Skip to content

On Evolution And Ethics

February 15, 2006

On Evolution And Ethics

Jan 8, 2001

It seems to me that ethics, being a Human artifact, is a component of the comprehensive culture evolved and developed by mankind in the course and process of its evolution.

Now, whereas each and every group of living organisms evolves its own characteristic culture in the course of its evolution the case of Human culture, even in the extremely short period of

"Human culture" exsistence, is outstanding versus the cultures of other organisms in its enhanced capability and efficiency and success of manipulating and exploiting the environment in lieu of physiological adaptation to it. This is a new twist and turn of evolution.

end.

Jan 9, 2001

Dov Henis:It seems to me that ethics, being a Human artifact, is a component of the omprehensive culture evolved and developed by mankind in the course and process of its evolution.

P Lucas: "Whatever, ethics are not due to evolution. There are no ethics to be found in volution by Darwinian selection."

D Henis: In my opinion ethics is definitely an evolved aspect, a component of the evolved Human culture that is a product and a component of Mankind's evolution.

D. Henis: "Now, whereas each and every group of living organisms evolves its own characteristic culture… "

P.Lucas: "Let's stop right there. Culture is confined to just a few species. Us, chimps, and whales that we know of for sure. But there is no transmission of extragenetic knowledge from generation to generation in coral, for example. Or in most other organisms. So the "each and every group" claim is wrong."

D. Henis: 300 years or so ago you would'nt endow the chimps or whales with culture either… I spend much time outdoors and I perceive clearly cultures of birds species, of insects, yes – even of plants….And by plain simple straightforward reasoning I expect each and every organism group to have culture simply because Humans have culture and all the Humans' mechanisms must be either derived or have similar counterparts in other organisms. They were not instilled only in us and in a few select other groups by the Gods that we conjured as our culture evolved.

D.Henis: Human culture existence is outstanding versus the cultures of other organisms in its enhanced capability and efficiency and success of manipulating and exploiting the environment in lieu of physiological adaptation to it. This is a new twist and turn of evolution.

P.Lucas: "What you are talking about is human technology. It is impressive compared to the technology of other species. I submit that this comes from one small incremental adaptation, the ability to make tools to make tools. Other species can make tools. But as far as I can tell, no other species makes a tool to make another tool."

D.Henis: I am not talking specifically and narrowly about technology. I am saying exactly what I am saying, i.e. that in Humans a new evolutionary phenomenon came into being, instead of "physiologically adapting" in response to change in environments and competition Humans manipulate and change and exploit the environment – yes, and even their own group traits and culture. In its extent and efficiency this is a uniquely novel form of evolution. end

Jan 12, 2001

D Henis wrote :" In my opinion ethics is definitely an evolved aspect, a component of the evolved Human culture that is a product and a component of Mankind's evolution".

P.Lucas answers :"We appear to be using the word "evolution" in two different meanings. I am using evolution in the restricted definition of biological evolution. You appear to be using evolution in the broader sense of "change over time." Ethics is not a part of biological evolution. "Ethics" are not selected for, because ethics applies to a group while biological evolution applies to reproductive advantage of genes. Even altruistic behavior is reduced to survival of the genes."

Dov Henis : I use the term evolution in exactly the same meaning as you. This is not where we differ. We differ in that (1) you restrict evolution to things that can be translated to genes and (2) by your conception things not physical, like culture and ethics, are entirely separate entities from the physical constitution of their bearers. Whereas I argue (1) that in Mankind evolution took a new road, replacing change of genes by developing capabilities to change the circumstances that threaten them, and (2) that all the non-physical aspects, including Human culture and ethics, are part and parcel of the physical constitution and have no separate existance from the specific physical constitution, i.e. that within the frame of the new route that evolution takes in Mankind things like culture and ethics are as much active components of the Human species composition as their genes are.

———————————

D. Henis: I spend much time outdoors and I perceive clearly cultures of birds species, of insects, yes – even of plants.

P.Lucas : "What you observe are behaviors. Even social behaviors. This is different from the technical definition of culture. Culture requires the transmission of extragenetic information from generation to generation, for one thing."

D.Henis : I admire and envy your capabilities of expression, but I disagree with you. The assemblying of ravens to ward off any one nearing a dead raven fledgling is a behavior or a cultural act? In what way is it different from what Humans would do ? Also, to me there is no such thing as "extragenetic information" since the mere development of the information and its nature and its transmission are possible and are due to and depend on the genetic constellation.

**************

PS: I am fascinated by the different approaches and attitudes of us, the (eB) group members, to things "scientific", ranging from the strictly dogmatic to wildly nearly mistic, from references-dependent to the likes of me that cannot find time for regular book reading…

Dov

Jan 12, 2001

Christine A. Ryan writes : "Popp argues that his evolutionary ethic applies to all life, regardless of whether it has a high degree of encephalization as human do. He argues, convincingly I think, that evolution creates its own moral universe. We were designed by natural selection to do one thing and one thing only. In that sense, a meaning of life has been conferred upon us."

P Lucas writes : "And what does Popp say is that "one thing"? , One thing only?. Let's use a bit of deductive logic here. Let's assume that is true. IF ALL life is designed to do just "one thing", then all life should be just alike. Find the optimal design for that "one thing" and you are done. So why is there such a divesity of life?"

Dov Henis : Undoubtedly and clearly we, as each and every other life form, are designed by natural selection to do ONLY ONE THING, which is to assure that our genes-associations survive through us and via our proliferation. And there is a rich diversity of life because there is a rich diversity of genes-associations, and there is a rich diversity of genes-associations because….read my "essay" on the origin and nature of life…. or, much better – ponder the course of evolution of life on Earth….

Dov

Advertisements
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: