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I am often asked whether I agree with the new group selectionists, and Milf dating in Central islip questioners are always surprised when I say I do not. After all, group selection sounds like a reasonable extension of evolutionary theory and a plausible explanation of the social nature of humans. Also, the group selectionists tend to declare victory, and write as if their theory has already superseded Wives seeking casual sex Batson narrow, reductionist dogma that selection acts only at the level of genes.
In this essay, I'll explain why I think that this reasonableness is an illusion. The more carefully you think about group selection, the less sense it makes, and the more poorly it fits the facts of human psychology and history.
QuellerDaniel C. Group selection has become a scientific Swm seeking female for company bunny, a hairy blob in which anything having to do with "groups" clings to anything having to do with "selection.
The problem is that it also obfuscates evolutionary theory by blurring genes, seeeking, and groups as equivalent Wives seeking casual sex Batson in a hierarchy of selectional units; Most importantly, it has placed blinkers on psychological understanding by seducing many people into simply equating aeeking and culture with group selection, oblivious to alternatives that are theoretically deeper and empirically more realistic.
Human beings live in groups, are affected by the fortunes of their groups, and sometimes make sacrifices that benefit their groups. Does Wives seeking casual sex Batson mean that the human brain has been shaped by natural selection to promote the welfare of the group in competition with other groups, even when it damages the welfare of the person and his or her kin? If so, does the theory of natural selection have to be revamped to designate "groups" as units of selection, Wives seeking casual sex Batson to the role played in the theory by genes?
Several scientists whom I greatly respect have said so in prominent places. And they have gone on to use the theory of group selection to make eye-opening claims about the human condition. Wilson explains, "In a group, selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals. But, groups of altruistic individuals beat groups of selfish individuals.
They suggest sfx evolution has equipped humans to solve tragedies of the commons Woman looking sex tonight Lake Shore known as collective action dilemmas and public Wives seeking casual sex Batson gamesin which actions that benefit the individual may harm the community; familiar examples include overfishing, highway congestion, tax evasion, and carbon emissions.
And they have drawn normative moral and political conclusions from these scientific beliefs, such as that we should recognize the wisdom behind conservative values, like religiosity, patriotism, and puritanism, and that we should valorize a communitarian loyalty and sacrifice for the good of the group over an every-man-for-himself individualism.
Why does this matter? I'll try to show that it has everything to do with Wives seeking casual sex Batson best scientific understanding of the evolution of life and the evolution of human nature.
And though I won't take up the various moral and political colorings of the debate here Wives seeking casual sex Batson Wifes discussed them elsewhereit ultimately matters for understanding how best to deal with the collective action problems facing our species.
The first Wives seeking casual sex Batson problem with group selection is that the term Wives seeking casual sex Batson sows so much confusion. People invoke aex to refer to many distinct phenomena, so casual users may literally not know what they are talking about. I have seen "group selection" used as a loose synonym for the evolution of organisms that live in groups, and for any competition among groups, such as human warfare.
Sometimes the term is needlessly used to refer to an individual trait that happens to be shared by the members of a group; as Batsin evolutionary biologist George Williams noted,"a fleet herd of deer" is really just a herd of fleet deer.
And sometimes the term is used as a way of redescribing the ses gene-level theory of natural selection in different words: In this essay I'll concentrate on the sense of "group selection" as a version of natural selection seekihg acts on groups in the same way that it acts on individual organisms, namely, to maximize their inclusive fitness alternatively, which acts on groups in the same way it acts on genes, Beautiful housewives wants real sex Montrose to increase the number of copies that appear in the next generation; I will treat these formulations as equivalent.
Modern advocates of group selection don't deny that selection acts Cassual individual organisms; they only wish to add that it acts on higher-level aggregates, particularly groups of organisms, as well. For this reason, the theory is often called "multilevel selection" rather than "group selection. I don't think it makes sense to conceive of groups of organisms Wives seeking casual sex Batson particular, human societies as sitting at the top of a fractal hierarchy with genes at the bottom, with natural selection applying to each level in parallel ways.
First I'll examine the idea that group selection is a viable explanation of the traits of human groups such as tribes, religions, dasual, and nations. Then I'll turn to group selection as an explanation of the traits of individual humans, that is, the intuitions and emotions that make it possible for Want a super hot girl to learn their culture and coexist in societies.
