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Can Evolution Explain Altruism in Our Children?
ICR News ^ | December 8, 2009 | Brian Thomas, M.S.

Posted on 12/08/2009 7:52:39 PM PST by GodGunsGuts

esearch has shown that humans like to help, even before they are old enough to have been taught how to do so. This innate characteristic distinguishes humans from their supposed closest evolutionary family member, the chimpanzee, which doesn’t demonstrate the same altruistic behavior.

In studies on the subject, at only 18 months old, toddlers were observed to consistently aid unrelated adults in simple tasks such as opening a door or picking up a clothes pin. Researchers assumed then that altruism, or unselfish concern for the welfare of others, evolved early in humans. But does this conclusion necessarily follow from the observations? ...

(Excerpt) Read more at icr.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: baptist; belongsinreligion; bible; catholic; christianright; creation; crevolist; evolution; genesis; god; godsgravesglyphs; intelligentdesign; judaism; lutheran; moralabsolutes; nm; notasciencetopic; propellerbeanie; science; spammer; tedholden
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1 posted on 12/08/2009 7:52:39 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: All

For the record, this post is being posted in News/Activism by the express permission of Jim Robinson, founder and owner of Free Republic:

“Debate on church doctrine and or threads on specific religious matters may be best posted in the religion forum, but the defense of religious freedom, especially against those who wish to deprive us of same belongs front and center on FR....They banned God and prayer and creationism from public schools and public places, but I’ll be damned if they’re gonna ban Him or it from FR!”

—Jim Robinson

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2203455/posts?page=78#78


2 posted on 12/08/2009 7:53:46 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Give them a minute; they will come up with something.


3 posted on 12/08/2009 7:55:12 PM PST by doc1019 (Obama, not so much.)
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To: metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; Fichori; ...

I don’t think God will take kindly to evos who try to convince humanity that the altruistic behavior of HIS little children is the product of random processes plus survival.


4 posted on 12/08/2009 7:57:55 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Amen!


5 posted on 12/08/2009 8:00:15 PM PST by doc1019 (Obama, not so much.)
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To: doc1019

Contrarian here:

Toddlers being able to read adults and please them is not so much altruism as it is a means of survival.

I have no problem with behaviors, instincts, tendencies and other non-material things arising from DNA. Why did God give us such complicated DNA? For our physical being only? We are not souls driving around in meat machines; we are spirit and flesh in unity.


6 posted on 12/08/2009 8:08:50 PM PST by heartwood
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To: GodGunsGuts

7 posted on 12/08/2009 8:13:26 PM PST by GSP.FAN (These are the times that try men's souls.)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Tomasello believes that “shared intentionality evolved very early in the human lineage,” according to a recent article in The New York Times. Perhaps, “in order to survive, people were forced to cooperate in hunting game or gathering fruit.”1 However, while this theory is feasible from the evolutionary perspective, no evidence is offered to support it. No other animal needs or uses the uniquely human capacities for cooperation to hunt or find food successfully, so it stretches credulity to claim that successful hunting must have hinged on a cooperation that depended on unwritten rules of behavior.

Pods of killer whales and dolphins cooperate in hunts, so do lions and wild dogs. Chimps cooperate in hunts to capture monkeys to eat.

8 posted on 12/08/2009 8:17:36 PM PST by Razz Barry (Round'em up, send'em home.)
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To: heartwood

You sound like someone that has a strong point to make. Could you elaborate? I’m most interested.


9 posted on 12/08/2009 8:18:02 PM PST by doc1019 (Obama, not so much.)
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To: GSP.FAN
"Research has shown that humans like to help, even before they are old enough to have been taught how to do so. This innate characteristic distinguishes humans from their supposed closest evolutionary family member, the chimpanzee, which doesn’t demonstrate the same altruistic behavior."
10 posted on 12/08/2009 8:18:05 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
Can altruism be explained by evolution?

Yes.

End of story.

11 posted on 12/08/2009 8:20:07 PM PST by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: Razz Barry

He said “uniquely human capacities for cooperation.” Are you saying that chimps and whales employ *uniquely human* capacities for cooperation???


12 posted on 12/08/2009 8:21:25 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: Alter Kaker

What would we ever do without your authoritative pronouncements, AK?


13 posted on 12/08/2009 8:23:16 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
I don’t think God will take kindly to evos who try to convince humanity that the altruistic behavior of HIS little children is the product of random processes plus survival.

