Selflessly Selfing (Joker and Cyrene)

Okay. Joker and Cyrene are now going to decide, for all mankind and for eternity, if there is any such thing as a selfless act. Or something like that. I’m not quite sure.


(This is the idea which I have come here to challenge. Joker is insistant that a selfless act cannot exist I oppose this.).

The largest and most profound reason why I oppose joker’s idea that humans cannot act selflessly is; modern biology. It took decades for scientists to finally carve out an idea about how natural selection works (everyone understood it selects, but at what level? group-selection, individual organisms, or the gene? As more and more evidence poored in that the gene was the unit of selection it became more widely and widely accepted until it has become the standard belief in biology.

The evidence is large but i’ll just point out that theres documented cases of insects almost going extinct because the males start dissapearing because genes on chromosone X (which females have two of) are beneficial to females but not to males, the genes spread like wildfire throughout the whole population anyway because they’re twice as likely to find themselves in a female host. On top of that, some disease causing genes may increase ability to propagate genetically, can cause people to die/become diseased when they get slightly older. If organisms were a unit of selection and not the genes, we would not have disease which only become fatal when people are 30-40. We see horrible genes propagating throughout populations, disease causing genes that kill organisms, because organisms are survival machines which HOUSE genes, genes do not exist for the benefit/fitness of the organism BUT exactly the opposite. If a gene can spread which crushes an organism halfway through its life but doesn’t effect genetic propagation, they don’t get selected out, they stay.

So why does it matter that organisms are survival machines that have been ‘designed’ to propagate genes and not individual organism survival? (Don’t get me wrong, obviously the two ideas coincide a lot, but the point is, they don’t all the time). I guess it’s hilariously highlighted by a pioneer in the field of evolutionary biology, who said: “I would lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins” - Haldane (probably said partly jokingly).

Anyway, evolutionary biology had a problem. Obviously altruism existed and since the begining of time people have noticed organisms favoring kin. How could this be so? Wouldn’t the continously selfish organisms have lived throughout without selflessness? Well, some brilliant biologists realized that no, if you share 50% of your genes with brother A, and he shares 50% of your genes, then there *MUST be circumstances, in which a person acting with altruism towards person B would increase the propagation fitness of those *genes.

They went to math table (organisms share genes. chances of spreading those genes at expense, etc, this can all be largely calculated and predictions can be made about animal behavior *BASED on relatedness)

anyway, it was called hamilton’s rule and its expressed like so: Rb>C

( r = the genetic relatedness of the recipient to the actor, often defined as the probability that a gene picked randomly from each at the same locus is identical by descent. B = the additional reproductive benefit gained by the recipient of the altruistic act,C = the reproductive cost to the individual of performing the act. )

The theory’s implication has been called ‘kin selection’ and we see it continously in the animal kingdom outside of humans. Things like animals giving shrill warning cries when a predator is around (exposing its location, at risk to itself) to warn everyone else (because everyone else contains *GENES identical to the ones in your body, and saving ten bodies with similiar genes passes on genes more than if every single animal was ruthlessly selfish)

Across all human socities, across almost all mammals, animals have acted on average, more altruistically, than towards other nonrelated individuals. It’d seem weird, no down-right strange to me, that all human societies that ever existed have by chance developed these ‘social norms’ that everyone just agrees to because it benefits them.

On top of this, human infants show signs of altruism/selfless behavior before their old enough to concieve ideas of selfishness, before they can even fully communicate. This, on top of the fact that in all societies altruism happens towards kin more often, on top of the fact that people have specific neuromachinery that lights up when they’re performing kind social actions, would suggest that people are evolved for cooperation, and part of that social adaptation would seem to be acting altruistically towards others.

We spent 99%+ of our time as a species in hunter-gatherer groups where we were related to most people, if only distantly, the fact that we’re altruistic to strangers today may be a misfiring (this person can’t help you, they’re not related, but in a similair situation where we evolved* they might have been)

It comes down to one thing and one thing only:

Theres situations which routinely occur, in which individual A could gain absolutely no social benefit, could gain absolutely *nothing for their actions, where those people act. When a woman decides to have a baby, that does not raise your social status, when a woman tries to steal her baby back from the jaws of a bear she has *NOTHING TO GAIN, surely people are not adapted to selfishness so badly that they’re willing to attack bears with their bare hands for the social recognition that they can do it, certainly females are not adapted to throwing away their lives like this.

