Group Selection

craig's version from 2017-08-22 01:41


From Steven Pinker article:


Question Answer
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 theory of natural selection adds nothing to ordinary cause and effectthe traits arose from multiple iterations of copying of random errors in a finite pool of replicators
Name of theory discussedgroup selection
He concedes group selection "sounds" like a reasonableextension of evolutionary theory and a plausible explanation of the social nature of humans
group selection obfuscates evolutionary theory by blurring _________, _________ and _________ as equivalent levels in a hierarchy of selectional unitsgenes, individuals, and groups
Supporters claim the theory of natural selection needs to be revamped todesignate "groups" as units of selection, analogous to the role played in the theory by genes
seduces many people into simply equating group selection withmorality and culture
Supporters claims human brain has been shaped by natural selection to promote _________ even when _________the welfare of the group in competition with other groups, it damages the welfare of the person and his or her kin


Question Answer
It claims altruism can be explained asan adaptation to group-against-group competition
E. O. Wilson quote > _________ beat _________, but _________ beat _________"In a group, selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals. But, groups of altruistic individuals beat groups of selfish individuals."
Supporters claim it can explain the mystery of religion, becausea shared belief in supernatural beings can foster group cohesion
"Tragedies of the commons" are also known ascollective action dilemmas and public goods games
"Tragedies of the commons" meansactions that benefit the individual may harm the community
"Tragedies of the commons" examplesoverfishing, highway congestion, tax evasion, and carbon emissions
Claim made about tragedies of the commonsevolution has equipped humans to solve them


Question Answer
Moral conclusions prematurely drawnwe should recognize the wisdom behind conservative values (religiosity, patriotism), and 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?matters for understanding how best to deal with the collective action problems facing our species
He has seen "group selection" used as a loose synonym forthe evolution of organisms that live in groups, and for any competition among groups (such as human warfare)
The meaning of "group selection" he concentrates ona version of natural selection which acts on groups in the same way that it acts on individual organisms, to maximize their inclusive fitness
The alternate meaning of "group selection" he concentrates ona version of natural selection which acts on groups in the same way it acts on genes, namely to increase the number of copies that appear in the next generation
advocates of group selection don't deny that _________, they only wish to add that _________selection acts on individual organisms - it acts on higher-level aggregates, particularly groups of organisms, as well
"group selection" is often called"multilevel selection"


Question Answer
He doesn't think it makes sense to conceive of groups of organisms (in particular, human societies) assitting at the top of a fractal hierarchy with genes at the bottom, with natural selection applying to each level in parallel ways
His first pointhe examines the idea that group selection is a viable explanation of the traits of human groups (such as tribes, religions, cultures, and nations)
His second pointexamines group selection as an explanation of the traits of individual humans, that is, the intuitions and emotions that make it possible for people to learn their culture and coexist in societies. (No one denies that such faculties exist.)
His third pointhe examines the empirical phenomena that have been claimed to show that group selection is necessary to explain human altruism.
Natural selection is worthy of Daniel Dennett's designation as"the best idea that anyone ever had"
Natural selection explains one of the greatest mysteries in sciencethe illusion of design in the natural world
The core of natural selection iswhen 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 errors ("random" in the sense that they do not anticipate their effects in the current environment) (4) whichever copying errors happen to increase the rate of replication will accumulate in a lineage and predominate in the population


Question Answer
Natural selection > After many generations of replication, the replicators will _________, while in reality they have just _________show the appearance of design for effective replication, accumulated the copying errors that had successful replication as their effect
Natural selection > copying errors are also calledmutations
Natural selection > the outcome of interestthe number of copies in a finite population
Person who proposed that changes in an organism arise in response to a felt needLamarck
When it adds meaning to call selection "natural selection"when it operates over multiple generations of replication, yielding a cumulative result that was not obvious from cause and effect applying to a single event
The theory of natural selection applies most readily to genes becausethey have the right stuff to drive selection, namely making high-fidelity copies of themselves
Granted, it's often convenient to speak about selection at the level of individuals becauseit's the fate of individuals (and their kin) in the world of cause and effect which determines the fate of their genes
What are replicated over generations and are thus the targets of selection and the ultimate beneficiaries of adaptationsgenes themselves


Question Answer
Sexually reproducing organisms and replicationthey don't literally replicate themselves, because their offspring are not clones but rather composites of themselves and their mates
Can any organism, sexual or asexual, pass onto its offspring the traits it has acquired in its lifetime?no
Some extensions of "natural selection" to replicators other than genes (other than "group selection") are rigorous and illuminating, becausethey preserve the essential features of replicator dynamics
Valid extensions of "natural selection" to replicators other than genesbits 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.
One downside to loose extensions of the term "natural selection"can be so poetical that they shed no light on the phenomenon and only obscure the real power of natural selection
The verbiage of natural selection is being confused withordinary cause-and-effect sequences
3 silly examples of mis-applying natural selection1. Cities have more old buildings made of stone than of wood because of the process of edifice selection. 2. Cars today are equipped with steel-belted radials because they outcompeted polyester-belted tires in a process of tire selection. 3. Touch-tone phones have prevailed over dial phones because of their competitive advantages in telephone selection.
The selfish gene versus group selection issue, when properly formulated, has little to do withthe nature of human sociality.