Why Doubt Selection-Pressure via Groups?
by Douglas Moreman
Modified on 07/27/2013 20:46:49

How can someone (e.g. Stephen Pinker of Harvard University) doubt that evolution can work through groups? Perhaps they regard "group selection" as ill defined and they lack the mathematical skill to so clarify the concept as to make it plausible.
Has no one yet worked out the mathematics of group-selection versus individual-selection? My first approach, had I the time, would be computer-based experimentation/demonstration.

Consider these possibly over-looked, probably relevant, ideas:
1) the rate of reproduction of a healthy group, well-established in its food-producing territory, might be as high as, say, 1/5 the rate of reproduction of individuals,
2) there exist, "social instincts,"
3) in some species, animals observe and remember social behavior of others,
4) social instincts might restrict, as well as geological barriers can, the flow of a new allele from one set of related villages to another (thus increasing the impact of group-selection on evolution),
5) alliances of kin-related villages compete for survival with other alliances,
6) In some species, populations are subdived into competing, even warring, kinship clades. The spread of alleles across their boundaries can be slow.

4) above is relevant to the destruction of genes that can help an individual survive within a group but, wide-spread in the group, can reduce the chances of the group surviving. This is related to the problem of the evolution of altruistic sacrifice.

Return to Aposyndesis