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Author Topic:   Problems with being an Atheist (or Evolutionist)
Statman
Junior Member (Idle past 5156 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 12-06-2009


Message 38 of 276 (538354)
12-06-2009 1:15 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee
12-03-2009 10:05 AM


Re: Should Atheists Logically be Evil?
Jumped,
I'm new here and have only read a dozen or two posts but yours makes the most sense. I fully agree that cooperation is the basis of morality. Some think this is solely a competitive world and society. They grossly underestimate the enormous value of cooperation.
Some years ago, Robert Axelrod held a simple tournament to play iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. He invited philosophers, and others to each submit a program to play in the tournament. Initially, the nasty strategies were successful at the expense of the patsy strategies. But they were eventually overtaken by one or two 'nice' strategies. The most successful and simplest was called 'Tit for Tat'. He wrote up the results of the tournament and asked the orginal participants to submit programs again to play in the tournament. The author of 'Tit for Tat' resubmitted it and again, it won. Axelrod has since held other tournaments. His findings were published in "The Evolution of Cooperation' It's probable his work is discussed on the internet. Another book in the same vein is "The Origins of Virtue" by biologist Matt Ridley who discusses cooperation in and between species.
Tit for Tat was nice in that it always started by cooperating. But it was no patsy because when paired with another program a subsequent time, it always cooperated or reneged depending on whether the other program had cooperated or reneged on the previous move. So it did retaliate. It was also nice in that it forgave another program if it cooperated on the previous move.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee, posted 12-03-2009 10:05 AM Jumped Up Chimpanzee has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by RAZD, posted 12-06-2009 8:50 AM Statman has replied
 Message 43 by Modulous, posted 12-06-2009 7:42 PM Statman has replied
 Message 44 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee, posted 12-07-2009 4:53 AM Statman has not replied

  
Statman
Junior Member (Idle past 5156 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 12-06-2009


Message 42 of 276 (538407)
12-06-2009 1:06 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by RAZD
12-06-2009 8:50 AM


Re: Should Atheists Logically be Evil?
Razd,
The Wiki / Nash link didn’t work. Perhaps it does now. In any case, I found the article. Interesting. However, I can’t tell from it whether Axelrod’s findings and Nash’s work are related. Understanding Nash would take a lot of work on my part.
The other 2 links are interesting and I’ve copied them to a file. Here are a few random thoughts that may have some bearing on the topic:
1. Asexually reproducing bacteria pass genetic material among themselves.
2. There is at least a brief period of cooperation when a male and a female of a species mate.
3. There is a longer period of cooperation when a female cares for it’s young (in some species).
4. In gregarious species like humans, those groups that allow the killing of members of the group are less likely to survive because their numbers are diminished. Those groups that discourage killing of members of the group are more likely to survive because their numbers are increased and they are stronger in any conflict with another group.
5. In the same way, if theft is permitted in a group, the motivation to produce is reduced to the immediate needs of the producer.
6. Finally, I am reminded of the division of labor Adam Smith discusses in the very first chapter of his monumental 1775 work, The Wealth of Nations. In it, he discusses how long and difficult it would be if individuals made nails for their own use and how vastly more productive a worker is when he performs a single task repetitively as one step in the nail making process.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by RAZD, posted 12-06-2009 8:50 AM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

  
Statman
Junior Member (Idle past 5156 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 12-06-2009


Message 48 of 276 (538473)
12-07-2009 12:17 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by Modulous
12-06-2009 7:42 PM


Re: iterated dilemmas
Modulous (& Jumped up),
It is refreshing to see civil responses and some knowledge of what I'm talking about. The Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma tournament was an extremely simplistic situation. You may already have considered how real life interactions differ but I'll suggest some:
In real life:
1. Entities can pass information and advice to other entities about those who renege.
2. Entities can avoid interaction with those who renege. Conversely, they can deal only with those who cooperate.
3. Entities can de-escalate (or escalate) the ‘punishment’ to those who renege.
4. Entities can use 3rd parties to hold assets in escrow.
5. Entities can form coalitions with other cooperators to shun/ban or even destroy those who renege as well as force them to make restitution..
6. (Add your own)
It seems to me that biological evolution only had a small part to play in the development of ethics/morality. That cultural evolution had a vastly larger role.
The development of law is closely related to that of ethics/morality. John Maxcy Zane was the greatest historian of law at one time and his book The Story of Law was fascinating. Consider that first world nations no longer condone blood feuds, no longer kill a builders son if a house falls on the customer’s son and kills him (Hammurabi‘s law?), do not condone ’honor killings’, do not recognize trial by ordeal, do not condone dueling, do not permit slavery or gladiatorial combat, frown on torture, do not permit the subjugation of women, allow women to own property and vote and divorce, do not execute ’witches’ or heretics/blasphemers/atheists. The list goes on and on.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Modulous, posted 12-06-2009 7:42 PM Modulous has seen this message but not replied

  
Statman
Junior Member (Idle past 5156 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 12-06-2009


Message 92 of 276 (543916)
01-21-2010 10:02 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by Modulous
12-06-2009 7:42 PM


Re: iterated dilemmas
Tit for Tat does NOT defect initially.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Modulous, posted 12-06-2009 7:42 PM Modulous has seen this message but not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 93 by Dr Adequate, posted 01-21-2010 11:21 PM Statman has replied

  
Statman
Junior Member (Idle past 5156 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 12-06-2009


Message 94 of 276 (543951)
01-22-2010 9:25 AM
Reply to: Message 93 by Dr Adequate
01-21-2010 11:21 PM


Re: iterated dilemmas
Well, you're right but I don't know why he even mention 'Tat for tit' it a discussion 'Tit for Tat' and I don't know that it would have any bearing on the success of 'Tit for Tat'.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by Dr Adequate, posted 01-21-2010 11:21 PM Dr Adequate has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 113 by Modulous, posted 06-30-2010 8:37 PM Statman has not replied

  
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