Secular Ethics must be based on evolutionary biology
Evolution is mechanical but the success of the human species tells us what humans did right in getting us to where we are in terms of the morals, the ethics and the regulations of human society. The fact that certain societies are still increasing in numbers gives us the basis for determining what has worked in bringing reproductive and human health success to the human species. We need to learn lessons from those experiences that have led to greater proliferation of the human species and discard those experiences that has lead to a demise of the human species in determining secular ethics.
It goes without saying that cultures that persist do so because their ethics are superior, while those that don’t have ethical systems that don’t work. The British System is fascinating. In evolutionary terms their values were superior as exemplified by their sizeable population growth that led to the establishment of expatriate colonies in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Americas. But they were not inclined to drive the indigenous peoples into extinction because of strong empathetic nature and because the preexisting cultures were resilient. As zoon said fighting among other colonisers in the two wars diminished their resources so that their colonies were decimated, or else we would have seen the next wave of mass migrations in an ‘Out of Western Europe’ phenomena akin to the ‘Out of Africa’ migration 70,000 years ago which would have changed the course of human history.
It is right that there is a Forum for the discussion of all issues of relevance to Humanity. This is what the United Nations achieves. We need to examine the areas in which it has made significant changes affecting mankind as well as those in which no good changes have come about. For the latter, it is worth considereing that if the United Nations cannot force all the nations of the world to give up all their nuclear weapons because their use to destroy parts of the planet to make it uninhabitable should be classed as being the most heinous of all criminal acts known to mankind (on the basis of the biologizing ethics that one does not destroy the plate that feeds and sustains one), the unification of the world for a cooperative strategy that will bring all humankind together in a common cause is pie in the sky, a fools utopian paradise. Thus, nationalism will still dominate global issues purely because there is strong competition by different human populations for the finite resources of the world, energy being the main one. It is also the way in which vigour is maintained in the global human population. New emerging regional powers will inevitably force the modification of the Security Council composition from its present permanent 5 with veto powers for the correct means in which balance of power is reflected among the nations of the world.
The Channelling of Human speciation
Secular ethics must be based on evolutionary biology and understand the process of human speciation through social speciation and genetic speciation(http://dispersalofhumanityfromhomoegaster.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/social-speciation-and-genetic-speciation-in-human-evolution/). In light of this, the main question affecting humankind is how do we wish humanity to evolve? We can channel our own evolution towards what we want to be as being good for our future generations on this planet. As to why it matters, we owe a responsibility to sustain the system that has nurtured us. Humans and humanity-derived species should be made to persist for our children’s sake and for our colleagues. The rest of us must procreate so that we produce people who can look after others in their old age, and this argument will always apply to every person on Earth until the Earth-atmosphere system lasts. Further, we must consider that we humans are the only animal species capable of appreciating Nature and the Universe because of our minds, and are the best species of all in making use of its geological and atmospheric systems to advantage. Somebody should be around to appreciate these wonders. If we became extinct, there is no guarantee that a similar thoughtful species will evolve from the other species currently living on Earth, and even if this was possible it would take millions of years for that to happen. On the other hand dinosaur-type creatures may be forthcoming. How can that be better than what the Earth has at the moment?. Finally, we humans are fantastic creatures and may yet generate, through further evolution, something even greater than ourselves that would be able to thrive in a more adverse (probably a overheated) planet so that we should not deprive the future of such a species to live on this Earth and enjoy themselves as we do now, by allowing ourselves to go extinct. Thus we have ethically sound reasons for wishing to stick around in a good way.
For this we need to consider that we would want our best genes to survive. What are the best genes, then? Those that find the way to survive and multiply to at least maintain their population numbers within the limitations of their own resources. This is the niche separation concept in evolutionary biology. The following concepts are also relevant:
(a) genetic assimilation, the process in reproduction by which a fixed population prevents speciation within it such that the population has greater uniformity of gene expression; and
(b) coherent government, the establishment of the microethics that ensures a population’s equilibrium within its ecological niche. Coherent government becomes increasingly more difficult as the expression of genes becomes varied in the natural tendency for populations to speciate. Genetic assimilation reduces this tendency. Diversity within nation makes it more difficult (and costly) for governments to attain social cohesion and the nation’s equilibrium within its ecological niche (http://shantanup.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/multiculturalism-and-coherent-government/).
