Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Biological Imperative

We have now begun to take every human sensibility, and in madness, begun the attempt of retro-fitting it into a biological imperative. For that’s all evolution is at the bottom, the "biological imperative." Kant was wrong, there is no Categorical Imperative. All human notions, even of morality, have now been subordinated to the biological imperative. We see terms like “Reciprocal Altruism” in which we are meant to believe that either altruism is reciprocal, or that biologists don’t understand language. Altruism is, by definition, a selfless act. Reciprocation is, by definition, a self-interested act. Reciprocal Altruism is saying Selfish Selflessness. Here is the definition of Reciprocal Altruism according to the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences: “An apparently altruistic behavior performed with the understanding that the recipient will reciprocate at some future date.” The anthropologists and the biologists will have us believe that altruism doesn’t mean “altruism” in the usual sense that the word has had since its inception in human usage. It now means an act done within the framework of animal behavior and takes on a brand new meaning. This new meaning is no longer altruism, or altruism as it’s always been known and used in the sense of man doing an act in accordance with some moral notion of that which is “right.” It is now an act done for the purpose of helping another animal at a reproductive cost to itself, yet increasing the reproductive chances of another.

If we took the animalistic definition and applied it to humans, altruism would mean something like a man donating sperm or a woman donating an egg, so that the sperm and egg will not produce a child for the donor, but will produce a child for another set of human parents. But also inherent in that act would be the understanding that the recipient of the egg or sperm would reciprocate at some future date, and provide an egg or sperm. Now could you imagine using such a narrow definition applied to humans? We would be relegated to saying that anything is altruistic only when it is in the context of having babies, in a tit-for-tat relationship. There wouldn’t be a term left for anything done in a selfless act outside of procreation. If you held the door open for a stranger or risked your life rescuing someone from a fire, “altruism” wouldn’t apply.
And this raises another question. How would such a practice, that is obviously not in the interest of the individual, “evolve” when the whole impetus for evolution is natural selection for the reproduction of the individual? Didn’t we learn what the selfish gene is? And here we find again the biologist’s answer is that the altruism helps with the “fitness” of the group as a whole, or society. See now how evolution is actually for and not for the individual? See how evolution is either for the fitness of the individual or not for the fitness of the individual? And see how our evolutionary traits evolve for the individual and not for the individual? This is another example of why evolution is not really falsifiable, and therefore not really honestly scientific. It’s a worldview. The whole framework of “natural selection producing small changes amounting to increased fitness”, will be totally reversed when we find evidence that is exactly the opposite. It is the chameleon of all theories; it will change as needed to blend in to its new information. Evolution will evolve and devolve and contort and jettison and flow like water to the point of least resistance, all the while absorbing whatever it comes into contact with. Evolution tries to incorporate them both; both the selfish fitness imperative of natural selection, and the seemingly complete opposite. But they say, altruism is reciprocal, lest we forget, and that it has a selfish motive involved. I have argued with an evolutionist who claimed that animals are capable of traditional altruism, to which, to her surprise, I agreed. If nature fell, as we find in Genesis, it fell from something, from a complete goodness, just like man. We see vestiges of that “now incomplete” goodness in man, why wouldn’t we also see the shadows of that original paradise in nature? I think we do. But I was merely pointing out that altruism, whether we mean it in the animal kingdom or humans, in rocks or aliens, is not and can never be reciprocal, unless we are completely changing the definition of the word to suite our private academic needs. I pointed out that by the definition of reciprocal altruism, we can never reference anything resembling traditional altruism, in the natural world. We cannot forget what reciprocal altruism really means and confuse it with traditional altruism. She and I cannot even agree to what altruism is, so we cannot then exhaust our examples. She cannot take my defintion, for she would be suspending her own, and the very defintions are what is at stake in the argument. To assume my definition of traditional altruism, is to abandon hers. And to argue that traditional altruism "really" exists in nature, actually validates traditional altruism, and negates reciprocal altruism. They cannot have it both ways. There can be no "reciprocal altruism" definition that is actually one of traditional altruism, because, as we have seen, altruism is not done in the interest of selfish reciprocity.
The biologists have done just that, they have made “altruism” into a thing that can now be selfish and self serving. And all the while concealing this fresh new definition from the public, who may become indoctrinated by the term, and start to believe that traditional “altruism” has a biological and evolutionary heritage. And I can’t help but think that the biologists, anticipating this, used this word in particular for this purpose. Altruism has always been a difficulty for the evolutionists within the framework of the impetus of change being "natural selection for fitness of the individual." Now, they have found a solution, kill two birds with one stone; change the meaning of altruism, and yet retain the name, surreptitiously indoctrinating the public, and never actually dealing with the problem of real altruism within the framework of evolution.

Besides, altruism is based on morality, a sense of what we consider to be an action done for that which is actually "right" and "moral." When we recognize any action done in the world that we consider altruistic, we are arguing from an already established point of view, that we use to determine what altruistic behavior is. We do not learn it from nature, but instead we judge nature by it. It is the premise, by which our altruistic interpretations of nature are the conclusion, not vice versa.

1 comment:

DAVID JOHN Smith said...

How did a discussion of "Imperative" become a rant about "Altruism"?