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

Martz (
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 23:30:08 +0100

On Fri, 25 Apr 1997, "Wright, James 7929" <> wrote:

>We appear to be arguing around each other; when I declare surplus to be
>surplus, you suggest unforeseen need could arise. Hypotheticals arise
>continually, but do not disprove existence; clothing and food are donated
>daily to many organizations, who distribute them to the needy. We may
>have already evolved an altruistic MEME as opposed to an altruistic GENE;

So you accept that genetic altruism does not exist, except perhaps as
the occasional blip? I'll deal with your points about an altruistic meme
when I hear your answer.

>that the altruistic MEME exists and continues (people have supported the
>Salvation Army and similar organizations for a few hundred years already)
>is difficult to disprove.
>Selfish people in times of common difficulty may well be in worse trouble
>than the altruistic; the meme for gratitude also exists.

Re-read some of my posts. In the scenario you outline the *appearance*
of altruism would have served just as well as any truly altruistic

>>I was saying that if we happen to be in the middle of the short-lived,
>>altruistic blip then it is essential to the survival of the species that
>>a significant number of people remain selfish.<

Read the sentence. 'Short-lived' is the bit to watch out for.

>>YOU DON'T WATCH THE SIMPSONS?????? You poor deprived man. It is social
>>commentary at its most entertaining.<
>I saw it a few times. A stupid, bumbling father, good-intentioned but
>vacuous mother, giftedly bright although immature daughter, torrentially
>stupid and ill-mannered son still more cunning than the father;

That's it - social commentary.

>this is a
>show written for adolescents, by writers still stuck in adolescence. I
>have passed adolescence, I suppose.

I'll ignore the bitchiness, but I still have to disagree. The show is
actually written for children, and I hope to remain a member of that
most fortunate group for as long as I live.


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