Monday, May 26, 2014

Human altruism, the biological impact of which is not entirely clear

In quoting from Cochran and Harpending, I got so many figurative “blank stares” that I didn’t respond to all of them. So if someone is harboring a conviction based upon the supposition that I said something that is nonsense, they may not have achieved a state of being perfectly accurate.

In the interest of leaning toward communicating, I will say that young soldiers who have never introduced a thing into a tribe’s gene pool (although they are a reflection of it which ought to count for something) will still be willing to give their lives for their tribe. And a tribe with young men who will give their lives for it will survive longer than a tribe whose young men won’t. Actually, there was probably never a tribe whose young men wouldn’t; so we could expand and say the tribe whose young men more effectively fought for their tribe without reference to their lives would survive better than the tribe whose young men were not so effective. Now whether someone can “rebut” me and say that I am saying that there is a process at work which selects a non-input into the gene pool or such like, I say “pshaw.” Nevertheless what I said before the “pshaw” sentence is so patently obvious (I would have thought) that I find it hard to think anyone would doubt it. I myself enlisted in the Marine Corps, during a war, when I was 17. As it happened I survived that war and eventually contributed to the gene pool. Having kids (which was the way we talked back then) didn’t affect (I am quite sure) my ability to be an effective Marine

For the most part, however, that “survival of the fittest tribe” would have occurred during our “hunter-gatherer” days which is before the period Cochran and Harpending were writing about. Some of what they argued had to do with whether 10,000 years were enough for major changes to have occurred. The actual Faith Instinct, if it exists and I find Nicholas Wade’s arguments persuasive, took far longer. He spends the early part of his book describing what can be seen as primitive morals in our simian relatives inferring that our more immediate ancestors were at least that far along in their morals.

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