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Author Topic: Atlas Shrugged, the movie  (Read 2438 times)
JohnDoe
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February 14, 2011, 10:17:45 PM
 #21

...but largely i don't like her ideas because they are simply not true, people are not 100% selfish machines. our genetic programming, allows us to overcome our genetic programming.

Uh, that's not a fact, that's only an opinion. I for one believe that humans can only act selfishly, even when it looks like they are acting altruistically. For example, If I give away my life to save my daughter's life, I do it because it will make me happy to know that she'll be able to continue living. I'm moving to save her because there is a direct benefit to me: to experience the pleasure of saving her and knowing that she'll be ok. In other words, I'm moving solely to satisfy my own id, not hers, and that is the definition of selfishness.

People writing free software are selfish? what? I've spent many years around those types and many of them are idealistic about building good software. No selfish acts there.

People write free software because it feels good to help others and knowing that you've produce something of great value to others. If people felt miserable writing free software they wouldn't do it, therefore it is not a selfless act.
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genjix
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February 14, 2011, 10:34:50 PM
 #22

altruistic means behaviours which benefit others at a negative cost to yourself
selfish means behaviours which benefit yourself more than others.

your definition of feeling good for doing a selfish act is altruistic. are we supposed to do good and feel miserable?

if our genetic programming makes us feel good for doing selfless acts then that makes us altruistic, not selfish...
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February 14, 2011, 10:40:01 PM
 #23

There are many examples people doing what seem to be altruistic things, good thigs for selfish reasons, and this is not a bad thing. In a way humans are fundamentally selfish.

Biology and neuroscience may someday be able to explain somew elements of human nature, but today they do a very poor job in comparison to the philosphoers.

You can watch hours and hours of Ayn Rand put up by her fans on youtube. It's clear that she is nothing more than a class-A bitch advocating for her Ubermensch (the rich). With crappy reasoning like she formed her conclusion first. The core root of her ideas are rubbish, yet you think she has some good ideas about smoking... or something.

lol, so the turd finally droped from the anus. The trailer looks so so so bad. Why would anyone make a (possibly three part given this is part one) film out of such a pile of crap.

People writing free software are selfish? what? I've spent many years around those types and many of them are idealistic about building good software. No selfish acts there. You think nameless developers are in it for 'gaining reputation'- erm what kind of world do you live in where online anon reputation is worth anything? And hardly any projects make money.

There many selfless acts around you and documented in science literature. But they don't conform with your belief so you ignore them.

There are many examples people doing what seem to be altruistic things, good thigs for selfish reasons, and this is not a bad thing. In a way humans are fundamentally selfish.

Biology and neuroscience may someday be able to explain somew elements of human nature, but today they do a very poor job in comparison to the philosphoers.

Except they do, but you'd rather read guesses by philosophers than examine hard study. Ipse dixit.

I can't be bothered to give you a science education that you're missing here, but basically hamilton's rule for kin selection states:

 rB > C

r = relatedness
B = reproductive benefit to receipient of altrusitic behaviour
C = cost to giver of the behaviour

This directly comes out of the beliefs of gene selection which implies the genetic selecting behaviour and some altruism when the r*B is bigger than C (selfish genes ensuring their survival) and "i'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" (reciprocity). And it fits for a many species of animals.

Actual behavioural science found the case to be the opposite with many counter cases, although the model holds for most models. i.e men who jump on grenades in war to save their comrades, chimpanzees adopting other young, animals self-sacrificing themselves to predators.

Dawkins tries to explain this off as misfiring of the genes (i.e faults in our genetic programming) but the evidence is too large to be hand-waved away... And he's a bit of a extinct dodo defending his years-old theory of gene selection against any attack.

Evolutionary biologists now mostly accept multilevel selection whereby gene selection is the strongest but selection also occurs at other levels for animals- gene, individual, group, tribe, nation, species
The crux goes like if you split a species into a few groups, then if the gene's survival (not individual) depends on the strength of their group (size, wellbeing .etc) and the worst of the many groups will be culled... then evolutionarily if the group strength is dependent on the number/magnitude of altruistic members, the low-altruism groups will be selected *against* and altruism becomes a selected trait.

Humans have some of the strongest group selection going on. Only a few tiers behind mole rats which are the only non-insect eusocial animal (eusocial = hive behaviour like ants, bees, ...) although this is largely in part to workers being sterile and so the best chance of gene selection is self-sacrifice.

And in early economics they tried to model people as perfectly self-interested rational interests. It's now known that people are not at all rational (utility theory- people will not worry about $3 price difference when spending $300 but will drive across town to save $3 when spending $6) nor are they self-interested (experimental failure of prisoner's dilemma).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3Uos2fzIJ0

What are the motivations for that guy? Is he seeking to preserve his reputation (when his reputation is not worth ~$80k)? Or does he have faulty programming?

Trying to use philosophy and these platonic derivatives to make a point about human nature is retarded. It's like how philosophers used to write about the workings of the universe. Just like how psychology is being superseded by neuroscience, philosophy is being superseded by science. You can't look at the results of a complex system and try to make guesses about how it works... You have to work bottom up.

