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'Altruism' and colonial insects


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#1 Greg Boyles

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Posted 6 August 2011 - 01:22 AM

In a previous thread about how human altruism fits into evolutionary imperitives and this was mentioned by some one. I.E. Sacrifice of one individuals reproduction enhances the survival of the species.

But it occured to last night either in a dream or when I was half alseep that we may be looking at this from the wrong perspective.

Altruism implies the suppression of an individual imperative for the good of the collective.

But worker ants simply don't have the ability to reproduce and therefore have no individual imperative to do so. So is it really altruism from their perspective.

Perhaps we need to look at it from the perspective of the ant queen who as the individual imperative to eat and be protected so she can reproduce. Hence she generates a heap of 'slaves' to do this for her so that all her efforts can be focused on reproduction. The workers have no importance for continuation of the species other than facilitating the queen.

So therefore colonial insects can't really be viewed as an example of altruism when trying to explain this phenomenum in humans.
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#2 FarmForest Research

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Posted 6 August 2011 - 06:30 AM

In a previous thread about how human altruism fits into evolutionary imperitives and this was mentioned by some one. I.E. Sacrifice of one individuals reproduction enhances the survival of the species.

But it occured to last night either in a dream or when I was half alseep that we may be looking at this from the wrong perspective.

Altruism implies the suppression of an individual imperative for the good of the collective.

But worker ants simply don't have the ability to reproduce and therefore have no individual imperative to do so. So is it really altruism from their perspective.

Perhaps we need to look at it from the perspective of the ant queen who as the individual imperative to eat and be protected so she can reproduce. Hence she generates a heap of 'slaves' to do this for her so that all her efforts can be focused on reproduction. The workers have no importance for continuation of the species other than facilitating the queen.

So therefore colonial insects can't really be viewed as an example of altruism when trying to explain this phenomenum in humans.



Go back to bed and sleep this one off. Ants and there hymenoptera brethren are all sisters. So as good girls they have pillow fights and keep care of themselves. Males are transient and just hang around for a little time..like normal. J
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#3 charles brough

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Posted 6 August 2011 - 03:03 PM

that we may be looking at this from the wrong perspective.

Altruism implies the suppression of an individual imperative for the good of the collective.

But worker ants simply don't have the ability to reproduce and therefore have no individual imperative to do so. So is it really altruism from their perspective.

So therefore colonial insects can't really be viewed as an example of altruism when trying to explain this phenomenum in humans.


We do not know the genes involved so we simply use the world "instinct." We humans evolved as small-group primates and like all small social group animals, we have social instincts. There is a large body of observational work on primate behavior, especially the chimp which resembles us in innate behavior in many ways. In this social behavioral pattern, there is no "altruism" instinct. Instead, it works like this:

We have an instinct in men to be admired, respected, favored, the so-called male ego. There are those who can best achieve that by becoming the alpha male. He is instinctively motivated to protect the group. Alpha male chimps will go around the group territory looking for group threats. The females and offspring instinctively welcome this and feel secure because of it. That is why the alphas will lead the groups into war just as we do and did after 9/11.

But the group is dispensable. If the males are not alpha enough, the females will split from the group.

With us, also, the prestige of the group matters. Our badly divided nations and society are losing popular support all over the world. There is no common ideology capable of unifying us and thus able to build world stability and cooperation. Everyone, as a result, feels less secure, more stress, and has less hope for the future.
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#4 Greg Boyles

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Posted 7 August 2011 - 01:58 PM

We do not know the genes involved so we simply use the world "instinct." We humans evolved as small-group primates and like all small social group animals, we have social instincts. There is a large body of observational work on primate behavior, especially the chimp which resembles us in innate behavior in many ways. In this social behavioral pattern, there is no "altruism" instinct. Instead, it works like this:

We have an instinct in men to be admired, respected, favored, the so-called male ego. There are those who can best achieve that by becoming the alpha male. He is instinctively motivated to protect the group. Alpha male chimps will go around the group territory looking for group threats. The females and offspring instinctively welcome this and feel secure because of it. That is why the alphas will lead the groups into war just as we do and did after 9/11.

But the group is dispensable. If the males are not alpha enough, the females will split from the group.

With us, also, the prestige of the group matters. Our badly divided nations and society are losing popular support all over the world. There is no common ideology capable of unifying us and thus able to build world stability and cooperation. Everyone, as a result, feels less secure, more stress, and has less hope for the future.


How true.

Some of that must have something to do with over population, including in the west, with to many would be alpha males in various walks of life competing against one another and confusing the masses.

Same principal when retailers provide to much choice for consumers all it ends up doing is making it difficult for them to make a choice and hence they don't end up making one and walking out of the store.

It seems to me that smaller groups of humans that ethnically or culturally uniform are always more cohesive than larger multicultural groups. E.G. Anglo-Saxon Australia at 15 million or so was far more united than multiculatural Australia at 23 million.
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#5 swansont

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Posted 7 August 2011 - 04:13 PM

Go back to bed and sleep this one off.

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#6 charles brough

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Posted 9 August 2011 - 02:41 PM

How true.

Some of that must have something to do with over population, including in the west, with to many would be alpha males in various walks of life competing against one another and confusing the masses.

Same principal when retailers provide to much choice for consumers all it ends up doing is making it difficult for them to make a choice and hence they don't end up making one and walking out of the store.

It seems to me that smaller groups of humans that ethnically or culturally uniform are always more cohesive than larger multicultural groups. E.G. Anglo-Saxon Australia at 15 million or so was far more united than multiculatural Australia at 23 million.


In order for all the various "ethnicities" to get along, the secular ideological unity has to increasingly depend on doctrines of tolerance and ever more humanism in order to minimize friction. This tend can only go so far, however, without undermining society. It undermines the state's ability to react to dissent. Ethnic protests over imagined slights leads to riots and individual acts of terrorism. The state seems impotent and loses respect. This can only go on for a limited time before people will give up and begin to long for a "Caesar" or 'Napoleon,' that is, for an alpha male who they can respect, one who can force through needed reforms and bring back hope.
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#7 tantalus

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Posted 7 September 2011 - 05:15 PM

Greg

Sacrifice of one individuals reproduction enhances the survival of the species.


Individuals dont sacrifice themselves for a species, except perhaps humans, otherwise individuals that had such behaviour, would be outcompeted.

But worker ants simply don't have the ability to reproduce and therefore have no individual imperative to do so. So is it really altruism from their perspective


they are all related to each other. The point here is that it seems to be worth foregoing personal reproduction to help closely related siblings. Therefore, by helpings the nest, you are helping to pass on a share of your genes that your close relative has. This is one of the reasons for what appears to be altrustric behaviour. Obviously its normally better to reproduce yourself, as your most closley related to your children, but there are slight genetic variations regarding relatedness in ants that have helped shift the balance. However this is not the case in other social insects. Therefore it seems clear that environmental factors are also an issue, for example, that it would be very difficult for a single ant to go off and reproduce on its own, meaning it may be better to stay, dont reproduce and help the nest, so that closely related ants can help pass on genes which are shared with the worker. Its those genes that are the payoff, not very altruistic....
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