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

DrZoidberg

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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.

Most major revolutions (French revolution, Russian revolution etc) were sparked off by a shortage of food. Yes, people are very nice. Will put up with all manner of discomfort, as long as they feel safe. The moment we feel threatened or our family is threatened things get ugly fast. We live today with an abundance of food. Let's pray that state of the world continues. Or it'll just go back to the way it was.

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.

I think that's too abstract for humans to comprehend properly. While humans are capable of rational thought. We're mostly goverened by our emotions. Our emotions regarding universal healthcare will only get triggered via proxys. Stuff like universal healthcare means death panels, or that I will be cared for no matter if I lose my job. People are dumb. Or rather, we often behave stupidly even when we're not and should know better.

No matter the major political decision being taken in society I think all humans map it to something resembling the complexity of Star Wars and decide who is the bad guy, and flush all nuance down the toilet. Because our tribal brains just can't comprehend anything more advanced.
 

Jokodo

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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.



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

You must be pretty confident in your mind reading skills, since nothing Angry Floof said her implies or even suggests Lamarckian evolution
 

bigfield

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Most major revolutions (French revolution, Russian revolution etc) were sparked off by a shortage of food. Yes, people are very nice. Will put up with all manner of discomfort, as long as they feel safe. The moment we feel threatened or our family is threatened things get ugly fast. We live today with an abundance of food. Let's pray that state of the world continues. Or it'll just go back to the way it was.

No argument there. Mind you, the French Revolution occurred in a pre-industrial society, while the Russian Revolution occurred when the country's economy was engaged in total war. While modern developed nations are risking ecosystem collapse, most of the scenarios are probably still far better for the average citizen than the conditions that let to those revolutions. So while we are always one major logistical failure away from barbarism, the odds of that collapse are low.

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.

I think that's too abstract for humans to comprehend properly. While humans are capable of rational thought. We're mostly goverened by our emotions. Our emotions regarding universal healthcare will only get triggered via proxys. Stuff like universal healthcare means death panels, or that I will be cared for no matter if I lose my job. People are dumb. Or rather, we often behave stupidly even when we're not and should know better.

I see the rhetoric about death panels etc. in the US, but you won't see that in countries that already have universal healthcare, because people like it and support it. Similarly, lots of countries have welfare for the unemployed (and the unemployable), and it's generally supported. People don't need to think about these things as "sharing resources", and it's best that they don't, lest they discover how nice the government is being.

One of the most common rhetorical tactics I see among right wing politicians--mostly in my own country since that's what I follow--is that we don't have enough resources to share. The country has to "tighten its belt" and end "entitlements". But the thing is...it's a big lie. Progressive governments can and have redistributed money, and I think it's obvious that it has led to overwhelming social benefits.

When I look at the debacles that are US healthcare and welfare, I don't worry that countries with superior system will end up regressing to an Americanised system; I wonder when, not if, the US will finally catch up to more civilised countries.

No matter the major political decision being taken in society I think all humans map it to something resembling the complexity of Star Wars and decide who is the bad guy, and flush all nuance down the toilet. Because our tribal brains just can't comprehend anything more advanced.

I'm certainly guilty of that, largely because I picked my political side (my "lesser evil" if I'm being cynical) a while time ago and now I just want them to be in government. I save the nuance and depth for private conversations in meatspace, where it feels rewarding.
 

bigfield

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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.

I'm seeing Floof's argument much differently.

Humans brains are highly malleable even without changing genetically. Our brains not only go through an extraordinarily long developmental phase, they remain highly adaptable throughout our lives. According to David Eagleman, we go through two phases, one in childhood and one in adolescence, where our brains develop excessive cross-linking between neurons. In childhood this primes us to learn a language, among other things. In adolescence this makes us impulse and insecure, but as time goes by, we reinforce pathways for healthy social behaviour. We tend to blame teenagers' hormones, but that's a bit like putting the cart before the horse.

This means that, the way we choose to socialise children and teens has a huge influence on who they become as adults. As tragic as it is, some of the best evidence of this comes from the children in the child protection system, who are often extremely slow in achieving the same neurodevelopmental milestones as children who are nurtured, loved and socialised. These delays aren't just a epigenetic thing caused by malnutrition or a perpetual state or fight-or-flight, but also a lack of conversation, a lack of plain old affection, and isolation from other people. Even for normal children from harmonious households, early childhood socialisation has changed significantly over the last couple of generations: it wasn't that long ago that childcare was for the wealthy, but now it is the norm for most households, at least where I live. That's going to significantly shift the nature of our society once those children become adults.

All this is really saying is that we can make (and are making) more peaceful people without a eugenics program.
 

DrZoidberg

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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

You must be pretty confident in your mind reading skills, since nothing Angry Floof said her implies or even suggests Lamarckian evolution

Ok, I'm listening. What do you interpret as the selection mechanic by which we've been breeding for friendliness?
 

DrZoidberg

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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.

I'm seeing Floof's argument much differently.

Humans brains are highly malleable even without changing genetically. Our brains not only go through an extraordinarily long developmental phase, they remain highly adaptable throughout our lives. According to David Eagleman, we go through two phases, one in childhood and one in adolescence, where our brains develop excessive cross-linking between neurons. In childhood this primes us to learn a language, among other things. In adolescence this makes us impulse and insecure, but as time goes by, we reinforce pathways for healthy social behaviour. We tend to blame teenagers' hormones, but that's a bit like putting the cart before the horse.

This means that, the way we choose to socialise children and teens has a huge influence on who they become as adults. As tragic as it is, some of the best evidence of this comes from the children in the child protection system, who are often extremely slow in achieving the same neurodevelopmental milestones as children who are nurtured, loved and socialised. These delays aren't just a epigenetic thing caused by malnutrition or a perpetual state or fight-or-flight, but also a lack of conversation, a lack of plain old affection, and isolation from other people. Even for normal children from harmonious households, early childhood socialisation has changed significantly over the last couple of generations: it wasn't that long ago that childcare was for the wealthy, but now it is the norm for most households, at least where I live. That's going to significantly shift the nature of our society once those children become adults.

All this is really saying is that we can make (and are making) more peaceful people without a eugenics program.

Ok, that's more interesting. Let's drop the term "neuroplasticity", because it's the wrong word for this context.

I agree. To a point. But it requires very little for humans to revert back into being savages. As human behaviour in wartime has proven. Civilisation and civilised behaviour is a thin varnish that easily cracks and falls apart. Mental illness and shit parenting will ensure that our modern societies will receive a steady stream of maladapted and dangerous people. I'm personally convinved that the reason Scandinavian countries are so low on violent crime is down to our very generous welfare system and free education. We're basically paying off those who aren't behaviouraly adapted to modern civilisation. We give them a sense of security which acts to keep them peaceful.

But it's an ongoing project that will never end. That's social evolution. Not evolution of our brains. We will never outgrow the need to have police.
 

Jokodo

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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.



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 peoplecritters who didn't have as strong negativity bias died out. I think it's functional. While annoying for modern humans.

I think what you two call "negativity bias" is way older than humans, or even vertebrates. At the basic level, it's an optimization for recall (avoidance of false negatives) over precision (avoidance of false positives). The cost of wrongly getting startled and jumping at a branch (half a food calorie and a bit of embarrassment) is simply much lower than the cost of wrongly not reacting to a snake, and the same was true for many other potential threats long before there were snakes.

If you think it played a major role in the evolution of humans specifically, i.e. in the last 3 million years of our evolution as opposed to the 600 million years that came before, you haven't presented your argument.

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.

Well, there's the thing. "our true violent nature" is to some extent just a myth. Children as young as 14 months spontaneously offer help to adult strangers in experimental conditions. When an adult accidentally drops a pen and is unable to reach it, children that age hand it to them 40% of the time. And it's not just because the pen is interesting in itself - when the adult experimenter intentionally drops it and makes no attempt to retrieve it, less then 10% of kids will hand it to them. So very young infants not only (a) understand others' goals but also (b) attempt to help them bring about those goals. That's in stark contrast to other apes (juveniles or adults): chimpanzees (or for that matter bonobos) are good at (a) but unmotivated for (b) - if anything, the experimenters' interest for the object will motivate them to retrieve and keep it for themselves, as if it suggested that the object was more valuable than it looks like at first sight.
https://www.eva.mpg.de/documents/Wiley-Blackwell/Warneken_Helping_Infancy_2007_1554773.pdf

Do you seriously believe 14-month-olds are motivated by fear of the police?
 

Jokodo

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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

You must be pretty confident in your mind reading skills, since nothing Angry Floof said her implies or even suggests Lamarckian evolution

Ok, I'm listening. What do you interpret as the selection mechanic by which we've been breeding for friendliness?

Which part of Angry Floof's post claims that we have been breeding for friendliness at historical timescales?

It is a fact that humans (as a whole, not just in particular cultures, though of course there are plenty cultural influences) are spontaneously more helpful than other apes (see my last post; there's plenty of literature on this topic). That fact is perfectly explicable with Darwinian evolution, and if your interpretion of it doesn't allow for this fact, your interpretation is demonstrably, empirically, wrong.
 

