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Darwin’s followers continue to flog up pretend problem of altruism

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Here, in a review of Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others (David Sloan Wilson/Yale University/Templeton Press):

Wilson believes that to answer this question, we must turn to evolutionary theory, and especially to a theory known as group selection, which holds that better adapted groups produce more offspring, with the result that their traits are passed on. The implications are far-reaching. If group selection is correct, it follows that humans and other group-living creatures are fundamentally not selfish but cooperative and even altruistic—that we human beings owe our existence to distant ancestors who were members of groups that succeeded because they were better able to cooperate than other groups.

Group selection departs from the more familiar model of individual selection that sees the evolutionary prize going to the individual, male or female, who has more surviving offspring, regardless of health and life-span, much less altruism. Yet another variant of Darwinian theory reduces evolution to what the biologist Richard Dawkins famously called “the selfish gene.” In this view, the true competition to reproduce is at the level of the gene, and an organism is only a gene’s way of making a copy of itself. More.

But who except Darwin’s followers decided that any such competition has ever existed?

Who said life forms were focused on spreading their genes, individually or collectively? As opposed to where their next meal is coming from?

It’s one of those “problems” that is only a problem if one believes in the theory.

Similarly, why didn’t the new Soviet man ever materialize? It’s a problem that disappears if one doesn’t believe in the theory. Templeton, the publisher of recent nonsense on the subject, apparently does.

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5 Replies to “Darwin’s followers continue to flog up pretend problem of altruism

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    But who except Darwin’s followers decided that any such competition has ever existed?

    Who said life forms were focused on spreading their genes, individually or collectively? As opposed to where their next meal is coming from?

    Around this time of year I can only wish that mosquitoes were less focused on spreading their genes.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    There’s no reason altruism could not have arisen via random genetic drift or some other as yet unknown evolutionary mechanism. You people just don’t know squat about evolutionary theory.

    It just happened, that’s all, is now a perfectly acceptable explanation in biology.

  3. 3
    wd400 says:

    Who said life forms were focused on spreading their genes, individually or collectively? As opposed to where their next meal is coming from?

    Is this a serious question? What do you think flowers are for? Or why does this cricket dedicate 14% of its body mass to testicles? Or… really almost any observation from natural history?

  4. 4
    leodp says:

    Altruism? Helping the weak only thwarts evolution and the survival of the human race. Let the weak survive and reproduce and what do we get? More of the weak! Let only the strong and most proliferate survive and thrive. (Those well-endowed crickets have it right, WD). That’s natural. Nature is ‘red of tooth and claw’. One subspecies ascends over another by prolific and powerful domination. Our existence is due to fluke not purpose and there is no transcendent moral law by which any of us is bound.

    Nietzsche argued that Christian virtues had only weakened the German stock. We need a Super Race with a Will to Power. — And so we’ve seen 2 world wars and the massive purges of the past Century. The logical application of Darwin and metaphysical naturalism to society. As someone said, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually respectable atheist. — Or so I hear. Bravo.
    Western Civilization as we have known it is collapsing as our educators have been pulling the rug from under it for decades. Notions like human rights that flow from God and not government, and the inherent dignity and value of every individual… these notions are aberrations on the human history-scape and they flow directly from that rug. (As does modern science for that matter). That’d be the Christian worldview.

  5. 5
    SamHManning says:

    As per ID advocate Timeaus’ criterion, I submit that none of the commenters here are qualified to discuss the topic.

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