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'Fittest' means 'friendliest,' not 'most aggressive

Angry Floof

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Cooperation and compassion are our survival skills, not aggression and competition.

‘Friendliest,’ not fittest, is key to evolutionary survival, scientists argue in book



For humans to continue to evolve successfully, he says, “friendliness is the winning strategy. Social problems require social solutions. The secret to our species’ success is the same as it is with dogs and bonobos. We are the friendliest human species that ever evolved, which has allowed us to outcompete other human species that are now extinct. When that mechanism is turned off, we can become unbelievably cruel. When it is turned on, it allows us to win. We win by cooperation and teamwork. Our uniquely human skills for cooperative communication can be used to solve the hardest social problems.”
 

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Good article. One of the big problems we're facing is decades of negative propaganda vis a vis the Theory of Evolution (due mostly to religious zealotry, in and of itself a major problem) that survival of the fittest = nature is red in tooth and claw.

The irony is that the xians (in the US) who made that claim constantly touted it as a bad thing, while wholeheartedly embracing it.
 

DrZoidberg

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Cooperation and compassion are our survival skills, not aggression and competition.

‘Friendliest,’ not fittest, is key to evolutionary survival, scientists argue in book



For humans to continue to evolve successfully, he says, “friendliness is the winning strategy. Social problems require social solutions. The secret to our species’ success is the same as it is with dogs and bonobos. We are the friendliest human species that ever evolved, which has allowed us to outcompete other human species that are now extinct. When that mechanism is turned off, we can become unbelievably cruel. When it is turned on, it allows us to win. We win by cooperation and teamwork. Our uniquely human skills for cooperative communication can be used to solve the hardest social problems.”

I call bullshit. The end goal is still domination. The point of Darwinian cooperation is that the sum is greater than it's parts. With specialisation we can utilise more of our gathered energy in beating the competition. Bullies on a school yard are friendly to each other, but their victim might disagree. When France shifted from their soldiers being motivated by selfish greed (ie money and loot for them personally) to love and patriotism for their nation their army swelled and Napoleon set all of Europe on fire. That's Darwinian cooperation in action. But hardly friendliness. The fallout from this "friendliness" was absolute carnage in Europe for more than a decade.

The "it's all about love" and "our true nature is peace" is an unhelpful and self destructive hippie trope. Fitness IS all about beating your enemies. It's just smarter to do it in a group than going at it alone. You'll need to divert less of your resources to building muscles.
 

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The article makes sense. Unless we cooperate with each other, we lose. I love the example of dogs. Dogs learned to cooperate with us because it was in their best interest to be friendly. In return for their love and protection, we feed and house them. But, unfortunately, there are too many humans who treat dogs as objects instead of the intelligent, loving creatures that they are. But, I digress.

But, I do agree that in order to survive, it's better to cooperate. Division and war often destroy a society, while cooperation, social programs and such help keep a society together. I think a good example is what happens after a natural disaster. Most of the time, the humans cooperate, share and help each other to survive. This is even true of strangers. One might live in the same neighborhood for years and never get to know many neighbors, but then a natural disaster happens and suddenly everyone is helping each other. I'm not saying that everything is about love and peace, but humans do need to cooperate if survival is the goal.
 

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It's said that Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

Perhaps evolution is the same? Two wolves can come together in mutual harmony and brotherhood to vote on what's for dinner. They probably would welcome more wolves into their voting bloc with open paws.

Of course, after dinner, the wolves have nothing left for tomorrow's dinner, but that's a problem for tomorrow. It takes foresight to understand that excessive competition can lead to resource starvation and extinction, but foresight is harder when your stomach is growling.
 

Angry Floof

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Cooperation and compassion are our survival skills, not aggression and competition.

‘Friendliest,’ not fittest, is key to evolutionary survival, scientists argue in book



For humans to continue to evolve successfully, he says, “friendliness is the winning strategy. Social problems require social solutions. The secret to our species’ success is the same as it is with dogs and bonobos. We are the friendliest human species that ever evolved, which has allowed us to outcompete other human species that are now extinct. When that mechanism is turned off, we can become unbelievably cruel. When it is turned on, it allows us to win. We win by cooperation and teamwork. Our uniquely human skills for cooperative communication can be used to solve the hardest social problems.”

I call bullshit. The end goal is still domination. The point of Darwinian cooperation is that the sum is greater than it's parts. With specialisation we can utilise more of our gathered energy in beating the competition. Bullies on a school yard are friendly to each other, but their victim might disagree. When France shifted from their soldiers being motivated by selfish greed (ie money and loot for them personally) to love and patriotism for their nation their army swelled and Napoleon set all of Europe on fire. That's Darwinian cooperation in action. But hardly friendliness. The fallout from this "friendliness" was absolute carnage in Europe for more than a decade.

The "it's all about love" and "our true nature is peace" is an unhelpful and self destructive hippie trope. Fitness IS all about beating your enemies. It's just smarter to do it in a group than going at it alone. You'll need to divert less of your resources to building muscles.

It's like you don't believe humans can be more mature than posturing baboons, and/or you don't believe that all human beings are one species.

Also, cooperation is a specialization.
 

Angry Floof

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It's said that Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

Perhaps evolution is the same? Two wolves can come together in mutual harmony and brotherhood to vote on what's for dinner. They probably would welcome more wolves into their voting bloc with open paws.

Of course, after dinner, the wolves have nothing left for tomorrow's dinner, but that's a problem for tomorrow. It takes foresight to understand that excessive competition can lead to resource starvation and extinction, but foresight is harder when your stomach is growling.

We are nothing if not plastic. Adaptability is actually our strongest survival trait. Cooperation and the ability to recognize all humans as your own tribe are the traits that are most needed now in this connected, technological information age, an environment that we did not evolve in. But we got here through adaptability, and compassion and cooperation are the means to adapting now.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed. We may kill off our entire species and maybe even kill the entire Earth before we go, but life always seems to find a way in nature, and cooperation - taking care of your whole tribe - always seems to find a way in human nature.
 

Angry Floof

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I think our biggest challenge in the modern world is adapting to a tribe of seven billion after having evolved in small groups over eons. Our brains are highly plastic, but eons of animal brain is a strong influence, especially considering that our ideological world evolved out of those animal impulses and some ideologies specifically hijack the more aggressive, fear based, reactive primal impulses.
 

Angry Floof

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It's said that Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

Perhaps evolution is the same? Two wolves can come together in mutual harmony and brotherhood to vote on what's for dinner. They probably would welcome more wolves into their voting bloc with open paws.

Of course, after dinner, the wolves have nothing left for tomorrow's dinner, but that's a problem for tomorrow. It takes foresight to understand that excessive competition can lead to resource starvation and extinction, but foresight is harder when your stomach is growling.

Foresight, or what some might call maturity, utilizing executive functions over animal brain fear aggression.
 

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I call bullshit. The end goal is still domination. The point of Darwinian cooperation is that the sum is greater than it's parts. With specialisation we can utilise more of our gathered energy in beating the competition. Bullies on a school yard are friendly to each other, but their victim might disagree. When France shifted from their soldiers being motivated by selfish greed (ie money and loot for them personally) to love and patriotism for their nation their army swelled and Napoleon set all of Europe on fire. That's Darwinian cooperation in action. But hardly friendliness. The fallout from this "friendliness" was absolute carnage in Europe for more than a decade.

