Month: August 2019

Professor examines the complex evolution of human morality

first_img Explore further Copyright 2010 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. In this line of thinking, morality is not an adaptation but an exaptation, which is when a trait evolves because it served one particular function, but later comes to serve another function, which was not originally the target of natural selection. Ayala proposes that, once morality evolved as a byproduct of higher intelligence, it influenced individuals to behave in ways that increased cooperation, benefitting the social group and providing an evolutionary advantage, so that it eventually became an adaptation in and of itself. Although a kind of natural selection, called group selection, is generally not considered an evolutionary stable strategy, Ayala points out Darwin’s argument that, unlike other animals, humans can understand the benefits of morality, cooperation, and altruistic behavior. This understanding has inspired humans to create laws that enforce the moral codes that benefit their society. The cultural evolution that drives these moral codes is, as Ayala explains, a more effective and faster form of evolution compared with biological evolution, and also explains the diversity of moral codes in different cultures. If human morality originated both biologically and culturally, in the way that Ayala suggests, then it seems that it would be very unlikely for other animals to have evolved the same degree of morality in the same way, if at all. Because morality relies on several evolutionary prerequisites that themselves seem unique to humans, it might even be considered one of the human traits that is furthest from the other animals, in accordance with Darwin’s original suggestion. Perhaps, this distinctively human trait could even provide a solution to a distinctively human problem, as Ayala quotes the prominent psychologist Steven Pinker when he writes that “Morality is not just any old topic in psychology, but close to our connection of the meaning of life. Moral goodness is what gives each of us the sense that we are worthy human beings.”“Morality is a unique human trait, one of the most important and most distinctive traits that characterize humanity,” Ayala said. “Obviously, it is also overwhelmingly important in determining the welfare of human societies. The distinction I use in characterizing morality (behavior versus norms) can be largely extended to other distinctive human attributes, like religion. We are concerned about the meaning and purpose of life, as a consequence of our exalted intelligence, which came about by biological evolution and allows us to anticipate the future and to know that we will die. But the diversity of religions comes about as the result of cultural — not biological — evolution.” Citation: Professor examines the complex evolution of human morality (2010, May 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-05-professor-complex-evolution-human-morality.html (PhysOrg.com) — Although the question of what makes humans different from other animals doesn’t have a single obvious answer, one seemingly conspicuous human trait is morality. Darwin, in his book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, published in 1871, singled out “the moral sense or conscience” as by far the most important difference between humans and other animals. Darwin’s argument was, of course, strongly based on the concepts of biological evolution and natural selection. Now, upon further investigating the origins of morality, Francisco Ayala, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine, has proposed a Darwin-inspired explanation of how human morality might have evolved. Ayala defines moral or ethical behavior as “the actions of a person who takes into account in a sympathetic way the impact the actions have on others.” While philosophers and biologists have long debated whether the origins of morality are cultural or biological, respectively, Ayala argues that it’s actually a combination of both. He sees morality as consisting of two parts: the capacity for ethics and the specific moral codes that we follow. He proposes that, while ethical capacity is a product of biological evolution, moral codes are products of cultural evolution. This more complex theory of morality’s origins is very similar to Darwin’s perspective.“Many biologists, including sociobiologists, argue that morality is a biologically determined trait,” Ayala told PhysOrg.com. “Most philosophers and theologians see morality as a product of cultural evolution and/or religious faith. I distinguish between the ‘capacity for ethics,’ which is biologically determined as a result of biological evolution; and the ‘moral codes’ or ethical norms, which are largely outcomes of cultural evolution, including religious beliefs.”Ayala further explains that the capacity for moral behavior is not adaptive in itself, but it is a consequence of a higher intellectual ability that is adaptive, being directly promoted through natural selection due to its ability to improve survival rates (such as by allowing us to construct tools, develop hunting strategies, etc.). Ayala identifies three necessary conditions for moral behavior that could have evolved with intelligence: the ability to anticipate the consequences of our actions, to evaluate such consequences, and to choose accordingly how to act. While overall intellectual capacities evolved gradually, he speculates that the three necessary conditions for moral behavior only came about after crossing an evolutionary threshold, as they require abilities such as the formation of abstract concepts. And only after humans possessed all three abilities could we possess a moral capacity. Morality research sheds light on the origins of religion More information: Francisco J. Ayala. “The difference of being human: Morality.” PNAS. http://www.pnas.org/content/107/suppl.2/9015.abstract“What the Biological Sciences Can and Cannot Contribute to Ethics,” chap. 18, pp. 316-336, in Ayala FJ and Arp R, eds. Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology (Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA, 2010). philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00004079/ This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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The abduction drama

