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← Jonathan Haidt: Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence

Donald's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Donald

I liked Jonathan's talk.

The dispute over "group selection" has intrigued me since I encountered it.

No-one disputes that living in groups can be beneficial, and I think everyone agrees that:

Evolution is the differential survival of competing genes.

Natural selection is the differential selection of individuals to contribute genes into the future.


The reproductive success of genes is the product of the success of the individual and the success of the group.

So I'm not sure why there is so much antagonism to the term "group selection".

If groups have differing success at propagating the genes within them, why can't we call that "group selection"?

Is it merely terminology? Is it fear that someone will mis-read the term as meaning that groups replicate?

I don't think it is merely terminology. I think it is an attempt to ward off claims that groups can explain altruism. And Jonathan seems to me to be hinting that they can explain some kinds of altruism. I look forward to reading his Chapter 9.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 21:31:26 UTC | #929100