Monday 7 December 2015

Group selection should not be seen as a last resort - but the best model for some situations (Also, how Globalization has weakened group selection of humans)


stephen c said...

Not disagreeing with anything you say, but world-wide genetic deterioration is not high on my list of worries. Different groups, even at their current relatively undiminished level of genetic vigor, bring the nastiness with which they often treat each other within the group to very high levels that others outside the group are usually unequipped to imagine. We all know how the Saudis and the Chinese treat dissidents, and how the Germans and Slavs and Celts treated the Jews who had no choice but to live in their lands, but how many Westerners have any idea of how vicious Romans were to their children who did not completely obey? How many anime fans have even a minimal understanding of the samurai's self-image as a class entitled to murder any peasant who did not show them respect? How many readers of biographies of Jefferson or Geronimo or Shaka Zulu have any idea of the cruelties those often admired individuals were comfortable with? The examples could be multiplied, no civilization has been exempt from intrinsic evil. At some point in the future, the particular legacies of violence will either stop in the places where they flourished or those legacies will be homogenized across the thoroughly modernized world. I am pro-life because it is the right thing to do, but even if I were stupid enough to be pro-choice, I cannot imagine not being concerned, for the sake of our descendants, by the pro-choice arguments. Globalization of locally popular forms of violence is the worst possible secular outcome. Everyone of us should be praying every day that the globalization of the current media/political situations in almost every country does not happen. - Stephen C

Bruce Charlton said...

@stephen - Cruelty and suffering in this world is a terrible thing - but it is an error to treat it as the *most* terrible thing (the reduction/ elimination of which is the number one priority), because that is 'liberalism' and we know where that leads.

To focus on this-world cruelty and suffering as the worst thing leads, paradoxically, to mass humae killings; or the attempt coercively to impose a living-death of non-suffering (like Huxley's Brave New World). The goal of a world of non-suffering is seen as so good and so important that almost any means of getting there seems justified. This mind set is the norm in many government agencies, charities and NGOs, academics and teachers, and among the 'great and good'.

At root, cruelty and suffering can only be interpreted (or even defined) in terms of a coherent moral framework - they cannot be regarded as the basis of a moral framework.

I find the greatest Christians are *not* those who focus on attempted elimination of all cruelty and suffering by all possible means - but those who give the suffering courage and hope - and at the highest level those who genuinely love individual sufferers in a self-sacrificing way.

Anonymous said...

Stephen C said - I can't disagree with anything in your response to my comment (thanks for reading and replying to it, by the way). Some countries and places provide a temporary haven on this earth (you have mentioned,a s good examples, Byzantium and old Mormon Utah, I think). And the Bible tells about the good years in Beulah land and later on under a few of the kings of Judah before the Babylonian captivity. That is what I want for my descendants, although I realize - as you pointed out - that no secular outcome will ever be all that good, and that it is more likely my descendants will witness whatever it was the Book of Revelation predicted as the beginning of universally troubled times, than that they will live through any major revival of the livable havens of the past.