July 17, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Evolution’s Guiding Hand Is Far From Obvious

A recent example of applying evolutionism to everything was seen on Science Daily and PhysOrg last week.  Some psychologists are telling us that evolution taught us to take turns.  “It’s not just good manners to wait your turn — it’s actually down to evolution, according to new research by University of Leicester psychologists.”
    Cooperation among animals of a species and between species is well known.  These psychologists came up with an evolutionary reason for it: there is an “invisible hand,” they said, “that guides our actions in this respect.”  The study by Andrew Colman and Lindsay Browning “has helped to explain the evolution of cooperative turn-taking.”  It’s coming in the September issue of Evolutionary Ecology Research.  They didn’t say whether they took turns writing the paper.
    But how does the guiding hand of evolution bring about results in a population?  Humans have the advantage of language; didn’t Mom teach us to wait our turn?  But “It is far from obvious how turn-taking evolved without language or insight in animals shaped by natural selection to pursue their individual self-interests.”  The psychologists looked into game theory for answers.  They created selfish digital organisms in their computer.  They found that a variation of “tit for tat” produced a stable equilibrium of turn-taking “only after a species has evolved at least two genetically different types that behave differently in initial, uncoordinated interactions with others.”  It requires genetic diversity, therefore, but once begun, the pattern persists like a stable oscillation in physics.
    Colman said that their dumb, robotic digital organisms started out purely selfish but ended up taking turns.  “Our findings confirm that cooperation does not always require benevolence or deliberate planning.  This form of cooperation, at least, is guided by an ‘invisible hand’, as happens so often in Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

OK, let’s all play this game.  Do whatever comes naturally.  It’s what your genes are telling you to do.  There are no morals, no plans.  Benevolence is an illusion.  Mom telling you to take turns is not really Mom; it’s one of the robots.  She can’t help herself.  You don’t have to listen to her.  Language has no meaning.  If you feel like taking turns, do it.  If you don’t, don’t.  Whatever you do, don’t let any moralizing preacher tell you what you should do.  If he does, tell him you decided to be a rude pig because Darwin told you so.  You saw his invisible hand.
    But, wait: that was an illusion, too.  So was the supposed scholarship of these psychologists.  They pretended to be making a scientific explanation, but it was all a put-up by that invisible hand of Darwin.  They couldn’t help themselves.  Making up silly stories and playing games with dumb digital organisms is what they do because of their genetic diversity caused by their mutations.  It is a consequence of millions of years of natural selection in their ape past.  We can’t listen to these psychologists and expect to learn anything.  We can’t…
    Oh no; it’s becoming clear now: nothing makes sense, because sense is an illusion, too!  So is fairness.  Even illusion is an illusion.  We understand nothing.  We perceive nothing.  We are all selfish dumb robots.  What I wish to do, I don’t do, and what I don’t wish to do, that I do, because of the Darwin that is within me.  Who will deliver me from this body of death?
    But then, wait a minute; why did I have this sensation that sense even existed?  Why did I perceive illusion as illusion?  And who is the “I” asking this question?  Reach for the lifeline, quick!. 

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