Sunday School

Sunday School 2nd January 2022

This topic contains 50 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 2 weeks, 3 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 51 total)
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  • #40632

    Davis
    Moderator

    Actually an article that Reg once posted led me to looking far more into it and agriculture is not the only way to gain surpluses. There have been societies which have developed surpluses through nomadism (some steppe cultures), herding (some mountain cultures), fishing (some Pacific cultures) and even foraging (some North American indigenous cultures). While agriculture certainly sped up the pace of cultural development, it seems the key to humans creating grotesque power structures, injustice and general horror…is abundance, of which agriculture is just one example.

    As for evolution…as Reg also pointed out…evolution is ongoing. We have only seen a relatively small number of generations since humans departed from the conditions from which we emerged (rather small groups of humans, not competing much with one another with lots of space and plenty of concerns to preoccupy themselves with)…that is still enough generations to have some impact.

    I still maintain that the traits which enable human injustice when humans form societies…are simply by-products of our evolution, and not traits which directly helped us adapt in the environment in which we emerged.

    What changes in a few fortunate civilizations (at least for some people in them) is an awareness of all this, the drive (for whatever reason) to overcome it and at least some success at doing this.

    #40633

    Unseen
    Participant

    @simon What would a disproof of evolutionary ethics look like? I’m puzzled because you seem to see some things as affirming evolutionary ethics and the rest you either explain away unconvincingly or put them in a category questions you don’t need to answer for whatever reason.

    Unfortunately, you cannot prove your position without tackling  difficult questions and plausible criticisms.

    #40634

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    What would a disproof of evolutionary ethics look like?

    I really don’t know.  It’s like saying, what would a disproof of evolution look like?

    #40635

    Unseen
    Participant

    @davis The culture that created the recently-unearthed Turkish site known as Göbekli Tepe appears to have been constructed by a pre-agricultural society of hunter-gatherers about 12,000 years ago, making the site about twice as old as the Egyptian or East Indian civilizations.

    Recently, an even older archaeological site has been discovered, also in Turkey, called Boncuklu Tarla.

    Forget Mesopotamia, the earliest glimmers of human civilization appears to have started pre-agriculturally in Turkey.

    #40636

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I assume whether it is a relatively solitary mammal like an orang. or super social like a bonobo that the ethics of the individual and group evolved in such a way that survival chances of the species are enhanced. It is hard to see it any other way.

    If that is a given why is the dynamic of our fellow mammals a paradigm for our own ethics.

    #40637

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    way to gain surpluses

    From what I’ve read, the crucial difference is between “immediate return foraging” and “delayed return foraging” societies.  In immediate return foraging societies, people only accumulate what they need for present purposes, maybe a day ahead.  In delayed return, someone has the opportunity to accumulate the means of production, maybe a field of crops, maybe a bee hive, maybe a fish trap.

    the traits which enable human injustice when humans form societies…are simply by-products of our evolution, and not traits which directly helped us adapt in the environment in which we emerged.

    You could say, we always do what is adaptive, that which will allow us to thrive at least in the short term.  Human injustice is the result of competition rather than cooperation: another way to thrive.

    What changes in a few fortunate civilizations (at least for some people in them) is an awareness of all this, the drive (for whatever reason) to overcome it and at least some success at doing this.

    This is why knowledge is always a good thing.

     

    #40638

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    survival chances of the species are enhanced.

    Survival chances of the individual.  The individual is the carrier of the individual genome.

    why is the dynamic of our fellow mammals a paradigm for our own ethics.

    We share similarities with our fellow mammals, but the big difference with humans is that we are cooperative like the bees and wasps.

    #40639

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    But there is front and center the issue whether we can be socialized into a compassionate mindset. There are not a great many who can or will live like subsistence slash and burn primitives or nomadic cultures.

    This is the great problem faced by large anonymous groups, and the question of how to achieve it remains an open one.

    #40640

    Unseen
    Participant

    What would a disproof of evolutionary ethics look like?

    I really don’t know. It’s like saying, what would a disproof of evolution look like?

    There is an entire Wikipedia entry on Objections to Evolution. You might start there.

    There are many things that evolution doesn’t explain. Not that it can’t in principle, but that there is not even an obvious starting place. Take the mind-boggling variety among the New Guinean birds of paradise. Closely related species with widely divergent forms of ridiculously extravagant plumage. Setting aside the wide variety of ultra-vivid almost luminescent colors of their plumage, what explains a bird with single two or three foot long eyebrow feathers on each side or another with the longest tail feathers of any bird, despite being only about the size of a crow?

    Evolution is not without its problems, though it seems to be the best theory going.

    Your theory doesn’t seem to have any problems—that you want to admit—and that is strange, particularly given that it’s not that widely accepted.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  Unseen.
    #40642

    Davis
    Moderator

    I can think of many things that could falsify the theory of evolution:

    • Discovering several species which were clearly engineered by some intelligence other than ourselves (where the DNA of species before humans were capable of manipulating them showed clear signs of tampering by rational forces)
    • A new species emerging so rapidly it could not possibly have done so by natural selection
    • Finding out most of our fossil evidence was undeniably fabricated and that our theory of DNA was woefully inadequate to explain evolution
    • God showing up and logically explaining how we were wrong
    • Any number of discoveries which blatantly and inexplicably conflict with the theory of evolution

    In any case, comparing a tentative moral theory in its infancy with a robust and extremely well demonstrated scientific theory is ridiculous Simon.

    #40643

    Davis
    Moderator

    I cannot stand this “thriving” bullshit anymore Simon. You cannot reduce human behaviour and the essence of everything into one or two concepts. It is reductionism at its most absurd. I simply refuse to participate in this silliness anymore.

    #40644

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    You cannot reduce human behaviour and the essence of everything into one or two concepts.

    The theory is that we achieve our thriving, surviving and reproducing in a number of ways: instrumentally (i.e., without involving anyone or anything else); cooperatively, fairly, kin-selected/inclusively, or patriarchally/sexually.  That’s not reductionist, only basic.

    #40645

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Your theory doesn’t seem to have any problems—that you want to admit—

    A general exception is “predator swamping”, where parents will give birth to millions of offspring in an effort to get a few live births past the predators.

    #40646

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    what explains a bird with single two or three foot long eyebrow feathers on each side or another with the longest tail feathers of any bird, despite being only about the size of a crow?

    The traditional answer is sexual selection.  If a bird has the wherewithall to produce long tail feathers, then presumably it has good genes to spare.

    #40647

    Unseen
    Participant

    what explains a bird with single two or three foot long eyebrow feathers on each side or another with the longest tail feathers of any bird, despite being only about the size of a crow?

    The traditional answer is sexual selection. If a bird has the wherewithall to produce long tail feathers, then presumably it has good genes to spare.

    Okay, but why zero in on two feathers as being sexy and virile? How does evolution explain that? and not a long tail feather or a stunning dance and display like this?:

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