Human Aggression

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Feb 10, 2002.

  1. Administrator2

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    DANEEL

    IMO aggression is not a religious or atheist or agnostic trait it is a HUMAN trait.

    Now for the controversial statement: Humans have become successful as a species BECAUSE they are aggressive and intolerant of other groups that are different from themselves.

    Have you noticed there is only one Genus in one Family of primate that is successful today. We have evidence of other species of Homo that are extinct are no longer with us. Why are they extinct? Granted there could be many reasons but species usually compete more with closely related species than other species. I have a feeling that our ancestors were not very tolerant of competing similar species. In fact I bet the ability to communicate well, make tools, (weapons) plan and carry out raids were prime factors in our evolution. Homo sapiens was wise, not only in its ability to modify the physical environment but in its ability to eliminate enemies.

    Based on what we see today it looks as if human nature has not changed very much in 100,000 years.

    Daneel
     
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    HELEN

    Hi Daneel,
    First of all, I agree that aggression is a human trait, regardless of
    religious stance. Secondly, I agree that human nature has not changed
    since its origin.
    That is probably all we will agree about!

    But rather than argue, I would want to ask you some questions.

    1. Granted that aggression is a human trait, where did we ever get the
    idea that we “ought” to behave differently?
    2. Have you ever considered the option that there is only one human
    species because that is the way we were created?
     
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    RADIOCHEMIST

    Helen: Have you ever considered the option that there is only one human
    species because that is the way we were created?


    Helen, what do you consider Neanderthal and homo erectus, if not different species of humans?
     
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    JESTERHOLE

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>But rather than argue, I would want to ask you some questions.
    1. Granted that aggression is a human trait, where did we ever get
    the
    idea that we "ought" to behave differently?
    2. Have you ever considered the option that there is only one human
    species because that is the way we were created? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    1) Who ever said that we have the idea that we "ought" to behave
    different in the first place? Aggression, like all naturally occurring
    emotions, has it's advantages. Perhaps you feel guilt brought on by your
    religion telling you that you "ought" to behave in a certain way...

    2) No, because we have fossil evidence clearly showing evidence of
    other humans species such as the Neanderthals.
     
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    DANEEL

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Hi Daneel,
    First of all, I agree that aggression is a human trait, regardless of
    religious stance. Secondly, I agree that human nature has not changed
    since its origin.
    That is probably all we will agree about!

    But rather than argue, I would want to ask you some questions.

    1. Granted that aggression is a human trait, where did we ever get the
    idea that we “ought” to behave differently?
    2. Have you ever considered the option that there is only one human
    species because that is the way we were created? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As social animals we also have a conscience. Animals that hunt in groups and rely on each other need to have certain social instincts. Those in the past that did not have a conscience when they went against the group or the leader were behaving in ways that were not conducive to the welfare of the group. Those individuals were dealt with and I imagine a lot of them did not get to have too many children. Over thousands of generations we ended up with humans that had feelings for their leader and other humans. Since there is a fine line between one group of humans or human like animals and your own group it is hard for some to act against these instinctive feelings. Luckily, for the group they usually have a military sect. The military mind does not seem to worry about killing the other guy. They have rituals that help them get through the horror of war.

    As far as there being only one human species there is evidence that there were other human like animal species. If they were not as intelligent or as good at things as we are today they were still human like and probably lived and loved as we do today. In fact the amount of variation in the human species today is such that there are populations that could be called if not separate species, at least sub species. I would think pigmy's given enough time could become a separate species if they were isolated long enough. Bushmen have some unique traits also. In our modern world where cultures and people can move freely around the globe it ain't going to happen though. We also have a lot of throw backs in our own populations that still behave in antisocial ways. Some of these do not have the conscience or social restraints that most of us have. Serial killers and other deviants come to mind. Most of the people posting here are OK (i think) [​IMG]

    Daneel
     
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    BILLY

    For Daneel

    IMO aggression is not a religious or atheist or agnostic trait it is a HUMAN trait.

    Billy: Well it certainly is a human trait, but it is not uniquely human by any stretch. There was a seminal work by Konrad Lorentz called "On Agression" which discusses the subject. Check it out.


    Now for the controversial statement: Humans have become successful as a species BECAUSE they are aggressive and intolerant of other groups that are different from themselves.

