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Author Topic:   morality, charity according to evolution
Modulous
Member (Idle past 103 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 25 of 243 (310481)
05-09-2006 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Chiroptera
05-09-2006 11:15 AM


Re: Some random thoughts.
I first read about this in a long ago article in Scientific American in connection with Robert Axelrod who I believe did a lot to develop the theory, although I don't know whether he is the one who first came up with the solution.
The concept was really fleshed out by Maynard Smith who defined Evolutionary Stable Strategy by applying game theory to evolution. The links go into more detail.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 103 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 222 of 243 (315269)
05-26-2006 9:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by kuresu
05-07-2006 4:53 PM


Memitic evolution
I haven't actually read every post here because of the topic drift. So I might be being redundant.
Isn't survival what evolution is all about? You know, surviving so that you can reproduce and have offspring. Working together to survive increases your reproductive success because you live longer and have more oppurtunities to procreate. Just becasue you cannot see how this is so does not mean that this is not so.
Indeed - a genetic influence that leads to either kin selection or even just general altruism can spread quite easily. If you have that gene, you will be penalized for it initially (assuming that everyone around you is selfish) since you will be exploited by your nasty neighbours. However, if you do manage to reproduce, your offspring may have inheretid the altruism gene. Now we see can how a family might build up which helps each other out doing better (propagating more of the same genes) than those that are indifferent to one another (or hostile).
However, it isn't just genes that can cause altruism, ideas can. A stirring speech can rally soldiers, a concept of martyrdom can inspire someone to kill themselves (for obvious reasons a gene of this type might not spread so easily). Memes are interesting (though many still reject them as replicating entities with differential reproductive success) and can explain less obvious points of culture such as charity, morality, music and jokes etc. All these things have probably have a genetic inspiration, but have been refined and altered in meme form.
I personally think this is another way of discussing nature versus nurture. Actually it is genes vs memes. Memes are more powerful for specific effects, but genes achieve a statistical influence that cannot be easily ignored.

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