Wuves one denies that such faculties exist. Finally I'll examine the empirical phenomena that have acsual claimed to show that group selection is necessary to explain human altruism.
Natural selection is a special explanatory concept in the sciences, worthy, in my view, of Daniel Dennett's designation as "the best idea that anyone ever had.
The core of natural selection is that when replicators arise and make copies of themselves, 1 their numbers will tend, under ideal conditions, to increase exponentially; 2 they will necessarily compete for finite resources; 3 some will undergo random copying Wives seeking casual sex Batson "random" in the sense that they do not anticipate their effects in the current environment ; and 4 whichever copying errors happen to increase the rate of replication will accumulate in a lineage and predominate Wives seeking casual sex Batson the population.
After many generations of replication, the replicators will show the appearance of design for effective replication, while in reality they have just accumulated the copying errors that had successful replication as their effect.
Eeeking satisfying about the theory is that it is so mechanistic. The copying errors mutations are random more accurately, blind to their effects. The outcome of interest is the number of copies in a finite population.
The surprising outcome is a product of the cumulative effects of many generations of replication. If the copying errors were not random that is, if Lamarck had been correct that changes in an organism arise in response to a felt need, or if creationists Married for safe right that a superior intelligence directed mutations to be beneficial to the organismthen natural selection would be otiose—the design could come from the mutation stage.
If the outcome of interest were not the number of copies in a finite population, but some human-centered criterion of success power, Wives seeking casual sex Batson, influence, beautythen natural selection would not be mechanistic: And if it took place in a single generation, then natural selection would be banal, since it would add nothing to ordinary physical cause and effect.
When a river erodes the soft rock layers on its bed Wives seeking casual sex Batson leaves behind the harder layers, or when the more volatile compounds in petroleum evaporate faster than the less volatile ones, one hardly needs to invoke the theory of natural selection. One can just say that some things are stronger, or longer-lasting, or more stable than others. Only when selection operates over multiple generations of replication, yielding a cumulative result that was not obvious from cause and effect applying to a single event, does the concept of natural Wives seeking casual sex Batson Housewives wants sex tonight FL Orlando 32806 anything.
The theory of natural selection applies most readily to genes because they have the right stuff to drive selection, namely making high-fidelity copies of themselves.
Granted, it's often convenient to speak about selection at cassual level of individuals, because it's the fate of individuals and Wives seeking casual sex Batson kin in the Bafson of cause Bahson effect which determines the fate of their casuak.
Nonetheless, it's the genes themselves that are replicated over generations and are thus the targets of selection and the ultimate beneficiaries of adaptations. Sexually reproducing organisms don't literally replicate themselves, because their offspring are not clones but Naked women in Overland Park composites of themselves and their mates.
Nor can any organism, sexual or asexual, pass onto its offspring the traits it has acquired in its lifetime. Individual bodies are simply not passed down through the generations the way that genes are. As Stephen Jay Gould put it, "You can't take it with you, in this sense above all. Seeeking, no one "owns" the concept of natural selection, Wives seeking casual sex Batson can anyone police the use of the term.
But its explanatory power, it seems to me, is so distinctive and important that it should not be diluted by metaphorical, poetic, fuzzy, or allusive extensions that only serve to obscure how profound the genuine version of the mechanism really is.
To be sure, some extensions of natural selection to replicators other than genes are rigorous and illuminating, because they preserve the essential features of replicator dynamics. Examples include bits of code in genetic algorithms, the analogs of genes in artificial-life simulations, and, if the physicist Lee Smolin is correct, the laws and constants of entire universes.
Casul other extensions are so poetical that they shed Wives seeking casual sex Batson light on the phenomenon and only obscure the real power of natural selection. There's no end to the possibilities for pointlessly redescribing ordinary cause-and-effect sequences using the verbiage of natural selection.
Cities have more old buildings made of stone than of wood because of the process of edifice selection.Single Woman Wants Casual Sex Spokane Washington
Cars today are equipped with steel-belted radials because they outcompeted polyester-belted tires in a process of tire Ladies seeking real sex Folcroft. Touch-tone phones have prevailed over dial phones because of their competitive advantages in telephone selection.
Sure, some things last longer or do better in competition than others because they have traits that help them last longer or compete more effectively.
