The Existence of an Eternal Being Part 1 of 3 Altruism vs. Evolution and Survival of the Fittest
You have heard many stories that go something like this: a man is walking on a path by a river, he pulls his hood over his head to ward off the January winds that burn his face and make his fingers a little numb. He then hears a scream from of all places, the river! He looks and a woman is struggling against the current and most deadly, the near freezing water temperature.
Pause for some introspection and further background.
The guy is in his early 30’s and has a wife who is pregnant with their second child. His wife and 3 year old daughter are at home and are looking forward to a weekend together.
What does he do? What should he do?
He jumps into the river and attempts to save the unknown woman. Does he save her? Does his act of altruism cost him his life and his wife to be widowed at all to young an age, and his child and unborn child to live the rest of their lives without the father that they need?
If you don’t think this type of scenario occurs often, just Google it. The actor Jamie Foxx ran from the safety of his house to pull a stranger from a burning truck. http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/19/entertainment/jamie-foxx-rescue-man-burning-truck-feat/
Or, how about this man who jumped into a SUV that had skidded off a road and was mostly submerged in an icy pond. http://westchester.news12.com/news/middletown-man-saves-stranger-from-drowning-in-icy-pond-1.11322624
Darwin’s survival of the fittest doesn’t and can’t explain these acts and others that exhibit the all too human trait of altruism. If the stranger instead was your wife, brother, or child it makes evolutionary sense, because you would be protecting your personal gene pool. This also is true when we examine a tribe, where one member is willing to sacrifice himself to save others in the tribe, but when it is a person that doesn’t share your genes it is not in your best evolutionary interest to intervene.
I know that some people will say that there are plenty of examples within other species where altruism is documented. I agree and am amazed by that happening like in this video where a hippo saves an baby antelope from a crocodile. https://youtu.be/USfCieXuQrs
However, the instance of one species standing up for another is rare, but I contend that it is in human nature to do so. We instinctively help strangers within our own species even when they are not related, but we also will help creatures from other species. So, altruism invalidates survival of the fittest which essentially is a theory that for any species to survive they will select actions that gives them an evolutionary leg up on the competition. Otherwise, if one species acts in a way that endangers it, over time it will die out, and another species that chooses to engage in activities that gives it a better chance of survival will do just that, survive.