Has all social evolution been driven by God?

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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#361  Postby surreptitious57 » Jul 10, 2018 8:59 am


We are only ground apes so dont expect too much from us but we can still try


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#362  Postby DavidMcC » Jul 16, 2018 4:04 pm

I've probably said this before, but it is worth mentioning that social evolution isn't "driven by god" at all, though it may be partly driven by belief in god. Big difference, but one that jamest might not like.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#363  Postby jamest » Jul 16, 2018 7:28 pm

DavidMcC wrote:I've probably said this before, but it is worth mentioning that social evolution isn't "driven by god" at all, though it may be partly driven by belief in god. Big difference, but one that jamest might not like.

I did actually argue that point myself David, have a look at the OP. I'll admit that the title isn't worded clearly enough though.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#364  Postby Thommo » Jul 16, 2018 9:03 pm

jamest wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:I've probably said this before, but it is worth mentioning that social evolution isn't "driven by god" at all, though it may be partly driven by belief in god. Big difference, but one that jamest might not like.

I did actually argue that point myself David, have a look at the OP. I'll admit that the title isn't worded clearly enough though.


You didn't though. You stated that you could not see an alternative to social evolution being entirely (note: not partly) driven by god. Those are two different things.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#365  Postby jamest » Jul 16, 2018 9:10 pm

Thommo wrote:
jamest wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:I've probably said this before, but it is worth mentioning that social evolution isn't "driven by god" at all, though it may be partly driven by belief in god. Big difference, but one that jamest might not like.

I did actually argue that point myself David, have a look at the OP. I'll admit that the title isn't worded clearly enough though.


You didn't though. You stated that you could not see an alternative to social evolution being entirely (note: not partly) driven by god. Those are two different things.

At this precise moment, I can't be arsed playing your game. Nothing personal though, I hope you're well. Maybe later.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#366  Postby Thommo » Jul 16, 2018 9:18 pm

jamest wrote:
Thommo wrote:
jamest wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:I've probably said this before, but it is worth mentioning that social evolution isn't "driven by god" at all, though it may be partly driven by belief in god. Big difference, but one that jamest might not like.

I did actually argue that point myself David, have a look at the OP. I'll admit that the title isn't worded clearly enough though.


You didn't though. You stated that you could not see an alternative to social evolution being entirely (note: not partly) driven by god. Those are two different things.

At this precise moment, I can't be arsed playing your game. Nothing personal though, I hope you're well. Maybe later.


I'm not playing a game, you genuinely did not argue for this in the OP. You said that you could not believe atheists could produce an account of social evolution without god.

You did not present an argument (by which I mean supporting reasons, facts, evidence, logic or some combination of those) that it was not possible that all (or even some) social evolution was not driven by god.

I tell you what, here's your OP:
jamest wrote:I've been thinking tonight about concepts such as freedom, equality and justice. I've come to the conclusion that every single one of these concepts have their essence in the hopeful reality of God.

I am myself a theist though not allegiant to any particular religion/church, though it's occurred to me that devoid of the concept of God, there doesn't appear to be any reason to be an advocate of the aforementioned concepts.

Yet, in the supposedly secular West we still ground our politics upon these base individual desires, which we've had as a whole for ages; yet, what basis does [the new] atheist/materialist thinking have to utilise these desires within our politics? I mean, it seems to me that they are either innate desires or a legacy of having long-held unified beliefs associated with our connectedness with God. That is, I'm of the opinion that all social evolution (in The West, anyway) has been driven by concepts borne of theistic associations.

There doesn't appear to me to be any reason to justify the use of such concepts of freedom, equality & justice, as the basis of an atheist/materialistic/secular politics. For me, atheism and materialism (secularism) - if true - render us all unequal and different: competing entities... Darwin's "survival of the fittest".

There's no room for freedom, equality nor justice, in a jungle of competing mechanisms.

So, spare us the bullshit, you atheists you. Support Darwin? Then vote selfishness, anarchy, self-glory. Or, at least, stop voting for parties promoting the opposite, since they're using theistic concepts as the basis of their politics.

Discuss intelligently, buy some popcorn, or fuck off on the next available bus. Just spare me the usual fucking spiel.


Can you just requote it with the "argument" coloured red and a quick explanation of just what it is you think an argument is?
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#367  Postby LucidFlight » Jul 16, 2018 9:33 pm

Perhaps if we focus on the "hopeful reality of God" part of the first paragraph, this can be interpreted as meaning belief in God, rather than God itself.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#368  Postby Thommo » Jul 16, 2018 9:34 pm

Sure, so where is the argument?

