The Evolution of Human Cooperation

It is imperative to look at human nature in our ancestors- chimpanzees.

We are animals, whether humans like to admit it or not. However, even though we share 99% of genetics with chimpanzees, there is a large gap. Genes are selfish, caring about becoming better and stronger for the next generation. But we are not just the selfish genes, the 1% difference between us amounts for turning against the selfishness that defies us from chimpanzees.

Cooperation evolved when people found that they were able to survive better and easier when they joined a “team” compared to being an individual. This development is called a social instinct. Animals of all type exhibit cooperation. It has some drawbacks, but the outcomes are mainly positives.

Care for offspring is a defining factor for mammals. It takes more work, but it is more beneficial for the parents as well. Mammals are a prime example as they express empathy, for example, elephants when they lose their children.

However, Darwin argues that immorality is an advantage and the prize in survival and reproduction of ones’ genes. Biological altruism can be defined as when an organism does something at the cost to itself and the benefit for another organism. If altruism was just doing something beneficial for another organism, that would just ignore symbiotic, commensalism, and parasitic relationships that orgasms have together. Biological altruism is the exact opposite of natural selection. Three examples of biological altruism have come to life.

Kin selection is when an organism favors a relative and their survival because of the similarity of their genes. Darwin said selection applies to the family, and the individual. It is sketchy altruism in that it is still done in benefitting similar genes.

Reciprocity: a bat will share its food in turn that another bat may share food at a later date in return. There is an initial cost to the organism because they have to share, but it is done with the expectation that they will get some in return.

Group selection occurs when organisms learn that groups are more powerful than individuals, or groups who are selfish.This can however show kindness towards one’s ingroup and rudeness to one’s outgroup. It does not help us understand altruism to people outside one’s group.

Evolution does not explain morality well. In human beings it can be seen as something you must do once your “priorities” are flourishing. Once your family is good, help your neighbor. Once your neighbor, then your community. Then town, state, nation. Humans need to do what is not biologically expected in order to contribute to their community.

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