Mittwoch, 21. März 2007

Group selection - a very simple thing ...?

Does one crucial heritable trait like intelligence can change inborn altruism inside of a society?

I think: Yes. If you are more intelligent than another person, you can be more efficient with your altruistic deeds. And if a whole group is more intelligent than another group this gives this group an advantage.

But we know: Nowadays inborn intelligence of human groups does not "per se" correlate with fitness. Sometimes yes - for example in modern Israel, for example (broadly spoken) in the Western Hemisphere between 1500 and 1900. But often (today in the Western Hemisphere): No. So let us say: There is a difficult connection between intelligence and fertility in humans.

But IF human groups act mostly like the Western Hemisphere between 1500 and 1900 and like modern Israel today it is clear, that we would say, that more efficient altruism would evolve by group selection, because it is different fertility of genetically different groups that shapes human variability of traits at any given period.

And I think this is what happened in human history and evolution mostly. Aszkenazi Jews where seperated enough from other groups for thousand years and were able to evolve (by this) a "more efficient altruism" than all the other human groups have today AND they had another fertility rate than Sephardic Jews. This has not happened by extinction of (other) groups - only by separation.

I think there are a lot of other heritable traits that influence altruism in this way or another. We do not have "one" gene for altruism ...

(Razib Khan had some thoughts about group selection and motivated me for this post.)

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