Valdemar Malin. Are Animals Selfless?

Part II—Ideology and Brainwashing.

Photo copyright: Wendell Smith, CC BY 2.0

Part I of this article describes a debate between supporters of biological altruism that claims that animals are selfless altruists, and the sceptics who believe that seemingly selfless animals’ behavior is motivated by hidden egoism or self-interests.

Part II shows who is trying to make everyone believe in biological altruism, why they need it and how they do it.

Who are these people? They are followers of the left ideology, as well as the left-leaning members of academia and media. For them, any scheme is good in the fight against individualism, egoism and self-interest. And any goal justifies the means if the goal is noble!

That’s how this scheme works. First, they have to prove that all creatures are born and behave as selfless altruists. This allows them to claim that altruism is created by Mother-Nature herself and is more advantageous life strategy for the creatures in the living nature than that based on self-interest and egoism.

And since humans are a part of the living nature, it means that humans are born and should behave as selfless altruists too.

The logical conclusion is that a social structure of a human society based on selflessness and altruism (such as socialism) is more advantageous life strategy than that based on self-interest and egoism (such as capitalism).

This logical conclusion is approved by Nature herself, they claim. A living proof of that are honeybees—their selflessness, distribution of resources and social structure of their hive.

For example, the selfless honeybees put interests of others above their own. They bring every crumb of harvested pollen, every drop of nectar back to the hive, while leaving nothing for themselves. (They virtually live for others as was intended by the founder of altruism, French philosopher Auguste Comte).

The honeybees are admired for their fair distribution of resources too. Each bee brings to the hive as much pollen and nectar as it can, but helps itself with the honey from the common trough as it needs. (This is the Marxist principle “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” as formulated by Karl Marx).

A great respect the honeybees earn for the exemplary organization of their hive. Each bee subordinates to the demands of the hive for common good and is ready to give up its life for a reigning Queen, while the Queen kills all hatched and unhatched yet rivals for common good too. (This kind of totalitarian principles Vladimir Lenin put into practice in Russia).

Think about such astonishing coincidence! The organization of a primitive beehive, in fact, closely resembles that of a socialist or communist society! Moreover, the most faithful followers of Comte, Marx and Lenin are not only humans, but the likeminded honeybees too!

Oh, come on! Honeybees don’t have minds! Why not? They do if you believe that bees can behave like human selfless altruists and the organization of their hive can be a model for a human society. The theory of biological altruism makes it possible!

That’s why the left are pushing biological altruism so hard, trying to find selflessness and altruism in the behaviors of all non-human living beings, no matter where they live—on land, in the air, underground or underwater. And even…under a microscope!

No kidding! Here is the article “Altruism under the Microscope,”1 written by Claire Navarro, the progressive producer of the Art & Science podcast series “Hold That Thought.” The article is an illustration how biological altruism can be carried to absurdity by left-leaning academia in collusion with progressive media to serve the agenda of the left.

Claire Navarro reports on her interview with David Queller and Joan Straussman, Professors of biology at Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri). They have been conducting research in evolutionary biology for years studying amoebas (single-celled organisms) officially called Dictyostelium discoideum. (Despite the pompous name, these amoebas are traditionally known as…slime mold).

The scientists claims that these amoebas display surprisingly complex behavior, including “cooperation, competition and even…altruism!”

Altruism! That’s why liberal media was all over this research as flies over a chunk of fresh dung. I wonder would Claire Navarro have interviewed the professors had they studied egoism in amoebas.

The professors, obviously, fell in love with this slime mold. As they explained, the single-celled organisms live in soil and consume underground bacteria.

When they run out of food, “the hungry cells” emit a chemical signal, “Hey, I’m starving, let’s get together!” And up to a hundred thousand of them respond to the distress call by forming a group called a “slug,” which looks and crawls like a slug.

Then, the slug, as a “single organism,” crawls in the direction of light. When they reach the surface, “20% of the total group produce stiff cellulose creating a miniscule hollow stalk—killing themselves in the process.” The rest escape through the stalk. Eventually, the “survivors” turn into spores and are dispersed by passing insects.

Such behavior is interpreted as “selfless” based on “cooperation and altruism.” And here, the professors make a sensational statement: “When threatened by starvation, some of the amoebae perform what appears to be an ultimate evolutionary sacrificedying so that others might live.”

This statement sounds like a political slogan rather than a conclusion of a scientific research! But it doesn’t matter!

The progressive journalist Claire Navarro did organize the interview in anticipation of this statement. She didn’t come to hear the story about egoistic revolting slime mold that lives in dead plants, but prefers animal’s feces feeling very happy…in a pile of dung.

She wanted to hear about “compassionate,” altruistic single-celled organisms that are full of “noble” aspirations and live “inspiring” lives.

She knew also that these amoebas are vicious and cruel. When they are hungry, they cannibalize each other, even their unsuspecting neighbors lured by their devious distress calls.

She didn’t ask how these “selfless altruists” could die for others if they had no mercy even on their neighbors! And who are the others? The rest of the colony—the survivors! These shameless cheaters and egoists managed to dodge their duty and obligations to die for others.

Claire Navarro has made her mind before the interview—these amoebas and their society are inspiring role models for humans to follow.

No surprise here. Progressive academics and journalists prefer to live not in the real world created by omnipotent Nature, but in the artificial world created according to theories born in a limited human mind.