From wikipedia,

A new study by Samuel Bowles at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, US, is seen by some as breathing new life into the model of group selection for altruism, known as "Survival of the nicest". Bowles conducted a genetic analysis of contemporary foraging groups, including Australian aboriginals, native Siberian Inuit populations and indigenous tribal groups in Africa. It was found that hunter-gatherer bands of up to 30 individuals were considerably more closely related than was previously thought. Under these conditions, thought to be similar to those of the middle and upper Paleolithic, altruism towards other group-members would improve the overall fitness of the group.

If an individual defended the group but was killed, any genes that the individual shared with the overall group would still be passed on. Early customs such as food sharing or monogamy could have levelled out the "cost" of altruistic behaviour, in the same way that income taxes redistribute income in society. He assembled genetic, climactic, archaeological, ethnographic and experimental data to examine the cost-benefit relationship of human cooperation in ancient populations. In his model, members of a group bearing genes for altruistic behaviour pay a "tax" by limiting their reproductive opportunities to benefit from sharing food and information, thereby increasing the average fitness of the group as well as their inter-relatedness. Bands of altruistic humans would then act together to gain resources from other groups at this challenging time in history.

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    * Dogs often adopt orphaned cats, squirrels, ducks and even tigers.[6]
    * Dolphins support sick or injured animals, swimming under them for hours at a time and pushing them to the surface so they can breathe.[7]
    * Wolves and wild dogs bring meat back to members of the pack not present at the kill.[citation needed]
    * Male baboons threaten predators and cover the rear as the troop retreats.[citation needed]
    * Gibbons and chimpanzees with food will, in response to a gesture, share their food with others of the group.[citation needed] Chimpanzees will help humans and conspecifics without any reward in return.[8]
    * Bonobos have been observed aiding injured or handicapped bonobos.[9]
    * Vampire bats commonly regurgitate blood to share with unlucky or sick roost mates that have been unable to find a meal, often forming a buddy system.[10][11]
    * Raccoons inform conspecifics about feeding grounds by droppings left on commonly shared latrines. A similar information system has been observed to be used by common ravens.[12]
    * In numerous bird species, a breeding pair receives support in raising its young from other "helper" birds, including help with the feeding of its fledglings.[13] Some will even go as far as protecting an unrelated bird's young from predators [14]
    * Most mammal carnivores like wolves or dogs have a habit of not harming pack members below certain age, of opposite sex or in surrendering position (in case of some animals, the behavior exists within entire species rather than one pack).[citation needed]
    * Vervet Monkeys give alarm calls to warn fellow monkeys of the presence of predators, even though in doing so they attract attention to themselves, increasing their personal chance of being attacked.[15]
    * Walruses have been seen adopting orphans who lost their parents to predators.[16]
    * Some termites release a sticky secretion by fatally rupturing a gland near the skin in their neck. This autothysis defends against invading ants by creating a tar baby effect.[17]
    * Meerkats often have one standing guard to warn whilst the rest feed in case of predators attack.
    * African buffalo will rescue a member of the herd captured by predators.


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilevel_selection#Multilevel_selection_theory
In recent years, the limitations of earlier models have been addressed, and newer models suggest that selection may sometimes act above the gene level. Recently David Sloan Wilson and Elliot Sober have argued that the case against group selection has been overstated. They focus their argument on whether groups can have functional organization in the same way individuals do and, consequently, whether groups can also be "vehicles" for selection. For example, groups that cooperate better may have out-reproduced those that did not. Resurrected in this way, Wilson & Sober's new group selection is usually called multilevel selection theory.

...

MLS goes further by saying that selection for the group level, which is competition between groups, must outweigh the individual level, which is individuals competing within a group, for a group-beneficiating trait to spread.

the equation for Hamilton's rule:[22]

        rb > c

(where b represents the benefit to the recipient of altruism, c the cost to the altruist, and r their degree of relatedness) should be replaced by the more general equation

        (rbk + be) > c

.....

Fehr provides evidence of group selection taking place in humans presently with experimentation through logic games such as prisoner’s dilemma, the type of thinking that humans have developed many generations ago

Herbert Gintis approaches cultural evolution of group selection in a much more statistical approach to prove that societies that promote pro-social norms, as in group selection, have higher survival rates than societies that do not.[27] He does so by developing a multilevel gene-culture coevolutionary model that explains the process whereby altruistic social norms will hinder socially harmful and fitness reducing norms and consequently will be internalized. In his equations, he differentiates between a genetic group selection model that is sensitive to group size and migration rates versus his own model that is much less affected by these constraints and therefore more accurate.

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

Philosophy is pseudoscience and a bad source to base your beliefs on.
JohnDoe
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February 15, 2011, 03:59:33 AM
 #24

altruistic means behaviours which benefit others at a negative cost to yourself
selfish means behaviours which benefit yourself more than others.

"Selfishness: devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others."
"Altruism: the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others."

Who benefits from someones actions does not define selfishness and altruism, they are defined by motivation. Your actions could benefit everyone in the world and still be selfish behavior.

are we supposed to do good and feel miserable?

If you were actually altruistic you wouldn't care if it makes you feel miserable now would you? You are contradicting your own definition of altruism if you are unwilling to become miserable while you sacrifice yourself to help others.

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