Category Archives: Group Selection

Evolution 2014: Evolution of cooperation in the high school classroom? You bet!

Will Ratcliff presented an absolutely amazing set of laboratories that explore the evolution of multicellularity (http://www.snowflakeyeastlab.com/). They can be done with high school or college students, and allow students to see the benefits of cooperation and the action of multilevel … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Predation, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Can you replicate the collective adaptive value of religion without god?

NPR Morning Edition “Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam” It is interesting to see people explicitly seeking out the benefits of religious community whilst trying to maintain their objective understanding of the material world. Conventional wisdom … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Belief, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, Radio & Podcasts, Religion | Leave a comment

Writing and record-keeping as important tools in the evolution of large-scale human cooperation

This View of Life “The Role Of Writing And Recordkeeping In The Cultural Evolution Of Human Cooperation” What is also so interesting about written language is that it is another means of defining a group: only those who are literate … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Cooperation, Empathy, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection | Leave a comment

My review of “Origins of Altruism and Cooperation” is published in QRB

I am excited to report that my review of Origins of Altruism and Cooperation was just published in the Quarterly Review of Biology. Although it requires some work to get through, this collection presents a really important counter-narrative to the … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Altruism, Behavior, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Empathy, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Kin Selection, Multilevel Selection, My publications, Primatology, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Social Norms | Leave a comment

Just in case you missed it the first ten times: E.O. Wilson likes group selection, Jerry Coyne does not

Why Evolution is True “E. O. Wilson mistakenly touts group selection (again) as a key factor in human evolution“

Posted in A Minor Post, Cooperation, Evolution, Group Selection, Kin Selection, Reciprocity | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Allen MacNeill predicts resolution of Ev-Coop debates

The Cornell Daily Sun “Darwin Days Lecture: “Can Cooperation Evolve by Natural Selection?”“

Posted in A Minor Post, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, Kin Selection | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dumb radio ads provide smart insight into the diverse nature of human societies

Do everyday people have any sense of their place in the world? Human beings live in incredibly complex societies undergirded by convoluted economies and overwhelmingly diverse cultures. Do we have a sense of how these societies came to be, or … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Behavior, Cooperation, Economic sustainability, Ethics, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Political Science, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Social Diversity | Leave a comment

Barash not so enlightening on the paradox of human homosexuality

The Chronicle of Higher Education “The Evolutionary Mystery of Homosexuality” It is interesting that Barash focuses so heavily in this article on traditional population genetic explanations for the “paradox” of homosexuality, especially when it is becoming so clear that single-gene … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Evolution, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Group Selection, Kin Selection, Natural Selection, Population Genetics, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction | Tagged | 1 Comment

Freeman Dyson wins the contest, and then says the contest is stupid

Institute for Advanced Study “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” One of my favorite skateboarders when I was young was Natas Kaupas, an innovative skater who pioneered a lot of modern streetstyle. Natas was one of those skaters who could do things that … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Modeling (General), Multilevel Selection, Reciprocity | Tagged | Leave a comment

Freeman Dyson calls the Prisoner’s Dilemma “an amusing toy”

This is from the events calendar of Howard University, where Freeman Dyson gave a talk on October 12, 2012. Just in case this disappears from the web, here is the abstract of his talk: “The Prisoner’s Dilemma: Is it a … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Altruism, Cooperation, Evolution, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, Web | Leave a comment

Enforcing norms may be for personal gain, not to maintain social order (at least amongst Santa Barbara undergraduates)

PLoS ONE “What Are Punishment and Reputation for?” Once again, a valuable and ingenious experiment over-reaches on the meaning of its finding, and the over-reach bleeds into the popular media. This is a really valuable experiment in that it asks … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Punishment, Reciprocity, Reputation, Social Networks, Social Norms | 2 Comments

Can proper education allow reputation to foster action on climate change?

Daily Kos “Evolution, Cooperation, and Climate” I like some of the ideas that are expressed here. In a culture where the threat of climate change was well-understood, those who seek to deny its existence would be marginalized. It is true … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Climate Change, Cooperation, Group Selection, Reputation, Web | Leave a comment

ESA 2012 Overall Impressions

What was the ‘big news’ at this year’s Ecological Society of America meeting? Given that this meeting is composed of so many different meetings running concurrently, this just might be an impossible question to answer fairly. But for me, this … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Altruism, Biodiversity Loss, Conservation Biology, Cooperation, Ecological Modeling, Ecological Society of America, Ecology Education, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Group Selection, Marine Ecosystems, Multilevel Selection, Public Policy, Punishment, Resource Consumption, Social Capital, Sustainability, System Stability, Talks & Seminars, Teaching, Teaching Tools, The Sustainable Use of Fisheries | Leave a comment

Preview of my ESA 2012 poster promoting the Evolution of Sustainable Use activity

This year I am proud to be returning to the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Portland, Oregon. I missed last year’s meeting and I am excited to be overwhelmed by all the amazing scholarship that is on display at … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Biodiversity Loss, Carrying Capacity, Conferences, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ecological Modeling, Ecological Society of America, Ecology, Ecology Education, Economic sustainability, Economics, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Ethics, Food, Group Selection, Marine Ecosystems, Population Growth, Population Pressure, Predation, Public Policy, Resource Consumption, Sustainability, System Stability, Teaching Tools, The Sustainable Use of Fisheries | Leave a comment

Steven Pinker makes it clear that he is not a “group selectionist”

Frequently I feel like I am listening to an early 2000′s George W. Bush speech when the ‘opponents of group selection’ step up to the podium. Seemingly, you are either “with us or against us” when it comes to considering … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Adaptation, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, Kin Selection, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Punishment, Web | 5 Comments

Are the population dynamics of Dupont’s lark dictated by multilevel selective pressures?

A fascinating new paper published this week in the journal PLoS One demonstrates how selection acting at least three different levels produces distinct selective pressures that shape the song behavior of male Dupont’s lark (Chersophilus duponti) in the Ebro Valley … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Articles, Behavior, Competition, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Population Growth | Leave a comment

Understanding the role of the Templeton Foundation in funding evolutionary biology research

Back in March, David Barash used his regular column in the Chronicle of Higher Education to unveil “The Truth about the Temple of Templeton“. Reacting to an increasingly-large funding stream coming out of the Templeton Foundation, Barash questions whether receiving money … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Articles, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Evolution, Grants & Funding, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Religion | Leave a comment

Scientific American “Why We Help”

The July issue of Scientific American features a cover story written by Martin A. Nowak called “Why We Help“. This very short article contains a brief review of Nowak’s “five rules” for cooperation, a little bit of connection to experimental work … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Behavior, Climate Change, Cooperation, Evolution, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Kin Selection, Punishment, Reciprocity, Social Networks | 1 Comment

Martin Nowak and Roger Highfield’s “SuperCooperators”

Martin Nowak has accomplished a lot for a mid-career scientist. His theoretical work exploring how cooperation evolves has illuminated the importance of a great number of evolutionary mechanisms. He has also been unafraid to tackle real-life problems of cooperation, including … Continue reading

Posted in Altruism, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, History, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Kin Selection, Language Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Mutualism, Punishment, Reciprocity, Religion, Superorganisms, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howard Rheingold TED talk urges a global movement to study cooperation

A few weeks ago I posted an aside about Howard Rheingold’s 6-week online course on cooperation theory. One of my questions about the course regarded how to assess Rheingold’s credentials to teach the course: he is not sanctioned by any … Continue reading

Posted in Altruism, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Game Theory, Group Selection, Mutualism, Punishment, Reciprocity, Talks & Seminars, Web | 1 Comment