Continuing with George:
“I’m sorry Steve…in a complex world of 6.5 billion homo sapiens, when are cooperative and selfish behaviors ‘not in tension?”
I’m sorry George, but you just reversed y0urself. This is what you originally said:
“He seems to insinuate that altruism and self interest are mutually exclusive. His ignorance that altruism often serves a “self interest”, speaks volumes about his ignorance of basic evolutionary behaviors and the various strategies employed by social, cooperative species such as ours.”
Now, however, he backs around and asks us when altruism and self-interest are “not” in a state of tension.
“You did make a nebulous reference to a ‘lifeboat’ and ‘hedonism’ in your last post, but actually never pursued the details of any ‘textbook examples, much less any real world experiments that showed why a Calvinist would behave differently than an Islamist, humanist, Buddhist or Scientologist in any given moral scenario.”
I see I overestimated George’s grasp of the obvious. Since the lifeboat scenario is a stock hypothetical in social ethics, it hardly needs explaining for the average reader with an above room temperature IQ. But we’ll make an exception in George’s case. Here’s a standard illustration:
So here we sit, say 50 people in our lifeboat. To be generous, let us assume it has room for 10 more, making a total capacity of 60. Suppose the 50 of us in the lifeboat see 100 others swimming in the water outside, begging for admission to our boat or for handouts. We have several options: we may be tempted to try to live by the Christian ideal of being "our brother's keeper," or by the Marxist ideal of "to each according to his needs." Since the needs of all in the water are the same, and since they can all be seen as "our brothers," we could take them all into our boat, making a total of 150 in a boat designed for 60. The boat swamps, everyone drowns. Complete justice, complete catastrophe.
Since the boat has an unused excess capacity of 10 more passengers, we could admit just 10 more to it. But which 10 do we let in? How do we choose? Do we pick the best 10, "first come, first served"? And what do we say to the 90 we exclude? If we do let an extra 10 into our lifeboat, we will have lost our "safety factor," an engineering principle of critical importance.
Suppose we decide to preserve our small safety factor and admit no more to the lifeboat. Our survival is then possible although we shall have to be constantly on guard against boarding parties.
In such a scenario, a consistent Christian would be self-sacrificial while a consistent humanist would be self-centered.
“Again with the constant mimicry of my phrasing…I’m honored. It’s like having a pet monkey.”
And do you feel equally honored to be the pet monkey of natural selection?
“I derive my understanding of the world via the empirical observation and testing method we generally refer to as science.”
Pity that the interpretation of your sensory input is at the mercy of that blindly programmed primate brain of yours.
“Are you a zoologist or animal behavior specialist, Steve? Perhaps you could link me to your thesis on why wolves, dogs, lions, elephants, whales and other sentient social mammals, are not in a position to use their brains and evaluate altruistic versus self interests in a variety of circumstances?”
Oh, so you think that Fido engages in metaethical deliberations over existentialism, utilitarianism, and deontology?
Tell me, George, if you also believe that white mice are hyperintelligent pan-dimensional beings?
“I hope this ‘textbook example’ helps you to understand, that human behavior is not all driven by ‘abstract reasoning, nor is it always alturistic, in even the most pretentious Christian blowhards like yourself.
I see that you suffer from short-term memory loss. Sorry about that.
In the context of this ongoing thread, the point was made that human beings, due to their powers of abstract reasoning, are able to objectify and therefore evaluate their instinctual impulses.
“Alturism and cooperative behavior doesn’t need a ‘worldview’ other than the one driven by survival and reproductive success in species.”
You continue to commit the naturalistic fallacy. Such philosophical naïveté does have a certain artless charm. Another throwback to George’s primate brain.
Perhaps we should have the old boy stuffed and put him in a museum of natural history—alongside Australopithecus.
We could exhume Stephen Jay Gould to complete the display. After all, we’re nothing more than meat machines.
“I guess this means you won’t be releasing your tax returns so we can see how much of a hypocrite you are with all this ‘altruistic’ posturing.”
And should I file this away with your other admittedly subjective value judgments?
In any event, hypocritical behavior doesn’t need a “worldview” other than the one driven by survival and reproductive success in species.
Welcome to the rat race, George. Calculated hypocrisy beats slavish altruism at the Derby every day of the week.
“Persecution never more personified, than in the butcher of Geneva, John Calvin.”
Yet another one of George’s subjective value-judgments. At this rate I need to compile a cumulative index of George’s subjective value judgments.
One wonders why George is so hard on poor old Calvin. After all, such card-carrying Darwinians as Dawkins and Dennett have taught us that a man like Calvin is the project of his memetic conditioning—that pesky old God-meme, ya know!
But a “simpleton” like George hasn’t evolved to the point where he can appreciate the memeplexity of Calvin’s historical predicament.
“More flattery…here’s another newsflash Steve, I’m not a supporter of Stalin, like you are of Calvin. They were both tyrants that used their positions of power to murder their theological and political opponents.”
It’s unfortunate for George that his withering disapproval is, by his own account, nothing more than a subjective value judgment. Sorta takes the bite out of his Olympian strictures.
“Btw…has your god ever come to you and told you to kill anyone for him?”
Btw…have your memes ever come to you and told you to kill anyone for Mother Nature?
“And group inter-subjectivity.”
I see. Speaking of which—executing heretics in the 16C was an intersubjective value-judgment as well.
“Moral thought is not something that either exists in the objective mind of your imaginary god or just in an individual’s mind. It is an inter-subjective, evolving phenomena that is spread via DNA and human culture. “
And by your own reckoning, Calvin was also a byproduct of sociobiology.
Also, if what is right or wrong is indexed to one’s historical position, why should Calvin be impressed by your own culture-bound value-judgments?
Oh, and I do hope you’re not going to appeal to the quaint, 19C notion of evolutionary progress, for naturalistic evolution is a non-directive process.