Re: There is No Altruism

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Wed Mar 23 2005 - 19:05:37 MST

Hash: SHA1

Keith Henson wrote:

| At 02:26 PM 23/03/05 -0500, you wrote:
|> It has been interesting to see the chats concerning the
|> self-proclaimed altruism of Eleizer and the differing view
|> proposed by Robert Ettinger (originator of the Cryonics
|> Organization in Michigan).
| Snip
| I am surprised that the responses to the original post don't
| mention William Hamilton's inclusive fitness or evolutionary
| psychology.

Why? They are simple ideas and I guess people don't feel the need to
reference any particular philosophy of altruism...

| The root of what looks like altruism is selfish genes, evolved to
| do the best the can with whatever nastiness nature deals out.

Yes. Evolution is true. Gasp!

| Altruism between unrelated people can be considered a misfiring of
| the evolved psychological traits. We just don't live in related
| tribes to the extent we did in the stone age so we treat others
| better than their relatedness to us would justify in gene terms.

Psychological-traits are not goal oriented, they are evolved. To
consider any evolved system to be "mis-firing" is to misunderstand the
nature of evolution, which is simply the mechanism by which organisms
adapt to circumstances. Altruism between unrelated people is simply
another evolved response. There is no need to claim that kin selection
is the "real" altruism, and unconditional altruism is somehow lesser.
They are both merely features. Why do you feel that altruism must be
defined in a kinship-selective manner?

- -T
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