Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 51 (9179 total)
3 online now:
Newest Member: Jorge Parker
Post Volume: Total: 918,196 Year: 5,453/9,624 Month: 478/323 Week: 118/204 Day: 18/16 Hour: 1/6


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   morality, charity according to evolution
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 20 of 243 (310458)
05-09-2006 7:51 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by macaroniandcheese
05-08-2006 10:30 PM


Re: The evolution of morality
bk writes:
the purpose of the altruism is to further the species,
Furthering the species cannot ever be considered a selective force. While I agree group selection is a strong force in human evolution and very likely needed to explain the evolution of morality, 'for the good of the species' arguments are examples of the missuse of group selection. It simply works by the differential survival of groups having an impact on the genetic composition of the population. No animal has ever been selected to perform any behavior for the good of its species.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by macaroniandcheese, posted 05-08-2006 10:30 PM macaroniandcheese has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by macaroniandcheese, posted 05-09-2006 8:13 AM EZscience has replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 30 of 243 (310500)
05-09-2006 12:55 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by macaroniandcheese
05-09-2006 8:13 AM


Re: The evolution of morality
I did. I don't have any problem with rest of it, only when you talk about a 'purpose' for altruism related to the good of the species. You then put it into a reasonable context of group selection, but we need to remember that 20-30 yrs ago the concept of group selection was badly missued to explain a lot of traits based on 'good for the species' arguments. I don't want to be a stickler, but it was just your choice of words in the initial sentence I felt compelled to correct.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by macaroniandcheese, posted 05-09-2006 8:13 AM macaroniandcheese has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by macaroniandcheese, posted 05-09-2006 1:39 PM EZscience has replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 31 of 243 (310503)
05-09-2006 1:01 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Chiroptera
05-09-2006 11:15 AM


Stability of Altruism
Chiroptera writes:
...if a mutation causes a non-altruist to arise in the altruistic tribe, then usually the non-altruist will have a reproductive advantage
Yes. And you might also point out the mathemetical difficulty in getting a gene for altruism to increase in frequency in a population when it starts out as a single mutation. That's even harder to accomplish, because until altruism is reciprocal, these is zero benefit for the trait carrier, and it can't be reciprocal until the trait reaches some critical frequency.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Chiroptera, posted 05-09-2006 11:15 AM Chiroptera has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by crashfrog, posted 05-09-2006 1:47 PM EZscience has replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 34 of 243 (310530)
05-09-2006 2:03 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by macaroniandcheese
05-09-2006 1:39 PM


'Good for the species' is not a valid evo explanation
bk writes:
the point of procreation is to continue the species.
No, the point of procreation is the replication of the genes of the individual that procreates. I repeat, there is no evidence that ANY form of behavior in ANY animal has ever evolved "for the good of the species". It is very important that we all work toward extinguishing this antiquated notion. Species evolve or go extinct based on their ecological merits. Indivdual behavior can be selected only by virtue of the individual fitness benefits it confers. Where group selection comes in is that individual fitness can also be defined by group status, and thus the effect of the goup is to provide *individual* benefits for cooperation and altruism, that in turn let to enhanced group survival relative to other groups. In the end, it still comes down to individual fitness as defined by group dynamics.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by macaroniandcheese, posted 05-09-2006 1:39 PM macaroniandcheese has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by macaroniandcheese, posted 05-09-2006 2:08 PM EZscience has replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 36 of 243 (310534)
05-09-2006 2:15 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by crashfrog
05-09-2006 1:47 PM


Re: Stability of Altruism
In your example you have set conditions for kin selection, not alrtuism, although it is often infered to be a precusor of actual altruism among unrelated individuals. But in population genetics models, it is extremely diffiuclt to model the increase in frequency of a gene for altruism when it is at low frequency because there is no payoff for the trait carrier.
Check out this reference for a fairly good treatment of the topic.
quote:
Trivers addressed the problem of altruism between unrelated individuals in a landmark paper (1971). He argued that such altruism is advantageous to its practitioner if directed only toward those individuals who will reciprocate; given the right cost-benefit ratios, over time, each member of a reciprocal relationship will do better than by acting alone.
quote:
There are at least two difficulties with Trivers' formulation. First, the initial altruist in a population is a lone altruist; without reciprocity the individual is at a disadvantage so the trait will not spread (Wilson, 1975, pp. 120-121). This initial disadvantage applies equally to all altruistic behavior, regardless of species, and has been addressed as a population genetics problem by several authors (Wilson 1977, Boorman and Levitt 1980, Fagen 1980, Axelrod and Hamilton 1981), all of whom have relied on arguments that some form of drift, kin or group selection is necessary to establish the altruist gene in a population.
quote:
Second, among humans it is by no means clear that the reciprocal exchanges to which Trivers refers are "altruistic" in any sense of the word (Sahlins 1976). Contrary to what is often assumed, much human reciprocal gift-giving is characterized not by altruism, as we commonly use the term, but by "prestations which are in theory voluntary, disinterested and spontaneous, but are in fact obligatory and interested.
quote:
Both of these objections indicate that immediate self-interest plays a far larger part in reciprocal altruism than Trivers thought, and that any genetical theory of human reciprocal altruism or its component traits must account for this immediate self-interest.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by crashfrog, posted 05-09-2006 1:47 PM crashfrog has not replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 37 of 243 (310537)
05-09-2006 2:36 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by macaroniandcheese
05-09-2006 2:08 PM