DrZoidberg

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Well, there's the thing. "our true violent nature" is to some extent just a myth. Children as young as 14 spontaneously offer help to adult strangers in experimental conditions. When an adult accidentally drops a pen and is unable to reach it, children that age hand it to them 40% of the time. And it's not just because the pen is interesting in itself - when the adult experimenter intentionally drops it and makes no attempt to retrieve it, less then 10% of kids will hand it to them. So very young infants not only (a) understand others' goals but also (b) attempt to help them bring about those goals. That's in stark contrast to other apes (juveniles or adults): chimpanzees (or for that matter bonobos) are good at (a) but unmotivated for (b) - if anything, the experimenters' interest for the object will motivate them to retrieve and keep it for themselves, as if it suggested that the object was more valuable than it looks like at first sight.
https://www.eva.mpg.de/documents/Wiley-Blackwell/Warneken_Helping_Infancy_2007_1554773.pdf

Do you seriously believe 14-month-olds are motivated by fear of the police?

This is a black and white fallacy ie a human is sometimes cooperative and friendly, therefore all humans are cooperative and friendly all the time.

Humans are cooperative and friendly when it's in our best interest. Since humans have evolved for tribalism a child might as well any human they encounter will be part of their tribe. It's the safest bet. And therefore have a vested interest to make friends. This is why humans are super nice to complete strangers all the time. Mostly. Unless they feel they're in a superior position and will risk nothing when violent = violence.

The violence is always there, under the surface. Ready to explode at any moment. If the man (it's in 9 our of 10 cases a man) feels backed into a corner and threatened = violence. Our world has all the evidence you need. The prevalence of domestic violence alone is all the evidence you need. Men often turn to violence in their relationships for stupid reasons.

The books on the Gulag system and Concentration camps tells us what happens when one class of humans are able to commit acts of violence against another group and don't risk repercussions. What happens is that women become as violent as the men, and the violence spins out of control.

It's not a pretty picture. The Gulags and Concentration camp system wasn't that long ago. To think our socities have evolved out of this behaviour in any major way is delusional IMHO.
 

Jokodo

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Well, there's the thing. "our true violent nature" is to some extent just a myth. Children as young as 14 spontaneously offer help to adult strangers in experimental conditions. When an adult accidentally drops a pen and is unable to reach it, children that age hand it to them 40% of the time. And it's not just because the pen is interesting in itself - when the adult experimenter intentionally drops it and makes no attempt to retrieve it, less then 10% of kids will hand it to them. So very young infants not only (a) understand others' goals but also (b) attempt to help them bring about those goals. That's in stark contrast to other apes (juveniles or adults): chimpanzees (or for that matter bonobos) are good at (a) but unmotivated for (b) - if anything, the experimenters' interest for the object will motivate them to retrieve and keep it for themselves, as if it suggested that the object was more valuable than it looks like at first sight.
https://www.eva.mpg.de/documents/Wiley-Blackwell/Warneken_Helping_Infancy_2007_1554773.pdf

Do you seriously believe 14-month-olds are motivated by fear of the police?

This is a black and white fallacy ie a human is sometimes cooperative and friendly, therefore all humans are cooperative and friendly all the time.

I don't think anyone said that humans are cooperative and friendly all the time. Only that they have an evolved capacity to be cooperative and friendly that's unique among apes and rare among mammals in general.

If someone has fallen prey to the black and white fallacy, it's you and your "our true violent nature" (which is a direct quote).

Humans are cooperative and friendly when it's in our best interest.

That's not how instincts work. We don't rent a super-computer to calculate the probability that being cooperative and friendly in a particular interaction is going to be in our best interest, and then consciously decide on whether or not to be cooperative and friendly. Evolution just doesn't work like that, it uses heuristics, cheap tricks, all over the place: We are emotionally drawn towards being cooperative and helpful in situations that contain certain triggers, where the triggers have been selected based on that they used to be moderately well correlated with situations where being cooperative and friendly tended to benefit our ancestors.

Since humans have evolved for tribalism a child might as well any human they encounter will be part of their tribe. It's the safest bet. And therefore have a vested interest to make friends. This is why humans are super nice to complete strangers all the time. Mostly. Unless they feel they're in a superior position and will risk nothing when violent = violence.

The violence is always there, under the surface. Ready to explode at any moment. If the man (it's in 9 our of 10 cases a man) feels backed into a corner and threatened = violence. Our world has all the evidence you need. The prevalence of domestic violence alone is all the evidence you need. Men often turn to violence in their relationships for stupid reasons.

The books on the Gulag system and Concentration camps tells us what happens when one class of humans are able to commit acts of violence against another group and don't risk repercussions. What happens is that women become as violent as the men, and the violence spins out of control.

It's not a pretty picture. The Gulags and Concentration camp system wasn't that long ago. To think our socities have evolved out of this behaviour in any major way is delusional IMHO.

How, exactly, does the fact that certain extreme conditions bring more violent aspects of our behavioral repertoire to the fore than others make those aspects "our true nature"?

You are not making a rational argument at all here, let alone responding to what people are saying.
 

Jokodo

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You literally said "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"

How does this not imply that "our true nature" is violence and the only thing that prevents us from being violent in all or most of our interaction is fear of a superior violence?

But yeah, I guess pointing out that being helpful is also part of our evolved repertoire (and a more prominent part than in our closest relatives) is the "black and white fallacy".

:facepalm:
 

Jokodo

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Well, there's the thing. "our true violent nature" is to some extent just a myth. Children as young as 14 spontaneously offer help to adult strangers in experimental conditions. When an adult accidentally drops a pen and is unable to reach it, children that age hand it to them 40% of the time. And it's not just because the pen is interesting in itself - when the adult experimenter intentionally drops it and makes no attempt to retrieve it, less then 10% of kids will hand it to them. So very young infants not only (a) understand others' goals but also (b) attempt to help them bring about those goals. That's in stark contrast to other apes (juveniles or adults): chimpanzees (or for that matter bonobos) are good at (a) but unmotivated for (b) - if anything, the experimenters' interest for the object will motivate them to retrieve and keep it for themselves, as if it suggested that the object was more valuable than it looks like at first sight.
https://www.eva.mpg.de/documents/Wiley-Blackwell/Warneken_Helping_Infancy_2007_1554773.pdf

Do you seriously believe 14-month-olds are motivated by fear of the police?

This is a black and white fallacy ie a human is sometimes cooperative and friendly, therefore all humans are cooperative and friendly all the time.

Humans are cooperative and friendly when it's in our best interest. Since humans have evolved for tribalism a child might as well any human they encounter will be part of their tribe. It's the safest bet. And therefore have a vested interest to make friends. This is why humans are super nice to complete strangers all the time. Mostly. Unless they feel they're in a superior position and will risk nothing when violent = violence.

The violence is always there, under the surface. Ready to explode at any moment. If the man (it's in 9 our of 10 cases a man) feels backed into a corner and threatened = violence. Our world has all the evidence you need. The prevalence of domestic violence alone is all the evidence you need. Men often turn to violence in their relationships for stupid reasons.

The books on the Gulag system and Concentration camps tells us what happens when one class of humans are able to commit acts of violence against another group and don't risk repercussions. What happens is that women become as violent as the men, and the violence spins out of control.

It's not a pretty picture. The Gulags and Concentration camp system wasn't that long ago. To think our socities have evolved out of this behaviour in any major way is delusional IMHO.

I just noticed a glaring omission in the above: "children as young as 14" needs to read "children as young as 14 months"
 

Angry Floof

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What is the psychological term for someone who doesn't have the ability to recognize that other people don't think like they themselves do?

I was thinking about, for example, abusive, misogynistic men. One of the things such men have in common is the belief that all men think and feel the same way about women, and if some men are not acting in the same abusive ways, then they must be pretending or just so weak and cowardly that they hide their true hatred of women. They can't fathom that not all men think like they do.

Right wing authoritarianism suffers this same deficit. They think all people are just as black and white in their thinking as they themselves are. They think their outgroups all have the same motivations as they themselves do. If someone they don't like actually does something good for others, right wing authoritarian followers believe that person is just putting on a show to manipulate. They don't have the capacity to truly care about anything beyond the end of their own noses and so they have no framework through which to recognize when someone actually does.

So I'm sure you'll all understand why some of us are wary of the mentality that can't fathom how anyone could not be aggressive or not seek social dominance through violence, and that anyone who doesn't actively behave as animal brain aggressive dominators must be superficially conditioned to behave themselves.

And this inability to apply a different framework from what they themselves experience must also apply to those who say they don't believe primal aggression is the fundamental nature of humankind. We who believe that cooperation is not only fundamental to human nature but is the best survival tool in our adaptation repertoire must be just delusional or pretending or ignoring violence in some "hippy dippy" fantasy, right? If violence and aggression aren't front and center in your world view, then you must be purposefully ignorant of violence and aggression.

And yet we do not ignore violence and aggression. That's not possible. Violence and aggression impinge on our nervous system and animal brain in ways that comfort and cooperation can't ever do. There is no way to ignore the threat of violence or aggression. That's not possible for a human brain and body to do even if they just see violence happen. It doesn't even have to happen to us personally for us to be highly sensitive and easily traumatized by even witnessing violence.

Again, I'm sure a grownup thinking person can easily understand why some of us are wary of people who think we can just happily pretend otherwise when the alternative, that not all humans think the way you do and still are not delusional or ignorant, actually makes more sense when frontal lobes are applied rather than animal brain urge to dominate.

ETA. I believe much of this is cultural, where aggression is considered strength and cooperation is considered capitulation. I imagine, depending on how deeply such cultural attitudes run in a person's subconscious, that even talking about reducing aggression in the world must make them feel vulnerable and defensive.
 