(c) evolutionary vigour is the capacity of a species to adapt to changing environmental conditions so as to enable the species to continue to thrive and proliferate to maintain its population size or to increase it. Loss of evolutionary vigour refers to the entire human population of the planet reducing its genetic diversity and tending towards the monoculture that is imposed by the aforementioned artificial selection of specific traits, eg population virility will be reduced if all paedophiles rapists as defined by warped feminist crusaders for universal application were to be castrated across the world.
With this preamble I present my proposal for secular ethics on what we humans have inherited as nation states up to now so that we can consider charting our future based on these basic phenomena. It identifies the political idealogy of nationalism as being political extension of a natural evolutionary process in which group social alruistic behaviour has been heavily selected for in human evolution for the common good of the species that has led to us thriving in most environments of the planet and taking over the habitats of other animals. We need to discuss this in terms of (a) Macroethics, and (b) Microethics.
(a) ensuring that there is always a viable healthy human population on Earth going into the future by recognising that humans have evolved into their races and cultures within the geoclimatic and agro-food resources of their regions. This has led to the evolution of races and cultures and the diversity of humans beings across the world that maintain the health and welfare of the regional populations in accordance with the resources and attributes of each environment. To erode this diversity by transferring large numbers of people into different regions is consequently unethical. This means that the post-colonial fragmentation of the world into nation states has been a healthy development and this should be encouraged further. It also means that immigration across geographical boundaries is also unethical, not least because it places people into areas where their biology is not well unadapted for. We must therefore facilitate the process of humanity (Homo sapiens) speciating and diversifing rather making it a uniform genetical common pool with the concomitant idea that humanity across the globe shares a common cause. We do not. It follows that attempts to enlarge human beings into larger groupings as is being attempted in the European Union is unethical: humans evolving in Denmark cannot have anything in common with those evolving in Greece and should not subsidise the latter at a cost to themselves. Diversity should be maintained because it enhances the ability of a subpopulations to withstand a major shock like a disease that may flare up at any time.
(b) ensuring that universal values are identified that will contribute to the propagation of human populations across the globe in a fair manner for which unfair forces of dominance within nations are prevented from operating by consulting this universal charter of human rights. There are two universal values:
(i) each nation must to have developmental plans that show its ability to ensure that all its citizens are well fed, well housed, well cared for health-wise, and well-clothed year after year
(ii) all nations must adopt the democratic decision making process to consult their citizens periodically so that all of humanity then has a say in the way they are governed. The degree of democracy will itself be subjected to consultation through referendum on the individual Constitution of a nation.
(c) the geological resources of each geographical area is solely for the use of the population of that area, however they want to use it to better their lives.
The bottom line about evolutionary biology is that cultures that fail to maintain or increase their populations within the resources of their ecological niche are failed cultures and thus their ethics are wrong. Nations need to study what others have done and make decisions on their own microethics that will be sustainable for them. Microethics means establishing the principles of detailed human behaviour, morality, justice, social order, and philosophical outlook in all aspects of life. These can also be rightly considered on the basis of an understanding of evolutionary biology with a common framework for all humanity. This is most aptly apparent when determining human relationships such as between a man and a woman and on how we tackle the issue of underage sex, rape and marriage (see http://shantanup.wordpress.com/2012/…-mood-for-sex/), but it affects all other aspects of human behaviour and social ordering including economics, welfare, military conflicts, drug abuse, prostitution, dealing with disabilities that are part of how we humans deal with each other.
Examining the evolution of human biology across the world and determiming the trends in different societies over time on behavioural issues and evaluating the reproductive performances of those societies should form the only basis of decisions on the rightful microethical laws to be enacted within individual societies. Thus religions and political dogma should be replaced by determination of trends in evolutionary biology for our system of the ethics of social order or secular ethics.
