From: Scott Chase (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 26 Feb 2004 - 05:48:05 GMT
>From: Keith Henson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Between groups.
>Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2004 23:14:05 -0500
>At 01:08 PM 20/02/04 -0500, frankie wrote:
>>But in social animals, competition occurs *between groups* as well as
>>between individuals. Prides of lions and troops of monkeys compete for
>>territory much like individual birds do. And in the example of ants, the
>>concept of individuals being the unit of selection is a bit of a stretch.
>You really need to read Hamilton who worked out how it works at the level
>of shared genes.
>Lion prides are generally sisters or half sisters and the transient males
>are usually closely related, typically brothers. Hamilton was particularly
>interested in ants, bees and wasps. They have a particular gene system
>where the workers are closer related to their reproductive sibs than they
>are to their own offspring. I can't really do justice to this, if you
>can't find Hamilton's work described on the web, ask and I will get you the
>>Mutual interdependence decreases the importance of the individual.
>I don't think so, not from a gene's viewpoint.
Actually you are taking it a step below the individual with a genocentric kin altruism argument. I can accept the argument that eusocial insects are great examples for the importance of genetic relatedness.
With humans OTOH there's reciprocity and on top of that the conscious
realization that one belongs to non-kin groups. Insects don't say to
themselves or each other that they belong to this or that kin group and
share genetic bonds with other members, therefore let's raise the Jolly
Humans bond based on the most trivial matters, such as favorite sports
teams. This might not be a very convincing argument for group selection, but
OTOH humans are not eusocial insects, thus genocentric kinship arguments
might be taken with a grain of salt. Even if stepchildren suffer more abuse
than related children, this unfortunate possibility doesn't cover the whole
gamut of human behavior.
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