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Worldtraveller

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I believe the psychological term is simply lack of empathy. To a large extent, you are correct in that it's cultural. In the US, empathy, particularly in men, is practically beaten out of us as children.

The toxic difference in how male and female children are treated is also reflected in the differences between autistic girls and boys. IMO, that is for much the same reason, empathy can be learned, but not if it's actively discouraged.
 

bigfield

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What is the psychological term for someone who doesn't have the ability to recognize that other people don't think like they themselves do?

The closest thing I'm aware of is egocentrism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egocentrism

However, that also includes the inability of children to understand that other people can can physically see, hear and feel things that they don't. Like when a child hides their eyes and proclaims that no-one can see them. Children grow out of this conceptual model of the world in early childhood, during what Piaget called the preoperational stage of development, during which they also learn a language.

But people don't actually use the word egocentric that way. It usually just means "self-centred".

Right wing authoritarianism suffers this same deficit. They think all people are just as black and white in their thinking as they themselves are. They think their outgroups all have the same motivations as they themselves do.

This also explains why some religious people don't believe atheists can be good without God.
 

bigfield

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The books on the Gulag system and Concentration camps tells us what happens when one class of humans are able to commit acts of violence against another group and don't risk repercussions. What happens is that women become as violent as the men, and the violence spins out of control.

It's not a pretty picture. The Gulags and Concentration camp system wasn't that long ago. To think our socities have evolved out of this behaviour in any major way is delusional IMHO.

Why is it delusional? You brought up Enlightenment Now, so why not take Pinker's approach: the amount of violence people commit is going down, and in the twentieth century some of the decreases were spectacular. (On top of that, our intuition is completely hopeless at actually recognising this trend.) Western society has major differences not only between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but it also has major difference from the societies that preceded them: Imperial and Weimar Germany, and Tsarist Russia.

I see your point that bestial human instinct is always lurking underneath the surface, and sometimes it pops its head out. But if we concern ourselves solely with how often this happens, whether we're counting riots or domestic assaults, we see it's happening less and less. We should expect that trend of pacification to continue.
 

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What is the psychological term for someone who doesn't have the ability to recognize that other people don't think like they themselves do?

The closest thing I'm aware of is egocentrism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egocentrism

However, that also includes the inability of children to understand that other people can can physically see, hear and feel things that they don't. Like when a child hides their eyes and proclaims that no-one can see them. Children grow out of this conceptual model of the world in early childhood, during what Piaget called the preoperational stage of development, during which they also learn a language.

But people don't actually use the word egocentric that way. It usually just means "self-centred".

Right wing authoritarianism suffers this same deficit. They think all people are just as black and white in their thinking as they themselves are. They think their outgroups all have the same motivations as they themselves do.

This also explains why some religious people don't believe atheists can be good without God.

There is definitely a level of immaturity in what I describe, and fundamentalist religion is infantilizing.
 

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Humans are cooperative and friendly when it's in our best interest.

That's not how instincts work. We don't rent a super-computer to calculate the probability that being cooperative and friendly in a particular interaction is going to be in our best interest, and then consciously decide on whether or not to be cooperative and friendly. Evolution just doesn't work like that, it uses heuristics, cheap tricks, all over the place: We are emotionally drawn towards being cooperative and helpful in situations that contain certain triggers, where the triggers have been selected based on that they used to be moderately well correlated with situations where being cooperative and friendly tended to benefit our ancestors.

Yes, exactly. First you say that is not how instincts work and then you describe the same thing in other words. We seem to agree on how instincts work. But it does kill your argument. So I'm not sure what you are arguing for?

How, exactly, does the fact that certain extreme conditions bring more violent aspects of our behavioral repertoire to the fore than others make those aspects "our true nature"?

You are not making a rational argument at all here, let alone responding to what people are saying.

In evolutionary theory and game theory it's called tit-for-tat. If I'm in an unfamiliar encounter I start out nice. If you aren't nice back I become aggressive. If you're nice back I keep being nice. If it's a familiar situation where I can use violence with zero risk to myself then that will be a common strategy used.

Modern civilisation is built around making sure everybody is nice to one another, partly with the help of threats of violence from the police and partly by spreading propaganda/lies about human nature (to give us the illusion of that other people are more likely to be nice than what is warranted).

The tit-for-tat is a behavioural strategy that can be found in every living thing, right down to bacteria. Because it works. Any species or member of a species that isn't prepared to use violence to defend itself or is willing to use violence oppurtunistically when it's to their benefit is quickly removed from the genepool. Since we are a part of nature that includes us and our behaviour.

If you now claim that humans are special and that this doesn't apply to us, and that we've evolved away from this I'll call you a deluded religious nutjob.
 

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Yes, exactly. First you say that is not how instincts work and then you describe the same thing in other words. We seem to agree on how instincts work. But it does kill your argument. So I'm not sure what you are arguing for?

It doesn't kill my argument. Quite the contrary. Humans have evolved in an environment where almost all people you interacted with face to face where band members you would likely meet again. In such an environment, the one-time benefit of getting what you want through violence is, as a rule, lower than the long-term benefit of being seen as a reliable cooperator by the very same people who might help you in the future when you need it. Therefore the same cheap trick logic that leads us to err on the side of jumping when unsure whether that elongated thingy on the ground is a snake or an odd-looking branch leads us to err on the side of cooperating rather than being violent when we're unable to instantly determine whether this is a situation where the cooperating or forcing our way is what benefits us most.

This doesn't imply that we're unable to employ violence to get what we want in specific conditions, just like erring on the side of "this is a snake" doesn't mean we jump at every branch, but it does make it absurd to claim that "our true nature" is violence.

How, exactly, does the fact that certain extreme conditions bring more violent aspects of our behavioral repertoire to the fore than others make those aspects "our true nature"?

You are not making a rational argument at all here, let alone responding to what people are saying.

In evolutionary theory and game theory it's called tit-for-tat. If I'm in an unfamiliar encounter I start out nice. If you aren't nice back I become aggressive. If you're nice back I keep being nice. If it's a familiar situation where I can use violence with zero risk to myself then that will be a common strategy used.

I'm not going to take lessons on evolutionary theory from someone who fails to understand that humans have a propensity for cooperation in most day-to-day interactions that qualitatively distinguishes us from other apes, and that this propensity is built into our genes and co-opted by by culture (and to some extend foundational for the emergence of culture, since accumulation of cultural knowledge is greatly enhanced by altruistic sharing of information) as much as it is produced by culture.

And once again, before you run off with your strawman again, this does not imply that cooperation is the only tool in our behavioral toolbox. I don't think anyone claimed it is.

Modern civilisation is built around making sure everybody is nice to one another, partly with the help of threats of violence from the police and partly by spreading propaganda/lies about human nature (to give us the illusion of that other people are more likely to be nice than what is warranted).

That's just false. Most of the time, we don't even notice all the ways we are nice to strangers (or strangers nice to us), from holding open an elevator door to moving to the side when passing someone on the pavement, that we don't even notice them. Cooperating is second nature to us, to the point where we sometimes even interpret doing nothing (i.e. a failure to cooperate) as a hostile act. This confirmation bias if anything leads us to underestimate the degree to which we cooperate in most day-to-day interactions.

The tit-for-tat is a behavioural strategy that can be found in every living thing, right down to bacteria. Because it works. Any species or member of a species that isn't prepared to use violence to defend itself or is willing to use violence oppurtunistically when it's to their benefit is quickly removed from the genepool. Since we are a part of nature that includes us and our behaviour.

Category error. Species aren't "removed from the genepool". A genepool is an attribute of a species.

If you now claim that humans are special and that this doesn't apply to us, and that we've evolved away from this I'll call you a deluded religious nutjob.

If you want to argue with what is actually being said rather than your strawman, You're welcome to do so.
 

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The books on the Gulag system and Concentration camps tells us what happens when one class of humans are able to commit acts of violence against another group and don't risk repercussions. What happens is that women become as violent as the men, and the violence spins out of control.

It's not a pretty picture. The Gulags and Concentration camp system wasn't that long ago. To think our socities have evolved out of this behaviour in any major way is delusional IMHO.

Why is it delusional? You brought up Enlightenment Now, so why not take Pinker's approach: the amount of violence people commit is going down, and in the twentieth century some of the decreases were spectacular.

I brought it up because it refutes the argument the article is making. I think Pinker supports my argument.

(On top of that, our intuition is completely hopeless at actually recognising this trend.) Western society has major differences not only between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but it also has major difference from the societies that preceded them: Imperial and Weimar Germany, and Tsarist Russia.

We're still human, so those differences are only superficial. Very little was required to attract a bunch of young people to Syria and fight for ISIS. Very little. If that doesn't alarm you, then I can't help. No, the problem isn't Islam. The problem is humans. This shit isn't going to continue.

I see your point that bestial human instinct is always lurking underneath the surface, and sometimes it pops its head out. But if we concern ourselves solely with how often this happens, whether we're counting riots or domestic assaults, we see it's happening less and less. We should expect that trend of pacification to continue.

I don't agree. We're living in weird times. Wealth has increased explosively at an ever increasing rate. Which means that people in general have every reason to be hopeful about their future. The immense destruction of WW2 was like a reset button given plenty of space for growth and the fact that USA was the hegemon with a myth about itself as the protector of other peoples freedom. The collapse of the USSR gave us another breather. China rolling over and going capitalist is another one. We've been exceptionally lucky.

