[ExI] Ants for spike! Dawkins and Wilson

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Nov 16 19:30:18 UTC 2009


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Masters [mailto:rob4332000 at yahoo.com] 
> Subject: Re: Ants for spike! Dawkins and Wilson
> spike wrote:
> <<We almost need to have two nearly separate bodies of 
> theory, one dealing with non-human evolution and one dealing 
> specifically with human...>>
> I agree, and I think this point is particularly relevant to 
> group selection...
> One of the central issues in the debate over group selection 
> has been the problem of altruism--self-sacrificing behavior.  
> Why do animals sometimes put their own lives at risk to help 
> others in their group?  Why do prey animals call out warnings 
> when predators are spotted...Rob Masters

Here's a take for you Rob.  Altruism can to some extent be paradoxically
explained by the notion that the self sacrificing individual might actually
increase his opportunities to copulate while simultaneously decreasing his
chance of survival, based on mate selection.

Have you ever seen barnyard birds fight?  The loser gets scarce for a while,
as the winner (flush with testosterone?) immediately struts around looking
for something with which to copulate.  I don't know, but it might be that
the females watch the fight, then are open to suggestion from the winner.
It is plausible that this phenom somehow explains the overtones of
aggressiveness in the mating process seen in many mammals, as in the
snarling and snapping sometimes seen in dogs as they copulate or prepare to
do so. 

This fuck-the-winner mating strategy isn't exactly group selection if you
think about it.  It is a murky paradoxical combination of group/individual
selection, or perhaps even individual selection that resembles group
selection.  Mate selection strategy might help us understand what is
apparently altruism.  What looks like group selection might actually be
individual selection.

We somehow need to simulate this in software.


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