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Thursday, 08 December 2016


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I thought Professor Dawkins covered this - that in some cases, animals who work together are more successful than those who do not - a 'primitive' example of this would be the wolf pack and the pride of lions.

I'm not agreeing that Dawkins has an answer for everything, I just felt that this was a reasonable response. Interestingly, we see a number of films about a post-apocalyptic world where if a sudden decrease of food is introduced, humans immediately turn to violence and slaughtering one another rather than working together. I always say, "Don't horde food, horde cross bows".

Sorry, Miss Mayfly, hunting in packs is not altruism, it's merely 'efficient harvesting'. When you see a wolf or a lion voluntarily walk away from the kill so that others can feed, that's altruism!

Altruism is a basic human instinct that kicks in when the situation demands it or it will reap rewards greater than that which is given or is believed it will. The situation is generally in nurture and the rewards are ones that bring better social cohesion. Both scenarios are ones where self interest is the driving factor. Both fit into our basic program to survive and procreate. We do many weird, wonderful and counter intuitive things to achieve that.

Darwin probably considering the constraints he worked under did not get his theory absolutely right and no doubt there is room for improvement but the basics I am sure he did.

Do you mean, Antis, like someone diving into flooded river at risk of life in order to save a stranger? Or someone on the Titanic giving up a place in the lifeboat to a stranger?

Humanity, being part of the great biosphere practices altruism as a way of helping any creature that is part of our heritage of natural selection. Whats wrong with that? Its why I go ahhh at most baby life apart from socialists.

Hmmmm, how about the male wolf feeding the female or even the injured and the old? Is that not a thing?

Can't say I've ever seen it, Miss Mayfly, but I bet the male wolf helps himself first!

Jumping Jurassic Park - older than the combined age of D&N readership, and probably more evolved! ...


Oooh, he was very nasty about the laydeez! ...

"I BELIEVE THAT the intellectual capacity of women is on the whole inferior to that of men."

For an opening line that's up there with Thackeray's Barry Lyndon ...

"Since the days of Adam, there has been hardly a mischief done in this world but a woman has been at the bottom of it."

And he had some very strange thoughts about the number 3 ...


Thanks, SoD, for that first link. I'm too knacked at the moment to read all of it but it is typical Stove at his provocative best. I will have a quick squint at his thoughts on the numeral 3 but whether I will understand it is another question!

"Since the days of Adam, there has been hardly a mischief done in this world but a woman has been at the bottom of it."

And, behind every successful man is a surprised mother-in-law!

Give it a go tomorrow, it's really not that bad! And it's very funny.

In fact he's getting at the sort of verbiage a great number of philosophers spout that fills you with dread as you start to read the first sentence with the daunting prospect of however many pages ahead of you.

A bit like reading my crapulata actually! ...


Good for Stove. He's recognized that religion, which is virtually by definition an over-reach, is the one thing more worthless than over-reaching philosophy. I really tried to make it entirely through the last link, SoD, but decided it would be more rewarding to chew aluminum foil.

Poor old Stovey, I think he croaked before Wikipedia was invented.

Wiki cuts the flowery crap, pith and puff, and gets straight to the philosopher's point. Some poor buggers actually read Hegel et al and did the dirty work that Stove said was unending and therefore undoable.

Amazing *idea* the internet: Level 4 recursively enumerable. Yet still not as bright as Godel, Chomsky, and you or I (with a bit of coaching).



Here's Berkeley, for example, Stove's "least worst" offender of his neo-positivist view-point ...

Scroll down to the section "Contribution to philosophy".

Whaddaya think about that then? Bet you "vomited into your mouth a little"! But at least it only took 5 minutes out of your life.

Note Berkeley's philosophical similarity to SoD's "Hierarchy": He collapses away the idea of material, core substance, essence blancmange, whatever the materialists are calling it these days, that scientists have "over-reached" for since science existed, while still acknowledging the existence of objects and things. In his proposition objects and things, whether perceived or reflected upon, are constructs of the mind, the mind being a level 4 contraption in SoD's hierarchy. So all the particular objects and things we level 4's are capable of perceiving and reflecting upon are level 3 down to 0 contraptions. Thanks to Godel, Tarski et al, we now have the proof of our level 4-ness, God's level 5-ness, His God's level 6-ness, etc., each contraption running its own mind in the mind of its parent; if the level 3 Turing machine can prove the "existence of truth and form that cannot be proved or formed in a Turing machine", then we, as a level 4, can add that what we merely once "knew" is now proven. Berkeley knew it through philosophy first, and logic followed later.

So for you Bob, Stovey, and the neo-positivists, now that Berkeley's ideas are proven in the system of logic that you hold dear to your heart, your game is up.


"Wolves would never abandon a member of the pack - they are intensely social animals that rely on each other for everything. They are extremely loyal and devoted to one another. This includes feeding, protecting and caring for sick or injured pack members - wolves have been known to recover from serious injuries like a broken leg or jaw because of the support of the pack. For a lone predator, such injuries would mean death since they would prevent hunting or feeding (wolves with a broken jaw cannot feed normally, by tearing chunks of flesh from a carcass, but the others will regurgitate food for a wolf so injured, just as they would for their cubs)."

Some bloke on the internet.

However, I would argue that this was not altruism in the way that we understand, just as objects dropping on the floor or injuring us is not deliberate harm, even though it may appear that way. I would say altruism in humans springs from the natural form that we can observe in other species, but ‘mutated’ by the human desire for social acceptance. And these days, due to the law, in that one cannot abandon a child/the sick/the old without suffering consequences and social outcasting for example.


OK, I'll play along. Can you explain what my "game" is and exactly how your personal "great chain of being" disproves it? There are useful branches of philosophy concerning things like ethics and science that attempt to lend guidance, but philosophy proves exactly nothing and never has.

Michel Foucault is mentioned by Stove as an unclassified type of philosopher who is now generally known as a post-modernist. He attempted to present science as just another mythology subject to philosophical and literary criticism. As soon as mythologists can criticise into existence working lasers, jet aircraft, computers and so on I'll concede his point.

Btw, I've got my own hierarchy called "the department store philosophy of life and everything":

Floor 1: stupidity, the basic building block of the universe
Floor 2: plants and other animals
Floor 3: man
Floor 4: philosophy
Floor 5: kitchenware, home furnishings
Floor 6: the moon landing
Floor 7: the relativistic universe
Floor 8: string theory, maybe
Floor 9: profound seriousness
Floor 10: technologically advanced space aliens
Floor 11: demons
Floor 12: gods

Prove me wrong.

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