That's nice. I don't think the Almighty will look too kindly on uneducated charlatans like yourself who threaten those who fail to fall for their crackpot theology with eternal damnation.

14 posted on 12/08/2009 8:23:26 PM PST by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: Alter Kaker

What would we ever do without your wild exaggerations, AK?


15 posted on 12/08/2009 8:25:34 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
He said “uniquely human capacities for cooperation.” Are you saying that chimps and whales employ *uniquely human* capacities for cooperation???

No. I'm saying cooperation is not unique to humans.

16 posted on 12/08/2009 8:39:08 PM PST by Razz Barry (Round'em up, send'em home.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Seems to me that altruism is little more than pack behavior...cooperation in other words. i think you will find altruism in most intelligent species that cooperate in a hunt...dogs and wolves especially. They don’t call dog MAN’S BEST FRIEND for nuthin folks. dogs are more like people than any animal on the planet in this regard...well, maybe dolphins and elephants. You can’t exactly keep a dolphin or an elephant in your hut though.

Here’s some altruism for ya:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv-QkUIfRjg


17 posted on 12/08/2009 8:45:46 PM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: Alter Kaker
End of story.

Because there is no story. No coherent one at any rate. I've seen some strained attempts at explaining altruism from an evolutionary framework, but nothing remotely concrete in terms of the underlying population genetics that would be required to make such tales more than fanciful stories.

Has anyone read The Extinction of Evolution? I just saw a review of it today and it bears on this subject. It's kind of a Screwtape Letters type of book, expounding how we should behave it evolution really was true. It makes me glad that 99% of evolutionists retain a creationary morality despite themselves.

18 posted on 12/08/2009 8:59:36 PM PST by Liberty1970 (Democrats are not in control. God is. And Thank God for that!)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Darwinism cannot explain altruism but it must try as it must explain all human behaviors as a result of evolutionary forces, natural selection and fittness for survival. And it attempts to do sans a Creator.

That makes the appeals to a “theistic evolution” nothing more than a bone tossed to the religious to make Darwinism a bit easier to swallow.

Darwin himself in his ‘Descent’ said he thought savages that were self sacrificing would be victorious and thus pass on these traits. In other words a group altruism.

Altruism then becomes selfishness on some level. No matter how contorted the explanation so long as it leaves out a Creator its given credence by the Darwinists.

19 posted on 12/08/2009 9:03:05 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Thanks for the ping!


20 posted on 12/08/2009 9:10:12 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: doc1019

Ah, I haven’t sorted all my thoughts out into full coherence or a conclusion. Thinking out loud here:

My oldest son is on the autistic spectrum. I believe part of his difficulty is genetic, a genetic susceptibility at least if not the entire cause. He was not helpful as a small child. He didn’t try to be pleasing. If we lived in a small tribe on the edge of survival with tempers short someone probably would have had a go at him. Two of his siblings are much younger than he, 8 and 13 years. By the time they were 8 months old they knew not didn’t like to be touched and didn’t try to any more. Reading a potential threat and not angering a big guy is a definite survival trait when you’re little. It makes sense for God to give us survival traits, but it makes sense from the evolutionary point of view too.

It’s not that my son has no altruism; he has altruism in the large abstract sense. He wants to defend his country and its people by serving in the military. He has a conscience; he has insight into his deficits and lack of empathy; he asked for me to pray for him the other day, that he become a more decent person.

Consider how hormones influence behavior. DNA codes for oxytocin synthesis, and oxytocin promotes bonding and trust, especially of a woman to her husband in the marriage bed, and to her babies when she nurses them.

Men have oxytocin too; it’s just not so dramatic with them. People on the autistic spectrum may have lower levels of oxytocin or an unusual response to it.

Then there are the people with no conscience, no empathy and no altruism, the sociopaths. Some of them I truly believe are born that way. They’re the ones who make me question God, how could He have made them so? If such people can exist, does He?

The unity of spirit and flesh: we are our bodies. Not that we are only what is physical, what can be measured by senses and instruments, but that we don’t merely inhabit our bodies; we ARE them, or else why should it matter that the dead be raised? Why should God not have written our consciences, our sense of justice, our empathy not only on the non-material fabric of our soul, but into our very DNA? And yet that DNA is a mess in many ways. The sociopaths. The autistic.

