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Thread: Papers on evolutionary basis of altruism?

  1. #1
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    Default Papers on evolutionary basis of altruism?

    Hi gang,

    I'm currently having a Twitter conversation with a Christian who has asked me for more information on my assertion that there is an evolutionary explanation for altruism, and therefore no need to attribute altruism to influence from deities.

    I would like to send this guy some references to peer-reviewed scientific papers on this topic. I'm sure that there are references given in "The God Delusion" - you know, in the discussion about Hawks and Doves, Game Theory etc. - but I can't locate my copy of this book at the moment.

    Can anyone help with a few references?

    Thanks in advance.
    Martin.

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    Default Re: Papers on evolutionary basis of altruism?

    Hi Martin...wait one, searching in the Science and reason cubby-hole...I can have a decent biblio if you give me some time..

    Fischer-Shofty, M., Y. Levkovitz, et al. (2012). "Oxytocin facilitates accurate perception of competition in men and kinship in women." Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
    Despite the dominant role of the hormone oxytocin (OT) in social behavior, little is known about the role of OT in the perception of social relationships. Furthermore, it is unclear whether there are sex differences in the way that OT affects social perception. Here, we employed a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design to investigate the effect of OT on accurate social perception. Following treatment, 62 participants completed the Interpersonal Perception Task, a method of assessing the accuracy of social judgments that requires identification of the relationship between people interacting in real life video clips divided into three categories: kinship, intimacy and competition. The findings suggest that OT had a general effect on improving accurate perception of social interactions. Furthermore, we show that OT also involves sex-specific characteristics. An interaction between treatment, task category and sex indicated that OT had a selective effect on improving kinship recognition in women, but not in men, whereas men's performance was improved following OT only for competition recognition. It is concluded that the gender-specific findings reported here may point to some biosocial differences in the effect of OT which may be expressed in women's tendency for communal and familial social behavior as opposed to men's tendency for competitive social behavior.

    De Dreu, C. K. W., L. L. Greer, et al. (2010). "The Neuropeptide Oxytocin Regulates Parochial Altruism in Intergroup Conflict Among Humans." Science 328(5984): 1408-1411.
    Humans regulate intergroup conflict through parochial altruism; they self-sacrifice to contribute to in-group welfare and to aggress against competing out-groups. Parochial altruism has distinct survival functions, and the brain may have evolved to sustain and promote in-group cohesion and effectiveness and to ward off threatening out-groups. Here, we have linked oxytocin, a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus, to the regulation of intergroup conflict. In three experiments using double-blind placebo-controlled designs, male participants self-administered oxytocin or placebo and made decisions with financial consequences to themselves, their in-group, and a competing out-group. Results showed that oxytocin drives a “tend and defend” response in that it promoted in-group trust and cooperation, and defensive, but not offensive, aggression toward competing out-groups.

    I actually have lots, but if you are not in a hurry I can retreive it all via various databaes....

    In the meantime, google schlolar with the obvious search terms turns up quite a bit...
    Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

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    Default Re: Papers on evolutionary basis of altruism?

    Wow, thanks for the quick and very useful answers. This isn't just a passing interest for you guys, is it?

    I sent the bloke a link to the very good overview on the Stanford Uni page. I don't know if it will make a difference, his first reaction was that he'd found some major flaw in the argument. And they call us athiests arrogant!

    No matter, I suppose if his mind has opened even a small bit, just for a short time, then there may be a seed of doubt planted that could blossom some day.

    In case you're interested, you can see our discussion in my twitter feed, @MartinBoers, or in the Christian's, @arrowbloke.

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    Default Re: Papers on evolutionary basis of altruism?

    I find it interesting, if depressing, that some theists deny the obvious, that human societies depend on an overarching social contract to exist, and that that contract is emergent from our own nature as social animals.

    Some theists are so tied to the idea that human existence is absolutely constrained by the strictures of a mythological overlord the very concept of which is riddled by contradiction that they deny their own inherent nature.

    It's this pathetic need to be special, "I'm not like animals, I'm special", which leads them to the old and well travelled canard "without my god life is meaningless and without direction, you can't have any morality and simply do whatever you want, a narcissistic and nihilistic shell of a life".

    It's pathetic, yet they wonder why we ridicule such childish and ridiculous bleatings.

    Tell him to drag himself out of the 12th century, starting with the work of Maynard Smith and working his way up, and if and when he gets to the 21st century you might think about discussing it with him.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."Philip K. Dick


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    Default Re: Papers on evolutionary basis of altruism?

    Quote Martin Boers said View Post
    Wow, thanks for the quick and very useful answers. This isn't just a passing interest for you guys, is it?

    I sent the bloke a link to the very good overview on the Stanford Uni page. I don't know if it will make a difference, his first reaction was that he'd found some major flaw in the argument. And they call us athiests arrogant!

    No matter, I suppose if his mind has opened even a small bit, just for a short time, then there may be a seed of doubt planted that could blossom some day.

    In case you're interested, you can see our discussion in my twitter feed, @MartinBoers, or in the Christian's, @arrowbloke.
    Even if the science of human altruistic behaviour is totally wrong, or even all evolutionary theory [fat chance, but in science you never claim absolute truth! ], it puts "god the creator" in reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt, then there can hardly be a god as a self-evident truth. Either way, the god apologists are fucked and have to admit that their beliefs are irrational.
    "I wan it ta be true" just does not cut it as a path to knowledge. Faith-based non-thinking: -rotting minds since time began!
    Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

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    Default Re: Papers on evolutionary basis of altruism?

    the god apologists are fucked and have to admit that their beliefs are irrational

    Beliefs formed and maintained without engaging the cerebral cortex are impervious to reason,logic and evidence.


    If you could reason with religious people there wouldn't be any (Greg House)

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    Default Re: Papers on evolutionary basis of altruism?

    Quote Martin Boers said View Post
    I sent the bloke a link to the very good overview on the Stanford Uni page. I don't know if it will make a difference, his first reaction was that he'd found some major flaw in the argument. And they call us athiests arrogant!
    The major flaw being that it disagrees with his currently held beliefs, this is usually the only flaw that your average theist is capable of discerning, since actually finding flaws requires critical and reasoned thinking, fail!

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