    Billy: Not particularly controversial, though it is the central tenet of "Mein Kampf."


    Have you noticed there is only one Genus in one Family of primate that is successful today.


    Billy: Now that does seem to be controversial. Are you saying that chimps and bonobos are not successful? How do you define success? Domination over all other species in your genus?


    We have evidence of other species of Homo that are extinct are no longer with us. Why are they extinct?


    Billy: They could not compete in the struggle for resources that were necessarily scarce.


    Granted there could be many reasons but species usually compete more with closely related species than other species. I have a feeling that our ancestors were not very tolerant of competing similar species.


    Billy: Well, evolution does not require that a species will go extinct because of agression, or even that the competing species are aware of each other’s existence.


    In fact I bet the ability to communicate well, make tools, (weapons) plan and carry out raids were prime factors in our evolution.


    Billy: Perhaps.


    Homo sapiens was wise, not only in its ability to modify the physical environment but in its ability to eliminate enemies.


    Billy: More likely that certain members within species were able to take a greater share of the food supply, and eliminate other members from the mating pool.


    Based on what we see today it looks as if human nature has not changed very much in 100,000 years.


    Billy: Yeah, neither the nature of non-human species whose survival is also closely linked to intra-species agression.



    For Helen:

    Granted that aggression is a human trait, where did we ever get the
    idea that we "ought" to behave differently?


    Billy: Well, a cuff around the head if you try to take someone else’s food will modify the attitude of the most obtuse creatures, even non-human ones. Thinks later became codified into things like laws which were seen as benefiting the whole socitey. But to say that there is some sort of in-built morality that humans uniquely have is simply incorrect. All social animals have, indeed need, to take punitive actions against those who transgress certain lines of behavior. How closely would human laws be observed if there were not the threat of punishment?


    2. Have you ever considered the option that there is only one human
    species because that is the way we were created?


    Billy: Possible, but the only people who believe that are those who share your view of the correct interpretation of Genesis.
     
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    HELEN

    I think the idea of ‘ought’ was missed by those responding to me. I was
    not referring to the fact that behaviors other than aggression were more
    appropriate at various times, but that we have, around the world, the
    idea that somehow we OUGHT NOT behave that way! Whether it is bumper
    stickers proclaiming “Think Peace” or people demonstrating against war
    (even against those who kill thousands at one blow), or the various
    world leaders wanting peace at almost any cost – this is one example.
    Or on the play yard – children are punished for this expression of their
    natures! This does not make evolutionary sense to me. If aggression is
    in good part what got us here in the evolutionary model, why suppress or
    curtail it now?

    But even more important – why the idea that we should? It is not a
    religious idea, but far more universal. “We should all get
    along”
    “What the world needs now is love, sweet love…”
    “Come on people now, smile on your brother; everybody get together, try
    to love one another right now…”
    “Imagine….”

    And yet what do the video games and Hollywood entertainment glorify?
    Violence! It’s an amazing dichotomy.

    Human nature sells.
    Appeals against that nature are nevertheless universal.

    Why? How does evolution explain this?

    By the way, Daneel, the ‘military mind’ certainly does worry about
    killing the other guy. That is one reason we have so much
    post-traumatic shock in our soldiers. My ex-brother in law had to spend
    time picking up pieces of bodies in Viet Nam. He came home in horrid
    shape. And these were people he never knew. And he had wanted to be a
    soldier.

    As far as only one species of man is concerned, I certainly consider
    Neandertal one of us after the presentation by Dr. DeWitt I heard this
    summer on the DNA evidence, and as far as the others go, I doubt they
    were any more different from us than a Chihuahua is from a St. Bernard!
    And they are one species…
     
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    THE BARBARIAN

    I think there are two keys to understanding human aggression.
    The first is that we are inclined to be kind and helpful and even
    self-sacrificing to our own, while we are inclined to be callous and
    indifferent and even exploitative of those who are not our own.

    "Our own" tends to vary, but it's "people like us", as opposed to "not our
    kind". We see it in other primates, and in stone age humans, as well as
    those humans in modern societies.

    The second key is that which Jesus spoke. "Who is my neighbor?" Turns out
    that all humans are my neighbor. We have been given the gift/responsibilty
    of the knowledge of good and evil and have become like God, able to see the
    suffering we cause in others. Hence, we have another nature which tells us
    that we should treat all humans with kindness and concern.

