Survival of the friendliest

…Or perhaps “successful reproduction of the friendliest” is more accurate.

But in any case, this BBC REEL video seems pretty interesting. Thinking that we have “friendlier” faces because of how brow-ridges are structured seems nothing more than a confirmation bias conclusion to me. I’m not sure how we could know what other cultures (much less other species or supbspecies) would consider friendly looking or not.

But it does seem a no-brainer that we can recognize friendly vs. unfriendly behavior.

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Also - I think it should be acknowledged how attractive these notions are to us as opposed to the uglier competitive narratives appear to us (and rightly so). It could be said that the Bonobos are enjoying a luxury of plentifulness in which competition was therefore less forced. And as far as reproductive fitness goes, organisms (and their communities) must first survive to even reach that age before reproductive differentiation could become possible. So I think it may be important to remember that “survival of the fittest” isn’t totally wrong in every aspect (and nor do I think these scientists are insisting that it is). They are just putting forward that it isn’t the entire story - not by a long shot.

And nor do I think reproductive differentiation will be absent of its darker sides either. If there’s one lesson to be learned from science, it may be that we should always shun the temptation to think that now we have the entire story.

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Because it isn’t cultural. Smiling, laughing, by degree, facial expressions from grief and anger and depression etc, etc are human universals.

Oysters come to mind: a large Ostrea produces close to a million eggs every year of their 50-plus year lives. Of those, maybe one in ten million lands on a suitable surface and starts growing. After that they have a very good chance of reaching maturity. Selection in oyster larva survival can hardly be said to be due to fitness.

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True. One could go on to note that “fitness” doesn’t apply just to individuals but to entire communities all the way out to a particular species in whatever current state its in. E.g. how is the reproductive strategy working out for the entire species? Some spread many seed far and wide with no care while others invest much into the few offspring they do produce.

It’s a mechanistic or pragmatic take on the “tree is known by its fruit” observation.

Or maybe the advantage of friendly behavior is to the group. Friendly individuals don’t need to do the reproducing if it is the culture contributing to their friendly excellence. The culture may not distribute that trait evenly through the who population but a culture that does so widely enough is going to be able to include larger groups of individuals with all the advantages to the culture that entails.

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Or, in the case of oysters, the entire family.

It would hope that science would accept "a tree is known by its fruit as a scientific statement, since Jesus said it and it is true. But it is not the same as “survival of the fittest,” which is meaningless scientifically. It is circular reasoning because we can only say that an allele is fit if it survives and reproduces because that is the definition of fitness, survival and reproduction.

On the other hand we know what an apple is. If a tree bears apple4sitis an apple tree. If it bears pears it is a pear tree. If fitness can mean anything, it means nothing.

The makers of the BBC video are right to say that “survival of the fittest” has been used to justify British imperialism among other un-Christian ideas. If we were to use “a tree is known by its fruit” criterion that should be a real red flag.

E.O. Wilson pointed out in a recent book that the Bio world is dominated by social species including ourselves. This is counter to the Selfish Gene and survival of the fittest.

Articles in the Scientific American say that our species of hominids overcame the Neanderthals because we cooperated better. @jstump Jim Stump cites recent studies that verify this.

Real experience tells us that cooperation is much more productive than conflict. Cooperation and friendly competition need not be antithetical, but this is not what survival of the fittest is about.

There is much evidence against survival of the fittest, most scientists do not want to admit that it is a problem. I think that this is most likely because they have a serious vested interest in refuting YEC, that they cannot admit Darwin was mistaken in any significant sense. It is sad when we allow pride to get in the way of truth.

It is not “survival of the fittest” or “survival of the friendliest.”

It is simply survival – with reproduction being one of the more effective strategies of survival among many.

Whether it is by genetic advantage or mere dumb luck doesn’t matter in the slightest.

Those who survive, whether by immortality or reproduction are those who will continue on the earth, and those who do not will simply disappear, except for their remains which can be studied by those who do continue.

It is just as valid to claim that those who survive are “favored by God” as to say they are “fittest,” luckiest, or whatever else. Thus the changes we observe in the fossil record would show the changes according to whatever this criterion may be – God providence, superior genetics, dumb luck or whatever… perhaps even a mixture of all three or more.

Except it isn’t science nor is it a rational understanding of how the universe works. If it doesn’t makes any difference as to how evolution works, then we should just stop trying to make sense of the universe and our world.

That is EXACTLY how it works. That IS the reality regardless of the scientific theory. Those which survive – no matter what the reason – provide the only direction in the process of evolution.

Those calling it “fittest” or whatever are just employing imagination and subjective judgement. But there is no measure of such a thing. There is ONLY the fact that they survived and that is ALL!

If we could measure such a thing as “fittest”, I have little doubt that they are just as easily wiped out by some disaster as a tidal wave or a volcanic eruption as those which are not.

I am not saying the scientific theory is invalid. Even if much of survival is random the genetic advantages are going to shift the probability distributions in that direction. Nevertheless, there is nothing deterministic about it, such that the some measure such as “fittest” is guaranteed to rule. At most we can see a vague general pattern of development towards organisms which have capabilities which aid in survival. Nevertheless God or lady luck may have the last laugh at the man bragging his fitness for survival when something falls on him from the sky.

What you are saying is that Life has no meaning or purpose. It just is ,so it does not matter how it is lived. You are saying that Life is amoral and you as a scientist and a Christian are fine with this. I am not.

