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

Caledonian2 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: Caledonian2 08 November 2007 12:15:51AM 2 points [-]

Wiseman, you are not describing group selection. You are still describing individual selection, because the causally effective advantage is to the individual.

So repeat the logic, only substitute small, interrelated, relatively isolated groups of foxes for the individuals in the previous examples.

Populations can be the unit of selection just as individual organisms can.

Eliezer, I don't need to make assumptions about what you do and do not know when you make statements like "Obviously, selection on the level of the individual won't produce individual restraint in breeding." Either you've demonstrated your ignorance on the subject, or you've demonstrated that you can't convey your knowledge on the subject. From the perspective of your readers, the two possibilities are functionally equivalent.

Individual-level selection has produced LOTS and LOTS of individual restraint in breeding. This is not only obvious to biologists but to laypeople with everyday knowledge.

If you meant instead that organisms will not make sacrifies for general welfare unless the general welfare benefits the genes of the individual as well, you'd be right - but that is not what you said.