The "it's all about love" and "our true nature is peace" is an unhelpful and self destructive hippie trope. Fitness IS all about beating your enemies. It's just smarter to do it in a group than going at it alone. You'll need to divert less of your resources to building muscles.

It's like you don't believe humans can be more mature than posturing baboons, and/or you don't believe that all human beings are one species.

The number one enemy for any individual (in all of nature) is members of the same species. Because they're competing for resources in the same niche. Yes, I believe humans are one species. Which is why we keep murdering each other. Essentially we're still the same posturing baboons. We're just more sophisticated about how we do it than other primates. But we're still doing the same thing.

I recommend Stephen Pinker's Enlightenment Now. He argues that Rousseau got it backwards. The natural state of humans is to be a savage brute, and civilisation and enlightenment is all about preventing us from being our true nature. Which benefits us all. He also argues that modern society is feminised, we've cut the balls off the patriarchy, and that is also to the benefit of the world at large. Which is a fun theory. I think he makes a very compelling case.

In his book, Better Angels or our Nature he writes about the history of violence. Which clearly demonstrates the correlation. Both books are great.

Also, cooperation is a specialization.

Yes, with the end goal of dominating our rivals.
 

Angry Floof

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The number one enemy for any individual (in all of nature) is members of the same species. Because they're competing for resources in the same niche. Yes, I believe humans are one species. Which is why we keep murdering each other. Essentially we're still the same posturing baboons. We're just more sophisticated about how we do it than other primates. But we're still doing the same thing.

I recommend Stephen Pinker's Enlightenment Now. He argues that Rousseau got it backwards. The natural state of humans is to be a savage brute, and civilisation and enlightenment is all about preventing us from being our true nature. Which benefits us all. He also argues that modern society is feminised, we've cut the balls off the patriarchy, and that is also to the benefit of the world at large. Which is a fun theory. I think he makes a very compelling case.

In his book, Better Angels or our Nature he writes about the history of violence. Which clearly demonstrates the correlation. Both books are great.

Also, cooperation is a specialization.

Yes, with the end goal of dominating our rivals.

We are nothing if not plastic and adaptable. We are not baboons. We have a brain that can recognize when we are actually in danger and need to be reflexively aggressive and when we are not. We are capable of learning. Negativity bias is another vestigial survival trait that has served us well but doesn't any longer, and also explains why some people only see the negative, the savage brute, and not the peaceful bonobo, not the highly intelligent, complex, adaptable, aware social animals that we are.

The only evidence I see that our primal animal aggression is more significant than our intelligence and sensitivity is negativity bias.

And I just want to note that we are so adaptable in so many constant and subtle ways that right now, if you've read this, your brain has changed in some way. You might choose defensiveness or to assert your intellectual dominance (fueled by the subconscious animal brain urge to dominate that you mention) or your understanding might change in some small way, even if that change occurs later, like a seed that's been planted.

We all operate this way. There is no reason to think that the savage brute in us dominates in any conditions other than real threat. Negativity bias in this overwhelming information age may well excite our animal brain fear aggression and regress all of humanity into violent monkeys, but I doubt that would happen when the vast majority of us are not scared or feeling threatened, coupled with the fact that we are as capable of recognizing when we are actually under threat or just hearing a scary story or seeing scary images, meaning recognizing when our animal brain fear aggression does not need to be activated.

We're capable of fully utilizing our frontal lobes and disengaging animal brain reactions. At some point in our history, we all shit wherever and threw the bones of our dinner wherever. Like every other animal, we develop differently when we don't have other humans to cultivate our behavior, but most of the time we do, and there are seven billion of us cultivating each other's behavior constantly. So there is no reason to believe that that cultivation will take a nose dive into primal fear mentality and remain there. There's no reason to believe that aggression is the stronger influence on our evolution just because it's physical. Peace and pleasure are just as influential if not more so.

I fully acknowledge the possibility that humanity could take a nose dive and devolve into a species of savage brutes, especially given the possibility of global disaster reducing humankind back to a few small groups without the stability and industry of civilization, but barring all that, I see no reason to discount the possibility of continuing to progress toward more peace, less war, more cooperation, less aggression, and brains evolved to handle a tribe of seven billion without engaging animal brain fear reactions, or to think that that is not even more possible given the superior benefits of our friendly nature.

Fear aggression and animal brain urge to dominate are powerful drivers, absolutely. And in our ideological world, they can clearly be hijacked on a national and global scale because of technology. But this state is not sustainable. Survival itself, not so much reason and conscious deliberation or desire for peace, but survival pushes people to abandon fear reactions when reality hits that prejudice will not pay the bills or feed the kids.
 

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I have to wonder if you really believe this or if you only think you believe it.

Do you, your family, and friends ever lock the doors of your homes?

How many of the homeless have you invited to move into and share your home and food? You have so much and they have nothing.

Do you think nothing of walking alone through the "bad parts" of a city at 1 A.M.?
 

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Some co-operation, especially in social species, and especially as regards their own kind and kin, is useful (and in the end, self-serving). Imo competition is still the main requirement for survival in most species. In ours, I wouldn't want to make a call about the proportions, I'd just say it's some of both. And if things ever go pear-shaped, I think the competitive urge will have the upper hand. I think Pinker is right.

It's sad really. It's the way life on earth is and the way we are in response. Even compared to most other apes we are very aggressive (especially the males). :(

But personally, I try to be the best I can, and I value co-operation, and would encourage and applaud it where possible. And I do believe that things can always be done better and more co-operatively and that people can change and improve, even if to some extent it goes against the grain.
 

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We are nothing if not plastic and adaptable. We are not baboons. We have a brain that can recognize when we are actually in danger and need to be reflexively aggressive and when we are not. We are capable of learning. Negativity bias is another vestigial survival trait that has served us well but doesn't any longer, and also explains why some people only see the negative, the savage brute, and not the peaceful bonobo, not the highly intelligent, complex, adaptable, aware social animals that we are.

Our emotional brains aren't capable of learning other than in a very limited sense. But we can use our rational faculties and create a world that avoids triggering our (stupid) emotional brains and making them do unproductive things. Which is what civilisation is.

Brains being plastic doesn't mean that you can insert the wishful thinking of your choice and make the perfect peaceful human. The USSR was essentially just one massive real life experiment in creating a human like it. It didn't work. Brains being plastic means stuff like that the brain can regain lost functions after a stroke even though the previously dead regions stay dead.

Bonobos aren't any more peaceful than any other primate. That's just old hippie clap trap. It comes from flawed experiments with bonobos in captivity. All it proves is that bonobos are smart enough to know when being violent is a counter productive strategy. But guess how they behave when they can be violent and get away with it? Yes, that's right, they are violent.

The only evidence I see that our primal animal aggression is more significant than our intelligence and sensitivity is negativity bias.

I think you need to explain that. I think your logical chain has parts missing. I can't follow your logic.

