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View Diary: The Descent of Republicans (163 comments)

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  •  False (7+ / 0-)

    Altruism and its close cousin, empathy, are a fairly common feature among all social animals: canids, cetaceans, pinnipeds, apes and lesser simians, bats, corvids and so on and so forth.

    Even some insects display behaviors that could be called altruistic, but with those species, any notion of volition is utterly implausible (unless you buy in the notion of distributed intelligence). But at least, it shows that those traits are not necessarily associated to cognition.

    We, humans, like to think of ourselves as exceptional, gifted with behavioral traits that no or very few other species share. But it happens not to be true. What we think as our highest, most exalted qualities turn out to be fairly common throughout the animal kingdom. Even more humbling, those traits seem to have evolved independently multiple times though parallel evolution.

    We are not that special.

    I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

    by Farugia on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:17:06 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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