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Our tendency to altruism is explained by kinship

Started by Assyriankey, December 18, 2014, 06:39:47 PM

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kevin

Quote from: Assyriankey on December 24, 2014, 01:20:56 AM

Don't reply to this post, I'm going through all those examples you have since posted, throwing away anything that says MPA or co-residence, then I'll comment on what's left.

you don't get to toss co-residence or MPA just because they don't fit your theory, AK. both are perfectly ordinary mechanisms for determining kinship in the real world.

account for their effects in your model or give up.
dare to know.

Assyriankey

Quote from: kevin on December 24, 2014, 03:25:04 AM
you don't get to toss co-residence or MPA just because they don't fit your theory, AK. both are perfectly ordinary mechanisms for determining kinship in the real world.

account for their effects in your model or give up.

Why should I account for the ability of a person to behave altruistically to its own sibling?

That is all MPA does.

The Australian first peoples have a very elaborate system of tracking kin relationships in their tribes but it requires the maintenance of extended family histories by each tribe's elders.  They do this to prevent inbreeding.  You seem to suggest they have all been wasting their time?
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

kevin

#32
Quote from: Assyriankey on December 24, 2014, 04:06:13 PM
Why should I account for the ability of a person to behave altruistically to its own sibling?

because that's the topic of this debate. do you affirm or deny that it occurs?

--if you affirm, then you concede that people can detect their near kin, which you have been denying since the start.

--if you deny, then you reject a large body of peer reviewed research that demonstrates it to be true.

please state your choice, AK.

Quote from: Assyriankey on December 24, 2014, 04:06:13 PM
That is all MPA does.

yes. easy, isn't it?

Quote from: Assyriankey on December 24, 2014, 04:06:13 PM
The Australian first peoples have a very elaborate system of tracking kin relationships in their tribes but it requires the maintenance of extended family histories by each tribe's elders.  They do this to prevent inbreeding.  You seem to suggest they have all been wasting their time?

no, you seem to suggest that what they are doing is impossible.

there's a conceptual gap here, AK. i'm seriously not sure why we're talking past each other.
dare to know.

Assyriankey

Merry Christmas Kevin, and to Shawna too, and your family!

Quote from: kevin on December 24, 2014, 06:19:39 PM
Quote from: Assyriankey on December 24, 2014, 04:06:13 PM
Why should I account for the ability of a person to behave altruistically to its own sibling?

because that's the topic of this debate. do you affirm or deny that it occurs?

--if you affirm, then you concede that people can detect their near kin, which you have been denying since the start.

--if you deny, then you reject a large body of peer reviewed research that demonstrates it to be true.

please state your choice, AK.

In those studies, children are taught who their siblings are by repeated exposure to 2 visual clues.

1) Older sibling sees mother feeding younger sibling - MPA.
2) Younger sibling lives in same household with older sibling - co-residence.

What you claim is detection of kinship is not detection as we mean it in this thread - it is learned knowledge.

Quote from: kevin on December 24, 2014, 06:19:39 PM
Quote from: Assyriankey on December 24, 2014, 04:06:13 PM
That is all MPA does.

yes. easy, isn't it?

Sure but it's learned behaviour.

Quote from: kevin on December 24, 2014, 06:19:39 PM
Quote from: Assyriankey on December 24, 2014, 04:06:13 PM
The Australian first peoples have a very elaborate system of tracking kin relationships in their tribes but it requires the maintenance of extended family histories by each tribe's elders.  They do this to prevent inbreeding.  You seem to suggest they have all been wasting their time?

no, you seem to suggest that what they are doing is impossible.

there's a conceptual gap here, AK. i'm seriously not sure why we're talking past each other.

We're talking past each other because you are trying to claim that something learned is actually a genetic ability.

Are you aware that the learned knowledge of kinship arising from MPA and co-residence can be fooled whenever 2 unrelated children witness the visual clues from MPA and/or co-residence?  The siblings grow up behaving altruistically to each other even when they are not related.  MPA/co-residence is actually a support for my position, not yours.  This is because those studies show that familiarity breeds altruism.
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

kevin

#34
Quote from: Assyriankey on December 25, 2014, 02:21:14 AM

In those studies, children are taught who their siblings are by repeated exposure to 2 visual clues.

