[ExI] Survival of the nicest

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Fri Aug 5 13:39:35 UTC 2011

'Survival of the fittest' in human society doesn't mean survival of
the toughest or most ruthless.

Economic models of rationality and evolutionary models of fitness
maximization both predict that humans should be designed to be selfish
in one-time only situations. Yet, experimental work—and everyday
experience—shows that humans are often surprisingly generous.

“So one of the outstanding problems in the behavioral sciences was why
natural selection had not weeded out this pleasing but apparently
self-handicapping behavioral tendency,” Tooby says.

“The paper shows how this feature of human behavior emerges logically
out of the dynamics of cooperation, once an overlooked aspect of the
probleM—The inherent uncertainty of social lifEn—Is taken into

“People who help only when they can see a gain do worse than those who
are motivated to be generous without always looking ahead to see what
they might get in return.”


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