But that won't continue for ever. When the poorest become discontent about their lot in life they become dangerous. Society becomes unstable and governments get more authoritarian. That is normality of human society. We live in very weird times indeed. And to think that isn't what we're going to back to, sooner or later, is crazy IMHO. And now with the robotics revolution eating up low end jobs at an increasing rate... yeah... it's ain't going to be pretty.
 

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It doesn't kill my argument. Quite the contrary. Humans have evolved in an environment where almost all people you interacted with face to face where band members you would likely meet again. In such an environment, the one-time benefit of getting what you want through violence is, as a rule, lower than the long-term benefit of being seen as a reliable cooperator by the very same people who might help you in the future when you need it. Therefore the same cheap trick logic that leads us to err on the side of jumping when unsure whether that elongated thingy on the ground is a snake or an odd-looking branch leads us to err on the side of cooperating rather than being violent when we're unable to instantly determine whether this is a situation where the cooperating or forcing our way is what benefits us most.

This doesn't imply that we're unable to employ violence to get what we want in specific conditions, just like erring on the side of "this is a snake" doesn't mean we jump at every branch, but it does make it absurd to claim that "our true nature" is violence.

Again, here you go with the black and white interpretation of what I said. Stop it.

In evolutionary theory and game theory it's called tit-for-tat. If I'm in an unfamiliar encounter I start out nice. If you aren't nice back I become aggressive. If you're nice back I keep being nice. If it's a familiar situation where I can use violence with zero risk to myself then that will be a common strategy used.

I'm not going to take lessons on evolutionary theory from someone who fails to understand that humans have a propensity for cooperation in most day-to-day interactions that qualitatively distinguishes us from other apes, and that this propensity is built into our genes and co-opted by by culture (and to some extend foundational for the emergence of culture, since accumulation of cultural knowledge is greatly enhanced by altruistic sharing of information) as much as it is produced by culture.

And once again, before you run off with your strawman again, this does not imply that cooperation is the only tool in our behavioral toolbox. I don't think anyone claimed it is.

You seem to need a lesson in evolutionary theory. I'm sorry if that hurts your feelings.



Modern civilisation is built around making sure everybody is nice to one another, partly with the help of threats of violence from the police and partly by spreading propaganda/lies about human nature (to give us the illusion of that other people are more likely to be nice than what is warranted).

That's just false. Most of the time, we don't even notice all the ways we are nice to strangers (or strangers nice to us), from holding open an elevator door to moving to the side when passing someone on the pavement, that we don't even notice them. Cooperating is second nature to us, to the point where we sometimes even interpret doing nothing (i.e. a failure to cooperate) as a hostile act. This confirmation bias if anything leads us to underestimate the degree to which we cooperate in most day-to-day interactions.

Yes. So what? What does it prove? How does it prove me wrong?


The tit-for-tat is a behavioural strategy that can be found in every living thing, right down to bacteria. Because it works. Any species or member of a species that isn't prepared to use violence to defend itself or is willing to use violence oppurtunistically when it's to their benefit is quickly removed from the genepool. Since we are a part of nature that includes us and our behaviour.

Category error. Species aren't "removed from the genepool". A genepool is an attribute of a species.

lol

If you now claim that humans are special and that this doesn't apply to us, and that we've evolved away from this I'll call you a deluded religious nutjob.

If you want to argue with what is actually being said rather than your strawman, You're welcome to do so.

I don't think I am. My claim is that the article this thread is based on is bullshit.

I maintain that if a member of a species has no reason to refrain from violence it goes with violence. Most often cooperation is less risk as well as more energy efficient. But that's a different argument.

This is why we swat flies without hesitation. Friendly cooperation and us letting them do their thing has zero cost to us. But also no benefit. Since flies are slighly annoying and a fly poses zero physical threat to us we'll almost always opt for violence against them. This is how our propesity for violence works. The evidence of this is all around, if you care to pay attention for it. This is also backed up by human behaviour in war zones and concentration camps. Abu Grahib wasn't a freaky one off. That's what often happens when we're given a free pass to use violence against other people.
 

Jokodo

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Again, here you go with the black and white interpretation of what I said. Stop it.

That's not an interpretation. "[O]ur true violent nature" is literally what you wrote.

I'm not going to take lessons on evolutionary theory from someone who fails to understand that humans have a propensity for cooperation in most day-to-day interactions that qualitatively distinguishes us from other apes, and that this propensity is built into our genes and co-opted by by culture (and to some extend foundational for the emergence of culture, since accumulation of cultural knowledge is greatly enhanced by altruistic sharing of information) as much as it is produced by culture.

And once again, before you run off with your strawman again, this does not imply that cooperation is the only tool in our behavioral toolbox. I don't think anyone claimed it is.

You seem to need a lesson in evolutionary theory. I'm sorry if that hurts your feelings.

Or maybe you do? If you think that anything I said is incompatible with (or even hard to explain within) evolutionary theory, can you point out what and where? Preferrably, something I actually said, not your freakish interpretations.

Modern civilisation is built around making sure everybody is nice to one another, partly with the help of threats of violence from the police and partly by spreading propaganda/lies about human nature (to give us the illusion of that other people are more likely to be nice than what is warranted).

That's just false. Most of the time, we don't even notice all the ways we are nice to strangers (or strangers nice to us), from holding open an elevator door to moving to the side when passing someone on the pavement, that we don't even notice them. Cooperating is second nature to us, to the point where we sometimes even interpret doing nothing (i.e. a failure to cooperate) as a hostile act. This confirmation bias if anything leads us to underestimate the degree to which we cooperate in most day-to-day interactions.

Yes. So what? What does it prove? How does it prove me wrong?

Well you did say, and that is again a literal quote, that we're being lied to "to give us the illusion of that other people are more likely to be nice than what is warranted". That's kind of the opposite of being under the illusion that others tend to be more hostile than they actually are.

The tit-for-tat is a behavioural strategy that can be found in every living thing, right down to bacteria. Because it works. Any species or member of a species that isn't prepared to use violence to defend itself or is willing to use violence oppurtunistically when it's to their benefit is quickly removed from the genepool. Since we are a part of nature that includes us and our behaviour.

Category error. Species aren't "removed from the genepool". A genepool is an attribute of a species.

lol

If you now claim that humans are special and that this doesn't apply to us, and that we've evolved away from this I'll call you a deluded religious nutjob.

If you want to argue with what is actually being said rather than your strawman, You're welcome to do so.

I don't think I am. My claim is that the article this thread is based on is bullshit.

I maintain that if a member of a species has no reason to refrain from violence it goes with violence.

And I maintain that most of the time, an animal doesn't evaluate (with any degree of accuracy) the actual situation at hand, it subconsciously decides whether this feels like a be-friendly situation or a be-hostile situation based on, at best, whether it clusters more with the situations where its ancestors (in the case of instincts) or the individual itself (in the base of conditioning) benefitted from being friendly or with the ones where they benefited from being hostile, as per its salient sensory characteristics. If you don't understand that, you need a lesson in cognitive evolution.

In the case of the human animal, it is a priori more likely to cluster with the be-friendly type (whether or not being friendly actually benefits the individual in the specific situation at hand) of situation simply because of the fact that we evolved (as a species) and grew up (as individuals) in an environment where cooperation was frequently life-saving. The fact that there are also situations where we are drawn to hostility doesn't negate that, nor has anyone denied it.
 

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Or maybe you do? If you think that anything I said is incompatible with (or even hard to explain within) evolutionary theory, can you point out what and where? Preferrably, something I actually said, not your freakish interpretations.

I think I have already. Go back and read them again perhaps?

And I maintain that most of the time, an animal doesn't evaluate (with any degree of accuracy) the actual situation at hand, it subconsciously decides whether this feels like a be-friendly situation or a be-hostile situation based on, at best, whether it clusters more with the situations where its ancestors (in the case of instincts) or the individual itself (in the base of conditioning) benefitted from being friendly or with the ones where they benefited from being hostile, as per its salient sensory characteristics. If you don't understand that, you need a lesson in cognitive evolution.

Yes, that is what I have written all along.

In the case of the human animal, it is a priori more likely to cluster with the be-friendly type (whether or not being friendly actually benefits the individual in the specific situation at hand) of situation simply because of the fact that we evolved (as a species) and grew up (as individuals) in an environment where cooperation was frequently life-saving. The fact that there are also situations where we are drawn to hostility doesn't negate that, nor has anyone denied it.

I think the article does deny it. I'm not saying that book does. But the article certainly does. How about you trying to defend the article instead of just agreeing with me?

At this point I get the feeling you're just arguing for the sake of arguing with me. You don't seem to have any substance to your objections.
 

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I think I have already. Go back and read them again perhaps?

No, you haven't. Maybe you think I've written something that's incompatible with evolutionary theory, but if I actually have, not just in your imagination, it should be easy to provide a direct quote. If you can't, more likely than not you're hearing voices.