Re: 'Good for the species' is not a valid evo explanation
I realize you did not imply personal intentions, only an outcome.
But your statement can be easily misinterpreted to imply the wrong kind of group selection concept.
I am not disputing your projected end result, just your choice of terminology. For example, it is also not advisable to refer to 'ultimate goals'. The word 'goal' implies purpose, and evolutionary process has no purpose. We refer to this as telological reasoning and the ToE eshews teleology in all forms. That's one of the reasons it is so unnerving to those convinced that god has a plan for everything.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by macaroniandcheese, posted 05-09-2006 2:08 PM macaroniandcheese has not replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 41 of 243 (311065)
05-11-2006 3:40 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by crashfrog
05-11-2006 12:35 PM


Inclusive fitness of bees
Although I agree with you that Kin Selection can easily be quantified once degree of relatedness is known, you have horribly mangled your example.
The queen and her workers are only 50% related to one another - it is the workers that are 75% related to each other, by virtue of all having the same father who only has a single copy of all his genes (assuming the queen mates only once, which is not always true).
Because of arrhenotokous reproduction in the Hymenoptera, workers arise from fertilized eggs made sterile only by the diet they are fed. Feed them royal jelly as larvae and any one can become a new queen. It is the Drones that arise from unfertilized eggs and have only one copy of all the chromosomes. This is the haplo-diploid system of arrhenotoky .
I don't want it to seem like I'm following you around (or slapping you around with my dick, I think you said ), but you need to be more careful.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by crashfrog, posted 05-11-2006 12:35 PM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by crashfrog, posted 05-11-2006 5:47 PM EZscience has not replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 42 of 243 (311066)
05-11-2006 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by crashfrog
05-11-2006 12:35 PM


Double post - deleted
Server playing tricks on me....
This message has been edited by EZscience, 05-11-2006 02:42 PM

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by crashfrog, posted 05-11-2006 12:35 PM crashfrog has not replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 54 of 243 (311251)
05-11-2006 10:50 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Hyroglyphx
05-11-2006 9:37 PM


Re: The altruism conundrum
nj writes:
. animals don't have the ability to reason in the same way a human does.
Granted. But that does that mean that a human can understand why s/he is able to reason the way that s/he can? I suggest not.
nj writes:
They fight and growl until one takes on the dominant role and the other takes the submissive role.
And that is different from our current American appraoch to foreign policy how?
nj writes:
...ascribing teamwork as altruism when the two are not synonymous in any way.
The 'teamwork explanation' is currently the best explanation for the evolution of altruism. Please be so kind as to enlighten us on your alternative explanation.
nj writes:
Altruism is a selfless act where one person gains nothing and the other gains everything, (or in this case, animals). That isn't Darwinism.
You would have to actually understand ”Darwinism’, or as we would say, the ”theory of evolution’, before you would be able to make such a determination, and you obviously do not. It hasn’t been called ”Darwinism’ by actual biologists in almost 100 years.
In fact, many superficially altruistic acts might be intrinsically selfish. Can you prove otherwise? Can you prove to me that the guy rescuing the baby from the burning car isn’t thinking of his book deal while his hair is one fire?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-11-2006 9:37 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-11-2006 11:05 PM EZscience has replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 57 of 243 (311261)
05-11-2006 11:03 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by Hyroglyphx
05-11-2006 10:50 PM


Re: The altruism conundrum
nj writes:
. how does this resonating inner-joy cross over in the animal kingdom?
Why do you feel compelled to project any perceived ”resonating inner joy’ on the animal kingdom’ ?
Can't they possibly exhibit altruism without such a contrived notion?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-11-2006 10:50 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 67 of 243 (311350)
05-12-2006 7:58 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by Hyroglyphx
05-11-2006 11:05 PM