Understanding what people do and why under such a all-inclusive logical framework and excluding only statistical outliers as intolerable minorities should form the basis of the evaluations and regulations of human conduct under the secular ethics within each society. A person will not be what he/she cannot be because evolution has made the person what he/she is individually through genetical changes and natural selection. No amount of lecturing from religious leaders or the State will change a person from this predisposition. Society tries to punish the individual deviant by fines to make the person suffer or in retribution with the hard core criminals being imprisoned and the most extreme violations being dealt with by capital punishment to do away with the individual altogether. Different societies will adopt different measures to suit what is best for that society but the evidence of repeated offending shows that corrective advice and punishment does not really work in changing a person’s basic character in most situations.
I am a proponent of nationalism but not in the sense of making one’s nation the Master Race with Empire Building as its objective: I am against nationalism that aims to make one’s nationals the most supreme social species in the world. I am in favour of nationalism that makes use of the human resources of the nation to the best economic advantage in a collective effort to address the macroethics established by the Universal Charter for all humanity. Within that moderating qualification nationalism is the most healthy manner in which humanity worldwide should progress. Humanity does not share any other common cause nor is it right to enforce other kinds of microethical values on any population.
The 200 odd nations of the world have arisen because of their previous genetic disposition and cultural values. The impact of natural selection and inbreeding in determining our individual and communal characteristics including cultural and ethical values is truly tremendous. It will take hundreds if not thousands of years of inter-breeding across national boundaries and continual movement of people through international travel before these differences and the cultural diversity of humanity can be eroded into a common cause and outlook. In the meantime it make no sense whatsoever for any subpopulation to try and impose its ethical values on the rest of humanity because it simply will not be accepted by those who are predisposed in other ways. The evidence from international interferences in other nations internal affairs shows this. The point about nationalism is more fundamental. It is healthier for the human gene pool that nation states based on agro- and geo-climatic attributes persist for acclimitisation through further evolution.
Social groupings that have formed or have a tendency to form have a genetic association. Cooperation between distinct genetic groups does not take place at the cost of loss of benefits to individuals within each group. The primary duty and biological function evolutionarily for each identified social group is to strengthen that social group by whatever means that are necessary for economic and reproductive vigour. This is the basis of biological ethics, and we are talking here about secular ethics, rather than those based on religious convictions.
The major social groupings of the global population are easily identifiable. They have their nuclear bombs as a deterrant to protect themselves from those that will threaten their independent survival. India has a nuclear bomb because twice in the past 600 years it was colonised in a major way. It wants to prevent that kind of intrusion in the future as it has confidence in its own population as a social grouping. Prosperous nations will likewise wish to develop whatever means they can to withstand their enemies and competitor social groups. This is why Iran wants a nuclear bomb to counter the Israeli threat. Israel belongs to the western alliance social grouping and is therefore building settlments in the West Bank because there is a hidden conspiracy for the nation to attract more of its particular type of social grouping to come and live in Israel and develop its gouping further which will displace the Arabs from those lands (Israel spreads as a colony of USA and Western Eurpopean powers). Arabs are all helping Iran to develop these bombs. It is a fight to safeguard that Arab social grouping. This is why Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons. Neighbours are the greatest threat to a nation because these are the places from which immigrant population of a different social group can easily arrive and threaten the vigour of the indigenous social grouping. This is why nuclear bombs are not eradicated even though the cold war has ended.
The nations of the world that have not seen the threat to their independence from the influx of humans of other social groupings will decline in vigour unless they acquire genetic resources that are clearly of a superior stock. This is the basis of immigration into the western world in which the social groupings are changing accordingly and forming new social groupings.
Cooperation between nations takes place rightly to fight a third common enemy, that is microbe-borne diseases,eg malaria, polio, tuberculosis, etc because these diseases can easily get transferred from one social grouping to the other and cause havoc across social groupings. Otherwise there is strong competition between social groupings for economic resources.
Why are Arabs killing each other in Syria?: Western powers want to replace Asad with a puppet government in Syria just as they did in Libya and Iraq. Oil wealth.
That is how it should be for the health and vigour of the genetic stock of humanity to enable a very powerful regional social group to emerge in accordance with environmental challenges. That is how humanity will evolve and progress. It follows that this must be how it has always evolved for 2 million years.
