[Marxism] Scientists Square Off on Evolutionary Value of Helping Relatives

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 31 07:45:05 MDT 2010


A critique of "inclusive fitness" theories, which claim that altruism
is based on a calculation of whether more of your genes would be
passed along by helping your own offspring or those of a relative:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/science/31social.html?ref=science
My inclination is to side with this new critique, being dubious of
"selfish gene" theories (and those who've read Dawkins thoroughly --
I've only skimmed him, and rely mostly on Eldredge's criticisms of him
-- should weigh in).
In any case, we can look forward to more rounded, multifactorial
theories to replace those based solely or primarily on genetic
determinants of social behavior. From the end of the article:
"Dr. Hunt hopes to move the debate toward a resolution with a meeting
he is to run in October at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
in Durham, N.C. He will be bringing together scientists who build
models of all the potential factors that drive the evolution of
societies, from their kinship to their ecology. Ultimately, the
scientists hope to build a model that can take into account all of
these factors at once."




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