The Science of being nice
Saw on on the Science Channel last night a very interesting episode about benevolence and how it has been mathmatically proven that people are "kind" and will sacrifice their own needs, including their own lives, not for the act of being a good person, but because it is increases the likelihood that they will pass their genetic profile on.
It involved a Scientist named Price, that got into Genetics and Evolution, but was, by nature, a mathematician.
He looked at natural selection and the evolution of "kind" behavior, and found that it is genetially beneficial to be kind.
The glaring example was a mother that would throw herself in front of the moving bus in order to save her children. The act, of course, improves the odds that her prodigy carry on and pass her genetic material on. Everyone with the "kind" gene, would have the same advantage.
So, Price applies mathmatics to the whole idea, gets published, and becomes somewhat famous. Problem is, he can't fathom that we cant simply be "kind" and selfless because we want to, and that bothers him. So, he spends the rest of his life trying to debunk his own theorem by giving away all possessions to others and taking in homeless people and letting them steal from him, all in the attempt to show that he was being nice by choice. He ultimately goes insane when he realizes that his being nice "by choice" was only a way he could have been disprove his own theorem, which was what he was trying to do anyway, which proves his theorem. Weird, but anyhow, the guy ends up offing himself.
His theory is still one of the backbones of behavioral evolution taught today.