[ExI] Survival of the nicest: have we got evolution the wrong way round?

efc at swisscows.email efc at swisscows.email
Tue Apr 9 12:32:34 UTC 2024

I was reading a philosophy book where they describe an experiment to 
determine the best strategy in a highly stylized experiment (sorry, don't 
remember the details) and the winning strategy was tit-for-tat + an 
initial starting point geared towards cooperation.

The idea was that pure altruism and pure egoism was not likely to be what 
evolution has promoted.

Best regards,

On Tue, 9 Apr 2024, BillK via extropy-chat wrote:

> BOOK REVIEW      08 April 2024
> Survival of the nicest: have we got evolution the wrong way round?
> How humans, animals and even single-celled organisms cooperate to
> survive suggests there’s more to life than just competition, argues a
> cheering study of evolutionary biology.
> By: Jonathan R. Goodman
> <https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-00999-5?error=cookies_not_supported&code=e792dce6-4d14-4420-9537-c4788ac608d0>
> Quotes:
> Selfish Genes to Social Beings: A Cooperative History of Life Jonathan
> Silvertown Oxford Univ. Press (2024)
> The fact that all life evolved thanks to natural selection can have
> depressing connotations. If ‘survival of the fittest’ is the key to
> evolution, are humans hardwired for conflict with one another? Not at
> all, says evolutionary biologist Jonathan Silvertown in his latest
> book, Selfish Genes to Social Beings. On the contrary, he argues, many
> phenomena in the natural world, from certain types of predation to
> parasitism, rely on cooperation. Thus “we need no longer fret that
> human nature is sinful or fear that the milk of human kindness will
> run dry”.
> The author argues against the idea that cooperation is fundamentally
> at odds with competition — a view that emerged as a consequence of the
> sociobiology movement of the 1970s, in which some biologists argued
> that all human behaviour is reducible to a Darwinian need to be the
> ‘fittest’. The reality, as Silvertown shows, is not black and white.
> Fundamentally, Silvertown proposes, cooperation in each of these
> situations stems from selfishness. Animals did not evolve to act for
> the benefit of their species, but to spread their own genes.
> Cooperation happens because mutual benefits are better, biologically
> speaking, than working alone, as the case of lichens effectively
> demonstrates.
> --------------------
> Does this research indicate that even hard-core libertarians would be
> better off co-operating with others?
> BillK
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