And I just want to note that we are so adaptable in so many constant and subtle ways that right now, if you've read this, your brain has changed in some way. You might choose defensiveness or to assert your intellectual dominance (fueled by the subconscious animal brain urge to dominate that you mention) or your understanding might change in some small way, even if that change occurs later, like a seed that's been planted.

We all operate this way. There is no reason to think that the savage brute in us dominates in any conditions other than real threat. Negativity bias in this overwhelming information age may well excite our animal brain fear aggression and regress all of humanity into violent monkeys, but I doubt that would happen when the vast majority of us are not scared or feeling threatened, coupled with the fact that we are as capable of recognizing when we are actually under threat or just hearing a scary story or seeing scary images, meaning recognizing when our animal brain fear aggression does not need to be activated.

We're capable of fully utilizing our frontal lobes and disengaging animal brain reactions. At some point in our history, we all shit wherever and threw the bones of our dinner wherever. Like every other animal, we develop differently when we don't have other humans to cultivate our behavior, but most of the time we do, and there are seven billion of us cultivating each other's behavior constantly. So there is no reason to believe that that cultivation will take a nose dive into primal fear mentality and remain there. There's no reason to believe that aggression is the stronger influence on our evolution just because it's physical. Peace and pleasure are just as influential if not more so.

I fully acknowledge the possibility that humanity could take a nose dive and devolve into a species of savage brutes, especially given the possibility of global disaster reducing humankind back to a few small groups without the stability and industry of civilization, but barring all that, I see no reason to discount the possibility of continuing to progress toward more peace, less war, more cooperation, less aggression, and brains evolved to handle a tribe of seven billion without engaging animal brain fear reactions, or to think that that is not even more possible given the superior benefits of our friendly nature.

Fear aggression and animal brain urge to dominate are powerful drivers, absolutely. And in our ideological world, they can clearly be hijacked on a national and global scale because of technology. But this state is not sustainable. Survival itself, not so much reason and conscious deliberation or desire for peace, but survival pushes people to abandon fear reactions when reality hits that prejudice will not pay the bills or feed the kids.

That cultivated civilised behaviour does take a nosedive whenever the social fabric disentegrates. In war for instance. It goes very quickly. In sociology it's called "anomie". It's been commented on many times by thinkers that civilisation is a fragile thin layer of varnish covering our savage nature. It's interesting how most of us living in a safe part of the world find murder horrifying, yet in wartime it's easy to turn an entire nation into a nation of "murderers" on a dime.

Right now we live in weird times. There's plenty of food to go around. For the first time ever in human history nobody has to go hungry. Some do anyway. Due to war and such. But mostly we're all wrapped up in a blanket of material and mental safety. That's a very weird world. Just a hundred years ago, in most countries, people had very little empathy for the poor and struggling. Life was cheap and not particularly highly valued. That tape can be reversed to the dawn of time and it was always like that. Just the last 30 years homicide rates have plummeted all over the developed world.

Don't make the mistake of seeing our current times as any kind of normality. It's not. So the conclusions you can draw from just looking at how people behave today won't teach you much about how desperate people behave.
 

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How many of the homeless have you invited to move into and share your home and food? You have so much and they have nothing.

Human apes don't generally do this. It's quite a big hint as to what the priorities actually are for most of them (us), even when there is enough.
 

Angry Floof

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OK, show of hands. Who here actually read the article? Or better yet, the book?
 

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OK, show of hands. Who here actually read the article?
I read the article and the writer was as mistaken about what Darwin said as those who believe Darwin was talking about the most vicious and strong were the 'fittest'.

The "fittest" are those best adapted to insure their genes are passed on. What determines best adapted varies dependent on many factors. There is no one strategy that insures survivability. Earthworms have found a good survival strategy - they are damned fit.

His example of dogs surviving because they are 'friendly' is a rather blinkered view. The dogs were 'friendly' to their pack which included the specific human group they joined. A major reason for the dogs survival is they teamed with a successful predator species. This predator species found them useful in their hunts and as vicious protectors to ward off 'enemies' whether other humans or other predators. It is like the writer has no clue that people's dogs are damn 'unfriendly' to a strange human who tries to enter the property uninvited.

ETA:
Just thought that the most successful (so 'fittest' in the Darwinian sense) avian species is the chicken. They are spread worldwide. The reason for their success is that humans find them tasty.
 

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I call bullshit. The end goal is still domination. The point of Darwinian cooperation is that the sum is greater than it's parts. With specialisation we can utilise more of our gathered energy in beating the competition. Bullies on a school yard are friendly to each other, but their victim might disagree. When France shifted from their soldiers being motivated by selfish greed (ie money and loot for them personally) to love and patriotism for their nation their army swelled and Napoleon set all of Europe on fire. That's Darwinian cooperation in action. But hardly friendliness. The fallout from this "friendliness" was absolute carnage in Europe for more than a decade.

The "it's all about love" and "our true nature is peace" is an unhelpful and self destructive hippie trope. Fitness IS all about beating your enemies. It's just smarter to do it in a group than going at it alone. You'll need to divert less of your resources to building muscles.

It's like you don't believe humans can be more mature than posturing baboons, and/or you don't believe that all human beings are one species.

Also, cooperation is a specialization.
To be fair, he's not wrong about a sizeable portion of the world population.
 

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^ ^ ^

I have to wonder if you really believe this or if you only think you believe it.

Do you, your family, and friends ever lock the doors of your homes?

How many of the homeless have you invited to move into and share your home and food? You have so much and they have nothing.

Do you think nothing of walking alone through the "bad parts" of a city at 1 A.M.?
What is this fallacy? Straw man? Poisoning the well? Several rolled into a such a short post?
 

Angry Floof

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OK, show of hands. Who here actually read the article?
I read the article and the writer was as mistaken about what Darwin said as those who believe Darwin was talking about the most vicious and strong were the 'fittest'.

The "fittest" are those best adapted to insure their genes are passed on. What determines best adapted varies dependent on many factors. There is no one strategy that insures survivability.
That is what the article and the book actually say, that many factors contribute to adaptability and that different traits or strategies offer maximum adaptability in different environments. In the human environment, cooperation is the best survival strategy for a tribe of seven billion, not the only and not all by itself without relation to myriad other strategies.

His example of dogs surviving because they are 'friendly' is a rather blinkered view. The dogs were 'friendly' to their pack which included the specific human group they joined. A major reason for the dogs survival is they teamed with a predator species. This predator species found them useful in their hunts and as vicious protectors to ward off 'enemies' whether other humans or other predators.

And thus was formed a friendly, non-threatening, cooperative, largely peaceful relationship, whether it began out of selfish need or not. And the benefit to the survival of both was increased.

The fact is that when everyone does well, everyone does well. Even the most obscenely rich prosper when everyone prospers, or at the very least, virtually everyone's needs are met and so virtually no one is stressed about basic survival.

