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The UC Berkeley study echoes "The Selfish Gene."

I've always felt that it just makes sense that morality could evolve out of doing "tit for tat" good deeds. I don't understand why the religious get more starting points on this topic.

If you're nice to people, you're less likely to get your ass kicked, first of all, and much more likely to reap social benefits. We are a united species trying to survive, after all, so it also seems fair to say that helping each other, even anonymously, is good for everyone, especially if were all doing it. Over many thousands of generations, I can easily imagine that this "do good to get good" strategy gradually became part of our makeup. Thus, why (some) people do good stuff even though nobody else may ever know about it (charity, blood donations, etc).

The followup point has been beaten to death by people like Christopher Hitchens, but I do think that doing good based on your own inherent judgment is also far more "honorable" than doing it just because you're scared some omnipotent being is watching you.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.

Wait, doesn't the above then mean that we are wired to be selfish but that we are evolving away from that? If we're evolving away from selfishness that means it was true that we were selfish!

While I don't disagree with the findings, the language of the article suggests a bias.

While studies show that bonding and making social connections can make for a healthier, more meaningful life, the larger question some UC Berkeley researchers are asking is, "How do these traits ensure our survival and raise our status among our peers?"

While much of the positive psychology being studied around the nation is focused on personal fulfillment and happiness, UC Berkeley researchers have narrowed their investigation into how it contributes to the greater societal good.

The way that is written suggests that the researchers started with the conclusion they wanted to draw.


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