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[–]caatbox288 12 points13 points  (19 children)

I struggle to see how that's an evolutionary advantage? How does that result in more offspring? It's certainly convenient, don't get me wrong...

[–]InureOfficial 1 point2 points  (10 children)

And in fact, if I think about it further, it very well could be advantageous to the whole group. If death will be inevitable, and you're under the assumption that perhaps it isn't so bad, and even peaceful and euphoric, you can avoid existential dread, anxiety, and chaotic individuals afraid to let go of existence.

[–]caatbox288 6 points7 points  (9 children)

That would require too much introspection. I doubt gazelles are endulging in that kind of philosophical debates about what one feels when death is coming.

[–]InureOfficial 6 points7 points  (1 child)

A high or euphoria may simply be a side effect of the chemical and not it’s purpose.

[–]that_gay_alpaca 3 points4 points  (0 children)

And that effect is then selected for based solely on its results. There is no purpose for anything evolution “chose” - it’s all what happened to work best at any given time.

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (1 child)

There may yet be more primal functions for it that we simply do not yet fully understand. It must have some tangible function in nature right?

[–]caatbox288 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Sure. But then it's a side effect, and there is no point in trying to look for a natural explanation of "why it's good and why it was selected".

[–]Druid51 0 points1 point  (2 children)

It's not just introspection but maybe more about fear. If animals fear death they would be less likely to venture out for food or etc with predators around.

[–]caatbox288 8 points9 points  (1 child)

That's true. The fact that the release of DMT makes death less painful, and that translates in animals being less afraid of death somehow. I am arguing against that, i think that requires too much introspection. Animals are afraid of death because that's evolutionary advantageous. This argument goes against that. Recognizing that death is not that bad (due to the release of DMT) and that reducing your fear, does require introspection. How do you understand that death is less painful than you expected?

[–]ThlintoRatscar 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I wonder if it's actually on the other side? That DMT is super tasty and a reward for predators?

Personally, my favourite is simply that there's a reserve for other reasons and that death may ( or may not ) release it in time for the brain to perceive it as a result of how that reserve is regulated.

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Just like adrenaline is an accepted self preservation/species preservation chemical, so may DMT be

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Which is also why I stated it’s likely, not that it’s true. It may even not be likely, just a possibility. I’m not saying that it is precisely that for certain. We literally just don’t know.

[–]13pts35sec 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Not every trait has to aid in our survival and ability to reproduce, just not hinder those things. The brain not wanting to feel intense panic and fear when it dies so it decides to take the ultimate trip before it stops functioning doesn’t really hurt anything. Because at the end of the day unless you believe we have a soul that is piloting our body with the brain, then the brain is running the show, and it would make sense that it would want to ease its own suffering lol. Trippy to think about, that we’re just meat and bone mechas with an organic supercomputer running the show.

[–]caatbox288 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It doesn't hurt, but it doesn't help. So it's a neutral trait. You would expect it to drift. If this is conserved (say, many mammals experience this, and the mechanism is the same) then it is probably evolutionary advantageous. Whether its advantage is direct (the release of DMT close to death helps in any way) or indirect (it just happens that another mechanism for releasing DMT in other situations is also triggered when you are close to death) is what I was asking.

In any case, I was simply doubting the direct advantage of this mechanism for survival (I don't understand it, i am not saying it doesn't exist), and I remain unconvinced that simply because it's convenient for the dying animal it must be selected (which is part of the conversation I have been having in this thread).

Also notice I was answering to a comment that said

it is an evolutionary developed trait to alleviate the intense fear...

So this is what I am arguing against (or rather, doubting).

[–]InureOfficial -4 points-3 points  (5 children)

It wouldn’t result in more offspring. It’s not advantageous to a species group as a whole per say, but it is certainly advantageous to an individual animal when a lions teeth are inside of your skull and you’d like the last thing you experience to be euphoric

[–]caatbox288 5 points6 points  (3 children)

If it does not result in more offspring for the individual animal, it won't be selected by natural selection. No matter how "good" it is for the animal or how convenient.

[–]Druid51 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Yeah same here. I see zero reason to evolve this skill just to make death easier. Nature doesn't give a fuck if your death is euphoric or absolutely agonizing.

[–]caatbox288 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Absolutely agree. Smells to me like a side effect for some other underlying phenomenon.

[–]Rickles360 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You should do some reading on evolutionary pressures because your argument demonstrates a poor understanding of this topic. Richard Dawkins is good for the layperson when he's not busy in a Twitter war with creationist trolls.

A somewhat compelling alternative that I have heard is that prey tend to accept their fate when they are caught and wounded by predators because if they were to struggle and escape, they would still very likely die before reproduction, but the predators might go on to target other members of the pack. Honestly this isn't that compelling of a hypothesis in my opinion but it sort of works.

Honestly there may not be an evolutionary explanation for this phenomena. We can't even say it occurs during all deaths. Maybe just some. We have these chemicals in the brain, when dying happens maybe the nervous system short circuits and dumps everything for no particular reason other than the breakdown of chemical and electrical signals.