1) Older sibling sees mother feeding younger sibling - MPA.
2) Younger sibling lives in same household with older sibling - co-residence.

What you claim is detection of kinship is not detection as we mean it in this thread - it is learned knowledge.

among social animals, behavior is primarily learned, and i have never excluded it from the conversation. in fact, i have pointed out its importance from the start. detection of kinship through learned knowledge is highly relevant, because that is often how it works. in the old classic, belding's ground squirrels, the rodents learn who their relatives are by sharing a burrow with them. this knowledge is applied through their adult behavior in deciding who to risk their lives for when sounding predator alarm calls that reveal their own locations to the predator.

i was talking with sherman once and pointed out he could test the mechanism for learning who relatives were by putting ground squirrel babies into the wrong burrows and seeing whether they were treated like relatives as adults. he'd never thought of that, interestingly.

Quote from: Assyriankey on December 25, 2014, 02:21:14 AM

We're talking past each other because you are trying to claim that something learned is actually a genetic ability.

no, i'm claiming that the ability to utilize learned knowledge is capable of genetic direction and can be highly adaptive, as is the prediliction to social behavior in the first place. for instance, among migratory birds, learning to recognize geographic cues is very important in finding their way around. there is no need to select for the ability to spot ayers rock from a distance, even though that may be an important landmark. all selection needs to do is encourage their ability to learn landmarks for their migrations to be more successful.

Quote from: Assyriankey on December 25, 2014, 02:21:14 AM
Are you aware that the learned knowledge of kinship arising from MPA and co-residence can be fooled whenever 2 unrelated children witness the visual clues from MPA and/or co-residence?  The siblings grow up behaving altruistically to each other even when they are not related.  MPA/co-residence is actually a support for my position, not yours.  This is because those studies show that familiarity breeds altruism.

in the real world, unrelated children do not grow up in the same household at anything near significant numbers. parents raise their own children, not those of strangers. natural selection is a pragmatist, and it acts on what works, not on what is scientifically elegant. because there is a nearly 100 percent chance that the sibling you grew up with is a genuine sibling, then natural selection can use co-residence or visual habituation to encourage altruism to relatives with almost just as much accuracy as if it were using specific genetic cues. familiarity breed altruism because familiarity is highly correlated with genetic relatedness, and selection can act on either on.

this is why you can act altruistically towards members of your trade guild in some societies, and can reasonably expect the members of that guild to be closely related to you. now this can be extended until it doesn't make any sense anymore, and there's lots of assumptions. maybe a good example would be the old indian caste system, where people engaged in certain occupations and tended to marry and reproduce within their caste. doesn't work everywhere.

got to go check on a rocker oil feed line for sale on eBay.

merry christmas to you and yours-- my number one son gave shawna a bowie knife, and she's wearing it on a sash as he didn't give hr a belt to go with it. i think everybody in the house got some sort of knife from somebody for christmas.
dare to know.

Assyriankey

Quote from: kevin on December 25, 2014, 04:32:28 PM
Quote from: Assyriankey on December 25, 2014, 02:21:14 AM
Are you aware that the learned knowledge of kinship arising from MPA and co-residence can be fooled whenever 2 unrelated children witness the visual clues from MPA and/or co-residence?  The siblings grow up behaving altruistically to each other even when they are not related.  MPA/co-residence is actually a support for my position, not yours.  This is because those studies show that familiarity breeds altruism.

in the real world, unrelated children do not grow up in the same household at anything near significant numbers. parents raise their own children, not those of strangers. natural selection is a pragmatist, and it acts on what works, not on what is scientifically elegant. because there is a nearly 100 percent chance that the sibling you grew up with is a genuine sibling, then natural selection can use co-residence or visual habituation to encourage altruism to relatives with almost just as much accuracy as if it were using specific genetic cues. familiarity breed altruism because familiarity is highly correlated with genetic relatedness, and selection can act on either on.

Yay progress!

Our tendency to altruism is tied to the familiar.  We trust the familiar, we have less qualms about helping the familiar.

A long time ago, it was effectively 100% always the case that everyone who was familiar to you was related to you.  Exceptions occurred but this didn't matter too much because of their rarity.

