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Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
jasonlang
Member (Idle past 3512 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 07-14-2005


Message 172 of 438 (511999)
06-13-2009 6:38 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by onifre
04-01-2009 9:21 AM


Re: I Call BS, Plain and Simple
Onfire : "Of course not, I have not stated that it was. But it is true that even if one lives in a civilization that is not prosperous, due to violence and aggression from their government, like Haiti, Cuba, etc, one is seeking a less aggressive society to migrate to. Like the US."
umm...not to be picky but ...
Quote : "Cuba easily has one of the lowest overall crime rates in all of Latin America. Cuba is often considered by most experienced travellers to be the safest of all Latin American countries and probably one of the safest tourist destinations in the world in terms of crime. However, like every country, Cuba is not immune to crime and it is always worthwhile being aware of a few potential dangers so you can avoid being a victim of crime while in Cuba."
"The rate of violent crime in Cuba is very low, and it is even rarer for violent crimes in Cuba to be perpetrated against foreign tourists. Cuban people in general are very friendly and helpful regardless of their economic status, so crimes such as mugging do not really occur very often in Cuba."
http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/.../Common-Crime-in-Cuba/241
Extreme aggression of Cuban govt to it people is very unlikely. Any such aggression has to be masked in general crime statistics, such as in Colombia where the military stands accused of 1000's of murders of innocent civilians in the past 5 years (which they then dress up in fatigues to claim promotions and cash bonuses for killing "rebels"). They can get away with it their because of the very high crime rates and civil war which mask their killing.
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by onifre, posted 04-01-2009 9:21 AM onifre has replied

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jasonlang
Member (Idle past 3512 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 07-14-2005


(1)
Message 350 of 438 (743042)
11-26-2014 12:06 PM


Personally I think altruism is completely Darwinian.
Consider 100% perfect selfishness. How well would that really work as a survival / procreation strategy? Not very well at all.
We assume that a parent animal "just wouldn't" eat their own children. Because they don't so we assume they wouldn't do that. But what exactly is stopping them? Why not eat your own children? If you're 100% selfish and don't care, eating your own babies makes a lot of practical sense. They are a very nutritious source of protein, and are much easier to hunt than other prey. A PURELY selfish being would in fact not care at all, and would happily eat all of their children, their mate, their parents etc. But that being would die alone, and their genes would not get passed onto the next generation. Hence, being purely selfish isn't a good strategy to make a lot of offspring.
If you have a gene that says "don't hurt those close to you", guess what? Your chance of your offspring surviving skyrockets compared to your "don't give a damn" neighbor. Also your close relatives have a high likelihood of also carry that gene, which means the "nice" gene has a runaway effect, where it helps other copies of itself to spread.
So basically, it's logically impossible for any animal that raises it's own young to lack some form of aversion to harming other members of it's own species. Because otherwise they'd just see each other, including their own children, as a source of food.
So the organism needs to have a built-in system to care about the children, to be willing to even sacrifice themselves for their children. Your genes will pass on if you sacrifice yourself for your children, but if you sacrifice your children for yourself, then that's basically permanent death in the evolution stakes, and you FAILED at life.
So how could the brain code this mechanism which must logically exist in all mammals? The most likely way is through emotions. Protective feelings, love, happiness, guilt. Guilt is an interesting one. Guilt would have no purpose whatsoever without a social group. If you were really alone, guilt would be worse than useless. It acts to prevent us from causing harm, by making us feel bad if we cause harm.
I'd argue that emotion is the original basis of human moral/ethical systems.
Edited by jasonlang, : No reason given.

  
jasonlang
Member (Idle past 3512 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 07-14-2005


Message 363 of 438 (743313)
11-29-2014 1:31 PM


"perfect" morality is relative. Different cultures will give you different answers of what is "perfect". e.g. Colbard probably isn't a vegetarian, and he thinks he has perfect morality, thus he thinks killing and eating animals is 100% moral and justified, and he thinks Colbard can't possibly be any more moral than he is. Yet, a Buddhist would see his merry meat eating ways as deeply flawed and immoral.
Here's a theory: morality isn't about being nice. Moral rules are about group survival. This fits with the idea that ethics evolved to help communal animals survive and compete with other groups. So, what you would expect to see in biblical "moral" rules are expressly things that aid group cohesion and reproduction. Killing is bad in biblical morality, because it hurts the group, not because it's inherently bad. This is clear, because whenever there's a benefit to the group then killing is suddenly OK in the bible.
You can kill gay people in the bible, that's moral. probably because gay people aren't producing babies, which is their duty, so you have the threat of death: pair up and produce kids, or else.
you can kill rebellious children in the bible. This also acts as a deterrent to disobedient & antisocial behavior. Plus you can commit capital punishment on the real bad eggs.
The other big abomination is eating shellfish. Well, shellfish are notorious for giving food poisoning, and this was way back before antibiotics, so yeah, again this is clearly about survival, but dressed up in a "morality" message. This is the most clearly silly one to say there's any possible "morality" angle about eating shellfish, but it's listed as an "abomination" next to homosexuality.

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jasonlang
Member (Idle past 3512 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 07-14-2005


(1)
Message 385 of 438 (743672)
12-03-2014 6:24 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Cedre
03-28-2009 9:05 AM


Sorry for the huge number of edits, but I kinda worked through some of this as I went:
"Adaptation" really has two separate meanings here:
One meaning is in evolution terms, and measures how closely a species' genetics has changed to match environmental needs.
A second meaning "adaptability" is a measure of how well an individual is able to modify their behaviour or physical characteristic depending on the different environment it finds itself in. This in itself is a trait which has evolved: the ability to "match" various environments, so that you don't die just because your genes don't match perfectly with conditions. So flexibility can evolve because it allows organisms to survive hiccups like droughts. Less adaptable creatures die off during the bad years.
So an organism can be "over optimized" for one set of conditions, but if things change, the less-optimized but more flexible organism survives. One example of this is the "chimp video games". Due to chimps simple mental structure they can complete some video games faster and more accurately than humans. They're more specialized at it than we are, but we are better at a wide range of games. Chimps still survive because they're fine-tuned for a single environment, and out-compete us there. But we are more general: in ANY one environment there are animals which beat us. We are not "the best" at any one environment, but we're better at "making do" in any environment.
Links for chimp video games:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsXP8qeFF6A
Chimpanzees Can Play Video Games Better Than Kindergartners | Inside Science
The second meaning "adaptability" is short-term and does not imply that genetics have changed over the generations. e.g. Japanese growing ~1 foot taller after WWII, due to better nutrition, is an example of "adaptability" but not an "adaptation" in the genetic sense. BUT the adaptability which allowed that to happen was an adaptation which evolved previously: the ability to modify growth based on nutrition.
In a similar sense, science and technology are example of the exceptional adaptability of humans, and this adaptability itself is a trait which evolved as an adaptation.
As an example: due to evolutionary adaptations, I can learn languages, and can learn Japanese. But that doesn't mean I "evolved to learn Japanese" specifically.
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This message is a reply to:
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