Jay Taylor

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Jay Taylor
Posted 10 months ago
Are there any human behaviours that can't be logically derived from selfish gene promotion?
I completely agree. It seems that Dawkins arguments for the existence of genuine altruism are persuasive. It is important to keep in mind that altruism can only be discussed intelligently in terms of things we can observe. If a man jumps the pathway of an oncoming bus to save the life of a child, his state of mind is immaterial. I suppose that in a trivial sense, one can argue that he is doing what he wants to do most (thus being selfish rather than altruistic). Such a claim misses the point of the discussion entirely. The simple fact is that a man risked his on life to save the life of another. And while it was not stated explicitly in the original statement of what happened, it is possible that the man did so with no expectation of a personal reward. Based on every bit of evidence which be observed, it is unavoidable to escape the conclusion that the man acted altruistically. It has been a time since I read "The Selfish Gene" and I do not recall whether Dawkins discusses the following in any detail. In any case, it important to keep in mind the circumstances under which the genes which control our behavior as a species were selected. During that time in our history, humans were incapable of survival by ourselves (we still are). Residing in a host which was willing to band together with other humans was essential in order for a gene to survive. Furthermore, genes which inhabitted humans who were willing to risk themselves for the good of the tribe were much more likely to survive. The means used to influence host behavior may have been feel good, guild avoidance, or any other strategy one can think of. In all cases, observable information points to true altruism.