Altruistic punishment ---- DISFELLOWSHIPPING?!

by cellomould 2 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cellomould

    This abstract of an article in the journal Nature relates to the concept of disfellowshipping, or shunning, in my opinion.

    Now we know why Witnesses tend to cooperate. (Damned if you don't!!!)

    Altruistic punishment in humans


    * University of Zürich, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, Blümlisalpstrasse 10, CH-8006 Zürich, Switzerland
    † University of St Gallen, FEW-HSG, Varnbüelstrasse 14, CH-9000 St Gallen, Switzerland

    Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to E.F. (e-mail:

    Human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. Unlike other creatures, people frequently cooperate with genetically unrelated strangers, often in large groups, with people they will never meet again, and when reputation gains are small or absent. These patterns of cooperation cannot be explained by the nepotistic motives associated with the evolutionary theory of kin selection and the selfish motives associated with signalling theory or the theory of reciprocal altruism. Here we show experimentally that the altruistic punishment of defectors is a key motive for the explanation of cooperation. Altruistic punishment means that individuals punish, although the punishment is costly for them and yields no material gain. We show that cooperation flourishes if altruistic punishment is possible, and breaks down if it is ruled out. The evidence indicates that negative emotions towards defectors are the proximate mechanism behind altruistic punishment. These results suggest that future study of the evolution of human cooperation should include a strong focus on explaining altruistic punishment.

    end article


    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke

  • Thomas Poole
    Thomas Poole

    Altruistic punishment: like hurting the other and feeling justified because it is righteous to do so, perhaps assuming the punishment not to be extreme, even though it really may be.

    Like the group-controlled consciouness clouds the individual's controlled, yet struggling, conscience.

    What is needed here is a Godly standard for conscience. The counselor sets this standard for those that will listen, and by this the misapplied altrusitic nature is checked in its twisted self-morality.

    The love of God has been poured forth within my heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to me.(Romans 5:5).
  • cellomould

    Thanks for your comments, Thomas...

    While a godly standard for what is acceptable sounds nice conceptually, what does 'acceptable' really mean?

    Once a deed is done, it is done.

    The argument that it 'shouldn't have happened' is almost as futile as the argument that 'it didn't happen'. We know of course what happened.

    Societies really only care about what happens within their boundaries, meaning that the 'evildoer' can do whatever he wants as long as he does it elsewhere.

    Hence, human standards (even 'godly' standards) tend to be much more retroactive (kick out the 'shameful' members) than proactive (encouraging cooperation).

    I think that's where the problem lies with punishment and ostracism. What do they solve proactively? Not much.


    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke

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