Dawkin's 'genesmanship' not how I view cost/benefit equation

I’m up to the chapter on genesmanship where Dawkins is arguing that it is how closely related genetically we are to another person which decides whether we will behave altruistically towards them or not.

From my own personal experience this is pretty much not true at all.

I have found the people I most want to help and see do well in life are those who are most like myself in character or ability rather than some arbitrary allotment in the gene pool.

I happen to not like most of my family and find them annoying and vapid. As such I really don’t care about their welfare too much one way or the other. It is pretty much the same as if they were strangers to me in that we share so little in common that it as as if we were strangers.

I build affection for people who think and act like me, not how many chromosomes they share with me.

So from my experience it isn’t genes which determine if I’m like someone but if we share the same traits.

Even in cases where people do help their family I don’t think it’s because of genes but rather just familiarity and that you have grown up and share a bond together. For example if you had never met your sister before and one day you saw a women who wanted to borrow some money (whom you didn’t know was your sister and just imagined was someone trying to make a buck) you wouldn’t automatically help them cos the genes don’t lie! you wouldn’t know she was your sister so how can it be your genes making you act in this way?

Conversely if you grow up with a foster/adopted sister you don’t share any (not any as we all share some afaik)/as many genes as you would if she were your ‘blood’ sister yet I’m sure most adopted brothers/sisters share the same bond that a ‘real’ brother/sister do.

So I think he’s getting a bit excited with this ‘everything is your genes’ thing. I agree that every behaviour of course most liekly is in some way motivated by your genes but not for the reasons he purports.

His genesmanship argument seems to be, as per the title, that everything you do is to protect genes which are similar to your own which I don’t fully agree with given my own experiences. I agree with the survival and replication imperative though. I myself would modify this genesmanship argument to say that yes you do help others who you are close to but just so that it helps the chances of your own genes surviving. If you help them then they will more likely help you another time as per the reciprocity rule. I don’t think it’s cos their genes are like yours but rather affection etc. have evolved as emotions just cos you are more likely to survive if you have an emotion which inclines you to help out those whom you spend alot of time with- i.e. who are likely to repay favours.

So I guess I would agree with his conclusion but not his premises in that yes the genes are acting selfishly but not in the way he is purporting with this genesmanship theory.

You are overlooking the fact that genes influence behaviour.

As does experience; but genes too.

The blank slate was a convenient lie…

Those people you identify with may share the same behavioural dispositions as you do, or may have undergone experiences which lead them to share the same predispositions.
But it is not either/or.

But you could just as easily make the argument that EVERYTHING is genes but to what extent is another issue.

Perhaps they behave the way I do due to similar genes but then again perhaps not; maybe it was their environment instead, back to nature vs. nurture argument.

Well this doesn’t have to have anything to do with genes then does it.

I don’t think I said it is either/or in regards to behaviour/experience. I think my precise assertion is that it is experience that forms behaviour which I esteem rather than genes, in this case at least.

Ones character is the expression of the entirety of ones past. Every single moment has shaped and conditioned one in response to it. That is why certain minds, no matter how they try to disassociate themselves from, or deny, their nature will always return to it and repeat it.
Thus, a species’ genetic makeup is indicative of that past and an individual the expression of it. Experience is then the interaction of this past with a dynamic environment, the result being how the individual took his predispositions and adapted them to the current circumstance.
View this ability to adapt as a form of mutation and you will see it as an evolutionary trait.

It goes without saying that certain predispositions are more efficacious than others in certain circumstances and that certain responses to environmental pressures will not be advantageous to the organism. Thus, the result of combining an individuals predisposition with his environment may have disastrous consequences…

So my point is that while experience may influence the personality of individuals you admire, these individual’s personalities possess a definite predetermined shape from their ancestry; a potential. The nurture that these individuals experience then determines to what degree this potential is expressed.

This has gone off course to my original point.

I never denied nature and nurture are both factors in one’s character my argument against Dawkins’esque kin selection is that he argues that if you are related to someone, the closer you are related, then NECESSARILY you will want to help them out more, just cos you have similar genes as being the only/main determining factor in much you would want to help them.