They adapted to take care of/nurture their babies, which require *MASSIVE genetic resources on top of resources for up to 2 years to have even a tiny baby. The idea that organisms are selfish and only selfish is insane, if only because human mothers devoute insane amounts of time to babies that gives them nothing in return; no extra resources, infact they lose resources. they become at risk for predation, and need more food just to survive.

On top of that in plenty of animal species babies are abandoned at birth. and mates don’t stick together. For some reason, lots of humans have babies and then stick together for years afterwords, this needs to be explained on a biological level (even though lots of human males abandon their young. huge amounts of them stick around.) the claim that significant human males don’t stick to raise children is crushed by the fact that human males have specific neuromachinery to detect child-relatedness based on facial resembelence of father/child. They do stick around a lot, they have adaptations for detecting *THEIR children.

This needs to be explained. It becomes fairly easy when you realize that human babies are born… helpless. many animals, when they are born, are capable of flight, they are not wailing pieces of rubber which can barely move. As human intelligence rose, babies needed to start being born more and more prematurely (their muscle structures anyway) this created a dilemma; a crying sack of meat that can’t move, you couldn’t design better lion food. The males which started sticking around, either through ‘love’ of their mates, or caring for the children passed on a lot of genes, the babies didn’t get eaten as much, and to some extent, its spread.

The idea that humans are ‘only selfish’ falls apart under modern science which shows that when organisms share genes, there are circumstancially times when helping each other will propagate that genetic information to the next generation, where being selfish every single time no matter what, would be an evolutionary death sentence.

Ethology shows us that most animals seem to favor kin and even when they don’t are capable of acting altruistically. (A crocodile for instance, taking its own babies to a watering hole, while another female croc comes there too, except theres only room for one adult croc, so the second female leaves them there. the female adopts them and raises *THEM ALL. *probably because attempting to eat them up would kill a lot of her own babies.)

The fact is when you say humans do X (saving a baby) for social status/greed, you also have to explain why every other animal species (almost) seems to act the same, with absolutely no conscious perception of things like social status, greed, or even aware that they’re alive.The only disagreement that could possibly be made is that organisms are not adapted to genetic propagation- and that genes are not the unit of selection. But they are, and organisms are.

Every human action that equals genetic success and is clearly altruistic is painted as ‘selfish’ because the individual gains through society (even when no potential benefit can come from the risk, joker still somehow claims its for social benefit). I sincerely doubt this is the case as the actions are seen throughout the entire animal kingdom, and while joker’s explanations can fit on a human (if you ignore everything about science/common sense) they cannot fit to animals that routinely show favor/altruism to kin.

reciprocal altruism may explain many of these cases (the unconscious notion that if you scratch my back i’ll scratch yours, maintained by some kind of tit-for tat retaliation system) but it cannot by definition explain altruistic acts which cannot be returned as in feeding a baby. On top of that, the evolution of tit-for-tat based reciprocal altruism (not *EVERYONE was related in hunter-gatherer groups) has created a situation, which can, ironically lead to non reciprocal altruism.

As in people are adaptedd to being kind to people not even related to us, because unconsciously, we know that being nice can get us rewards from other people, and we’re unconscious, because without that self-knowledge its easier to hide from others, but because we no longer live in hunter-gatherer societies where we’ll always see the guy next store, we can be altruistic to people we’ll never see again! because of a misfiring of an adaptation.

If i give you meat now when i am at excess i can get meat later when you are at excess, if i give you meat, and don’t return the favor, the next time i need meat I won’t get it, or worse yet, might take a club to the head for trying to not return the favor, once humans stopped living in groups where we spent our lvies around the people we saw, we act altruistically to people because it makes us feel good, but the reason we may do so to a stranger without ever a return, is because unconsciously we may suspect one.

If a person engages in X action with is selfless, because they have an adaptation for being selfless, because in the area where they evolveed being selfless increased genetic propagation, does that make the action selfish while you give a poor guy a sandwhich? because you only have the urge to give the sandwhich because at some level, those in the past got a return of the sandwhich when they needed it?