first_imgHere’s a treat for the theater lovers. Yatrik Theatre is producing Dario Fo’s Abducting Diana in collaboration with Italian Cultural Centre and Old World Culture at the India Habitat Centre. For those who don’t know better, Fo is the 1997 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and known for plays like Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! and Trumpets and Raspberries. Much of his dramatic work depends on improvisation and comprises the recovery of ‘illegitimate’ forms of theatre, such as those performed by giullari (medieval strolling players) and, more famously, the ancient Italian style of commedia dell’arte. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Here’s how Abducting Diana goes…a  botched kidnap plays into the hands of Diana Forbes O’Brien, the Media Baron and delights you with bizarre goings-on. Think of it as clowns on a tight rope performing without a safety net. An incredible laugh fest in pure, inventive Dario Fo land! Into the mystery of who masterminded the abduction is added pyromania, a gun toting priest and an explosive climax.Directed by Avijit Dutt and designed by Luca Ruzza, the play is going to be held at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre and in Epicentre, Gurgaon. The play stars Kriti Vij, Keshav Moodliar, Varoon Anand, Sudeep Singh, Shekhar Murugan, Vani Vyas and Avijit Dutt.So, if you want to have a good time with some stunning acting and have a good laugh. Pick a date, head over!DETAILWhere: Stein Auditorium, IHC and Epicentre, GurgaonWhen: 20 and 21 April in IHC, 8 pm; 11 May in Epicentre, 8 pmlast_img read more

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Presi VC term gets extended by six months

first_imgKolkata: The term of Professor Anuradha Lohia, Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University has been extended by six months. Meanwhile, the search to find out her successor is on. She is scheduled to retire on April 30.A past pupil of Presidency College in the early 1970s, Professor Lohia has played a major role in upgrading the academic standard of the university. She was a former student of Modern High School. She obtained her doctorate from Jadavpur University and then went to US for higher studies. She joined the Biochemistry department of Bose Institute before joining Presidency University.Lohia had her ups and downs during the past four years. She played a major role in celebrating the bi-centenary celebration of Presidency College. Meanwhile, some students of the University are planning to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor KN Tripathi requesting them not to extend her term.last_img read more

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Father son commit suicide over failure to repay loan in Suri

first_imgOur correspondent Kolkata: In a tragic incident, a father and his son committed suicide after they failed to repay a loan. The incident took place at Suri in Birbhum on Wednesday.The incident sparked tension among locals in Nurai village of Suri. The victims are Sidhhartha Chakraborty and his son Sankhasip Chakraborty. They consumed poison to kill themselves. Some of the locals found the victims lying unconscious in the bed. Despite repeated knocks, the victims did not respond. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThey immediately took the victim to a nearby hospital where the doctors announced the victims brought dead.According to the doctors, the victims had consumed poison on late Tuesday night and they had died much before they were brought to the hospital. After being informed, police reached the house of the victims and started a probe. According to preliminary investigation, police suspect that the father son duo committed suicide after failing to repay a loan. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedAfter interrogating some locals, police came to know they had borrowed some money from a person. There was also a huge pressure on the victim. The locals told the police that on some occasions, the victims used to engage in quarrels with the person who lent them money.After failing to bear the humiliation, the victims decided to end their lives. According to police, they bought some poison from the market on Tuesday. Locals said there was nothing unusual in the behavior of the victims on Tuesday. They spoke to some of the locals in the afternoon. But nobody could expect that they would take such a drastic step. Police have started a detailed probe in this regard. They are investigating if there was any foul play or any one had instigated the duo to commit suicide.last_img read more

