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Thread: 'MY GENES MADE ME DO IT!'

  1. #1 'MY GENES MADE ME DO IT!' 
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    Hi, I've been reading quite a bit, books, magazine articles, and of course this forum. It's all been quite a revelation finding out who my lost relatives were/are

    I read that my far distant relatives weren't adverse to a bit of slaying of their own kind. Territory, food shortage, squabbles over women ??? Okay maybe not the squabbling over women. But whatever the cause it ended in like killing like. I also read that my good old cousin the chimp is also known to bump off his fellow chimps now and again. Maybe territorial? not food shortage! In both cases I understand it all ends in a bit of cannibalism!

    I know we've all had the urge to throttle someone sometimes but we refrain from doing so. Well I do anyway. Refrain that is! But what about the people that DO throttle someone? Can it be argued, or has it ever been argued, that 'it was my genes that made me do it'?

    Okay, perhaps I'm looking at it a bit light hearted but I do seriously wonder if this could be the case. Any thoughts?

    BARCUD


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Your good old cousin the bonobo has nothing but sex all day, incest, hot lesbian action, classic man on man, and of course paedophilia.

    You are what you are, not you are not another species. So don't try to get moral lessons from other species. Because you are not them.

    Otherwise you wouldn't be another species.


    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    For emphasis I'll repeat Spurious' incursion to NOT look to the lifestyles of other animals for moral lessons. In fact, nothing that is simply an observed pattern in nature should serve as a moral compass in any way. We as humans need to make our own decisions about what's right and what's wrong.

    That being said, you are right Barcud - we, like any other animal, have evolved certain behavioral predispositions that, during our evolutionary past, served to increase our reproductive success.

    And male chimps most certainly do fight over women! They fight each other for status, and the highest ranking male gets the most mating opportunities. (And when they do fight, it is very common for them to attempt to injure each other's genitalia - no testes, no reproducing!) Groups of males will also fight each other for territory - territory that holds food, food that is essential for females who are trying to feed growing babies. So if the males claim a food source, they're also claiming the females who use them.

    But we are very different from chimps in many ways. We have pair bonding males and females, we have high degrees of cooperation that allows us to procure richer foods, etc. But we are also territorial in a sense - you cooperate with members of your group to get food, but you COMPETE with other groups to get that food. That's why humans have a strong tendency to dislike and distrust anyone that could be classified as "other."

    But notice I said tendency. Most of our behaviors are not written in stone, and are flexible. Many of them manifest as an emotion or feeling, a sort of gut desire to do this or that. But, for the most part, we still have the ability to choose our own actions, and to not always listen to those gut feelings. So no, you CANNOT argue that your genes made you do it. They may have encouraged you to do it, but you, unlike most animals, have the ability to consciously choose your own actions, and YOU will be held responsible for them.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  5. #4  
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    Hi guys, thanks for the replies. I'll take on board what has been said. I'm not knowledgable enough in this field to take issue with what you say or not.

    I thought it was interesting that you say human male and females form bonding pairs whereas chimps don't. Are you saying that pair bonding has to do with biological differences and not religious moral influences ?

    BARCUD
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BARCUD
    Hi guys, thanks for the replies. I'll take on board what has been said. I'm not knowledgable enough in this field to take issue with what you say or not.

    I thought it was interesting that you say human male and females form bonding pairs whereas chimps don't. Are you saying that pair bonding has to do with biological differences and not religious moral influences ?

    BARCUD
    Completely. At least, that's how it began, and in my opinion that's what's more important.

    Male humans are a rarity in the animal world - most male mammals do little more than mate with the female, and the female does all the work of raising the offspring. The male then focuses on finding more females to mate with. Male humans, on the other hand, are essential for raising offspring. Human infants require a LOT of care - and unlike other primates, we don't have one baby at one time and wait for it to become completely independent before we have another. We have multiple highly dependent offspring, one after the other. A female simply cannot provide for them and herself on her own. She and a male have to form a bond and cooperatively raise their offspring together.

    Now there are some cultures where polygyny happens - one male has multiple females. But that happens in places where it's possible for one male to accrue so much wealth and resources that he can reliably support that many reproducing women.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  7. #6  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    To echo the sentiments already voiced on this thread; learning about other species can tell us a lot about how we got to where we are. Evolution tells us how the species came to be. It would however be a mistake to think that what we were and how we got here determines how we [i]should[i] behave. Ultimately, despite what we have learned, we are left with the same question; what will we choose to be?

    This is why I have no time for those who would justify infidelity with biology, as though their moral agency were somehow equal to that of an animal. Worse still are those who would use the theory of evolution to support eugenics or race supremacy.
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  8. #7  
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    Thanks guys, if my questions come over as naive, try and stick with me as you have done already, I'm a learner

    BARCUD
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Don't worry about it, Barcud. We're glad that you're asking these questions and getting information, and not just making assumptions. Too many people are unwilling to admit their lack of knowledge, and even worse, unwilling to go to the effort to gain more knowledge. You are an admirable example.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    That said, your genes make you do many things.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

    http://spuriousforums.com/index.php
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