I live in the USA. Our nation is divided roughly 2/3 to 1/3 between those who believe in cooperation vs those who believe in conflict, that is survival of the fittest. Interestingly, those who say they do not believe in Darwin do practice survival of the fittest, might makes right…

As a result of the vagaries of history, the survival of the fittest minority holds the balance of power in a democracy and refuses to cooperate with the majority because it is against its interest of holding onto its power.

Is it really acceptable to you make the USA go bankrupt because some people who happen to have power cannot get their way?

I said no such thing. I mean no such thing. I reject your implied premise that meaning and morality requires everything to be 100% deterministic.

Your use of the word “rough” must mean something like “excuse me for being inaccurate and telling you something that isn’t true.”

I think many if not most understand that both competition (conflict) and cooperation play a role. And most of those who see the importance of competition and conflict certainly to do not endorse “might makes right,” which is something else entirely.

Ridiculous! The majority understands well the importance of cooperation. Nor is this some persecuted majority either!

Is it acceptable to let some fanatics have their way simply because they make up lies about those who disagree with them?

Those who speak for and represent and represent the survival of the fittest, say that if I have the power to do something, it must be right.

Please read carefully. The minority ideology is based on survival of the fittest. The majority accepts cooperation, community and the common interest if you will.

That is not my implied premise, so you need to stop reading things into what I say that are not there. Have you read my essay, God and Freedom on

Just because 2 + 2 = 4 does not make everything 100% determined. . Just because lying is evil does not make everything 100% deterministic. We have rules in life so we can have freedom to make responsible decisions Freely, not based on whim or power. .

You are correct in saying that you did not use these words. I am not sure what you meant, only what you said. So to clarify, what I hears you say that Life was about Survival, not about goodness. Is this right?

Jesus rejected survival as the purpose of Life and accepted death rather than fight back against those who opposed Him. Was He wrong? Are we nit supposed to follow Him?

Survival cannot a viable purpose of life because it is circular thinking, just as survival of the fittest is circular thinking. Survival as an end justifies whatever means is used, even hate.

OK, I do not want to put words and ideas in your mouth. You need to explain how the struggle for survival gives meaning and purpose to life.

Labeling people as fanatics does not solve anything. Are you labeling me a fanatic and accusing me of making up lies against you?

People have ideas which influence their behavior. We can discuss these ideas and hopefully change those which are ill founded and improve behavior.

No. There are those of us here who believe that this may be a description of one of the mechanisms of evolution, and yet we believe nothing of your conclusion that therefore “power to do something makes it right.” I for one, am a living breathing refutation of your conjecture there.

My friend, @Mervin_Bitikofer, even though I disagree over this understanding of evolution, I know that there is a big difference between accepting a scientific theory as probably true, and believing in an ideology based on the “scientific theory” that all that humans do is motivated on a struggle for physical survival.

Since I believe that you are a Christian, I do not think that you represent the second situation, which I tried to make clear I what I am talking about. It is totally unChristian, although some people who say they are Christians follow it. It appears that God is separating the sheep from the goats.

@Mervin_Bitikofer, I was just thinking, since you say evolution provides other mechanisms for survival in addition to survival of the fittest, which refers to conflict, then doesn’t it seem a good idea to distinguish between survival of the fittest and the other mechanisms of natural selection? Darwin did not do this, but this would do away with the confusion of having the same term with different meanings.

It would indeed be unChristian in the extreme if all somebody cared about was their own survival. And I would be surprised if you could find anybody who would still bother about trying to claim any label like “Christian” for themselves if the only motivation they recognize was all (and only) about survival.

I don’t think the many of us who take evolution and all its associated mechanisms seriously would say that any of this somehow equates to some moral imperative or must only fit into one narrow (and non-Christian or anti-Christian) ideology. Moral imperative has to come from somewhere else.

If you are saying that moral imperative must come from God, I would like to agree with you, but atheists would not. Christians can see how God could create something good, like Life, and then humans can make that good thing into a god, something that is seen as Good in Itself, so in the end it is used as a substitute for the real God, that is for evil.

Sure … I have no trouble with the thought that all things - including moral imperative - ultimately come from God. But my statement such as it was there, need not have been taken to that particular conclusion (sorta like the IDist disavowing that intelligent agency must be code lingo for ‘God’). All I was pointing out was that observations and derived conclusions from physical reality alone (science) is insufficient to bring us moral imperative. There must be something else. I think that is a philosophical conclusion that can stand on its own philosophical merits independent from overtly religious appeal.

@Relates, your use of the term ‘survival of the fittest’ is a bit outdated. As you seem to know, the biological concept of ‘fitness’ is a relative measure that can only be measured after reproduction, some would say that only after all grandchildren have been born. If an animal gets more offspring than others, its fitness is better than that of others. Fitness is strongly tied to external conditions. If an animal is the fittest in one environment, it may perform worse in other environments.

In a modern framework, survival of the fittest simply means that the future gene pool is mainly formed by those producing more offspring than others. From the viewpoint of evolution, it does not matter whether the fittest rely on cooperation, competition or predation.

At the time of Darwin, there was a belief that the survival of the fittest was based on bloody competition of resources or the action of beasts, and what matters is survival in this fight. As far as I understood, this belief was largely based on writings by Malthus and others with similar ideas of demography. Research on ecology and evolution has advanced much since the days of Darwin, so the ideas that prevailed during those days are rather subjects of curiosity than representative of modern biology.

Whatever mechanisms play a role in evolution, it does not translate into moral in human societies. Christian or atheist, the basis of ethics comes from some other source than the mechanisms of evolution.

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