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Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
dronestar
Member
Posts: 1425
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 31 of 438 (504543)
03-30-2009 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by kuresu
03-30-2009 9:10 AM


We have just gotten better at protecting lives from deaths.
Yes, but humanity has also gotten better at causing death. Much, much better. In pre-WWI days, how many men would have taken to destroy 100,000 people of Hiroshima. Now, it only requires a few handful of very smart ones? This is the reason why I think we should discount just death counts to track aggression in today's world.
Either way, increasing or decreasing aggression may be too complex a subject to generalize. But I kinda agree with Oni, when circumstances involve fear or survival, man will be moved to be more aggressive. If true, man hasn't changed much at all, has he?
This is one of my most favorites quotes. I wish all potential servicemen considering a military career would read it carefully:
Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Goering

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dronestar
Member
Posts: 1425
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 41 of 438 (504580)
03-31-2009 9:27 AM


Back to the topic of morality and evolution
Besides Richard Dawkin's book "the Selfish Gene" . . .
The Semai: A Nonviolent People of Malaya - Robert Knox Denton
Not sure how available this book is, but one of my professors from college did research on violent/nonvoilent societies. From my memory, living in a remote jungle environment in mainland Malasia (in the 60s?), he learned why the egalitarian tribe of Semai embraced non-aggression living. They rather adopted the "flight" method over "fight "method. It reminds me a little of SouthEast Asia's unique "face-saving" society. Anyone ever been to Thailand? They bend over backwards to not offend.
Mind the Gap, by Richard G. Wilkinson.
Another book I HIGHLY recommend is Mind the Gap, by Richard G. Wilkinson. I liked it so much, it was one of the few books I kept from college. It is a Darwinian approach to violence and aggression. The book describes earliest hunter/gatherer tribe's egalitarian and altruistic behaviors. Then as man starts to live in early city-states he becomes more heirarchal and a "gap" of haves and have-nots develops. Through different examples, such as the vast economic differences in the US and the stress that it causes, it shows how violence and aggression is fueled.
I think reading these books in combination helps to understand how man, at its roots, may really be an altruistic animal. It is the modern day stresses (whether in a democratic or communistic society) that pushes his aggression.
Great topic/thread!
Edited by dronester, : clarify

  
dronestar
Member
Posts: 1425
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 56 of 438 (504665)
04-01-2009 9:14 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by Taz
03-31-2009 5:12 PM


Re: I Call BS, Plain and Simple
Hi Taz,
Taz writes:
people who are in unstable societies don't put that much value on human life
Hmmm. Unless you mean nations that are currently at war, I've been to many "unstable" and especially unprosperous societies. I can say pretty confidently they love their children as much as anyone else. Also, the kinship/friendship they share with their neighbors puts many "stable" societies to shame (including hyper-capitalistic USA). I would say they have high value on human life.
Also, consider the violence and gun deaths in the USA. The US leads the industrial world in aggressive crimes and prison population. Do you not consider the USA as "stable"?
I am not saying there DEFINITELY isn't ANY correlation whatsoever to your generalization (I am no sociologist). But I think aggressive behavior might be more complex then you make it seem.
I posted the book title "Mind the Gap" by Wilkenson in a previous post. I think it does a good job in describing how society's gross inequities cause aggression/violence. Indeed, right now I want to kick an AIG executive in the mouth.
regards
Edited by dronester, : No reason given.

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dronestar
Member
Posts: 1425
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 58 of 438 (504668)
04-01-2009 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by onifre
04-01-2009 9:21 AM


Re: I Call BS, Plain and Simple
In fact, no execution today is shown to the public, except where? - In highly hostile and aggressive places.
Hey Oni,
I did a paper on "entertainment in violence" way back in college (funny how many lucky hypothesis' that contained . . . )
Would you ALMOST agree that if it was legal, the USA would televise executions? On Fox News? AND get great numbers?
The USA is really unique.
regards

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dronestar
Member
Posts: 1425
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 60 of 438 (504670)
04-01-2009 9:57 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Percy
04-01-2009 9:45 AM


Re: Defining Altruism
I wonder if there is any laboratory evidence, or some kind of more direct evidence, supporting the evolution of morality.
There are several good studies that show animal altruistic behavior. A quick google will provide many more but here's one:
Oops!
Also, early ethnographers/researchers of "primitive" hunter/gatherer societies show a correlation between egalitarian living and moral/ethical/altruistic behavior (book "Mind the Gap" Wilkenson). If I had a better memory, I could cite more specific examples from my college days, sorry.

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