    That one is a more recent arrival than the first. And doesn't work as well,
    unless we are constantly conditioned to remember it.

    And yes, Homo erectus was quite like us in the postcranial skeleton,
    essentially a modern human in that respect. But the skull is quite another
    thing. No member of Homo sapiens ever had a skull like that of the classic
    H. erectus. Late H. erectus did become more like humans, and eventually
    evolved to modern humans. H. neandertalis was not as much like humans,
    evolved in different ways, and not like us in the skull or the postcranial
    skeleton.

    [ March 01, 2002, 11:51 AM: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
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    BILLY

    I think the idea of ‘ought’ was missed by those responding to me. I was
    not referring to the fact that behaviors other than aggression were more
    appropriate at various times, but that we have, around the world, the
    idea that somehow we OUGHT NOT behave that way!


    Billy: As do all social dogs and deer around the world. Every social animal grouping has behaviors that are verboten, otherwise the society would fall apart.

    If aggression is in good part what got us here in the evolutionary model, why suppress or curtail it now?

    Billy: Because it isn’t. Competition within species does not require agression. Indeed the members who are competing do not even need to be aware of each other’s existence. Agression between members of the same species is in fact extremely limited, except for mating time when individuals' juices are up, and even then it's nearly always the males who act this way.

    But even more important – why the idea that we should? It is not a
    religious idea, but far more universal.


    Billy: That’s right, it is shared by every animal species in the world. If unfettered agression were the the way of any particular species, it would certainly die out very quickly.

    And yet what do the video games and Hollywood entertainment glorify?
    Violence! It’s an amazing dichotomy.


    Billy: Well, since the whole of those two industires seem to be focused on the 15-year old male, it doesn’t require a great deal of thought IMO. It certainly does not require the postulation of a dichotomy, and certainly not an amazing one.

    My ex-brother in law had to spend time picking up pieces of bodies in Viet Nam. He came home in horrid shape. And these were people he never knew. And he had wanted to be a soldier.

    Billy: Lots of people come home from similar experiences feeling themselves finally to be complete. And it would be impossible to form any kind of army without people who think that it is permissible to kill people under certain circumstances. In fact the armies of the world are populated - indeed have to be populated - by men who are not only willing, but in some cases eager to perform such acts. I'd guess a lot of them were religious men too.
     
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    JESTERHOLE

    Think the idea of 'ought' was missed by those responding to me. I was
    not referring to the fact that behaviors other than aggression were more
    appropriate at various times, but that we have, around the world, the
    idea that somehow we OUGHT NOT behave that way!


    Yes, it is not beneficial for a society as a whole for it's members to
    be aggressive towards one another.


    Whether it is bumper stickers proclaiming "Think Peace" or people
    demonstrating against war
    (even against those who kill thousands at one blow), or the various
    world leaders wanting peace at almost any cost - this is one example.


    So are you claiming that because (some) world leaders don't want their
    people involved in a war, there must be some idea implanted in their
    head from their god that they 'ought' to act in that way?


    Or on the play yard - children are punished for this expression of
    their
    natures!


    Yes, children express their NATURE until they learn from their society
    otherwise. If there really was an idea on how they 'ought' to behave,
    why is it not planted in children? Could it be that there really is no
    idea until it is taught to them by other humans...the ones who came up
    with the idea in the first place?


    This does not make evolutionary sense to me. If aggression is
    in good part what got us here in the evolutionary model, why suppress or
    curtail it now?


    We suppress being aggressive towards one another in a physical manner
    during everyday life. We don't curtail aggression in dating...in fact in
    most cases if men aren't aggressive they wind up alone. We don't
    suppress aggression in sports. Try telling your son (don't know if you
    and Barry have kids or not) not to be aggressive if he plays football.
    Methinks you are blurring fighting with aggression...


    But even more important - why the idea that we should? It is not a
    religious idea, but far more universal. "We should all get
    along"
    "What the world needs now is love, sweet love..."
    "Come on people now, smile on your brother; everybody get together, try
    to love one another right now..."
    "Imagine...."


    World peace is a great thought, and as noble a goal as humans could
    have. Lot's of great songwriters have written about it. Just like you've
    quoted here. I'm not sure how that advances your argument though.


    And yet what do the video games and Hollywood entertainment glorify?
    Violence! It's an amazing dichotomy.


