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Thread: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

  1. #1
    MH Senpai 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Roflkopt3r's Avatar
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    Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Actually it's not really surprising, but I thought I'ld share it nonetheless, as there still are many people who say that Altruism might be a hint on God or wasn't explainable by evolution.

    Source: SPIEGEL 51/2010

    Biologists and Economists tests with some thousand test persons show:
    Pure altruism does practically not exist. There is atleast one indirect use of altruistic acts: It improves the helper's reputation amongst the group. Biologist Semmann comments: "Altruism towards other people is unstable. Most human show such behaviour to improve their own reputation." Manfred Milinski, director of Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionist Biology says: "We cannot detect that men are good by nature - exept, when they reputation is in danger".

    Also Martin Nowak, 45, of Havard university, is sure that altruism is a type of status symbol, which people search to maintain. For this reason, people are nice to each other at first. "Nobody can be sure, that an interaction with a foreign person will remain anonymous. That's why we feel: We should behave in a way, which does maintains or improves our reputation."

    Apart from this, there also is the factor of helping relatives. British genetic scientist John Burdon Haldane once phrased it: "I'ld give my life to save two brothers or eight cousins".
    And the rather easy cooperation between two people: If I help you, you'll help me. And this principle is extended now to the idea of: "If I help you, others will help me", because the act of helping increases the own reputation amongst a group or society.

    Jörg Wettlaufer, 44, says: Human have a genetical fear of bad reputation. People who act egocentric, greedy and reckless and are caught acting so, feel a deep shame.
    "Shame exists, because it increases cooperation. And that's why human who can feel shame have an advantage in evolution."
    The result: "When we take away possibilities of increasing reputation, cooperation collapses."

    A small anecdote added to the article:
    A first practical result Wettlaufer established in real life: Earlier, all his doctoral student were allowed to use the workshop. As a result, nobody wanted to keep order and clean the room. Now, he switched to a system that only one doctoral student at a time is allowed to use it: Ever since, the room is beeing kept clean, because noone of them wants to have the reputation of leaving a mess.


    tl;dr: Altruism serves the purpose of increasing or maintaining personal reputation, because reputation improves the own situation. If there is no way of earning reputation, the system of mutual aid collapses to a big degree. This way, it is explainable by evolution theory.

  2. #2
    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member steelwingcrash1's Avatar
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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Since you had to put it that way, I guess I kind of agree. Sometimes, I help because I also expect help from others. I guess it's only human nature that we expect a return-favor from the people we have helped before.

    Moreover, about that reputation part, I also agree with that study. My field of work dictates that I build a reputation of helping others altruistically. What would others think of me if I do not help others? You might say that I am somewhat obliged to do so.

    But of course, not all people are probably like me. I know that many people like me are only trying to help others because they are just building a facade for themselves which says, "Hey, guys, look at me: I'm helping someone!" But who knows, there might be someone out there who really helps others out of pure charity, generosity and altruism?

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    MH Senpai 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Roflkopt3r's Avatar
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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Quote Originally Posted by steelwingcrash1 View Post
    But of course, not all people are probably like me. I know that many people like me are only trying to help others because they are just building a facade for themselves which says, "Hey, guys, look at me: I'm helping someone!" But who knows, there might be someone out there who really helps others out of pure charity, generosity and altruism?
    Of course their might be - just like there are priests who say they'ld never have sex in their life. Not everything we human do is congruent with our biological dispositions and the logics of Evolution. Yet, our behavious is still severely based on it imo. But I guess the complexity of our consciousness and brains allows us to do many things which are not biologically "wanted".

    I wouldn't call it a facade either when people help each other mainly because they fear a loss of reputation. The amount of shame felt for not helping is still severely different from each person. And I think that many people "advance" in that field, until they feel shame even when their reputation is totally undangered - which would be beyond biological needs but rather an active decision beeing made.
    However, that's "not mainstream" so to say, most just don't care anymore when their reputation is kept out of a subject.
    Last edited by Roflkopt3r; December 22, 2010 at 10:35 AM.

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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    what does biologie have to do with morals ? please stop this dude.
    Altruism and shame is part of psychologie, so don't bring biologie and economics to the equation.

    biologie handles stuff at are concrete and observable, if you said psychological expiriments I wouldn't have interfered, so what the hell is going on here ?
    "[I]If you think I'm gonna sit here idly by and do nothing, then you're right, because that's what I do here.[/I]"

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    MH Senpai 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Roflkopt3r's Avatar
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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Quote Originally Posted by dark lord View Post
    what does biologie have to do with morals ? please stop this dude.
    Altruism and shame is part of psychologie, so don't bring biologie and economics to the equation.

    biologie handles stuff at are concrete and observable, if you said psychological expiriments I wouldn't have interfered, so what the hell is going on here ?
    Human behaviour is very observable. The evolution of behavioral patterns is a part of biology. Yes, biology and psychology might overlap here, but that's not a bad thing. Integration of different types of science to work on a single subject is usual these days.
    Human behaviour is mesuarable in statistics, and these statistics can be scientifically used and interpreted. There is nothing wrong with the basic ideas of such studies.