No. Things evolve for ‘genetically selfish’ reasons, but the word selfish when applied to genes is a metaphorical tool. Genes are not conscious and are there-for cannot be selfish by any definition of the word.

(just for the record the babies were not rewarded or encourged to act altruistically. They spontaneously act altruistically in certain tasks/interaction with adults. This one test had people who clearly wanted a dropped peg, the second the infant could *deduce in some rough way what they wanted, they acted altruistically to help. time and time and time again. Without reward, without a coherent idea about the social world/status.)

On whether selflessness (AKA: Altruism) exists or not.

What is a selfless action and on what grounds do we measure it?

What exactly is the measurement system in diagnosing a selfless action?

Why do we believe that selfless acts exist and what causes us to believe in them?

How do we know when a person is acting in a selfless manner when in every motion there can exist a hidden ulterior motive of un-disclosed selfishness?

How does a so called selfless action differ from that of a selfish motive?

Could it indeed be possible that selflessness is merely a epic cultural fiction or myth constructed for the purpose of controlling others by that of judgement, punishment and docile reward of faith like service?

I believe all individuals are psychological egoists with differing degrees of selfishness motivating their lives in the will to survive.

Clearly in all societies everyone is a sort of whore in that everyone has a price for whatever social services they can offer in lust of distributive reward where everybody is for sale.

Just by observing society one can clearly observe that without monetary exchanges nothing could ever function in that so called selfless deeds are not effective enough in motivation alone where selfish desire wins out all the time in contrast in motivating people’s everyday lives.

Even by describing so called selflessness to certain types of actions by that of cultural fiction they are always limited and conditioned by the dominant position of selfish desire for one’s own self.

There exists no action that is un- conditional as there exists no social interaction that isn’t limited by some stipulation or another.

Even when people work together collectively in cooperation they do so for a mutual selfish motive amongst themselves individually that they at first agree on.

People cooperate in order to fulfill a mutual selfish desire amongst themselves that all parties can benefit from and at the first sign when mutuality of fulfilling such desires as a collective is lost conflict and dissention immediately arrives.

All actions revolve around the self that produces them where there exists no such action independent on it’s own of the producing self. Since all actions revolve around the producing self and nowhere else how can all actions not be driven by selfish motives or impulses?

I believe what is described to be selfishlessness is in reality a intentional misinterpretation of specific selfish inclinations in order to give off the public illusion of some ideal that people are somehow different from all the other animals who are driven by mere impulse alone in that we mask certain selfish actions in public to coincide with out fictional cultural myth of altruism since even the most so called altruistic of individuals are driven by some of the most rundimentary forms of selfish desire.

Selflessness is always paramount with philantrophy or self sacrifice.

Everytime we hear the word selflessness it always coincides with either of those two words.

Yet if we study those two words fully what exactly is significant in both terms?

In both terms the selfish motives of narcissism, admiration,status,fame,obssesion, public fascination, and the desire of social prestige is the governing force of motivation.

No action is done for nothing. Everybody wants somthing.

All actions revolve around a desire, intention, goal, vision, and insight.

Could selflessness or moral duty be a form of masochism?

My opponent speaks of genes showing how selflessness can exist but fails to recognize that genes are apart of the organism acting selfishly and therefore is not a seperate entity by itself but indeed is a micro part of the organism itself.

My opponent speaks of insects and other animals on the effects of genes yet what really concerns us here in this thread is the animal of people.

My opponent speaks about the psychology of protecting one’s own kin or offspring which I shall allude to be nothing more than the selfishness of self preserving one’s own blood family.

My opponent must also realize that in contrast infanticide prevails as well along with family murders a great deal of the time which are driven by selfish impulses too.

My opponent speaks about animal behavior where animals make loud noises of warning giving away their position to oncoming predators but fails to realize that this too is another form of selfishness in that a creature too weak to defend itself will selfishly pursue others to help it under times of duress.