Re: The altruism conundrum
nj writes:
I'm not sure how politics fit into the topic. Can you elaborate?
My point is that your description fits humans as well as it does animals, and yet you don't accept that altruism in humans has evolved naturally.
nj writes:
I agree that its the best theory it has to explain it, which isn't saying a whole lot.
I think 'best theory' it's saying plenty. You're essentially admitting that no one can currently explain it any better than that.
nj writes:
I can't enlighten you on a better explanation from a purely naturalistic point of view because I don't believe one exists.
So the only reason we are altruistic is because god made us that way?
nj writes:
the burden of proof remains with you and anyone else that believes that there is an 'altruism gene'
Who said anything about it being only one gene? That's a simplification we make for purely heuristic purposes - for trying to model the simplest possible scenario. Altruism is likely influenced in different ways by many genes, but it doesn't change anything. All you need is some component of heritability and it has evolutionary potential.
nj writes:
I think in a one sentence summary that's what evolution is all about.
No it isn't what it's ALL about. In the most basic and over-simplified sense, perhaps, but there are a lot more intricasies to it that you only come to apprecuate if you actually study the science.
nj writes:
that's only because he was incorrect in certain areas so it needed to be refined
No, he was basically correct. It is because the theory has evolved into something far more complex with the contributions of many others over the past 100 years.
nj writes:
No, I can't climb inside peoples minds and know their thoughts.
You don't have to in order to recognize that a large number of superficially altruistic acts have a very tangible 'selfish' payoff within our society. That can really facilitate their evolution. In essence, it is group selection reinforcing individual selection.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-11-2006 11:05 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-12-2006 3:26 PM EZscience has replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 76 of 243 (311474)
05-12-2006 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by Hyroglyphx
05-12-2006 3:26 PM


Re: The altruism conundrum
I won't argue the creationist explanation.
It's a waste of my time.
I could explain how 'apparent' altruism can evolve in human societies, but I don't think you are really interested in learning.
You have already decided what you want to believe so you are resistant to any explanation inconsistent with that.
I will take issue with this.
nj writes:
Altruism is a deed done out of selflessness not selfishness.
If we are to operate with your definition of altruism, please explain how we can distinguish it from covert selfish behavior?
I'll make it even easier for you.
Describe to me one human act you consider to be truly altruistic and I will show you how selfish interests can easily be attached to it that you will be unable to discount.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-12-2006 3:26 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 81 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-14-2006 7:48 PM EZscience has not replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 79 of 243 (311489)
05-12-2006 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by kuresu
05-12-2006 4:28 PM


Devolution
kuresu writes:
what the heck is devolution?
He's parroting creationist dis-information.
Maybe he's been reading this book.
It's an argument from the biblical concept of "the Fall" from grace. Humans are supposed to be getting further from god as a result of original sin. Ergo, we are devolving, not evolving.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by kuresu, posted 05-12-2006 4:28 PM kuresu has not replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 99 of 243 (311997)
05-15-2006 1:05 PM


altruism and homosexuallity
In addition to the points made by WK regarding the potentially hidden fitness benefits of homosexuality (certainly true in the animal kingdom) we need to remember that many superficially mal-adaptive traits and sub-optimal strategies can survive in a population at low rates without ever being completely eliminated. Obviously we could not survive as a population of obligate homosexuals, but as WK points out, homosexuality is not exclusively obligate by any means, at least not in more that a small fraction of the total population. Thus it may be under frequency dependent selection - only strongly selected against when it reaches higher frequencies.
For example thievery is a behavioral strategy that has evolved in many animal species as well as human societies, especially as it relates to resources needed for reproduction. A good example is the digger wasps where females have to dig a burrow for each of their larvae and provision it with a parasitized host. Many of the larger females will try and still ready-made burrows from smaller females, but thievery is a strategy that can only work when plenty of others are actually digging, so the payoff for the behavior is 'frequency dependent' in the population. The trait never evolves to be expressed by more than a small fraction of the females, because as soon as there are more thieves than diggers, the payoff for thievery vanishes and you are better of spending your time digging than looking to steal.
I would predict the same to apply to exclusive homosexuality. The Christians worried about the 'spread of homosexuallity' have nothing to worry about. This is not a trait that can ever go to fixation in the population as there will be naturally imposed frequency dependent selection against it whenever it becomes too common - without any legal intervention on the part of society. And we are better off accepting the proclivity in some people than we are trying in futility to stamp it out completely. It's just not going to happen.

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by scoff, posted 05-15-2006 2:43 PM EZscience has replied
 Message 105 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-15-2006 3:07 PM EZscience has replied

  
EZscience
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 100 of 243 (312001)
05-15-2006 1:11 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Hyroglyphx
05-15-2006 12:57 PM


nj writes:
The stark fact remains that the fossilized Coelecanth is the same as living ones. So, "why is that,"
Even if that were true (which it isn't) it wouldn't be a problem for evolution. Body plans don't change that much if they are successful in their niche. Crocodilians and horse shoe crabs are two examples of organisms that have remained virtually unchanged for millions of years. The rate of evolutionary change (and the magnitude of the consequences for animal morphology) varies GREATLY among different lineages.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-15-2006 12:57 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024