Evolutionary psychology

In “Evolution of Human Generosity,” we hear from Science Daily (July 25, 2011) the “evolutionary psychology” reason we tip waiters

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Here.

Recently, however, a team of scientists at UC Santa Barbara conducted a series of computer simulations designed to test whether it was really true that evolution would select against generosity in situations where there is no future payoff. Their work surprisingly shows that generosity — acting to help others in the absence of foreseeable gains — emerges naturally from the evolution of cooperation. This means that human generosity is likely to rest on more than social pressure, and is instead built in to human nature.

Don’t Darwinists ever get tired of defending this fertilizer? Anyone who has worked as a waitress knows that that is not true. People tip according to what they have been taught.

Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

13 Replies to “In “Evolution of Human Generosity,” we hear from Science Daily (July 25, 2011) the “evolutionary psychology” reason we tip waiters

  1. 1
    David W. Gibson says:

    This begs the question, WHY have people been taught this? Are you suggesting that some “uberwaitress” is teaching this nationwide, or that parents are teaching it at random, or some such?

    The underlying theory, at least as I understand it, is that people evolved as members of fairly small (<200) tribes. Within those tribes, fortunes varied day to day sometimes you kill the bear, and sometimes the bear kills you. And as a result, the success of the tribe as a whole required a lot of internal cooperation. “Future payoff” tended to be generalized, nonspecific.

    So is it a good idea, generally, to be pleasant and helpful to those around us, EVEN IF we’ll never see any of them again? What kind of society do you wish to live in?

    These models (in the quote from the article) rest largely on game theory. Will YOU gain by being generous, by contributing to charity, by being a Good Samaritan? I know that when I do these things, I feel better about myself and I sleep easier. Even if I never need any return favors.

    Does contributing to charity make me feel better because evolution SELECTED me to feel that way? I really don’t care. I don’t even do it because what goes around, comes around. I do it because it’s RIGHT.

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    Dear News,

    Evolutionary psychology makes astrology look like hard science.

    How do these clowns get any airtime in the popular news media with such transparent idiocy?

    Such profound nonsense and unsupported speculation should be allocated to the junk e-mail folder and promptly removed with shift-del, which bypasses the recycling directory and permanently deletes it.

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    Let’s see the source code

  4. 4
    Ilion says:

    People tip according to what they have been taught.

    People are often very sanctimonious about their tipping … especially when they learn that someone else doesn’t.

  5. 5
    markf says:

    Denyse/News

    The point of the study was to show how a propensity to be generous without possibility of reward could have evolved. Tipping was a possible example. Are you claiming that people are never generous without possibility of reward?

  6. 6
    News says:

    Ah yes, sanctimony, Ilion! The currency of morality! The underlying assumption is that the waitress is overworked and underpaid and needs an extra reward in order to give good service.

    Often true.

    To see what I mean, imagine tipping the nurse practitioner at your local hospital. Horrors!, you say? Yes, precisely. That’s culture at work. It’s not a moral issue at all; it’s a question of how you understand the person’s status in relation to yourself.

    The thing is, it’s all culture. And evolutionary psychology is just tenure for dimbos – which we can’t really afford any more.

  7. 7
    uoflcard says:

    Markf,

    Are you claiming that people are never generous without possibility of reward?

    To me it just seems like she says that she’s sick of the speculative nonsense that has been pouring out of evolutionary psychology since it first began “imagineering” decades ago. There is never a shred of real evidence that we aquire our cognitive abilities through mutation and selection – none. Yet there is an evolutionary tale for thousands of different facets of the human mind. It is simply not science, a laughing stock even among ID skeptics.

  8. 8
    Brent says:

    Living in Japan, I’ve become accustomed to not tipping. When I forgot to tip once while in a Japanese restaurant in L.A. I thought I had sparked World War III. I now tip because I’d rather not have something like that on my conscience.

  9. 9
    Eocene says:

    News:

    “Anyone who has worked as a waitress knows that that is not true. People tip according to what they have been taught.”
    ===

    Even the freed Israelites had to actually be taught cleanliness and personal hygene through the Mosaic Law. Clearly it isn’t natural to be clean as I’ve personally found in working with many immigrants who come from many of the 3rd world countries to the industrialized lands.

    I often use to wonder why they leave such horid 3rd world environments only to come to a more prosperous land and junk up their own neighbourhoods with rubbish and other filth. Then it hit me, it’s because they’ve never been taught cleanliness. This actually hit home when I was working with some African students who questioned why I washed my hands so much before eating. They were amazed that such a thing was important, even after going to the toilette. Not their fault, but it shows that such things were never taught in the particular culture they came from. Either that or they never received that beneficial evolutionary mutation for doing so. LOL

    The evolutionary psychology papers have always floored me. Like the one about rape being an adaptation for spreading one’s DNA as part of the human animal’s selfish gene programming. If you’ve never read it, though it’s mildly humorous, it’s also discusting when you think about it.

    It’s when they argue that “Altruism” is nothing more than a human survival strategy, then poke fun in derogatory ways at Christian principles ansd standards. The apostle Paul spoke of the “Fruitages of the Spirit” , yet once again it’s funny that most of the vulgar combat forums make fun of such things Christians aspire to keep, though being imperfect. Yet, what happened to all that survival strategy hypothesizing ???

    Clearly, they unknowingly contrast and illustrate just what Paul explains are the “Works of the Flesh”.

  10. 10
    Ilion says:

    Brent:I now tip because I’d rather not have something like that on my conscience.

    Conscience?

    Someone is offering to the public a service for a publicly-stated price. You agree to purchase the service, for that price.

    Then, after you have bought and consumed the service, the merchant holds out his hand, demanding that you give him more than he had asked for.

    And *you* have a “bad conscience” over the scene he/she makes if you didn’t tip to his/her heart’s content?

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    I think he meant he didn’t want to have WW III on his conscience, lol.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    Either that or they never received that beneficial evolutionary mutation for doing so.

    That’s funny. Where are those wonderful and helpful evolutionary adaptations when you need them most?

    Why do children need to be taught to wash their hands and cover their noses, etc.

  13. 13
    Eocene says:

    Brent: “I now tip because I’d rather not have something like that on my conscience.”
    ====

    Interestingly here is what the bible has to say about conscience.

    Romans 2:14-15

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    14 “When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law.”

    15 “They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] [a]decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving [b]thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them]”

    Of course there is a built in programming, since even those who do not respect the authority of the Bible do have a sense of right and wrong which, depending on how they TRAIN this conscience, will accuse themselves or excuse themselves. But the Bible also shows that a conscience MUST BE TRAINED. There’s no MUTATIONAL luck about it.

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