My opponent also fails to understand that certain pathological obssesions of selfishness visualized on another person or object may induce individuals to risky sporadic behavior where they will do things that offer themselves no benefit but nonetheless will entice individuals to take such a course of action for their mere obssesions alone even amongst the threat of their own death.

My opponent also fails to realize there is a plural existence of selfishness in that there exists different degrees of it.

Also note that if genes are not conscious they cannot be altruistic either.

Evolution is the competition of all life seeking to exist by mass cannibalization amongst each other.

In the mass cannibalization of evolution organisms seek life and survival by taking it away from others selfishly.

A selfless action is one organism (in this case human) acting in such a way that it benefits someone else, at a cost to themselves. (without the expectation of a massive social reward).

Cost/benefit analysis.

We believe selfless acts exist because humans throughout history have *looked to act selflessly, in different situations, and the stregth of that selflessness is consistantly different (across all human societies) based on certain factors; such as acting selflessly to save your child, when no social benefit could be gained. (or any benefit)

Lets say I get no pleasure out of helping the poor, absolutely no pleasure what-so-ever, you walk by a poor person everyday, for a year, and you don’t get one twinge, the bum never asks or bugs you for money, its an empty stretch of road where no one is there to see. If I decide randomly, to throw this person a penny, ,just one single penny, that no one sees, that I didn’t get pleasure from, by definition that is a selfless action, that I did not benefit frrom what-so-ever. The claim that these types of actions are impossible because humans are ruthless egotists is nonsensical.

If people were 100% selfish beings, a human would never choose possibility A over possibility B if possibility B meant more, FOR THEM. How many expert doctors, ,who could have raised to the upper height of society, and have *EVERYTHING associated with that, ever decidee to go live with the poor to treat them? TO become a minor god to some poor african village? Yes he raises his social status in some circles, he’s empathetic, and went out of the kindness of his heart that helps him masssively go through life.

But COMPARE THAT TO THE POTENTIAL, that the doctor had in gaining ultimate expertise/recognition BY THE WORLD,if they had stead and finished their own research or decided to treat people over here.

Your claim that humans are brutally and only self-serving, falls apart when you notice that people routinely give up MASSIVE SELF INTEREST to help OTHERS. (helping others may raise status too, but why would they choose anything less than the full meal that they could get)

Its the equivilent of a starving person taking a morsel of food of a plate, while there exists a mountain of food on it. It’d never happen, if the person was r eally that starving. Just like, in human societies, people would never choose the less personally beneficial of two options, and they do, again and again and again and a gain and again.

People benefit from selfish actions, they don’t benefit from selfless ones immediately. (and somtimes never). You can also use evidednce to determine motive.

Absolutely not because infants show signs of altruism before they’ve adopted a culture or cultural beliefs. Also, every single human s ociety that ever lived, just happened to (some of them seperated by an entire globe and thousands of years) all come to the exact same cultural beliefs? The chances of that happening are equivilent, to just by chance, e very human society that ever existed, being entirely, irish.

If people are selfish to different degrees, that’d imply that they were unselfish,to different degrees.

No one ever denied that humans are selfish, no one denied that humans are very selfish, no one even denied that humans were more selfish than selfless, my claim, which you continously fight against, is that under some circumstances humans are capable, no, even adapted, to act altruistically.

There was no arguement that society doesn’t function largely of selfishness, that was never the arguement we came here to debate. The arguement is whether humans are selfish to the point that they can’t act selflessly, in circumstancial situations (like saving a brother or etc) lets stick to that debate.

How do you account for child rearing exactly Joker? A person uses massive resources and biological resources to produce a child, in many many societies these children suck suck suck money/resources from the parent, the parent does not get those resources back, either through climbing socially, or having the child-pay them. Most parents, put more effort/resources into their child, than they ever get back through society. or the c hildren envolved.

Explain how that is possible to me, without touching on the subject of genetics. Explain how people get all their resources back through society/through children. (and no, not in africa where children slave labour. but right here in america.) tell me about parents who buy their children houses, put them through university, cars, tell me where they get all that money/resources/ time back from?

society sees the spoilage and immediately suspends them by some kind of ladder? the child works hard to pay it all back? No.

