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Author Topic:   Evolution of Altruism
Panda
Member (Idle past 3800 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 31 of 103 (585781)
10-09-2010 6:29 PM


Is conflict (and the things that cause conflict, e.g. overpopulation) considered to be an environmental pressure that would 'encourage' natural selection?
Surely, going to war is an instant reduction in your chances of survival/reproduction?
To paraphrase that famous saying: "He who fights and runs away - lives to father more children."

  
Bolder-dash
Member (Idle past 3718 days)
Posts: 983
From: China
Joined: 11-14-2009


Message 32 of 103 (585851)
10-10-2010 2:52 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Modulous
10-09-2010 11:31 AM


If I may just single out your post, as it seems to reflect a lot of other similar responses, and say that I think there is just such pure poppycock on so many levels.
First, do you actually believe there is a gene which controls altruism? And do you think that there are specific mutations that could happen to that gene which would suddenly make one more altruistic or less altruistic? Do you also think that there are people who may have gotten a mutation to their own altruism gene, and thus they could possibly not share this same inherited desire to be selfless? Maybe we need to rethink our justice system, and cut some slack to those who have a retarded altruism gene-since its really not their fault.
Furthermore, do you think that at some time in the past, there were groups of these social primates, and in those groups NONE of the individuals had any sense of altruism, until one altruistic "eve" started this whole behavior off? With some simple protein shift, a baby was born that thought, I don't know why, but I am going to be the most selfless being on this planet. And the behavior was so successful for reproduction that it quickly spread through this original non-altruistic society? Or perhaps it was just a mutation to the selfish gene? A faulty copy of a baboons desire to steal his neighbor's food? They simply were incapable of being as mean as their friends. And that happened to be a stroke of luck, in the getting laid department.
These types of stories that evolutionists love to tell, presumably without embarrassment for the sheer audacity of these far out presumptions, really do give me a chuckle. Every thing, every action, every behavior you can think of, is easy enough to explain by simply saying "can't you see the advantage this would have...nana?" . Well, first off, no I can't see any particular advantage, but even if I could, simply speculating about some contrived advantage doesn't translate into a grand elegance of nature magically being able to play that advantage into a neat little inherited package.
Even if you believed every aspect of evolution, including the accidental brilliance of it that you are suggesting, these types of wild fairy tales of chimps or man existing without some behavior (for centuries presumably) and then suddenly getting a weird mutation, (that we can only imagine in our heads because we don't need evidence), then spreading like wildfire through the population as if this was the most important new feature of reproduction selection is far more ridiculous than any Noah's Ark tales that you would find so unconvincing.
So if you don't mind, can you walk us through a few of the steps of how this first mutation started in your scenario?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Modulous, posted 10-09-2010 11:31 AM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-10-2010 2:58 AM Bolder-dash has replied
 Message 36 by Panda, posted 10-10-2010 7:15 AM Bolder-dash has not replied
 Message 48 by Modulous, posted 10-10-2010 3:50 PM Bolder-dash has replied

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 372 days)
Posts: 16113
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 33 of 103 (585852)
10-10-2010 2:58 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by Bolder-dash
10-10-2010 2:52 AM