I can see a few expressions of belief. But these are distinct things.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#369  Postby LucidFlight » Jul 16, 2018 9:40 pm

I think the argument appears in the second paragraph, and is expanded upon in the third and fourth paragraphs. The central idea appears to be that, according to jamest, there can be no reason for freedom, equality, and justice, other than the hopefully reality of God.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#370  Postby Thommo » Jul 16, 2018 9:48 pm

I can see a statement that "there can be no reason for freedom, equality or justice, other than the hopeful reality of God". I cannot see an argument for it. Those things are different.

For example: Suppose I would argue for continued membership of Britain in the European Union, I would present reasons that it would benefit Britain to do so, I would suggest facts, which indicate that continued membership was beneficial and chains of inference connecting those facts to what I expect to happen in the event of remaining. There is nothing similar in the third or fourth paragraphs. There are no obstacles for the sceptical observer to overcome, no points to counter, no objections to consider.

James merely doesn't think it is the case, he never informs us why.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#371  Postby LucidFlight » Jul 16, 2018 10:00 pm

Maybe it’s not an argument in the traditional sense. It could be a metaphysical argument.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#372  Postby jamest » Jul 16, 2018 11:09 pm

I love LF. He could take the piss out of me all night and I'd still be smiling.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#373  Postby scott1328 » Jul 16, 2018 11:52 pm

jamest wrote:I love LF. He could take the piss out of me all night and I'd still be smiling.

How typical of you to ignore valid points raised by others and latch onto those taking the piss.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#374  Postby jamest » Jul 17, 2018 12:39 am

scott1328 wrote:
jamest wrote:I love LF. He could take the piss out of me all night and I'd still be smiling.

How typical of you to ignore valid points raised by others and latch onto those taking the piss.

How typical of you to promote bullshit I couldn't give a shit about.

I'm on my own here. Do you think that I give a fuck? Have I not proved my point about that here??

Spare me your bullshit. I've been hearing it for close to two decades.

My best advice to you Sir, atm, is that you should eventually realise that the meaning of your life - to promote gay ideals - falls far short of my own. No offense intended. If I'd been around in 1860s USA I'd have said a similar thing to Lincoln regarding a different social reform.

The bottom line is that I suffer no philosophical form of myopia.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#375  Postby Fenrir » Jul 17, 2018 1:01 am

scott1328 wrote:
jamest wrote:I love LF. He could take the piss out of me all night and I'd still be smiling.

How typical of you to ignore valid points raised by others and latch onto those taking the piss.


Unfair! Boo hiss.

Taking the piss and having valid points which address steaming holes in non-arguments are not mutually exclusive positions.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#376  Postby SafeAsMilk » Jul 17, 2018 1:43 am

jamest wrote:
scott1328 wrote:
jamest wrote:I love LF. He could take the piss out of me all night and I'd still be smiling.

How typical of you to ignore valid points raised by others and latch onto those taking the piss.

How typical of you to promote bullshit I couldn't give a shit about.

Yes, everyone knows you couldn't give a shit about actually addressing valid points.

I'm on my own here. Do you think that I give a fuck? Have I not proved my point about that here??

Nobody gives a fuck that you don't give a fuck. Get over yourself.

Spare me your bullshit. I've been hearing it for close to two decades.

Sounds like you shouldn't be spared it, since after 20 years you still haven't learned anything.

My best advice to you Sir, atm, is that you should eventually realise that the meaning of your life - to promote gay ideals - falls far short of my own.

Seeing as the meaning of your life seems to be yelling ineffectually at people for 20 years, I seriously doubt it.

No offense intended. If I'd been around in 1860s USA I'd have said a similar thing to Lincoln regarding a different social reform.

So you're not interested in anything that actually helps people.

The bottom line is that I suffer no philosophical form of myopia.

You are the most myopic philosopher I've ever encountered :lol:
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#377  Postby Thommo » Jul 17, 2018 3:58 am

jamest wrote:My best advice to you Sir, atm, is that you should eventually realise that the meaning of your life - to promote gay ideals - falls far short of my own. No offense intended. If I'd been around in 1860s USA I'd have said a similar thing to Lincoln regarding a different social reform.


You would have said that to Lincoln as well? What while ushering "uppity negroes" back to their cages?