Except there are examples of cooperation which don’t end up in a reward nearly as big as the effort put in. One example is child-rearing but i’ll give you another. You and I are in the woods, you’re destroyed by a tiger, I have the choice of walking back to the village we’re deep in the woods, and tell them whatever the fuck I want happened. I could leave you there suffering, theres a tiger still around and theres risk, theres no chance you’ll die, so i can walk back and tell the tribe i nursed you for hours, but instead of lying and walking back, some people, actually do nurse these dying people, TO MAKE THEM MORE COMFORTABLE, when the benefit can *never be returned.

You can jsut lie and gain the same benefit, ,but the lie doesn’t always happen.

Because the ‘self’ is an assortment of genes, its a genetic machine, and the only reason you have a concept of self, was because when your ancestors first started becoming aware of the world, they survived more often t han the others who didn’t? Because with a concept of self you can predict the actions of other animals better, the ‘self’ was created through a propagation of genes.

This is an important arguement to make and I might as well make it now.

Lets take a selfish human, every action they ever commited was selfish. If a selfless action helped that organism survive (human organism) only once within one hundredd thousand times, it would become species-typical within a few generations. Thats all the hand of natural selection needs (probably a lot less than it needs) to grasp it firmly. If being a 99.9% selfish creature, compared to a 100% selfish creature, paid off ONLY ONCE, in ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES within a few generations alone, there would be no creature left that was 100% selfish. If being 99.8% selfish, paid off 1 in only one hundred thousand times, in a few generations, we’d be out of 99% selfish organisms.

is it really hard to convince you that somtimes helping an organism with 50% of your genes, at a small small small cost to yourself, doens’t propagate those genes better? overall.

Even if a human is selfish they can act unselflessly towards others at a cost to themselves, people do mask their intentions and naked ambition and selfish goals for success, but the point isn’t that humans aren’t capable of massive selfishness and deciet, just that somtimes they can a ct unselfishly.

And yet, people give up greater amounts of personal benefit (much greater) for much much much less. How could you possibly explain that? Plenty of selfless actions do not turn into admiration, status, fame, public fascination, and desire for social prestige, the word 'obession’is meaningless because we all know a mother’s fascination with her baby is largely genetic, so when she tries to save it from a bear, ,its not to prevent her own heart-break if the baby dies, but to protect the baby. (selfless action to protect genes in another body)

Somtimes that goal is to protect another body with your genes, and the reason you want that is because you’re adapted to engage in actions that propagated genes in the past. The obession is largely there as a genetic urge to protect those other bodies, not as some kind of twisted cultural artifact.

I feel like i’ve already anwsered this a thousand times. Intention, goal, vision and insight do not imply lack of selflessness, but somtimes are co-evolved aspects of adaptations to protect others. Like genetic relatives.

This is where your understanding of biology breaks down into nothingness. Organisms do not exist for the benefit of themselves, organisms do not get better and better genes to be better at survival. Organisms are machines, made up of genes, and the ones best at surviving propagate genes the best. This is the 'gene eye’d view of evolution’and I explained to you already, that theres massive evidence for it.

You’re correct, and that matters is PEOPLE, and people are part of the animal kingdom. When you claim X human action is due to selfishness, and I point out that classes and classes of other animals engage in that exact same action in the same circumstances for genetic propagation, and w hen humans act under those same circumstances and only those circumstances. Well, it seems to me like thats evidence for my claim.

Animals do matter because we evolved in a long chain from them. The claim that comparative ethology is meaningless, well,thats empty.

But the same claims apply to humans because humans have genes and are made up of dna. As long as we have genes and genes are the unit of selection, than what applies to animals in terms of kin selection, applies to us, if we can detect kin. and guess what, we have kin detection mechanisms, in the neuromachinery of our brains, detected by fmri and experimentation. So again, your claim is an empty one.

Its a shame that the only sensical definition of selfishness is one you choose to abandon whenever you feel like it. I already defined selflessness as a cost to organism A at benefit to organism B. I don’t see how your new claim here, applies.

