Can Evolution Explain Altruism?

Here’s an excellent post by my fellow blogger, ApoloJedi, as he discusses the topic of altruism, and if evolution can explain it. It’s pretty thorough for a single article, exploring evolutionary explanations and analyzing their merit. Enjoy the read!

ApoloJedi

It’s my hobby to interact with people and talk about my Savior, Jesus. He’s the Creator (Col 1:16) and the promised Messiah (Gen 3:15.) Despite my multitude of sins and those of all repentant sinners (John 3:16), He demonstrated his great love (Rom 4:8) by taking on the full wrath of the Father to atone for wickedness (Rom 3:25)

Inevitably in some of those conversations, skeptics bring up evolution as a reason not to repent. The conversation sometimes includes this phrase:

There’s no need for your sky daddy. Evolution explains everything without him

I’m with Greg Bahnsen when he says that evolution can’t explain ANYTHING. But one of the questions I’ve asked God-deniers about evolution’s explanatory power is “How is altruism consistent with evolutionism? How does evolution explain altruistic behavior?”

NOTE: As a blog that uses the presuppositional method to honor God’s revelation and expose the irrational nature…

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4 thoughts on “Can Evolution Explain Altruism?

  1. each group, altruists will be at a selective disadvantage relative to their selfish colleagues, but the fitness of the group as a whole will be enhanced by the presence of altruists. Groups composed only or mainly of selfish organisms go extinct, leaving behind groups containing altruists. In the example of the Vervet monkeys, a group containing a high proportion of alarm-calling monkeys will have a survival advantage over a group containing a lower proportion. So conceivably, the alarm-calling behaviour may evolve by between-group selection, even though within each group, selection favours monkeys that do not give alarm calls. The idea that group selection might explain the evolution of altruism was first broached by Darwin himself. In

    • Thanks, I appreciate your comment. But this doesn’t explain how altruism evolved or where it came from. Did it evolve in the first single-celled organisms, during the Cambrian or Pre-Cambrian? Did the earliest organisms demonstrate altruism? How would we know? Are we justified to assume that those organisms went extinct because they weren’t altruistic? Or could they have gone extinct for other reasons? Does this mean that all living organisms practice altruism, including all insects, bacteria, viruses, sponges, clams, etc.? Perhaps all these questions have been addressed and resolved, but I would guess there are a lot of living organisms that don’t exhibit true altruistic behavior (and are not extinct).

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