Morality means knowing what is right and what is wrong; doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. This is equivalent to knowing good and evil. Alturism is just one small part of morality which even animals exhibit them even though they may not know what is good or what is evil. What made the first concept of morality. There are instances in which altruism is instinctive that is in-built with intelligent design. Morality of knowing good and evil is related to nakedness according to Genesis. This is why Humans is the only animal on earth that is ashamed of its nakedness and needs to be clothed. Isn't this strange?
Altruism: an accident of nature?
Bees, bats, ravens and humans often help one another. But usually there's a hidden agenda.
By Sadie F. Dingfelder
December 2006, Vol 37, No. 11
Print version: page 44
Bernd Heinrich, PhD, was hiking through the woods in Maine when he happened upon a group of ravens feasting on a dead moose. They were making quite a ruckus, recalls Heinrich, a biology professor at the University of Vermont. In fact, the birds used a loud call that Heinrich had never heard before, a call that seemed to attract even more ravens to the area. Their behavior puzzled the researcher.
"Ecological theory would tell you that a food bonanza would be defended and not shared," he says.
But the birds were sharing. Some of the ravens even returned to their roost to recruit more animals, Heinrich observed. The strange behavior inspired the biologist to conduct a series of field studies, which he eventually published in the book "Ravens in Winter" (Simon and Schuster, 1989).
Heinrich's helpful ravens are now a classic example of animal altruism, says Jeff Stevens, PhD, a psychology professor at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany. But like most examples of animal altruism, the apparently selfless act had selfish benefits.
The sharing ravens, it turned out, were juveniles who had found the moose carcass in a mature raven's territory. By bringing other young ravens to the feast, they avoided being chased off by the territory-holding bird. For any behavior to survive natural selection, it needs to help an animal or its genetic material, he notes.
"True altruism...paying a cost to help another individual and never ever receiving any kind of benefit, is not very common," Stevens says. "It wouldn't make much sense biologically for that to happen."
Help a brother out
More commonly, when an animal assists another, there is a hidden reward for the helper, says Nigel Barber, PhD, a Maine-based psychologist and author of "Kindness in a Cruel World" (Prometheus Books, 2004). Perhaps the most widespread form of altruism, he notes, is the case of a parent protecting and feeding its young. Birds will rob themselves of nutrition to regurgitate food into the gaping maws in their nest. But even if an altruistic act endangers a parent's own life, it makes evolutionary sense to increase the likelihood one's young will survive, Barber notes.
"They are acting in the interest of their genes, if not their own lives," he says.
A similar principle is at play when an animal assists its siblings or cousins, says Stevens. This is the case when worker bees devote themselves to feeding the offspring of the hive's queen, instead of trying to reproduce themselves. The bee phenomenon puzzled Charles Darwin, and may be why he sat on his theory of natural selection for more than 20 years. The answer, proposed by biologist William Hamilton in the 1960s, is that sterile worker bees are helping to further their genes because they are so closely related to the young they are helping to raise.
"Most examples of altruism do involve kin," Stevens says.
That's true of humans too, notes Barber. Many studies have shown that while people do help strangers, they are more likely to give money to relatives. Additionally, adopted children, on average, get a smaller share of inheritances than biological children, according to an analysis of 1,538 California estates, published in a 1992 issue of Ethology and Sociobiology (Vol. 13, No. 5, pages 495-522).
"This may support kin selection, but I think that is probably not doing justice to the complexity of the situation," says Barber, noting that some adopted children may enter into a family as toddlers or even teens, and subsequently may not develop as close as a relationship with their parents.
Even for bats, familiarity--as well as their genetic relatedness--seems to increase the likelihood of altruistic behavior.
Primitive insurance policies
Vampire bats have a fast metabolism and a food supply that is high in protein but low in fat. That means that they must feed on the blood of cattle or other animals every 36 hours, or they die.
So it surprised biologist Gerald Wilkinson, PhD, when he discovered, in the 1980s, that female bats would share their blood with unlucky hunters, regurgitating blood into the mouths of female roost mates.
"I had observed a lot of cases of them feeding their own young, which is how they wean their young from milk to blood, but this was the first time I had seen adults feeding other adults," notes Wilkinson, now a program director at the National Science Foundation.
In a 1984 study, published in Nature (Vol. 308, No. 1, pages 181-184), Wilkinson reported that the animals did tend to feed closely related kin. But they also would feed "friends"--unrelated bats they roosted with. The friend would return the favor later, Wilkinson reports.
As a result of the animals' inborn tendency to share, female bats manage to live upwards of 15 years, says Wilkinson. Stingy male bats survive about half that long.
"The adaptive rationale behind all of this is sort of an insurance policy," says Barber. "You pay in a small amount and benefit when you need it later."
