[ExI] Evolution "for the Good of the Group"

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Mon Sep 22 23:26:55 UTC 2008

Stuart wrote

>> connection you see between Mike's puddles and the
>> Ramsey Theorem?
> Because the Ramsey theorem is derived from the pigeon hole principle. You could consider the space over which the droplets are 
> dispersed to be pigeon holes and the droplets to be pigeons. As the number of droplets approaches the amount of space available, 
> they are increasingly likely form puddles. And the moment that you have more droplets than you do space for them, they *must* form 
> a puddle.


> Furthermore the *either* in your statement is
> erroneous because the results of the Ramsey
> Theorem are not mutually exclusive.
> That is to say that given an ensemble of at
> least the Ramsey number N in question, you
> could have the minimal number of mutual
> cooperators *or* the minimal number
> of mutual non-cooperators *or* both.

Alrighty, thanks for the correction.

> Also keep in mind that there is probably no such thing
> as a universal "non-cooperator" that never cooperates
> with any other critter. After all even a monster that
> killed everything that crossed its path would be
> cooperating with the scavengers that followed in its wake.

But who else besides you uses the term that way?
If this keeps up, I expect that you will be charged
with the High Crime of Idiosyncratic Language Use:

(See bullet #8 under "Conceptual Fallacies"  ::-)

> I also appreciate your mention, in your other post,
> of Simpson's Paradox in regards to to the development
> of cooperation as that is an angle I hadn't yet considered.

You and Keith may want to look at


(I haven't studied this page, but it looks like it touches on
what was explained in "Unto Others".

Keith wrote

> > I agree with that. Sober and Wilson's book "Unto Others"
> > was for me the ultimate proof that *group* selection can be
> > real and can work.
> This I need to see.  I have never seen a "proof" of group selection.

Er, perhaps I myself am guilty of misleading language here. I did
say "can" work  :-)  trying to imply that those guys suggested a
very plausible mechanism---I should have thought of a different
word from proof.

In a nutshell, take this for example. Suppose that some guy develops
a gene for nearly infinite altruism within his "group", and he has a lot
of kids, and quite accidentally it spreads throughout the group. Now
it could be *individually* bad for the carrier, because he is always
the one to run out first against an enemy, or always the first to throw
himself on a handgrenade, or a marauding hippopotamus or something.
The way it kicks in is this: *before* nature has a chance to eliminate
it from the gene pool (as it is harmful for the individual) his *group*
multiplies so fast that his group bifurcates, and is also able to overcome
competing groups (through, say, superior numbers). Does this
mechanism have a flaw here in this example?


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list