Re: Is group selection discredited?

From: Eric Hawthorne <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 00:52:05 -0800

Unfortunately, disallowing notions of group selection also disallows
notions of
emergent higher-level-order systems. You must allow for selection
effects at all
significantly functioning layers/levels of the emergent system, to
explain the emergence
of these systems adequately. For example, ant colonies (as an emerged
system) live
for 15 years whereas the ants live for at most a year. Yet the colony
(controlling for
colony size) behaves diffently when it is a young colony (say its first
five years) compared
to when it is in its old age. (Essentially, the colony's behaviours
become more
conservative (less amenable to change of tactics.))
It would be very difficult to explain this solely from the perspective
of the direct benefit
to any individual ant's genes. For the benefit of ant-genes in general
in the colony,

I think that it's just been too difficult to get adequate controlled
studies to determine
whether a group selection effect is happening. Because the individuals
tend not to
live at all if removed from their group.

I think it is still an open debate. Group selection being discredited is
just Dawkins
and some like-minded people's favorite theory right now.

>Group selection is now discredited as an evolutionary force.
>See for some class lecture
>notes discussion group selection.
Received on Fri Jan 23 2004 - 04:00:06 PST

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