Looking only at the physical, consider the sickle cell trait, a survival trait: for every two children who are more likely to survive malaria, one dies early and painfully from an ischemic crisis. Would God create like that? No, but evolution would. Or a Fall.

Dembski just came out with a new book about the Fall reaching backward in time as well as forward. I’ve had that idea myself; I’ll have to see where he goes with it.


21 posted on 12/08/2009 9:17:04 PM PST by heartwood
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To: GodGunsGuts
The short answer is: “Yes, science can, and has made, hypothesized why altruism in an in group setting would have evolutionary advantage.
22 posted on 12/08/2009 9:24:52 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: GladesGuru
Oopsie! - “hypothesized” should have been “hypotheses”.
23 posted on 12/08/2009 9:30:03 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: heartwood

I shall attempt to digest what you have posted and respond as necessary. Thank you for our input.


24 posted on 12/08/2009 9:33:04 PM PST by doc1019 (Obama, not so much.)
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To: heartwood

Actually my numbers were way off in the sickle cell thing - I was thinking of two carriers marrying each other but there are the carriers marrying the non-carriers too. There’s more like 14 people benefitting from having one copy of the gene for every kid who dies of having two copies in the places where the trait is most prevalent (25%rate) - but it’s still an evolutionary type survival trait, not a Godly one.

(It’s late - brain shutting down - hope those last numbers were right.)


25 posted on 12/08/2009 9:44:16 PM PST by heartwood
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To: GodGunsGuts
For the record, this post is being posted in News/Activism by the IMPLIED permission of Jim Robinson, founder and owner of Free Republic:

“Debate on church doctrine and or threads on specific religious matters may be best posted in the religion forum, but the defense of religious freedom, especially against those who wish to deprive us of same belongs front and center on FR....They banned God and prayer and creationism from public schools and public places, but I’ll be damned if they’re gonna ban Him or it from FR!”

—Jim Robinson

"I love science. Just like evolution, it’s one of God’s greatest creations. It’s the gift that keeps on giving."

- Jim Robinson

26 posted on 12/08/2009 11:18:59 PM PST by Natural Law (.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Again BTMS* asks us to conclude that 2 +2 = 5. Yes, altruism is nearly universally observed in children, but it is not unique to humans and not extra-evolutionary. There are many examples of altruism in the animal kingdom. Additionally, the synergistic results of altruistic behavior within groups can and does provide a significant advantage in the competition for survival.


27 posted on 12/08/2009 11:25:57 PM PST by Natural Law (.)
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To: GodGunsGuts
That great science writer, Brian Thomas, strikes again. He writes,
Research has shown that humans like to help, even before they are old enough to have been taught how to do so. This innate characteristic distinguishes humans from their supposed closest evolutionary family member, the chimpanzee, which doesn’t demonstrate the same altruistic behavior.
The research he cites is that of Dr. Michael Tomasello. Brian's second sentence didn't sound right to me, so I Googled "chimpanzee altruism." And lo, the first hit is for a study by that same Dr. Tomasello et al. And in the abstract for that study, what do we find?
Many researchers have claimed that such altruism emanates from a species-unique psychology not found in humans' closest living evolutionary relatives, such as the chimpanzee....In contrast, we report experimental evidence that chimpanzees perform basic forms of helping in the absence of rewards spontaneously and repeatedly toward humans and conspecifics. In two comparative studies, semi–free ranging chimpanzees helped an unfamiliar human to the same degree as did human infants, irrespective of being rewarded (experiment 1) or whether the helping was costly (experiment 2)....These results indicate that chimpanzees share crucial aspects of altruism with humans, suggesting that the roots of human altruism may go deeper than previous experimental evidence suggested.
So Brian, and GGG: you were saying?
28 posted on 12/08/2009 11:35:33 PM PST by Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
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To: Ha Ha Thats Very Logical; GodGunsGuts

What did you expect. BTMS* and GGG NEVER let the facts get in the way of a good story. They are simply preaching to their own crowd who are either too lazy, dumb, or convinced to actually do any resarch or critical assessment.


29 posted on 12/09/2009 12:24:07 AM PST by Natural Law (.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

This article makes no sense, Biblically or logically. The conclusion drawn does not follow from the mimimal propositions stated.