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Forest department set to radio collar leopards in N Bengal

first_imgKolkata: In a bid to prevent leopard attacks particularly in the tea gardens of North Bengal, the state Forest department has kicked off the process of radio collaring the animals and then release them out in the wild.”We have been conducting various awareness programmes in the tea gardens, informing the workers of some precautionary measures that can be taken to keep a check on leopard attacks. However, things have not worked out. Hence, we have decided to follow the most scientific method of radio collaring of leopards, which is being done by the Wildlife Institute of India. Four leopards have already been radio collared,” said state Chief Wildlife Warden Ravikant Sinha. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe Forest department has set a target of radio collaring all the leopards in North Bengal by the middle of 2020. The effort will also help the department have an idea of leopard population.”Leopards mostly attack humans in self defence. This process will help us track the animals’ location and movement and hence we can communicate this movement in advance to the concerned authorities, so that they become cautious,” a senior official of the department said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedAt least 60-70 human injuries are reported every year in North Bengal because of leopard attacks. The animals’ movement pattern will further help form an idea about their habitats, which can later be scanned for scat samples and analysis of these samples can reveal their food habits.A senior official of the department informed that the drainage system of the tea gardens is very good and leopards prefer to stay in these drains of the tea gardens. Most of the attacks in tea gardens take place when tea plucking operation is carried out. “We advise the people to follow a single straight line while plucking tea. But they do this in a scattered manner, thereby blocking the escape route of a leopard if it is staying in the drains during plucking. So, in a desperate attempt to flee, it attacks those who come in its escape route,” the official added.The tea garden labourers are also advised to burst some crackers while going for tea plucking. “But they hardly do so,” the official said.Earlier, the state has successfully radio-collared tigers and elephants and have gained crucial information about the movement of these animals.last_img read more

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Horticulture department eyes international orchid market

first_imgKolkata: The state Food Processing and Horticulture department is gearing up to tap the immense demand of orchids in the international market.”Darjeeling grows Cymbidium orchids in abundance, which is of high demand in countries like USA, UK, Australia and Japan. The cultivation of orchid is low cost and the flowers can be grown without a greenhouse. However, post harvest these flowers have to be shipped out quite fast. We are taking it up with the Airports Authority of India to upgrade Bagdogra Airport in a way, so that it can handle more international flights. Apart from the European market, the market for Southeast Asia can also be tapped for export,” a senior official of the state Horticulture department said. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsApart from the problem of transportation, another major problem is that of packaging. Foreign exports require packaging of international standards, that ensures a reasonably good shelf life for the flowers. The present packaging for export of flowers is corrugated cardboard boxes.”We will soon hold talks with the Indian Institute of Packaging for having an international standard packaging for flower export,” the official added.The local cultivators face a lot of problems in export as the commercial Cymbidium orchid has a long gestation period of four to six years. “Another major challenge is to source good orchid varieties to keep pace with emerging trends, since demand in the orchid industry is determined by changing tastes,” a cultivator in a nursery in Darjeeling said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”We are also trying to work out how advanced technology can be used for cultivation of these flowers and extend help to the cultivators for exports,” the official maintained.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who attended the business summit in Darjeeling in March, had asked the CII to prepare a Detailed Project Report on cultivation of cinchona, orchid and medicinal plants, which have huge market.State minister for Food Processing and Horticulture Abdur RezzakMollah visited Darjeeling recently, to monitor the cultivation of cinchona and orchid.It may be mentioned that apart from Darjeeling, Sikkim is also making significant strides in orchid trade.last_img read more

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Govt allocates Rs 185 crore for women scheme

first_img“The scheme is being implemented since April 1, 2015. The scheme envisages establishment of one ‘One Stop Centre’ in each state/ UT in the first phase,” said Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in the Lok Sabha on Friday. She informed the Lower House that all states/ UTs have been requested to submit their proposals in order to release funds. The Minister said as of now, the funds released to states/ UTs for setting up these centres in the country are – Chhattisgarh Rs 38.22 lakh, Assam Rs 38.84 lakh, Nagaland Rs 45.88 lakh, Daman & Diu Rs 45.88 lakh, Punjab Rs 43.82 lakh, Tamil Nadu Rs 45.88 lakh, Tripura Rs 45.88 lakh, Goa Rs 45.88 lakh, Haryana Rs 36.41 lakh, Telangana Rs 45.88, Madhya Pradesh Rs 45.88, Uttar Pradesh Rs 45.88 and Maharashtra Rs 45.88.  Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIThe first One Stop Centre was set up in Raipur on July 16, 2015, she added.The Ministry has also approved a scheme for the Universalisation of Women Helpline, which again will  be financed through the Nirbhaya Fund. “This scheme is exclusively designed to support women affected by violence, both in private and public spaces, including family, community, workplace etc. The women’s helpline will offer 24-hour emergency response to those affected by violence.  It has been envisaged to integrate these One Stop Centres with  the Women Helpline No. (181) and other existing helplines,” the Minister said. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindReferring to schemes for women in J&K, Gandhi said that at present “there are 141 Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme and 29,599 Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) operational in the state, providing services under ICDS scheme to 2,95,039 children (in the age group of six months to six years), 92,021 pregnant and lactating mothers under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme and 3,00,126 children under the pre-school education programme. Under the restructured ICDS, five-tier monitoring committees have been introduced.” Other schemes being implemented under the Ministry include – Swadhar Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for empowerment of Adolescent Girls (SABLA), Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna (IGMSY), Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP), Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers and Working Women’s Hostel, she added.last_img read more