As our tribal populations increased, and as variety within our tribes increased, the visual clues (which are genetic of course) became ever more mixed, and ever more unreliable as an indicator of relatedness, yet familiarity is not dependent on the actual visual clues - familiarity is only dependent on repeated exposure to any visual clues.  At some time in the past, our species hit upon upon a default position of altruistic behaviour (positive conduct towards the familiar as opposed to positive conduct towards the genetically related) and this behaviour was then selected by natural selection and became ubiquitous within the tribe.  Altruism 'broke free' from any hard and fast genetic relatedness.  Altruism and genuine kin selection separated into separate behaviours.

As you said earlier, for altruism to take hold like this there would have had to been a relative lack of competition for resources, but we should have no difficulty agreeing that as humans evolved and started to use their burgeoning intelligence to better control their food environments (coordinated hunting, better knowledge of the seasons, etc) that this lack of competition for resources did take place.

Do you think altruism is on the wane nowadays?
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

kevin

i think that idea is completely wrong, and i've backed it up with evidence i've been repeating from the start.

people CAN tell each other apart.

your tribe has NOT increased.

there is competition for resources all over the world.

under those circumstances, helping non-kin is evolutionary suicide.

the hypothesis that altruism can be created by natural selection and can then break free of it ignores how gene frequencies vary in nature, and how natural selection works.

ill be back in the morning.

ciao


dare to know.

Assyriankey

Kevin, not sure if you're doing this or not, but you shouldn't look to the present when arguing against the possible evolution of altruism.  Comments like 'my tribe has not increased' are wholly irrelevant.

This is an interesting read, the last 3 paras are especially relevant.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/altruism-biological/
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

kevin

#38
QuoteSober argues that, even if we accept an evolutionary approach to human behaviour, there is no particular reason to think that evolution would have made humans into egoists rather than psychological altruists (see also Schulz 2011). On the contrary, it is quite possible that natural selection would have favoured humans who genuinely do care about helping others, i.e., who are capable of ?real? or psychological altruism. Suppose there is an evolutionary advantage associated with taking good care of one's children?a quite plausible idea. Then, parents who really do care about their childrens' welfare, i.e., who are ?real? altruists, will have a higher inclusive fitness, hence spread more of their genes, than parents who only pretend to care, or who do not care. Therefore, evolution may well lead ?real? or psychological altruism to evolve. Contrary to what is often thought, an evolutionary approach to human behaviour does not imply that humans are likely to be motivated by self-interest alone. One strategy by which ?selfish genes? may increase their future representation is by causing humans to be non-selfish, in the psychological sense.

^^^this is illogical nonsense, AK. sober is a philosopher, not a biologist. this review article provides no mechanism to explain why natural selection should somehow operate in a completely different way for human beings than it does for everything else.

here is the flaw in the reasoning:

Quote. . . Then, parents who really do care about their childrens' welfare, i.e., who are ?real? altruists, will have a higher inclusive fitness, hence spread more of their genes, than parents who only pretend to care, or who do not care. Therefore, evolution may well lead ?real? or psychological altruism to evolve . . .

the conclusion presented does not follow. what does follow is ordinary kin selection, but the author substitutes group selection instead.

you should think about this part, because this is what i have been arguing still obtains among human beings:

QuoteContrary to what is sometimes thought, kin selection does not require that animals must have the ability to discriminate relatives from non-relatives, less still to calculate coefficients of relationship. Many animals can in fact recognize their kin, often by smell, but kin selection can operate in the absence of such an ability. Hamilton's inequality can be satisfied so long as an animal behaves altruistically towards others animals that are in fact its relatives. The animal might achieve this by having the ability to tell relatives from non-relatives, but this is not the only possibility. An alternative is to use some proximal indicator of kinship. For example, if an animal behaves altruistically towards those in its immediate vicinity, then the recipients of the altruism are likely to be relatives, given that relatives tend to live near each other. No ability to recognize kin is presupposed. Cuckoos exploit precisely this fact, free-riding on the innate tendency of birds to care for the young in their nests.
dare to know.

kevin

i'm beginning to undestand that you're arguing for reciprocal altruism, which can occur interspecifically among unrelated organisms, the difference being that you're applying it to a single species.

is this correct?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocal_altruism

dare to know.