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← The Descent of Edward Wilson (with Polish translation)

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Jos Gibbons

It seems to me that it's only "the conditional probability that the recipient of altruism contains an altruism-causing gene given that the altruist does", if the altruist is the only source of that gene. But I just pointed out that in real life we have no reason to assume that the altruist is the only source. So when a successful gene spreads through the population, the 1/2 and 1/4 stuff should no longer be relevant. It only holds for a newly introduced gene, right ...?

As I said, r is the limit as gene frequency tends to 0 of the conditional probability, so as it becomes more common the true conditional probability rises. Remember, however, the gene for altruism has to satisfy rB-C > 0 for all periods in which it becomes more common, including the initial brand-new period. As time passes, the "true" r will exceed that of these calculations, making the "true" rB-C greater, so it will still be positive. But because the gene will only get to that era if initially rB-C>0, the altruism policy it enacts has to be no more altruistic than the pessimistic estimate of the conditional probability warrants.

Fri, 25 May 2012 06:39:48 UTC | #943428