Yes, that is what I have written all along.
You've consistently written that we become violent in situations where we can get away with it. Not in situations that resemble ones where our ancestors got away with it/benefitted from it. This may seem like semantic nitpicking but I really don't think it is - it's symptomatic of taking the computer metaphor of our behaviour too far.
In the case of the human animal, it is a priori more likely to cluster with the be-friendly type (whether or not being friendly actually benefits the individual in the specific situation at hand) of situation simply because of the fact that we evolved (as a species) and grew up (as individuals) in an environment where cooperation was frequently life-saving. The fact that there are also situations where we are drawn to hostility doesn't negate that, nor has anyone denied it.

I think the article does deny it. I'm not saying that book does. But the article certainly does. How about you trying to defend the article instead of just agreeing with me?
Exactly where? The article even explicitly states that "we can become unbelievably cruel." It merely points out that we can also be very cooperative, and that this degree of cooperation, more than the violent aspects of our behavioral toolbox, made us much more successful than chimps and earlier earlier hominid species. Now that may be false empirically, but it doesn't amount to claiming violence doesn't exist.
At this point I get the feeling you're just arguing for the sake of arguing with me. You don't seem to have any substance to your objections.
 

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You've consistently written that we become violent in situations where we can get away with it. Not in situations that resemble ones where our ancestors got away with it/benefitted from it. This may seem like semantic nitpicking but I really don't think it is - it's symptomatic of taking the computer metaphor of our behaviour too far.

You seem to understand my point. Finally. And as you've agreed to, over and over, it's instinct. Not any rational calculation each time. INSTINCT. And you seem to understand how instinct works. So I don't understand what your problem is?


In the case of the human animal, it is a priori more likely to cluster with the be-friendly type (whether or not being friendly actually benefits the individual in the specific situation at hand) of situation simply because of the fact that we evolved (as a species) and grew up (as individuals) in an environment where cooperation was frequently life-saving. The fact that there are also situations where we are drawn to hostility doesn't negate that, nor has anyone denied it.

Until it's not beneficial. Picking the wrong moment to be friendly can likewise be lethal. Humans are tribal. For good and for bad. Which leads to all manner of nastiness and unfriendliness when a person is identified as "the other". There's no shortage of examples.

When a country goes to war humans seem fully capable to turn into murderers en masse at the drop of a hat. I don't think that is in any way an unnatural behaviour for humans. We are both. Aggressive when it pays to be, friendly when it pays to be. That's not a particularly friendy species. Nor unfriendly. That's just opportunism. Which is what is expected in world where there's competition for resources.

I think the article does deny it. I'm not saying that book does. But the article certainly does. How about you trying to defend the article instead of just agreeing with me?
Exactly where? The article even explicitly states that "we can become unbelievably cruel." It merely points out that we can also be very cooperative, and that this degree of cooperation, more than the violent aspects of our behavioral toolbox, made us much more successful than chimps and earlier earlier hominid species. Now that may be false empirically, but it doesn't amount to claiming violence doesn't exist.

I don't think you're interpreting it right. I think the article looks like a new take on the old Rousseauist hippie bullshit, but dressed in a sciency evolutionary garb. That's my interpretation.
 

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What specifically made me react against to the article is the prevalence of domestic violence. Men who engage in domenstic violence are treated as freaks of nature or people who have something wrong in the head. While a comforting thought, prevents us from taking necessary steps to protect victims of it. It's endemic in every culture. While, in the west, it's at least condemned, it's extremely common. As is rape.

This needs to be explained somehow. We can do better than that these men weren't raised right. If that was the case wouldn't there be cultures without it? Why is it common in every culture?

When we were hunter/gatherers men had less oppurtunities to beat their or rape the women of the tribe. Since the men all lived together they could keep an eye on each other. But since modern humans insist on living isolated in couples this social mechanic is missing. If my view is correct the results are predictable.
 

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You seem to understand my point. Finally. And as you've agreed to, over and over, it's instinct. Not any rational calculation each time. INSTINCT. And you seem to understand how instinct works. So I don't understand what your problem is?

The problem is that the fact that we're instinctively drawn towards cooperation at least as often as towards hostility belies the claim that violence is, in any meaningful and when contrasted with cooperation, our "true nature". That's your problem, not mine - you explicitly claimed it is. I didn't claim that, and neither did I claim the opposite, that cooperation is our one "true nature". Nor did the article. What I did claim is that cooperation is also part of our instinctive repertoire, and what the article claims is that our propensity played a major role in making us so successful compared to our instinctively less cooperative relatives. Those are empirically valid observations or at least well-informed hypotheses that in no way whatsoever conflict with the theory of evolution, much less require Lamarckian mechanisms.

Until it's not beneficial.
That's a simplistic way to phrase it. More accurate would be: unless in a situation that clearly *feels* like it's not going to be beneficial. We're animals, not omniscient gods.
Picking the wrong moment to be friendly can likewise be lethal.
Sure. And since we're animals and only have our gut feelings to go by, evolution has led us to pick the option where being wrong is less likely to harm us when unsure - which is most of the time.
Humans are tribal. For good and for bad. Which leads to all manner of nastiness and unfriendliness when a person is identified as "the other". There's no shortage of examples.

When a country goes to war humans seem fully capable to turn into murderers en masse at the drop of a hat. I don't think that is in any way an unnatural behaviour for humans. We are both. Aggressive when it pays to be, friendly when it pays to be. That's not a particularly friendy species. Nor unfriendly. That's just opportunism. Which is what is expected in world where there's competition for resources.

I think the article does deny it. I'm not saying that book does. But the article certainly does. How about you trying to defend the article instead of just agreeing with me?
Exactly where? The article even explicitly states that "we can become unbelievably cruel." It merely points out that we can also be very cooperative, and that this degree of cooperation, more than the violent aspects of our behavioral toolbox, made us much more successful than chimps and earlier earlier hominid species. Now that may be false empirically, but it doesn't amount to claiming violence doesn't exist.

I don't think you're interpreting it right. I think the article looks like a new take on the old Rousseauist hippie bullshit, but dressed in a sciency evolutionary garb. That's my interpretation.

Maybe you should go by what it says?
 

Angry Floof

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What specifically made me react against to the article is the prevalence of domestic violence. Men who engage in domenstic violence are treated as freaks of nature or people who have something wrong in the head. While a comforting thought, prevents us from taking necessary steps to protect victims of it. It's endemic in every culture. While, in the west, it's at least condemned, it's extremely common. As is rape.

This needs to be explained somehow. We can do better than that these men weren't raised right. If that was the case wouldn't there be cultures without it? Why is it common in every culture?

When we were hunter/gatherers men had less oppurtunities to beat their or rape the women of the tribe. Since the men all lived together they could keep an eye on each other. But since modern humans insist on living isolated in couples this social mechanic is missing. If my view is correct the results are predictable.

I still don't understand your objection, though.The article and the research and book behind it claim that friendliness and cooperation have been our most successful strategy for survival and for thriving, not that humans are not aggressive.

Are you saying that aggression and rape have been our most successful strategy? That we not only survive but thrive and build complex systems and civilizations wherein millions of humans go about their lives in an overall peaceful fashion due to the aggressive side of our nature? Has rape produced more offspring than friendly relations?

I'm sorry, but your comments throughout this thread have sounded emotional and a bit confused as to what exactly you're objecting to.
 

DrZoidberg

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What specifically made me react against to the article is the prevalence of domestic violence. Men who engage in domenstic violence are treated as freaks of nature or people who have something wrong in the head. While a comforting thought, prevents us from taking necessary steps to protect victims of it. It's endemic in every culture. While, in the west, it's at least condemned, it's extremely common. As is rape.

This needs to be explained somehow. We can do better than that these men weren't raised right. If that was the case wouldn't there be cultures without it? Why is it common in every culture?

When we were hunter/gatherers men had less oppurtunities to beat their or rape the women of the tribe. Since the men all lived together they could keep an eye on each other. But since modern humans insist on living isolated in couples this social mechanic is missing. If my view is correct the results are predictable.

I still don't understand your objection, though.The article and the research and book behind it claim that friendliness and cooperation have been our most successful strategy for survival and for thriving, not that humans are not aggressive.

That's not how I interpretted it. I interpretted it as violence being counterproductive strategies and that evolution is pushing towards peacefulness. As if that's the end goal of evolution. Evolution doesn't have an end goal.

And besides, if the book was about that sometimes friendliness can be a good strategy for a species is nothing new. The Nazis thought that survival of the fittest meant the strongest. I don't know of anybody else who has ever thought that. It's not news.

Are you saying that aggression and rape have been our most successful strategy? That we not only survive but thrive and build complex systems and civilizations wherein millions of humans go about their lives in an overall peaceful fashion due to the aggressive side of our nature? Has rape produced more offspring than friendly relations?

I think the degree of civilisation among humans is to a large degree illusory. We spend a lot of time hiding our violent nature. We're all super accute all the time for detecting traces of agression. That's why so many are horrified about the uncivil way people communicate on social media. When there's no repurcussions about being aggressive, people very quickly become aggressive en masse. I think this is how humans would behave if civilisation didn't constantly whip us into place. And we don't like being reminded by it.

It think the algorithm works like this.

1. Be friendly
2. if it doesn't work then evaluate if violence is likely to succeed
3. if yes, then violence.

Step 2 is important. It's striking how meek men who would never win a fight no matter what are the ones who so emphatically claim that violence is never the answer, and think humans can evolve beyond it. While men who might actually win a fight have to make a conscious effort from keeping themselves from using force. It's also striking how the second category of men are 1. way more happier than other men and 2. are almost universally seen as more attractive by women. Women seem to like men who can fight in spite of this putting themselves in harms way.