But negativity bias might be a factor in why people tend to believe aggression and conquest make for the most successful survival strategy even though there doesn't seem to be any more evidence for that than for friendliness being the most successful strategy, maybe even less. Violence and dominance tend to impinge deeply on the nervous system, and that gets the attention of all the brain's defense mechanisms. Now, for the modern human who uses abstract thinking and language in this modern ideological and information environment with a brain that evolved over eons in small groups with no information other than what the senses provided, simply talking about violence can ignite those primal, visceral responses, which hijacks blood flow from the frontal lobes to the older more reactive brain.

No offense, but the responses that deny cooperation as a successful strategy (and possibly the most viable at this particular moment in human history) sound like not much more than, "BUT LOOK AT ALL THE VIOLENCE WE DO AND HOW SELFISH WE ARE. THAT IS THE PROOF." To that I would say the same thing I've been saying for years on all manner of topics: recognize negativity bias and make the conscious effort to seek out the positive. Your animal brain is not going to do that for you, and the world around you is not going to stop bombarding you with negative messages and imagery on all fronts, so you have to do the work of diminishing the effects of negativity bias yourself.
 

Angry Floof

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^ ^ ^

I have to wonder if you really believe this or if you only think you believe it.

Do you, your family, and friends ever lock the doors of your homes?

How many of the homeless have you invited to move into and share your home and food? You have so much and they have nothing.

Do you think nothing of walking alone through the "bad parts" of a city at 1 A.M.?
What is this fallacy? Straw man? Poisoning the well? Several rolled into a such a short post?

That's actually a very good example of responding more out of animal brain fear than from executive functioning, objectivity, or even curiosity. No offense, skeptical bip, but seriously, dude.
 

skepticalbip

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I have to wonder if you really believe this or if you only think you believe it.

Do you, your family, and friends ever lock the doors of your homes?

How many of the homeless have you invited to move into and share your home and food? You have so much and they have nothing.

Do you think nothing of walking alone through the "bad parts" of a city at 1 A.M.?
What is this fallacy? Straw man? Poisoning the well? Several rolled into a such a short post?

That's actually a very good example of responding more out of animal brain fear than from executive functioning, objectivity, or even curiosity. No offense, skeptical bip, but seriously, dude.
Seriously, I was wondering if you really believed (so practiced) what you are claiming or if you just thought you believed it.
 

Angry Floof

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That's actually a very good example of responding more out of animal brain fear than from executive functioning, objectivity, or even curiosity. No offense, skeptical bip, but seriously, dude.
Seriously, I was wondering if you really believed (so practiced) what you are claiming or if you just thought you believed it.

Responding to my immediate environment (yes, we usually lock the door at night in this neighborhood) is not the same as thinking about the potential of humankind based on all the knowledge we have of ourselves that I can access, both positive and negative. You cannot squeeze that into one individual's personal experience in a limited space and time. Everything changes constantly, and it pays to challenge the automatic negative assumptions when speculating about anything.

The narrative in our heads and therefore in our cultures and information flow tends to be far more negative than reality. We can make dystopian future films to our negative hearts' desire, but yet here we are, yes, facing problems and threats, but overall doing better than ever in recorded history in terms of economic stability, peaceful relations, prosperity, health, and education.

This moment in this place is not indicative of the whole planet and it is temporary. There is no reason to think that all will come crashing down because this moment in this place looks quite shitty. As I said before, I can't completely discount the possibility that we'll destroy ourselves and maybe our planet, too. We certainly have the means and the ignorance. But every generation for millennia has thought its own time was the end times. "OMG it's Armageddon" is not new or uncommon. And given that humanity has continued to progress around the world in ways that contribute greatly to peace and well being, there is no reason to conclude that this scary moment in time in this place is going to end that. If anything, the problems we see today, no matter how horrifying they may look to us as we experience life in this time, will very likely turn out to be temporary downturns and not a sure slide into global destruction or regression to primal old brain behavior. (You'd actually have to do some damage to the frontal lobes of a good portion of humanity to really achieve that in any way that resembles the negative views people have expressed about the potential of humankind anyway.)
 

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I don't think it does well to be too cynical or negative about this and I don't think we can afford to be that. More co-operation would be a good thing, and in terms of the major issues currently facing humans (and the planet) I think it will be necessary now more than ever and so should be encouraged. So it's a welcome article in the general sense, even if it does suffer slightly in the way that mass media/popular writings tend to. The article makes some good points, and so do you, Angry Floof.
 
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spikepipsqueak

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I think you're all focusing on aggression to the exclusion of the fitness and survival aspects of the argument.

From pre-history to the present day, small communities who couldn't relax suspicion, enough to trust outside groups who were not a threat, and thus have access to trade and other forms of communication, were the last to get the wheel, glass blowing, ceramics, tantalum etc., unless they invented the lot independently.

Whether or not your first response is aggression, your culture cuts itself off from innovation (and genetic diversity) if it can't control aggression where appropriate and take part in the general progress of the race as a whole.

That's how to become a backwater, and die out.
 

fromderinside

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Ah, the manageable testosterone and estrogen person.

At last.

Turn on the hoses and cool these people off. Don't want another Wynne-Edwards vs Williams Social Selection episode do we? Didn't go well for Wynne-Edwards yano.

Fitness means surviving to reproduce. Many different games in aggregate leading to "Hey! A baby from my baby and mate." War, Peace, civilize, decay, fitness is getting through it all. No single squirt can assure that.
 

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Ah, the manageable testosterone and estrogen person.

At last.

Turn on the hoses and cool these people off. Don't want another Wynne-Edwards vs Williams Social Selection episode do we? Didn't go well for Wynne-Edwards yano.

We don't need to condition ourselves toward aggression. Aggressive behavior is not a given. It's cultivated, and it is not only not necessary for the peace and well being of a tribe of seven billion humans, it's actually detrimental to that goal.

Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

We humans have such a capacity for self awareness and analysis of our own thoughts and behavior that baboons don't. Of course we can become a vastly more peaceful tribe of seven billion. Of course we can. This is a no brainer. Will we? Maybe not. Nothing is guaranteed. But it's utter nonsense that aggression must remain a dominant feature of human behavior as we continue to evolve.
 

Worldtraveller

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Ah, the manageable testosterone and estrogen person.

At last.

Turn on the hoses and cool these people off. Don't want another Wynne-Edwards vs Williams Social Selection episode do we? Didn't go well for Wynne-Edwards yano.

We don't need to condition ourselves toward aggression. Aggressive behavior is not a given. It's cultivated, and it is not only not necessary for the peace and well being of a tribe of seven billion humans, it's actually detrimental to that goal.

Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

We humans have such a capacity for self awareness and analysis of our own thoughts and behavior that baboons don't. Of course we can become a vastly more peaceful tribe of seven billion. Of course we can. This is a no brainer. Will we? Maybe not. Nothing is guaranteed. But it's utter nonsense that aggression must remain a dominant feature of human behavior as we continue to evolve.
I hadn't heard of this, so I googled it.

Very interesting: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2004/04/kinder-gentler-baboon

What does this possibly say about the current pandemic and the US or world culture? Most of the idiots strongly resisting precautions, and thus most likely to suffer/die are the more right wing aggressive sorts (of both genders). I wonder what percentage of those types would have to die off to cause a shift?
 

