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Science overturns view of humans as naturally 'nasty'

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Biological research increasingly debunks the view of humanity as competitive, aggressive and brutish, a leading specialist in primate behavior told a major science conference.

As a human that has been described as competitive, aggressive and brutish I feel slightly offended by that. Clearly I'm not trying hard enough. But then I suppose that people aren't born horrible, they become as such by being around other people...its like human society is one huge jerk factory.

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What they fail to say is that most of the "unselfish" behavior is directed toward animals sharing genes, so there's some self-interest involved. It's unselft at the level of the level of the individual, but self-interested at the level of the gene.

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Human children need to cooperate with each other to reproduce and pass on their genes

Erm, don't they need to grow up first?

research also shows animals bestow their empathy on animals they are familiar with in their “in-group”

I read somewhere once long ago that humans developed in small loosely-related family groups and are hard-wired to cope with communities of up to around 150 individuals. Forced to cope with more than that, our brains explode and we start thinking up excuses to go to war.

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Hearing a lot of "communal behavior = morality" in this article, which we know isn't always so. But humans being genetically communal, that's no news.

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Back in the 19th century Peter Kropotkin wrote a book called Mutual Aid which pointed to examples of cooperation in nature not only among people but animals. He argued that "mutual aid" was an important element of survival. The book was serialized in the learned journal Nineteenth Century and was a reply to Thomas Huxley who was a proponent of the popular idea of nature being "red in tooth and claw." They were supposed to debate this topic but Huxley died. So much for natural selection.

I am glad to see this scientific study refute a lot of unscientific rubbish about humans being naturally aggressive and foul. Circumstances make them foul or friendly, a fact you can verify by flying an American airline and then one of the better Asian airlines.

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Circumstances make them foul or friendly, a fact you can verify by flying an American airline and then one of the better Asian airlines.

Oh the wittiness Kabukilover, like it--much!

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