On a more basic evolutionary level. Humans are tribal. The way hunter/gatherers work is that women from the own tribe are protected while women from other tribes are fair game. Humans can use all manner of cognitive tricks to expand the tribe. This is how nationalism works or religion. But it can also easily be reversed. We can put people who should be close to us in "the other" simply by thinking they are. We've still got the same brains. We still function like this. But civilisation has come up with a bunch of cognitive tricks to fool us into behaving more... well.. civilised. But very little is needed to reverse the effect.

There's also the male attractiveness level to consider. As made clear in books like "Dataclysm". About 80% of all men are sexually uninteresting for all women. Women might settle for one of the less attractive ones, because they can't do any better. But they don't want to. Men are much more just about gunning for what they can get and grateful for it. They rarely dream about getting women that they'll never get anyway. Our genders are different this way.

The bottom 80% of men get very little action from women. Very little. The top 20% get almost all of it.

This seems to be just basic human nature.

It's not hard to imagine that in a world where some men aren't getting any sexual attention at all from women then rape is the best option, evolutionarily. Which is why so many social rules and regulations are about just this, regulating human sexuality to create less friction in society.

For example, socially encouraged monogamy. Humans clearly aren't monogamous. We don't stop finding others sexually attractive when we fall in love. But in a world of free love we'll get a few men with harems of all the women. Not great, for anyone. So now we have a society where everybody pretends to be monogamous and high status men are unfaithful with unfaithful women who have settled for a less attractive but safe man. There's many examples of how we've designed society to reduce social friction.

I'm sorry, but your comments throughout this thread have sounded emotional and a bit confused as to what exactly you're objecting to.

I'm sorry for being a bit unclear then. I have tried my best though. I'm objecting to portraying nature as a nice place. I think it's a hippie fantasy, and believing in it is dangerous. We don't create a better world by ignoring the darkness. If we do the darkness festers unchecked and we're at an absolute loss when men behave in the way nature intended them to.
 

Jokodo

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That's not how I interpretted it. I interpretted it as violence being counterproductive strategies and that evolution is pushing towards peacefulness. As if that's the end goal of evolution. Evolution doesn't have an end goal.

And besides, if the book was about that sometimes friendliness can be a good strategy for a species is nothing new. The Nazis thought that survival of the fittest meant the strongest. I don't know of anybody else who has ever thought that. It's not news.

Are you saying that aggression and rape have been our most successful strategy? That we not only survive but thrive and build complex systems and civilizations wherein millions of humans go about their lives in an overall peaceful fashion due to the aggressive side of our nature? Has rape produced more offspring than friendly relations?

I think the degree of civilisation among humans is to a large degree illusory. We spend a lot of time hiding our violent nature. We're all super accute all the time for detecting traces of agression. That's why so many are horrified about the uncivil way people communicate on social media. When there's no repurcussions about being aggressive, people very quickly become aggressive en masse. I think this is how humans would behave if civilisation didn't constantly whip us into place. And we don't like being reminded by it.

It think the algorithm works like this.

1. Be friendly
2. if it doesn't work then evaluate if violence is likely to succeed
3. if yes, then violence.
This sounds like a pretty straightforward reversal of what you said earlier. Being friendly as the default hardly reflects a "true violent nature".
Step 2 is important. It's striking how meek men who would never win a fight no matter what are the ones who so emphatically claim that violence is never the answer, and think humans can evolve beyond it. While men who might actually win a fight have to make a conscious effort from keeping themselves from using force. It's also striking how the second category of men are 1. way more happier than other men and 2. are almost universally seen as more attractive by women. Women seem to like men who can fight in spite of this putting themselves in harms way.

On a more basic evolutionary level. Humans are tribal. The way hunter/gatherers work is that women from the own tribe are protected while women from other tribes are fair game. Humans can use all manner of cognitive tricks to expand the tribe. This is how nationalism works or religion. But it can also easily be reversed. We can put people who should be close to us in "the other" simply by thinking they are. We've still got the same brains. We still function like this. But civilisation has come up with a bunch of cognitive tricks to fool us into behaving more... well.. civilised. But very little is needed to reverse the effect.

There's also the male attractiveness level to consider. As made clear in books like "Dataclysm". About 80% of all men are sexually uninteresting for all women. Women might settle for one of the less attractive ones, because they can't do any better. But they don't want to. Men are much more just about gunning for what they can get and grateful for it. They rarely dream about getting women that they'll never get anyway. Our genders are different this way.

The bottom 80% of men get very little action from women. Very little. The top 20% get almost all of it.

This seems to be just basic human nature.

It's not hard to imagine that in a world where some men aren't getting any sexual attention at all from women then rape is the best option, evolutionarily. Which is why so many social rules and regulations are about just this, regulating human sexuality to create less friction in society.

For example, socially encouraged monogamy. Humans clearly aren't monogamous. We don't stop finding others sexually attractive when we fall in love. But in a world of free love we'll get a few men with harems of all the women. Not great, for anyone. So now we have a society where everybody pretends to be monogamous and high status men are unfaithful with unfaithful women who have settled for a less attractive but safe man. There's many examples of how we've designed society to reduce social friction.

I'm sorry, but your comments throughout this thread have sounded emotional and a bit confused as to what exactly you're objecting to.

I'm sorry for being a bit unclear then. I have tried my best though. I'm objecting to portraying nature as a nice place. I think it's a hippie fantasy, and believing in it is dangerous. We don't create a better world by ignoring the darkness. If we do the darkness festers unchecked and we're at an absolute loss when men behave in the way nature intended them to.

Nature doesn't "intend" anymore than it has an end goal. You explicitly make the same fallacy you accuse the article of implicitly engaging in.

I also find it quite telling that hardly anywhere in your elaboration, women show up as agents. That alone should give you pause that maybe your picture is incomplete?
 

DrZoidberg

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This sounds like a pretty straightforward reversal of what you said earlier. Being friendly as the default hardly reflects a "true violent nature".

No, it's not. I also don't think you believe this either. It's pretty clear that you've tried your damndest to misunderstand and twist my words in order to win points in an argument. It's been pretty tiresome. But you've done this in other threads as well. Just stop. Please. You're just wasting everyone's time. It's basically just trolling. The goal isn't to understand. Or you would have asked me to explain the things you thought were unclear. Instead you've put words and meanings in my mouth and argued against a straw man. Many people on forums do it. So you're in good company. But it's pointless. It adds no value, nor understanding.

I'm sorry for being a bit unclear then. I have tried my best though. I'm objecting to portraying nature as a nice place. I think it's a hippie fantasy, and believing in it is dangerous. We don't create a better world by ignoring the darkness. If we do the darkness festers unchecked and we're at an absolute loss when men behave in the way nature intended them to.

Nature doesn't "intend" anymore than it has an end goal. You explicitly make the same fallacy you accuse the article of implicitly engaging in.

I don't understand why you wrote this? I find it hard to believe you're so stupid that you think this is my belief, nor think that's what I actually wrote or intended. So why did you write this? What is your end goal with this type of discussion?
 

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No, it's not. I also don't think you believe this either. It's pretty clear that you've tried your damndest to misunderstand and twist my words in order to win points in an argument. It's been pretty tiresome. But you've done this in other threads as well. Just stop. Please. You're just wasting everyone's time. It's basically just trolling. The goal isn't to understand. Or you would have asked me to explain the things you thought were unclear. Instead you've put words and meanings in my mouth and argued against a straw man. Many people on forums do it. So you're in good company. But it's pointless. It adds no value, nor understanding.

Stop the whining and stand up for what you actually wrote. "our true violent nature" isn't something I put into your mouth, it is what you actually wrote. The fuller context was "we live in an alien environment that prevents us to live out our true violent nature", in post 50.

It's not unclear, it's just false. Unlike what you seem to believe of yourself, I cannot read minds. I cannot know that you meant the opposite of what you write.
Nature doesn't "intend" anymore than it has an end goal. You explicitly make the same fallacy you accuse the article of implicitly engaging in.

I don't understand why you wrote this? I find it hard to believe you're so stupid that you think this is my belief, nor think that's what I actually wrote or intended. So why did you write this? What is your end goal with this type of discussion?

It is what you actually wrote. I quoted it right above my comment you object to. Here's your words again: "when men behave in the way nature intended them to." (emphasis added)
 

DrZoidberg

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Stop the whining and stand up for what you actually wrote. "our true violent nature" isn't something I put into your mouth, it is what you actually wrote. The fuller context was "we live in an alien environment that prevents us to live out our true violent nature", in post 50.

It's not unclear, it's just false. Unlike what you seem to believe of yourself, I cannot read minds. I cannot know that you meant the opposite of what you write.

I don't understand why you wrote this? I find it hard to believe you're so stupid that you think this is my belief, nor think that's what I actually wrote or intended. So why did you write this? What is your end goal with this type of discussion?

It is what you actually wrote. I quoted it right above my comment you object to. Here's your words again: "when men behave in the way nature intended them to." (emphasis added)

It's not the opposite of what I wrote. And I think you knew that all along. I think you read it into my words for no reason I can see other than to troll.

Again... what is your end goal with having this type of discussion? What's in it for you? It's not the first time you do it.
 

Jokodo

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Stop the whining and stand up for what you actually wrote. "our true violent nature" isn't something I put into your mouth, it is what you actually wrote. The fuller context was "we live in an alien environment that prevents us to live out our true violent nature", in post 50.