Whether the bats are aware of their sharing policy is a matter of contention. It's possible that they are born with a useful rule: help out familiar animals. Most of the time, that rule helps propagate their genes, as most roost mates are related, says Stevens.
In fact, pure altruism may be an accident of evolution, researchers suggest. A vampire bat that feeds an unrelated roost mate is, in effect, mistaking it for a sister. A bird that adopts another animal's chick does so because it's compelled to feed every hungry mouth in its nest. And raven researcher Bernd Heinrich treats his dog as part of the family because the human tendency for empathy has run amok, he says.
"It's part of our social nature to help those that we are associated with," says Heinrich "It's not that we evolved to love dogs, and as a side product we love our babies. It is just the opposite."
Altruistic Animals: Compatible With Evolution?
by Caleb Colley, M.L.A.
The humanistic sociologist Auguste Comte coined the term “altruism,” derived from the Italian altrui, which means “other” (Rhode, 2005). Under Comte’s definition, altruism signified an unselfish regard for the welfare of others (Rhode, 2005). People are not entirely self-interested. If they were, then families would be nonexistent. Yet, 90 percent of Americans marry (Coltrane, 44:395). Modern instances of what we generally call altruism abound. For an example of obvious altruism on a grand scale, over $4.25 billion was raised for Hurricane Katrina-related relief and recovery (“Hurricane...,” 2006).
The animal world also is filled with animals that appear to help other creatures. Eduardo Porter noted in The New York Times, “altruism isn’t an exclusively human trait. Vampire bats are pretty altruistic, too, regurgitating blood for members of the group that haven’t eaten. Sterile worker bees, which are incapable of conscious thought, let alone moral behavior, are about as altruistic as a living creature can be: they give their lives so their queen may reproduce” (2005). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy reveals:
In numerous bird species, a breeding pair receives help in raising its young from other ‘helper’ birds, who protect the nest from predators and help to feed the fledglings. Vervet monkeys give alarm calls to warn fellow monkeys of the presence of predators, even though in so doing, they attract attention to themselves, increasing their personal chance of being attacked (Okasha, 2003).
As we ask of all relevant features of scientific data, we ask of the phenomenon of altruism in the animal kingdom: Does it best fit the creation model or the evolution model? Evolutionists categorize altruism as a product of genetic determinism (i.e., genetics explain all behavior), while Christians believe that God instilled altruism as an instinct in animals and a psychological, moral force in humans (see Thompson, 2004, pp. 23-24; cf. Jackson, 1992).
Of course, we are ignorant as to exactly what goes on inside the heads of animals and humans. We do not expect a dolphin to answer intelligibly when we ask, “Why did you help that other creature, even when it created the potential of danger to your own health?” Animal altruism troubled Charles Darwin, who popularized evolution in the 1800s. Darwin wrote that “[n]atural selection will never produce in a being anything injurious to itself, for natural selection acts solely by and for the good of each. No organ will be formed, as Paley has remarked, for the purpose of causing pain or for doing any injury to its possessor” (1859, p. 228). As Okasha well noted, “From a Darwinian viewpoint, the existence of altruism in nature is at first sight puzzling.... Natural selection leads us to expect animals to behave in ways that increase their own chances of survival and reproduction, not those of others” (2003).
Indeed, traditional evolutionary theory has emphasized the individual, to the neglect of any social obligation. McFadden commented, “Altruism—helping others at our own expense—puzzled Charles Darwin, whose theory predicted that individuals should act selfishly to serve their self-interest. Why should wolves share their kill; or sparrows draw attention to themselves by issuing a warning call when they spot a hawk” (2004)? Major observed, “If a bird helps a breeding pair build its nest and feed its young, without breeding itself, then it would seem to be a loser in the struggle for life. While this individual is busy helping others, it is missing out on the opportunity to produce heirs of its own” (1999). How, then, do evolutionists account for altruism in animals?
Evolutionists have suggested that natural selection involves “group selection,” whereby a member of a group of animals would do something for the biological benefit of its entire group. In this way, evolutionists argue, the fittest group will survive, and natural selection will have met its obligation. Of course, there are severe problems with natural selection (Thompson, n.d.; Thompson and Harrub, 2003, pp. 227-270). Problems with group selection theory further illustrate the flaws in natural selection as a mode of evolution. As evolutionist Bryan Appleyard observed, “[Group selection theory—CC] makes no sense in the context of the selfish gene because all the gene can possibly see is the survival of its own particular organism” (1998, p. 112, emp. added). The selfish gene is Dawkins’ notion, reflective of Darwin, that the individual gene will do whatever it takes to ensure that the individual in which they are stored produces additional copies of the gene (1989; cf. Thompson, 2004).
