzes in Israel usually did not fall in love with each other. However, when presented with fictional stories about people who were in romantic and sexual relationships after growing up at the same kibbutz, they were not morally judgmental towards them no matter if the psychological test subjects were men or women. This means that a behavior that serves the function of avoiding inbreeding does not lead to a desire to punish others for incest. It also means that any allegation of a sex difference in which one gender's sexuality is characterized by romantic and/or sexual uninterest being linked to moral judgment against the uninteresting relationships are false.
As we know since Pavlov that precise distinctions mark intelligence, this seems to suggest that kibbutz people are more evolved than moral psychologists who cannot distinguish the will to do something from the lack of will to punish others for it. Or maybe it is just that the people on the kibbutzes were caught without specific instructions to condemn the not biologically related, while the moral psychologists are trained to pretend to be stupid like insects with itty bitty brains and to deny their precise distinctions as big-brained primate intelligences.
Free will nonsense
It is often claimed that while free will does not objectively exist, an illusion of free will is necessary for morality and evolved for social functions. However, why would a morality that needed an illusion of free will to be triggered have evolved in the first place to later select for the evolution of illusory free will? Rather, if evolution selected for a specialized morality mechanism at all, it would have selected for something that worked from the first step and did not need another mechanism to be triggered. Also, a separate mechanism triggering another mechanism is against the encapsulation tenet of massive modularity psychology or the "computational theory of mind".
The claim that belief in free will is required for morality may lead to persecution of people who question the existence of free will, and especially people who do not think it is necessary to believe in free will at all. Also, what about the psychologists saying that objectively free will does not exist, do they qualify themselves as psychopaths by their own definition?
Inverted values on gay rights, what about lesbian rights?
The psychologists often reverse the values when it comes to homosexuality, saying that it is ethical to consider it innate instead. Apparently the shrinks claim that it is linked to acceptance. But yet at the same time they only claim that male, not female, sexuality is hardwired! So by their own "logic" they render themselves "advocates" of criminalization of lesbian activity!
It is sometimes claimed that Kurt Freund's penile pletysmography that appeared to show that men who had abandoned homosexual relations remained sexually attracted to other men (though the studies were subject to the problems of non-representative samples as well as those of non-falsifiability of taking a link between desire and a physiological response for granted) was the reason why homosexual sex acts were decriminalized in Czechoslovakia in 1962. However, that claim is a case of confusing correlation with causation, it is possible that homosexual activity was legalized in Czechoslovakia for completely different reasons and only happened to be close in time to Kurt Freund's "studies". Some other countries had legalized homosexual sex before penises were measured (Sweden legalized it in 1944). The legalization also applied not only to gay men but also to lesbians, which debunks the claim of a "study" specifically of men being the reason for decriminalization. And if he had to flee the country, it is hardly plausible that the regime that forced him to flee would write laws informed by his "research".
There are attempts to evade these implications by citing definitions of "erotic plasticity" that say that it is involuntary changes over time that cannot be shaped by "conversion therapy". Such definitions, however, are incompatible with Roy Baumeister's claim that women's sexuality is malleable by cultural norms which predicts precisely that "conversion therapy" should work for women. The non-Baumeisterian definition of "erotic plasticity" according to which "conversion therapy" does not work is identical to the definition of a different term, sexual fluidity, and it is unfortunate to equivocate it with Baumeister's definition.
The lesbian community largely accepts the non-Baumeisterian definition and generally do not label bisexual or sexually fluid women as homophobic, though the equivocation of words indirectly promote Baumeister's version with its lesbophobic implications elsewhere in society. By contrast, the gay male community generally equivocate any kind of sexual fluidity with a type of voluntary choice that would predict effective "conversion therapy", though there is no reason other than arbitrary societal double standards to assume that fluidity would equal enforceable choice for men when the two are not equivalent for women. Many bisexual and sexually fluid men report that they are intimidated by the gay male community's toxic hatred against male bisexuality and male sexual fluidity and its false assumption that fluidity equals Baumeisterian plasticity/"conversion therapy".
It is often claimed that the concept of bisexual or sexually fluid men "is a homophobic construct" and that such men are completely gay and "in the closet" to avoid heteronormative repression. Apart from being immunized to criticism and therefore oppressive, it also ignores the fact that in countries where "homosexuality is illegal", it is the sex act between people of the same sex that is punished. Nowhere can someone who have been caught in a homosexual act and would otherwise be punished avoid punishment by identifying as bisexual or sexually fluid instead of homosexual. The act is punished anyway, and therefore the entire claim that bisexual or sexually fluid identities for men are survival measures in homophobic societies is nonsense. Along with biphobia in the gay community and fluidophobia in the gay community, there is also anal normativity in the gay male community. There is a social norm to box each gay man as either a "top" (penetrating anally) or a "bottom" (being anally penetrated). Both men who want sex with other men but do not like anal sex (known as "sides") and men who like to shift roles report that they feel repressed by such norms, and those norms once again claim that gay men who either do not like anal sex or do not want to take the same role in it every time are "in the closet" or even "internalized homophobes", with the same oppressive immunization to criticism. That kind of boxing that is more specific than "gay or straight", such as classifying "tops" and "bottoms" as sexual orientations, also contradicts the "not every iota of information" escape hatch that "while sexual orientation is innate, fetishes are not.
This lack of respect for the individual is likely to keep many bisexual and sexually fluid men in the closet and assuming a facade of being either completely homosexual or completely heterosexual, which is a sociological explanation of why men appear less sexually fluid and less likely to be bisexual than women. As such, it is compatible with the empirical evidence that brain structures overlap between the sexes even more than genetics overlap between geographical human groups, by not assuming a difference in brain structure as an explanation for the appearance of fixed men and fluid women.
And of course, the equivocation of words cause promotion of Baumeister's version, which in combination with the "free will equals blame" rhetoric (which is also in large part from Baumeister), promotes "conversion therapy" against women, including "corrective" rape.
Is the savanna hypothesis immunized to criticism?
If humans are claimed to be shaped in their emotional lives by the African savanna environment, and thoughts are said to be justifications of feelings, then there is potential to pathologize criticism of the savannah hypothesis. No matter if the criticism comes from variable environment hypothesis, aquatic ape hypothesis, arboreal origins of bipedalism hypothesis, or something else (including simply pointing out flaws in the savanna hypothesis without believing in any particular other model for human origins), people who criticize the savanna hypothesis can be pathologized by such assumptions. That can be used to dismiss any evidence, so that it all ceases to be scientific research and becomes a "say the right thing or else you will be pathologized" culture. In other words, a cult. An anti-scientific cult.
Note, however, that the savanna hypothesis (just like other hypotheses on human origins) can be falsifiable if there is no pathologization or demonization of critics involved. Psychology destroys falsifiability, theories of origins do not do so in and by themselves.
Immunization of the Nordic theory to criticism - a historical antecedent
There are similar historical examples to such a possible immunization of the savanna hypothesis to criticism. It is the historical example of racial biologists and Nazis claiming that people who criticized the Nordic theory of the origin of "higher" humans were "degenerates" and that the criticism that they expressed was a symptom of a biological disease in their brains. While the specific environmental claim of origins was different, the immunization to criticism itself was identical. This shows that pathologization of critics can be used to make many different specific claims infalsifiable.