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Repost: Evolution Is Tit For Tat

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Posted by S.H. Le on February 13, 2001 22:13:26 UTC

Wuz goin on fellas?

"I am of the opinion that evolution is the process that created humans physically. If you look at the principles of evolution, which are essentially dog eat dog, competition and survival of the fittest, as exemplified by warfare within species and which is the essence of capitalism without government control, you do find a "virulent Darwinist creator". In other words, you find the devil. It's argued that the Devil is a being. Well if God is a being, then the devil probably is as well. But my intuition is that both are more like forces." - Yan

I think evolution is perfectly consistent with cooperation… tho it's primarily for selfish reasons. I don't deny that domination exists in nature (competition to degree of species exclusion), but i wouldn't call it evil - I'd call it adaptability and survival. I see the universe as morally neutral ie. morality is I think an entirely human concept.

For all the examples of domination and competition in nature, you'll find instances of symbiosis and mutual relationships. Evolution actually explains altruism… sacrificing oneself for another - it typically happens with related individuals (altruism increases the chances for a genetically similar individual to produce progeny), such as a mother dying to preserve her young. Cooperation is also conducive to survival of the fittest. There are lots of social species other than humans: apes, zebras, lions, bats, etc etc. and they've all proven to be pretty sucessful.

I would think that humans are the epitome of the paradoxical "competitive mechanism of survival of the fittest giving rise to a cooperative species" idea. We're physically weak, but our ability to communicate and collaborate our efforts as a group has made us highly adaptive. Although natural selection may only operate at the level of the individual, I think perhaps there's a cumulative effect in "species survival"… we have more to gain by working together - and our evolutionary ancestors have demonstrated this.

So just as you view "humans as needing a balance between good and evil"… mayhaps evolution is further example of this - competition/domination balanced out with cooperation.

Essentially it IS selfishness that motivates cooperation, because through cooperation there's an expectation that somebody will do something good for you.

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