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  #31  
Old 10-15-2007, 01:05 AM
Case Closed Case Closed is offline
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Default Re: Going into a burning building to save a child

I would go into the building to save the building. I have to admit though, part of the reasoning would be to look like the hero after all is said and done.
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  #32  
Old 10-15-2007, 01:13 AM
madnak madnak is offline
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Default Re: Going into a burning building to save a child

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I would go into the building to save the building.

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Dammit, Jim, can't you see it's done for?
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  #33  
Old 10-15-2007, 09:59 AM
bocablkr bocablkr is offline
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Default Re: Going into a burning building to save a child

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If it were relevant it would only be in the sense that it triggers a completely illogical response to this situation.

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How is it illogical? We function much better socially by concentrating our compassion and concern more on those who are closer to us geographically and/or relationship-wise.

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The OP used a bad example to make his point. Take the extreme risk away and it is easy to see that the fellow who would make some personal effort to save one nearby child is less laudable (though still laudable) than the person who makes an approximately equal effort (perhaps financially) to save dozens of faraway children who he may never meet.

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Why not do both?
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  #34  
Old 10-15-2007, 12:20 PM
ALawPoker ALawPoker is offline
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Default Re: Going into a burning building to save a child

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god, I disagree totally. Contrived empathy? wow.

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Please, refer to me only by my 2+2 handle. Then maybe we can discuss empathy.

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lol, funny as that is, I don't think so. My intuition ( do you believe that that's a contrived attribute also?) tells me we couldn't be further apart in idealogies & I think it'd be a very fruitless discussion for both of us.

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The problem is that you seem to have the idea that your "idealogy" is morally superior to mine, and then when you're probed beyond "zomg how can you say that??" you are unwilling to elaborate or open your mind to a different perspective. That's scary.

"You're [censored] CRAZY!" "I am?" "Let's just drop it." I agree we hold 2 very different mindsets, but the difference is I'm actually willing explain and defend my position.

IMO, empathy evolved because it had very real and practical benefits to us. How else could a trait evolve? So, giving to people who are of no consequence to you will be a misapplication of the instinct. It's an inefficient result based on instincts that come from a slightly different equation (we couldn't communicate with people on different continents until extremely recently).

If it makes you feel good, fine. Do it. To whatever extent we can observe inefficient instincts, we should expect to desire inefficient results, and obtaining them can certainly be seen as a good thing. But I just find it hard to reduce it to anything that is not ultimately self-interest. I don't think that makes me a bad person, just an honest person who's actually thought about these things and doesn't worry about coming off as palatable to someone who will claim a knee jerk moral high ground.
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  #35  
Old 10-15-2007, 03:01 PM
g-p g-p is offline
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Default Re: Going into a burning building to save a child

"If you choose to try and save the child, why not instead focus your efforts on trying to save as many African babies as possible? "

because you get to be temporarily famous for saving the child, but not the africans
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  #36  
Old 10-15-2007, 08:50 PM
gobbomom gobbomom is offline
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Default Re: Going into a burning building to save a child

[ QUOTE ]
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god, I disagree totally. Contrived empathy? wow.

[/ QUOTE ]

Please, refer to me only by my 2+2 handle. Then maybe we can discuss empathy.

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lol, funny as that is, I don't think so. My intuition ( do you believe that that's a contrived attribute also?) tells me we couldn't be further apart in idealogies & I think it'd be a very fruitless discussion for both of us.

[/ QUOTE ]

The problem is that you seem to have the idea that your "idealogy" is morally superior to mine, and then when you're probed beyond "zomg how can you say that??" you are unwilling to elaborate or open your mind to a different perspective. That's scary.

"You're [censored] CRAZY!" "I am?" "Let's just drop it." I agree we hold 2 very different mindsets, but the difference is I'm actually willing explain and defend my position.

IMO, empathy evolved because it had very real and practical benefits to us. How else could a trait evolve? So, giving to people who are of no consequence to you will be a misapplication of the instinct. It's an inefficient result based on instincts that come from a slightly different equation (we couldn't communicate with people on different continents until extremely recently).

If it makes you feel good, fine. Do it. To whatever extent we can observe inefficient instincts, we should expect to desire inefficient results, and obtaining them can certainly be seen as a good thing. But I just find it hard to reduce it to anything that is not ultimately self-interest. I don't think that makes me a bad person, just an honest person who's actually thought about these things and doesn't worry about coming off as palatable to someone who will claim a knee jerk moral high ground.

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edit: it's not a knee-jerk moral high ground to know that ingrained empathy is a superior quality. Sorry if you want to argue the point, but I really don't care what your position is because it's some b.s. defensive posture you've "contrived".
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  #37  
Old 10-15-2007, 09:39 PM
madnak madnak is offline
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Default Re: Going into a burning building to save a child

[ QUOTE ]
IMO, empathy evolved because it had very real and practical benefits to us. How else could a trait evolve? So, giving to people who are of no consequence to you will be a misapplication of the instinct. It's an inefficient result based on instincts that come from a slightly different equation (we couldn't communicate with people on different continents until extremely recently).

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There's no such thing as the "misapplication" of an instinct. Our biological traits don't represent how we're "supposed" to act or how nature "wants" us to act, but which actions had the concrete effect of propagating the genomes associated with those actions. Furthermore, as a result of this, the traits we've evolved weren't of practical benefit to "us," but rather of practical benefit to our genes.

In my opinion, the most credible hypothesis to describe large-scale incremental changes in organisms is that genes which originally served one purpose happened to serve another purpose as well. For instance, our brain may have started to grow because we needed to learn how to identify dangerous animals such as snakes. The improvements in processing may have then allowed our brain to develop a greater capacity for communication. This communicative ability may have then made the identification of patterns possible - ie seasonal patterns in the growth of different foods. See, we didn't just set out to learn the use of tools, which is what made us the most powerful species on the planet. We set out to see snakes in the grass, and the side effect of that was communication, and the side effect of that was pattern identification, and the side effect of that was tool use.

If we had just followed the "proper" application of our insticts, we would never have evolved - finding new uses for old instincts is part of what made our ancestors so successful. It's also probably responsible for things like art, music, and philosophy. There are no "misapplications" in natural selection - some traits fail to propagate, but that's all there is to it. Only time will tell whether compassion is selected for, but unless you're obsessed with maximizing the impact of your genome it can't be considered on evolutionary grounds.
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