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1 paraglider dead in Bengal accident

first_imgKolkata: A paraglider was killed and another severely injured in a gliding accident in West Bengal’s Kalimpong district, police said on Sunday. “Purushottam, 22, a paragliding pilot from Nepal, died in the accident while the tourist with him was injured in Delo hills on Sunday,” a Kalimpong police officer said. The body has been recovered. The tourist from Patna, Gaurav Choudhary, 35, critically injured is in a private hospital in Siliguri,” he added. Whether any safety measure was flouted was being probed.last_img read more

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Lalit Kala Akademi hosts 59th National Exhibition of Art

first_imgIn order to give recognition to outstanding artists, the Lalit Kala Akademi through its National Exhibition of Art gave a platform to many artists to portray their remarkable work. The exhibition, which is held every year, covers artworks from extensive series of mediums like paintings, sculptures, graphics, photographs, drawings, installation, and multimedia. Recently, the 59th edition of this exhibition was opened before a large audience including art practitioners, artists, art collectors, art lovers and critics from all over the country. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe exhibition was inaugurated by Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of Culture, who later on released the catalog for the exhibition. “The 59th National Exhibition of Art is a platform for young, upcoming, known and famous artists to display their talent and creativity. It is a portal where the entire country can view various mediums of art by innumerable artists,” said Sharma on the occasion. “A person who does physical toil is a laborer, a person who utilizes his brain to work can be an engineer but it is only the artist who works with all their heart and soul. Let us help all these artists to get a platform to display their art and creativity,” he added. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe inauguration ceremony was graced by eminent personalities like Adwaita Gadanayak – DG, NGMA, Vijay Kumar, Katerine Kumar, Pravesh Khanna, Mukul Pawar, Amit Dutt (Awardee) to name a few.The Akademi had received 3644 entries submitted by 1433 artists throughout the country. The selection jury unanimously selected 172 exhibits in different disciplines, by 171 artists, for the national exhibition. Out of 172 exhibits, the jury selected 15 National Academy awardees for the art exhibition.”Contemporary art is reaching out to a larger audience thereby evolving globally. The artworks highlight the signature style of each artist, depicting the current cultural and global influences on Indian art, thus creating a deeper interest in art today. The works displayed during 59th NEA are shining examples of quality and innovation,” said C. S. Krishna Setty, Administrator, Lalit Kala Akademi.last_img read more

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Barasat hotels under scanner after TMC allegation

first_imgKolkata: North 24-Parganas administration has started conducting raids at various hotels in Barasat and its adjoining areas after Trina-mool Congress district leaders accused BJP leaders of bringing in outsiders to vitiate the election process during the last phase. Trouble broke out on late Monday evening when a few cars were found lining up in front of BJP leader Tuhin Mondal’s house. Local Trinamool workers congregated in the area and staged a protest against the incident. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThey alleged that the cars were being used to carry money for distributing among voters. They also alleged that BJP was bringing outsiders who have started taking refuge at various hotels in the area. A heated altercation subsequently broke out between BJP and Trinamool activists near Barasat police station. A local BJP leader was allegedly heckled by TMC workers, while as many as five cars which remain stranded in front of Mondal’s house, were allegedly ransacked by TMC activists. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateSitting TMC MP Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, who is contesting from the same seat, went to the Barasat police station on late Monday evening, after the incident occurred. It has been learnt that BJP leaders were expected to attend a meeting at a hotel on Barasat-Taki Road on Monday evening. TMC alleged that they planned to distribute money at the hotel. Police raided the hotel, as a result of which BJP shifted the venue of the meeting to Mondal’s house. Ghosh Dastidar, along with her party leaders, staged a demonstration in front of Barasat police station, alleging that BJP leaders in the district were stocking money and firearms to influence voters and create trouble.last_img read more

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