Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 General Skepticism
 Altruism
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Fireballn
Skeptic Friend

Canada
179 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2003 :  00:32:17  Show Profile Send Fireballn a Private Message
I am having a debate with some university buddies about true altruism. Has there ever been a documented case?

A guy jumping on a granade is not because he knows his family will remember him as a hero..... any thoughts?

If i were the supreme being, I wouldn't have messed around with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers 8 o'clock day one!
-Time Bandits-

PhDreamer
SFN Regular

USA
925 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2003 :  01:17:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit PhDreamer's Homepage Send PhDreamer a Private Message
It seems people use the word "altruism" to refer to different behaviors. The scientific definition is, "deliberate sacrifice of a portion of an individual's reproductive capacity in order to increase that of another." From this paper. I would focus on this definition, instead of the more popular, and probably unprovable, "acting from purely unselfish motives." Albert Camus makes a convincing case that the latter does not exist.

I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery.
-Agent Smith
Go to Top of Page

Fireballn
Skeptic Friend

Canada
179 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2003 :  02:25:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Fireballn a Private Message
PH you have an evolutionary answer to everything, thats good. This is for the more popular view. Like McDonald's with their McDonald's house, they help a lot of people.....but are they just trying to sell hamburgers? Mother Theresa helped a lot of people, but if she got self gratification out of it altruism disappears. A person who sacrifices himself to save others but nobody is there to report it would be a case....but it would be hard to report that evidence. If he thought it would never be known, (then found out later) that would be a case. I want to know if that has ever happened.

If i were the supreme being, I wouldn't have messed around with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers 8 o'clock day one!
-Time Bandits-
Go to Top of Page

PhDreamer
SFN Regular

USA
925 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2003 :  12:52:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit PhDreamer's Homepage Send PhDreamer a Private Message
Did you read that paper I linked to, fireballn? Kin selection and reproductive fitness seem to go a long way toward explaining apparently altruistic behavior. In any case, I can't imagine why you would need a documented case of altruistic behavior. As per your hypothetical, the odds are probably astronomical that something exactly like that hasn't happened. I would think the burden of proof would be on the one claiming that a perfectly plausible SOA hasn't obtained simply because they don't think there's any such thing as pure altruism.

I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery.
-Agent Smith
Go to Top of Page

@tomic
Administrator

USA
4607 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2003 :  13:19:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit @tomic's Homepage Send @tomic a Private Message
quote:
A person who sacrifices himself to save others but nobody is there to report it would be a case....

If you use the definition: acting from purely unselfish motives then such an act is probably impossible and perhaps the word should not even exist because no matter what you get something out of it even if it's just the satisfaction of knowing that others might live. Whether anyone is there to record it or not is meaningless since the act only would matter from the perspective of the one doing this deed.

I say that there is no such thing.

@tomic

Gravity, not just a good idea...it's the law!

Sportsbettingacumen.com: The science of sports betting
Go to Top of Page

Snake
SFN Addict

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2003 :  00:28:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Snake's Homepage  Send Snake an ICQ Message  Send Snake a Yahoo! Message Send Snake a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Fireballn

PH you have an evolutionary answer to everything, thats good. This is for the more popular view. Like McDonald's with their McDonald's house, they help a lot of people.....but are they just trying to sell hamburgers? Mother Theresa helped a lot of people, but if she got self gratification out of it altruism disappears. A person who sacrifices himself to save others but nobody is there to report it would be a case....but it would be hard to report that evidence. If he thought it would never be known, (then found out later) that would be a case. I want to know if that has ever happened.


LOL, was going to say, you could have waited a little longer before mentioning Mother Theresa.
IMO, there can never be pure altruism. But I'd have to ponder it a bit more to be sure.
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.22 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000