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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    To quote Dawkins, more or less, all living things are in effect, "Gene machines". As such, they are concerned with securing their own survival so as to ensure/enhance their ability/access to potentially mate. They are motivated by finding a mate(s) and by mating, so as to enhance their chances to successfully procreate. And with mammals, and humans especially, if they successfully mate to produce offspring, they become concerned with protecting, defending, and nurturing their genetic offspring so as to enhance its survivability and therefore ultimately secure/enhance the potential proliferation of their genes amongst future populations.
    That reminds me of scientist Dr. Bruce Lipton who disagrees with Darwinism Survival of the Fitest as he believes we act as would groups of cells which interdependently, proactively function together in order to maintain the best effective outcome. When cells begin dying, the group falters and disease sets in. I'm in line with this thinking, though I've yet to read his books but so far only of his online material from his site.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    every man for himself is a very ignorant, simplistic approach. look at anything successful and you'll find it often leverages cooperation of it's elements in a systematic approach...

    for this reason, you can't look at any given element and take it for what it is, you have to look at the whether more can be gained back by the investment you make in it.

    so really, it could go either way. if you're talking about countries, you have to consider whether that country could eventually contribute to the greater good in the sense that it gives back more than what it takes. anyways, countries are constructs of man and I think aid shouldnt be considered on such a generic level.

  3. #13
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    I'm talking about this primarily on a state level. A lot of nations offer 'help' to lesser nations. This, in my opinion, is like genetically modifying a human being so that they grow in a certain way. If people agree with this, fair enough, there's no contradiction in one's believing in genetic modification of a human being and in modifying a state's natural process. But if one is against human GM, but for helping other states, there's a contradiction. Because a state must be left to grow freely. Why does the UK flourish? It received help from no state. Why do nations in Africa look like shit? Well, even if we give them aid it does nothing. In fact, it makes things worse most of the time.
    Your argument is...strange...but interesting. I would take it a step further and then object.

    Step further: tampering with the welfare of a nation is similar to genetic engineering in that you are artificially affected that success rate of some genes over another. But I would argue that ALL human activity selects for some things over other things, it's just that you're not just selecting for genes. For example, if you decide to buy a t-shirt from a designer, you are contributing to the longevity of the designer who manufactures that shirt. We're always tampering with the success rates of certain things in our environment. Another example is buying oranges from a local farmer, or even whistling a song around people. To that extent, we can never avoid artificial selection, and people who object to GMFs because we're tampering with nature, yeah...it's a weak argument imo.

    But this is ultimately really a strawman. The better argument is that the METHOD of artificially selecting is harmful. (I don't really care to argue this point here since it's not what I believe.) Not so with sending food to a starving country, where the effects are usually ameliorative. It's here that your argument falls apart as it's too broad.

  4. #14
    Senior Member nemo's Avatar
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    I tend to have a problem with the proposition that "a state must be left to grow freely." I don't think "natural" is necessarily "moral", and the view that nation-states, which are social entities, should evolve unperturbed by outside intervention into some ideal Darwinian empire is a fantasy. In fact, it's not even known what's "natural" with regards to political structure. You hear this sort of argument from libertarians and objectivists about the economy, as well.

    Naturalistic fallacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Appeal to nature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  5. #15
    Luctor et emergo Ezra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mippus View Post
    So the best we could do for civil war and famine struck states is to ignore them?
    Yes. Who helped England through its Civil War from 1642-49? England did. Who helped Ireland through its potato famine? Ireland did. Who helped Russia through the revolution in 1917? Russia did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    What if you use a different model -- like a "friendship" one [...] even if a mentor/student or parent/child model might feel a little presumptuous to you?
    I think a mentor/student relationship is quite different, and is based on something other than what you deem to be 'friendship'. It's for another discussion. However, with the parent/child case, consider that there is a kind of hierarchy, and that that which is lower or higher in the hierarchy is more nurturable than that which is higher or lower in the hierarchy respectively. That is, it is one's nature to nurture to some extent. Place the individual at the top of the hierarchy. The family comes next. Firstly, we help ourselves; because we are all, by definition, self-preservationist. Secondly, we help those closest to us; our family and close friends. Next comes those around us who we would consider to be friends or acquaintances. We may or may not help them, depending on how close we are with them.

    Now, it could be said that from a socialist perspective, since the aim of it is to strengthen the bonds of community, we should all help one another regardless of intimacy. But from a natural perspective, humans act, I believe, according to the aforementioned hierarchy. Therefore a socialist act which you seem to be considering in your friendship example would be roaming beyond the confines of human nature. Thus, it all comes down to basic beliefs about how we should act. I'm essentially offering an analogy for how we should act based on how we do act. You're explaining that there is an alternative; that we could act differently to how we act.

    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    Sounds like social darwinism among nations. Who cares about "nations?" We're all human, we should help each other out.
    Read my above arguemnt. I'd be interested in your thoughts regarding it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    every man for himself is a very ignorant, simplistic approach.
    I'd call it an alternative point of view which certainly has some value and should be seriously considered.

    look at anything successful and you'll find it often leverages cooperation of it's elements in a systematic approach...
    But, essentially, it comes down to mutual benefit. And if these countries have nothing to offer, why should they be given help?

    if you're talking about countries, you have to consider whether that country could eventually contribute to the greater good in the sense that it gives back more than what it takes.
    Okay. This could work with what I've outlined.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Step further: tampering with the welfare of a nation is similar to genetic engineering in that you are artificially affected that success rate of some genes over another. But I would argue that ALL human activity selects for some things over other things, it's just that you're not just selecting for genes. For example, if you decide to buy a t-shirt from a designer, you are contributing to the longevity of the designer who manufactures that shirt. We're always tampering with the success rates of certain things in our environment. Another example is buying oranges from a local farmer, or even whistling a song around people. To that extent, we can never avoid artificial selection, and people who object to GMFs because we're tampering with nature, yeah...it's a weak argument imo.
    So you believe that tampering with nature is okay?

