Just because we are natural born killers does not mean we are not good people

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Good morning:

The significance of the recent scientific study published in Nature, which found that chimpanzees are natural-born killers, is that killing has a genetic basis. They did not learn that behavior from humans or choose to be that way. They are genetically predisposed to kill because, via natural selection, that predisposition has resulted in a competitive advantage for scarce resources and reproduction compared to chimpanzees that do not have that predisposition.

We need only look to our own culture and past to realize that we have the same genetic predisposition.

The Boston Globe reports:

It can be tempting to take a dark view of the violent behavior of chimpanzees, but Joan Silk, a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University, said discovering the origins of human behaviors in other animals is not the same as learning our destiny.

“How do animals resolve conflict is interesting,” Silk said. “How do animals find out ways to cooperate? Those are general principles from which we can learn a lot, but it doesn’t mean we’re expecting them to be the same across species. I study baboons, and I love them dearly, but they do all kinds of things I think are sort of uncivilized. If they were my kids, I’d be very distressed.”

We are finally beginning to understand that human behavior has a genetic basis. That is, we are predisposed to act in certain ways, despite our race, ethnicity, language and culture.

A predisposition to kill when vital resources are scarce is a competitive advantage. In times of plenty, it’s a competitive disadvantage.

Empathy is a competitive advantage during times of scarcity because survival is enhanced by living in a peer-to-peer cooperative relationship with others.

Individuals cannot long survive unless they belong to a group and groups cannot survive without the informed consent and cooperation of their individual members.

Mutual respect and dignity promote harmony and cooperation in times of scarcity and plenty.

Greed and exploitation of others never do. They promote discord and ultimately cause chaos.

This is why living the Golden Rule and democracy are a better model for living than a corporation that exploits other people and the environment for profit and has no accountability for the harm it causes.

Survival of the fittest is not a law. It’s only a prediction of the outcome of a fight.

22 Responses to Just because we are natural born killers does not mean we are not good people

  1. owl says:

    a good article, and your great commentary reflects a guiding principle and the essential compassion that will save or extinguish our humanity.
    meanwhile, person-to-person, community-against-community, state-to-state and nation-against-nation, hatred builds and overflows.
    i am old now, still oddly naive, but trusting less; somewhere between hope and despair i look ahead to the condition of the world for generations of offspring to follow.
    i need to practice more patience, erase judgments and dissipate disappointments that i may act upon. i am starting to learn about keeping silence. it’s not my habit. perhaps i am not genetically disposed?
    simple stuff; worth the effort. doing something different to get a different result. perhaps i can input an iota of change to the big picture. i am open to change, and have role models and mentors whom bestow their guidance upon me.
    i am, after all, just a small drop of moisture in the atmosphere….unformed. i love the ocean. it is so much bigger and more powerful than me, and us.

  2. Malisha says:

    Hey guys, here’s something to really jazz up your day — hilarious!


    Watch it all the way to the end!!

    • Disappointed says:

      Malisha- what an ass! We really need to raise the bar to be an elected official. Or to be a write in, who the hell does he represent?

    • girlp says:

      Hopefully Robert Ransdell unfounded beliefs are in the minority. The man needs help.

      • Malisha says:

        I could help him.
        I could help him cross a busy street at rush hour! 👿

        • Malisha says:

          Reminds me of a joke.

          Boyscouts were told to spend one Saturday morning going around their neighborhoods and just helping people, and at the next meeting they were asked to report on what they had done.

          One reported that he had done 16 good deeds from cleaning up litter to changing a flat tire.

          Another said he had mended a fence and carried groceries upstairs, and played guitar for people in a nursing home.

          on and on

          Finally one boy said he had helped an old lady across the street. The scout leader asked, “what else?”

          Scout: That’s all.

          Leader: How could that one good deed take you all morning?


    • fauxmccoy says:

      what impressed me most, long before the end was the visible discomfort of mostly girls in the front who stood up and walked away. yay team!
      also pleased to see teacher doing the right thing.

      holy turds, batman. mr white supremecist is being oppressed again, why does it always work that way? :/

  3. girlp says:

    The Ayn Rand society. Her ideology is scary as is her admiration of a serial killer. To see how well it works look at Brownback in Kansas.

  4. MKX says:

    Working as a group is the natural state of man, IMO.

    The concept of the super strong individualist survival of the fittest hero is just BS made up by the elite to justify their theft of property and subsequent position in a hierarchy.

    The first great weapon made by man was a long sharp stick.

    Who is going to survive against a Lion attack?

    A 250 pound, well muscled, individual with a sharp stick?

    Or ten ordinary men and women working together as a team?

    And this is why the elite sponsored media pushes individualism at every chance they get. For they know damn well that proletarians, if they united and worked as a team, would kick their ass around the block.

    I also feel that this is why there is so much stress and misery in a land that appears to have plenty. Modern society has required men and women to behave in ways totally divorced from that which is natural.

    And to take a line from Fargo:

    “All for a little bit of money”

  5. Two sides to a story says:

    Speaking of the unenlightened – here’s Shaun King on the grand jury testimony of Officer Darren Wilson – https://storify.com/VeryWhiteGuy/shaunking-exposes-ferguson-pd-lie-about-distance-f

  6. Malisha says:

    We are, presumably, living by laws that are not only derived from natural law, but that are derived from our common consent to be governed by some principles of our own choosing.

    This requires that we do things that are somewhat UNnatural to us, at times, but we have to all agree on what those departures will be. For instance, we have generally chosen to live by a law that says we will not kill each other but we then revise that law to say that we can kill if:

    (a) We have declared “war” first;
    (b) We have had “due process” first; or, in many cases,
    (c) We can get lots of anti-deceased-victim publicity AFTERWARDS.

    All three exceptions are fraught with corruption of course.

    As it turns out, people may kill others if and only if:

    (a) the killers are approved of by the larger group;
    (b) the victims are or can be disapproved of by the larger group; and
    (c) we enjoy one or another form of supremacy.

    That’s what bothers me. I don’t have the right a, b and c to kill the folks who REALLY NEED IT!

    • Two sides to a story says:

      And yet those who really need to be killed still have, amazingly, that capacity to choose compassion over self-interest.

      Good thing that humans also are imbued with a mind that can reason and make choices rather than always be governed by instinct. Many people operate under the cloud of obscuration, but like the sky full of clouds or the sea filled with waves, these can melt away into sunshine and calm waters.

      Too bad we have to constantly watch the painful consequences wrought by those who are obscured and making bad choices. Too bad mass enlightenment can’t wipe out these behaviors, but it seems to come here and there, one entity at a time. But that’s the advantage of human life over the lives of animals, who are mostly bound to their instinctual behaviors.

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