From: An evolutionary challenge: Explaining away compassion, philanthropy, and self-sacrifice:
Animals do show empathy. But that’s part of the puzzle. Consider the monkey who rescued his electrocuted buddy. But then tortoises have been captured on film laboriously turning other upended tortoises back onto their feet.
The nature of the difficulty is apparent when we ask ourselves, what is the tortoise thinking? It is a reptile who cannot right itself, so how does it know enough to right another tortoise? When considering empathy in chimpanzees, we assume, with some justification, that the chimp who helps or shares has mental experiences analogous to those of humans. But if the famously slow-witted tortoise has such experiences as well, then there is not only no “Tree of Intelligence,” there seems to be no Tree of Empathy either. Genetic closeness to humans may not have explanatory value for humans, any more than the supposed “selfish gene” does.
For human nature, evolution appears to be an endless well from which any lesson whatever can be drawn. And “evolutionary” explanations need not be informative; they need only be fully naturalist. More.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (the human mind)
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