It's not unclear, it's just false. Unlike what you seem to believe of yourself, I cannot read minds. I cannot know that you meant the opposite of what you write.

I don't understand why you wrote this? I find it hard to believe you're so stupid that you think this is my belief, nor think that's what I actually wrote or intended. So why did you write this? What is your end goal with this type of discussion?

It is what you actually wrote. I quoted it right above my comment you object to. Here's your words again: "when men behave in the way nature intended them to." (emphasis added)

It's not the opposite of what I wrote. And I think you knew that all along. I think you read it into my words for no reason I can see other than to troll.

Again... what is your end goal with having this type of discussion? What's in it for you? It's not the first time you do it.

My "end goal" is to correct your obvious misconceptions about cognitive/behavioral evolution. You've actually retracted some of your more dubious claims, so hopefully you've learnt from this discussion. You just never acknowledge it.

Anyway, you're literally the last person to complain about people reading stuff into your words for no reason. Your entire contribution to this thread consists of reading stuff into the OP article (and my and others' posts) that isn't there, at least not explicitly, and ignoring what it explicitly says.
 

DrZoidberg

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It's not the opposite of what I wrote. And I think you knew that all along. I think you read it into my words for no reason I can see other than to troll.

Again... what is your end goal with having this type of discussion? What's in it for you? It's not the first time you do it.

My "end goal" is to correct your obvious misconceptions about cognitive/behavioral evolution. You've actually retracted some of your more dubious claims, so hopefully you've learnt from this discussion. You just never acknowledge it.

Anyway, you're literally the last person to complain about people reading stuff into your words for no reason. Your entire contribution to this thread consists of reading stuff into the OP article (and my and others' posts) that isn't there, at least not explicitly, and ignoring what it explicitly says.

What have I retracted? I've had the same position all along. I think the original article is a feel-good fluff piece, that may or may not have reflected a book that may or may not have been serious science. My position on that hasn't changed. I don't like when science, nature and evolution is misrepresented. No matter if it's for a feel-good cause. It's not friendliness it's opportunism. Often being friendly is the the winning strategy. But often it's not. That's nature. I don't think that was the angle of the article at all. And a lack of violence doesn't mean friendly. I somehow doubt the losers in the bonobo game of politics think that the alpha male and females are friendly.

If there's anything I've said that is "misconceptions about cognitive/behavioral evolution" and they're obvious it should be easy for you to point them out? But that hasn't gone so great for you, has it? Each time you've just reiterated what I said in other words. Looking back at this threat I don't think we, at any point, disagreed about anything. I may have missed something, though? So what exactly are my misconceptions? Since they're obvious it should be easy for you, shouldn't it?

You seem desperate to defend the article, and grasping at straws to do it.
 

Jokodo

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It's not the opposite of what I wrote. And I think you knew that all along. I think you read it into my words for no reason I can see other than to troll.

Again... what is your end goal with having this type of discussion? What's in it for you? It's not the first time you do it.

My "end goal" is to correct your obvious misconceptions about cognitive/behavioral evolution. You've actually retracted some of your more dubious claims, so hopefully you've learnt from this discussion. You just never acknowledge it.

Anyway, you're literally the last person to complain about people reading stuff into your words for no reason. Your entire contribution to this thread consists of reading stuff into the OP article (and my and others' posts) that isn't there, at least not explicitly, and ignoring what it explicitly says.

What have I retracted? I've had the same position all along.

Only if "our true violent nature" means the same as the first default is be friendly, or if acting in way X "if it's beneficial" is the same as acting in way X in the presence of certain triggers that have historically been correlated with it being beneficial; if "Humans are cooperative and friendly when it's in our best interest." says the same thing as "humans are cooperative and friendly in a wide range of situations where it may or may not be in our best interest, but that contain certain triggers that make our animal brains act as if it were"; only if "the way nature intended" means the same as nature doesn't have intent.

You can call that sloppy wording, but what all of those have in common is that they stink of a teleological conception of evolution. And more often than not, when I corrected your misconception (or "sloppy wording"), you claimed that's exactly what you have been saying when we have your posts, black on white (or whatever color scheme you have chosen in your settings) telling us it isn't.

I think the original article is a feel-good fluff piece, that may or may not have reflected a book that may or may not have been serious science. My position on that hasn't changed. I don't like when science, nature and evolution is misrepresented.

Then don't do it. The article may be guilty of some sloppy wording, but look at yourself!

No matter if it's for a feel-good cause. It's not friendliness it's opportunism. Often being friendly is the the winning strategy. But often it's not.

Exactly. And the point of the article is that we tend to underestimate the degree to which being friendly can be and has been a winning strategy because of a misunderstanding of the term "fittest". Whether that is true or not is a question of sociology, of what the average person believes to understand of the theory of evolution, not a question of biology.

That's nature. I don't think that was the angle of the article at all. And a lack of violence doesn't mean friendly. I somehow doubt the losers in the bonobo game of politics think that the alpha male and females are friendly.

If there's anything I've said that is "misconceptions about cognitive/behavioral evolution" and they're obvious it should be easy for you to point them out? But that hasn't gone so great for you, has it? Each time you've just reiterated what I said in other words. Looking back at this threat I don't think we, at any point, disagreed about anything. I may have missed something, though? So what exactly are my misconceptions? Since they're obvious it should be easy for you, shouldn't it?

See above. All direct quotes.

You seem desperate to defend the article, and grasping at straws to do it.

I barely even referenced the article. It was your simplistic proclamations that have been the focus of my objections.
 

DrZoidberg

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Only if "our true violent nature" means the same as the first default is be friendly, or if acting in way X "if it's beneficial" is the same as acting in way X in the presence of certain triggers that have historically been correlated with it being beneficial; if "Humans are cooperative and friendly when it's in our best interest." says the same thing as "humans are cooperative and friendly in a wide range of situations where it may or may not be in our best interest, but that contain certain triggers that make our animal brains act as if it were"; only if "the way nature intended" means the same as nature doesn't have intent.

You can call that sloppy wording, but what all of those have in common is that they stink of a teleological conception of evolution. And more often than not, when I corrected your misconception (or "sloppy wording"), you claimed that's exactly what you have been saying when we have your posts, black on white (or whatever color scheme you have chosen in your settings) telling us it isn't.

I don't think it's sloppy wording. I think it's you trying your damndest to interpret it in a way that justifys you getting on a high horse and staying there. If you would have given it any thought at all I think you would have understood what I meant. Just get the fuck off your high horse. It doesn't become you, and you certainly haven't earned a seat on it ;)

I think the original article is a feel-good fluff piece, that may or may not have reflected a book that may or may not have been serious science. My position on that hasn't changed. I don't like when science, nature and evolution is misrepresented.

Then don't do it. The article may be guilty of some sloppy wording, but look at yourself!

Then why are you defending the article?

No matter if it's for a feel-good cause. It's not friendliness it's opportunism. Often being friendly is the the winning strategy. But often it's not.

Exactly. And the point of the article is that we tend to underestimate the degree to which being friendly can be and has been a winning strategy because of a misunderstanding of the term "fittest". Whether that is true or not is a question of sociology, of what the average person believes to understand of the theory of evolution, not a question of biology.

And I didn't like it. You did. Whoopdie do. The argument could have ended there.
 

Jokodo

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I don't think it's sloppy wording. I think it's you trying your damndest to interpret it in a way that justifys you getting on a high horse and staying there. If you would have given it any thought at all I think you would have understood what I meant. Just get the fuck off your high horse. It doesn't become you, and you certainly haven't earned a seat on it ;)

Then don't do it. The article may be guilty of some sloppy wording, but look at yourself!

Then why are you defending the article?

No matter if it's for a feel-good cause. It's not friendliness it's opportunism. Often being friendly is the the winning strategy. But often it's not.

Exactly. And the point of the article is that we tend to underestimate the degree to which being friendly can be and has been a winning strategy because of a misunderstanding of the term "fittest". Whether that is true or not is a question of sociology, of what the average person believes to understand of the theory of evolution, not a question of biology.

And I didn't like it. You did. Whoopdie do. The argument could have ended there.

The argument wouldn't even have started if you refrained from misrepresenting other people's arguments left and right.

I didn't even say that I liked the article. I said you're misrepresenting it, which you are.
 

Jokodo

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I didn't even say that I liked the article. I said you're misrepresenting it, which you are.

It must be windy there... in your glass house.

I know, it's hard to admit that you've said something stupid, even harder if you have a bad case of Dunning-Kruger's to start with.

Have a beer, chill down, this isn't the end of the world.
 

Jokodo

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Dr. Zoidberg on misrepresentation:

Not misrepresentation:
  • Dr. Zoidberg claiming the article states that aggression is unnatural (despite it saying explicitly it's also there)
  • Dr. Zoidberg insisting that I "need a lesson in evolutionary theory" without being able to point to anything I've said that suggests so.
  • Dr. Zoidberg claiming Angry Floof implicitly advocates for Lamarckian evolution without being able to point to anything she said that suggests so.

Misrepresentation:
  • Jokodo quoting verbatim Dr. Zoidberg's words about people "behaving the way nature intended them to" and saying that sounds like he says nature has intent.

You're such a poor victim of mean bully me. I'll cry for you a bit.
 