Angry Floof

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Ah, the manageable testosterone and estrogen person.

At last.

Turn on the hoses and cool these people off. Don't want another Wynne-Edwards vs Williams Social Selection episode do we? Didn't go well for Wynne-Edwards yano.

We don't need to condition ourselves toward aggression. Aggressive behavior is not a given. It's cultivated, and it is not only not necessary for the peace and well being of a tribe of seven billion humans, it's actually detrimental to that goal.

Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

We humans have such a capacity for self awareness and analysis of our own thoughts and behavior that baboons don't. Of course we can become a vastly more peaceful tribe of seven billion. Of course we can. This is a no brainer. Will we? Maybe not. Nothing is guaranteed. But it's utter nonsense that aggression must remain a dominant feature of human behavior as we continue to evolve.
I hadn't heard of this, so I googled it.

Very interesting: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2004/04/kinder-gentler-baboon

What does this possibly say about the current pandemic and the US or world culture? Most of the idiots strongly resisting precautions, and thus most likely to suffer/die are the more right wing aggressive sorts (of both genders). I wonder what percentage of those types would have to die off to cause a shift?

I don't know. I have two thoughts on this, though. One, the coronavirus doesn't care who it infects or how aggressive or dumb they are. When dipshits go out and expose themselves, they also expose anyone they will come in contact with after that. So it's not really a good comparison to alpha male baboons taking all the food for themselves so when it turned out to be lethally rotten, they were the only ones to die.

My second thought is that I don't like going there in my mind with regard to human males. I like too many of them to think or speak objectively about large number of them dying in the context of leaving a less aggressive world behind them. I can talk about what if the ratio of male/female humans suddenly became massively skewed. Interesting topic for speculation, though I doubt anyone could really make any realistic predictions. But I could enjoy speculating as long as I don't have to think up what kind of global tragedy would have to befall our males in order to get to that ratio.

There was a point when the news was reporting that more men die of COVID than women and of course there followed some comments about maybe Mother Nature is sorting out the aggression problem for us. :laugh: Thankfully, I don't think that's true.
 

fromderinside

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Ah, the manageable testosterone and estrogen person.

At last.

Turn on the hoses and cool these people off. Don't want another Wynne-Edwards vs Williams Social Selection episode do we? Didn't go well for Wynne-Edwards yano.

We don't need to condition ourselves toward aggression. Aggressive behavior is not a given. It's cultivated, and it is not only not necessary for the peace and well being of a tribe of seven billion humans, it's actually detrimental to that goal.

Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

We humans have such a capacity for self awareness and analysis of our own thoughts and behavior that baboons don't. Of course we can become a vastly more peaceful tribe of seven billion. Of course we can. This is a no brainer. Will we? Maybe not. Nothing is guaranteed. But it's utter nonsense that aggression must remain a dominant feature of human behavior as we continue to evolve.

First let me say that "it can" isn't theory, It is conjecture based on rational discussion of a prototype example. What happens for one looking for a fortuitous example- one that makes one's case - is that one finds the example, broadcasts it according to her inclinations then fights for the next forty years to salvage her reputation. Its the very reason I brought up Wynne-Edwards and social selection, a declaration that made the abrasive Dawkins' career while destroying his own.

When it comes to basics one goes to basics. Even the natural observation gang (ethologists) know that.

Basic social (mating) behaviors of breeding animals were demonstrated quite early with the waggle dance of fighting fish. An aggressive species to be sure, yet one needing to attract mates to fertilize and sometimes maintain maintain breeding zones. the dance is a mix between come hither I'm-gonna-get-you demonstratively shown to be due to varying testosterone and estrogen responding brain tissues during mating periods. Later Robert Schneirla showed innervation by aspects of autonomic nervous system supported such conclusions across species.

Very complex brains of humans are not really comparable for social behavior to even monkeys, and perhaps just a little with social behavior to larger tribe apes.

It's really a mistake to track social fitness by aggression or succorance since these raw motive sets are quite strongly linked to hormones and target organs and structures which themselves behave or use these hormones differently.
 

DrZoidberg

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Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

.

What?
 

DrZoidberg

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Ah, the manageable testosterone and estrogen person.

At last.

Turn on the hoses and cool these people off. Don't want another Wynne-Edwards vs Williams Social Selection episode do we? Didn't go well for Wynne-Edwards yano.

We don't need to condition ourselves toward aggression. Aggressive behavior is not a given. It's cultivated, and it is not only not necessary for the peace and well being of a tribe of seven billion humans, it's actually detrimental to that goal.

Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

We humans have such a capacity for self awareness and analysis of our own thoughts and behavior that baboons don't. Of course we can become a vastly more peaceful tribe of seven billion. Of course we can. This is a no brainer. Will we? Maybe not. Nothing is guaranteed. But it's utter nonsense that aggression must remain a dominant feature of human behavior as we continue to evolve.

Pretty much all rapes and violent crime is committed by men. All over the world. No, its not a muscle mass thing. Women can also use weapons. It's a hormone thing.

The problem with calling it a learned behavior is that we're telling society and parents of highly masculine men that they are doing it wrong. It's like back when we thought aspergers was the result of cold and distant parenting.

1. It's not going to solve the problem.
2. It's cruel. It's shaming people who did nothing wrong.

Its better to accept that we are a violent species. If you are a low testosterone man without violent urges, good for you.

I'm very happy I found martial arts as a kid and had discipline litteraly beaten into me. I was still a violent little troublemaker. I'm convinced that subconsciously I was drawn to the lifestyle because I needed that discipline. Otherwise it would have ended badly for me. And I'm far from the most masculine guy out there.

My behaviour is a world apart from me at 20. I'm over 40 now. No it's not just maturity and having learned stuff. It's way less testosterone.
 

skepticalbip

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Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

.

What?

My reaction too. The most aggressive critters I have seen are females defending their young any time they think there is danger.
 

Worldtraveller

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Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

.

What?

My reaction too. The most aggressive critters I have seen are females defending their young any time they think there is danger.
defending != aggressive.

This concludes today's basic dictionary concepts.
 

Angry Floof

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Remember the baboon colony that lost all of its dominant, aggressive males to food poisoning? They went on to live peacefully, with minimal aggression, and young males were not conditioned to aggression because there were no aggressive males to condition them.

.

What?

My reaction too. The most aggressive critters I have seen are females defending their young any time they think there is danger.

Defensive violence is not the same thing as using violence to dominate. Protect and dominate are two very different things. It's not at all useful to conflate the two when talking about human aggression vs. friendliness.

Also, subgroup domination is not necessary to the survival of the whole anyway. Cooperation is, though.

And just a general comment: Humankind is awash with cooperation and friendliness. We are swimming in it. Cooperation and peaceful exchanges are ubiquitous in human activity. It's much closer to the substrate of humanness than a quirk. It's everywhere, all the time. Violence and cruelty do exist, obviously, but they are not ubiquitous or definitive or the basic essence of human behavior.