Infanticide is usually practiced among the males, and a lot of the time its done when males anti-cuckholdry adaptations, and kin-detection mechanisms and sexual jealousy is high. Infact, infanticide and partner murder is the amazing topic, of the amazing evolutionary psychology book “HOMICIDE” by margo wilson and daly, the amount of evidence they accumulate is staggering.

and of course brothers kill brothers. thats not the point. Humans are amazingly adaptable and we have many many many adaptations co-residing in the same skull. The point is that humans *Can act selflessly, not that they always will.

When the other animals are right besides tunnels that they can run into, and you’re in the open and the predator is closest to you… its of absolutely no help to call out. the animals don’t run to help, they dissapear, and you’re left alone staring into the eyes of a hungry predator, and its a dash for the tunnel, when it could have be a swift and silent escape.

of course genes are not alturistic or selfish, I guess you missed the metaphor. Calling a gene selfish means the genes best at surviving survive and propagate, an altruistic gene would die out, because by definition, if it let another gene take its place, it wouldn’t be propagated.

Genes can be responsible for both selfish or selfless tendencies in an organism though.

different degrees of selfishness would imply different degrees of selflessness to me, by definition.

Evolution is simply survival of the fittest, which means whatever propagates the most genes into the next generation, somtimes in organisms this can be by being selfish and somtimes this can be by being selfless. Infact, we would see niether action so commonly throughout the animal kingdom, if they both, didn’t under circumstance, propagate genes.

Animals including humans are not adapted to individual survival, but whatever propagates the most genes, because by definition, thats what happens as organisms evolve. Individual survival is usually really really high up on that genetic propagation list, but they are not one in the same thing. I mentioned beforet hat natural selection can work off benefit of such small quantities like 1 in 100thousand times, surely pregnancy have complications more than 1 in that number.

females certainly would not be getting pregnant if we were adapted to individual survival, but then again, I don’t see how the species wouldn’t just die out at that rate.

you’re not replying to my point that alturistic actions can increase the number of genes that go into the next generation massively, while not being a huge risk to the organism. unceasingly selfish creatures would die out as this adaptation spread species typical.

so, explain that to me instead of just ignoring the point. Its not an abstracted philosophical idea, but a real problem for the evolution of the behavior that you’re talking about.

And how do we know that people acting in what is supposedly considered selfless are doing so without the expectation of massive social reward?

Can it be measured on a empirical level? Or is it all mere hearsay?

And how do we know that selflessness even exists? It is very easy to say that god exists just by saying that the divine is really out there in existence but it is another thing entirely to prove it.

It is very easy to say a action is miraculous or centered around the divine but it is another thing entirely to prove it.

When you state that selflessness exists all I see is you merely implying that it does through that of words and language without revealment.


We know that people like all organisms exist solely for breeding and reproduction.

Saving your own offspring which is your blood and the future of your own genetical configuration amounts to nothing beyond self preservation of one’s own genetical material. A selfish motive.

Is that a situation of selflessness or is it a sign of a idiotic obssesion leading to one’s own death?

Haven’t you ever heard of the martyr complex?

But by doing so you are fulfilling a psychological need or hunger on your part whether you are consciously or unconsciously aware of it.

People are 100% selfish like all organisms are but the reason why differences exist can be found in individual traits, behavior patterns, and likes which shows differing degrees of selfishness from person to person.

Martyr complex followed by the desire of social reward. Public recognition and status.

Earlier I posted a article on martyr complexes but there also exists a form of masochism interconnected with this issue too:

That implies that through time they do almost in a sort of forseen vision of the future which is a attribute unique only to our own species.

Provide me with a so called selfless motive that offers no benefit to the one acting.


In what way?

How is that exactly?

If people are far more selfish than your so called perceived selfless altruism what exactly does that say for the relation of altruism in contrast to selfishness?

So you admit that individuals and society are mostly selfish in their day to day behavior yet you do nothing in pointing out where selflessness comes into the picture.

Safe guarding the duplication of one’s own genetical materials to exist in the future even beyond when the parents cease to exist altogether.

That child is mine and is apart of me therefore I protect what is mine.

Then there is the perception of parents living forever in the lives of their offspring by traits and material passed on.

And I suppose keeping a dog for one’s own amusement in the household which doesn’t give anything back that it is given is another tall tale of hinting altruism? :sunglasses:

Much like the effort of fishing without the reward of a fish. People go fishing however in the hope of catching a fish nonetheless.

