Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Constant2 comments on The Tragedy of Group Selectionism - Less Wrong

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

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (88)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Constant2 07 November 2007 07:23:18PM 5 points [-]

Constant, It's group selection because the individual is essentially making a sacrifice to reproduce less, to benefit the group. It happens blindly, through normal evolution of selecting the individual, but how else do you expect it to happen?

As I pointed out, the benefit to the group is a side-effect. In your scenario the fox survives because of a direct benefit to the fox. As for "how else" "I" expect it to happen, it's not about what I expect (since I am not advocating group selection), it's about what group selection is. As Wikipedia explains (and this is consistent with my outside knowledge, I quote it for convenience not authority): group selection is "the idea that alleles can become fixed or spread in a population because of the benefits they bestow on groups, regardless of the fitness of individuals within that group." That is not what is happening in your scenario, because, as you describe it, the individual fox that restrains its reproduction is more fit because it preserves energy. This is a benefit to the individual.