To some people. I think asking them to notice this is like asking a fish to notice water. They might as well say that solar flares define the sun and nuclear fusion is superficial nicety.
 

bigfield

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I think our biggest challenge in the modern world is adapting to a tribe of seven billion after having evolved in small groups over eons. Our brains are highly plastic, but eons of animal brain is a strong influence, especially considering that our ideological world evolved out of those animal impulses and some ideologies specifically hijack the more aggressive, fear based, reactive primal impulses.

On an individual level, we're pretty lousy at conceptually and emotionally expanding our tribe, but I think that we largely solved that problem millennia ago with government. Government allows millions of strangers to coexist with little to no consideration for each other in extremely dense habitats, pursuing relatively narrow-minded goals such as providing for a family or pursuing self-actualisation. And that's just a city, let alone a country, let alone the entire world. On the scale of long term trends, governments are getting better at providing a harmonious society. Not everyone is doing it the same way; some are doing better than others, and there are often backwards steps, but overall we're moving further away from primitive power structures, violent chaos and inter-state competition.
 

fromderinside

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Looked at with an objective view there is no difference between dominating (defending from seen threat) and defending (aggressing against seen threat). The one defending feels the one aggressing is trying to dominate and the one aggressing thinks the one she trying to suppress is a threat. In most cases these views are both reasonable. Eye of the beholder.

It'd only when values or perceived differences clash do distinctions in motive arise. A child is worth fighting to protect or have. An ideology is worth defending or suppressing.

Through the looking glass?

Lastly, as I've pointed out we are a very, very, social species. Social value holding follow from social structure properties. Just as I pointed out to rousseau elsewhere top down is the direction of value establishment. Influence drives values.The US isn't a nation of selfish people it's a nation lead by selfish people at present.
 

Worldtraveller

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Looked at with an objective blinkered view there is no difference between dominating (defending from seen threat) and defending (aggressing against seen threat). The one defending feels the one aggressing is trying to dominate and the one aggressing thinks the one she trying to suppress is a threat. In most cases these views are both reasonable. Eye of the beholder.

It'd only when values or perceived differences clash do distinctions in motive arise. A child is worth fighting to protect or have. An ideology is worth defending or suppressing.

Through the looking glass?

Lastly, as I've pointed out we are a very, very, social species. Social value holding follow from social structure properties. Just as I pointed out to rousseau elsewhere top down is the direction of value establishment. Influence drives values.The US isn't a nation of selfish people it's a nation lead by selfish people at present.
FIXT.

Dominating/aggression is, as being used here (and in general) implying that one is the initiator of violence/bullying. Defending is reacting to those actions or perceived actions.

I realize this may be hard for a few people to understand, but where are you on that spectrum? I ask because I may need to adjust my responses if that's the case.
 

skepticalbip

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My reaction too. The most aggressive critters I have seen are females defending their young any time they think there is danger.
defending != aggressive.

This concludes today's basic dictionary concepts.
Yes. Any critter that assaults any other critter that comes what they consider too close to their young or their territory is aggressive even though they are 'defending' what consider theirs.

I would assume that if you were walking down a sidewalk and a dog rushed out and attacked you that you would consider it aggressive even though the dog thought it was defending her young or her territory.
 
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ruby sparks

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Interestingly, fictional stories (books, short stories etc) about hypothetical female-only worlds (usually written by women) are a lot more common than fiction about male-only worlds.

What this tells us is that men tend to love and appreciate women so much that they don't like to think of a world without them, and conversely that women thinking they'd like to be rid of men is not that uncommon.

So, which sex is the most compassionate and co-operative, eh? ;)
 

fromderinside

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Looked at with an objective blinkered view there is no difference between dominating (defending from seen threat) and defending (aggressing against seen threat). The one defending feels the one aggressing is trying to dominate and the one aggressing thinks the one she trying to suppress is a threat. In most cases these views are both reasonable. Eye of the beholder.

It'd only when values or perceived differences clash do distinctions in motive arise. A child is worth fighting to protect or have. An ideology is worth defending or suppressing.

Through the looking glass?

Lastly, as I've pointed out we are a very, very, social species. Social value holding follow from social structure properties. Just as I pointed out to rousseau elsewhere top down is the direction of value establishment. Influence drives values.The US isn't a nation of selfish people it's a nation lead by selfish people at present.
FIXT.

Dominating/aggression is, as being used here (and in general) implying that one is the initiator of violence/bullying. Defending is reacting to those actions or perceived actions.

I realize this may be hard for a few people to understand, but where are you on that spectrum? I ask because I may need to adjust my responses if that's the case.

Kind of asking whether one is acting isn't it? Putting a 're' in front of it doesn't change the transaction. Force upon another for whatever reason is an aggressive act. As I pointed out above individuals in most societies are guided by top down rules. So if manifest destiny, male dominance are sources for motivation there one rule set likely to arise. If service and female caring are sources for motivation another rule set is formed. We've explored these and many other social motivations arriving at bad conclusions from all of them like with "Lord of the Flies", "1984", "Peyton Place", etc. and the very most famous "Inferno".

I think my 'objective' is as good as any thank you very much.

MY critique isn't in what you write it's in how you frame your argument. Within your narrow personal perspective it's a nice 'coffee table' sort of discussion having little real sociological value. Unless one takes in to account the players in society, their predispositions, their genetic heritage, and their societal mechanics, a coffee table shiny object is all that one can attain. Great for a 'moral' debate among cumquat sharing friends but useless for and understanding the dynamics of directed physical social intercourse.

You might have heard of  Kurt Lewin. He developed a theory of directed social mechanics based on the flawed approach you are taking here.
 

fromderinside

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Interestingly, fictional stories (books, short stories etc) about hypothetical female-only worlds (usually written by women) are a lot more common than fiction about male-only worlds.

What this tells us is that men tend to love and appreciate women so much that they don't like to think of a world without them, and conversely that women thinking they'd like to be rid of men is not that uncommon.

So, which sex is the most compassionate and co-operative, eh? ;)

You really need to learn how to use scissors to put curls into your bows. Makes the whole package look a lot better.
 

DrZoidberg

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Interestingly, fictional stories (books, short stories etc) about hypothetical female-only worlds (usually written by women) are a lot more common than fiction about male-only worlds.

What this tells us is that men tend to love and appreciate women so much that they don't like to think of a world without them, and conversely that women thinking they'd like to be rid of men is not that uncommon.

So, which sex is the most compassionate and co-operative, eh? ;)

A world where women can open jars all by themselves is truly science-fiction. Aren't we men lucky, that'll never happen and we can go on being the agressive arses women so lovingly put up with ;)
 

Angry Floof

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Looked at with an objective blinkered view there is no difference between dominating (defending from seen threat) and defending (aggressing against seen threat). The one defending feels the one aggressing is trying to dominate and the one aggressing thinks the one she trying to suppress is a threat. In most cases these views are both reasonable. Eye of the beholder.

It'd only when values or perceived differences clash do distinctions in motive arise. A child is worth fighting to protect or have. An ideology is worth defending or suppressing.

Through the looking glass?

Lastly, as I've pointed out we are a very, very, social species. Social value holding follow from social structure properties. Just as I pointed out to rousseau elsewhere top down is the direction of value establishment. Influence drives values.The US isn't a nation of selfish people it's a nation lead by selfish people at present.
FIXT.

