A probabilistic argument in favor of the minority rule dictating societal values is as follows. Wherever you look across societies and histories, you tend to find the same general moral laws prevailing, with some, but not significant, variations: do not steal (at least not from within the tribe); do not hunt orphans for pleasure; do not gratuitously beat up passers by for training, use instead a boxing bags (unless you are Spartan and even then you can only kill a limited number of helots for training purposes), and similar interdicts. And we can see these rules evolving over time to become more universal, expanding to a broader set, to progressively include slaves, other tribes, other species (animals, economists), etc. And one property of these laws: they are black-and-white, binary, discrete, and allow no shadow. You cannot steal “a little bit” or murder “moderately”. You cannot keep Kosher and eat “just a little bit” of pork on Sunday barbecues. Now it would be vastly more likely that these values emerged from a minority that the majority. Why? Take the following two theses:
- Outcomes are paradoxically more stable under the minority rule — the variance of the results is lower and the rule is more likely to be emerge independently across populations.
- What emerges from the minority rule is more likely to be be black-and-white.
An example. Consider that an evil person wants to poison the collective by putting some product into soda cans. He has two options. The first is cyanide, which obeys a minority rule: a drop of poison (higher than a small threshold) makes the entire liquid poisonous. The second is a “majority”-style poison; it requires more than half the liquid to be poisonous in order to kill. Now look at the inverse problem, a collection of dead people after a dinner party, and you need to investigate the cause. The local Sherlock Holmes would assert that conditional on the outcome that all people drinking the soda having been killed, the evil man opted for the first not the second option. Simply, the majority rule leads to fluctuations around the average, with a high rate of survival.
The black-and-white character of these societal laws can be explained with the following. Assume that under a certain regime, when you mix white and dark blue in various combinations, you don’t get variations of light blue, but dark blue. Such a regime is vastly more likely to produce dark blue than another rule that allows more shades of blue.Nassim Nicholas Taleb