    Biology and morals? Of course that is related. Our biological transmitters and brain activity are absolutely biological, and our behaviour is a result of it. Thus it can easily be interpreted with evolution theory.

    Why would you want such research not to be done? Where is the reason for that?

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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Quote Originally Posted by Roflkopt3r View Post
    Human behaviour is very observable.
    Yes I know


    Quote Quote:
    The evolution of behavioral patterns
    Yes I agree on this
    .
    Quote Quote:
    Yes, biology and psychology might overlap here, but that's not a bad thing. Integration of different types of science to work on a single subject is usual these days.
    Very true.

    Quote Quote:
    Human behaviour is mesuarable in statistics, and these statistics can be scientifically used and interpreted. There is nothing wrong with the basic ideas of such studies.
    Yes there is nothing wrong with that.

    Quote Quote:
    Biology and morals? Of course that is related. Our biological transmitters and brain activity are absolutely biological, and our behaviour is a result of it.
    Very true

    Quote Quote:
    Thus it can easily be interpreted with evolution theory.
    Now you messed up, biologie is science not evolution theory, science is facts and evolution is not.

    Now you said tests, thats good because there was a test and based on it you got results.

    Quote Quote:
    Why would you want such research not to be done? Where is the reason for that?
    I'm not against science I'm against evolution.Dawkins himself says science only hopes to explain evolution and prove it.
    "[I]If you think I'm gonna sit here idly by and do nothing, then you're right, because that's what I do here.[/I]"

    Steven Hyde

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    MH Senpai 伝説メンバー / Densetsu / Legendary Member M3J's Avatar
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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Science and evolution go hand in hand. Science isn't facts like people think it is. Evolution is a part of science; science is NOT facts only. In fact, there are more theories than facts in science, believe it or not. Almost every fact that exists in science came from theorizing, like how evolution came about. The difference is, what's considered facts became facts after countless of experiments to prove the theory is right, and after little to no seen flaws in theories.

    Evolution is part of science. Evolution is a theory, like many theories before it. Before it can become a solid fact like most facts, it needs to have little to no flaws.

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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Explain to me why intelligent design is not considered science ? I mean its a theory that says the universe had a designer.
    "[I]If you think I'm gonna sit here idly by and do nothing, then you're right, because that's what I do here.[/I]"

    Steven Hyde

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    MH Senpai 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Roflkopt3r's Avatar
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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Quote Originally Posted by dark lord View Post
    Explain to me why intelligent design is not considered science ? I mean its a theory that says the universe had a designer.
    I'll answer this post in the Religious Discussion thread, as it clearly does not belong here imo. Please let's stick that discussion to that thread:
    http://mangahelpers.com/forum/showth...55#post2223155

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    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member steelwingcrash1's Avatar
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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Quote Originally Posted by dark lord View Post
    what does biologie have to do with morals ? please stop this dude.
    Altruism and shame is part of psychologie, so don't bring biologie and economics to the equation.

    biologie handles stuff at are concrete and observable, if you said psychological expiriments I wouldn't have interfered, so what the hell is going on here ?
    All sciences go hand-in-hand. To study one's psychology, we need to study the biological build-up of a person - more especially the brain. Now the brain is the master control of our entire body because we always think and judge before we do things.

    Edit: I was looking earlier for an article to be used in my class when I encountered this article on politics. It just dawned on me that the same principles apply on how politicians think. During campaigns, they always help people; but the truth is, most politicians (I'm not saying all) only do that to build their reputations so that people will vote for them.

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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Quote Originally Posted by steelwingcrash1 View Post
    All sciences go hand-in-hand. To study one's psychology, we need to study the biological build-up of a person - more especially the brain. Now the brain is the master control of our entire body because we always think and judge before we do things.
    Like I said I'm not against science, I'm against evolution
    "[I]If you think I'm gonna sit here idly by and do nothing, then you're right, because that's what I do here.[/I]"

    Steven Hyde

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    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member HegemonKhan's Avatar
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    Re: Biological Evolution of Altruism and Shame

    Philosophical Dilemmas by Phil Washburn (pp. 343-353):

    4.5 Are We Always Selfish?

    Spoiler: Psychological Egoist or Psychological Altruist? show



    Spoiler: YES: PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOIST show



    Spoiler: NO: PSYCHOLOGICAL ALTRUIST show


    -----------------------

    Spoiler: off-topic: evolution show


    Spoiler: off-topic: Intelligent Design show
    Last edited by HegemonKhan; May 20, 2011 at 09:53 PM.
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    "I hold the wolf by the ears, I am in a dangerous situation and dare not let go" -an old saying in Latin

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