Re: [asa] What is life? (letters in Raleigh News & Observer)

From: <>
Date: Tue Oct 16 2007 - 17:50:13 EDT

> Suppose evolutionary theory can thoroughly explain altruism. Given that
> knowledge, what data do you need about a particular individual in order
> to predict or give the corresponding probabilities that that individual
> is an altruist or not.

> Moorad

Altruism is probably a combination of instinctive aspects of human cognition that
are alternately reinforced or degraded by environmental conditioning.? That is, I think
that we are all almost the same in our instinctive makeup, the more evolved aspects
of which can be characterized as altruistic.?

If we are brought up in a highly evolved society those higher (more altruistic) species
level survival mechanisms will be expressed in our lives by the mutual state of conditioning
of our fellow humans as supported by the population's spiritual inclinations.? In a less evolved
(or highly distressed) society altruism is supplanted by more immediate individual survival
tactics and more primitive survival instincts that sacrifice the species well being for
personal survival.

In fact, the individual's survival is fundamentally conflicted with the species survival
interests via competition issues.? Like other commandments, "thou shalt not kill is
a bottom line species level survival imperative drawing the line where competition ends
and evil begins.? Evil is the individual being rationally self-interested to the detriment of
the species well being.? Being good is being paradoxically self-disinterested in deference
to what is best for the collective, which is altruistic.

Individuals aspire to survive in different time frames than the species.? Individual survival
is finite, temporary.? Species aspire to evolve and survive forever.? And the only thing that
can promote our species evolutionary imperatives over our rational, individual survival tactics
and more primitive instinctive survival impulses is our most evolved instinct of all, our
instinct for God.? The ultimate authority for human behavior is our certainty of how God
would have us behave.? And that's largely the same across all religions and cultures
as well as being pretty unambiguously altruistic in nature. ?

And our belief in God is not "just some evolutionary quirk" to "fool" us into behaving
in a way that turns out to be good for us in the long term.? The belief in God is an accurate
instinctive perception of the universe in terms of our survival (salvation).? Neurological
survival traits aren't selected for their ability to fool us into anything.? Such traits are
naturally selected predominately on one criteria.? They reflect within the perception of
the organism an accurate representation of the real world.?

Good visual cortex, good hand-to-eye coordination, even reason itself are all selected
based on how accurately the allow us to characterize the real world in pursuit of our
survival.? Our belief in God is no different.? A belief in God is how we accurately place
the entire context of human life in the universe in absolute terms.? Our belief in God is
the ultimate product of human brain evolution in terms of directly sensing what the
universe is all about.? (


-----Original Message-----
From: PvM []
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 11:13 PM
To: Alexanian, Moorad
Cc: AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: Re: [asa] What is life? (letters in Raleigh News & Observer)

What is one to make of such ad hoc claims? Proof by assertion seems
rather circular an approach here.

Let's take the concept of altruism, surely as nonphysical as any of
the ones claimed by Alex, and yet we can study it, and even find
plausible evolutionary explanations for it. So what am I to make of
such assertions? Perhaps responding to it already makes too much of
them, but I am really attempting to understand the logic involved.

On 10/14/07, Alexanian, Moorad <> wrote:

Consciousness and rationality are purely nonphysical, since purely
physical devices cannot detect them, and can only be "detected" by the
self in humans. In addition, life cannot be reduced to the purely
physical, so living beings are both physical and nonphysical.

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Received on Tue Oct 16 17:51:45 2007

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