Dominating/aggression is, as being used here (and in general) implying that one is the initiator of violence/bullying. Defending is reacting to those actions or perceived actions.

I realize this may be hard for a few people to understand, but where are you on that spectrum? I ask because I may need to adjust my responses if that's the case.

Recent times have shown me that there are people in the world who can't distinguish between aggression and defense. They could see a kid being bullied day after day, but when the kid hits back, then "violence is never the answer" and "both sides are the same." They literally can't tell. They don't know. And honestly, I am not only pitying of those people but wary of them. They are cement blocks on the feet of humanity. Thank goodness chances are extremely good that we will progress with or without them.

This explains a lot about why so many people, overwhelmingly male, use aggression for dominance and not defense, and why so many people, overwhelmingly male, can't or won't stand up to abusers.

But this thread isn't about why the male half of humankind is so viscerally determined to carry on violent animal brain reflexes while using their new brain to make up justifications and excuses for it. This thread is about the fact that humankind is generally cooperative and friendly in spite of its vestigial male aggression and tribalism. This thread is about the fact that humanity has inched forward bit by bit over eons toward an ever more friendly and less hostile world on the strength of our peaceful side in spite of our aggressive tendencies, and will most likely to continue to inch forward.
 

DrZoidberg

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Looked at with an objective blinkered view there is no difference between dominating (defending from seen threat) and defending (aggressing against seen threat). The one defending feels the one aggressing is trying to dominate and the one aggressing thinks the one she trying to suppress is a threat. In most cases these views are both reasonable. Eye of the beholder.

It'd only when values or perceived differences clash do distinctions in motive arise. A child is worth fighting to protect or have. An ideology is worth defending or suppressing.

Through the looking glass?

Lastly, as I've pointed out we are a very, very, social species. Social value holding follow from social structure properties. Just as I pointed out to rousseau elsewhere top down is the direction of value establishment. Influence drives values.The US isn't a nation of selfish people it's a nation lead by selfish people at present.
FIXT.

Dominating/aggression is, as being used here (and in general) implying that one is the initiator of violence/bullying. Defending is reacting to those actions or perceived actions.

I realize this may be hard for a few people to understand, but where are you on that spectrum? I ask because I may need to adjust my responses if that's the case.

Recent times have shown me that there are people in the world who can't distinguish between aggression and defense. They could see a kid being bullied day after day, but when the kid hits back, then "violence is never the answer" and "both sides are the same." They literally can't tell. They don't know. And honestly, I am not only pitying of those people but wary of them. They are cement blocks on the feet of humanity. Thank goodness chances are extremely good that we will progress with or without them.

But barely anybody can. It's a well known cognitive bias. We downplay the damage we cause others, and exagerate damage others cause us. Everybody, in their own heads, is the victim.

This explains a lot about why so many people, overwhelmingly male, use aggression for dominance and not defense, and why so many people, overwhelmingly male, can't or won't stand up to abusers.

But this thread isn't about why the male half of humankind is so viscerally determined to carry on violent animal brain reflexes while using their new brain to make up justifications and excuses for it. This thread is about the fact that humankind is generally cooperative and friendly in spite of its vestigial male aggression and tribalism. This thread is about the fact that humanity has inched forward bit by bit over eons toward an ever more friendly and less hostile world on the strength of our peaceful side in spite of our aggressive tendencies, and will most likely to continue to inch forward.

It's interesting how you've so completely left out psychological harm. I don't, for a second, buy that women are the more cooperative and friendly gender. Women just user politics to hurt rather than physical force. Anybody who has been around teenage girls have witnessed just how cruel girls can be to one another, to degrees that no man comes close to. If women would be in charge of the world's countries, I highly doubt it would be any more peaceful nor loving.

Our instincts exist for a reason. It's to make us win in the battle for much needed resources that are in short supply. By necessity men and women must have lived in the exact same environment as men, or there would be no babies to keep our species going. So we know that both genders must put about the same focus on acquiring resources. It's the same evolutionary pressures on them. We don't lay our hands on coveted resources by being nice.

The dichotomy where men is the angry aggressive species and women is the peaceful and friendly one, is dumb. The differences between the genders is only one of chosen tactics, not the nature of the behaviour.
 

Angry Floof

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Recent times have shown me that there are people in the world who can't distinguish between aggression and defense. They could see a kid being bullied day after day, but when the kid hits back, then "violence is never the answer" and "both sides are the same." They literally can't tell. They don't know. And honestly, I am not only pitying of those people but wary of them. They are cement blocks on the feet of humanity. Thank goodness chances are extremely good that we will progress with or without them.

But barely anybody can. It's a well known cognitive bias. We downplay the damage we cause others, and exagerate damage others cause us. Everybody, in their own heads, is the victim.

This explains a lot about why so many people, overwhelmingly male, use aggression for dominance and not defense, and why so many people, overwhelmingly male, can't or won't stand up to abusers.

But this thread isn't about why the male half of humankind is so viscerally determined to carry on violent animal brain reflexes while using their new brain to make up justifications and excuses for it. This thread is about the fact that humankind is generally cooperative and friendly in spite of its vestigial male aggression and tribalism. This thread is about the fact that humanity has inched forward bit by bit over eons toward an ever more friendly and less hostile world on the strength of our peaceful side in spite of our aggressive tendencies, and will most likely to continue to inch forward.

It's interesting how you've so completely left out psychological harm. I don't, for a second, buy that women are the more cooperative and friendly gender. Women just user politics to hurt rather than physical force. Anybody who has been around teenage girls have witnessed just how cruel girls can be to one another, to degrees that no man comes close to. If women would be in charge of the world's countries, I highly doubt it would be any more peaceful nor loving.

Our instincts exist for a reason. It's to make us win in the battle for much needed resources that are in short supply. By necessity men and women must have lived in the exact same environment as men, or there would be no babies to keep our species going. So we know that both genders must put about the same focus on acquiring resources. It's the same evolutionary pressures on them. We don't lay our hands on coveted resources by being nice.

The dichotomy where men is the angry aggressive species and women is the peaceful and friendly one, is dumb. The differences between the genders is only one of chosen tactics, not the nature of the behaviour.

Our new brains exist for a reason, too.

We don't need to lay our hands on coveted resources when prosperity is no longer a zero sum game. Tribalism is not sustainable. The tribe that wins just breaks into more tribes and continues the animal brain aggression as long as they don't know any better. It's a good thing that we have the capacity to know better, and that is precisely why the vast majority of human beings do not live to violently dominate or defend themselves against violent dominators.

Another well known cognitive bias, as I've mentioned before, is negativity bias. Anything that hurts or scares you will impinge deeply on your nervous system. Pain leaves deeper marks on neural pathways than pleasure. The scientists who research this say we focus about five times as much attention on the negative as the positive. This means your newer, sapient brain must be exercised to mitigate the perceptive distortions it causes so you can get a more realistic understanding of your environment. This takes purposeful, conscious thought, in opposition to reflexive instinct.