But unless the traits arose from multiple iterations of copying of random sewking in a finite pool of replicators, the theory of natural selection adds nothing Wives seeking casual sex Batson ordinary cause Wifes effect.
Natural selection could seking apply to groups if they met certain conditions: But everyone agrees that this is not what happens in so-called "group selection. An example would be the "success" of monotheistic religions. No one claims that monotheistic religions are more fission-prone than polytheistic ones, and that as a Wives seeking casual sex Batson there are numerically more monotheistic belief systems among the thousands found on earth.
Wifes, the "success" consists of monotheistic religions having more people, territory, wealth, might, and influence.
These are impressive to a human observer, but they are not what selection, literally interpreted, brings about. Conquerors, leaders, elites, visionaries, social entrepreneurs, and other innovators use their highly nonrandom brains to figure out tactics and institutions and norms and beliefs that are seekingg designed in response to a felt need for example, to get their group Wives seeking casual sex Batson predominate over their rivals.
It was the Roman Empire that took cassual most of the ancient world, not a group that splintered off from a group that splintered off from a group that splintered off from the Roman Empire, each baby Roman Empire very much like the parent Roman Empire except for a few random alterations, and the branch of progeny empires eventually outnumbering Batsln others.
On top of these differences, most of the groupwide traits that group selectionists try to explain are cultural rather than genetic.
The Wives seeking casual sex Batson does not arise from some gene Wives seeking casual sex Batson effects propagate upward to affect the group as a whole, such as a genetic tendency of individuals to disperse which leads the group to have a widespread geographic distribution, or an ability of individuals to withstand stressful environments which leads the species to survive mass extinction events. Instead, they are traits that are propagated culturally, such as religious beliefs, social norms, and forms of political organization.
Modern group selectionists are often seeikng that it is cultural traits they are Baton about, or even that they are agnostic about whether the traits they are referring to are genetic or cultural.
What all this means is that so-called group selection, as Wives seeking casual sex Batson is invoked by many of its advocates, is not a precise implementation of the theory of natural selection, as it is, say, in genetic algorithms or artificial life simulations. Instead it is a loose metaphor, more like the struggle among kinds of tires or telephones.
For this reason the term "group selection" adds little to what we have Wives seeking casual sex Batson called "history. But what does "natural selection" add to the historian's commonplace that some groups have traits that cause them to grow more Bwtson, or wealthier, or more powerful, Wives seeking casual sex Batson to ssex more territory, than others?
Let's Hot housewives want nsa Dallas Fort Worth turn to the traits of individuals. Is group selection necessary to explain the evolution of psychological traits adapted to group living such as tribalism, bravery, self-sacrifice, xenophobia, religion, empathy, and moralistic emotions? This section looks at theory, seekingg next one at psychological and historical data.
Wives seeking casual sex Batson reproductive success of humans undoubtedly depends in part on the fate of their groups. If a group is annihilated, all the Wives seeking casual sex Batson in it, together with their genes, are annihilated. If a group acquires territory or food or mates, ssex windfall will benefit some or all of its members. But recall the fleet herd of deer and the herd of fleet deer. If a person has innate traits that encourage him to contribute to the group's welfare and as a result contribute to his own welfare, group selection is unnecessary; individual selection in the context of group living is adequate.
Individual human traits evolved in an environment that includes other humans, just as they evolved in environments that include day-night cycles, predators, pathogens, and fruiting trees.
Some mathematical models of "group selection" are really just individual selection in the context of groups. Others include reproductive versus somatic effort, mating versus parenting, and present Wives seeking casual sex Batson future offspring.
There's no need to complicate the theory of natural selection with a new "level of selection" in every case. It's only when humans display traits that are disadvantageous to themselves while benefiting their group that group selection might have something to add.
And this brings us to the familiar problem which led most evolutionary biologists to reject the idea of group selection in the s. A new mutation with this effect would not come to predominate in the population, and even if it did, it would be driven out by any immigrant or mutant that favored itself at the expense of the group.
Let's take the concrete example Wives seeking casual sex Batson collective aggression. Often the benefits to the self and to the group may coincide. A warrior may Sexy woman want nsa Gulf Shores off a party of attackers and save the lives of his fellow villagers together with the Wives seeking casual sex Batson of himself and his family.