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Author Topic: The evolution of altruism.  (Read 2993 times)

Offline grizelda

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The evolution of altruism.
« on: 18/12/2009 09:37:45 »
Evolution is the success of the successful. If an adaptation is successful, it must be passed on for evolution to happen. Thus there are two criteria. Both of these must be encoded in evolution, which is a law of nature, and are thus both laws of nature themselves. If the adaptation is not passed on, then evolution fails. Altruism is the passing on of whatever good fortune you possess. Thus, altruism is an artefact or byproduct of evolution. Individuals who, for whatever reason, do not pass on their genes, do not evolve, and are dropped from the species. Non-altruistic individuals are revealing their inability to evolve, and statistically, will be dropped from the species.


 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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The evolution of altruism.
« Reply #1 on: 18/12/2009 14:20:31 »
Yes, we can be altruistic to an extent. After a certain point, though, there is such a thing as too altruistic - as in, it costs you, evolutionarily, to be that altruistic. Take for example Buddhist non-laity that are discouraged from sexual intercourse. The opposite is true, also - not altruistic enough/at all (taken in it's most basic definition) & you will not get as much social support once you're found out.

There is an argument that we need these people still & they will always be around, since the selective pressures on humans to evolve are so slow compared to how fast humans are adapting using the entire of human knowledge; we build houses for shelter, for example. Aside from this, say Buddhist monks - though they aren't necessarily contributing directly to the gene pool, their existence allows them to help others deal better emotionally with things. So overall they are helping the propogation of the human species by allowing people who can procreate to emotionally cope.

Similarly, we need the scoundrel, the pirate, the criminal because there is a certain advantage if you do it well compared to a normal person who otherwise would have done little to contribute. Eventually, you can argue, even theives end up contributing to society in a small way exactly because they show us where it's weaknesses are; the equivalent to an evolutionary arms race.

So I doubt your conclusion that we will, as a race, become extremely altruistic through evolution; besides, how do you measure something like that? Is buying fairtrade altruistic, since you can get an alternative which costs less, or is it simply acknowledging the value of the species?
« Last Edit: 18/12/2009 14:22:29 by glovesforfoxes »
 

Offline grizelda

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The evolution of altruism.
« Reply #2 on: 18/12/2009 20:08:43 »
Yes, the first subheading would be the role of competition. Without competition, there could be an infinite number of individuals of an infinite variety of variations. The unfit would infinitely outnumber the fit. Since altruism benefits the group, the group becomes more competitive. In competition with other groups, the groups which are altruistic as a group will have the competitive advantage over groups which are altruistic within their group but uncooperative with other groups. So you not only must cooperate to compete, but also compete to cooperate.
 

Offline witsend

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The evolution of altruism.
« Reply #3 on: 19/12/2009 05:57:13 »
Evolution is the success of the successful. If an adaptation is successful, it must be passed on for evolution to happen. Thus there are two criteria. Both of these must be encoded in evolution, which is a law of nature, and are thus both laws of nature themselves. If the adaptation is not passed on, then evolution fails. Altruism is the passing on of whatever good fortune you possess. Thus, altruism is an artefact or byproduct of evolution. Individuals who, for whatever reason, do not pass on their genes, do not evolve, and are dropped from the species. Non-altruistic individuals are revealing their inability to evolve, and statistically, will be dropped from the species.
Not sure of the arguement here Grizelda.  When is pro-creation ultruistic?  And how jealously guarded are the 'winning' genes?  It is my opinion that the winning gene pool tends to prey on the losing and such is hardly ultruistic.  And look at the extraordinary ultruism of people like Mother Theresa and others who never had the benefit of passing on their genes.  Yet their ultruism serves as a guiding light and an example for the general upliftment of our consiousness. Ultruism is a force that is not in any way locked into a genetc predisposition but is an applied philosophy that is intended to suggest that the good of the whole is rather greater than the 'self serving' good, or benefit - to the individual.  As such it defends the philosophical goals even of democracy.  Yet it is an aspiration that we all acknowledge as being required for the advancement of our civilization. 
« Last Edit: 19/12/2009 11:29:39 by witsend »
 

Offline grizelda

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The evolution of altruism.
« Reply #4 on: 19/12/2009 22:02:28 »
Evolution has been running the show here for three billion years at least - a great success. By overriding evolution with some popular philosophy (like political correctness), we can only throw a spanner into the works. Since evolution is a law of nature, like gravity, we cannot break it, we can only steer ourselves to some disaster. Like breaking the law of gravity only results in us crashing into the ground at high speed, again in accord with the law of gravity. Since we do not wish to see our species endangered, we must continue to support advancements which are beneficial to our species even if they offend some philosophies. This is true altruism. The best criteria to decide which advancements are worthy of our support is to determine if they are laws of nature, which is best done by science, not by political or economic or religious interests.
 

Offline AllenG

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The evolution of altruism.
« Reply #5 on: 19/12/2009 22:47:57 »

 

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