Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Evolution as Ethics

The results were just what the researchers hoped for. In the romantically primed group, the men went wild with the Monopoly money. Conversely, the women volunteered their lives away. Those women continued, however, to be skinflints, and the men remained callously indifferent to those less fortunate than themselves. Meanwhile, in the other group there was little inclination either to profligate spending or to good works. Based on this result, it looks as though the sexes do, indeed, have different strategies for showing off. Moreover, they do not waste their resources by behaving like that all the time. Only when it counts sexually are men profligate and women helpful. (Link)

Basically the study shows that men and women are more likely to act altruistic when it is advantageous to show off to the opposite sex. Nothing life shattering about this. Our motives are rarely (if ever) totally pure. What I have a problem with is the idea that altruism is only the result of evolutionary mechanics and this is what the article is trying to suggest. Humans are free to be altruistic without the primary motive being the accusation of an evolutinary advantage . A moral system based on evolution is going to lead to an evil society but this is where a portion of our society is trying to lead us. Why, because science must take over ethics and the meaning of man's existence.

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