RE: virus: Altruism, Empathy, the Superorganism, and the Priso ner's

Wright, James 7929 (
Mon, 21 Apr 97 07:57:00 EDT

Martz wrote:
<Snip list of "selfless persons">
>Unfortunately I think the burden of proof rests on the position that an
>unselfishness exists. For every apparently unselfish act I can give you
>a possibly selfish motivation. The documentation you refer to above
>wouldn't prove my case, nor does its absence prove yours, and
>presumption doesn't follow. It can be shown that the *appearance* of
>altruism may confer a survival advantage, can you show me how true
>unselfishness would convey any better an advantage? In fact I'm not
>convinced that it wouldn't convey a pronounced *disadvantage*.<
I find an underlying assumption below your post above; please see if I
have surmised correctly, or if I have misconstrued your position.
You appear to hold that all behavior is necessarily survival-based; I do
not agree that this is the case. There is no demonstrable case I am aware
of that art is survival-based, that the creation of art or music or
literature (fiction) is necessary to preserve life. That being so, there
is at least one category of action that is not survival-based. Given the
existence of at least one category of action that is not survival-based,
which transcends the need of a survival motive for action, why shouldn't
there be a number of such categories? Why shouldn't there be selfless
Of course, if you can demonstrate a survival base for art, I'll have to
go find another example....