If I may just single out your post, as it seems to reflect a lot of other similar responses, and say that I think there is just such pure poppycock on so many levels.
First, do you actually believe there is a gene which controls altruism? And do you think that there are specific mutations that could happen to that gene which would suddenly make one more altruistic or less altruistic? Do you also think that there are people who may have gotten a mutation to their own altruism gene, and thus they could possibly not share this same inherited desire to be selfless? Maybe we need to rethink our justice system, and cut some slack to those who have a retarded altruism gene-since its really not their fault.
Furthermore, do you think that at some time in the past, there were groups of these social primates, and in those groups NONE of the individuals had any sense of altruism, until one altruistic "eve" started this whole behavior off? With some simple protein shift, a baby was born that thought, I don't know why, but I am going to be the most selfless being on this planet. And the behavior was so successful for reproduction that it quickly spread through this original non-altruistic society? Or perhaps it was just a mutation to the selfish gene? A faulty copy of a baboons desire to steal his neighbor's food? They simply were incapable of being as mean as their friends. And that happened to be a stroke of luck, in the getting laid department.
These types of stories that evolutionists love to tell ...
If I could draw your attention to the real world for a minute, I would point out that you, a creationist, made up the "poppycock" in your post, which appears to have nothing to do with anything that Modulous actually wrote in a post that you are apparently unable to criticize.
Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Bolder-dash, posted 10-10-2010 2:52 AM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Bolder-dash, posted 10-10-2010 3:23 AM Dr Adequate has replied

  
Bolder-dash
Member (Idle past 3718 days)
Posts: 983
From: China
Joined: 11-14-2009


Message 34 of 103 (585853)
10-10-2010 3:23 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Dr Adequate
10-10-2010 2:58 AM


Dr. A can't understand it.
Noted. Thank you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-10-2010 2:58 AM Dr Adequate has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-10-2010 4:07 AM Bolder-dash has not replied

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 372 days)
Posts: 16113
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 35 of 103 (585856)
10-10-2010 4:07 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Bolder-dash
10-10-2010 3:23 AM


Dr. A can't understand it.
Noted. Thank you.
Do you actually read other people's posts and attempt to write something relevant, or do you just hit the reply button at random and then pull words out of a hat blindfold?
Only on present form you might as well do the latter.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Bolder-dash, posted 10-10-2010 3:23 AM Bolder-dash has not replied

  
Panda
Member (Idle past 3800 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 36 of 103 (585859)
10-10-2010 7:15 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by Bolder-dash
10-10-2010 2:52 AM


Bolder-dash writes:
First, do you actually believe there is a gene which controls altruism? And do you think that there are specific mutations that could happen to that gene which would suddenly make one more altruistic or less altruistic? Do you also think that there are people who may have gotten a mutation to their own altruism gene, and thus they could possibly not share this same inherited desire to be selfless?
(Firstly, I hope you are intentionally using the singular 'gene'. Nobody actually thinks it is a single gene.)
Could you describe your reasons for denying the existence of behaviour genetics?
e.g. Do you not agree that mental illness runs in families?
Do you have some information that conclusively answers the 'nature vs nurture' debate?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Bolder-dash, posted 10-10-2010 2:52 AM Bolder-dash has not replied

  
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 4947 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 37 of 103 (585879)
10-10-2010 8:49 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by dwise1
10-09-2010 4:03 PM


Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful post, dwise1.
So many "challenges to evolution" we see presented suffer from a common flaw: they assume the modern form under modern conditions.
If I understand your position, you are saying that the self-sacrificing human behavior I have described evolved through kin selection when Paleolithic humans lived in small bands in which all of the individuals were closely related.
The members of such a band, however, could not have all been equally related. In addition to siblings, there were probably nieces and nephews, first cousins, second cousins, etc. An altruistic trait would increase in frequency if (assuming my math is correct) it caused the altruist to sacrifice his or her life to save the lives of more than two siblings, more than four nieces or nephews, more than eight first counsins, more than 16 second cousins, and so on.
What's more, I doubt that each Paleolithic band formed a reproductively isolated population. There was probably immigration into the bands, further diluting the degree of relatedness.
Thus I am skeptical that indiscriminate altruism could evolve by individual selection, even in a band of hunter-gatherers.
An implied assumption of your argument is that human evolution essentially stopped 10,000 years ago. That we are Paleolithic creatures trying to cope in a modern social environment to which we are not adapted. I don't see any grounds for that assumption. The bill lengths of Darwin's finches have changed over a few generations in response to changes in the food supply. Why assume that human traits haven't changed over hundreds of generations?
You also raise the interesting idea that military organizations basically trick soldiers into treating the members of the unit like biological brothers. That may be a plausible explanation for why the Marine dove on the grenade. But it cannot explain why a firefighter would enter a burning building to save someone he has never met.
Edited by Stephen Push, : Corrected math error.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by dwise1, posted 10-09-2010 4:03 PM dwise1 has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by frako, posted 10-10-2010 9:16 AM Stephen Push has replied
 Message 39 by jar, posted 10-10-2010 9:56 AM Stephen Push has replied
 Message 47 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-10-2010 2:46 PM Stephen Push has not replied
 Message 51 by Blue Jay, posted 10-10-2010 6:25 PM Stephen Push has replied

