View Full Version : Consensus

08-23-2003, 12:54 AM
I was born and bred on the Darwinian notion of competition. It is a pillar of my ideas that begins to crumble, maybe has for a few decades; was never incorporated in my soul.

All of us are well advised to look around, to challenge our shiboleths.

Well, looking about, I think that Darwin's competition is only one of many factors. Looking specifically here, I see cooperation, tolerance, a kind of love. There is a desire to help others, a home plate stepped up to day in and day out here, that isn't ego, isn't homeruns, impressive in its energy. Of course, to be truly self-effacing, and generous is a different act, but we try here, and often succeed in approximation.


[ 08-23-2003, 02:00 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-23-2003, 01:00 AM
Whoa there! Darwin said no such thing! I think you are confusing the theory of the evolution of species by means of natural selection, a very respectable scientific hypothesis, with "social Darwinism" - a half baked social theory which Charles himself would certainly have detested.

It is, I believe and hope, utterly discredited. It was based on the sort of misunderstanding of Darwin and Wallace's theory that you seem to have fallen into.

The theory of evolution itself has no problem at all with co-operation; it fits into the theory quite happily. A perusal of any respected ethnological journal will turn up studies not just of co-operation but of altruism within the context of the theory of natural selection.

08-23-2003, 01:05 AM
Whoa there! Darwin said no such thing! What did he say?

In short, he said, desirable characteristic are those that promote survivable reproduction. They become more prevalent, as a matter of natural selection. Makes sense.

I'm arguing(insofar as I argue at all), Andrew, that compassion, a totally different imagination that is wholly human, as far as we know, is adaptive, that it is in some way our evolution. Compassion, love, is adaptive, and unique. It's worked so far, according to Darwin. There certainly are a lot of us about.

We don't disagree.

[ 08-23-2003, 02:53 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

08-23-2003, 01:55 AM
Ish- look up "game theory". It might explain how many of the things we regard as altruism are evolutionary adaptations. Or read Matt Ridley on 'The Origins of Virtue.'

08-23-2003, 02:27 AM
Well com'on now Andrew. Ya can't just be a mosquitoe, let's hear from you. I know you're awake, over there in Merry Ol' England, because I wonder why I am. Six hours ahead. It's half past nine in the morning in London, three thirty in the AM here. Listening to Bach. I think it's Bach. Beautiful.

I'll look into games theory, James, sounds interesting.

[ 08-23-2003, 03:41 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-23-2003, 02:40 AM
Mosquito? I was just having breakfast with the family - and today being the start of August Bank Holiday weekend we're off down the river shortly!

I agree with Bob and Shamus, of course. And I am unsure that animals do not show compassion.

From my perspective, it is certainly possible that the general "atmosphere" of our society may be edging back a bit from the extreme individualism and worship of "devil take the hindmost" competition of recent years in favour of a bit more recognition that co-operation works. Probably not a bad thing.

08-23-2003, 02:50 AM
Mosquito? I was just having breakfast with the family - and today being the start of August Bank Holiday weekend we're off down the river shortly! "Mosquito?" LOL. You are many things, but you are correct, mosquito doesn't fit.

'Down the river' Hope it's by boat, and a fun safe trip for all. Bueno Suerte.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-23-2003, 03:13 AM
Certainly boat. We are off to Aldeburgh, which gives us no less that four bar crossings - in and out of the Deben and the Alde - plus Orford Castle, Iken church where St Botolph began his conversion of the East Angles (it has a thatched roof, and is surrounded on three sides by water....


it being neap tides I will risk anchoring in the shallow pool above the church (visible in the photo!)

oh and here's Orford, church, castle and merman:




one of Alex's favourite spots!

08-23-2003, 03:44 AM
My mind isn't linear, mostly, so forgive me, but I think a film you might like, Hope and Glory . I'm trying to remember the director. It's about WWII homefront in England,
the director, English. What is his name? Famous bastard, of a sort. The film is his epitome, IMHO.

Darn, can't wake it.

08-23-2003, 09:20 AM
My favorite Darwin quote is: "Damn mosquitoes!" <SLAP!>! :D

08-23-2003, 09:53 AM
Some think too much... and do too little.
They become prisoners of their own mind.

[ 08-23-2003, 11:09 AM: Message edited by: Memphis Mike ]