Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Gatekeeper, Oct 14, 2019.
I wonder if in the future they will call us civilized...
Well, if they study the early 21st Century, it might depend on which nations they choose to look at?
Yeah, I hope for the sake of future beings, none pass 25th century muster...
Well, if natural selection is survival of the fittest, there is no reason for beauty or decency? Cunning and brute strength will increase and rule? Sensitivity and empathy will have to go. Do I believe that?
It's about the survival of traits, not individuals, in their environment.
"Those traits that will enable their bearer to pass them on to offspring, survive the death of their bearer."
Brute force and cunning only work in very specific circumstances for very specific kinds of organisms. Is lawn grass cunning or powerful? It is a very successful plant, found widely on earth, mostly in environments shared with humans...
I'm not denying natural selection. I think it is guided by spirit. I do not know the invisible mechanism, but it is Plato's cave. We see the shadows cast by the light. The light we see is a shadow of the spirit.
Something like that.
Anyway natural selection has no reason to promote 'love your neighbour as yourself' over 'kill your neighbour and take his lands and women'?
There is no natural reason to think mankind should evolve into something kinder and better?
Compassion, decency, empathy and kindness and self sacrifice are from a higher spiritual impulse. Nature red in tooth and claw has no need for them?
I don't think there is an invisible mechanism. It is simple, visible: Organisms able to pass their traits on to progeny, pass on their traits. Those who can't, don't.
No, it is up to all these neighbors who does what.
Only if you hold your thoughts to be unnatural, or supernatural, or extra-natural.
I think that thinking is a natural function, as is feeling emotions like the ones you list below.
Again, I don't believe there is anything outside nature, nature being what we have access to experientially. Since I experience compassion and so on, I believe it to be natural.
It's like a flea on the back of a dog insisting it understands everything by it's assessment of it's own immediate surroundings by its own flea senses, imo. Silly little flea ...
Not quite. In my opinion, saying that thoughts about compassion must have a supernatural origin would be like saying that the dog smell the flea senses must be supernatural.
Traits that do not lead to advancement will wither out against traits that do.
So we shall educate them to become nice and considerate, instead of invading us? Ain't going to happen, imo.
My consciousness is not a by product of my brain activity
The flea is a passenger on the dog, whether or not it believes that to be the case
I can think that what I cannot see, touch, smell etc, does not exist, but that does nothing to change the fact of its existence. Or at least, does not entitle me to insist that it does not and cannot exist. Our science is an extension of our senses. But a blind person cannot conceive of the basic concept of colour. Whatever ...
But the reasoning goes to saying these 'decent' traits have emerged in spite of natural selection? They are of no universal purpose to advancement of the species, except perhaps on a narrow tribal basis: a mother's love as necessary for advancement of the offspring, etc?
Ok, I get the irony of the above post: The nicer we are to one another as individuals, the better the advancement of the human species as a whole. But perhaps that is an example of spiritual action? It just works out that way. Nice ...
That's one way of seeing it.
Natural selection is not about advancement, though. There is no goal towards which it acts.
Our thinking in terms of advancement might influence the environment we find ourselves in.
At one point in earth history, "advanced" organisms had metabolisms that created oxygen, a very corrosive substance. The environment they lived in, rich in dissolved iron, neutralized the oxygen. Then, one day, the iron was used up. Advancement (in terms of metabolism) became a disadvantage, and other organisms, less "advanced" but able to deal with the oxygen, were selected for by the circumstances.
We humans mined the iron ore produced back then. We are more complex than the organisms that created the iron ore, but one day, conditions could be such that we won't be able to procreate, while cyanobacteria might thrive. Who is more advanced, us mammals or the cyanobacteria?
Since natural selection works toward the goal of passing our genes to the next generation, we can say it uses pleasure as a tool to achieve its goal. Our ancestors anticipated the pleasure they would receive from eating the fruit dangling on the trees in the distance. They worked hard to attain their goal. They had to survive, live, and pass on their genes. Today natural selection finds itself in an unnatural environment of supermarkets packed with sugar. Sugar binges aren't uncommon in the United States where an estimated 40% of the population is overweight. It makes sense from the POV of natural selection that a large percentage of the population tends to eat too much in the modern era.
In a sense natural selection "wants" us to be unsatisfied and not see the nature of impermanence. Any satisfaction through food and sex is quite temporary, leading to dissatisfaction. Natural selection "wants" our brains to be designed in such a way since everlasting satisfaction wouldn't pass our genes into the next generation. Kinda like the Buddhist notion of dukkha (suffering and dissatisfaction). Rational beings have natural selection to fight against in order to step off the hedonistic treadmill and analyze their situation and place in the world. After all, standing in front of chocolate filled doughnuts, I need to stop and think about about my desire for these tasty treats. Natural selection "doesn't care" what I eat, but we need to eat to pass on our genes. And in being mindful of what we eat and making better choices we can positively influence our psychological and physical well-being.
I guess God could have created us in a world where there was no natural selection and in which we always made the right choices, but we would be no different from automatons then. Natural selection was necessary for the appearance of self-awareness. Although natural selection is not about advancement, it is a necessary ingredient in the soup of advancement?
If you don't like the word advancement, which word would you prefer? The strong adapts and flourishes; the weak dies out. In general, although there will always be fringes and oddities.
What I'm saying is that the 'virtues' are not necessary to the purely natural evolutionary process. It's a simple argument.
Discussion of the oxygenation event and development of eukaryotes from bacteria isn't really relevant to the point.
Nature above all promotes procreation of the species, therefore the instinct to procreation is very strong, and sex is pleasurable.
Once in existence the organism needs to live long enough to reproduce, therefore the instinct to self-survival is very strong, and eating is pleasurable.
Once reproduction is achieved, survival of the offspring becomes paramount; a chicken will fight for its chicks and a little mother fish in a tank will herd her cloud of pinhead sized offspring by taking wanderers into her mouth and moving them back to safety of the shoal.
But would I expect a well-fed house dog to give up its food to a hungry stray? Or a cat to forgo the pleasure of playing with its mouse, instead to kill it quickly and humanely?
Self-sactifice, empathy and compassion etc, serve no evolutionary purpose. They may even work against natural 'advancement' of the species.
So why do such virtues exist? From whence do they originate?
Because we are animals...supposedly...although we can find many cases of empathy and caring for others in animals...and many cases of inhumanity in humans.
Where does everything originate?
I know .. let's call it "the source" and not God
As evolution is a process, then that itself must have a source too..
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