[Election-Methods] Simple two candidate election

Juho juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Dec 24 15:51:57 PST 2007

On Dec 25, 2007, at 0:28 , rob brown wrote:

> In the case of the stinger, I was asking if you knew of any  
> morphological (not behavioral) feature of a non-eusocial animal  
> that kills the animal when used.  The only ones I can think of are  
> part of the reproductive process ( i.e. male spider dies when it  
> mates, etc).

I don't have any very good additional examples. Salmons also  
reproduce first and then die. Humans are driven by behavioural, not  
by morphological drivers. That maybe makes them even a more extreme  
example. They even know that they may or will die but still they  

One potentially interesting example is insects that taste bad. A  
young bird might eat (or harm) one of them but then learns its lesson  
and saves the rest. One insect in a way took the risk when it did not  
hide and saved many others.

> the behavior I see 1000 times as powerful in humans is one of self  
> preservation.  Eusocial animals only have a self preservation  
> instinct as far as it preserves the colony.  Period.

Saving the individual makes sense also in situations where the  
individual does not reproduce and is part of a colony. Saving the  
individual itself correlates with saving the colony.

Self preservation is instinctive to humans and can be claimed to be  
stronger than its altruistic features, but also altruistic behaviour  
exists in many ways. We could also say that humans have the self  
preservation instinct just to preserve its "colony" (the individuals  
themselves will die anyway sooner or later while the "colony"  
continues to live).

This line of discussion plays with the art of humanizing the natural  
phenomena. Not very good. It would be better to just say that certain  
features tend to maintain certain characteristics in the chain of  
events in nature.

A mother defends her genes when defending her child. A worker bee  
defends her genes when defending her mother. For humans it doesn't  
make sense to the mother to die easily since human children need long  
time parental support, but taking risks may be worth it.

> So what percentage of humans do you think voluntarily give their  
> lives for someone else that isn't direct offspring?  1 in 10 million?

Humans are complex creatures and it is not easy to give absolute  
rules on their behaviour. I'll use the soldier example again. In many  
countries large part of the male population says they would be ready  
to fight for their country if need arises.

I can't estimate what percentage of bees dies as a result of their  
suicidal attacks against mammals. To some extent they are playing a  
mutual destruction threat game (known to humans too) where the big  
threat they can present turns many mammals away without a fight (and  
without losses on the bee side). Even during the last century quite a  
number of humans has died in war like conflicts (defending the  
society as a whole) (maybe more than in individual level conflicts).

> I know it's all touchy feely and warms the heart to think the best  
> of humans, but my observation of human behaviour aligns quite well  
> with what I would expect based on how they reproduce.  Altruism  
> obviously exists....when there is a chance of reciprocation or  
> where convincing others that being altruistic has value in itself.   
> In a secret ballot situation, I'm just not seeing it.

Yes, humans have even developed theories on how competition between  
individuals is for the best of the society as a whole.

> Regardless, it just strikes me as an incredible, irresponsible cop- 
> out for voting reform advocates to suggest a method that expects  
> voters to just  play nice.  It is to me the equivalent of a  
> computer security professional suggesting that studies of  
> psychology show that people generally don't want to hack computers.

Yes. Of course this should not stop people promoting better behaviour  
in their societies. In smaller circles like families behaviour is  
often based on trust that all members work for the benefit of all the  
members and will take also their viewpoint into account as needed.  
Having lots of trust among different players may also be a  
competitive advantage at national level. But of course there is no  
point in using voting methods that don't work (for the purpose and  
environment in question).


All new Yahoo! Mail "The new Interface is stunning in its simplicity and ease of use." - PC Magazine 

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list