Even if we were to admit that group selection occurs, however, it would not prove that genetic determinism is responsible for altruism in animals. Major explained:
[Group selection theory—CC] does not explain how the gene for altruism can survive over the long term. If an individual carrying this mutation behaves unselfishly and, as a result, leaves fewer or no offspring, then the mutation will die out. Also, the group needs to discourage cheaters—individuals that take advantage of altruists to further their own selfish interests, and thus neutralize the benefits of altruism for the species as a whole (1999).
By attempting to account for legitimate altruism by introducing a faulty hypothesis that maintains dependence on the genetically selfish individual, evolutionists have moved right back where they started.
Dawkins (1989) proposed a solution to the problems with the group selection idea: “kin selection” (i.e., since close relations share genes, a gene may prompt its organism to help others who are closely related). The theory of kin selection is responsible for much of the development of sociobiological research. McFadden objected: “Altruism isn’t always restricted to kith and kin. When a female vervet monkey is attacked, non-relatives will often come to her aid. Studies show that the likelihood that a non-relative helps depends on how recently the distressed monkey groomed the helper” (2004).
Even if we were to suppose that some animal altruism occurs due to some “kin selection” mechanism, evolutionists “still have a gaping hole in an attempt to explain altruism. If, for example, I help a blind man cross the street, it is plainly unlikely that I am being prompted to do this because he is a close relation and bears my genes. And the animal world is full of all sorts of elaborate forms of cooperation which extend far beyond the boundaries of mere relatedness” (Appleyard, 1998, p. 112).
cheating still is possible. A mutation could arise that mimicked the identifying features of individuals that carried the gene for altruism. This introduces the need for some sort of policing strategy.... The problem now is that the difficulties have multiplied. The evolutionists sought to explain a highly complex social behavior in biological terms, and ended up having to explain other complex behaviors, such as cheating and policing (Major, 1999).
Again, if evolutionists merely repackage selfishness and call it “altruism,” they fail to explain how real altruism fits in evolutionary theory. They may insist that altruism is only apparent. But such a notion is untenable, particularly in the wake of such a generous, altruistic outpouring of support to those devastated by Katrina. Evolutionists are forced to dichotomize aspects of beings, artificially separating the biological from the psychological/moral. The fact is, we differentiate between selfish human acts and altruistic acts, because we can identify altruism when we see it. Altruism is real, and even in the light of kin selection theory, remains biologically inexplicable.
A more recent evolutionary explanation involves attributing even more psychological human qualities to biological features of animals that “help”: game theory. “Game theory seeks to make sense of competition by analyzing different moves in as clear a mathematical way as possible” (Appleyard, p. 111). When applied to animal altruism, game theory suggests that various organisms play an instinctive, mathematical “game” to determine what is best for the group. When some lions share a zebra corpse, for example, they are playing a sharing game that involves “subtleties of calculation and...a remarkable distillation of all the complexities in any confrontation” (p. 111). In short, game theory is the idea that organisms cooperate because it is beneficial (p. 112).
Observe that reductionist, evolutionary game theorists again have reduced a discussion of altruism to an explanation of survival tactics. In order to prove that game theory accounts for the altruism exhibited in nature, evolutionists would be forced to prove that animals are capable of solving very complex mathematical equations about which advanced college students study regularly (see “Certificate...,” 2006). Such proof is—and will be—unavailable. Furthermore, evolutionists would need to explain why, on occasion, some members of a particular “kind” of animal help members of another “kind,” which would seem to be excluded from the “game.” For example, dogs occasionally “adopt” orphaned kittens (“Mother Dog...,” 2006).
Game theory cannot explain why animals, with no prior training, occasionally appear to help humans. For example, a group of New Zealand swimmers had to depend on a group of dolphins, which formed a protective circle that kept a great white shark at bay (McFadden, 2004). Moreover, proof that all animals coexist by playing these types of “games” would fall woefully short of proving evolution and disproving the biblical creation account. The Creator endowed animals with instinctive dictates that allow them to live together.
Having demonstrated that the major evolutionary explanations of altruism fail, we reach the conclusion that evolution logically implies that altruism, as an instinctive motivation in animals, or as a psychological/moral factor in humans, is imaginary (cf. Lipe, n.d.). However, we observe altruism in nature and in the clear teaching of the Bible (John 15:13; Philippians 2:2-4). Altruism embarrasses evolution, but makes perfect sense in light of the biblical creation account.
This proved to Love God (Creation) with all your heart soul and might and to love one another as yourself is even instilled in animals by the Creator.
God Blesseed Morality.
Last edited by CWH; 07-21-2012 at 03:41 AM.
Ask and You shall receive,
Seek and You shall find,
Knock and the door will be open unto You.