Why did the professors humanize the amoebas assuming that theу sacrifice themselves consciously and voluntarily? Ironically, at the start of the interview, theу confessed that the sacrificial behavior of these amoebas presented “a range of evolutionary conundrums.” (A conundrum means a mystery). In other words, their confession means, “We have no idea why the amoebas are doing that!”

But sceptics suspect that, in real life, the amoebas’ behavior may not be that romantic or heroic, but rather tragic or sinister. They may be the weakest ones and die from starvation. They may be killed by stronger amoebas. When they reach the surface, they may be killed by the sun or poisoned by swallowing toxic pathogenic bacteria in the air.

All these scenarios are plausible. To call these amoebas selfless altruists that sacrifice their lives for others means to attribute human motivation and morals to brainless single-celled organisms. They die naturally or killed in a mortal struggle for survival as intended by natural selection.

That’s how the left-leaning academia politicizes scientific research!

But the bias progressive journalists go even further to politicize science resorting to even greater exaggerations and even distortions of reality.

Here is another article entitled “Altruism—Amoebic Morality” written by Carol Otte, a contributing editor of the progressive website DamnInteresting.com.2 Let me bring several quotes from it that describe “altruistic” behavior of similar amoebas (slime mold).

Let’s start with the ridiculously unrealistic heading of the article. Carol Otte has already attributed high level of intelligence to a brainless amoeba praising “amoebic morality,” a quality not found even in intelligent humans very often.

(Reality check. Carol, try to praise your boss for his amoebic IQ or morality and see how soon you will get the next raise).

But the next quote distorts reality beyond recognition! “The consistency with which these amoebas act in the common good inspires admiration in many. Yet, a more cynical observers may point out that the amoebae are moved not by love of family and friends, nor by moral scruples, but by the cold mechanics of natural selection.”

Hello, from a psychiatric ward! Whom are you praising, Carol? Astronauts, hero-soldiers or our Founding Fathers? You are drooling over slime mold—the single-celled amoebas! Only in Disney’s cartoons amoebas are capable of love, have family and friends and can even teach us moral principles!

A human body consists of trillions of cells, but not a single cell inspires so much admiration in your twisted, progressive mind, as these stinky cells—soiled in slime and feces, perfidious and cannibalistic.

(Reality check. Climb into a poorly ventilated attic in your house, Carol. If you feel love in the air, it is not love. It is stench coming from mold spores. Their moral scruples can make you sick. Call mold removers, immediately)!

You may think that the article is an innocent pursuit of sensationalism. No, it exploits science for ideological purposes, unnoticeably. Here is a quote that contains an encoded message.

“The noble amoebas sacrifice themselves to help the rest to find a new life elsewhereto provide a path for their comrades!”

A new life? Where? The life in a Marxist, socialist or communist society? These are the only societies that demand from their “comrades” to sacrifice their lives for others—a government, a party or an ideology. And the path has been already trodden by millions of comrades and we know well where it leads to.

For those who still didn’t get it, the author telegraphs her political aspirations by an open text: “Greed does not pay!”

This anti-capitalist, class-war provoking poster was carried by progressives, socialists, anarchists and communists at the demonstrations Occupy Wall Street.

What is this slogan doing in an article dedicated to an academic research in biology? You will never guess! This is an author’s stern warning to the “amoebae-cheaters,” the greedy egoists who dodge their duty and don’t want to sacrifice their lives for others!

For God’s sake, Carol, come to your senses! The next thing you may want to do is to build a reeducation hard-labor camp for the amoebae-cheaters!

Carol Otte concludes her article cheering passionately as if she is marching at the May Day parade:

“Altruism triumphs and through their mutual selflessness the amoebas arrive at a new patch of bacteria-laden dung to call home!”

What a strange, but picturesque allegory, Carol! Is it your vision of the bright future, a new home and a selfless life in store for progressive humanity in the Promised Land of altruism? If yes, your reasoning is really amoebic!

Think, how appealing may look the Promised Land to people if their future home is depicted (even allegorically) as a stinking pile of dung?

And who will arrive there? All the selfless altruists are dead. Only their greedy, egoistic “comrades” who “cheated” their way to survive will.

In other words, a confused progressive journalist proclaims, “Egoism triumphs over altruism! Welcome to a stinky future of a progressive, altruistic society inhabited by cheaters and egoists!”

Welcome to a perverted world of biological altruism and progressive journalism! What a raving! Is it an utter stupidity or a complete loss of sense of reality; a cunning trick or a shameless act of brainwashing?

No, it’s not stupidity! It’s a trick! The author defies any logic or reality to brainwash you and turn you into an altruist—an important goal of the left ideology.

This goal will be achieved if you are convinced that a single-celled amoeba can be a selfless altruist or that revolting slimy mold can teach you morality. After that, you will believe in anything, even that a progressive bear Winnie the Pooch can be mayor of Chicago!

…So, are animals selfless? Such an innocent question. But behind it, a fierce ideological war has been raging on waged by the left and their allies—progressive professors and journalists.

Their task to call upon all creatures on all continents to unite under the banners of selflessness and altruism and to march toe-to-toe with them on the familiar and well-trodden one-lane road leading to socialism!

References

  1. Claire Navarro. Altruism under the Microscope. Arts & Science Magazine, spring 2013.
  2. Carol Otte. Altruism—Amoebic Morality. DamnInteresting.com, Article #287, last updated 05 December 2012.

If you are confused by the disinformation about altruism and want to learn what genuine altruism really means, read my article “Secrets of Comte’s Doctrine”.