As I said I don’t think it’s the relatedness but just how much time you spend with someone and the subsequent trust that is created through time spent together. So I believe it’s the reciprocity principle at work and not ‘kin selection’.

For instance he says if you have an identical twin then just cos you are identical then you will want to save their life as much as you want to save your own.

What if you had grown up together but your twin brother/sister became a degenerate druggy, thief etc. and regularly stole from the family and otherwise caused you all much grief and trouble [-( . On Dawkin’s reckoning you should still be just as apt to save their life and act altruistically towards them despite how they may trammel your own and the of the rest of your families’ survival value.

To me it simply comes down to what gives the highest survival/replication chances. This doesn’t have to have anything to do with kinship and imo is more about the individual. So in the case of the twin, if they are wrecking your own survival value- in that they are constantly taking your survival chips (money for food etc.) then you would want to cut them off or at very least distance yourself from them. Of course there may be a sense of feeling bad that you have to do this because they are family but after making a cost/benefit valuation you choose to do so cos it will make your life easier again (aka bring your survival value back up).

Dawkin’s genesmanship argument would say that no matter what they did you still act altruistically towards them even if they are absolute fuckups which is blatently not the case from my experience of the world.

I think that he is asserting that one is more likely to feel sympathetic towards and identify with a person of related ancestry than a foreigner or member of another race.

I think that you are assuming that this sympathy is a guarantee of altruism rather than merely an encouragement to it…

Have you read the selfish gene?

I am reading it now and the impressions he gives are asserted more like ‘this is how it is’ rather than ‘in general this is how things happen’ but maybe that is just a product of him being a HARD RATIONALIST as I am used to reading theoretical philosophy rather than hard science so maybe it’s just the writing style I’m not used to.

I know that’s how he is from watching him on TV. I’m sure it would be interesting to talk to him until you had a slight difference of opinion at which point I could easily see myself wanting to punch him in the face as he seems extremely obstinate and unopen to other people’s viewpoints but maybe that is just religious folk he has little tolerance for (which would be understandable) I dunno.

Nepotism is a powerful force in most organisms, humans included. If you notice it lacks in you:

  1. adaptations don’t always set up perfectly. 2. Self denial, if you think you wouldn’t treat your offspring better than a random child, well, that seems unlikely.

also familiarity isn’t the issue, step parents beat/kill step children at massive rates compared to natural parents with natural children. Even genetic fathers treat genetic children based on how much they look alike.

as in children who look like their fathers are treated better by them. Men have adaptations to predict the likelyness of parenthood based on facial resembelence, neuromachinery women lack.

comparative fmri studies between men/women can reveal a lot.

I not saying it isn’t the case AT ALL, in gneeral I’d definately say this is the case, I just don’t like Dawkin;s tone of making it out that it MUST be the case when thereare certainly exceptions for instance when the child fails royally at life.

There is some truth to the saying ‘don’t do that or I’ll disown you’.

In that sense children are expected to excel and thus be a shining example of the parent’s genes or else they feel they were a ‘bad investment’. I’m talking extremes just to make the point more lucid.

Even when they do fail I agree their is the parental love for the child still however there is also the conflict within the person that the child is causing harm to the rest of the family for instance.

Hmm, perhaps then it isn’t that the love dies, but rather that they parent would be forced to make a tough decision.

My main qualm was the wanting to save their life as much as your own just cos of genes. I know this would be true for most mothers for their babies- that makes sense in terms of which genes are more healthy get to survive, but for identical twins I don’t think this need be the case. This again for me would still fall under the reciprocity or investment rule rather than kin selection. The mother only wants to save the child more than the sister would just cos she invested more not cos of any gene relationship. Dawkins was saying that the identical twin would be just as willing to give up her own life to save her sister. Where I can easily see this for mother/daughter, I find it hard to visualize for twins, then again I haven’t met many :slight_smile:. I still don;t see them committing suicide to save their sisters.

He says this would be an unconscious thing, a split second decision (made by, or as a result of, the genes) rather than a conscious calculation.

Nepotism depends largely on the reproductive fitness or potential reproductive fitness of offspring. For example infanticide is common cross culturally under the same situations, one such situation is unhealthy/deformed offspring.