  
frako
Member (Idle past 393 days)
Posts: 2932
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 38 of 103 (585884)
10-10-2010 9:16 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by Stephen Push
10-10-2010 8:49 AM


You also raise the interesting idea that military organizations basically trick soldiers into treating the members of the unit like biological brothers. That may be a plausible explanation for why the Marine dove on the grenade. But it cannot explain why a firefighter would enter a burning building to save someone he has never met.
it is the firefighters job his dogma, his bleif to do that, he is trained to do what he does so when it comes to it he dose it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Stephen Push, posted 10-10-2010 8:49 AM Stephen Push has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by Stephen Push, posted 10-10-2010 10:04 AM frako has replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 34064
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 39 of 103 (585898)
10-10-2010 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by Stephen Push
10-10-2010 8:49 AM


You also raise the interesting idea that military organizations basically trick soldiers into treating the members of the unit like biological brothers. That may be a plausible explanation for why the Marine dove on the grenade. But it cannot explain why a firefighter would enter a burning building to save someone he has never met.
Well, maybe an old ex-smoke eater (breathing devices were just starting to appear) can help.
The story begins as a little child, the first of a whole herd of kids, born changing baby diapers if I can still remember that far back.
I was taught that my job was to take care of the little ones, protect them and that also meant I had to protect and take care of their little friends as well.
During my mid to late teen years I became a Volunteer Fireman (the only kind we had at the time) and the training continued. The idea of priorities was stressed, that the priority was save lives first, property next. Lives were always paramount.
Many years of training followed eventually becoming one of the Instructors for the University of Maryland's Fire Service Extension System when I then trained others.
Is there a Genetic component to such behavior? Possibly. Of the passel of kids one brother became an ambulance first responder (we didn't have EMTs way back then) but none of the other brothers or sisters.
The biggest influence seems to be training, training from a very early age that I was responsible for the safety of others, and then lots of training on how I could do that with the least risk to myself while still doing my duty.
Yup, the "D" word.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Stephen Push, posted 10-10-2010 8:49 AM Stephen Push has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by Stephen Push, posted 10-10-2010 10:12 AM jar has replied

  
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 4947 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 40 of 103 (585899)
10-10-2010 10:04 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by frako
10-10-2010 9:16 AM


it is the firefighters job his dogma, his bleif to do that, he is trained to do what he does so when it comes to it he dose it.
Before he was trained, he chose a profession that he knew would require such risks.
And how would you explain the acts of civilians who risk their lives to save people? Such as some who stayed in the World Trade Center on 9-11 to help others.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by frako, posted 10-10-2010 9:16 AM frako has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by frako, posted 10-10-2010 4:12 PM Stephen Push has not replied

  
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 4947 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 41 of 103 (585902)
10-10-2010 10:12 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by jar
10-10-2010 9:56 AM


The biggest influence seems to be training, training from a very early age that I was responsible for the safety of others, and then lots of training on how I could do that with the least risk to myself while still doing my duty.
I have no doubt that training plays a major role. But you can't train a pig to fly. And you can't train a misanthrope to be an altruist.
Edited by Stephen Push, : Corrected typo.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by jar, posted 10-10-2010 9:56 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by jar, posted 10-10-2010 10:30 AM Stephen Push has replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 34064
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 42 of 103 (585904)
10-10-2010 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 41 by Stephen Push
10-10-2010 10:12 AM