And we have created now an almost alien environment that humans did not evolve in. We didn't evolve in a tribe of seven billion or in an information rich world that constantly presents us with negative messages and images. It's tempting and easy to just believe violence is our base nature. And yet, again, here we are, globally better off than ever before overall. More peaceful overall, more cooperative overall, more innovative overall, longer life spans, broader literacy, etc. We're even finding that population controls itself as we progress

So maybe the current state of humanity is a sort of crossroads. Do our animal brain reflexes win or our mad neuroplasticity skills? The farthest I will concede on this question of cooperation and adaptability versus urge to dominate and blind instinct is that no one knows. As I said before, over the eons of our evolution, we have never lived in a world like the modern one we've created for ourselves. We all might speak confidently on this topic, but the truth is that no one has a clue how things will turn out for us.

I choose to err on the side of what has actually been working the best so far: our strengths of cooperation and neuroplasticity.
 

skepticalbip

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... snip ...

It's interesting how you've so completely left out psychological harm. I don't, for a second, buy that women are the more cooperative and friendly gender. Women just user politics to hurt rather than physical force. Anybody who has been around teenage girls have witnessed just how cruel girls can be to one another, to degrees that no man comes close to.
Undeniable. Anyone who believes otherwise is in denial.
If women would be in charge of the world's countries, I highly doubt it would be any more peaceful nor loving.
History tends to support this. Catherine the Great expanded Russia through a great deal of conquests of neighboring areas. Queen Victoria spread the English empire around the world through conquest. Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, saw to the development of nuclear weapons and armed conflicts with India. Margaret Thatcher kicked Argentina's butt. etc.
The dichotomy where men is the angry aggressive species and women is the peaceful and friendly one, is dumb. The differences between the genders is only one of chosen tactics, not the nature of the behaviour.
Yes. Women are, in general, more passive-aggressive and men, in general, more direct and overt.
 

bigfield

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Another well known cognitive bias, as I've mentioned before, is negativity bias. Anything that hurts or scares you will impinge deeply on your nervous system. Pain leaves deeper marks on neural pathways than pleasure. The scientists who research this say we focus about five times as much attention on the negative as the positive. This means your newer, sapient brain must be exercised to mitigate the perceptive distortions it causes so you can get a more realistic understanding of your environment. This takes purposeful, conscious thought, in opposition to reflexive instinct.

And we have created now an almost alien environment that humans did not evolve in. We didn't evolve in a tribe of seven billion or in an information rich world that constantly presents us with negative messages and images. It's tempting and easy to just believe violence is our base nature. And yet, again, here we are, globally better off than ever before overall. More peaceful overall, more cooperative overall, more innovative overall, longer life spans, broader literacy, etc. We're even finding that population controls itself as we progress

This is very similar to the argument Pinker makes in Enlightenment Now. Negativity bias causes us to be pessimistic: there are, after all, many ways things could go wrong, and the news tells us about all of them. Problems abound, yet we keep solving them.

Our instincts exist for a reason. It's to make us win in the battle for much needed resources that are in short supply. By necessity men and women must have lived in the exact same environment as men, or there would be no babies to keep our species going. So we know that both genders must put about the same focus on acquiring resources. It's the same evolutionary pressures on them. We don't lay our hands on coveted resources by being nice.

Firstly, lots of people--I'd say most people--are nice. They don't use violence or aggression to secure resources, nor do they dominate anyone; they work peaceful jobs, virtually always as a specialist in some large organisation or supply chain.

Secondly, we have examples where resources are shared, not competed for. Universal healthcare, for instance, is an example of a resource that no-one has to win from others.
 

DrZoidberg

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Our new brains exist for a reason, too.

We don't need to lay our hands on coveted resources when prosperity is no longer a zero sum game. Tribalism is not sustainable.

What do you mean not sustainable? Tribalism is the social order that sustained humans for 60 000 years (or 3 000 000) and also saw to us spreading into every habitat on Earth. No other human social order has been sustained for as long. So I'm not sure what you're comparing with. It obviously works just fine.

The tribe that wins just breaks into more tribes and continues the animal brain aggression as long as they don't know any better. It's a good thing that we have the capacity to know better, and that is precisely why the vast majority of human beings do not live to violently dominate or defend themselves against violent dominators.

I'm sorry, but this is the brain we've got. It evolved for tribalism. For good and for bad. When we entered into the last ice age I'm pretty sure access to food often was a zero sum game. That's how we killed the Neanderthals. We starved them to death, by nabbing the food, rather than beating them to death.

Another well known cognitive bias, as I've mentioned before, is negativity bias. Anything that hurts or scares you will impinge deeply on your nervous system. Pain leaves deeper marks on neural pathways than pleasure. The scientists who research this say we focus about five times as much attention on the negative as the positive. This means your newer, sapient brain must be exercised to mitigate the perceptive distortions it causes so you can get a more realistic understanding of your environment. This takes purposeful, conscious thought, in opposition to reflexive instinct.

And it clearly served to keep our ancestors alive just fine. I think that the people who didn't have as strong negativity bias died out. I think it's functional. While annoying for modern humans.

And we have created now an almost alien environment that humans did not evolve in. We didn't evolve in a tribe of seven billion or in an information rich world that constantly presents us with negative messages and images. It's tempting and easy to just believe violence is our base nature. And yet, again, here we are, globally better off than ever before overall. More peaceful overall, more cooperative overall, more innovative overall, longer life spans, broader literacy, etc. We're even finding that population controls itself as we progress

What progress? Our brains are the same now as they were 70 000 years ago. Nothing has happened. We're probably slightly dumber (based on memory research on hunter/gatherers of Papua New Guinnea) but otherwise we have the same brains.

We are discussing human behaviour. Not the evolution of society. Society has evolved for the better. But not our brains.

Yes, we live in an alien environment that prevents us to live out our true violent nature. We have the police to perpetually threaten us if we misbehave. The army to prevent the same behaviours on national scales.

So maybe the current state of humanity is a sort of crossroads. Do our animal brain reflexes win or our mad neuroplasticity skills? The farthest I will concede on this question of cooperation and adaptability versus urge to dominate and blind instinct is that no one knows. As I said before, over the eons of our evolution, we have never lived in a world like the modern one we've created for ourselves. We all might speak confidently on this topic, but the truth is that no one has a clue how things will turn out for us.

I choose to err on the side of what has actually been working the best so far: our strengths of cooperation and neuroplasticity.

I don't think you understand what neuroplasticity means. What you are saying is that you believe in Lamarckian evolution. It doesn't work. Our brains can't evolve that way. If you want humans to evolve into a more peaceful creature you're going to have to use Nazi type selective breeding and get rid of the unwanted ones in gas chambers and mass graves. Unless women stop falling in love with sexy muscle bound brutes we're not going to breed this behaviour out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism

Yes, cooperation is what has worked in the past. An understanding, by those in power, that we're savage animals and that it's best for all involved if we keep a lid on it, to the best of our abilities. So we cooperate. Those in power put straight jackets on us, and we accept the straight jackets.

I don't think we're any more at a crossroads than any other previous time in human history. Societies are constantly at crossroads. Those that took a wrong turn somewhere are now lost in history.
 
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