Is Satan on the Offensive or the Defensive?

by jgnat 21 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • rem


    Animals are not inherently altruistic. They are always looking out for their individual (or gene's) best interests. Some behaviors may look altruistic, but they are really selfish. This is why animals do not look out for the good of the entire species, but some look out for the good of their close relations. Here are some articles that go into more depth:

    Organisms do not perform any behaviors that are for the good of their species. An individual organism competes primarily with others of it own species for its reproductive success. Natural selection favors selfish behavior because any truly altruistic act increases the recipient's reproductive success while lowering the donors. Altruists would disappear from a population as the non- altruists would reap the benefits, but not pay the costs, of altruistic acts. Many behaviors appear altruistic. Biologists, however, can demonstrate that these behaviors are only apparently altruistic.

    So it is easy to understand why parents care for their offspring. But that is not the whole story. Why do some animals act on behalf of other members of their social group? [This is called altruism in evolutionary theory circles but it should not be confused with altruism in the human social sense.] It turns out that there are two types of "altuism", both of which make evolutionary sense. The first is called kinship altruism. My close relatives have many genes in common with me. If I act on their behalf so that they live and breed my genes will be passed on even if I don't reproduce myself. The second type is called mutual benefit altruism - I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine. Both kinds of "altruism" have obvious benefits and it is not hard to see why they are selected for.

    Regarding human altruism, the article you presented talked a lot about what we should be doing, but made no mention that this is the norm in human societies. Human altruism is a bit more complicated. From the article above:

    There is a fourth kind of group altruism which is specific to human beings. Human beings are the only animals (except possibly dolphins and whales) that have complex languages and abstract reasoning. They are the only animals that have structured cultures that endure over time. As a result humans are the only species that has - that can have - a well developed abstract moral sense. In an evolutionary sense, moral cultures are the cultures that survive. All do better if each helps the other. Cultures have laws, rules of behaviour. Those who violate the cultural norms, outlaws, are exiled in one way or another and do poorly. Those who accept the norms, the good citizens, reap the benefits of living in a successful culture.

    This is not a simple matter. As we see all the time, there are conflicts between individual benefit and "doing what is right". And sometimes the decision goes one way and some times it goes another.

    The upshot is that for humans our notions of right and wrong are not hard wired in our genes; they are taught to us by our culture. And although the hard rules of selection still apply their operation is very indirect. Human beings have been in the culture business for a very long time; cultures evolve but they don't evolve in the way that species evolve.

    You said:
    If survival is based only on reproductive superiority, the WTS is doomed. Children interfere with the all-important field service reports. Women do not receive additional support and care during the parenting years. And, when children naturally exert their independence, they risk disfellowshipping.
    But where are all of the new JW converts coming from in first world countries? Door to door ministry? No, they are coming from children raised in the 'truth'. Yes, many leave, but enough stay. If JW's were to stop having children in first world countries, their numbers would immediately drop dramatically.
    The Catholic church tried the reproductive approach in Quebec a few years back. The strategy backfired. English Canada ended up dominating the economy, because they had more energy to develop individual prosperity.
    But Catholics still exist in Quebec. They still have enough offspring to keep things going for quite a while. You don't have to dominate to exist.
  • Introspection
    Introspection, are you saying that people will violently maintain their own worldview (whether negative or positive) when threatened?

    Oh no, people will change their world view. I'm saying people will want to maintain a sense of identity when threatened, and if that means changing your world view and identifying with a new thought system then often times people will do just that. It's sort of like the basic survival instinct starts defending the ego instead of the actual physical organism. In that case, how much truth is in the world view is really secondary to the value one derives from it in terms of a sense of identity, which is psychologically equated with security. (I know what to think now, it seems to kick ass in terms of the truthfulness of the worldview scene is concerned - I am of a strong minded class of people by thinking this way, I can't wait to get my jacket) On the other hand, if you're only interested in what's reasonable and true, you will not defend or attack any position (maybe metaphorically to challenge an idea) but just allow your thinking to change based on what makes sense. Psychologically people find this very threatening, but as far as clarity of thinking and efficient operation of the mind (since there isn't all the extra energy spent on preserving an ego structure) it's much better.

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