Honestly, it feels like it would be so much easier to just answer a simple query than to sidetrack into defending slavery. Weird.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#378  Postby zoon » Jul 17, 2018 9:03 am

jamest wrote:I've been thinking tonight about concepts such as freedom, equality and justice. I've come to the conclusion that every single one of these concepts have their essence in the hopeful reality of God.

I am myself a theist though not allegiant to any particular religion/church, though it's occurred to me that devoid of the concept of God, there doesn't appear to be any reason to be an advocate of the aforementioned concepts.

Yet, in the supposedly secular West we still ground our politics upon these base individual desires, which we've had as a whole for ages; yet, what basis does [the new] atheist/materialist thinking have to utilise these desires within our politics? I mean, it seems to me that they are either innate desires or a legacy of having long-held unified beliefs associated with our connectedness with God. That is, I'm of the opinion that all social evolution (in The West, anyway) has been driven by concepts borne of theistic associations.

There doesn't appear to me to be any reason to justify the use of such concepts of freedom, equality & justice, as the basis of an atheist/materialistic/secular politics. For me, atheism and materialism (secularism) - if true - render us all unequal and different: competing entities... Darwin's "survival of the fittest".

There's no room for freedom, equality nor justice, in a jungle of competing mechanisms….

Robert Sapolsky discusses the norms of fairness, indirect reciprocity, and avoidance of despotism in hunter-gatherers in his 2017 book “Behave” (Sapolsky is using “HG” to stand for “hunter-gatherer”). A norm of avoiding despotism (cutting down bullies) seems close to the concept of freedom, and fairness is at least similar to justice in not being immediately and obviously explicable on the basis of natural selection. As far as I know, all HG societies which have been studied believe in supernatural beings, but they aren’t mentioned in Sapolsky’s discussion. Ganging up on bullies is a way for cooperators to make life pleasanter and more productive for themselves, and, similarly, an enforced norm of fairness helps everyone to survive.

In this passage, Sapolsky is discussing the use of norms by modern HGs; specifically, when HGs will kill as a last resort to enforce norms. This is not behaviour which is seen in non-human animals, though the precursors are certainly there. For example, when he discusses the norm of fairness, the sharing of meat is typically not a case of tolerated scrounging, or the successful hunter allowing others to take what they can (which is what often happens after chimps hunt). Instead, for human HGs, it is usual for a third party to cut up and distribute the meat. This is not seen in any non-human animal, and the butchery marks on bones discovered by archaeologists suggest that this behaviour may have first appeared around 200,000 years ago, which is also about the date of the earliest modern human skeletons.

Sapolsky is citing 2 sources for the section of his book which I quote:

1) a 2013 paper in Science by Douglas Fry and Patrik Soderberg, link to pdf here

2) a 2012 book by Christopher Boehm, “Moral Origins: the evolution of virtue, altruism and shame”. The pdf of a 2017 article by Boehm on “Prehistoric capital punishment” is here.

Both sources are reviews of the literature relating to hunter-gatherer groups which are still nomadic. The paper by Fry and Soderberg has the more stringent criteria, it is limited to HG groups which were well studied before extensive contact with outsiders and living in a stable ecosystem. Double brackets are my additions.

Robert Sapolsky (in Behave, 2017, pages 323-5) wrote:[q Both Fry and Boehm report killings akin to capital punishment for severe norm violations. What norms do nomadic HGs value most? Fairness, indirect reciprocity, and avoidance of despotism.

Fairness. As noted, HGs pioneered human cooperative hunting and sharing among nonrelatives. This is most striking with meat. It’s typically shared by successful hunters with unsuccessful ones (and their families); individuals playing dominant roles in hunts don’t necessarily get much more meat than everyone else; crucially, the most successful hunter rarely decides how the meat is divided – instead this is typically done by a third party. There are fascinating hints about the antiquity of this. Big-game hunting by hominins 400,000 years ago has been documented; bones from animals butchered then show cut marks that are chaotic, overlapping at different angles, suggesting a free-for-all. But by 200,000 years ago the contemporary HG pattern is there – cut marks are evenly spaced and parallel, suggesting that single individuals butchered and dispensed the meat.
This does not mean, though, that sharing is effortless for pure HGs. Boehm notes how, for example, the !Kung perpetually kvetch about being shortchanged on meat. It’s the background hum of social regulation.

