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Do babies show a sense of altruism – and what does that mean anyway?

In “Babies show sense of fairness, altruism as early as 15 months” (University of Washington, Oct. 7, 2011), Molly McElroy reports,

A new study presents the first evidence that a basic sense of fairness and altruism appears in infancy. Babies as young as 15 months perceived the difference between equal and unequal distribution of food, and their awareness of equal rations was linked to their willingness to share a toy.

“Our findings show that these norms of fairness and altruism are more rapidly acquired than we thought,” said Jessica Sommerville, a UW associate professor of psychology who led the study.

“These results also show a connection between fairness and altruism in infants, such that babies who were more sensitive to the unfair distribution of food were also more likely to share their preferred toy,” she said.

UD News recommends that all studies of “altruism” be treated with caution because the behaviour measured is supposed to be common to humans, insects, and in one study even plants.

In other words, altruism is a materialist atheist substitute for compassion based on rational awareness of others, and identification with them – the quality most people believe is being studied. No, not at all. The researcher is more likely a Darwinist chasing the elusive selfish gene, which encodes behaviour in order to propagate itself. Or something similar.And “fairness,” as they understand it, is simply tit-for-tat, not a sense of justice as such – which is why it is so readily observed among animals. The trick is to keep the confusion going.

It’s doubtful that babies are cognitively developed enough to have complex relational capacities. For one thing, their entire life experience revolves around caregivers, fit or otherwise, and it isn’t until they become a bit more independent that they can have relationships that help develop these qualities (if they ever do). Unless we believe, of course, that all human behaviour is encoded in genes, and links us indissolubly to the great apes.

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One Response to Do babies show a sense of altruism – and what does that mean anyway?

  1. From near death experiences, which we now have ‘scientific’ evidence for the reality of,,,

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The Extremely ‘Monitored’ Near Death Experience of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    We learn,,,

    [During her life review], I remember one particular incident … when, as a child, I yanked my little sister’s Easter basket away from her, because there was a toy in it that I wanted. Yet in the review, I felt her feelings of disappointment and loss and rejection. What we do to other people when we act unlovingly!… Everything you have done is there in the review for you to evaluate (and) when I was there in that review there was no covering up. I was the very people that I hurt, and I was the very people I helped to feel good…. It is a real challenge, every day of my life, to know that when I die I am going to have to witness every single action of mine again, only this time actually feeling the effects I’ve had on others. It sure makes me stop and think.
    http://www.healingcancernatura.....ssons.html

    Over and Over in NDE testimonies you will hear the ones who have gone through the life review, that ‘love’ is the very most important lesson one can learn in this life. As I heard one NDEer put it years ago, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is not just a golden rule to live by, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is the way reality actually is!”

    For instance:

    Perhaps the most obvious — and important — insight that is voiced, in one way or another, is that this exercise forces one to think about the meaning of the Golden Rule in an entirely new way. Most of us are accustomed to regard it mainly as a precept for moral action — “do unto others as you would be done to.” But in the light of these life review commentaries, the Golden Rule is much more than that — it is actually the way it works
    http://www.healingcancernatura.....ssons.html

    ====

    Mark 12:30-31
    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

    He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother- music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkhENyfgNBc

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