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    Thread: Global Altruism

    1. #1
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      Global Altruism

      Is global altruism desirable? Is it even possible?

      "Dunbar's Number" suggests tribal limitations

      My personal thoughts are... I'm undecided. Global altruism it is a stated goal of most religions. As many non-religious people have been fending off accusations of being amoral, this may be a sticking point. It could be that people are not psychologically capable of it. Or, being so adaptable, it could be a limitation we are capable of genuinely overcoming. But... should we? Why?

      I'm reading about gene-culture coevolution for school. Basically, there was a debate in biology a few decades back about what exactly was the base unit of natural selection. The likely candidates included species, kin groups, individuals, and genes. Genes won out (see Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene), as long as the debate kept to pure biology and natural selection. In other words, appearances that natural selection favors behavior that benefits the group, or even the individual are illusionary.

      Things get mighty thick when one tries to apply evolutionary theories to understanding human behavior. We have evolved to the point that a new type of selection (besides natural selection) has gained a medium to exert itself, and has done so. This is culture. It has not over-ridden natural selection, but it has diverted it's course. Hence the term "gene-culture coevolution".

      Anyway, the passage in the book I'm reading that got my attention said something to this effect. Cultural selection has allowed for genuine group selection (which was proposed but disproven on the biological level). The catch is that, as an analogue to Dawkins' biological "selfish gene", culture has created "the selfish group". People can act altruistically within their group (Dunbar's number ~ 150 people), but that group will behave selfishly towards other groups. To me, this sounds like a dead ringer for human behavior.

      In conclusion, there are lots of ways I could go about framing this problem. I challenge anyone, religious or nonreligious, to say that they really feel all the suffering in the world. Also, I'll be happy to try to explain anything I wrote better, if anyone would like me to. It will be good for me to do so.

    2. #2
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      It is easy to see, take a business. A business is divided into multiple divisions. Each division often competes with each other, and they want to be the vest division of that business. And if we are talking about huge corporation then everyone in the building would compete with everyone at the other locations. And everyone in the company, would compete against all other companies.

      And if you look at government, people have a lot of pride for their city, and their city is better than other cities, and their state is better than other states and their country is better than other countries.

      You are actually in multiple groups, and even people outside of one of your subgroups, might fit into one of the large groups you are apart of. We all share the same group of being humans, so it is possible on a global level. If you think about it, it is pretty obvious, since so many people do put humans on a higher level than nonhumans.

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      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      inb4 Oneironaut says "Dunbar's Number ≠ empathy".

      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      You are actually in multiple groups, and even people outside of one of your subgroups, might fit into one of the large groups you are apart of. We all share the same group of being humans, so it is possible on a global level. If you think about it, it is pretty obvious, since so many people do put humans on a higher level than nonhumans.
      To expand on this, and basically say what I was saying in the other discussion with O.

      It is possible to sort of care about other people, as long as we have some goal.
      We CAN think of ourselves as a big group. All humans.
      But we need a common goal.

      And I'm not sure if all people can have a common goal, coz people don't care about what other
      people want in the first place. Unless they're close to them.

      Maybe when aliens attack us, then global altruism would be possible.
      Last edited by tommo; 07-31-2011 at 05:47 AM.

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