I think that would describe a martyr complex but more importantly I think you forget man’s ability of self delusion where people often enough do things without much reward because of pathological obssesion of a object or person and sometimes such obssesions can become so strong that people can wind up dead themselves over them.

( Drug addicts are an excellent example of this.)

So called selfless acts helps the survival rate of an individual? ( A selfish disposition.)

Or maybe your confusing selflessness with selfishness altogether by that of misinterpretation and a story like cultural narrative of humility versus vanity under a dualistic spectrum of thinking which is a product of culture itself.

Nothing is done without a want, desire, goal, and plan in mind.

Even a drug addict can become selfishly obssesed with the drugs that he puts in himself for a euphoric like high in that overtime through a overdose he kills himself.

Yes they do. People are remarkably deceptive.

I beg to differ. People are very capable of massive selfishness and deceit. History only alludes towards this.

Yes it does.

What you fail to understand is that there is no seperation of organisms and their genes.

Both are one and the same thing in that both exist only to support one another.

Both cannot exist without each other.

Give me an example of a animal species doing this. Name the species so I can find it on the net.

So if genes are not altruistic or selfish what is the point in talking about genes?

I’m going about my understanding of selfishness on the observance of behavior guided by genes not genes themselves.

I’m merely arguing my point that your confusing or alluding selflessness without evidence to certain actions that have nothing to do with altruism at all but infact is somthing much more often enough under a selfish inclination.

You are misinterpreting actions to be selfless to fit your ideology built between some cultural narrative or artifact of belief.

Due to a technical difficulty, we’re gonna hafta suspend this debate. Stay tuned…

It appears that we can resume…Cyrene?

Like I mentioned cost/benefit analysis, theres plenty of examples of people acting selflessly towards genetic relatives outside of being able to gain a social reward. The better question is what evidence do you have that people expect these social rewards, consistantly, in situations where social rewards would be impossible?

The standard to determine if selfllessness exists is the definition of the word, and like anything else, evidence for the claim. I’ve provided evidence and a massive scientific model to place that evidence/idea. Kin-selection and the gene-eyed view of evolution, and the statistical math models that show its more than a viable option for increasing genetic propagation.

What does a person have to gain by a potential action and what they have to lose. Like in the situation with one hunter staying with another hunter while he dies, in the middle of the jungle when theres no one to see, when the tribe would believe him if he lied and said he stayed but didn’t, some people can still stay. No gain, only cost to themselves. Same with raising offspring more cost than gain.

This is where you begin to make no sense what-so-ever. Our definition of selflessness was one organism doing somthing at a cost to itself to benefit another organism. Two organisms because they share genes, are not the same organism. When a parent decides to help a child or a brother or whatever they are not ‘selfishly’ trying to preserve themselves, they are at a cost trying to help another organism survive, because it propagates genes better.

Organisms are made to propagate genes, when one organism helps another one at cost to itself, (however slight) to propagate genes, thats still selfless. Definition of SELF is not GENES IS A BUNCH OF BODIES, its, THE INDIVIDUAL ORGANISM envolved.

an idiotic obession to save another can still be selfless in a sense, just insane and obsessive.

You’re arguements are beyond nonsensical. if a doctor has a choice between fame and fortune, and minor fame and no fortune + risk dealing with parasites in say africa, because they enjoy helping people, they’re still 100% selfish but have a different ‘behavior pattern’

Again your explanations make no sense, theres plenty of examples where the people don’t have martyr complexes and they don’t have massive masochism complexes (which is obvious when they go at lengths to avoid all risk/humilitation/whatever) opposed to actually helping people in a limited way.

Sure, but we’re not talking about people cutting themselves, we’re talking about people who massively do everything they can to avoid risk/humilitation, but still to help others and gain some fame over it, giving up a massive amount of fame/potential fortune, to say, save lives or whatever.

Again theres examples of situations with the same amount of stress/environmental situations, with less fame/fortune for the individual, and they choose against it for other things, somtimes to help other humans.