30 posted on 12/09/2009 1:57:22 AM PST by GolfingRam
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To: Alter Kaker

Well said.

I wonder if evolution can explain things like GGG...oh yeah,
it’s called ‘evolutionary dead end’


31 posted on 12/09/2009 4:01:03 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: GolfingRam

Welcome to the world of GGG and the ‘militant crevoetts’


33 posted on 12/09/2009 4:08:25 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
Whenever I have time to spend on lies
and misleading conclusions I always go to the
Institute for Creation Research.


34 posted on 12/09/2009 4:18:54 AM PST by DoctorMichael (Creationists: The crazy Aunts and Uncles of Conservatism.)
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To: GodGunsGuts; metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; ...

The defiant “God is dead” proclamation is a monstrous swindle perpetrated by spiritually-diseased men-—ie., Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche— who not only lusted after the powers of God the Father but sought escape from Him by way of a return to nature.

Needing a replacement for God the Father Marx, et al eagerly accepted and promoted Darwin’s idea of evolution precisely because it . Evolutionary theory is also a hoax. The first historic mention of evolution comes from ancient Shinar. Though the Pharoah’s implied evolution as the mechanism of creation, it was mystics in India who refined evolution as the mechanism of reincarnation.

The rebels of yesterday and today prefer chaos to order, altruism to the virtue of transcendant Love, meaninglessness to meaning, lie to truth, immorality to morality, themselves as gods instead of God the Father. The dread spirit of evolutionary theory presents them with all that their self-deluded hearts desire. The price? Their souls.


35 posted on 12/09/2009 4:20:09 AM PST by spirited irish
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To: GodGunsGuts

“I don’t think God will take kindly........”

No doubt about it.


36 posted on 12/09/2009 4:55:26 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: DoctorMichael

That about covers it.


37 posted on 12/09/2009 4:59:39 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: Razz Barry

Thanks for posting something that actually refers to the article. It’s a strong argument too. Others can better argue against your point. I just wanted to commend you for actually adding something to this debate while most the evos just try to flame in order to get GGG’s post banished to Religion.

I’m not being sarcastic either.


38 posted on 12/09/2009 5:00:39 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: demshateGod; GodGunsGuts
“I don’t think God" See if you would just stop at that point, you would be exactly right.
39 posted on 12/09/2009 5:02:05 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: Alter Kaker; Razz Barry

See, this is what I’m talking about:

“Can altruism be explained by evolution?

Yes.

End of story.”


40 posted on 12/09/2009 5:02:27 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: heartwood

I think this will help you understand God a little.

http://www.mbbc.us/resources/bibleconcepts.doc
http://www.mbbc.us/resources/

God creating all things good and Adam’s sin corrupted it.


41 posted on 12/09/2009 5:08:39 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: GladesGuru

Evolution is a smart god, he’s a jerk, but he’s smart.


42 posted on 12/09/2009 5:13:17 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: spirited irish

My sister has an autistic son. She told me there’s a movement that claims Autism is the next step in evolution because altruism is bad for our species.


43 posted on 12/09/2009 5:17:39 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: xcamel

You might like God if you got to know Him.


44 posted on 12/09/2009 5:20:00 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: GodGunsGuts
I don’t think God will take kindly to evos who try to convince humanity that the altruistic behavior of HIS little children is the product of random processes plus survival.

How about when they soil their diapers?

Not to mention that "random processes plus survival" is a strawman for evolution.

45 posted on 12/09/2009 5:23:31 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Moonman62

Even in lower species, where symbiosis might be considered a form of altruism


46 posted on 12/09/2009 5:29:37 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: xcamel
I hadn't thought about that, but you're right. How about mitochondria and chloroplasts?

Another thing is that evolution is more about survival of the fittest species than survival of the fittest individual.

47 posted on 12/09/2009 5:51:53 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Ha Ha Thats Very Logical

Wait a minute—are you saying this Thomas bozo, in making his argument, cites to an authority whose research indicates the exact opposite of the central claim Thomas is making? Did I read that correctly?


48 posted on 12/09/2009 6:02:26 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Welcome to the world of creationists.. and their ‘scientific’ hogwash.


49 posted on 12/09/2009 6:10:47 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: xcamel

What the heck is a “M.S.,” and how do I go about making certain that my nieces, nephews, and friends’ children never get one?


50 posted on 12/09/2009 6:17:08 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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