    Yes, people (males in particular) have a natural tendency for bloodlust.
    We are a species of hunters. It hasn't been bred out of us yet. And
    violence sells.


    Human nature sells.
    Appeals against that nature are nevertheless universal.

    Why? How does evolution explain this?


    It IS evolution. People still enjoy getting in touch with their base
    instincts. WHY? Because we used to need them to survive. Now we've
    evolved to the point where we don't need to defend our own lives an a
    daily basis. We don't need to go out and hunt down another living animal
    and kill it to feed out families. Though we still have the tools...the
    instincts in us to do these things, we no longer have the need. And
    people realize that giving into animalistic instincts isn't beneficial
    for society. Because the mind and human consciousness has evolved to the
    point where we realize that working together is better...people are
    trying instill this belief all over the world. It doesn't require some
    outside force to show us that not killing one another is better for
    everyone involved.


    As far as only one species of man is concerned, I certainly consider
    Neandertal one of us after the presentation by Dr. DeWitt I heard this
    summer on the DNA evidence, and as far as the others go, I doubt they
    were any more different from us than a Chihuahua is from a St. Bernard!


    They ask for evidence, you give it to them, then they say "No, that's
    not a transitional, that's a human. Or that's an ape." And you
    'doubting' something is true, doesn't make it untrue Helen. The
    Christian Churches of God World conference on the matter seems to
    disagree with Dr. DeWitt.
    http://www.ccg.org/_domain/ccg.org/default/Creation%20Articles/Neanderth
    al3.htm

    "Scientists have analyzed the DNA of a third Neanderthal in an attempt
    to shed light on the genetic history of early humans.

    The results suggest that, like modern humans, Neanderthals expanded from
    a relatively small number of individuals.

    And there is no evidence to indicate that Neanderthals interbred with
    modern humans, something that has always been a bone of contention among
    experts. "


    Notice the part "...indicate Neanderthals interbred with modern
    humans...".
     
  11. Administrator2

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    HELEN

    To those who posted, I apologize for not having responded earlier.

    Billy, you are still missing my point. Deer and dogs and all animals are
    aggressive as a matter of instinct at certain times and in certain ways.
    There is no sense of morality there.

    Men are different. Whatever part of aggressiveness may be attributed to
    instinct is, first of all, not universal. There are a number of very much
    alive and reproducing people who simply are not aggressive. Secondly, we
    criticize ourselves for our own aggressiveness which, if it were purely
    instinct, we could not reasonably do. And third, we invent ways of being
    more aggressive, like paint balls and atom bombs.

    And then Billy said something that made my eyes sort of bug out in unbelief:
    Competition within species does not require agression. Indeed the members
    who are competing do not even need to be aware of each other’s existence.
    Agression between members of the same species is in fact extremely limited,
    except for mating time when individuals' juices are up, and even then it's
    nearly always the males who act this way.


    And I was hoping he did not think that applied to humans who are radically
    different in that they will enslave and kill members of their own species,
    sometimes for entertainment (Roman gladiators), and sometimes for ideas, and
    rarely if ever for mating rights. And women not involved? Give me a break!
    Women can be at least as aggressive as men -- if you don't believe that,
    walk into a real estate office sometime!

    Jesterhole, It is not a matter of aggression not being beneficial to a
    society. It it not a matter of beneficial or detrimental at all, but of a
    moral imperative, which is distinct from advantage or disadvantage. The
    moral imperative defines a certain behavior as right or wrong for reasons
    not necessarily related to results, but because it is right or wrong as a
    matter of some kind of perceived higher value system which is imposed in
    some way upon behaviors which are normally seen as natural. That is the
    entire reason for the legal systems of most cultures. Laws imposed by
    governments and enforced by some kind of police system would not be
    necessary at all if simple 'beneficial' were all that was being considered.

    It doesn't have to be war -- aggression. There are a number of perfectly
    'normal' behaviors which are constrained by laws. If it were simply a
    matter of beneficial, we would expect the laws to be the same everywhere,
    and cultures to be extraordinarily similar if not exactly alike. But they
    are not. What is considered moral in one culture is immoral in another.
    And yet both cultures will be dealing with moral imperatives for the sake of
    the morals, if you like, themselves. Legal systems can be radically
    different, even in our modern world. And yet the idea of 'right' and
    'wrong' in and of themselves persist in all cultures. This is what I am
    talking about.