If the child is retarded or a mutant parents often reject them. parents rejecting regular children can be parental uncertainty on a fathers part or arise out of conflicts of interest. Say parents expressing disatisfaction with mate choice.

Nepotism obviously draws most people together, even family grudges/hatreds are toned down. The homicide rate between close blood kin is extremely tiny, whether they “get along” or not, the homicide rate between close relatives is miniscule.

but evolution predicts conflicts within the family, parent-offspring conflict begins long before we’re even born with a fetus trying and sometimes succeeding in manipulating its mothers resources to its self, as a defence some mothers get diabetes.


food aversions with pregnancy sickness can prevent malnourished mothers from rich sources of nutrition to protect the fetus from teratrogens.

sibling rivalry. etc.

No, perfect harmony within a family is nonsense, there will be strong sources of conflict, predictably. But never the less people routinely treat family better, quicker to share, slower to butcher over disagreement.

amazon.com/Family-Relationsh … 595&sr=1-3

good book on the subject

Dawkins is a celebrity author. His concern is visibility in the public eye.

He bases this upon the supposed absolute authority of evolutionary science; like Cyrene, above, he cannot propose ideas without said crutch.

I haven’t read him.

Good, those devoted to science, making science into God, like Cyrene, are a disgrace to human intelligence. Dependents.

You two are full of shit.

His concern was bringing landmark discoveries in evolutionary biology to the public. In doing so he provided his own insights, descrptions and etc about evolution.

Richard Dawkins is a well educated person amongst scientists. Dawkins is widely quoted in the textbook literature on evolution, largely for his mastery of describing scientific concepts.

He’s no George C Williams but Dawkins has made meaningful contributions to evolutionary biology outside public education.

evolutionary science has no authority, just mountains of evidence attesting to its truth and power. Overwhelming evidence supports evolution by natural selection, and dozens of independent scientific fields converge on that conclusion.

Indeed, and his and Hitchen’s call for the Pope to be arrested during his visit to Britain was done purely out of a sense of civic duty?
They have an eye for the public mind and their position therein. High profile targets = headlines = publicity = book sales.
You catching on yet retard, or should I type slower?

Aside from that, implying that I am criticising Evolutionary Biology and not you as it’s priest, or Dawkins as it’s preacher is deflection.

You are an infertile mind, leaning against a popularly-recognised authority for support. This association as mouthpiece of a popular authority is in hope of legitimizing you in the eyes of others as actually capable of original thought, or of being in possession of noteworthy views - therefore a mind to be respected.
Masks, darling, masks; hoping to conceal the underlying insecurity.

Have you ever, in any of your posts here, posited a position which was not duly supported by your Absolute?

Hitchens and Dawkins support an effort to criminally prosecute Ratzinger for his direct envolvement in covering up numerous cases of child sex abuse and rape, in his own words, to protect the image of the church.

Famous human rights lawyer Geoffery Robertson QC is spearheading the movement, and he’s an efficient master of international law, envolved in many landmark wins. Its not a publicity stunt, its a real attempt at justice.

QC thinks the idea that the pope has diplomatic immunity is bogus according to the law as the vatican state was created out of internal italian politics and never recognized as a full state by the UN. People have prevented Forign ministers from coming to America on the rumors of envolvement in Gaza, dictators arrested when they thought they had immunity.

Theres no laws to protect Ratzinger, only millions of faithful and billions of dollars.

As to Dawkins and Hitchens, almost all their books sell well with or without a media blitz. On top of that, both routinely alienate millions of potential readers daily.

Sales is obviously not their top priority. Attacking people’s perceived goals is a sad tactic, if some claim is untrue attack the evidence.

What authority? I don’t view any single person as an authority on anything. Evolution by natural selection is a fact, recognizing this fact, that it has huge implications for all biological life isn’t being unoriginal, its admitting an objective reality.

Like admitting the Earth revolves around the Sun, talking about its effects isn’t unoriginal or relying on authority.

the gene as a unit of selection is obvious, examples like the polycystic ovaries show that clear cut. The gene as a unit of selection needs no “authority” only evidence, which it has plenty of.