2 philosophical questions about propagation

  wolfie3000 04:52 06 Nov 2010

Im curious to know others views on these questions.

First off, Once parents have had there kids should they give up everything to help them, even there lives if necessary,
To go deeper into this, should a parent give up all they have to make sure there child or children have the best possible chance of continuing there for want of a better word "Bloodline"?

Secondly what makes for a better surviving animal, a smart intelligent one that can build a culture and a stable society or an animal who will just kill, eat and breed, an animal not bound by a societies rules or a conscience?

  wiz-king 07:17 06 Nov 2010

Damm, I thought this was going to be about radio waves - I know a bit about that.

  carver 08:23 06 Nov 2010

That second question is easy, you only have to look at an Ant colony or Termite colony to see how successful they are.

Any species that can take care of it's infants and work together as a group can be considered "smart", "intelligent".

Makes me wonder how come we have managed to survive for so long.

  wolfie3000 00:18 07 Nov 2010

Not many responses to this so far so il add my views.

Question 1, I do think that after you have kids you should give up everything in order to give your offspring the best possible chances in life, even if it requires your own death,
Your job on this earth is done in the fact you have passed on your DNA so your own priorities shouldn't matter but your offsprings should.

Question 2, I think that an animal with a kill, eat, sleep and breed outlook on life has a huge advantage over a more civilized animal,
Not being bound by any rules it can ensure its offspring has the best possible chance in life.
Ok i admit a structured society has its advantages but it can also be a species downfall too.

  WhiteTruckMan 01:04 07 Nov 2010

a gardening question either then.


  Forum Editor 01:08 07 Nov 2010

but of what they are driven to do by their inbuilt mechanisms. All animals possess the instinct to nurture and protect their offspring until they can fend for themselves, although in some species the instinct appears to be stronger than in some others.

What happens when offspring are threatened is largely going to be dictated by instinct, a parent doesn't stop to work out the pros and cons, it's a time for action. The instinct to protect young is very powerful, and it will usually override a parent's instinct for self-preservation - a mother will literally die to save her child.

Philosophers have debated the subject for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and of course there's one classic argument that goes like this:

If a child dies the parents can always make another one, but if one of the parents dies, and they had only produced the one child the survival of the species is threatened, so logically it's better if breeding parents ensure their own survival - they can replace themselves that way.

Logic doesn't always win the day however, and many parents sacrifice themselves so their offspring can live.

As for 'kill, eat, sleep and breed' animals having a huge advantage, it's not that simple at all. All animals eat, sleep and breed, so you're really saying that predators have a huge advantage, and that's not the case at all.

Predatory animals are at the top end of the food chain, but that doesn't make them more successful. Some of the most successful species on the planet are right down near the bottom of the chain - ants, flies, and bees for instance. There will be more ants/bees/wasps/flies in an average acre of land than all the major predators on the planet added together.

If size and aggression gave an animal a huge advantage we would be living on a planet that was dominated by lions, tigers, leopards, and crocodiles, etc., etc., but that isn't the case. Those animals are all hovering on the brink of extinction, and our species dominates, not because we are fierce predators, but because we have evolved to have bigger brains - we can out-think every predator on earth.

The ability to adapt, to communicate thought, to plan ahead, and the possession of the opposing thumb are the things that have mattered most in determining which species has a huge advantage, and we all know which one that has turned out to be.

  wolfie3000 02:04 07 Nov 2010

You raise some interesting points FE but I have to disagree with some of them,

Having the child die is not better than having one or both parents die as there DNA is not continued until they breed again,
Which in some cases may not be possible.

As for using humans as an example of a species that has evolved intelligence i think is incorrect as humans also possess the ability to be one of the most aggressive and self centred animals on this earth.

Also I never used the word predatory either, I meant to say an animal without constraints such as a conscience or laws within a social group.

Animals like bacteria and viruses, yes there not technically animals but they have no form of order or society but are the most prevalent species on the planet.

But being a non social animal that will kill everything it comes across would be a huge advantage to it, no predators, no rival mates, no having to share food resources and so on.

Im not talking about any existing animals but a theoretical walking machine of death that has evolved itself into the perfect killer.

  morddwyd 08:52 07 Nov 2010

"Im not talking about any existing animals but a theoretical walking machine of death that has evolved itself into the perfect killer."

You may not think there is such an existing animal, but that sounds a perfect description of Homo Sapiens to me.

  sunnystaines 09:00 07 Nov 2010

some parents care more than others, we took on extra part time work to pay for private education, which paid off, had we not done this she may have ended up in dead end job in a store or call centre rather than a professional career

  Forum Editor 09:31 07 Nov 2010

on the planet in a relatively short time in evolutionary terms. We have done so because we possess superior intelligence, and the opposable thumb. Combine those two, and you have the reason for our success.

In your opening post you referred to an animal that would "just kill, eat and breed, an animal not bound by a societies rules or a conscience?" That's a predator, and it's why I used the term.

An animal that was " a theoretical walking machine of death" would not last very long - all animals evolve some form of social interraction, even if some of them (like polar bears) lead a solitary existence for long periods. A polar bear is probably the nearest living animal to your description, and it has never dominated to any degree. It evolved to live in a highly specialised and hostile environment, and as a result it has never existed in great numbers.

Successful species are those which adapt readily to changing circumstances, and really successful species are those who can change their environment to suit themselves, rather than being the victims of circumstance. That's what we've done, and we have become the most successful species that has ever existed, apart from some of the dinosaurs.

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