This paper combines the social psychology concept of moral elevation with the evolutionary concept of traditions as descendant-leaving strategies to produce a new explanation of the role of saints in Christianity. Moral elevation refers to the ability of prosocial acts to inspire people to engage in their own acts of charity and kindness. When morally elevating stories and visual depictions become traditional by being passed from one generation to the next, they can produce prosocial behavior advantageous to survival and reproduction (...) among many generations of descendants. Traditions that increase the number of descendants in future generations can be seen as descendant-leaving strategies. Stories and visual depictions of the sacrifices of saints appear to be designed to produce states of moral elevation, and they have been transmitted from one generation to the next for many centuries. We propose that this ability of sacrificing saints to inspire future generations to engage in prosocial acts has contributed to the continuation and spread of Christianity. (shrink)
Humans appear to be possible candidates for group selection because they are often said to live in bands, clans, and tribes. These terms, however, are only names for conceptual categories of people. They do not designate enduring bounded gatherings of people that might be “vehicles of selection.” Hence, group selection has probably not been a major force in human evolution.
The branch of evolutionary theory known as signaling theory attempts to explain various forms of communication. Social scientists have explained many traditional rituals as forms of communication that promote cooperative social relationships among participants. Both evolutionists and social scientists have realized the importance of trust for the formation and maintenance of cooperative social relationships. These factors have led to attempts to apply signaling theory to traditional cultural rituals in various ways. This paper uses the traditional ritual of mumming in small (...) Newfoundland fishing villages to evaluate alternative hypotheses about the connection between rituals, communication, trust, and cooperation. Mumming is found to be most consistent with the hypothesis that it is a ritual of trust wherein participants take a specific type of risk: the risk of harm at the hands of other participants. Individuals who take this risk actively signal their trust. Conversely, individuals who restrain themselves from inflicting harm on other participants actively signal their trustworthiness. (shrink)
Many anthropological explanations of magical practices are based on the assumption that the immediate cause of performing an act of magic is the belief that the magic will work as claimed. Such explanations typically attempt to show why people come to believe that magical acts work as claimed when such acts do not identifiably have such effects. We suggest an alternative approach to the explanation of magic that views magic as a form of religious behavior, a form of communication that (...) promotes or protects cooperative social relationships. We suggest that all forms of religious behavior involve persons communicating acceptance of a supernatural claim and that this act communicates a willingness to accept nonskeptically the influence of the person making such a claim. Thus, religious behavior communicates a willingness to cooperate with the claim maker and others who accept his or her influence. We suggest that magic, which can be distinguished by the communicated acceptance of the claim that certain techniques have supernatural effects, also promotes cooperation. Different types of magic, including sorcery, love magic, and curing magic, can be shown to communicate different types of messages, such as a threat to use violence to punish unsocial behavior, sexual desire, or concern for a person's well-being. Ethnographic examples are used to support this hypothesis. This approach requires no assumptions about whether the practitioners of magic do or do not believe that the magical acts work as claimed. It attempts only to account for the identifiable talk and behavior that constitute magical acts by examining the identifiable, and often important, effects of these acts on the behavior of others. (shrink)
Totemism, a topic that fascinated and then was summarily dismissed by anthropologists, has been resurrected by evolutionary psychologists' recent attempts to explain religion. New approaches to religion are all based on the assumption that religious behavior is the result of evolved psychological mechanisms. We focus on two aspects of Totemism that may present challenges to this view. First, if religious behavior is simply the result of evolved psychological mechanisms, would it not spring forth anew each generation from an individual's psychological (...) mechanisms? Yet, Australian Totemism, like other forms of Totemism, is profoundly traditional, copied by one generation from the prior ones for hundreds of generations. Regardless of personal inclinations, individuals are obligated to participate. Second, it is problematic to assume that all practitioners of Totemism actually believe their religious claims. We propose an alternative explanation that accounts for the persistence of Totemism and that does not rely on an assumption that its practitioners are preliterate or naive because they have strange beliefs. We focus on Totemism as a cultural mechanism aimed at building and sustaining social relationships among close and distant kinsmen. (shrink)
Andrews et al. present a clear discussion of the various criteria needed to identify adaptations. However, they also imply a history of the debate between adaptationists and their critics that is incomplete. The history implied is one of only genuine scientific disagreement. This neglects the role of nonscientific motives and strawman arguments on behalf of the critics of adaptationists.