Angry Floof

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Dr. Zoidberg on misrepresentation:

Not misrepresentation:
  • Dr. Zoidberg claiming the article states that aggression is unnatural (despite it saying explicitly it's also there)
  • Dr. Zoidberg insisting that I "need a lesson in evolutionary theory" without being able to point to anything I've said that suggests so.
  • Dr. Zoidberg claiming Angry Floof implicitly advocates for Lamarckian evolution without being able to point to anything she said that suggests so.

Misrepresentation:
  • Jokodo quoting verbatim Dr. Zoidberg's words about people "behaving the way nature intended them to" and saying that sounds like he says nature has intent.

You're such a poor victim of mean bully me. I'll cry for you a bit.

Also, nobody said evolution has intent. "Survival strategy" is just a term meaning whatever behavior, mutation, trait, etc. worked out to not kill us and/or to help us procreate more, and we can only see that after the fact, like we see after the fact how successful friendliness and cooperation have been to our survival and thriving throughout our existence as well as for some of our primate relatives.
 

skepticalbip

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Dr. Zoidberg on misrepresentation:

Not misrepresentation:
  • Dr. Zoidberg claiming the article states that aggression is unnatural (despite it saying explicitly it's also there)
  • Dr. Zoidberg insisting that I "need a lesson in evolutionary theory" without being able to point to anything I've said that suggests so.
  • Dr. Zoidberg claiming Angry Floof implicitly advocates for Lamarckian evolution without being able to point to anything she said that suggests so.

Misrepresentation:
  • Jokodo quoting verbatim Dr. Zoidberg's words about people "behaving the way nature intended them to" and saying that sounds like he says nature has intent.

You're such a poor victim of mean bully me. I'll cry for you a bit.

Also, nobody said evolution has intent. "Survival strategy" is just a term meaning whatever behavior, mutation, trait, etc. worked out to not kill us and/or to help us procreate more, and we can only see that after the fact, like we see after the fact how successful friendliness and cooperation have been to our survival and thriving throughout our existence as well as for some of our primate relatives.

There is no question that cooperation has benefited our survival ability but so has aggression and so has running away. What has been the greatest benefit is the awareness to know where cooperation would be beneficial, where aggression would be beneficial, and where running away would be beneficial then going with the best option for the particular situation.
 
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fromderinside

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So there was this domain of psychology concentrating on approach/withdrawal -originally, before Schneirla, it was called approach/avoidance - which dominated behavioral psychology for generations. Can't have cooperation without those both being present first. So those advocating cooperation need take into account how it arises beyond saying "not aggression". Since evolution is built upon what precedes it rather than replacing what precedes it, there is a minimum demand characteristic for such modeling.

I didn't see that in the article which is not a scientific article in the first place, its a Washington Post article. Perhaps someone has read the book? And does the existence of a scientist,or even several scientists as writers make the book scientific? I think I'm falling into the early ethologist study paradigm again. Say science, take down personal data, report? Nope not science.

Just for your amusement "how can one trained in science use oneself as a source?" One can't. For those who don't understand one can not validate a protool written by oneself and used by oneself (self reference, not even rational criterion)
 

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There is no question that cooperation has benefited our survival ability but so has aggression and so has running away. What has been the greatest benefit is the awareness to know where cooperation would be beneficial, where aggression would be beneficial, and where running away would be beneficial then going with the best option for the particular situation.

Nicely put, imo.

The only small caveat that I might introduce is whether there's necessarily knowing involved, since a lot of the instincts and many* of the behaviours are more or less automatically triggered. But yes, I know what you mean and am just being a bit pedantic.


* some might say all, if they believe in strong determinism, but let's not get into that. :)
 

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Thanks for posting. I'll earmark that for reading later. :)

My starting position will be that I feel I could agree that cooperation has been selected for (especially in a social species like ours) but I will be surprised if the paper makes a good case that non-cooperation isn't selected for also. But I will try to have an open mind, and in any case, I am not going to be cynical about or deny the valuable merits of cooperation.

On which note, I think it's important to point out that the opposite of cooperation is not necessarily aggression or violence. It's merely non-cooperation, and might take the form of competition for example, or selfishness.

I admit that right now, I'd have trouble seeing how competitiveness is not selected for (as well as cooperation I mean). So I would not say either are our 'true nature' but rather that our true nature is complicated and variegated, possibly in order to respond to a complicated variegated set of circumstances in the world.
 

Jokodo

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Thanks for posting. I'll earmark that for reading later. :)

My starting position will be that I feel I could agree that cooperation has been selected for (especially in a social species like ours) but I will be surprised if the paper makes a good case that non-cooperation isn't selected for also.
Which part of the abstract makes you believe the claim "non-cooperation isn't selected for also" is being made? The claim I see is that our increased pro-sociality relative to other apes is a pivotal agreement to some of the apparently unique aspects of humans such as language and material cumulative culture.
But I will try to have an open mind, and in any case, I am not going to be cynical about or deny the valuable merits of cooperation.

On which note, I think it's important to point out that the opposite of cooperation is not necessarily aggression or violence. It's merely non-cooperation, and might take the form of competition for example, or selfishness.

I admit that right now, I'd have trouble seeing how competitiveness is not selected for (as well as cooperation I mean). So I would not say either are our 'true nature' but rather that our true nature is complicated and variegated, possibly in order to respond to a complicated variegated set of circumstances in the world.

Yes. Who said otherwise?
 

ruby sparks

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Which part of the abstract makes you believe the claim "non-cooperation isn't selected for also" is being made?

I'm not assuming the paper says that, or even necessarily expecting it to. I can understand if you got that impression from what I said, but maybe I didn't explain myself well when I said I'd be surprised if it made a good case for it. I haven't read the paper yet.

Yes. Who said otherwise?

To me, the first line of the OP seems to suggest it. And to some extent the second line, and maybe the thread title in some ways. :)
 

fromderinside

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OK! Thank you Angry floof. The paper makes a better argument than the horror story I was painting. Their paper lays out the changes in evolutionary, social,and chemical terms with fair rsupport for each aspect. And the paper builds on Tomasello and Vaish's (2013) paper "Origins of HumanCooperation and Morality" https://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/S...files/2015/06/annurev-psych-113011-143812.pdf

Abstract: From an evolutionary perspective, morality is a form of cooperation.Cooperation requires individuals either to suppress their own self-interest or to equate it with that of others. We review recent research on the origins of human morality, both phylogenetic (research withapes) and ontogenetic (research with children). For both time frames we propose a two-step sequence: first a second-personal morality in which individuals are sympathetic or fair to particular others, and second an agent-neutral morality in which individuals follow and enforce group-wide social norms. Human morality arose evolutionarily as a set of skills and motives for cooperating with others, and the ontogeny of these skills and motives unfolds in part naturally and in part as a result of sociocultural contexts and interactions

In fact if you look at the paper Ruby Sparks you'll see recognition that your 'both' presumption is fundamental to the overall argument for HSD. In fact the paper recognizes that evolution is not this or that. it clearly illustrates the existence of this and that all the way along. Apes and Canines exhibit both PAN (Chimpanzee competitive/aggressive) and HSD (Human Social Development) characteristics. It's just that the development of serotonin linked behaviors with testosterone linked behaviors can work together due to slight modifications in neural architecture in both dogs and apes.

In fact it is easy to demonstrate both aggressive and cooperative social outcomes are likely in humans and dogs. IOW the paper doesn't suggest the reversal of anything. The paper supports the addition of more social nuance in these mammals social behavior.

In fact I still disagree with the notion that it's one way or the highway as the authors suggest in their final four summary points.

5. The HSD suggests that natural selection for prosociality and against aggression played a large role in human evolution. Over the past 80,000 years, fossil humans show morphological evidence for selection against aggression that coincides with an increase in cultural artifacts in the fossil record.

6. Selection for in-group prosociality drove human self-domestication in the Paleolithic.Changes in oxytocin and eye sclera color provide two possible mechanisms to explain the increases in cooperative communication, increases in in-group cooperation, and intensification of intergroup conflict that evolved as a result of this selection.

7. Evolutionarily labile neurohormones and neuropeptides provide a ready target of selection for prosociality over aggression. However, human tolerance is flexible beyond what can be accounted for by muted subcortical responses alone. Phylogenetic comparisons suggesting a strong link between inhibition and absolute brain size point to the critical role of cortical regions in allowing for human levels of self-control and tolerance.

8. Human self-domestication predicts increased developmental windows for traits relating to increased tolerance and cooperative communication. Early-emerging social cognition,which develops despite secondary altriciality, together with graded synaptic pruning continuing into adulthood, played a central role in the evolution of H. sapiens.

Why I disagree?
5. Yes there moderation of aggression. Aggression wasn't eliminated. It is obvious it still can predominate within small, medium, and large intrasocial behavior.

6. I agree humans are not fighting fish, see 6. However humans still vary according to habitat, skin, water, etc.

7. Things don't change there so attributing this aspect to the fact that they do is just plain wrong. IOW way to large a net for this suite of adaptations. Being flexible isn't being different in nature. it's an adjustment of existing behavioral tools.

8. The evidence they provide supports the struggle goes on to tune intrasocial behavior and to tune intersocial behavior, happily. The paper does not provide evidence that cooperation replaces aggression, it can moderate it.

I have an uneasy feeling that Gould (Wynne-Edwards) rises his head in their arguments without evidence.
 
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