The essential observation on which I have based the idea of the existence of biological nationalism is two-fold:
(a) that humans can live in very large groupings with terrrific cooperation within the group for livelihood strategies and reproduction; and
(b) that humans (as soldiers) are willing to die to protect the interests of the group to which they belong, which is sacrifical altruism. The altruism applies to other spheres as innovative, entrepreneurial, risk taking hard workers work not soley for their own survival but also for the benefit of the group. Nationalism is very altruistic towards the members of the group. The communal spirit is strong therefore and the most successful groups are those where the spirit is very well developed. This social behaviour would therefore appear to be a genetic trait serving a fundamental survival function as there is strength in numbers and is selected. United we stand divided we fall being the motto as we know from British History. Where it is really prominent it leads to empire building. Likewise the Hindu philosophy centres in the development of the society towards which the individual is subservient.
Once you accept the principle of altruism in the nationalistic sense all ethics can be worked out as those that serve the society. Evolutionary biology based on such ethics assists in the greatest comfort and benefits to members of the group. We need to look for evidence that this is the case.
Biologically, unless there was an innate compulsion to cooperate, to breed with those with whom one had most in common, to live in groups in altruism and ensure that the group success was of the essence, coalescence into ever larger groups would not have taken place. And coalescence is probably the wrong word. The success of reproduction generates the group population. We cannot lump together different groups and form a sustainable alliance unless there is genetic assimilation.
We cannot assume that the larger groups that family sized ones did not exist prior to settled agriculture 10,000 – 15,000 years ago.
When new genetic traits form in the population there will once again be intrinsic pressure for the establishment of new social groups.
The intensity of nationalistic feelings is too strong to allow issues like the dangers of nuclear wars and incidentally global warming to play a moderating influence on how we humans behave. We must do the best we can for our ‘community’. That is biological nationalism.
Ethically, all we need to do is look after our own communities and nation in a very nationalistic manner to ensure that our individual economies prosper and strengthen our own people from within our people and our own resources (aiming for self sufficiency) and not worry about anybody else. It is none of our business what others in their own national groups get up to unless they have attacked us and are intent upon taking away your livelihood and making it more difficult for us to survive. It is none of our business according to the fact that they are different human beings belonging to a different social group surviving in a different ecological niche in which they are entitled to set up their own ethics. We have your own nation state: we must focus on making that better. We are concerned about nations rather than families, clans and cities because nations make laws that affect all of the citizens. If particular cities, tribes and families have evolved to digress significantly from the dictats of the nation, they must fight politically, diplomatically and through warfare for their own independence. If they do not digress, they must be nationalistic towards the objectives and ethics of that nation. Immigrant communities face a major dilemma in the choice that they make because they are a tiny minority in the nation. This is resolved by following the adage: when in Rome do as Romans do.
While establishing a colony the British slaughtered a lot of the indigenous population, claiming they were so backwards/primitive. This was evolution but can be said to be unethical. It’s the ethics of the jungle. Survival of the fittest. The aboriginal people of Australia who resisted the invaders paid the price. The survivors assimilated the newcomers and the assimilation is progressing even now. That too is the law of the jungle. One day the genes will get totally assimilated and right for Australia. In the meantime even Chinese and Afghan and Indian stock have arrived. They will all get assimilated one day in a peaceful manner if the ethics of the State is right. The sooner the ethics are right, the sooner the assimilation will take place. And the sooner Australia will emerge a strong and prosperous nation.
There has to be genetic assimilation within a population for coherent government that will ensure that the needs of population are being met perpetually. For a unified world government to work this can only be achieved by an extensive system of interfaith, intercultural, inter-national marriages across the globe to geneate a single human species of 7 billion population. Neither is that feasible, not is it desirable evolutionarily because local populations need to adapt to the agro-geo-climatic conditions of each area to be able to survive and reproduce healthily.
Any moves for humanity to adopt and impose ethics that drag human evolution along particular directions will result in a loss of evolutionary vigour. The morals that form the basis of our laws on crime and punishment and health care provisions when applied universally will drag human evolution along the specific directions imposed by those laws. The mechanism by which it does so is by not allowing those humans with a tendency to committing those banned acts from thriving (imprisoning them will reduce their chances of reproduction for example), thus allowing alternate behaviour patterns to predominate the activities of the group so that over time those genes responsible for the banned acts are wiped out from the population. This is how cultures develop.
