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Caledonian2 comments on The Tragedy of Group Selectionism - Less Wrong

36 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 November 2007 07:47AM

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Comment author: Caledonian2 07 November 2007 02:19:12PM 0 points [-]

Obviously, selection on the level of the individual won't produce individual restraint in breeding. Individuals who reproduce unrestrainedly will, naturally, produce more offspring than individuals who restrain themselves.

Wrong. Sometimes quality, not quantity, matters. Which is why rabbits will abort and reabsorb fetuses when under stress, even though the reabsorption process has a significant chance of causing permanent infertility.

It's not about which organism produces the greatest number of offspring - although restricting fertility can sometimes lead to that - but the greatest number of surviving offspring. It's more complex than a madcap race to reproduce as rapidly and prolifically as possible.

Comment author: Ford 22 February 2013 07:33:15PM 0 points [-]

It's even a little trickier than that. If overall population is increasing then one offspring this year may lead to greater proportional representation in the gene pool than two offspring next year. What few people recognize is that the opposite can be true if the population is decreasing.

But I think the original post assumed "all else being equal", to allow focus on the main points.

Comment author: Gradus 27 October 2016 09:42:19PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, this article seems overly harsh on the "restrainists." After all, their assumption could have started from the empirical observation that many species have reproductive strategies that do not emphasize "as many as possible." Humans, elephants, and Lions have few offspring per reproductive cycle relative to spiders and frogs. Clearly SOMETHING is restraining their reproductive rate and promoting a high investment strategy.

Comment author: CCC 28 October 2016 09:52:42AM 0 points [-]

The way I see it is that evolution isn't selecting for the genes that produce the most children.

Evolution is selecting for the genes that produce the most grandchildren.