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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on The Baby-Eating Aliens (1/8) - Less Wrong

42 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 January 2009 12:07PM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 January 2009 02:11:17AM 0 points [-]

Carl, the essential premise of the Babyeaters is "among chimp-level creatures who've previously developed strong social recognition and reputation tracking, group selection can actually take hold via punishment of nonpunishers and extermination warfare between tribes".

Then you ask what kind of aliens you might run into as a result.

If you told me that this actually happened, I would not see it as contradicting any particular evolutionary biology that I know of. No, group selection doesn't usually happen in Nature, but you don't usually have strong reputation tracking and individual recognition and punishment of nonpunishers and extermination warfare either. Babyeaters can be stable against the kind of invasions you describe, I think, if they already have a punishment-of-nonpunishers system going, plus sufficiently frequent extermination warfare against other tribes. Note that the Babyeaters don't have bipolar sexuality, so defeated tribes really will be wiped out, rather than just the men being wiped out.