The parasites on the nation cannot be nationalists. They just want to extract with nothing to give in return. Nationalists are those who give much more than they get out of the nation. That is why John F Kennedy in his famous speech said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’. I have seen plenty of poor people in my life who go out of their way to help others in society. They are nation builders and who I class as nationalists. Parasites on the other hand are a special breed to be classed as criminally insane.
To base Secular Ethics in evolutionary biology on the basis of nationalism is the optimum naturalistic philosophy. Secular Ethics is not about propagating the human populations globally, but of optimising human survival in each identifiable ecological niche. There are two issues: macroethics that establishes the principles of evolutionary biology underwhich human populations are organised on the planet (history has given us the present nations system so we are stuck with that as our starting point); and microethics, which determine the specific considerations that sub-populations need to consider within their ecological niches in order to optimise the survival of their individual populations. Anything natural is morally right if it is based within its ecological niche. A population of human beings will thrive only when there is social cohesion within that niche. The nation states that we have inherited have not considered their individual viability in these ecological terms. To move the world’s nation states towards national viability will be a long term adjustment process. Every population centre of humans would have to aim to be self sustaining.
Essentially one needs to ask oneself, which is natural if one understands evolutionary biology: individualism (one’s own success) or nationalism (the success of one’s group); I would say that the focus must be on the latter because it delivers the former and this is why we humans have evolved as part of a social group. Nationalism must be microethically designed to be an appropriate collectivist strategy within a ecological niche that obtains from people the maximum that they can put into the system and gives to people the minimum that one is required to on the established macroethics under which human survival globally is guaranteed. It is therefore not the law of the jungle, and therefore not Naturalism.
The world has an economic system that facilitates international trade in goods and services and capital flows that are available for the use of each nation to be allocated strictly on the basis of market forces of supply and demand and associated investment decisons. Nations of the world will have to make use of this facility in order to optimise the efficiency with which they provide the basic needs of their citizens employing the appropriate microethics in combination with international alliances. If for example two states feel they should form an alliance that might assist both sets of populations to thrive in a cooperative manner within the wider world economy, they can do so freely. They will effectively form one nation under their treaty. It will be then classed as one single ecological niche. This should be a perennial option for all states. Now for example Scottish people are holding a referendum to split off from the United Kingdom. That is fine. The people will decide and the matter is being handled in the United Kingdom without any acrimony on either side of the debate. Similarly, there is intense debate on whether the United Kingdom should walk away from the unifying concept of the European Union. A UK Independence Party has been established to enter the debate democratically. Whereever humans have concerns about their survival they can peacefully negotiate with another nation to form such alliances or disengage from existing alliances. The United Nations can monitor these developments and warn nations who are failing their duty of being able to provide the basic needs of their populations and thereby facilitate alliances and aid for restructuring economies under inter-nation alliances. The United Nations should only step in when there is natural catastrophe in which people need emergency humanitarian assistance. That is how I see global humanity harmonising ecologically.
Microethical values that constitute religious prescriptions and behaviour is up to individual nations to determine through their internal discussions. I have pointed out that nationalism is a good thing in terms of evolutionary biology and countries that do not take steps to engender this idea by encouraging interracial and inter-cultural marriages and by dealing with its parasites will not prosper and be able to look after the basic needs of their populations. Parasitism amounts to corruption of one-nation nationalism. Countries that do not weed out parasitic corruption will suffer ecological damage from which many other inhabitants will suffer in just the same way that bad weather causes harvest losses.
Countries that try isolationism will suffer economic and population shrinkage from diminishing resources as their inhabitants will suffer decline in living standards. If they are enlightened they will bring in selected immigrants and outside capital to help the running of their nations. Such immigrants should be given incentives to settle down and breed with the indigenous population thus adding good genetic stock to the nations gene pool and preventing multiculturalism from taking root.
First published in Worpress https://shantanup.wordpress.com on December 19, 2012 Posted by shantanup | Uncategorized | Leave a Comment | Edit