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Wiseman 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: Wiseman 07 November 2007 07:53:06PM -2 points [-]

Constant,

Believe me, I fully see the obvious, but false, contradiction that you point out. Please understand I considered that when I first wrote my example.

It is ONLY a benefit to the individual because it's also a benefit to the group. Under ANY OTHER circumstances, a fox would do better for itself, and only itself, to reproduce more. But because the other foxes, the group, are around, the individual fox has to evolve for selection pressure not just from the non-fox enviroment, but the fox-group enviroment.

The benefit to the group is not a side effect, it's the cause. Without the group, the fox who reproduced more would not die out. The existence of the group is causing the selection pressure to select foxes who reproduce less, therefore benefitting the whole as much as the individual.

There is no group without the individual. Isolating the group, as if it has no relationship to the individual is purely illogical. To say that genes can benefit the group while at no point contributing to the survivability of just the individuals is a violation of the very basics of evolution. You don't need math to prove that.