Indirect reciprocity. The next chapter discusses reciprocal altruism between pairs of individuals Boehm emphasizes how nomadic HGs specialize, instead, in indirect reciprocity. Person A is altruistic to B; B’s social obligation now isn’t necessarily as much being altruistic to A as paying the altruism forward to C. C pays it forward to D, etc……This stabilizing cooperation is ideal for big-game hunters, where two rules hold: (a) your hunts are usually unsuccessful; and (b) when they are successful, you typically have more meat than your family can consume, so you might as well share it around. As has been said, an HG’s best investment against future hunger is to put meat in other people’s stomachs now.

Avoidance of despotism. As also covered in the next chapter, there’s considerable evolutionary pressure for detecting cheating (when someone reneges on their half of a reciprocal relationship). For nomadic HGs, policing covert cheating is less of a concern than overt evidence of intimidation and powermongering. HGs are constantly on guard against bullies throwing their weight around

HG societies expend lots of collective effort on enforcing fairness, indirect reciprocity, and avoidance of despotism. This is accomplished with that terrific norm-enforcement mechanism, gossip. HGs gossip endlessly, and as studied by Polly Wiessner of the University of Utah, it’s mostly about the usual: norm violation by high-status individuals. ((Prof. Sapolsky cites two articles by Wiessner, in 2014 and 2005, which are here and here.)) People magazine around the campfire. Gossiping serves numerous purposes. It helps for reality testing (“Is it just me, or was he being a total jerk?”), passing news (“Two guesses who just happened to get a foot cramp during the hairiest part of the hunt today”), and building consensus (“Something needs to be done about this guy”). Gossip is the weapon of norm enforcement.

HG cultures take similar actions – collectively subjecting miscreants to criticism, shaming and mockery, ostracizing and shunning, refusing to share meat, nonlethal physical punishment, expulsion from the group, or, as a last resort, killing the person (done either by the whole group or by a designated executioner).

Boehm documents such judicial killings in nearly half the pure HG cultures. What transgressions merit them? Murder, attempts at grabbing power, use of malicious sorcery, stealing, refusal to share, betrayal of the group to outsiders, and of course breaking of sexual taboos All typically punished this way after other interventions have failed repeatedly.

((Footnote by Sapolsky)) Boehm emphasises that anthropologists never really know what truly is going on among their research subjects until they’re privy to gossip. In doing my baboon research, I spent many seasons sharing camp with Maasai guys whom I knew relatively well and would hear about big goings-on in their community. Eventually, my soon-to-be wife started joining me in the field, and it was only then that we started to hear about the good stuff, via her becoming friends with some of the women – the usual of who was or wasn’t sleeping with whom.
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Re: Has all social evolution been driven by God?

#379  Postby zoon » Jul 17, 2018 9:25 am

A brief discussion of egalitarianism in hunter-gatherer societies is in an article by Polly Wiessner published in "Human Nature" in 2005 here. Again, there is no mention of supernatural entities as an important element in the hunter-gatherers’ setting up and enforcement of at least partial equality. Quoting from the introductory paragraphs:

2. Egalitarian relations (Boehm 1993, 1996, 1999; Cashdan 1980; Clastres 1977; Gardner 1991; Kelly 1995) are maintained among foragers to facilitate reciprocity and cooperation on five accounts (Wiessner 2002a). (a) They standardize certain information by specifying that all adult members of the society are autonomous equals who cannot command, bully, coerce, or indebt others. (b) They reduce the risks of cooperation because people do not fear that assistance given in the present will be used to dominate in the future, (c) They stipulate that it is the obligation of all people to stand up for their interests and permit all individuals to punish norm defectors, if they choose to do so. (d) They allow individuals and families to choose different options when environmental conditions require dispersal, (e) They facilitate mobility between visiting groups because hierarchies do not mesh easily. Egalitarian institutions vary in how encompassing they are, that is, whether they include adults of both sexes and all ages, and whether equality applies to both opportunity and outcome (Flanagan 1989; Robbins 1994). For the Ju/'hoansi, as for many foragers, equality applies to all adults and to equality of opportunity as well as equality of outcome; modesty is the ideal. However, as in all human societies there is an age hierarchy and the young generally defer to the older. By contrast, in big-man societies potential equality is fiercely defended, but attaining higher status is permitted in exchange for goods and services provided for the group (Brown 1990; Godelier and Strathem 1991; Roscoe 2000; Sahlins 1963; Wiessner 2002a).
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