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MA: "Depending on the severity of those pressures, such traits may persist in the gene pool for generations"I can't see a detrimental gene being erased from the gene pool in our time with only a few generations, unless it's an incredibly detrimental gene. Unless I misunderstand, the gene may cause the detriment to manifest continually until all carriers of the gene die. MA: "What I'm arguing against here is the implication of an environment so static that the genetic predisposition towards certain traits always indicates benefit."Ahh. Mostly when I speak of the influence the environment has had on our genes, I speak of the hundreds of thousands of years in the past where must of human society was similar - small bands of people. The abrupt change in society over the last few thousand years hasn't been long enough to greatly effect our genes. I'm speaking out of my ass here, I should read a good book about the matter.MA: "I haven't seen all the evidence suggesting a genetic predisposition towards in-group altruism, and I suspect that there may be cultural or socio-genetic factors that contribute heavily to that pattern. ."How would any cultural factor influence me, unless there resided within me a response mechanism to that pressure? That requires a dynamic answer I guess. For what reason do humans possess shame? Why do I seek the approval of other humans for my actions? What is the reward? Does empathy keep me from hurting my loved ones, and instead protecting them? If so, empathy may in a way be a genetic tool to increase the chances of our shared genes being passed down(that assumes loved ones with similar genetic code). What would happen if we eliminated empathy? I'm sure there is a gene that would allow us to. What would happen if we eliminated hope or shame?