nada wrote:I have always been uneasy with Darwin's theory. Not with the idea of evolution (change to biological systems over time) but with his hinge-pin of evolution being driven by random mutations and survival of the fittest. Such a basic biological drive at the core of our be-ing would produce a society in total and endless (and merciless) competition.
The theory goes that most species of complex organisms have evolved the trait of altruism to some degree, because it has been beneficial for them to have done so. Parental behaviour is the obvious example - if individuals were absolutely selfish, few offspring would survive. But nature exhibits numerous examples of cooperative behaviour.
The fact is that natural selection should have favoured altruistic tendencies, so I have to disagree with you when you say that NS should have yielded a completely selfish society.
The problem I have with the theory of evolution, is that those trying to explain particular adaptations always do so within the context of their practicalities. Hence, when asked how 'altruism' evolved, the answer is given in terms of its usefulness to the species. But that doesn't answer the question that was asked - it answers a different question: why would altruism have evolved? (As opposed to how).
Darwin's theory was really just a slap in the face for biblical literalists, who actually believe that everything was created in a week. As an idealist, I have no problems with the general outline of the theory. But for me, it is the essence of change that is the issue. And science simply does not answer that question.