Data from 949 families of Caucasian and 400 families of Japanese ancestry who took part in the Hawaii Family Study of Cognition were used to ascertain the associations of parental cognitive ability, parental education and paternal occupation with offspring cognitive ability. In particular, analyses were focused on testing the possible moderating effects of parental socioeconomic status on the familial transmission of cognitive abilities. Parental cognitive ability was substantially associated and parental education and paternal occupation only trivially associated with offspring performance. (...) In contrast to the findings of Turkheimer etal. (2003), there was no evidence in these data that familiality for cognitive abilities was lower in the lower as opposed to upper levels of socioeconomic status. These results were consistent across measures, ethnicity and sex of offspring. (shrink)
This article is a rebuttal to Robert G. Cavin and Carlos A. Colombetti’s article, “Assessing the Resurrection Hypothesis: Problems with Craig’s Inference to the Best Explanation,” which argues that the Standard Model of current particle physics entails that non-physical things (like a supernatural God or a supernaturally resurrected body) can have no causal contact with the physical universe. As such, they argue that William Lane Craig’s resurrection hypothesis is not only incompatible with the notion of Jesus physically appearing (...) to the disciples, but the resurrection hypothesis is significantly limited in both its explanatory scope and explanatory power. This article seeks to demonstrate why their use of the Standard Model does not logically entail a rejection of the physical resurrection of Jesus when considering the scope and limitations of science itself. (shrink)
For a variety of reasons, including the common use of deception in psychology experiments, participants often disbelieve experimenters' assertions about important task parameters. This can lead researchers to conclude incorrectly that participants are behaving non- normatively. The problem can be overcome by deriving and testing normative models that do not assume full belief in key task parameters. A real experimental example is discussed.
We are not convinced by Gangestad & Simpson that differential mating strategies within each sex would be greater than such strategies between sexes. The target article does not provide actual evidence of human males who do not desire mating with multiple females, or evidence that the benefits for females of short-term matings with multiple males have ever outweighed the associated costs.
This article analyzes “farmers’ rights” as a strategy of resistance against the perceived inequities of intellectual property rights regimes for plant varieties. As commercial models of intellectual property have made their way into agriculture, farmers’ traditional seed-saving practices have been increasingly delegitimized. In response, farmers have adopted the language of farmers’ rights to demand greater material recognition of their contributions and better measures to protect their autonomy. This campaign has mixed implications. On one hand, farmers’rights are a unique form of (...) right that may help transform conventions of intellectual property in ways that are better suited for registering and materially encouraging alternative forms of innovation, such as those offered by farming communities. On the other hand, farmers’ rights have proved enormously difficult to enact. And by situating farmers’rights alongside easily enacted commercial breeders’rights, the campaign risks further legitimizing the inequities it is responding to. (shrink)
Igneous sills emplaced at shallow levels in sedimentary basins commonly uplift the overburden and free surface. Uplift produces dome-shaped forced folds that may host economic hydrocarbon accumulations. These intrusion-induced forced folds are typically assumed to develop instantaneously, whereby the oldest onlapping strata constrain the age of sill emplacement, and accommodate the entire volume of intruded magma. However, several studies demonstrate that forced folds may grow over geologic timescales, with additional space-making mechanisms partly accommodating the magma volume. It is thus critical (...) to understand when forced fold traps form and how they evolve in relation to the timing of source rock maturation and migration. We analyze two forced folds imaged in 2D seismic reflection data from offshore northwest Australia. Analyzing the seismic stratigraphy of the forced fold overburden allows us to recognize several distinct phases of fold growth. Subhorizontal reflections onlapping onto the lower portion of the forced folds at a high angle indicate that the first phase of sill emplacement and fold development occurred rapidly, facilitated by normal faulting, prior to the deposition of overlying strata during a period of magmatic quiescence and regional hydrocarbon maturation in the Early Cretaceous. Renewed magmatic activity resulted in a final, protracted phase of doming, which is recorded by a package of onlapping growth strata that was incrementally deformed by successive intrusive pulses. We also demonstrate that in addition to folding and faulting, the magma volume was likely accommodated by porosity reduction within the folded strata. Our observations imply that the age of the lowermost onlapping reflections only constrain the onset of sill emplacement and not the duration of magmatic activity. Constraining the dynamic evolution of intrusion-induced forced folds from the structure of onlapping reflections during hydrocarbon exploration can thus provide critical insights into the potential volume and charge history of any hydrocarbon accumulations. (shrink)
This essay explores the dialectics of theory and practice in terms of argumentation theory. Adapting Jonsen and Toulmin's (1988) notion of a Theory-Practice spectrum, it conceives Theory and Practice as extreme ends of a continuum and discourses as falling at various points along the continuum. Every theoritical discourse has essential practical aspects, and every practical discourse has essential theoretical aspects. Practices are theorized to varying degrees but every practice is thorized to some degree. Reflective discourse, which is discourse about practice, (...) moves to and fro along the Theory-Practice continuum. Reflective discourse involves argumentation. Practical argumentation connects theory to practice; it appeals to general warrants, which may be simple or may tap into elaborate conceptual structures, in order to establish grounds for practical judgments. A practical discipline is a relatively coherent intellectual-professional enterprise that cultivates a field of social practice by engaging within itself and with practitioners in a reflective discourse. The argumentation of a practical discipline, like ordinary practical reflection, moves to and fro along the Theory-Practice continuum but in more methodical steps informed by systematic methodological reflection on the reflective process itself. (shrink)
The flow of time is a deep, significant and universal aspect of human life. Yet it remains a mystery and many dismiss the flow of time as illusory. Craig Callender explores this puzzle, and offers a fascinating explanation of why creatures experience time as flowing - even if, as physics suggests, it isn't.
