Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
The author's an evolutionary biologist (and atheist) who disagrees with Richard Dawkins on certain important points. Interesting!
Very interesting. I thought this was revealing about the author's thinking;
"But there is a difference between these two examples; the nest benefits only the individual builder, whereas the dam benefits all of the beavers in the pond, including those who don’t contribute to building the dam."
For some reason, he thinks that because it benefits others it must be group selectionist. This is false. Provided it benefits the individual, then it could easily be explained simply by individual selectionism.
"As one example reported in the July 6, 2006 issue of Nature, a group of microbiologists headed by Benjamin Kerr cultured bacteria (E. coli) and their viral predator (phage) in 96-well plates, which are commonly used for automated chemical analysis. Each well was an isolated group of predators and their prey. Within each well, natural selection favored the most rapacious viral strains, but these strains tended to drive their prey, and therefore themselves extinct. More prudent viral strains were vulnerable to replacement by the rapacious strains within each well, but as groups they persisted longer and were more likely to colonize other wells. Migration between wells was accomplished by robotically controlled pipettes. Biologically plausible migration rates enabled the prudent viral strains to persist in the total population, despite their selective disadvantage within groups."
This is nothing to do with group selection! This is only differential extinction!
"As a second example reported in the December 8, 2006 issue of Science, economist Samuel Bowles estimated that between-group selection was strong enough to promote the genetic evolution of altruism in our own species, exactly as envisioned by Darwin. These and many other examples, summarized by Edward O. Wilson and myself in a forthcoming review article, are ignored entirely by Dawkins, who continues to recite his mantra that the selective disadvantage of altruism within groups poses an insuperable problem for between-group selection."
Fluff! Wool. Nothing of any substance. Trying to suggest evidence exists, without actually detailing anything about it. An assertion only. As a referee, I would insist this vacuous waste of words removed.
I shall read the rest tomorrow.