I have no doubt that training plays a major role. But you can't train a pig to fly. And you can't train a misanthrope to be an altruist.
Porco Rosso.
While your first example is just silly, do you have evidence to support the later?
Even if true, what is your point?
I know of no evidence that suggests that everyone will behave the same. But again, even if that were true, it still has nothing to do with the topic.
As I pointed out to you in Message 7 there can be several reasons. In the examples you have presented, the soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save his comrades and in the case of a fireman rushing in to a burning building to save someone, a major part is training. In the former is could be espirit d'corps and in the later, the priority training.
Is there also a genetic component? Almost certainly. Consider bees dying to protect the hive.
Both evolved over time, one an example of biological evolution, the other an example of societal evolution.
Edited by jar, : every ---> everyone

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Stephen Push, posted 10-10-2010 10:12 AM Stephen Push has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by Stephen Push, posted 10-10-2010 11:16 AM jar has replied

  
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 4947 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 43 of 103 (585908)
10-10-2010 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Dr Adequate
10-09-2010 3:30 PM


For example, if you pointed me to any other group of mammals that got up at night and went to bed in the morning, I should say that they were by instinct nocturnal. If it was a bunch of humans, I would say that those particular humans work nightshifts, and that although humans are by instinct (i.e. by evolution) diurnal, they have over-ridden that instinct because they needed the money. Would you have any objection to such an explanation?
I would say that humans tend to be diurnal by instinct but display a considerable amount of behavioral flexibility. They can switch to a nocturnal lifestyle when environmental conditions require, even though they suffer from some physiological problems as a result.
I would say something similar about altruism. Humans display a considerable amount of behavioral flexibility, ranging from selfishness through limited cooperation to, in some situations, indiscriminate altruism.
A fascinating species worthy of further study.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-09-2010 3:30 PM Dr Adequate has not replied

  
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 4947 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 44 of 103 (585911)
10-10-2010 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by jar
10-10-2010 10:30 AM


Even if true, what is your point?
The nature-nuture controversy is SO 20th Century! Today we know that EVERYTHING is genetic AND environmental, especially with respect to the devlopmental environment (as in those diapers you changed).
We may be selfish much of the time, but we are also capable of selflessness at times. Some posters in this thread have suggested extreme selflessness is a malfunction -- a psychosis or a result of too much testosterone. I think it is a cop-out to dismiss behaviors be don't understand as abnormal (although even if they are "abnormal," I still think they are worthy of study and explanation.)
Evolution "designed" us with a capacity for indiscriminate altruism that is not seen throughout the animal kingdom. How did this capacity evolve? What developmental environments foster it? Under what environmental conditions is it expressed?
Are these not valid scientific questions to ask?
Edited by Stephen Push, : Corrected typo.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by jar, posted 10-10-2010 10:30 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by jar, posted 10-10-2010 2:20 PM Stephen Push has not replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 34064
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 45 of 103 (585913)
10-10-2010 2:20 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by Stephen Push
10-10-2010 11:16 AM


The issue of the genetic component is being investigated, and it is NOT something that is just limited to humans, it shows up in other species as well. I mentioned the example of bees swarming to protect the hive.
It is interesting that the bees that actually do that do not even contribute to passing on genetic information anyway.
But in humans, it seems to be very closely related to human intelligence. Even very young pre-speech stage 8-12 month old children exhibit an urge to cooperate, to see those that cooperate as better than those that do not.
Those tendencies however limited also get enforced or discouraged by training and experience as we mature.
The big difference between humans and the rest of the animals is that we have greater computing capabilities and so we do learn, do get trained, do train others.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by Stephen Push, posted 10-10-2010 11:16 AM Stephen Push has not replied

  
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