Examining discourse markers in two transcribed discussions of controversial issues in an undergraduate 'critical thinking' class, we note frequent uses of 'I'm just saying' and related metadiscursive expressions . Our central claim is that these 'saying' expressions are pragmatic devices by which speakers claim 'all along' to have held a consistent argumentative standpoint, one that continues through the discussion unless changed for good reasons. Through close analysis of a series of discourse examples, we show how these discourse markers are used (...) to display continuity, deflect counterarguments, and acknowledge the force of counterarguments while preserving continuity. In a concluding section we reflect critically on the use of these continuity markers with regard to four pragmatic functions that they potentially serve: to specify and clarify argumentative standpoints, to acknowledge a presumption of standpoint continuity, to acknowledge a normative expectation that discussion participants should have standpoints, and to avoid overt disagreement while saving face. (shrink)
In a recent study, we found a negative association between psychopathy and violence against genetic relatives. We interpreted this result as a form of nepotism and argued that it failed to support the hypothesis that psychopathy is a mental disorder, suggesting instead that it supports the hypothesis that psychopathy is an evolved life history strategy. This interpretation and subsequent arguments have been challenged in a number of ways. Here, we identify several misunderstandings regarding the harmful dysfunction definition of mental disorder (...) as it applies to psychopathy and regarding the meaning of nepotism. Furthermore, we examine the evidence provided by our critics that psychopathy is associated with other disorders, and we offer a comment on their alternative model of psychopathy. We conclude that there remains little evidence that psychopathy is the product of dysfunctional mechanisms. (shrink)
What Believers Don't Have to Believe, author Craig Payne uses evidence from the Creeds, Christian history, the scriptures, and philosophy to establish what one is required to believe to maintain Christian orthodoxy, and how much one is not required to believe. This book focuses on five areas of disagreement: creation, biblical inerrancy, human nature, Christian political involvement, and eschatology.
I open my eyes and see that the lemon before me is yellow. States like this—states of seeing that $p$ —appear to be visual perceptual states, in some sense. They also appear to be propositional attitudes (and so states with propositional representational contents). It might seem, then, like a view of perceptual experience on which experiences have propositional representational contents—a Propositional View—has to be the correct sort of view for states of seeing that $p$ . And thus we can’t sustain (...) fully general non-Propositional but Representational, or Relational Views of experience. But despite what we might initially be inclined to think when reflecting upon the apparent features of states of seeing that $p$ , a non-propositional view of seeing that $p$ is, I argue, perfectly intelligible. (shrink)
This study compares Australian marketers with those in the United States along lines that are particular to the study of ethics. The test measured two different moral philosophies, idealism and relativism, and compared perceptions of ethical problems, ethical intentions, and corporate ethical values. According to Hofstede's cultural typologies, there should be little difference between American and Australian marketers, but the study did find significant differences. Australians tended to be more idealistic and more relativistic than Americans and the other results were (...) mixed, making it difficult to generalize about the effects of moral philosophies on the components of ethical decision-making measured here. This is an important finding; as firms become increasingly more globalized, marketers will more often be involved in cross-cultural ethical dilemmas and it seems natural to assume that similar cultures will have similar ethical orientations. That assumption may well prove erroneous. (shrink)
John Meier distinguishes ‘the real Jesus’ from ‘the historical Jesus’. Meier claims that whatever happened to the real Jesus after his death, his resurrection cannot belong to the historical Jesus because that event is in principle not open to the observation of any observer. But why think that the resurrection is not observable in this way? Meier finds justification in Gerald O'Collins' view that although the resurrection of Jesus is a real event, it is not an event in space and (...) time and hence should not be called historical, since a necessary condition of historical occurrences is that they are known to have happened in our space‐time continuum. Is this a good argument for the resurrection's being in principle excludable from the historical Jesus? A close examination of the argument reveals that it is not and that Meier's adoption of such a procedure contradicts Meier's own historical methodology. (shrink)
In this article I present an original interpretation of Roy Bhaskar’s project in Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom. His major move is to separate an ontological dialectic from a critical dialectic, which in Hegel are laminated together. The ontological dialectic, which in Hegel is the self-unfolding of spirit, becomes a realist and relational philosophical anthropology. The critical dialectic, which in Hegel is confined to retracing the steps of spirit, now becomes an active force, dialectical critique, which interposes into the ontological (...) dialectic at the ‘fourth dimension’ of a naturalistically reconfigured account of relational human nature, agency. This account allows Bhaskar to explain and vindicate the crucial role social criticism must play in any realistic project of self-emancipation, and to create a space that didn’t exist in Hegel for an open-ended concrete utopianism. Freedom is thus the actualization of human nature, but is not automatic: the relation of human nature to freedom is mediated historically through dialectical critique, which, informed by concrete utopianism, can have emancipatory power. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 13-44 Authors Craig Reeves, Brunel University Journal Journal of Critical Realism Online ISSN 1572-5138 Print ISSN 1476-7430 Journal Volume Volume 12 Journal Issue Volume 12, Number 1 / 2013. (shrink)