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

windy 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: windy 12 November 2007 01:01:00PM 0 points [-]

Caledonian is right, it's not a "fillip" to point out that reproductive restraint can evolve by individual selection in the sense of K-selection, not in the sense of altruism. To be fair, several recent articles in favor of group selection also talk about "reproductive restraint" and mean altruism, but that doesn't IMO excuse it. Any adaptation leading to late reproduction and less offspring in, say, elephants, must have looked like "reproductive restraint" at some point (although not necessarily at the level of numbers of grandkids, which is the true measure of fitness).

Wiseman's misunderstanding of group selection demonstrates why this would have been an important distinction to make.

Caledonian: ...mice don't go extinct even though they're parasitized by the replicator gene. Sure, the gene rapidly dominates any group it's introduced to, and prevents successful reproduction within that group, but there are enough obstacles to divide the total mouse population into smaller groups in the short term.

I think you are wrong about the mouse t gene, though. Individual selection is working against gene selection within each mouse population. I haven't seen accounts that group selection is necessary here, or do you have a ref?