    Not so with sending food to a starving country, where the effects are usually ameliorative. It's here that your argument falls apart as it's too broad.
    How is this dissimilar to selectivity?

    Quote Originally Posted by nemo View Post
    I don't think "natural" is necessarily "moral"[...]
    Who said anything about morality?

    and the view that nation-states, which are social entities, should evolve unperturbed by outside intervention into some ideal Darwinian empire is a fantasy.
    It is indeed a fantasy.

    In fact, it's not even known what's "natural" with regards to political structure.
    Which is why political scientists attempt to figure out what is.

  6. #16
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    I'm talking about this primarily on a state level. A lot of nations offer 'help' to lesser nations. This, in my opinion, is like genetically modifying a human being so that they grow in a certain way. If people agree with this, fair enough, there's no contradiction in one's believing in genetic modification of a human being and in modifying a state's natural process. But if one is against human GM, but for helping other states, there's a contradiction. Because a state must be left to grow freely. Why does the UK flourish? It received help from no state. Why do nations in Africa look like shit? Well, even if we give them aid it does nothing. In fact, it makes things worse most of the time.
    Did you ever notice that on Star Trek, they seem to violate the Prime Directive all the time? I think you have some good points here in principal, but there has to be a happy medium between non-interference and getting involved. Finding that happy medium though can be extremely difficult.
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  7. #17
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    Firstly, we help ourselves; because we are all, by definition, self-preservationist.
    If the definition of man expresses the essence of manhood, then we are not, by definition, self-preservationist. The essence of a class of things is the set of qualities all members and only members of that class always have. Men do not always desire self-preservation, nor is self-preservation the end of all human action. (Masada is a striking example of how persons, and groups of persons, may act in a manner that is not consistent with their own self-preservation.)

    If we must allow states to take a natural course because allowing a state to take a natural course is beneficial for that state, (and harmful otherwise), and what is natural for a being is for that being to act in accordance with what it is essentially, then what is beneficial for states does not necessarily promote mere self-preservation. (At least in the short term.)

    So, just because interventionist policies may be contrary to self-preservation, (in the short term), that does not mean that they should not be pursued. It is possible that are unnatural states, and intervention may help those states become natural, flourishing, beneficial members of the world community.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    Who helped Ireland through its potato famine? Ireland did.
    The Choktaw Indians did. The English were doing everything they could to make it worse.
    The Great Hunger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Who helped Russia through the revolution in 1917? Russia did.
    The Allies did.
    Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I think a mentor/student relationship is quite different, and is based on something other than what you deem to be 'friendship'. It's for another discussion. However, with the parent/child case, consider that there is a kind of hierarchy, and that that which is lower or higher in the hierarchy is more nurturable than that which is higher or lower in the hierarchy respectively. That is, it is one's nature to nurture to some extent. Place the individual at the top of the hierarchy. The family comes next. Firstly, we help ourselves; because we are all, by definition, self-preservationist. Secondly, we help those closest to us; our family and close friends. Next comes those around us who we would consider to be friends or acquaintances. We may or may not help them, depending on how close we are with them.

    Now, it could be said that from a socialist perspective, since the aim of it is to strengthen the bonds of community, we should all help one another regardless of intimacy. But from a natural perspective, humans act, I believe, according to the aforementioned hierarchy. Therefore a socialist act which you seem to be considering in your friendship example would be roaming beyond the confines of human nature. Thus, it all comes down to basic beliefs about how we should act. I'm essentially offering an analogy for how we should act based on how we do act. You're explaining that there is an alternative; that we could act differently to how we act.
    I subscribe to a utilitarian form of socialism. As slums in cities breed crime poor nations become breeding grounds for terrorists, rebels and all sorts of unpleasantness. If everyone is safe, healthy, educated and living in a wealthy society then all the bad things are either eliminated or minimized. Their safety and stability contributes to our safety and stability.

    It's not about how we feel about each other. We aren't individually helping individual people from other countries. The governments of wealthy nations send aid to the governments of poor nations. Your individual-family-friends model of caring doesn't even come into play.

  9. #19
    Luctor et emergo Ezra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    The Choktaw Indians did. The English were doing everything they could to make it worse.
    The Great Hunger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Allies did.
    Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    These two examples are minor. It's like claiming that the reason William the Conqueror invaded England was because one of his advisors said it would be a very wise choice. No doubt one of his advisors made this claim, but it is almost impossible that this was the ultimate reason for William's attacking England. Likewise, the Russian revolution didn't progress the way it did solely due to Allied intervention in Russia; nor did the Irish make their way through turbulent times because a tribe of Indians sent $710 to the entire country.

    I subscribe to a utilitarian form of socialism. As slums in cities breed crime poor nations become breeding grounds for terrorists, rebels and all sorts of unpleasantness. If everyone is safe, healthy, educated and living in a wealthy society then all the bad things are either eliminated or minimized. Their safety and stability contributes to our safety and stability.
    So, ultimately you believe that individuals should work together, but together freely. Okay, so what happens when an individual's freedom dictates that they needn't help another; does the government have a right to impose on that individual's freedom in order to force them to help their fellow human beings?

    It's not about how we feel about each other. We aren't individually helping individual people from other countries. The governments of wealthy nations send aid to the governments of poor nations.
    But individuals make up a nation. The government is made up of individuals. And individuals have an affect on one another. As a utilitarian socialist, surely you understand this.

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