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Human Nature or Role Model Re-enactment?

  1. May 29, 2007 #1

    baywax

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    Is destructive behavior and benefiting psychologically as well as materially from other people's misfortune a part of human nature or an endless chain of role models that have been passed down from generation to generation to us today?

    Is our predisposition to compete (like in sports) and to step on heads to get to the top what people call "human nature" (ie: genetic) or is it a chain of role models that stretches back into primordial times that we follow today partially as a learned behavior or as a kind of "follow the leader" daze?

    If you look at sports as a model, you can see that for every down turn one team has, the opposing team becomes elated. This is not cooperative behavior and it breeds a sometimes violent relationship between the members of the teams. Where do traditions like this come from? Its very similar when nations compete with their ideals and force their needs upon one another. Is war and competition an enactment of role models provided by coaches or leaders and the leader's fathers etc...? Or are these behaviors genetically programed and expressed because of natural selection?
     
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  3. May 29, 2007 #2

    loseyourname

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    It is cooperative behavior, only the cooperation is contained to an in-group at the expense of all others. It's a consistent pattern shown across all group action. I tilt toward an evolutionary explanation for this myself, but before I get into justifying that (which might take a while), I'd like to first point out a false dichotomy you've created between genetic and learned behavior. Behavior can be neither genetic nor learned. Conditions in the womb and early childhood nutrition, for instance, can affect a person's adult disposition and thus incline certain behavioral patterns.
     
  4. May 29, 2007 #3

    baywax

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    I'm positive there are nutritional and other environmental triggers that will determine certain gene expression. It has been noted in the case of iron deficiency for example (no link)

    I do have a link here that shows violent behavior to be a learned behavior although you may not agree with "Science Daily" or the articles it carries.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001106061128.htm

    Here's a definition of "behavior" from the University of San Diego (one of my fav universities)

    http://www.usd.edu/biol/faculty/swanson/ornith/lec16.html

    What they seem to be saying is that behavior is a result of all experiences including what we experience as genetically determined organisms.

    I have never understood what people mean when they say "human nature". I mean, isn't it the same "nature" as "fish nature", "goat nature", "insect nature" or "plant nature"? We're all part and parcel with nature.
     
  5. May 30, 2007 #4

    baywax

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    Is "forgiveness" part of "human nature"? Is it a genetic trait or learned behavior.... learned from role models in one's sphere of influence?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
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