Jumping in the freezing water to attempt to save a baby when no one is there to see, when theres almost no chance to save it. you could lie and say you jumped in and tried to save it, and no one could call ytou a liar. (say people jumping into sub artic conditions with no way out of a snow-desert)

They have specific neuromachinery in their heads for acting altruistic or ‘selfless’ under circumstancial conditions. an adaptation.

I never talked about the contrast between how much selflessness/selfishness existed, thats not the arguement we’re having, but whether humans are capable of ever acting selflessly.

I never said mostly selfish, I said humans were largely selfish and that we weren’t here to debate whether people were mostly selfish or not, but here to debate whether they can, under circumstance, act nonselfishly, selfless, as it were.

Its another ORGANISM, its selfless by definition.

I’m sure thats a small part in life threatening situations.

The pricee of keeping a dog pales in comparison to the price of raising 4 children who never give the money or time back to you fully. YOu never climb in social status, you could buy better entertainment for the same price, in almsot any circumstance.

Its not a martyr complex if the person wants to massively avoid death, its not an obession if the person envolved doesn’t have a massive obession. If you’re dying from tiger wounds and don’t want to be left alone, the hunter with you could lie and say he stead with you to death, or he could stay, the same benefit no matter what happens, and he chooses to stay, at no small risk to himself (where no one could find his body to call him a m artyr deep in the jungle). Even if its because on some level, he wants someone to be there for him in the same situation, its still selfless action.

doesn’t neeed to help the survival rate of the individual, just increases a genes frequency within a population.

I reject dualism and other than that, obviously selfish/selfless are dualistic concepts but they’re mainly just definitions of a concept that we’re using to discuss whether organisms engae in X actions.

and the goals can be to help another organism at a small cost to yourself.

It doesn’t apply.

I never implied otherwise. again, opnly that people are capable of selflessness.

Thats where you’re wrong. Genes exist to propagate, bodies exist to propagate them, genes do not soley exist for the benefit of you. Like I already explained to you, genes bad for human health, for humans living past 30, exist in populations, and yeah, they’re very good at spreading among people. So you’re just plain, and obviously wrong. Genes exist for the benefits of themselves, and when genes reside in massive bodies filled with other genes, that often-times includings the survival of the ORGANISM, but the goal is genetic propagation, not organism survival.

You don’t understand disease very well, under this nonsensical understanding of biology. Genes that hurt humans, can live in human bodies, and destroy them, and still pass on to generation to generation to generation.

praire dogs, ground squirrels, passerine birds and so forth.

I’m not, my definition of selfless, was defined by myself, in a discussion with you previously, which you and I debated, which eventually lead us here. Its based on a biological viewpoint:

I’m defining selfless as cost to organism A at benefit to organism B. (that can be un-returned cost). You nonsensically flail about debating this with me, to the point of saying its not selfless to help genetic relatives, because their yours, and its your genes, its flip-flopping around the debate that we already defined. Its same genes, different bodies, cost to body 1 at benefit to body 2, no matter how small, thats the type of selflessness we’re deebating, get on track.

I guess there was no time limit for responses here. But I may have to impose one.

Anyone seen Joker?


I PMed him to tell him time’s a-ticking. He’s got a Wednesday deadline, then he ‘forfeits’. We can still make a poll if it’s desired, and the judges can rule if they’re so inclined, but he’ll lose his chance for his final at bat.

Alright, two days late, I’m going to call this. If the judges want to vote, go for it. This debate is officially over.

I would like to see a vote opposed to a disqualification, if thats possible?

I’ll put my vote in for Cyrene. While I liked Joker’s emotional appeal, that particular argument rests on a separation between humans and other animals an assertion that I don’t agree with – and one he didn’t even address. He just took it as a given, which doesn’t work for me. Cyrene made a point of explaining why his biological argument can apply to both humans and other creatures. The other argument Joker used was just thickly applied skepticism. While I have a healthy respect for skepticism, it can’t simply be used to create an ever-shifting goalpost that amounts to, “Oh yeah?” In this respect, I think Cyrene was a little dismissive of the weight/value of emotions but I don’t think this represents a fatal flaw in his his argument. Good job both of you, though.

Smears offered his judgement in the discussion, and made it a unanimous decision in favor of Cyrene. Congratulations, Cyrene.