    You wrote:
    Yes, children express their NATURE until they learn from their society
    otherwise. If there really was an idea on how they 'ought' to behave,
    why is it not planted in children? Could it be that there really is no
    idea until it is taught to them by other humans...the ones who came up
    with the idea in the first place?


    Have you ever watched kids at play? They will make up rules if they don't
    feel the game has enough of them. Why? What is it about men that WANTS the
    constraints of rules? Why the appeal to 'right' and 'wrong' which,
    regardless of WHAT is considered right or wrong, is an appeal universal to
    humans and nowhere found in animals.

    You mentioned kids and sports and aggression. Barry and I have only been
    married a year and a half, but I have six from a previous marriage. My
    oldest took ice skating when he was young, won his first competition, and
    got off the ice, announcing, "I'll never do that again." "Why not, honey?
    You were terrific!" "Because those kids used to be my friends." He is the
    one who is an engineer at Agilent now and is still not aggressive. But he
    is a team leader simply because he is good at what he does. I have another
    son, adopted, who is approximately the same -- he is studying to become an
    engineer (structural). However, I have two daughters who, if upset, are not
    beings you would want to meet in a dark alley! We used to refer to living
    with the older one as living with an erupting volcano and getting occasional
    hot lava baths.

    Go figure. Human 'instincts' seem to be very much subverted to individual
    personalities. What you refer to as 'a natural tendency for bloodlust' that
    'hasn't been bred out of us yet' is NOT turned on animals for the most part
    but on other humans, especially in game situations! This is something which
    has nothing to do with any supposed history as hunters. But yes, you are
    right, violence does sell. The question is, Why? Look at those games. For
    the vast majority of them, the targeted victims are members of our own
    species: other humans. (And then we decry terrorism!)

    The reason I brought up the thoughts and songs about peace is as a contrast
    to this. Money-makers are raking in millions of dollars by feeding into
    violence in the hearts of men while at the same time others are pleading for
    peace and everyone getting along. These are two radically different
    messages. Peace would be advantageous, would it not? And yet peace does
    not sell. Violence does. We encourage violence and demand peace and
    sharing and compassion. The side promoting peace does so on MORAL grounds
    and the side feeding violence does so on NATURAL grounds.

    I find that very interesting.

    And, by the way, we certainly DO suppress aggression in sports! That is why
    participants can get sidelined or even banned from the game. The aggression
    is channeled and, again, subject to series of rules of the game.

    Now, about Neandertal: I don't really care what any group of churches
    declares! Since when are they authorities? What tests have they run? The
    article is from 2000, and that is at this point outdated. Only three
    individuals (Neandertal) are represented in the DNA testing and that is not
    a large enough sample to eliminate individual variations as apart from
    population distinctives. Dr. DeWitt is a professional in the field running
    his own tests and having graduate students continue this series of tests and
    that is what they are finding -- that Neandertals and modern humans are
    essentially identical where the genetics is concerned. And the simple fact
    that the 'ginger gene' is considered by many geneticists and other
    professionals to be Neandertal's contribution to modern humans certainly
    does mean there was interbreeding!
     
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    THE BARBARIAN

    We have more than the DNA testing for evidence that Neandertals were a
    different species. The evidence includes:

    1. The fact that Neandertals and anatomically-modern humans lived near each
    other for a long time, with only one possible example of a cross between
    them. This certainly is not human behavior.

    2. Neandertals appear to have left no art

    3. We have no evidence whatever for Neandertals having projectile weapons.
    Analysis of healed fractures in Neandertals shows a patter similar to rodeo
    cowboys, suggesting that they hunted by closing on their prey and stabbing
    or clubbing it to death.

    4. Extreme cultural conservatism. They held to a paleolithic tool kit for a
    very long time. Only one known example of more modern stone tools has been
    associated with Neandertals.

    5. Rather extreme differences in anatomy. Homo erectus is more
    modern-looking than Homo neandertalis.

    On the other hand...

    Being a redhead, with rather plentiful body hair, and having what might be
    called a "robust" musculature, with a prominent nose, I wonder if maybe
    Helen's got a point. Still, I'm not inclined to cannibalism, and I hardly
    ever eat my meat raw. But such things might be mere speculation. Like the
    ginger gene. :D
     

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